A female acquaintance of mine asked this on Twitter a while back and I haven’t yet had the chance to break it down.
What a wonderful insight into how women’s brains operate. Like little factories with nothing but destructive thinking coming off the assembly line. Regardless of the poll results, the fact that this question was even asked reveals the problem.
This is why women should never listen to their friends’ dating advice. Scratch that. They can probably listen to advice from friends who are in a happy, committed relationship. But only those friends. Ladies, if your friends are single and start to ask about your relationship, run for the fucking hills.
Let’s catch up with the last two scenes of You’ve Got Mail. In these, Meg Ryan first realizes she loves two men (Tom Hanks and her mystery online guy), and then is about as happy as you can imagine when she learns they are the same guy. It’s a great ending with just the right amount of sappiness. Meg now has a bright future ahead of her and will share it with a man she loves. She’s completed the Hero’s Journey — the Road of Trials, the Abyss, the Reward, and now the Return Home with the Elixir (which includes, among other things, a dreamy guy).
Now we get to the post-credits scene. What post-credits scene, you ask? Why, the one where her shrew (and single) friends show up and start asking her questions that are along the same lines as the question in the tweet above, like:
- “Didn’t he bankrupt you? You deserve a guy that respects what you do.”
- “You’re so smart and clever. Don’t you intimidate him?”
- “He’s too rich, there’s no way he’s going to respect what an awesome independent woman you are.”
- “You’re so funny and witty. Can he even keep up with you?”
- “He lied to you this whole time about the online dating? Why? Cause he knew he could never get a girl like you?”
- “Does he want children? Are you sure? Look how messed up his family is! What’s he got, like 4 step-moms?”
- “Look at all the good you do in the world, how much you help families and children. You’re so great. What’s he do? Run a big business that crushes people like you? You deserve a guy that does good in the world, like a pediatrician.”
- “How do you know he won’t get in the way of your passions and dreams?”
And so forth.
The post-post-credits scene involves Meg Ryan showing up to Tom’s place with a lot of questions. Tom, thinking everything was wonderful, has no idea where these questions are coming from. What’s more, he doesn’t understand why they’re important. He knows how he feels and these worries seem like they’re nothing more than random hypotheticals, projections from previous bad relationships. Meg seemed fine just a few weeks ago. What changed?
Meg, feeling that Tom is not being supportive of her concerns, starts wondering if maybe her friends were right. She accuses Tom of not respecting her worries and wonders out loud if he really understands her at all. He says she’s being ridiculous but that just makes the situation worse. Meg says that if that’s how he feels, maybe this isn’t going to work. Maybe they’re just too different of people.
Ho boy, you get the idea. Their relationship falls apart from there. Tom takes his dog, Brinkley, buys an expensive condo, and spends the next while bouncing from floozy to floozy and bankrupting a few more small businesses like Meg’s. After a few years, he realizes Amazon is going to bury all these brick and mortar book stores and uses his considerable capital to pivot and invest in dating apps. He then settles down and marries the bright 27-year-old who helped him get into Silicon Valley startups. They have 3 kids.
Meg, on the other hand, goes on to write many successful children’s books and also has a high-paying job at a publishing firm. She has many male suitors but none of them quite resonate with her the way Tom did. There are times, in the middle of the night and when she’s feeling especially lonely, that she wishes things had worked out with Tom. Why did they even break up? Their differences now seem so inconsequential. Eventually, she settles down as well, marrying the kind (but a little boring) president of her publishing firm. At this point, children aren’t a very realistic option for her (especially since artificial insemination hasn’t really taken off yet) but she can now write full time and host reading events for kids. This gives her some fulfillment, but sometimes she confides in her old mentor Birdie that she wishes life had turned out differently.
Moral of the story: Ladies, when you start dating a guy, do not listen to the shrill, lonely harpies who surround you. Better yet, don’t even tell them about the guy until you have a rock on your finger.
Look again at the list of questions above. Men literally never ask these questions of each other. The only time we get involved is when we think the relationship is harming our buddy and even then, getting involved is usually done very carefully since men are protective of the women they’re dating. Most of the time, men do not tolerate their friends attacking their girl.
There’s a reason men are always worried that their girlfriend’s stupid friends will submarine him. For women, though, it’s different. It honestly doesn’t matter if his friends like you, but even if it does, all you have to do is show up and be pleasant and you’ll be fine. Guys, on the other hand, will get run through the gauntlet determining whether or not her girlfriends will spend the rest of their relationship trying to break them up.
Girls, stop it. Stop downloading your insecurities into your friends’ relationships. Stop inflating your own egos by asking if this guy or that guy is “good enough” for you or your friends. It just will lead you down the road of relationship failure.