Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Stable guys in chick flicks

Many chick flicks have a guy in them, who is, at the start of the film, the current romantic interest (often fiancee) of the heroine. He's stable and boring and reliable. He is rarely romantic; perhaps his idea of a grand romantic gesture is cleaning the fridge so she doesn't have to. He pays the bills, mows the lawn, keeps the cupboards stocked, and makes sure she gets to work on time. He wears his glasses to bed. He'd never cheat on her, mostly because it just wouldn't occur to him to do anything so outré.

Then there's the flamboyant hero. He wafts in, called by whatever zephyr grabbed him most recently. He's entirely unreliable, governed by whims and passions of the moment. He probably has no idea how to mow the lawn, but even if he does, odds are he'd get distracted and run off to buy a bouquet of flowers and then drop it from a hang-glider instead.

Invariably, the film's end happens right in the narrow gap in between when she dumps the poor stable loser, and when Mr. Flamboyant's lack of focus starts to become annoying, and well before another zephyr spirits him off to some other movie.

What's amusing to me about this, though, is the fact that conventional wisdom says that it's guys who are prone to instability. Avoiding commitment, clinging to the "wild life", out with the boys. Buying unnecessary sports cars. And that it's women who don't like this, and want a guy who'll always be there, who's responsible and mature and settled down, ready to commit. Who's stable. Just like the poor shlub that gets the boot for no good reason in almost every chick flick.

Though I'll give them credit for one thing: you are, at least, allowed to feel sorry for him. He's rarely demonized; he's always "a really nice guy".

No comments: