The romantic comedies we are familiar with have the cute first meeting, the first kiss, and, of course, the happy ending.
We can anticipate these moments in cinema because films have forever perpetuated the fairytale.
No matter who the damsel in distress or knight in shining armor is, their stories always seem to end the same: happily.
In the twenty-first century, movies have evolved with the changing culture, and their plots have adapted as well. However, the final chapters of the stories (the happy ending) have remained relatively the same.
No Strings Attached (2011) follows the lives of Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher). Emma has neither the time nor the emotional capacity for a relationship, and asks Adam to partake in a strictly sexual relationship, given the rules of no feelings, no fighting, and no snuggling. Yet, as we hope, the friends fall for one another and their story ends happily.
Friends With Benefits (2011) is another, slightly raunchier comedy, following a similar plot. The films stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake and tells the story of two friends who begin as strictly sexual buddies but end up in love.
What do movies like these teach us? They send the message that entirely physical relationships and “friends with benefits” are healthy ways to start relationships.
For teens nowadays, it’s important to consider what a truly healthy relationship consists of. Health teacher Kristin Loftus reminds us, “The key to any relationship is honesty. If someone is looking to just hook up, they need to be honest about it. Likewise if someone is looking for a more lasting relationship.”
Sarah Sutphin ’13 commented on the dating culture at Deerfield: “Students are extremely busy, which makes it difficult to develop and maintain a true, healthy relationship. Many of them find ‘friends with benefits’ an alternative to the commitment of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.” Supthin concluded, “It’s understandable, but a little disappointing in my opinion.”
Angie Cabral ’15 pointed out the dangers of an open relationship, saying, “I wouldn’t personally choose ‘friends with benefits’ because I think no matter what, when you’re doing something like that with someone, you’re bound to develop feelings for them. If those feelings aren’t mutual, you could get hurt.”
These reservations about hook ups aren’t limited to the female gender, and Ms. Loftus reminds us that often, when beginning a relationship, the expectations of the boy are as high as the expectations of the girl.
“It’s high school mentality to just want to hook up and believe that it will lead to happy ending, but people end up getting hurt. It has to benefit both people,” said Daniel Rivera ’13.