Romantic comedies have taught me a lot about life: A makeover montage makes everything better. Always play “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” when you want to dance with your girlfriends. But most importantly, finding love is a systematic, clear-cut process.
I have spent many years analyzing the feminine wiles of Katherine Heigl and Meg Ryan, and I have found that with the right guidelines, we ALL can have love lives as perfect as theirs. Follow these simple steps, and before you can say “You had me at hello,” your life will have all the makings of rom-com romance.
1. Make work your life.
(Bonus: Work in fashion or publishing/journalism.)
Before you can find love, you must establish the proper foundation for yourself. Move to New York City and enter a glamorous career field. Work your way up by being ruthless and pairing pencil skirts with stilettos until you hold an executive position. Once you nab that corner office, you shouldn’t sacrifice work for anything resembling a social life. Don’t worry though, because you will have a sassy assistant and coworkers that think your bitchiness is amahzing. This step may take many years, but be patient–it is essential.
2. Be best friends with Judy Greer.
Now that you have your job and a Central Park-facing apartment, seek out Judy Greer and make her your ONLY friend. Judy is great. She literally only cares about your life and your problems, and she will drop everything to help you out. She is plain enough to not steal your thunder at nightclubs, but pretty enough to make a realistic shopping buddy. And since you are probably really neurotic, Judy will make you more grounded with her slutty quips.
3. Have a standing relationship with a man who is completely wrong for you.
Your job as an editor/publisher/fashion designer paired with your daily Judy Greer lunches are certainly time consuming, but you MUST figure out a way to have a fruitless connection with a member of the opposite sex. It is important for everyone else to see how wrong he is for you, while you’re too cynical to notice. This step has a little more wiggle room. You can either have a purely sexual fling with an attractive jerk, or have a monogamous relationship with a good-hearted man who is crazy boring. Just make sure this fellow is someone who won’t care if you later decide to dump him out of nowhere (spoiler: you definitely will dump him out of nowhere).
Congratulations! Your life is now ready for rom-com caliber love to step in.
4. Wait for Mr. Man to manipulate you.
Unbeknownst to you, somewhere a charming guy (let’s call him Mr. Man) is currently constructing a lie that will allow himself full access to your life. Maybe he is making a bet with his friends that he can get you to date him. Maybe he needs to write an exposé article about you. Maybe he somehow knows a lot about you and is creating a fake persona that will fool you into liking him. Step 4 is completely out of your control; just know that it is 100% going to happen. Mr. Man WILL find you and relentlessly woo you while you roll your eyes and recite perfectly crafted comebacks.
5. Don’t be afraid to exploit your major personality flaws!
All human beings are imperfect. Your job is to make sure you throw your flaws right in Mr. Man’s face. He’ll like it! Are you a ditsy and clumsy nutso? Perfect! A Type-A shrew? Even better. Make these “quirks” your entire identity. Constantly trip and spew out awkward, run-on sentences. Walk the fine line between banter and bitchiness in every conversation. This may seem counterintuitive, but just trust me. Mr. Man will like the fact that you aren’t like all the other girls.
6. Allow Mr. Man to be mean to you.
On a similar note, don’t get upset when he calls you out and is basically mean to you. He is going to bluntly explain to you the ways in which you are incorrectly living your life. This is to be expected. All you need to do is act insulted and say something along the lines of, “You don’t even know me!” We will all smile, because we know that he probably knows you better than anyone, and why can’t you just see it, too?! It might seem like Mr. Man is a jerk, but that’s because you’re used to old Boring McGee from Step 3. You are just experiencing what it’s like to be with someone who is witty and passionate.
7. Share a deep moment.
After weeks and weeks of sexually charged banter, have a real conversation with Mr. Man. Realize that (omg!) you are both deep people who have at least one thing in common. (“You want a small intimate wedding? I want a small intimate wedding!”) He will probably tell you something from his childhood that will humanize him completely, like the fact that he had to raise his little sister, or he liked to read. Smile at him and say, “You know, you’re not at all what I expected.” You are now putty in each others’ hands.
8. Experience emotions.
Now that you have discovered Mr. Man’s humanity, you may start to have…feelings. Try to hide them. You are a strong, independent woman with a CAREER, damn it! Allowing yourself to feel compassion and vulnerability does not fit into your super-organized day planner. Yes, you are experiencing emotions; no, you don’t need to let anyone know about them.
Meanwhile, you have been growing increasingly distant from your completely-wrong-for-you boyfriend. Go on and dump him. He will take it like a champ, and maybe even encourage you to go after someone better for you. This break-up has no other possible outcome, so don’t get nervous about it.
9. Find out his secret and get into a HUGE fight.
(Bonus: Find out almost immediately after you two have sex for the first time.)
Mr. Man’s lie has become a truth. Instead of just pretending to be in love with you to win a bet or write an article, he actually is in love with you! Twist! He now begins to feel guilty about the lie that led him to you, and he tries to get out of it. Unfortunately, his friends convince him that winning a bet or furthering his career is more important than love, and he continues his charade.
Too bad you find out his game anyway. This will probably happen right when everything is going perfectly and you are just about to give it all up for love. Confront him about this immediately. “Let me explain!” he’ll say. “That was before I got to know you! Before I…fell in love with you.” Slap him.
10. Get ready for the Grand Gesture.
Swear off love forever. Throw yourself even further into your work and start binge eating (don’t worry, you won’t gain weight). Judy Greer will try to get you off the couch and meet new people, but you can’t be convinced. People are horrible–they will only break your heart. Continue this downward spiral for a few days.
Mr. Man realizes that he has been a fool and vows to get you back. He takes one small piece of information that he learned about you over your whirlwind romance and creates a Grand Gesture around it. Did you tell him that you like Tears for Fears? He’ll sing “Head Over Heels” for you in front of a large, super-interested crowd. Did you mention in passing that you had to fly to Michigan for your aunt’s birthday party? He’ll show up at the airport all out of breath and dreamy. Whatever gesture he chooses will eradicate all the lying and fighting you two have shared and mend your cold, broken heart. Kiss him so strangers can clap for you.