5 Crucial Dating And Relationship Lessons From 'Can't Buy Me Love'

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Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson in "Can't Buy Me Love"
Buzz, Heartbreak

Romantic comedies may be corny, but sometimes they're insightful too.

Before Patrick Dempsey was known as the “hair that touched America” and famous for his starring role in Grey’s Anatomy, he was known as Ronald “Donald” Miller, the lead in the romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love. His beautiful co-star, Amanda Peterson, became a crush of men everywhere after her star turn in Can't Buy Me Love. The blond bombshell suddenly and sadly passed away at 43 in Colorado home. It's unclear how long Peterson was dead, but her father hadn't heard from her since July 3 and called for help; her body was discovered on July 5. In honor of Peterson's memory, here are some important lessons her biggest film taught us all about love, life and relationships.

Now, for those of you who have never seen this movie — for shame! Seriously, it’s no Citizen Kane or anything, but it’s cute … and, surprisingly, insightful. So, before we delve into these insights, let me offer you a quick recap:

Can’t Buy Me Love is the tale of Ronald Miller, a nerdy high school kid who fell in love with the head cheerleader. He was smart, but dorky, and horrible with women…his only romantic action likely came from the vibrations of his riding lawn mower.

Cindy Mancini — played by Peterson, who didn’t look at all Italian — was the woman of his dreams; she was popular and pretty. One day, she wore her mother’s leather dress (I’m telling PETA!) to a party and ruined it with wine. Upon rushing to the mall to buy a replacement, she was heartbroken to learn a new dress cost $1,000. Ronald saw her dilemma and offered to buy the dress for her under one condition: she must pretend to date him for a month. He reasoned that that would make him popular… and he was right.

So, they dated and Cindy actually began to develop feelings for him. But, once the month was up, Ronald stayed true to the contract and ended things. Now that he was popular, he had women throwing themselves at him and he started to date around. This made Cindy jealous and, in a drunken rage (“You…YOU!”), she revealed to everyone how he paid her to go out with him. Not surprisingly, this ruined his reputation.

The tail end of the movie saw Ronald treated like dirt by everyone at his high school. Finally, in a pivotal moment highly deserving of a “slow-clap,” he stuck up for his ex-best friend (also a nerd) and made a speech about how he was stupid to try to buy his way in and how he should have just been himself.

The last scenes in the movie showed Ronald confessing his undying love to Cindy and her, ultimately, forgiving him and getting back together. Then they rode off into the sunset on his riding lawnmower (yes, seriously).

So, now that you have the movie’s plot well in hand, what exactly does it teach us about relationships? How about five things:

1. You should always be yourself: A relationship built on you being someone else isn’t really much of a relationship at all: this is because the person has fallen in love with the person you are pretending to be, not the person you actually are. Not only this, but the truth will come out eventually: you can’t pretend to be someone else forever.

2. Second chances work: As demonstrated by Ronald and Cindy 2.0, second chances do work. Now, of course, we don’t actually know if these fictitious characters remained together after the movie was over, but I tend to believe they did.

3. Say what you mean and mean what you say: The only reason Cindy gave Ronald a second chance, or so it seems, was because he poured his heart out to her. He laid it all on the line and told her exactly what he was thinking and exactly what he felt. Only after that was she willing to reconcile.

4. Don’t give up: Another thing Can’t Buy Me Love taught us was that there’s little sense on giving up with love. Cindy demolished Ronald, demolished him, but he still believed in love, and in himself, enough to win her back. This is why break ups aren’t endings: they are merely times to fix what has been broken.

5. Don’t use money to buy love: Sorry, hookers.

To learn more about how you can fix a breakup, click here.


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