A 90s Rom-Com Male Lead’s Guide to Love

Remember the 90s? Of course you don’t, they were a fabrication designed by the US government to pretend the atrocities they committed were at least 10 years older than they actually are. Just kidding, they were very real, but that’s definitely something the CIA would try. Regardless, today we are looking back at the 90s to discuss something that should be talked about in 2021 now that we have the hindsight to understand where we went wrong. The example we are using is that of the 90s Rom-Com Male Lead, typically played by someone you now consider a more serious actor. More specifically, we are talking about the way these fictional men approached romance and how looking at them 20 years later casts their actions in a very different light.

To make things simple, here is the three-step process that most of these men follow to fall in love with the woman of their dreams, often played by someone you’ve now seen playing moms on sitcoms. And for some reason, it works.

Step 1: Lie.

Step 2: Tell the truth about the lie.

Step 3: Apologize and get the girl.


Seriously. It’s that easy. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail as an example.

The first 90% of the movie, his character is lying about who he is to the woman he is driving out of business. Over the course of the movie, he slowly leaves his girlfriend and she slowly leaves her boyfriend, making it easy for them to fall in love. The entire time, Hanks has a business relationship with the woman he is chatting with online, not telling her it is him, and slowly destroying what she loves about life. So, that’s step 1.

Step 2 is incredibly close to the end, hardly leaving us time for step 3. It’s decided by both parties that they will meet up in real life to finally see who the other person is. When it is revealed to Meg Ryan that the person she has fallen in love with over the internet is actually her mortal enemy that she doesn’t agree with on anything substantial, she not only accepts his non-apology, but she jumps straight into step 3 and falls into his arms.

The movie ends soon after, with them in love and her without her bookshop that Tom Hanks Bezos drove out of business. A happy ending.

The list goes on, from Cruel Intentions to Jerry Maguire. Is it any wonder that we have weird views of love when this is what we were raised with?

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