The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop CultureAs someone who was born in 1990 and lived through most of that decade, I will always have a soft spot for the 90s and the music, movies and TV shows that came with it. Of course, the subject always tends to be a little overdone, but I couldn’t help but share my own feelings about that scrunchie-filled time in our history!

There are a lot of surprising lessons we can all learn from 1990s pop culture, which we’ll discuss in this weekend’s edition of The Weekend Five. Feel free to add your own to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

1. Inanimate objects come to life as soon as you leave the room.
Thanks to movies like Toy Story and the Brave Little Toaster sequels, a part of me grew up believing that whenever I left the house, my toys and household appliances gained consciousness and had conversations with each other. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced.) Now in 2015, this is probably why I can’t find a few things in my kitchen… They simply walked off to enjoy a new life.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture2. If you want to be someone’s lover, you have to get with their friends.
I’m assuming the Spice Girls meant that you should befriend their friends, and not literally “get with” them. In the song Wannabethe Spice Girls make a very good point — if you’re interested in someone, you need to show interest in their friends and the other important people in your boo’s life as well. They also say something about a “zig-a-zig-ah,” whose definition happens to be one of the biggest mysteries of the 1990s.

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3. “We were on a break” is never a good excuse for anything you did to upset your significant other.
Actually, never turn to Ross Geller from Friends for any kind of relationship advice. That should be the real lesson here.

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4. With the proper makeover, the nerdiest girl in school can transform into the prom queen and land the hottest guy in school.
This “lesson” eventually led to horribly unrealistic expectations for dorky girls everywhere (myself included). Sadly, my makeover didn’t come until college, at a time when nerdiness and “quirkiness” had started to become vaguely attractive traits anyway. I had to watch She’s All That many times before I realized that Freddie Prinze Jr. was never going to enroll at my school.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture5. Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.
In his song Just A Friend, when Biz Markie asks the girl he likes if she has a boyfriend, she responds, “No I don’t. I only have a friend.” They build a relationship, but when he goes to visit her at college, he quickly runs into her male “friend” kissing her in the dorms. The moral to the story? Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend. Ladies: If a guy asks you if you’re seeing someone and you tell him “I only have a friend,” you sound extremely sketchy. We really do have platonic male friends, but if we feel the need to mention them when a new guy asks if you’re single, the relationship probably isn’t all that platonic.

(Side Note: I know that this song came out in 1989, but it feels so 90s to me and it officially went platinum in 1990, so I am including it in 1990s pop culture!)

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What are your favorite lessons from 1990s pop culture? Share yours in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters

Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn CharactersEverything I know, I learned from Audrey Hepburn.

Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but ever since I first watched Roman Holiday back in high school, I have been in awe of the glamorous actress and her equally glamorous characters. I dressed up as Holly Golightly for my decades-themed 21st birthday party (complete with the fancy cigarette holder), and whenever I’m stressed out, I’ll often turn on one of her movies to relax. (I even somehow integrated Audrey’s film characters into a blog post about balancing health and a social life.) The actress herself was someone to aspire to – a humanitarian and devoted mother.

This weekend’s blog focuses on a few of the lessons to be learned from some of her more popular roles. Share your own favorites in the comments section below!

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1. “Oh, but Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s… it’s for changing your outlook… for throwing open the windows and letting in… letting in la vie en rose.” – Sabrina Fairchild, Sabrina (1954)
Early in the movie, a lovesick and insecure Sabrina travels from New York to Paris to attend culinary school, and she emerges a sophisticated and confident young woman. The lesson to be learned from this? Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to become a different person. For Sabrina, that new backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, but in reality it can be anywhere – a new city, a new country, or even a new park across town that you’ve never visited before. Travel, no matter how far the distance, can change your perspective on the world, on people and on life in general. (And of course, when in doubt, Paris is always a good idea.)

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Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters2. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not all attention is positive attention. Holly Golightly learns this the difficult way, as she finds herself at the center of more than one scandal throughout the film. Certain shades of limelight, in fact, can lead to a negative public perception of a person. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, but important to strongly consider the choices you make and align them with the reputation you want to have.

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3. “When you can be fancy-free and flash a smile that folks come flocking to see, you’ll be as lovely as can be.” – Jo Stockton, Funny Face (1957)
Positivity goes a long way. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a person’s whole day that much brighter. We may worry about how well we’re dressing for our body types or when was the last time we had our roots touched up, but an even more important lesson in how to be lovely is to consider the way we make others feel and the type of energy we put out into the world.

