The other night, I saw the movie (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Apart from feeling a little icky for finding Gordon-Levitt so attractive (child stars do grow up, I guess), I quite liked the film for a variety of reasons. Primarily I enjoyed it based on the appeal of the leads, but I also liked its message, one I am trying hard to heed, without success, as you might expect if you know me at all.
I’m afraid there’s a spoiler here, but the spoiler is actually given in the first 30 seconds of the movie, although if you’re like me, you won’t believe it. And that just may be my point.
The lesson is that, in romance, if both parties are not on board to the same degree, you’re screwed. That may not always be true, as I’ve seen imbalanced couples balance out over time through pure tenacity. But I think there is a valid point in there, which is that it is mighty hard to win someone over if they’re not fully into you, and ultimately it’s probably not worth trying.
I was thinking about this after the movie in the context of my own sad romantic imbalancing act. I’ve had a crush on someone for quite some time, one that was exacerbated when I found out the guy was re-singled, meaning he’s actually available. Despite his obvious lack of interest in me, I find myself continuing to try to win him over, which I know will only lead to failure, as there is nothing more unattractive than a woman—or this woman at least—trying to get a guy to notice her.
After seeing the movie, I decided that continuing to allow myself to feel what I seem to want to feel for this guy is something I should stop doing, because it will do nothing but hurt me in the end and make me feel even more emotionally stupid than I usually feel. This realization energized me because of its rightness: a good match will feel natural and will not require persuasion or any kind of sales job to make it work.
The problem with being me, though, is that I never take my own advice (or anyone else’s for that matter). Since the initial ecstasy that came right after seeing the movie, I have moved into a new and more ridiculous state; I am even more into this guy, perhaps because he actually gave me the time of day recently. Why do I do this? One reason is it feels good to fantasize about him, which for me involves dialog, edited footage, direction, and even retakes, not anything naughty (disappointing, considering the title of my blog, I know). The other reason is that I am basically a fool when it comes to love and, if insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, more than a little crazy.
But there has to be more to it than that. And I guess that’s what resonated for me about the movie. Like the main character, I believe things should be a certain way, that people should behave in line with my expectations, and I don’t deal well when that doesn’t happen. Maybe that’s true for everyone to a certain extent, but characters like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom and BetsyG feel that to the extreme. And I wish I could write the scene that would snap me out of it. Maybe I could, if I had just a little more discipline.
But the scene I keep wanting to write is one in which my friend opens his eyes and says, “Oh, now I see what an amazing person you are,” and the imbalance ends. That is so much more fun than the one in which I shrug and say, “I guess I should write off this guy” and then have no one to think about at all. But I’m a writer, and I have an imagination; perhaps if I put my mind to it, I can do better than that after all.