There’s so much to love about rom-coms: the banter, the jokes, the happy endings. And love! We love love. But being alive in recent years sometimes feels like only the parts of the movie where the lead is eating cold Chinese food out of the fridge with her hands in a dark kitchen, working late on a Friday night or whatever. And I think we could all use the energy of the other parts of the movie, where everything is rosy and romanticized, the sun is pretty much always shining and the birds are pretty much always chirping softly. These are some fool-proof tips for feeling like the star of your own personal rom-com.
Choose the soundtrack
All movies need a cohesive soundtrack, but there’s something about a rom-com soundtrack. They’re upbeat, they’re sweet, they swell at just the right moments. And even if you aren’t being swept off your feet by someone you’ve spent the last two hours bantering with, there’s nothing better than putting on a playlist that makes you feel like that sweep could be imminent.
As for the type of music, well, that’s for you to decide! It’s your movie! Anything with a consistent vibe is a good start, especially when played during more mundane moments of your life. Maybe you love listening to Meg Thee Stallion while running errands? Musicals while cooking? Classic rock while cleaning the house?
Among many other playlists that evoke a specific (but still upbeat!) mood, I have an early 2000s R&B playlist that I often listen to while driving, and a Spotify playlist called “Main Character (in a 2009 rom-com) Energy” full of Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor tunes. Both make me feel happy and confident, and would underscore the moment perfectly if I happened to like, lock eyes with a cutie at the grocery store.
Commit to the aesthetic
Every star needs a signature look. When I think of rom-com heroines, I definitely think “chunky sweaters” and luckily, those are back in fashion at the moment, if that’s your jam. But the sky’s the limit here. If the cable-knit sweaters of When Harry Met Sally fame aren’t really you, a bold accessory could be your move. A bright lipstick could draw the attention of that cute stranger online (that’s a meet-cute in 2022!). A sick shoe collection, graphic tees, gear from your favorite sports team, anything that makes you feel the most you will always make you stand out.
Indulge in coziness
I was kind of dismissive of thick sweaters back there, but I do think coziness is a crucial feature in all the best rom-coms. Curl up in a blanket, wear those soft pants, eat anything and everything out of mugs! We can’t all have a Nancy Meyers kitchen, but I never feel cuter or more luxurious than when I’m eating like, Cheez-It’s out of my Fun Home mug and wearing a blanket as a cape. Remember that article that’s like, “woman holding mug thinking about getting railed by Rachel Weisz”? Kind of the same energy, only feel free to imagine whatever you want.
Quirk it up
Look, we all know by now that the cool-but-quirky jobs those romcom heroines used to do aren’t actually real. No one can have a posh magazine job that pays for an apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows inn a major city, the math simply doesn’t work out. But! We can definitely cultivate our own cool hobbies and interests! No bosses, only enjoyment. Your day job might not bring you much joy (does anyone’s?), but certainly something does. This could be anything from movie-watching (The Holiday is proof) to sports (Bend It Like Beckham, duh), honestly even just doing your skin-care routine (Julia Roberts takes that lovely bath in Pretty Woman, it counts). Personally, I’m really into playing Candy Crush again, which I think definitely qualifies, but maybe you’re good at crosswords, or like embroidery, or really love to write — okay these are all still just my own hobbies but you get the idea. Any time you do this hobby, think this is part of my character and it all gets way more fun.
Be the star you (already) are
All of these tips are really just ways to feel like the star of your own show, but ultimately, you already are! And so the biggest way to be the lead of your own rom-com is to believe that you are. Vanessa has already shared advice for believing that everyone in your life thinks that you are hot, and I’d say that’s definitely a good energy to carry around this year.
In these unprecedented times, anything can be an opportunity for being charming, and it doesn’t have to mean anything. Tell the barista you get coffee from that they look great today! Ask the mailperson who drops off packages how their day is. Call your friend just to say hello. It doesn’t have to be romantic, or leading anywhere, to be fun. Make their day, and make yours at the same time! If you are charming, your life will start to feel more charmed. And we could all use more of that.
I love that you’ve chosen Bend It Like Beckham as a top three queer rom-com!
So what you’re telling me is I’ve already nailed this?!
– my Broadway musicals playlist titled “Divas Belting”
– my Autostraddle sweater, my heated blanket, and tea in my Gilmore Girls Dragonfly mug
– playing Scrabble on my phone while I watch a movie
This sounds like pretty much my everyday life!
You are literally already living the dream, also need a link to that playlist plz
“If you are charming, your life will start to feel more charmed.”
I love this, and the reference to Vanessa’s article, essential reading.
I think about that Vanessa article so often, it’s perfect advice!
So so true !
This is one of my fave articles and also i love the playlist
Thank you! Started the playlist because I could not get the song “The Show” out of my head for days, inexplicably, but now it’s one of my faves
This came at the perfect time <3 time to romance some comedies
I just made a playlist the other day (at my dentist office suggestion) to get me through wisdom teeth extraction. If a soundtrack (plus drugs) can make that nightmare scenario bearable, I think you’re right about what it could do for less stressful tasks.
Also, I love all three of these movies you picked for the cover image.