Everyone knows the standard romantic comedy plot: the meet-cute between the two lovers; the inevitable courtship filled with awkward shenanigans; the first kiss; the fight that ends up with the couple misunderstanding each other; the part where the two parties confess their reciprocated love for each other ending in a big darn kiss. Everyone knows the standard comedy plot to the point that anyone can write down the clichés just as yours truly did.
Except the romantic comedy is a film; something that can be tamed and molded in our imagination. It is a genre that captures the highs and the lows of the two lovers’ mutual romantic pursuit. It is as if everyone is just asking for the part where the couple falls in love. No one is asking for the part where the couple is together; when their relationship begins; when their relationship is now an everyday event.
Kathleen Calasanz and Matthew Co did not have a fateful meet-cute conforming to conventional romantic comedy plots we usually see. “We’ve known each other since sixth grade,” said Matthew. “In high school, we became closer and our relationship developed in college na.” There were no awkward first date shenanigans, too.
Kathleen was averse to that. “I prefer to trust a person more before dating. I am the type na I have to get to know the person before I give myself.”
For the couple, a normal day together does not mean physically seeing each other frequently. “Sometimes, we don’t meet if we’re busy,” says Kathleen, a third-year Ateneo student. “Since CSB [the school Matthew attends] is trimester, we have different schedules.”
Given these constraints, the couple makes do with communicating with other means for their normal day to ensue. Matthew narrates thusly, “Well, the day would normally start out with a ‘good morning’ text then we would talk about anything that comes to mind. Usually, she would start the topic and I’d be there listening to her. Sometimes, we would rant to each other about stuff that happened around us. The day would usually end with a ‘good night’ and an ‘I love you.’”
Kathleen further states that they have other activities aside from the standard online conversation. “When we get home, we transfer from text to Facebook and we play games, like Hearthstone. That is how we date online, I guess?”
On the few times that Kathleen and Matthew meet, they almost always go to the mall. “Mostly twice a week,” says the former, “we meet at lunch time and go home after dinner. We usually go to Robinsons Magnolia. On times that she doesn’t have that much time, I would visit her at school instead and we would just hangout anywhere close to the school [Ateneo].”
“…love is about the road taken together.”
When asked what they do when they do hang out, Kathleen says that they talk, eat lots of food, and react to the motions of the people around the mall. “We judge things and stuff. We’re both judgers,” she adds with a laugh.
One may say that the normal day in the life is borne out of repetition; actions that may be novel at the start but eventually, it settles to the ordinary and the routine. One may be tempted to argue that this routine may be banal and hurtful to a relationship; such normal days are mediocre when compared to the queasy, ethereal peaks experienced during the initial romantic encounters, which is considered the “honeymoon phase” of dating. Kathleen and Matthew argue that a relationship, such as theirs, is not founded on those fleeting peaks.
The communication between the couple is one way that they transcend the boredom of everyday life. They treat their conversations as unique and separate from the previous ones, given that each of their conversations provide different insights. “Well, I can’t really explain how the routine is special for me but I could say that it doesn’t get boring because we enjoy talking or texting each other,” says Matthew, “and since we don’t see each other that much, I guess it’s become our way of conveying our feelings.”
Kathleen complements Matthew’s statement, stating that everything in the middle is whatever they feel like doing. “We’re both very introverted so we just want to be comfortable with each other.”
Everyone knows the standard romantic comedy plot to the point that the plot is now considered a “formula.” The chiseled leading man has to end up with the quirky leading lady by way of contrived coincidences or whatever wrench the writer throws for the couple to meet their destiny. This formula bears repeating because these things can be written. Not only that; these make the perfect formula. But this is the part that the writers, directors, actors, and maybe the audience miss out: that there is no perfect formula for love. Love is not about finding your chiseled leading man or your quirky leading lady.
“We’re patient with each other and learn to love each other’s imperfections,” Matthew discloses. Kathleen further strengthens this argument. “Most important part is to be comfortable, to find someone who you can be yourself with. Kasi if you’re pressured to be someone else in front of the person you like, then that person might not be “The One.”
Attraction can only go so much, and Kathleen and Matthew have gone past that. Their relationship is not predicated by a meet-cute. Or a big darn kiss. Love is not predetermined by those moments.
If there is fate, then love is a response to that. It is an everyday choice and a constant effort. It is a plant that needs tending, and more than the road leading to each other, love is about the road taken together.
Written by Rainier David