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5 Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters4. “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Don’t go into a relationship with the intent to change someone. If the person you fall for tells you that he or she doesn’t want to settle down, believe that person. Never idealize someone to the point that their flaws or even their differences in opinion don’t exist. Recognize people for whom they are and don’t try to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.

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5. When in doubt, break the rules and take a mental health day. – Princess Ann, Roman Holiday (1953)
This lesson isn’t a quote from Roman Holiday, but it does partially sum up the film’s premise. Princess Ann has grown weary of her press engagements during her tour of Europe, so she escapes to spend a day as a Roman tourist, making a few unlikely friends along the way. The film ends on a bittersweet note, and she ultimately returns to her duties as princess, but Ann does have the opportunity to experience Rome from a different perspective and make lasting memories of her time in the ancient city. Sometimes in life, it’s okay to take a break from your obligations and do something exciting for your own well-being. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin, and do something about it.

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What are your favorite lessons from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic movie roles? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!After a fun-filled trip to Epcot last weekend, it’s safe to say that I have Disney on the brain! A child of the 1990s, I loved picking up a new Disney movie in its colorful plastic case and playing it in our VCR (which had to be replaced, after one of our Disney movies got stuck in there). Even in my twenties, I’m quick to pop in a Disney movie whenever I’m sick or in need of a reminder from my childhood.

Of course, watching these movies as I’ve gotten older, I realize that many of them would be a lot different if they were written today. Our thoughts on marriage, beauty and women’s roles have significantly evolved in the last century, and with the ever-growing influence of technology and social media, it’s interesting to think about how our Disney favorites would differ in a modern-day setting.

This weekend, I’ve taken five Disney classics and revised the plots to take place in 2015. Let the madness begin!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!1. Cinderella (1950)
Ella escapes the confines of her strict stepmother’s home to attend Coachella, where she meets and becomes infatuated with DJ Charming. When she flees from the festival to meet curfew, leaving behind nothing but her custom-made flower head wrap, DJ Charming launches a social media campaign (#FindElla) to find her. Meanwhile, as one of the film’s subplots, her stepmother’s cat Lucifer becomes a viral Internet meme and soon has his own line of merchandise.

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2. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
When Tod and Copper’s owners recognize the unlikely friendship blossoming between their pets, they photograph the two animals playing together and create a blog documenting the relationship. The blog goes viral, and Tod and Copper are even featured on Ellen.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Plagued by pollution and the ongoing threat of global warming, the creatures of the sea send Ariel ashore to speak with the humans about these atrocities. There she falls in love with Eric, the son of an oil tycoon, and feels voice-less in a society still dominated by patriarchal values. In the end, Ariel saves the planet and ultimately agrees to marry Eric, but mostly because she thinks his dog is really cute.

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4. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
At the heart of Beauty and the Beast is a love triangle for the ages. Should she choose Adam “The Beast” Rose, a hairier-than-average guy whose anger management classes have proven ineffective thus far? Or should she choose Gaston, her handsome neighbor who frequents men’s rights message boards and complains about “female privilege”? In the end, Belle realizes that she’s too good for either of these men, and instead chooses the cute guy she met at the bookstore. Meanwhile, her father (a software engineer and app developer) invents Words with Friends.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg5. Mulan (1998)
Mulan joins the army without disguising her female identity. She is celebrated for her bravery, strength and creative problem-solving skills. She returns home a hero.

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If you enjoyed these modern day movie adaptations, you’ll love my modern day endings to these classic romantic comedies! Go check them out.

What are your favorite Disney films? How do you think they would play out in 2015?

Love Lessons from the Movies

e9431ded-5a77-4fec-8942-d8f5b0a500dbRegular readers of my blog will know that I love to write about romantic comedies. From the gender stereotypes they perpetuate to the misconceptions they give us about love to the modern-day endings to classic rom coms, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of watching, swooning over and criticizing these films. 🙂

Of course, the romantic comedies we watch can actually teach us a lot about love and relationships! Below are some of the lessons I’ve taken away from these films, which will hopefully enhance your love life and bring you the happiness you seek!

