HOW TO WATCH A LOVE STORY
I like to let go when I’m watching a romantic movie. And when I say let go, I mean the kind of unwinding no sensible person should ever let another human being see.
I’m talking the whole tracky-dacks wearing, chocolate inhaling, uncontrollable bawling, sentimental catastrophe. That’s what romantic movies are for. They allow you to be the messy delight you can never really be when anybody else is watching.
Why would you watch a soppy movie with someone else?
More especially, why would you watch one with your partner? It’s only going to lead to awkward questions such as, “If I was in a coma for fifty years, would you wait for me?” or, “If I was poor and you were rich would you have gone on our first date?” or, “If my face was eaten off by zombies, would you still marry me?” Granted, the last question doesn’t come up too often during a love story, but it could. That’s my point: awkward questions ruin the magic.
Rule 1: Watch Love Stories a la Bridget Jones… All by yourself.
Friends are not love story companions either. You just know one of them is going to get distracted during the good bit and start talking about how the love interest in the film is better than their ex, or they’re going to roll their eyes when someone uses the phrase ‘make love’, or worst of all, they’re going to hog the lolly supply. I know chocolate is for sharing but sometimes it’s best to have one stash for your friends, and another all for yourself. When it comes to chocolate, I like to think I’m a cow and I’m sharing it with my own four stomachs.
But back to the point: love stories are for private viewing.
That being said, don’t think you can just jump into love-land unprepared. You’ve got to have a plan.
First, put the popcorn on. While its popping away in the microwave, get in the mood by pouring yourself a glass of wine and listening to the movie soundtrack. I like to sing along and if there’s a Celine Dion or Mariah Carey number, all the better. I like to put those on repeat and practise hitting the high notes, not that I ever get close. I sound less like a diva and more like a balloon being let down really, really slowly.
Second, set up a TV tray with at least three different types of chocolate. (You don’t want to get bored.)
By now you should be wearing your moccasins and oldest tracksuit and hopefully singing into a hairbrush.
Before settling down and hitting the play button, throw some salt and butter on the popcorn. This is very important: you do not want to make sweet popcorn. Trust me. You’ve already hit your sugar quota with the chocolate and you need some salt to balance things out. (If you take heart or cholesterol medication, may I suggest you have these within arms length.)
Some people like to have a box of tissues handy for the sad parts. This is unnecessary. You’re wearing a tracksuit. What do you think the sleeves are for?
Finally, as you’re watching the movie, remember self-delusion is the key. Even though you are blobbing on the couch, your hair tied up in a messy bunch, slippers on, crumbs down your front and puffy-eyed from crying at the sentimental parts, there’s no reason not to watch Leonardo DiCaprio/Ryan Gosling/Matt Damon bounce across the screen and think to yourself, “I could SO have him if I wanted to. I’m fully hotter than his girlfriend.”
That is the ultimate benefit of a private romantic movie session: there’s no-one there to remind you of reality.