How Rom-Coms Ruin Romance

Touchstone Pictures

Valentine's Day is the worst holiday ever invented.

Once you get past the carefree years when you're required to bring a Muppets valentine for everyone in your class, it becomes a minefield of stress and societal pressure.

Let's say you're single on February 14th; you'll be made to feel like a loveless loser who's only recourse is to posse up your friends and (if you're a girl) eat your feelings and cry or (if you're a boy) try to capitalize, "Wedding Crashers"-style, on women so overwrought by the thought that Cupid's pesky arrow missed them, they'll throw caution to the wind and turn into extras from "The Jersey Shore" after one too many Mudslides. What no one tells you is that, if you are in a couple, it's no better. Flowers are overpriced, every restaurant is packed with tense, hungry couples trying not to fight as they wait forty five minutes for their Aphrodisiac Tasting Menu and no one is feeling the love.

Adding to the drama and heartache are the thousands of movies we've watched over the years. A recent study revealed that if you've seen too many romantic comedies, you'll have a warped, unrealistic view of relationships and tend to be disappointed in love. Here are a few prime offenders and the twisted lessons they taught us:

"The Little Mermaid"

Two people who have never spoken and know nothing about each other fall madly in love. Why? Because they're both really really pretty.

Cupid's Lesson: If you want a man to fall for you, it's best to be mute.

"Say Anything"

Curse you, Lloyd Dobler. Curse you. What woman hasn't wished for a dude to hoist a boombox aloft outside their window and play their relationship anthem? And it's not ever going to happen. But that isn't going to stop anyone from blasting "In Your Eyes" whenever someone dedicates it during Love Songs on the KOST.

Cupid's Lesson: True love is all about finding your "dare to be great situation." Good luck with that.

"Can't Buy Me Love"

A symposium on appreciating the coolness inside over the white suede-swaddled hotness outside because, even if you're the biggest geek in school, all you need is a lawnmower, some smooth dance moves and a thousand bucks (in 1987 money) to win over the girl of your dreams.

Cupid's Lesson: Don't fret; it's your quirky personality that counts over appearances. Especially in high school, that utopia of tolerance and social acceptance.

"The Princess Bride"

Can a girl get an "As you wish" up in this piece?

Cupid's Lesson: Chivalry isn't dead. It's just mostly dead.

"Love Actually"

Long before he battled the zombie apocalypse (Sidenote: Wow, did "Walking Dead" ever go downhill with a bullet once Frank Darabont exited), Andrew Lincoln shot audiences through the heart as he proclaimed his love for Keira Knightley, a la Bob Dylan, with a series of signs including one that read, "To me, you are perfect;" perhaps the most flawless declaration of admiration imaginable.Even if it was, you know, being expressed to his best friend's wife.

Cupid's Lesson: Flashcards are dead sexy and never let a holiday pass without a token of your affection, matrimonial vows be damned! Nothing says Presidents Day like something sparkly. 

"When Harry Met Sally"

Thirteen years, two single people and one heroic faked orgasm that asked the question: Can men and women be friends?

Cupid's Lesson: Sex with your BFF will lead to everlasting love. Not even that Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman movie could make that argument convincing. You remember, the one that was rebooted six months later with Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake? 

 "Pretty Woman"

One of the most successful romantic comedies of all time, the original version of this tale, about a hooker with a heart of gold and her week with wealthy businessman, was a dark drama that definitely wouldn't have made Julia Roberts America's Sweetheart. Despite what Hollywood might have you believe (also see: "Flashdance"), trashy, demeaning jobs aren't the grandest breeding ground for epic love.

Cupid's Lesson: True love might be waiting on any corner and the best way for men and women to bond is with a day-long shopping spree.

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