  • High school is a drag, especially when it comes to dating, but if you change everything about your appearance and personality, you will finally find true love. – Grease (1978)
  • Living under the sea is a drag, especially when your only friend is a flounder, but if you sell your soul to a sea witch in order to change your appearance, you will finally find true love. – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Don’t fall in love with a womanizing slacker. Instead, fall in love with his workaholic brother who tried to ship you out of the country so he could complete a business deal. – Sabrina (1954)
  • When you love someone, the best way to show that love is by yelling at the other person. – Katherine Heigl movies
  • Women are most charming when singing among nature or not talking at all. – Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • If you really want to be with someone who is otherwise engaged, you should wait to reveal your feelings until that person’s wedding day. – Various films
  • If you begin a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone, you will ultimately fall in love and end up together. – Friends With Benefits (2011), No Strings Attached (2011), various other films
  • If you’re otherwise sweet and easy to relate to, then it’s okay to steal your best friend’s fiancé. – Something Borrowed (2011)
  • It’s not an inappropriate age gap if the older person in the relationship is undead and still looks like a teenager. – Twilight (2008)

Readers, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken away from the movies you’ve watched? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Role of Women in Romantic Comedies

sandrabullockIt has become a widely accepted fact that the plots of romantic comedies are just not realistic (for further proof, see here and here). Growing up with the now often-parodied teen flicks of the 90s and early 2000s, I can attest to the fact that the movies I watched when I was younger played a huge role in the misconceptions that I and so many of my peers had when it came to relationships. If a guy treats you poorly, he likes you. If you argue a lot with another person, it means you have chemistry. And if all else fails, you’ll probably just wind up with your best friend anyway.

I think we can agree that these misconceptions are harmful, but until recently, I didn’t stop to think just how harmful their portrayals of women could be. Most female characters fall into two categories: desperate to fall in love and get married (think of Ginnifer Goodwin in He’s Just Not That Into You), or too career-driven to ever want or attract a man (Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice, The Proposal, Miss Congeniality or perhaps any other movie she has ever been in). Let’s call this second character Jane.

No-Strings-Attached_240These movies do an incredible disservice to Jane and characters like her because they paint them as cold, out of touch and clearly Missing Something. In fact, there is usually a best friend character prone to “messy” relationships who summarizes this sentiment early in the film by stating that Jane is so set in her ways and afraid of getting hurt that she risks finding true happiness. Also, would it kill her to put on a little more makeup and wear her hair down once in a while?

Never mind the fact that Jane loves what she does for a living and is well suited for it. Pop culture tells us that the woman who focuses “too much” on her career is simply doing so to distract herself from finding a soul mate. Only when she lets her hair down (literally and figuratively) and demonstrates some form of vulnerability, perhaps by crying or getting drunk in front of the male love interest, does she open herself up to a happy life. Only then does she truly become the character we like and root for. After all, what man would want to be with a woman who enjoys her job?

In real life, there are gradients between these extremes. Women who love their careers and enjoy being in a relationship do exist. In addition, there are plenty of men who like independent women. Why do we have to box ourselves into these two very limited categories? (And for the women who don’t ever visualize themselves in a relationship, who are we to judge?)

ginnifer-goodwin-purple-nails-he's-just-not-that-into-you-nubar-pasadena-purpleWe value a woman’s willingness to be in a relationship as a trait to be valued, but not her independence. In the movies, Jane’s “independence” is clearly just a wall she put up after someone hurt her, a wall that is meant to be broken down by the male lead. (Jane’s best friend or love interest in the film may actually use the whole “wall” metaphor in a big speech that makes her realize just how closed off she has been the entire time.)

If a woman rejects a man or decides to put her career first, pop culture labels her as cold. (Tweet this!) What the movies – and the people who watch them! – fail to think about is the fact that we all have different priorities at different points in our lives, and while a woman may hope to marry and have babies someday, she might not be ready for that stage.

There are a few exceptions to the romantic comedy genre that don’t posit relationships and careers as an either/or for women, but all too often, pop culture dictates that we must choose (and that “career” is the wrong choice). Society – and women especially – need to remember that these options are not mutually exclusive, and that they can have both.

Link Love Wednesday: Elephants, Barbies and ‘The Room’

Elephant-elephants-28788754-1024-768Now that everyone is winding down from their Valentine’s Day sugar highs, it is time for another round of link love! Below are some of the latest Internet highlights (according to me) – as always, feel free to add your own in the comments section!

What are some of the great links you’ve seen on the web today?

