December 20, 2013 / Love Actually…Doesn’t Work Like This At All, Or On Your Oneitis
Don't do this for Christmas. Or Ever.
I was browsing a forum question about movies that demonstrate realistic dating behavior and the movie "Love Actually" came up. I’m here to warn you that learning from this movie is a very big mistake.
"Love Actually" is a terrible movie released in 2003, that has somehow become a Christmas "classic." While it seems to be held in high esteem for a lot of people, I mostly thought it was a largely mediocre and forgettable movie. However, there’s one scene in particular that frustrates me tremendously.
It’s this one:
I hate this scene because this is literally the worst way a guy could handle oneitis. Literally. I mean, actually literally, not just fake literally. Fake literally is when you say "that was so funny I literally pissed in my pants," even though you didn’t actually urinate in your pants. So again: this is, quite literally, the worst possible way someone could handle oneitis.
Let’s go over the reasons why:
This is supposedly his best friend.
Earlier in the movie, Kiera Knightly’s character married to Peter (the guy on the couch), and Mark (the idiot holding the signs) was the best man at the wedding. So Mark is literally Peter’s best friend, and he apparently thinks it’s totally cool bro code to confess your love to your best friend’s wife. Am I the only one that is totally appalled by this? Mark is not a tragic hero trapped in an unrequited romance — he’s a terrible friend!
Look, life isn’t as simple as "bros before hos." But if I was dating a girl and one of my closest friends confessed to me he was in love with her, I actually wouldn’t be mad. But I would tell him, "well, stop, because you’re only infatuated with her. If you care about our friendship at all, please do whatever you need to so you can get over it, because if you don’t, we won’t be able to be friends."
Harsh? Maybe. But I don’t think so because getting over infatuation is a lot easier than getting over love. And this…
This is infatuation, not love.
Mark is not in love with Juliet (Kiera Knightly’s chracter). He is infatuated with her. It’s impossible to be in love with her because earlier the movie, she accuses him of always ignoring her, blowing her off, and barely talking to her. So despite barely interacting with her at all, he has concluded she is "perfect," despite the fact that he has had zero emotional relationship with her. Oneitis usually hits hardest with a close friend or ex-girlfriend, because you’ve developed that emotional depth and you may feel like you truly love her. But in the absence of that, Kiera Knightly is just a hot girl he’s infatuated with.
Pity is not attractive.
A lot of women love this scene. They even say, "this is so romantic." But show any female this scene, and ask them what they feel for Mark. Ask them if Mark was a real person, and actually showed up at their doorstep right after doing this and told them what happened, how would they react? They’d want to console Mark, hug him, tell him things like how he’s a great guy, and he’ll find a woman just as perfect as Kiera Knightly. In other words, they pity him. And you can tell they’re feeling pity, because none of the things they want to do involve dating, kissing, or having sex with him.
Here’s another test: ask any girl you know that’s a fan of this movie to rank all the male characters in order of sexual attractiveness. Just have them make a list, in descending order, of whom they’d most like to sleep with (not just who is physically attractive). I bet you Mark ends up near the bottom. I once did this with a female friend, and she literally put Mr. Bean above Mark. So, there’s that.
This is fucking weird.
At the end, Kiera Knightly thinks this is sweet and runs after and kisses him. This is a guy that apparently took the time to go to Staples, buy a bunch of posterboard, glue sticks, and black markers, and made a bunch of signs confessing his love, but without "hope or agenda." If you have no agenda, then what the hell is the point? And then he took those signs and a boom box to his best friend’s house, and showed it to his wife. Also, he used a gross picture of a dessicated mummy to emphasize just how long he would hopelessly and "agendalessly" love her. And seriously, what woman would think this was endearing? Any woman in this situation would think, "Well… now my options are continue to lie to my husband about ‘carolers,’ or tell him his best man is a terrible friend. Also, this is gonna make our housewarming party awkward."
If you’re suffering from oneitis and there’s a girl who "only sees you as a friend" or "doesn’t know you exist," then I will usually recommend you make your intentions known and see if she can reciprocate. If she does, great, if not, then at least you can begin moving on knowing she knows exactly where you stand. But while "making your intentions known" can take a variety of forms, I usually recommend behaving the same way you would if you were trying to date "any old girl". If you insist on doing something more dramatic, make sure you’re doing something that will generate attraction and not pity. And don’t do anything that involves you going to fucking Office Depot first.
There is no way this would give anyone closure.
This is the biggest reason why I hate this scene. At the very end he walks away saying "enough," implying that he’s finally confessed his feelings and can move on, presumably to try dating those bikini-clad models whose pictures he painstakingly glued to a posterboard.
If Mark was a real person and I asked why he did that, he might say something like, "I just needed to let her know how I felt before I moved on."
But why? Because she’s married to your best friend, there is no good outcome here. If she reciprocates your feelings, you will lose your best friend. And this bizarre display only inspires pure pity, not attraction. Why is it necessary to get closure in such a pitying manner? And if so, why stop there? Why not just set yourself on fire at her doorstep? At least that would take less work than buying a bunch of poster board at Office Depot!
Even if she doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, many guys would find this a friendship-ending move. At a minimum, it will make things extremely awkward between the three of you. Is this really worth doing to get "closure"? And upon managing to generate so much pity that Kiera Knightly runs out in the street to kiss you on the cheek, is that really going to give you closure? Or are you just going to cling on to that kiss and continue feeling sorry for yourself for an even longer period of time? Or even worse, think that kiss indicates some sort of false hope between you and her?
This is why this is so frustrating. What you have to understand with oneitis, is that every solution is just a different way of saying, "get over it." I understand that’s not meaningful advice most of the time, which is why I’ve written so much about how you can get over it, or why you’re not getting over it, or things you can do to help yourself get over it. But here’s what sucks, and I fully realize it does suck: sometimes there is nothing you can do BUT get over it. Such as, say, when you find yourself infatuated with your best friend’s wife.
This scene gives the impression that this is never the case, and even in this kind of situation, you’re just a heartfelt expression away of being the tragic hero, finally obtaining closure and then riding off into the sunset. But you’re not. You’re just a really bad friend who can’t deal with his infatuation on his own.
So… Don’t Do This
In general, I would never advise against doing anything you think would help to move on from oneitis. Unless…
– You want to do something self-destructive.
– You want to do something that will almost definitely irreparably damage your closest friendship.
– You want to do something that will generate pity, not attraction.
– You want to do something that will give you false hope instead of closure.
– You want to do something that is clearly a huge waste of time.
In just 2:22, we’re shown Mark doing all these things. He’s a fool, but you don’t have to be.
Oh, and for those that never saw the movie… um, spoiler alert.