Archives for the month of: January, 2012

Let me take you back in time. Back to simpler times- a time when Freddie Prinze Jr ruled hollywood. Ok, ‘ruled’ may have been an exaggeration. But there was a time when highschool, college, and young professional rom-coms were dominated by Freddie Prinze Jr’s name on the marquee.

Of all the movies to be thinking about this week- Down to You, starring Freddie Prinze Jr and Julia Stiles (surprisingly with Ashton Kutcher and Rosario Dawson as well) popped into my head. If you are unfamiliar, it is a pretty straight forward rom-com about two college freshmen that fall in love, out of love, and back in love.

I didn’t really remember all of the plot points until I read the synopsis today on IMDB. But what stuck with me from the one and only viewing of this movie back in 2004 at 3am sophomore year on tbs was the debates between Freddie Prinze Jr and his roommates during their freshmen year regarding whether love can last or will it always be fleeting. The crux of his roommate’s argument was that love is essentially a chemical reaction in your brain and is no different than a reaction caused by a drug. And like any other drug, your brain will adapt and there is diminishing returns of the effect it has on your emotions. Eventually the person you love has no effect on you.

Of course, this was not real life. It was a movie and SPOILER ALERT they get back together in the end. It’s a scary thought to think that the person you love may not matter as much to you in the future.

I don’t mean to be nihilistic or anything. I do believe there is value to family, building equity, sharing your life etc. It’s just scary to think that if love is akin to a drug then it can wear off or even worse you could go through a sort of withdrawal if it is taken away.

I probably should have just quoted lyrics from Huey Lewis and The News – I want a new drug and moved on to the weightlifting section.

END OF EMO SECTION OF BLOG POST.

Maaaaaaaan I watch too many movies.

I mentioned last time that I felt like Timothy Hutton in French Kiss. Ironically, I watched that movie Saturday with the girl that made me feel that way and she hated his character (which is to be expected). By the end she was on to me. However, I think she saw herself as Meg Ryan and thought of me as Kevin Kline. It probably helped that I was attempting to speak with a French accent for the rest of the day.

Reader Jack says

I just found your site by searching ‘blog jack nicholson rom com weightlifting’. Just so you know that’s gonna be my way of finding your blog and not a sign your perfect audience found you.

Oh my perfect audience already found me. You had me at hello.

The sad thing was uncle Al’s weight training log was the first hit. But he wasn’t discussing rom coms. He was talking about ROM.

Only blog in the world discussing Rom Coms and ROM (range of motion).

Workout Log Section

I finally started eating better this past weekend and today. Except I ate skittles right before working out. I took a nap and then tried to workout and for some reason I thought sugar might give me an energy boost. I have actually heard of crazy talented weighlifters that eat candy throughout their workouts every day. Well it didn’t really work.

Squatted 275 3×5. A little better form than last time but still did not feel strong at this weight. I am considering either dropping weight/deloading or putting the belt back on.

Overhead pressed 160 3×3. Didn’t have good form either. Kind of a push press. Power cleaned 160 3×2. Backed off to 135 and pressed 5reps. Curled 85 3×5. Dips 3×10.

And then I finished the bag of skittles I bought earlier. I don’t think skittles are making it into my routine.

This blog had slipped to my lowest priority this past week. But hopefully I can cram as many rom-com references and weightlifting info into one post as possible before I get distracted again.

Ordinarily the only search terms used to find this blog are Die Hard quotes, however, this week someone found it by searching for ‘ask a girl out on a date’. Obviously, this is the worst place to research that query. I can probably teach you how to ask a girl out on a date using text messages. You’re on your own otherwise. I wonder how it went for that poor soul. For actual relationship advice try Fort Lauderdale Sex in Relationships by Ashley Jarvis or You lost Him at Hello by Jess McCann.

Both of those blogs are written more for females but they are rich with legit advice. If you want to learn how to sabotage and torpedo your personal relationships then STAY RIGHT HERE!

