Everyone knows how romantic comedies are supposed to go: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy does something stupid to win girl back and somehow she falls for it -- probably because of low self-esteem or the inability to recognize she's living within rom-com constraints.
Most romantic comedy plotlines are based on the meet-cute. "Oh, we bumped into each other and are soulmates?" "Oh, we both grabbed for the same pair of gloves, then we'll be idiots and not exchange numbers, but I'll put my number in a BOOK and MAYBE you'll find it if it was meant to be?" (I had two guy friends in high school who insisted we watch Serendipity multiple times.)
But many of the little cute things in rom-coms would be grounds for arrest, or at least a good slap.
(Romantic comedies aren't the only ones telling you lies: everything Cosmo told you about sex is bullshit. Buy the Cracked De-Textbook to learn more.)
20th Century Fox
Who wants to get messy? That's just crazy. But for some reason, guys think it's cute to put flour or paint on your nose while doing a project together.
If white powder on your nose is all it takes to get your heart all aflutter, odds are he's tricked you into doing cocaine.
In the confusing and kind of porny (or is that just me?) romantic comedy Never Been Kissed, the student-teacher relationship reaches a new realm of "Well, this is kind of OK since she's 25, not 16, but also he thinks she's 16 and is definitely flirting with her and also why am I so turned on?"
For some reason, he playfully splatters paint on her face while they're painting a sunset, and she enjoyed it, probably because obviously anything any attractive dude does to you is charming and not weird. (This is how one time I allowed Joel McHale to grab my wrist to read my tattoo without getting angry. Plus I was at work.)
20th Century Fox
"If finding true love means accidentally blinding a few innocents along the way, so be it."
No one actually wants paint or flour on her face, and as far as technique goes, it's only slightly above "peeing on a thing to claim it as my own" on the spectrum of flirtation methods.
Similar to the ol' "paint on the nose" move is the "throw you or drag you into a pool with me" move. Usually when this happens, neither participant is appropriately dressed for swimming, and if all goes well, one or both is dressed for a fancy occasion. Because who doesn't love jumping into water in a taffeta gown?
In Miss Congeniality, Benjamin Bratt is swimming laps and Sandra Bullock comes by in one of her pageant gowns to have a chat. They start flirting, and he yanks her into the pool with him. Hard.
"Ha! You should have seen your face! Hey, I said- Hello?"
And she says, "Are you fucking kidding me? I'm not dressed for swimming right now and- No, shut up, listen to me. I am an adult woman. What if I'd had my cellphone in my pocket? And you did this, what, to impress me? To make me like you? You've drastically changed my whole day, now. I need to change, I need to do something with this expensive dress. I'm freezing. You are a complete child."
Just kidding, they fall in love.
If there's one thing I'm supposed to find endearing based on rom-coms, it's someone being obsessed with me from afar to a creepy level.
In Can't Hardly Wait, Ethan Embry plays the apparently goofy but charming Preston, who is in love with total babe Amanda, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. His entire life has been devoted to loving her ... without ever having spoken to her.
"Heh, this is so us!"
So then he's walking around this graduation party with a love letter he wrote for someone who has been dating jock asshole Mike Dexter (not to be confused with Astronaut Mike Dexter from 30 Rock) for four years and, again, SOMEONE HE HAS NEVER SPOKEN TO.
"Why is this sticking to my hand?"
But don't worry, she finds it all very charming. Because there's nothing I want more than some dude who is obsessed with me and has built me up in his mind as a minor deity and the answer to all his problems. (This is like 5th grade when Joey told Marcus to tell my best friend to tell me he had a doll he used to pretend was me and make his G.I. Joe kiss.)
I cut her off before she repeated anything involving a Kung-Fu Grip.