Life’s not a 2000s rom-com + it’s okay to be mad about it. Ah, the 2000s. The decade that defined the rom-com formula, only to see it fall. Between 2000 + 2013, there were 124 IMDB-deemed rom-coms released in theaters. From Clueless to Bridget Jones to Sweet Home Alabama, the 2000s rom-com talked about love, family, and the fairytale ending all leading ladies hope to achieve. With beautiful actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, and Julia Roberts being courted by Hugh Grant, Mathew McConaughey, and Josh Duhamel, it’s a wonder these movies are so popular.
But now as millennials are in their prime dating + settling down years, it’s time to accept that Patrick Dempsey is not going to save you from falling off a horse + the 2000s rom-com gave us an idealized version of what life would be like. When we meet our soulmate, he is not going to instantly fall in love with us + spend 3 months winning our hearts before we start planning our dream wedding, #rude.
In all fairness, this isn’t totally the 2000s rom-com’s fault. It had no idea how fast technology would progress + invade every aspect of our lives. You’ve Got Mail may have had an inkling, but it surely couldn’t have predicted Snapchat or provided tips on how to slide into someone’s DMs. They may have gotten dating wrong, but they did get a few things right. There was a beautiful little nugget of truth in every 2000s rom-com that we can heed today.
- Always be yourself. While this lesson is a theme in many rom-com’s it is a central tenant in Legally Blonde. Elle Woods believes in herself + kicks ass all while rocking the pink-scented resume. #goals
- Open yourself up. If you’re hiding away from love (Sarah from Hitch + Sandra Bullock in almost every movie) you’ll be denying yourself the chance to find happiness + make a genuine connection with others.
- Stand up for yourself. In a world where other people so often put us down and neglect us, tap into your inner Bridget Jones or Maria from Maid in Manhattan. Demand the treatment you deserve + accept nothing less.
- Honesty is the best policy. There are a surprising number of lies in romantic comedies. Usually, the person who lies ends up in a big pickle they have to go to huge links to fix. Don’t be like Andi in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, just be honest.
- Rely on your friends. Whether helping your daughter plan a wedding in Greece or planning a wedding to Mr. Big, a solid group of girlfriends is just the support you need.
These are just a few of the messages you can take from the 2000s rom-com. Even more can be gleaned from the rom-coms that but on the anti-rom-com face (who are they fooling). My favorites are He’s Just Not That Into + How to Be Single. I’ll still be over here living my best life + seeing Mamma Mia 2 for the third time…