As Seen In: Twilight: Eclipse, Untamed Heart, Addicted To Love
Will Get You: Up to five years in prison.
What better way to show someone you love them than pay them a lot of attention? Even when they don't know you're paying attention to them?
If movies are to be believed, there's nothing a beautiful woman finds more adorably romantic than a young man watching her lovingly from behind a row of bushes. In Untamed Heart, Christian Slater wins Marisa Tomei's love after he saves her from two rapists who attack her after following her part of the way home from work. Which doesn't sound too bad, until you find out that he's able to carry her unconscious body the rest of the way home because he's been following her home from work too.
When she goes to his place later to thank him, she finds out he has stolen pictures of her and put them up on the wall of his Unabomber-like hovel. Creeped out, she leaves, only to wake up two days later to find that he has snuck in through a window at night and decorated a Christmas tree in her room while she slept. Of course she reacts the way any woman would: with a shriek of joy and an offer of sex.
Things aren't much different if you break into a woman's room simply to watch her sleep, or disable her car to prevent her from visiting other men, as Edward Cullen does in the Twilight movies in order to "protect" his true love Bella. Which is a good thing, because otherwise she might start hanging around with creepy dudes or something.
Of course, a woman's reaction to your pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior might vary according to whether or not you look like this:
If you don't, well, stalking is illegal everywhere, and can become a felony punishable with up to five years in jail if there is aggravating circumstances like the victim being a minor (we're looking at you, Cullen) or if it's a repeated offense. And since women in romantic comedies usually take at least six months to recognize the true love they do indeed possess for Matthew McConaughey, that one's almost inevitable.
Of course, if you take it to the next step and sneak into a crush's dwelling to leave rose petals on their bed or some such (see Runaway Bride, where Julia Roberts breaks into Richard Gere's hotel, or 2010's When in Rome, when an amorous street magician breaks into Kristen Bell's house to charm her with a trick) you're in for a whole different realm of legal trouble.
If there are two things women love, it's magic tricks and home invasion.
Penalties for breaking and entering vary by location and type, with the crime considered more serious if the building you break into is occupied or if the crime is committed at night. You could be looking at prison time even if the cops catch you before you can place that severed finger on her bed.
As seen in: Bridget Jones 1 and 2, Valley Girl, Pretty in Pink, Wedding Crashers, Only You
Will Get You: Anything from a fine to several years in prison, depending on injuries and circumstances.
Sometimes it's just a single, well-aimed punch. Other times, the hero must prove his dominance over his romantic rival by beating the living balls out of him. This technique is particularly popular with the British, as shown in Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason, in which Bridget's boyfriend forcibly drags her ex-lover Hugh Grant out of a building, punches him, pushes him into a fountain and attempts to drown him, all while delighted passersby watch and applaud.
Two titanic athletes, locked in mortal combat.
Or in Valley Girl, where Nic Cage and a friend gang up on a rival and shower blows on him, eventually dragging the guy off-screen semi-conscious. Or in pretty much any movie in which a male character is douchey enough.
Admit it. This picture makes you want to cheer, just a little.
This has got to be the movie trope with the most unrealistic consequences since the first action star dived behind a kitchen counter and used it as a magical bullet-shield. Beating the shit out of someone is totally a crime, guys, even when you had a great reason or won the love of a woman.
Now, in true movie style, everyone always ends up fine and without so much as a broken nose - even in the case of Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones, who is punched out by Mr. Darcy and hits the pavement, unconscious. That's probably why nobody goes to jail for fighting in the movies, since everything functions under the laws of Wile E Coyote physics. In reality, this is a particularly good way of accidentally killing someone by shattering the back of their skull. And yes, they will charge you with manslaughter even if you were defending a lady. Also, keep in mind that if your victim has a medical condition that you don't know about and dies as a result of rough treatment on your part, it's on you.
Now, we're not saying that you should not try to emulate Buzz Aldrin and deliver righteous punches when they're called for. But if it's done in the name of someone you love, just make sure that they're willing to wait for you in prison first.
As Seen In: Wedding Crashers, Addicted to Love
Will Get You: Two to 10 years in prison, possible attempted murder charge.
OK, so you don't want to go to jail for manslaughter. What about something slightly more subtle to bring down your romantic rival? The characters of Wedding Crashers carry out the presumably harmless prank of spiking a dickish rival's drink with eye drops while the dude has his eyes closed in prayer. Their stunt is successful, allowing Owen Wilson to zero in on his girlfriend while the douche is in the bathroom throwing up.
It's also not uncommon for females in romantic movies to use this trick to overpower their rivals. Addicted to Love, a 1997 Meg Ryan movie that we're now realizing literally fulfils almost every category on this list, also features this trick. Meg hides crushed strawberries under her ex's pillow, causing him to break out in an embarrassing skin rash and sabotaging his modeling career.
Really, the whole film is a perfect guide for how not to do relationships.
Assault by attempted poisoning gets you two to 10 years in prison, depending on the jurisdiction. A woman in Portland got three years for putting rat poison in her husband's tacos, and he didn't die or anything. A 17-year-old girl in Florida was recently sentenced to six months in jail for spiking a teacher's drink with LSD, despite the fact that LSD alone has never caused a human fatality and usually has affects much less serious than even vomiting in a toilet.
Sure, you're saying, but the dudes in Wedding Crashers just put some eye drops in the drink as a wacky prank. Ah, actually a Florida woman did that to a coworker and was charged with poisoning, even though the victim didn't drink it. It turns out spiking a drink with eye drops can lead to dangerously low blood pressure, rectal bleeding and a coma.
But at least the strawberry prank is harmless, right? Well, no. You can be charged with anything up to attempted murder for attacking someone with something you know they're allergic to. If that sounds like an extreme reaction to something as harmless as berries, remember that strawberry allergies can sometimes lead to anaphylactic shock, and Meg's stunt could easily have been fatal.
On the plus side, late 90s Meg Ryan would rock the hell out of an orange jump suit.
Damn, guys. It's almost like the law doesn't believe in romance any more.
Read more from C. Coville at bloodslides.livejournal.com
Once you go to jail you'll need a way out, so check out 6 Insane Prison Escapes That Actually Happened. Or learn about the prisoners not content to just sit around, in 5 People Who Changed the World From Inside of Prison.
And stop by Linkstorm to find out what happens in jail once you get there.
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