Best Cinematic Love Quotes

Two years ago, I shared a list of some of my favorite literary love quotes of all time. The list appealed to bibliophiles of all kinds, and remains one of my most popular blogs to date! This year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I would like to bring my movie-loving readers five of my favorite cinematic love quotes. I’m a bit of a romantic comedy junkie, so this may get interesting! 🙂

Enjoy the list, and please feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

bestcinematiclovequotes
1. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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2. “It’s gotta be that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of thing.” – It Takes Two (1995)

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3. “If I hadn’t been Fox Books and you hadn’t been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met… I would have asked for your number and I wouldn’t have been able to wait 24 hours before calling you and saying, ‘Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee, or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?'” – You’ve Got Mail (1998)

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4. “You had me at hello.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)

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5. “The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” – The Notebook (2004)

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Well, friends, what are some of your favorites?

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

fa439c081aea20a79a7d5457caf4694aHappy February! Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away, which means it is time to break out the chocolates and force our significant others to watch our favorite romantic comedies with us. (It also means that you’ll be seeing a lot more dating/relationship articles on my blog this month!) Of course, as I look back at some of my own favorites, I realize that the plots of many of these stories could have been radically different if they were set in 2014.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the classics, and discuss the alternative endings that would have taken place in modern day.

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

3831_11. You’ve Got Mail (1998).
In the original film, Meg Ryan (ShopGirl) and Tom Hanks (NY152) are real-life business rivals who unknowingly fall in love with one another after meeting in an AOL chat room. They exchange IMs and emails, gaining a deeper insight into one another. The idea of falling in love on the computer was very new at the time, and while still relatively modern, the film would have a few key differences in 2014. Meg Ryan would have met NY152 on Facebook, and the two would exchange messages until he revealed himself as a Catfish in the end.

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2. Pride and Prejudice (1813).
The book came out in the 1800s, but multiple film adaptations have occurred since. In modern day, celebutante Lydia Bennett (protagonist Elizabeth Bennett’s sister) would marry Mr. Wickham in Vegas, but when their marriage winds up in Star Magazine, Mr. Darcy sues the tabloid and saves the Bennett family’s reputation. Elizabeth gives up on her hatred for Darcy and decides to date him.

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romantic-scenes-never-been-kissed43. Never Been Kissed (1999).
In the film Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character (who has never been kissed) falls in love with her very attractive English teacher. When he finds out that Barrymore is actually a 25-year-old reporter, he takes this as a personal betrayal and leaves. As her apology, she urges him (via newspaper) to kiss her at a baseball game. Of course, in that end scene, she waits for the teacher and almost gives up, as he doesn’t show up right on time. In 2014, however, he would have sent her a simple text message: “Omw, running late.” A lot of tension would have been lifted from this scene!

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4. Roman Holiday (1953).
Audrey Hepburn plays a runaway princess who spends a day with an American reporter (Gregory Peck) in Rome, who has secretly discovered her identity and plans to exploit it in the paper. In the 2014 version of this movie, however, he wouldn’t have to — local passersby would identify her on the street, snap photos for Facebook and Instagram, and the paparazzi would soon swarm. Also in this version, because we crave happy endings, Hepburn and Peck end up together.

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sleepless-in-seattle5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
In the modern version of Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ son sets up an online dating profile for his father, who lost his wife a while ago. Women across the country fall madly in love with him, and the son quickly chooses Meg Ryan’s character as his father’s soul mate. Tom Hanks is apprehensive about meeting her at the Empire State Building, but when he looks her up on OkCupid and sees how pretty Meg Ryan is, he decides to give the relationship a chance. And the rest is history.

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What are some romantic comedies that could use a revamped ending? Share below in the comments section! 🙂

The Weekend Five: Things That Pop Culture Taught Me to Expect About Falling in Love

25.1T073.mindyc--300x300As Valentine’s Day looms dangerously close by, we begin to think more and more about love and relationships based on our current frames of reference. Even if you have a significant other, you might still be a sucker for  cheesy romantic comedies, and this could potentially affect your own beliefs about what “love” really looks like. In my own life, pop culture has played its role in shaping my expectations, for better or for worse.

In honor of Singles Awareness Day/Valentine’s Day (depending, of course, on your relationship status and/or feelings about Hallmark), I would like to present the five things that pop culture taught me to expect in the world of relationships.

