So this morning I heard about a teenage girl (stop guessing, not related) who’s having boyfriend troubles. They dated. They broke up… He’s not getting the hint.
Her dad’s had to talk with him. Recently, on prom night, the police had to get involved. Yuck.
It all sounds really unfortunate because, from everything I’ve heard, he’s a good kid. He just sounds a little misguidedly lovestruck (at least at this point). Awkward. Because I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my point here – there’s a whole world of possessive, abusive, controlling behavior out there and it’s terrible. I don’t want to minimize that. (Quite the opposite, in fact.) My question is, how much of that have we brought upon ourselves?
Every romantic comedy ever filmed has the same general plot line: Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back. The hilarity ensues in the details of how he loses the girl and then the crazy lengths he goes to in order to prove his love and get the girl back.
See the problem here? The repeated message is that, if she says she never wants to see you again, that just means you need to try some crazier shit. What’s that? She’s still not coming around? Don’t worry. Once she sees that you’re willing to go this far, she’ll break down into a weepy smile, somebody will crank up some Coldplay, and you’ll drop your lunch trays and hug it out right there in the cafeteria while everyone cheers and claps.
I wonder if there’s a potential screenplay waiting to be written and right this wrong. I’m trying to think of a way to keep it romantic comedy rather than going to the other end of the cliché spectrum and turning it into a Sleeping-With-the-Enemy-style cautionary tale. See what I mean? The guys are either hopeless romantics who won’t take no for an answer. (I’m picturing John Cusack here.) Or they’re psychological terrorists who must be stopped. And the only difference is in the actual use of physical violence and the theme music.
Do we, as media consumers, bear some responsibility if we end up raising a generation of stalkers?