A friend insisted I see He’s Just Not That Into You, thinking it would change my long-held belief that chick flicks blow. I’m just not into their Disney-ified take on life. The women are shallow ninnies who buy shoes and sing pop songs into hairbrushes when they’re sad. The men are clueless hunks who miraculously get their crap together then deliver goofy speeches about the transformative effects of love. Marriage is presented as the only worthwhile aim of human existence, while love itself is depicted as a series of zany mishaps that must be stumbled out of in order to be attained.
He’s Just Not wants to get real. Indeed, the flick reveals some real moments from single women’s lives – staring at the phone, looking for “signs” the guy likes you. I’ve done these things. All my girlfriends have done them. I’m sure even Angelina Jolie did these things before she had Pitt sweatin’ her.
But I want to go deeper.
Years ago, after being discourteously dumped, I had one of those old-fashioned Victorian heartbreaks. I spent several days in bed sobbing, begging God for mercy and having hallucinatory visions of unzipping myself from my own skin in order to be rid of a savage case of self-doubt. All I could think was, “if he could see how much I’m suffering. Things might have turned out the same, but he probably would’ve been nicer about it.”
Maybe men would revise their dating repertoire if they stopped getting the message that we’re just a bunch of whiny shopaholics who need only a pedicure and vat of ice cream to offset their bad behavior. A stop at the salon never helps us get over the person we love. When you cut us, we don’t bleed Häagen-Dazs.
Maybe women would be healthier if the entire planet would stop insisting the only way to existential bliss is matrimony. In the movie, Jennifer Aniston’s character breaks up with Ben Affleck, a mild-mannered lug who adores her but won’t put a ring on it. Later, Jen’s father has a heart attack, so she cares for him while her married sisters’ spouses show what sports-lovin’ lazy asses husbands can be. Ben shows up to help, making Jen realize a man who loves and respects her carries more weight than a marriage certificate.
“Bravo!” I wanted to shout. “Marriage schmarriage, the goal is love!”
Then the dope asks her to marry him anyway. And this, just minutes after the dude tapping Scarlett Johansson admits to cheating on his wife because he felt forced into marriage. Way to go, Hollywood!
Shouldn’t we be telling honest stories so we can live our lives honestly? Here’s He’s Just Not That Into You as it would really happen.
Instead of “not making a scene” at Home Depot after discovering her husband’s been schtupping Scarlett Johansson, real-life Jennifer Connelly concusses the guy by chucking a bucket of paint at his head. As punishment for their infidelity, Bradley Cooper, the actor who plays the adulterer, has to go back to working television, while Scarlett Johansson has to go back to the nose she had in Ghost World.