Which brings me to the point of todays post (totally buried the lede). I sabotaged my most recent relationship last Saturday. I was suppose to meet up with a girl and her friends at a bar and instead I stayed at a club with my roommate, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s friend. I did this because I became completely enamored with her friend. I would feel worse if it was an actual date I was blowing off instead of just going out to a bar.

Have you ever seen French Kiss? It felt like that. No, not Kevin Kline’s character. More like Timothy Hutton’s character. When he goes to Paris and doesn’t come home to his fiance because he is drunk in love with a french woman. Only instead of going to Paris, I went to Eden, and instead of a French girl it was a Brazilian girl, and instead of a fiance it was a girl I went on one or two dates with. OTHERWISE TOTALLY SIMILAR.

Anyways, I would rather be like Timothy Hutton’s character in French Kiss than hitting on a jailbait Natalie Portman as Timothy Hutton does in Beautiful Girls. So there’s that.

I have been hanging out with her this week and it has felt like a Hall & Oates song. Press Play.

Honestly. Honestly. HONESTLY? I kind of felt like I have just been going through the motions until this last week. But there is one hitch… she is leaving the country in 4 days.

/hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylifehatemylife
hatemylife

It’s fine.

You can probably stop playing that Hall & Oates song now.

Workout Logs

Tuesday I squatted 275 3×5. Overhead pressed 155 3×3. But it might have been more like a push press. Deadlifted 315 x3 and 345 x1. RDLs at 165 3×5. I have not been eating enough food. My weight is going down and it’s not helping things. I think I basically did a good morning on one of the 5th reps of squats and that is certainly no bueno.

Friday I worked up to 275 x3 and then backed off and did 225 x8. Benched 195 3×5 but its bullshit. Spotter was stabilizing the weight. I feel like I might be getting weaker. I need to eat a lot more calories and protein and less empty calories (read: beer).

I also need to be squatting 3 times a week but I feel way too sore to do this every other day. So I need to do light squats in between days that I go heavy until my legs are conditioned.

The primary reason I am training is for softball season. The first year I played on the Carolina Softball team I hit 1 homerun. Last year I hit 4 homeruns. This year I want to hit a dinger in every game. It’s a restricted bat league so when we play with fences you pretty much need to be strong. When we play on the mall you just need to hit it over the outfielders head. I hit the top of the fence last year. WARNING TRACK POWER. I need to be squatting, power cleaning, and deadlifting a lot heavier to get these softballs over the fence.

That is what I did this morning. It snowed/sleeted friday night and for some reason I forgot to check to see about an inclement weather late opening monday morning.

This past week I turned a mass appeal viral video concept and reduced it to an extremely narrow appeal video. I should probably learn how to be funny in a slightly broader sense. My apologies for saying ‘Tarheel Blue’ when any UNC fan would say ‘Carolina Blue’- I wish I got that wrong on purpose-  then again my idea of Carolina colors is Garnet.

@1lilchuc1 says
@MrMichaelMahn Just to keep you in the loop: Bench: 45×10, 135×8, 185×5, 205×3, 225×3, 235×2 (failed on third rep) #CouplesBlogShoutout?

Good work using your 140 characters. Every tweet is precious and should not be taken for granted. I noticed you went with a full 10 rep warmup of the bar. Surprised you didn’t go for 2 sets of 10 to start and really warm up those muscles. Seriously though, the worksets are pretty strong. You’re only getting a shoutout because you used a hashtag that is probably only useful in other contexts.. like RedsicoverYourMarriage.tumblr. com/fakedumbgenericblogidea

I did three of those 205 lb sets on friday. I also worked up to 225lbs in squats but my legs were killing me and still sore from earlier in the week.

Reader Tim Colishaw says

I want to jump out of a building every time you post this self centered garbage. What’s amazing to me is how highly you think of yourself, it boggles the mind. Your a loser, you hit on bartenders at a chilies. Really?? I would say your worse than jersey trash, a lot worse! Do me a favor and jump in front of the metro today. PLEASE

Are you columnist Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News but you committed a typo while submitting your comment? I enjoy how you bookended this trolling comment with how at first you wanted to commit suicide but by the end you realized that you wanted me to commit suicide. This reads like it was written by a bot programmed to repeat key words and phrases but auto-corrects to the wrong grammatical format and spelling. So if you’re out there Tim Colishaw, please let me know you’re real and ok.

