Hollywood drives me crazy with its portrayal of women and men in relationships. Not so much because of how the women are portrayed (emotional, desperate, crazy, irrational, hopeful, hopeless, manipulative, unsatisfied, devoted, yadda yadda...seems about right), but because of how men are portrayed.
Growing up in a locker room-esque setting, I feel like I have a pretty good pulse on the typical American male...and these guys don't go ga-ga for chicks. When I see a man sacrifice everything that is solid, for the wisp of a hope for the love of a strange woman, it kind of makes me gag. When a man suddenly loses his mind in the pursuit of a brief encounter with the woman he's spent his life ignoring, I can't help but roll my eyes. When a man walks away from money and fame and adventurous escapades for a life-time of conversation with a crippled sweetheart, I can't hold in the groan. I don't believe it. I am convinced that these scenarios are more fairy tale than the ones starring the ridiculous vampires!
But this evening, I had to ask myself why I experience such a strong reaction to these romantic moments. Is it because behind my "dead inside" facade, I actually want to believe it? Do I house expectations of triumph over tragedy when I imagine the greatest love story of my life? Do I hypocritically hope to be so important to a man, that he can't help but be with me? Have I let my guard down and allowed Hollywood to shape my hope for romance? And if the answer is yes, can I reverse the effects and allow myself to be open to reality?
I hope that when I see a man works a few extra hours at the office so that his paycheck is just large enough for his wife to buy that new dress, I recognize the sacrifice. And when a man sleeps a few less hours and stays up with the baby so that his wife has the energy necessary to be a good mother to his children, I want to feel myself smile at the gesture. And when I observe a man standing by his partner for months or years in spite of the physical and emotional consequences of a nasty illness, I want to only comment on the strength that must require. And I want to be satisfied that those things are real...and that those things are enough.