I like the idea of life being like the movies because you know that the ending – whether sad, happy or vomit-worthy – will at least have some meaning, and a purpose. (Caché excluded, obviously. What a load of bollocks.) And you can kind of guess when this definitive ‘end’ part will arrive, because… well, it’s been around two hours or so. That way, you can prepare yourself for whatever big decision or event is about to happen to your central protagonist, and you can neatly compartmentalize it. You can understand it, (even if you don’t necessarily like it), because you’ve seen the concentrated series of events leading up to it. It makes sense.
I’m one of these face-slappingly annoying people that doesn’t mind finding out the ending of a film before she sees it. It’s comforting to me – I don’t like the uncertainty. (Titanic was an ideal film for me in this context. Although it was made less ideal by the presence of Leonardo di Caprio. “I’ll never let go, Jack!” No, PLEASE DO – I want to watch him SINK.). If I can’t know the ending before it happens, then I at least get solace from the fact that each of the obstacles the characters face are leading up to this big finish, so it will all make sense eventually.
My problem is: real life isn’t like that. My own little dramas don’t have ‘endings’ – they just sort of fade in and out of my existence. But if I don’t know how or when my troubles will end, how do I know if the decision I make is the right one at the time? I seem unable to have the courage in my convictions that the film characters have, and it leads to a whole lot of agonising and debates about second chances and ‘enjoying the challenge.’
A case in point: He’s Just Not That Into You. I saw this chick-flick for the first time on Monday, locked in my room wearing fluffy socks, drinking filthily cheap wine and eating worryingly high numbers of sugar-mice. It’s about the dating game. “Will he call? Why hasn’t he called? Maybe he’s lost my number. Why hasn’t he called? Is he ‘the one’? What will we name our children? WHY HASN’T HE CALLED?!” That kind of thing. (He doesn’t call.)
Needless to say, I was watching it for the reason I watch most films: because it relates to my current situation (hence the sugar-mice). I practically took notes. I felt reassured that most women are as psychotic as I am – it’s not just me jumping when I hear the phone, checking my email 100 times a day and sneakily deciding what song we’ll dance to at our wedding when we’ve only been on one date (right?! Okay maybe not that last one), and it’s not just me making excuses for every man that acts like a total twat just because I don’t want to accept the possibility he just isn’t that crazy about me.
The difference is, in the film you can say “Oh, he definitely is NOT that into her,” because a) it’s too near the beginning for a happy ending b) the soppy music isn’t playing when he looks at her c) They haven’t got stuck in the rain yet or used some gut-wrenchingly cheesy metaphor. So it’s a no dice on that relationship. Move on, sister.
But then you get the guy that totally cocks up about two-thirds of the way into the film. Every time. And then you know that – even if she eats a lot of ice cream or starts dating another guy – before the end of the film ‘cock-up guy’ will totally redeem himself in some eye-wateringly inventive way because they’re meant to be together and he’s not a total bastard really.
He’s Just Not That Into You has black-or-white statements in it like:
“If a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a shit then he genuinely doesn’t give a shit. No exceptions.”
Oh. Right. That makes my current predicament (and several of my previous ones) a lot clearer.
But then the slightly psychotic character (i.e. the one that’s supposed to be me and always worries about why a guy hasn’t called) says to the guy that said the last statement:
“I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You’ve think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don’t fall in love that way either. You have not won. You’re alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I’m still a lot closer to love than you are.”
And then the guy who said the first thing falls in love with her and they live happily ever after. Sheesh. Make your mind up! Are we supposed to be psychotic about guys who don’t call or not?!
So he’s her ‘two-thirds through the film cock-up guy’. But there are also several guys in the film who screw up before two-thirds guy, and never change, and just are twats. So how do we differentiate between them? How do we stop from convincing ourselves that every time someone disappoints us, it’s all part of the plan and they’re just the two-thirds guy? Where is the line between hopeful/compromising and delusional/slightly pathetic? When should we give up waiting for him to sweep us off our feet?
If I knew how these little issues were supposed to end, I could save myself a whole lot of agonising. And blogging, clearly. I just want to believe I have a two-thirds guy.