Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knight on a White Horse Ideal

My friend Tiffani posted a blog link the other day to the "Top 25 Romantic Comedy Cliches That Need to be Retired."  One of 25 was the typical scene at the end of a Rom-Com where one of the characters is going on a wild sprint to catch their beloved before it's too late (think Notting Hill, or The Wedding Planner).  A lot of women have this ideal of a knight in shining armor riding up to them on their big white horse to sweep them away and live happily ever after.  Little girls dress up like princesses a lot, dreaming of castles and fairy tales.  The romantic comedies we women line up for today often play into this very fantasy.  Many of those movies end with the woman being chased after by her man as the climax to the movie.  We all swoon when we think of the man we love not letting any circumstance deter them from running after the woman they love.

Men, whether they admit it or not, enjoy this fantasy just as much as us women...they long to be the dashing, daring knight riding in to the rescue, fighting off the's just as much their fantasy as it is ours.  How many of the movies men are drawn to have plots that surround a savior/warrior type character?

I think this idealized ending of a romantic comedy plays into the very basics of who most of us long to be: men the heroic savior/pursuer, and women the beautiful princess in the tower waiting for her knight to rescue her from the evil dragon who's put her there.

I wonder though, when held up to real life, if this cliche really "works."  I mean, I can't think of a single friend I know who has had someone rush off to the airport to stop them from boarding a plane whilst confessing his un-dying love for her. 

Movies and popular culture can be hard enough to overcome whith an ideal body type to live up to, much less an idealized version of how our love lives should be.  Women are expecting to be swept off of their feet in a grand gesture of romance (so much pressure on the men!) while men are looking for the proverbial damsel in distress in need of his rescue.

What happens, though, when the princess gets tired and hungry stuck up in her tower waiting to be rescued by her knight? What happens when the dragon has come over and over again and there hasn't been a knight available to slay the dragon and the princess has had to pick up her sword herself to slay the dragon herself?  Will her knight ride right past, missing out on a partner in life, distracted by the needy cries of someone he has to continually help?  Is she disqualified in the eyes of a potential suitor because she's left her tower? 

Don't get me wrong, I think almost every woman wants to be pursued.  I think most every man wants deep down to do the pursuing.  I don't think those things are wrong.  I just think, sometimes relationships with are hard enough to navagate without all of the added pressure of some ideal version of romance that may not mesh with reality.

Maybe I'm totally wrong.  I'd love any thoughts or feedback since I am certain to be biased a little on this topic.  (smile)



  1. Well, from my blog you know some of my thoughts, but I'll put a couple sentences here anyway.

    I think that in the perfect world, we would see men who are bold, courgeaous and sensitive, and not struck by passivity, and women who are both resilient and yet humbly receiving help and serving their husband. But the fact is that sin has stained the whole world so there is very little of this happening if we look around us.

    However, I think the reason that these images continue to show up in movies, stories, and song - and the reason they continue to move us - is that there is something True about the lover pursuing his beloved. I believe that these images harken back to the gospel message (even as distorted as it appears on screen or tv, in books or in song). I think in our hearts we long to be pursued, but we have settled for desiring the pursuit of men (or women) in exchange for the pursuit of the One who actually does come in on his white horse, so to speak.

    If I were really honest, I am not that "into" cultivating my relationship with God as the One who can meet the needs of my soul. I'd much rather look around at all the handsome boys I can see and hope that one of them is for me. And the whole time the Lord is saying, "Tiffani, I am reaching out to you, I can give you comfort, companionship and care - why are you turning away from all I have to offer?"

    I'm not saying God doesnt't want me (or any of you readers) to have a earthly love relationship, he may or may not have that in store for us. But the one thing I am sure of is that God is pursuing us the way that we want to be pursued and willing and able to help us in the way we want to be helped. If only we would turn around and receive.

  2. I agree with a lot, if not most of what you've written, Tiff. Maybe someone can write a script for a movie that conveys the message of the Lover pursuing His beloved!

  3. I also think that in an ideal world as we are watching these Rom-Coms we would see them as a metaphor for our pursuit by the King. Unfortunatley, I know for me, this is not the case. I'm not saying anyone shouldn't watch Rom-Coms, that's between them and the Lord, I just know for me, they more often create heart-ache rather than rejoicing that I am already being pursued that way. For me, I have to be very careful when I watch these movies not to let my mind wander towards thoughts it shouldn't. (smile)