Fecklessness, unreliability, heavy drinking, immaturity, facile undermining behaviour, refusal to grow up, selfishness, carelessness with other people’s feelings, daily demonstrations of thoughtlessness, are all highly endearing and hilarious - in a man. Aren’t they.
Well – according to Hollywood (and lesser film entities) – that’s what us women secretly desire even though we claim to want the caring, emotionally intelligent guy. Think of every Rom Com you ever sat through. For me this goes back a long way because, even as a young woman, I found the ubiquitous Rom Com like sucking on a neon sugar stick with my finger in an electric socket.
It is all very entertaining, we are encouraged to believe. The attractive, intelligent, reliable ex-girlfriend/wife is now with someone caring and sensible – the feckless but charming, funny, fun-loving and endearing main man sets out to woo her back (or retrieve some failed situation). There will be various hilarious obstacles along the way but basically we are led to believe that if he just tries hard enough she will suddenly see – and we the audience can certainly tell – that he’s a great guy because he’s charming, funny, fun-loving and endearing.
But hang on – what about feckless? Excuse me – wait a minute...
That is what I was always yelling in my head after one of those predictable dollops of syrup.
I’m thinking (Brit) Run Fat boy Run (which to be fair I didn't watch all the way through) and US – yes I am going to say it - Mrs Doubtfire (not strictly a RC as it’s aimed at kids). In Mrs. Doubtfire you have to imagine that the main character was NOT played by Robin Williams as that really skews your view.
If you take those fantasy adventures that have a little Rom Com mix in the background e.g. Night in the Museum (the first one not no. 12) – then the charming, fun-loving guy adds ‘stupid lunatic fantasist’ to his endearing profile. Yum.
Problem 1. Is that Mr. Fun only has one gear – and trust me ‘fun’ isn’t much use when its 2 am and its always your job to drive back from the party you didn’t want to go to with the kids in the back because he couldn’t leave when everyone was knackered because he was having FUN. If you are stuck at home with the kids and the mess again because he’s out having FUN, fun starts to take on a quite sinister and depressing quality.
Problem 2. Is that Mr Fun can’t function without adulation and a big audience and the chances that you will be enough to satisfy this obsessive need for attention in the long run are pretty slim.
Problem 3. Is that it’s all about Mr Fun’s fun. Not fun in general.
In the world of cosmic balance – the more ‘fun’ becomes his signature the more ‘dour’ will inevitably have to become yours. You start to play the mother to his naughty child. You become the stooge to his hilarious front man. You become the butt of every joke, the heavy submerged anchor to his ever floating boat.
On the other hand – with Mr. Considerate; Mr. How do YOU feel? Mr I can do that. Mr. Let’s do that together - you suddenly find that you are Mrs. ‘I-can-be-fun-too’. You find you are not always knackered. You can cope with what life throws at you because you are really sharing it. He is interested in what you have to say and what you’ve done and he talks to you not at you.
And because you don’t feel like his mum you feel more like his lover. And in reality laughing at nothing for no reason because you are with the right guy is lots more fun than pub jokes. Tired Me, Me, Me, anecdotes that you’ve heard in 100 versions 1,000 times, lead you to be so switched off you could eat rusty nails with hot pepper sauce and not notice.
There is some growing up going on. Funky Chick Flicks such as Bridesmaids show us that ditching Mr. Wrong and going for Mr. Right can be entertaining and good box office too.
Mr. Feckless-Inconsiderate-Fun-Endearing is undoubtedly the star of the Hollywood run-by-men Rom Com. Don’t be fooled into thinking he’s Mr. Right in the real world.