The Lloyd Dobler Effect

My expectations of love and romance were born the day I saw my first romantic comedy. I am not talking about a modern day romantic comedy where Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl prance about in $500 shoes pretending that they just can’t get a worth while man, while Studley McStud irritates his way into her little heart. (Barf) I am talking about the romantic comedies of the 1930’s and 1940’s. I am talking about films where women were bright and quick witted, films where men and women seemed to be on the same level. I am talking about films that made men seem just as goofy about love as women. But, they just don’t seem to make movies like that anymore and we ladies are paying the price.

I have been of the firm belief that Romantic Comedies have ruined relationships for women for a long time. We grow up on movies where pretty non drug using hookers get saved by millionaires and cute quirky guys like John Cusack and Jason Schwartzman want to take you to cute quirky dinners and drop you off at home without trying to get in your pants. This my dears, is bullshit. I call it the Lloyd Dobler Effect. Please, allow me to elucidate.

The film “Say Anything” came out when I was at the fragile and impressionable age of fifteen. I was just beginning to notice boys and was anxious to have my heart splattered all over Souther California. Unfortunately for me I was a chubby fifteen year old with braces and a bad perm. No boy was going to break my heart, much less find it past my metal mouth. But then came Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything”. He was goofy. He was unpopular with girls. He was sweet and romantic. He was perfect. And that is exactly when our problems began. We are looking for a guy who doesn’t exist. There is no Lloyd Dobler.

And what if there was? Let’s get real here for a second. If some dorkey guy who seemed to be overly obsessed with you kept calling and asking you out, you would not go. If a guy REALLY stood outside your bedroom window blasting “In Your Eyes” you would call the cops. You would wonder why this dude seemed to have zero male friends and the female friends he did have were whiny depressive types who seemed to have a little unrequited love brewing. Is that the guy you really want? Someone who already thinks you are perfect? Someone who doesn’t challenge you? Maybe I am getting older, but I really don’t want a guy who thinks the word stops and starts with me. I am too old for a drooling puppy. Hell, I was too old for that at eighteen. Llyod Dobler is boring and he is…

a fantasy. And thank god for that. It’s one thing to see a “perfect” guy on film, but I don’t think it translates very well to real life. You and I both know we are too good for some boring guy who thinks romance is tantamount to screwing in the back of a car. Personally, I would rather have a guy like “Nick Charles” of The Thin Man series popular in the 1930’s. Sure, he drank a lot and lazes about, but he does it with panache. And his lady does the same. They challenge each other verbally, and she is every bit as witty and memorable as her husband. They are foils for each other and they have FUN. I remember Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything”, but I have a really hard time remembering anything about the girl… except that she gave him a pen. And who wants to be THAT girl.

Nope. I think I’ll stick with being the gal who drinks as hard as the fellas, has a quick wit and can roll with the punches. I’d rather have a Nick Charles – complete with alcohol and belly – than be some perfect guy’s unmemorable girlfriend.


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