The Weekend Five: Things That Pop Culture Taught Me to Expect About Falling in Love

1. Every social encounter is a potential meet-cute.
It doesn’t matter where you are or why you’re there; any time you meet someone of the desired gender, you have the chance to find real love. This allows you to turn an awkward situation, such as running into each other and dropping all of your belongings on the ground, into something more meaningful. If your eyes meet for more than a few seconds as you laugh and help each other to pick up your things, it’s a sign of good things to come — and if your hands brush against theirs, it’s obvious that you’re soulmates. You can apply similar logic to other situations as well: meeting someone at a bar, admiring the same painting in an art gallery, reaching for the same book in a library. It doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t see all of this as reason to exchange numbers or break up with their current significant other; as long as you keep your mind open, any moment can become a meet-cute.

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2. The one who has been around the longest is the one you’ll end up with.“I’ve been right here in front of you the entire time!” the romantic female lead exclaims as she plants herself in her male best friend’s doorway. “I was here all along!” This rule can go two ways: either you will end up with your best friend, or you will end up with the person whom you met in the very first episode (a la Carrie/Mr. Big) of Your Love Life. Either way, longevity will trump all else in the game of love.

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bachelorette_ver23. If all else fails, you can broadcast your search for love to the entire world.
By becoming the next Bachelor or Bachelorette on ABC, you will not only have countless attractive dental assistants and entrepreneurs of ambiguous backgrounds vying for your attention, but you will also have access to an unlimited wardrobe of evening wear. Falling in love on television is totally genuine and foolproof; even if you don’t end up married later down the road, you are at least contractually obligated to get an engagement out of it, and your entire courtship will be littered with poorly disguised metaphors. Who wouldn’t want that?

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4. Your relationship will have its own montage.
Every memorable moment that has led up to your declaration of love will flash before your eyes. This montage will be relatively short – no more than three minutes – but will highlight your relationship’s “Best Of” moments. This also happens when you aren’t in a relationship but considering confessing your feelings for someone with whom you’ve developed a close friendship. This montage is a mental one, so don’t be creepy and put anything together in iMovie.

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5. Your relationship will be scored by a mix of 1980s love songs and modern indie music.
I always imagined that The Glory of Love by Peter Cetera would start playing the moment I realized I’d found “The One” (okay, maybe not always, but at least since I watched last season of The Bachelorette). The truth is, if pop culture has taught us anything, it’s that our relationships will take up entire soundtracks – and bands like Foreigner, Death Cab for Cutie and Sparklehorse will be the main attractions. Our relationships will consist of sweet if not slightly poppy melodies, smarmy songs that came out the year before we were born and a few songs by obscure bands we’ve never heard of. Get your iTunes ready.

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What are some of the things that pop culture has taught you to expect about falling in love?

According To The Movies, True Love Is…

In keeping with our romantic comedy theme from yesterday’s post, I thought it would be entertaining to poke fun at some more of the film and television relationships we love. Before I continue, I have to admit that a few of these come from some of my favorite movies, but I love being able laugh about them all. Without further adieu:

According to the movies, true love is…

  • Vowing to turn the nerdy girl into a beautiful prom queen until you give her contact lenses and a haircut and then realize she was beautiful all along. (She’s All That)
  • Finding the one who will rescue your cat in the rain after you let it out of the car during a tantrum. (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  • Lying about your age to your English teacher and making him think the girl he’s falling for is a high school senior when you’re actually 25 years old. (Never Been Kissed)
  • Trading your girlfriend for a hotel, sleeping with her arch-nemesis, and then asking her to prove her love for you atop the Empire State Building. (Gossip Girl)
  • Losing your ability to speak and then realizing that you can still win the prince’s heart with your looks. (The Little Mermaid)
  • Getting engaged to your employee to avoid getting deported to Canada and then marrying him anyway because you bonded with his crazy grandmother.  (The Proposal)
  • Knowing that your sometimes-enemy and business rival is also your anonymous email pen pal, but still asking her to meet you for a date in the park. (You’ve Got Mail)
  • Getting on a boat to Paris with the guy who tried to ship you off there in the first place. (Sabrina)
  • Inviting at least 20 young women (mainly account coordinators, dental assistants and aspiring models) to compete for your affections on TV over the course of several weeks and enjoying romantic moments with each before deciding that your “real feelings” are for the girl that audiences hate the most. (The Bachelor)

What has the media taught you about “true love?”