Lessons about true love from Stardust

A while back I saw the movie Stardust. Fantasy is not usually my cup of tea, but I had to admit this was a pretty good film. Here we had a guy who was doing his darndest best to win over the love of a beautiful (and shallow) town girl, but unfortunately, she sees him as nothing more than a lowly and clumsy shop boy. One night both of them witness a shooting star landing somewhere in the magical land of Stormhold, and desperate to prove his love for her, Tristan promises to retrieve the star and bring it to her as a birthday gift.

The star however actually turns out to be another beautiful woman named Yvaine. Apparently, learning that the star was actually a person didn’t seem to faze Tristan one bit, and he uses enchanted rope to tie Yvaine’s hands so he can take her with him:

Tristan: Now, if I’m not mistaken this means you have to come with me. You’re going to be a birthday gift for Victoria, my true love.

Yvaine: But of course! Nothing says “romance” like a kidnapped injured woman!

At this point Hollywood starts to do something weird here, like actually tell the truth about love. Yvaine points out the fallacy of pursuing after a girl who clearly would never reciprocate the same level of love and devotion Blaine had for her:

Yvaine: The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.

Tristan: Hang on! This wasn’t about me trying to buy her love. This was to prove to her how I felt.

Yvaine: Ah… And what’s she doing to prove how she feels about you?

Tristan: Well… [stares blankly for a moment]

Yes, we men have a tendency to skip over that minor, niggling detail don’t we?  I suppose our rationale here is that by jumping through hoops of nuclear fire to prove our love for someone, it will somehow evoke the object of our desire to equally love us in return.

Does this really work? I guess, probably as frequently as people win the lottery though. Regardless, I don’t think being a dancing monkey to get someone’s attention is really the best way to start a relationship. If the attraction doesn’t spark easily, that’s a lot of energy wasted on someone who’s probably not even a good match to begin with.

But sometimes, it just happens, and you don’t really have to do anything to MAKE it happen, just merely LET it happen, as it (predictably) did between Yvaine and Tristan:

Yvaine: Yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and… What I’m trying to say, Tristan is… I think I love you. [begins to cry] Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I’d know it for myself. My heart… It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.

I know there are plenty of things I can do to boost my appeal to women, but ultimately, that ever elusive moment where I finally experience mutual attraction seems to be largely out of my control. Either I’m attracted to her but she isn’t to me, or she is to me but I’m not to her. And so it goes.

I hate that I can’t seem to conjure up attraction in return when a woman genuinely likes me. I try to force it, try to give it a chance, try to do something to stoke the fire, but the magic never materializes. I don’t know why, or why it indeed seems to be so unpredictable and random. I do know that too many people give up and marry someone they’re not attracted to, and the results are almost always disastrous. Having chemistry is vital it seems, and yet there appears to be no way for me to nail down the mystery behind it, at least so I’d have better luck finding someone compatible.

Or maybe, I should take a cue from Stardust, and instead of trying to MAKE things happen, I should merely LET things happen. It’s frustrating to be sure, but as I grow older I learn frustration stems from not being able to let go of the things we ultimately can’t control.

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8 Responses to Lessons about true love from Stardust

  1. Your Future High-Maintenance Dream Girl December 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM #

    Dance, monkey, dance!

    Dance, monkey, dance!

  2. Tara L Conklin December 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM #

    Outside of the fact, I can’t get over it’s SNOWING on your page – I am so envious – I simply adore this movie. It has so many little messages that are easy to miss if you’re too focused on Michelle Pfeiffer with age spots or Robert DeNiro in a tutu. It’s one of the delights of filmmaking and I gasp to say it’s “almost” up there with “The Princess Bride”. Dare I say it?

    • Frank Swift December 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM #

      Funny, I thought Pfeiffer looked pretty good here. One of the lines I’ll never forget is when the crew tells Deniro’s character that they’re ok with him being a cross dresser:

      “Aye Cap’in! We always knew you were a WHOOPSIE!”

      LOL

      But still, better than Princess Bride? INCONCEIVABLE!

  3. a December 19, 2013 at 8:55 PM #

    Well, you could just try the OT approach, and kidnap yourself a good-looking, long blond hair, gorgeous smile woman, with a non-descript face from your local sandwich shop, but somehow I don’t see that working so well.

    Man, this feminism crap really makes finding a wife so difficult now! :P

    • Frank Swift December 19, 2013 at 9:13 PM #

      Speaking of Subways and blondes…

  4. Randy Reynolds February 3, 2016 at 1:26 PM #

    Yeah, good blog post there. One of my favorite movies..

    It does seem like most times, one person is really interested in getting a relationship to work, and the other one is completely disinterested or at best, dragging their feet. I took a walk one weekend and saw two squirrels, one chasing the other…

    Nature gets it. There’s always someone chasing, and there’s always someone running away! :-)

    Hope you find that special someone that chases you as much as you chase them!

    • Frank Swift February 3, 2016 at 5:21 PM #

      Thank you! The film just dropped on Netflix, think I’m gonna break out some snacks and treats this weekend and enjoy a movie encore on my big screen. ?

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