Why do women love romantic movies? Unlike other eternal questions (Why do we yawn? What happens to the time in between one second and the next? Why do men like to watch other men chasing, hitting or bouncing a ball?), this one has an answer.
The power of a happy ending.
Not that I have anything against a tear-jerker. Some of the most beautiful stories have also been the weepiest. But in the final weighing, it comes down to how much we love a love story. (What I do slightly resent, however, is the use of the ubiquitous term, "Chick Flick". Which is actually quite derogatory, when you think of it (though not as bad as Lad Lit). You've got to admire how, with just two words, they've managed to reduce a source of considerable delight for roughly one third of the world's population, to a tacky joke. Though it appears to be a necessary evil. Does this make such movies fit for only non-intelligent consumption? No. Watch Sabrina. When Harry Met Sally. Love Actually.Does a predilection for such movies mean that we don't enjoy ones which have things blowing up in them? No. I personally enjoy explosions as well as the next man. Or woman.)
But genre-bashing aside, why would anyone in their right minds not want to watch a pretty woman and a seriously cute hero (think Colin Firth in Bridget Jones's Diary) indulge in some L-O-V-E? No reason, that's why.
You want reality? Murder, insanity, rape, abuse, neglect. The deafening grind of a tedious job. Whose turn it is to wake up and change the baby's diapers. You get that everyday, handed to you on a non-biodegradable plate in all its dreary glory.
On the other hand, romantic movies offer - what else? - romance. Eye candy. Nice clothes. Love, above all, a love story.
And like that wasn't enough, every romantic movie has a Kiss.
The pucker-up. The osculation. The heart-clenching, stomach-tightening, how-I-wish-that-girl-was-me kiss. Whether it's in a vineyard in France, in between drowning in the freezing Atlantic or on top of the Empire State building (those scriptwriters do get around, don't they?), even though you know that it's just a pair of actors calculatedly pressing their lips together, even if the rational, cynical part of your self is snickering - in spite of all that negativity, you find yourself wishing.
We know life's not perfect. Reality awaits, with all that that entails. But for a couple of blissful hours, escape. To an admittedly improbable but oh-so-desirable fairytale land where gorgeous men fall in love with imperfect women and bring home flowers.
To my way of thinking, we need that little bit of improbable, that small fantasy. Our lives are all the better for it. Give us our Happily Ever After, even if it lasts only for two hours.
Reality can wait.
My Top 5 Favourite Romantic Movies
3. French Kiss???
I give up.