Realistic expectations the key to V-day

Girls love to fantasize about love, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, plenty of girls are going to be imagining ideal boyfriends and relationships or wondering how their current significant others could be better.

Their boyfriend could get them the most heartfelt gift imaginable, could treat them like a queen every day of the year, but they probably won’t be happy because this poor boy isn’t living up to his girlfriend’s expectations.

I mean, how can any boy be perfect if he’s not Noah Calhoun or John Tyree? The 210,653 fans of the Facebook group, “Why can’t real relationships be like the ones in Dear John or the Notebook?” all agree. As the tagline reads, “I mean guys are such jerks these days. I wish guys could be as sweet as John or Noah.” I hate to break it to these girls, but John and Noah do have one flaw, the same one, actually:  they’re not real.

I know, I know, you don’t want to believe it. Characters from novels and movies, fake? I can hardly wrap my head around it! But, sadly, it’s true. John and Noah are not, nor were they ever, real people. They are just cleverly crafted characters from the imagination of Nicholas Sparks.

Yes, they’re loveable characters, and they are the romantic ideal of many girls out there, but they aren’t real people.  Sparks didn’t walk down the street, run into an Iraq vet named John Tyree and then decide to write his life story. No, Sparks invented these men.

The words the characters say are also just as invented. When girls swoon over Noah’s declarations of love for Ali, they have to realize that it’s not Ryan Gosling proclaiming his passion for Rachel McAdams; it’s Gosling reciting the lines he’s been told to say. He doesn’t actually mean them.

Girls can’t compare the things their boyfriends say to them to the things Noah says to Ali. Their boyfriends don’t have professional screenplay writers sketching out their entire date, making sure everything they say is perfect; real boys actually have to try. And when they’re working with girls like the ones in the Facebook group, it’s probably a lot harder than memorizing a script.

I get angry when I see things like this group, and hear girls complain that “all guys are jerks.” Really? Every single one? No boy has ever said anything nice to you?

Again, I hate to break it to you, ladies, but in real life, a boy is not going to climb a Ferris wheel to ask you out, or jump off a 20–foot pier to get your purse when he doesn’t even know you. And this makes him a jerk? Sorry, I’d call him sane. A real boy is going to pursue you with genuine interest, and try really hard to be sweet and loving.

When this doesn’t work, because you’re too busy wondering why he isn’t helping you build houses for Habitat for Humanity and instead is trying to buy you ice cream, he’s going to lose interest, and you’re probably going to see him as a jerk.

The poor kid can’t do anything right. When he’s showing interest, it’s not good enough; when he’s gone because you didn’t appreciate it, he’s a jerk. Girls watching movies like “Dear John” and “The Notebook” have this complex that if boys don’t go above and beyond the call of duty, they’re not worth dating.

I’m not trying to blame Sparks or the movie industry for creating loveable and sweet male characters; I think these guys are great characters, and it’s fun to watch these overdramatic and unrealistic relationships either work out or fail.

People just need to learn to separate fiction from reality. John and Noah aren’t real, but that cute boy who was nice enough to go see their movie with you is. Isn’t that saying something? Yes, Noah and John go to impossible lengths to show their love and affection, but the boy next to you would do as much as he could for your heart. And, lucky you, his parents probably aren’t going to force you two to stop seeing each other. But this might not be enough for a lot of girls out there.

So while you’re sitting at dinner with your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, wondering why he only got you that necklace and didn’t redesign the house of your dreams like Noah would have, I’ll be sitting with my boyfriend knowing he’s not going to be writing me any passionate love letters while he’s at war overseas like John, but still being able to be happy because he’s watching a chick flick with me, and, for real boys, that’s harder than climbing any Ferris Wheel.