…and what you can learn about dating from them.
Have you ever wished there was a how-to manual you could flip open for foolproof instructions about dating? Probably so, particularly after suffering through a dating disaster or while in the grip of a long romantic drought. By now you know that no such rule book exists—and for good reason. Dating isn’t a linear process, like replacing the water pump on your car. It is creative, intuitive, and constantly changing.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ample clues lying around waiting to point you in the right direction—in movies, for instance.
Here are eight great movie lines with surprising romantic wisdom to impart:
Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart, lamenting his “bad” luck when Ingrid Bergman shows up unexpectedly, years after breaking his heart in Paris: “Of all the gin joints in all the world, she had to walk into mine.”
Lesson: You can run, but you can’t hide. Love will find you when the time is right—even if you’ve lost all hope and become cynical and bitter. Keep your head up, eyes open, and self-pity to a minimum.
Shakespeare in Love. Gwyneth Paltrow: “I will have poetry in my life…and love that overthrows life. Unbiddable, ungovernable—like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love, like there has never been in a play.”
Lesson: When romance has consistently eluded you, it is tempting to take your eyes off the prize and settle for less than you’ve always hoped for. Disappointment can dilute your dream, but periodic wishful imagining can revive it. Know what you want. Be specific—and wildly optimistic!
Annie Hall. Woody Allen to Diane Keaton: “Love is too weak a word for what I feel–I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F’s, yes I have to invent, of course I do, don’t you think I do?”
Lesson: There is no lover’s manual because love is always brand new. A common mistake is to burden a new relationship with habits and perceptions—good and bad—you formed in old ones. Every fresh shot at romance is a clean slate, a chance to invent yourself and your expectations of love all over again from scratch.
Jerry Maguire. Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: “You had me at hello.”
Lesson: Sometimes it’s easy to miss out on romance that’s right in front of you, simply because you believe it can’t possibly be that easy. Dating has been hard on you, so you expect it to always be that way. Not so! Pay attention. If he or she stops running, stop chasing.
Gone With the Wind. Clark Gable to Vivien Leigh: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly…You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Lesson: Too much logical, left-brain worrying about the future will hobble any fledgling relationship. Love grows and lives in the present moment, and is governed by the heart, not the head. In other words: There comes a moment in every romance when it’s right to stop talking (and thinking) and start kissing.
When Harry Met Sally. Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan: “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…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.”
Lesson: Romantic earthquakes, meteor showers, and orchestras playing are fun—but overrated. The lasting magic is most powerful in the little things you learn to love in your partner. When that happens to you, seize the day.
Hitch. Will Smith, explaining his philosophy of dating: “Basic principles: No woman wakes up saying, ‘God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!’…No matter what, no matter when, no matter who, any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.”
Lesson: Many people approach dating as if the default answer is “No thanks.” The truth is, nearly everyone has already said yes to romance in general. Your job is to give the person you want every opportunity to be more specific and say yes to you.
Casanova. Heath Ledger to a young man seeking advice for wooing members of the opposite sex: “Be the flame, not the moth.”
Lesson: Attraction can be an irresistible force. Mesmerized by someone else, it is easy to neglect your own light. When you know who you are and how to be the sort of partner you are looking for, watch out—love will find you.
Next time you need a little dating advice, make some popcorn and go looking for gems in your favorite romantic movies.
Share your favorite love lines – from movies or otherwise – right here!
Image Courtesy: Universal Pictures