Can we blame Clark Gable for being Hollywood-romantic in Gone With The Wind?

Is there a better I’ll love you to the ends of the earth scene? Ladies, you know which one I mean. Romantic Rhett swept Scarlett off her willful feet and she finally understood that he loved her with all his strength.

Or maybe it was Humphrey Bogart as Mr. Allnut to Katherine Hepburn’s Rosie in The African Queen. He is, literally, willing to die to save her, realizing that love serves a greater purpose in life.

I could research Hollywood for a long time before I figured out where it went so wrong for men.

There are an abundance of movies in the last few decades that are so erroneous, I laugh out loud when I’m supposed to swoon. From Pretty Woman (ugh) to a faulty film I adore, Love Actually. I wish someone had just once jumped turnstiles to reach me and profess their love—even if in this instance it happens with adolescents!

Men, when are you going to rebel against Hollywood Romance?

Just tell the world: 

  • We aren’t really like John Cusack in Serendipity or Say Anything.
  • Romance is truly not ingrained in us. 
  • Flowers for no reason? Why would we ever think of that?
  • Heck, we don’t think of bringing you flowers when we’ve screwed up. 
  • If we bring you flowers, it’s because another woman told us we need to.
  • It is not our nature to be nurturing—that’s your job. Stop expecting it.
  • We can reach deep inside and find empathy if we have to, but honestly, we’d rather watch football.

Men, shout at the women in your lives, “We dwell happily on the surface and if you have expectations of us going deeper, well, we can tell you that’s on Hollywood and the fantasy men they created. It just ain’t us.” Whew. Don’t you feel better saying it out loud?

It’s time for a Romance Revolution

His colleagues pressured my poor husband that marriage proposals must be grand romantic gestures. Due to them, he held off asking. Months after we discussed marriage, agreeing we should, nothing progressed. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for forward movement. If you’ve met me, you figure out fairly quickly that patience is not a inherent component of my nature.

I finally asked, “What’s the deal? Are we getting married or not?” Alex admitted his co-workers kept telling him he couldn’t just ask, that he had to make an event out of the question—a Hollywood-level production.

“Heeelllloooo.” I looked at him like he had three heads. “How long have you known me? Do you know me?” If you’re curious, ten years—work colleagues, friends, dating, cohabiting, to that summer seven years ago. I am among the least girly-girls I know. Someday I’ll tell you the story of my engagement ring. Direct and to the point works for me. Had Alex done the Hollywood, larger than life proposal, I would have thought the Body Snatchers had invaded him.

Men, step up to the plate. 

Rebel. Tell the world you won’t be subjected to forced romantic nonsense anymore. Loudly state that you are not Ted Mosby continually searching for the mother of his children. You aren’t Westley in The Princess Bride shouting, “As you wish….” to Buttercup after she pushes him down a hill.

That just ain’t you.

It’s time to insist that without February 14th shoved down your faces with blazing red hearts everywhere, you would never think to be romantic on a blustery winter’s day. Insist on it! Boycott every jewelry store that puts the pressure on you to, give your love a heart.

Oh gag me. On behalf of your gender, I’ve denied participating in Valentine’s Day for forty years.

Tell the women in your life to give you a shopping list—provide options of what you want for your birthday or Christmas or (if you really have to) the evil Valentine’s Day. Give me ideas, dear woman, or you may wind up with a mixer (I want a one) or a vacuum (skip that idea, even if we think we want one—there is nothing creative about using a vacuum. A Kitchenaid can inspire inventive baking). Years ago, I began giving Alex a list of several ideas for birthday and Christmas—along with appropriate sizes, colors, and in which stores he could find said items. No pressure for him to guess what I want. I still get to be surprised. Best gifts ever. (Love my fuzzy Merrell clogs.)

Storm the gates, my opposite gender friends! 

Hound MGM, Universal, even Disney! Let them know you’re finished with their fake romances! The revolution is launched! No more selling men out for the sake of a few bucks! Tell them, insist the movies start showing men as we are—

  • Seriously, we don’t know the correct answer to: Does my butt look big in these jeans?
  • We will never like your haircut even though we’ve learned to say it’s okay. 
  • No matter how many times you ask, we are going to dress in a suit and tie so you can don an evening gown, and take you to dinner at Eleven (my favorite Pittsburgh restaurant—pure Bogey & Bacall ambiance) for the fun of it.
  • We won’t provide the proper empathy when you try to explain to us that your cousin’s husband’s wife’s sister’s mother had such and such happen.

Insist that Hollywood stop making women believe Prince Charming exists. That princes is not buried deep inside normal, regular, men. Princes belong in fairly tales.

It will be best for you, fellows, if you demand that Hollywood start operating with a modicum of truth rather than enticing women to dream, to believe, that yes you really are that romantic guy.

Shout out, “Hollywood, tell women it just ain’t so!”

There, I gave you the launchpad, get going and change your world!

Postscript to my romance

yellow primrose can be a romantic flower
Spring primrose from my husband

Sigh and okay … there are a few women with romantic men in your life … tell us how that works. Oh wait, I have one. In the spring, husband often comes home carrying a primrose plant to add to our Primrose Lane. Aw, gee. Did he get smart or catch sight of my computer screen over my shoulder? Hmmm.

Post, Postscript to Romance

I am ecstatic, thrilled, overwhelmed with joy when Alex drives my car to the station and fills the gas tank. As a job I deplore and one he does voluntarily, this is pretty romantic to me.


Read: We aren’t mind readers