@lizhirschhorn says
@MrMichaelMahn Also I’m concerned about this “rom-com” genre. There’s nothing funny about range of motion. #jokethatsalreadybeenmade

oh yeah?

Full Range of Motion Lateral Raises

This one goes out with much love. And hopefully it kills this particular internet meme. Because I CANNOT make anymore personalized viral videos. Unless you pick up a bar tab. Looking at you @1lilchuc1. Concidentally, as I was publishing this video to youtube, @allennatt tweeted “On the way to Blacksburg to see my Tar Heels!”

 

Sorry for the lapse between posts. I have been busy. A friend visited me this past weekend and I found it difficult to say ‘mind if I ignore you for the next 30 minutes while I write about Leap Year on HBO?’ But it crossed my mind. And the fact that I was thinking about YOU is all that matters.

We went to see Thievery Corporation at 9:30 club and then some ‘hole-in-the-wall’ on U street. Wait. Why did I put that in quotes? It may not have literally been a hole in the wall but the bathroom DID HAVE A GIGANTIC HOLE IN THE WALL. This was probably the only authentically ‘DC’ thing we did all weekend. Saturday we went to Chili’s in Tysons Corner.

Here’s the thing about Chili’s… I like to go to the Crystal City location because a certain bartender works there. However, I can’t bring a girl to that location even if she’s just a friend because the bartender gets extremely angry and will not serve me. My life is essentially a much poorer version of Larry David’s in Curb Your Enthusiasm (0:52 mark).

We had a good run at that location. Sadly, now I have to go to the Tysons Location and cannot use Facebook to check-in for fear of a jealousy backlash. Also, I have a no hitting on bartenders new years resolution that is killing me.

One last thought about Chili’s: if you haven’t heard the Chili’s theme song twice while eating/drinking there, then you haven’t been there that long. We heard I want my baby back, baby back, baby back 3 times and CHECK PLEASE.

So this is a blog about workout logs and thoughts about romantic comedies. And these 3 text messages I had over a couple of days pretty much explains why.

20120118-173224.jpg

20120118-173237.jpg

20120118-173250.jpg

The main take-away I wanted to share was the final debate about whether there is a difference between chick-flicks and rom-coms. Its pretty clear to me that there are a number of ways they can be different or the same. The Notebook with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is a chick-flick. It’s not a comedy. While You Were Sleeping is a chick-flick AND a rom-com. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a rom-com BUT NOT a chick-flick. You can disagree about that last title but I think the label ‘chick-flick’ should apply to movies based on the gender perspective of the story (ie. which gender is the lead and which gender will the audience relate to mostly).

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past or Crazy Stupid Love have male leads (Matthew McConnaghey and Steve Carrell) and are mostly about their relationship struggles and not those of their female counterparts (Jennifer Gardner and Julianne Moore). I’m so glad we cleared that up. I’ll be using this argument the next time I catch shit for what my Netflix queue looks like.

LESSONS LEARNED SINCE LAUNCHING THIS BLOG

  1. If you quote Die Hard in a post’s title then you will get a continuous stream of hits
  2. There is surprisingly little overlap between audiences that enjoy reading about lifting weights and audiences that enjoy rom-com analysis
  3. It’s difficult to think of original topics but the easiest way to write a post is to login to wordpress and get it done

About bullet 1- it’s a cheap way to get hits and I did it on accident. Won’t repeat that mistake. I don’t really care about getting traffic from people that google search ‘now i have a machine gun ho ho ho‘.

About bullet 2- I understand your concerns about reading about workout logs. The solution I have is to keep this stuff at the bottom of posts under a workout headline (unless it is the central theme of the post). Hopefully that will let me go into greater detail and (squat) depth of coverage without alienating too many readers.

