Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh says romantic comedies can actually have a detrimental effect on your love life by creating unrealistic expectations for relationships.
Experts at the university say that fans of films like Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often don't communicate adequately with their partners because they hold to the belief that if their relationships are "meant to be," their partners will know what they want without having to be told. Other movies in the study, which covered 40 films released between 1995 and 2005, include You've Got Mail, Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.
"Marriage counselors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it," said Dr. Bjarne Holmes of the university. "We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds. The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize."
In one part of the study, 100 student volunteers were forced to watch the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while 100 others watched a David Lynch movie. After, the Serendipity viewers were found to be "more likely to believe in fate and destiny."
Are you catching this, ladies? Real men do not appear in Matthew McConaughey movies. We fart. We belch. We scratch our balls when they're itchy. We swear and we yell at the dog and we get food on our shirts and yes, sometimes we do just grunt, roll over and go to sleep. We'd also rather be mule-kicked in the crotch than watch any of the aforementioned movies, although we'll do it if we think it will significantly improve our chances at some post-theater action. It doesn't make us bad; it makes us normal.
"Films do capture the excitement of new relationships," added Kimberly Johnson, who also worked on the study, "but they also wrongly suggest that trust and committed love exist from the moment people meet, whereas these are qualities that normally take years to develop."
The project has now been extended to include an online study of media and relationships. Want to stand up and do your bit for the normalization of ass hair and beer guts? Fill out the university's online survey here.