One of the trickiest parts of any relationship, and the thing that tends to mess them up, are expectations. He expects you to not care when his ex is in town. She expects you to remember and celebrate monthly anniversaries.
We fight these expectations and sometimes break up over them. On paper, these are dumb and minimal, yet we all have them.
Where do these dumb expectations even come from in the first place? Well, I’ll tell you: They come from the movie “The Notebook.”
In some way or another, we all expect our significant others to go a little crazy, grow beards and build the houses we described when we were 16 years old, right down to the shutters. In reality, stunts like this not only don’t happen, but we’d probably also find them a little creepy.
Still, we have this notion that grand gestures like this are supposed to happen in relationships.
It’s for this reason I feel the need to outline the significant differences between real life and “The Notebook.”
First, this is not the 1940s. Our time is not plagued with (as many) southern belles in search of wealthy men, the draft or letter writing. We’ve learned plenty other ways to screw up relationships, like studying abroad and texting. Also, sex is pretty common nowadays, and chances are, our generation wouldn’t have the same problems in the abandoned house sex scene as the two main characters did.
People also don’t marry the people they dated when they were 16 anymore. If I got married to the person I dated when I was 16, my husband would be a once-was-hot hockey player who smokes his troubles away and loves blowjobs more than he loves me.
Second, you are not as attractive as Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Don’t be offended, but think about it, if your ex decided to grow out his facial hair and dabble in alcoholism and carpentry, would he be as hot as Noah Calhoun? Probably not. And ladies, we can wear all the espadrilles and red lipstick we want, but we are no Allie Hamiltons.
Third, you don’t have access to hundreds of swans, ducks or other white birds.
Basically, the romantic stunts in the movie are simply not transferable to real life. There are other ways to be romantic without going over the top or reading too much into the “I’m a bird” line. Honestly, a simple bouquet of flowers or a surprise self-prepared meal would do the trick.
In today’s world of relationships, it’s dangerous to let our expectations get too high. If you go through life expecting the house of your dreams and hundreds of birds or even similar grand gestures, you’re going to be consistently disappointed. The idea of a relationship is to not to be constantly measuring up to someone’s expectations; it’s to enjoy the person you’re with.
Kelsey Rohwer, a junior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.