/terrible

About bullet 3- just gotta keep at it and hope none of this comes back to haunt me.

LIFTING WEIGHTS SECTION

I worked out Tuesday for the first time since last Thursday but it felt good. Squatted 270 3×5 and it didn’t feel very hard. I constantly worry about hitting appropriate squat depth. Normally I call my gym Unisex Curves but in this instance the moniker does not apply because there are actually mirrors everywhere. There is a mirror in front of the squat rack and I use this to check my depth but that doesn’t actually work. Ideally you should be looking at the floor and your eyes and body will use the point on the floor to determine how low you have gone. Mirrors distort this. People tell me I’m going low enough but are these the same people that don’t know how low you should actually go?

Overhead pressed 150 3×3. Did hang cleans 3×3 at 135. I’m sure if anyone was watching they would have been laughing in their head. Romanian Dead Lifts 155 3×5. Pullups with 30lb dumb bell 2×5.

Its time to set a few new workout goals and its the final push toward achieving a few. I have had a goal to squat 1.5x body weight for a while. I think I am about 195lbs so we need to hit 290. Considering I did 15 reps at 270 without a belt then I think we are close.

I hit a PR last week in bench doing 200lbs 3×3. New goal is 225lbs x1. I’ll conservatively set that goal for… ummm… May? By beach season sounds good. 225lbs is significant because it is 2 plates on each side and it is the weight that football players are tested at during the NFL combine (record is 49 reps). If I can do one wobbly rep then I would tie “The all-time low was set nine years ago by cornerback Fred Smoot, who wobbled his elbows to a single rep.”

This post will get zero hits because nobody likes the NBA. Everyone said the same thing these past few months- “Does anyone care about the NBA lockout?” My answer was always “YES!” I do. NBA basketball is so much fun. These are some of the best athletes in the world. And the worst NBA player will typically be able to knock down any shot if he’s left open.

Its not that I think college basketball is pointless and stupid. But its a vastly inferior product. The national championship in 2011 was Butler vs Connecticut. Butler shot 18.8% from the field. UConn shot 34.5%. MANY OF THESE WERE UNCONTESTED SHOTS. It was completely unwatchable.

Back to the NBA… I love the Washington Wizards. And I secretly enjoy that they are 1-9 because I paid $12 for lower level seats that were face value (read: bullshit value) of $80. But what I really loved about their lone win against Toronto was running into one of my personal faves: Gheorghe Muresan.

He was listed at 7’7″ in his playing days but I am convinced he is actually 12 feet tall. The woman sitting in front of us seemed to know everyone associated with the Wizards. Earlier in the game Sam Cassell came up to talk to her. Then at the beginning of the 2nd quarter Gheorgie came by the chat.

I should mention that our seats were the 4th row up next to the Wizards tunnel. And Gheorge was STANDING in the tunnel but was at eye level with us. My friend with me didn’t quite grasp this height perspective until she saw someone else walk by and realized that she is 1 foot away from one of .000000001% tallest men in history.

This isn’t the first time I’ve ran into Gheorgie. He was also on my flight out to LA last year for all-star weekend. He was in coach seat just like me! He got the exit row. Fuck US Airways. Hook Gheorgie up with first class! The dude starred in My Giant, for crissake.

I know one person that commented on a facebook status by saying:

Basketball is OK, I guess. I like when the tall guy gets the ball from the other tall guy and then he tries to drop the ball through a hoop while other tall guys try to prevent him from getting near the hoop and dropping the ball through it. I think it would be cooler is they still used peach baskets.

I responded with:

 Have you seen NBA basketball? It resembles the college game except the players are taller, faster, stronger, and miss less open shots. I enjoy it… Sometimes a shorter player passes the ball and a taller player catches it in the air while simultaneously preparing to put it through the basket. Amazing

Alley-oops are the ish. That shit cray.

I dislike the opinion that one should not enjoy basketball because it is just tall people competing. No shit. And in football the big boys block for the little boy who throws to the skinny fast boy. And in soccer its all skinny boys because you can hardly subsitute and need to run for 90+. And beach volleyball is just tall girls with wedgies. Whatevs. Thats the rules.

