Movie recommendation and deep thoughts on … relationships

Click for more on "Something New"

For some odd reason (…), the underrated movie “Something New” popped into my head last night while I was hanging out with my friend MG. The film is a rom-com, but it’s made with more smarts, humor and reality than most recent rom-coms. It’s about this tightly wound black lawyer lady who has a list of qualities she’s looking for in an “IBM” (Ideal Black Man). She gets set up on a blind date by her assistant, and then is unpleasantly shocked when said blind date turns out to be a white dude named Brian (Simon Baker). The date is awkward and over quickly (Baker figures out the situation pretty fast).  A little while later, the laywer lady, Kenya (Sanaa Lathan), is admiring the backyard of a family friend, when who should come by but Brian. Turns out he did the landscaping. Kenya ends up hiring him to redo her backyard, and eventually the laid-back Brian is able to get Kenya to mellow out and spend time with him in a romantical sense. A wrench is thrown into the mix (surprise) when Kenya meets an IBM in the form of Blair Underwood (whom I always now associate with “Sex and the City” and using a tampon as an ad-hoc fix for another guy’s bloody nose). You can sort of imagine how things pan out from there …

Anyway, I highly recommend the movie. I own it, and have watched it many times. What stands out to me personally is that a relationship doesn’t always (ever?) need to be based on both parties’ interests/hobbies lining up exactly. Not to get all deep, but for whatever reason, I’m the one who, when meeting a guy for the first time, always feels like I’m the one on trial. And if, for example, he says he loves camping, I immediately feel inferior because I don’t escape to the mountains every weekend in the summer. Or if he’s super in shape, I start feeling intimidated because I’m not. It’s an ongoing struggle, but I’m trying to focus less on those minor things and more on things like do we both want kids, want to be married, share the same religious beliefs (which in my case is a lack of them), find the same things hilarious, respect each other, etc. And also, I need to realize that I’m not less of a person if I don’t, say, love camping or spend hours in the gym every week. Being a couple doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do everything together — and/or enjoy it. It does mean trying new things, supporting your partner in their various pursuits, but also continuing to maintain your independence and individuality. Yes, I want to get married and start a family at some point, but it kind of freaks me out to pin my entire life’s happiness on the existence of that other person. That’s one reason why I cringe whenever people talk about their “other/better half.” Shouldn’t you be two fully formed people, both before, during and after (if that ends up being the case) you become a couple?

Whew, not sure why I’m suddenly overly sentimental today! Time to get back to work.

2 Responses to “Movie recommendation and deep thoughts on … relationships”

  1. fightingreality Says:

    Oh, we KNOW why you have thought of this movie. Ahem.

    I’m totally with you on the “I camp and hike” and feeling like you’re supposed to be into those things, too. It’s like the troubleshoot reaction is “If I want to relate to this person, I should be into his/her interests because if I put up a wall now and say ‘I don’t like those things’ there won’t be a chance.” I think it’s a fight or flight situation and it can be a challenge to be true to yourself.

    For some people, similarities in activities is a must because they feel the point of being with someone is to share those life experiences together because they want their partner to feel that same sense of accomplishment, delight, euphoria, etc. But it’s not like you have to be into everything your partner is into because – let’s face it – relationships need to breathe and have space.

    Yes. I’m not fond of the “better/other half” saying. Never have been. People have said it to me like “Oh, where’s your other half” and it has never sat well with me. Though I feel we make up one union, we are still individuals with independent thoughts. You’re kind of independently together. The underlying message of “you’re not complete without your partner” message that seems to come across with the “other/better half”
    saying, is just weird to me.

  2. You hit it right on the head, MG! “Independently together” — exactly. I feel like it’s even more demeaning to refer to your partner as your “better half,” because then not only are you half of a person, but you’re the worse half! I just don’t feel it’s healthy to base your identity on someone other than yourself.

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