You have to let go of the notion that love can happen in an instant. Attraction can happen, lust can happen, curiosity can happen, but love is a slow growing moss that leaves you slimy and damp as you are slowly engulfed.    Wine without time is just hot grape juice, love without time is like in a rented tuxedo jacket over an “I’m with stupid” tee shirt.

Movies, and it’s bastardized son, television, have sold us on the idea that people are exactly who they say they are in the first eleven seconds you speak with them.  Any feelings in you that they accidentally stir are legitimate, and should be obsessively acted upon. It is also encouraged to apply layer upon layer of fantasy qualities onto that person while confiding in a friend, possibly late at night, sitting in a booth at a diner. Ultimately, the cardboard cutout you pine for bears little resemblance to an actual human, yet somehow there is a happy ending instead of the more likely paper cut.

This is the DiCaprio effect. In my Titanic screenplay (rejected by Hollywood jerks) Kate Winslet is still passing “wonderful weather we’re having” notes across the deck when the ship makes it’s pit stop in iceberg cove. They never get to the naked portrait business because she usually reserves that for the third date.  When things look bleak, they solemnly give each other the first high five in recorded history and Winslet whispers, “you’re aces in my book.”  DiCaprio’s last words are “you literally just said you would never let go, why are you letting me go?” before the icy sea swallows his face.

Ruined vacation and sea sickness aside, Titanic bears little resemblance to grown-up, actual love. That’s why Sir Leo gave us Inception, with it’s soul-shattering, hallucination inducing picture of what flawed people do with the  ethereal, gossamer-tipped angel wings of love – they crush it, they kill it, they make you wonder if it was ever really there in the first place. Finding out if it’s real means waking up, and waking up makes it hard to go back to sleep.

But here lies your own rom-com feel-good story arc, for surviving can make you one of the few and the lucky that see hope in the endlessly spinning top.  Once you’ve learned to keep both your heart and your eyes open, you will know real love when you feel it, and the soundtrack will be amazing.

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