Obviously you would not want to watch a bunch of short whiteys playing basketball.

Lifted today. 265 3×5 squats. Ate real good today and felt like superman. Benched 200 3×3. Deadlifted 1 at 350, 1 at 365, 1 at 380. 380 felt no bueno. Did curls, dips, and leg extensions. I felt a lot more confident doing curls immediately after dead lifting 380.

Thievery Corporation tomorrow at 9:30 club. Now party people in the club its time to cut a rug, and throw the deuces in the sky for the shutterbugs.

About that getting around to write a coherent post that I outlined, is topical, and features nothing about working out… well I didn’t write it.

Reader @1lilchuc1 says

@MrMichaelMahn PR in SQ and DL today. 255x5x3 each. Hoping for a blog shoutout. #fingerscrossed. Most of my followers follow you. #heyguys!!

Slow down He-Man.

Dated Dec. 24 @1lilchuc1 says

@MrMichaelMahn Started last week w 135-squat and 225-DL. Gonna add 10lbs each workout. I should hit failure in ~4weeks

So in 16 days you reached the same workout weight as me in squats? I hate you.

Do you want to take over admin rights to this blog and I’ll just tweet at you?

This served as motivation for me to wake up from my evening nap and go to the gym to squat 260 3×5. Word to the wise- bojangles for lunch has zero nutrition and will give you no energy for a workout. Also it will make you LOOK and FEEL flabby in the gym.

Normally I would rationalize someone lifting the same weight as me in such a short time frame by thinking ‘it’s ok he has short limbs’ or ‘don’t worry, as a percent of total body weight I am stronger’. BUT NO- you probably weigh less than me AND have longer limbs. I hate you.

/really just need a hug.

Also pressed 145 3×3. Romanian dead lifts at 145 3×5. Pullups with a 25lb dumbbell.

That tweet from reader @1lilchuc1 was the best gym motivation since the squatland yard days.

The post that I wanted to write yesterday was going to compare the aristocratic class portrayed in the British TV series Downton Abbey (season one is set right after the Titanic Sunk) and the attitudes of wall street bankers in modern day New York. But I didn’t feel like getting on a soap box to discuss a soap opera.

Besides- that show probably is bullshit regarding how the wealthy would act. I think the moral of what I wanted to say is that if you are upper class then it’s ok for you to show some class.

I don’t segue well.

I need to get in the habit of repeating people’s names upon meeting them. When you say “Hi, I’m (blank)” I should not tune you out and wait for my turn to speak. Instead I should say “Hi, (repeat your name back to you, my name is Michael”. TWICE today I ran into someone I either know or have met and did not know their names. Luckily I texted a friend to say “hey you know (blah)’s friend?” and they knew who I was talking about. But other times I have gone way past the threshhold of time you are allowed to say “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”

At the Four Seasons hotel employees are expected to repeat guest’s names three times when greeting them. Example would be “Good morning, Mr. Mahn. How has your stay been Mr. Mahn? If there is anything you need do not hesitate yo ask, my name is (blank), have a good day, Mr. Mahn”. This would be over the top but damn if I would forget people’s names again.

What I’m trying to say is- if I meet you at a party and you say my name and I say “whats up guy?” then you should just tell me your name because I will never ask.

OR… I will say “how are you doing THOMAS” OR “JANE!!!” OR “WILFRED!” AND YOU WILL KNOW THAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I DO IN FACT KNOW YOUR NAME.

Reader @Schwiggles says

<<- Douchiest tweet and faggiest blogpost of the year award right here.

Its 2012, don’t you know douchebaggery has gone mainstream? Homophobic slurs, on the other hand- NOT SO MUCH.

The only contextually appropriate use for the word ‘fag’ is standing outside a pub in the UK and bumming a smoke (‘mind if I bum a fag?’). Surgeon General says that smoking while you’re drinking ‘doesn’t count’.

