We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.

05
October

F**k You Jerry Maguire

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That’s right, I just told a 15 year old move to fuck off. I’m not afraid. Here’s why. I blamed that movie for a very long, painful relationship of mine. Okay, I take a lot of blame, then I give some to my lame ex-boyfriend and then I give just a little bit to the movie Jerry Maguire.

You may have forgotten, but there are a couple of totally crazy, completely destructive ideas in Jerry Maguire. Ideas that my young, innocent self once took for romantic, but I now see as insidious.  I saw the movie Jerry Maguire on a date. Wait, I take that back. I saw the movie with a guy who thought he was on a date. He was my friend’s roommate, and I just thought we were hanging out because we were bored. Nope.  I was on a quasi-date seeing a romantic comedy. Ooops. I didn’t like the guy, but I LOVED the movie (at the time). I fell for Tom Cruise’s angsty-Jerry Maguire hook, line and sinker. The “you complete me,” the mission statement, that adorable kid, but worst of all, I aligned myself with Dorothy (Renee Zellweger’s character).

A few years later, I would fall for a guy much like Jerry Maguire (very handsome, popular with the ladies, had a life and career that seemed glamorous, except missing a mission statement and the ability to change) and deep down, I thought I could save him, just like Dorothy did.I remember the scene that stuck with me the most. It’s after their first date (Renee was beautifully overdressed and drunk Jerry comes home with her). Renee Zellweger is telling her over-protective sister (Bonnie Hunt) about him and says these words, “I love him! I do! I love him, and I don’t care what you think. I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.”

And there were the words that would sink me and would justify some seriously questionable behavior from guys.  “I love him for the man he almost is.” Oh women, how many of us have fallen for this? Megan recently wrote about potential and it’s inherent dangers in dating. I remember some dark days dating my Jerry Maguire and a good friend told me, “you’re not dating his potential, you’re dating him right now.”  There’s that damn p-word again.  I think a lot of women see a guy’s potential rather than the actual guy beside her. Much to our detriment.

I somehow believed that my Jerry Maguire would be less selfish if I was more giving and understanding.  Maybe he would be more committed if I showed how worthy I was of committing to.  At the end of a day, I look back and see a girl who would jump through any hoop for ‘the man he almost was.’

But he wasn’t. And he wasn’t going to be that guy, or at least not with me. I think I made him feel guilty, and he just made me feel not good enough.

And let’s not forget the film’s iconic phrase (well, besides Show Me the Money), “You complete me.” At the time, I thought this was wildly romantic.  I bought that damn Bruce Springsteen song and fell for it all.  But while there are some romantic notions in the statement, it also sounds dangerously co-dependent.  I’m not trying to be a total cynic, I just think it sounds unhealthy.

Luckily, I have completely gotten over a need to date a man’s potential.  I date the man I meet, right now.  It’s a lot easier that way, and well, you’ll be surprised…  There are plenty of men who are pretty good as is, and don’t need your tinkering.

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