Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Falling In Love Is A Choice (And Why I Hate Romantic Comedies)

October 10, 2012  |  

Although I’ll probably have my man card put on probation for typing this, I’m feeling a little magnanimous today, and I thought I’d share a few secrets about us (men) that many women may not be aware of

1. We occasionally “fake it” too. (Yes. If you’re reading this, it’s probably happened to you too. Get over yourself.)

2. We generally know the difference between “she’s laughing at my corny jokes because she likes me” and “she’s laughing at my corny jokes because I’m actually funny,” and we also know it’s usually the former, not the latter. We’ll never admit that to you, though.

3. We don’t actually hate romantic comedies.

The last one is of particular interest to me, just because of the overwhelming perception that we hate rom-coms with the heat of a thousand pairs of K. Michelle’s drawers. Thing is, we may not enjoy them as much as we (generally) enjoy the NBA playoffs and YouTube twerk videos, but hate doesn’t describe our general feeling when it comes to them. It’s more like “I guess that wasn’t too bad.”

What we do hate though — and, frankly, what anyone with any type of real-life relationship experience should also hate — are the falsehoods many of them are based on. From “love always conquers all” to “if you’re in love with someone who’s about to be married and want them to stop the wedding, all you have to do say “stop!” while they’re at the alter and everyone will…stop” you can argue that the typical romantic comedy is more fictional than “The Matrix” and contains more blatant lies than a Rozay album.

The most pervasive, most irresponsible, and most destructive of those lies is the idea that we, as humans, have absolutely no control over who we fall in love with or how long we stay in love with them. The belief of this falsehood has caused countless divorces, keyed cars, stupid songs by Mary J. Blige, and stupider ultra-emo Facebook status messages. (“I wish I could stop loving him. But, the devil is a lie!“)

What makes this lie so dangerous is the fact that it robs us of one of our most important human qualities. The ability to reason and make choices. And, while it may seem like love is some unstoppable force that you have absolutely no control over, there is always — always! — a point where you make the conscious decision to fall for someone. Those who have been there before were also undoubtedly at a bit of a crossroads before they got there, with one road leading to “Fallingville” and the other headed to “FallBackville.” If you’re ever been in love, you made the choice to go to Fallingville. And, if you’re still in love, you’re making a conscious choice to stay there. Yes it’s true that the heart “wants what it wants,” but only after we consciously entertain the thoughts and feelings and emotions to allow it to get there.

So, equipped with this knowledge, the next time you’re in the movie theater watching Katherine Hegel give some God-awful speech to her homely cousin about why she can’t stop loving some man who’s about to get married to another man in a week, instead of letting the tears drip, roll your eyes, shake your head, and scream “Yes you can!!!”

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at

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