Reader @allennatt says

looked back at ur old blogs. u mentioned@girlofmydreams. Apparently ur dream girl has lower back tattoos and whiteytighties

This is in reference to texting and dating.

@girlofmydreams really messed up. NOBODY dreams of lower back tattoos. Just go to the strip club for that. @GIRLOFEVERYDAYATCAMELOTGENTLEMENSCLUB

@allennatt also says

yeah she started a killer online dating site for people who enjoy wearing bandannas and belts with the metal pointy pyramids

This made me think back to middle school when I used to listen to very bad punk rock music. Even back then when I would go to the Vans Warped Tour every summer I felt like I couldn’t pull off the metal pointy pyramids belt look. However, I do think I can pull off whatever hairstyle Leonardo Dicaprio is rocking in his latest movie.

/not ready to watch J. Edgar. That might be too radical of a change for me.

One more post in a row that features allen natt and I’m changing the title of this blog to Shit Allen Natt Says (featuring douchey workout advice).

Speaking of which… Squatted 255 3×5. Felt very unfocused. Benched 195 3×3. Did barbell rows 165 3×5. And I did curls. ITS SATURDAY- TIME TO CATCH A PUMP. If I get around to writing tomorrow it will be a post that is both timely, appropriately outlined, and features absolutely nothing about working out…

Texting has come up a lot in conversation lately and I swear it has nothing to do with me steering the conversation toward this or trying to rationalize my anti-social habits. A girlfriend of mine says she actually prefers texting with her boyfriend because his reading comprehension is better than listening and he retains the information better.

This seems intuitive to me. Some people learn better by reading. Additionally, if someone like that reads the text then they also have time to formulate a relevant response.

Asking people out in texts also came up. Someone said that its easier to say no in text or ignore it or whatever and that if you call and put someone on the spot it is more difficult to say no. That would only work if she doesn’t screen your call. AND EVERYONE SCREENS CALLS. This isn’t a 1980s rom com where everyone is in bed talking on their landlines and have no caller id.

Ideally the best way to ask someone out when you are unsure of what their interest level is would be to ask them out in person.

@LuvLifeCoach now follows me. Good. I’m the Hitch of texting.

/douchey. but thats ok. gone mainstream.

Reader Jason Bourne Says

This is a pile of shit.

Agreed. Cool name, bro.

I have a couple new twitter followers. Not sure why. Most are robots or have some sort of affiliation with one word in a tweet I made. It’s sort of odd when I make one comment about the Heisman Trophy and @HeismanNews begins following me. I’m not going to talk about the Heisman trophy year round. But MAYBE spur of the moment I might give a shout out to RG 3stacks. I don’t even remember doing that though.

Best new follower is @allennatt (specializes “in everything that can’t be done”). I love when he picks twitter fights with random journalists/columnists/sports people. Or tries to hook up pro female golfers with free yoga passes.

RT@AllenNatt “Sometimes I wish my hilarious text messages went out on twitter.” I wish that too.

I have been using twitter lately a lot more than facebook. It used to be that facebook was used for stalking friends and twitter was used for stalking celebrities.

Now I find that twitter is useful for #humblebragging and facebook is used for lame bragging. Cool suite at the MGM Grand, bud! Are you going to pop bottles at the club later?

/haven’t been to vegas recently enough… nor have I had table service recently. damn it. nothing to brag about on facebook.

Also I can use twitter to publicize thoughts that I know only 5 people will read and just annoy the shit out of any random followers. I am scared that I will frighten the 2 espn personalities that forgot to unfollow me (shout out to @MerrilHoge and @JeremySchaap) #humblebrag.

I still use facebook to look at girls beach vacation photo albums. Not sure why Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t found a way to categorize facebook content into beach photos/AND EVERYTHING ELSE.

Worked out Tuesday night. Squatted 250 3×5. Did powercleans and press. Did NOT feel great after new years weekend and all of the empty food calories and drinks. Only got 1 rep at 175 overhead in push-press. Regressed on that. Did 3×5 power cleans t 135 for some conditioning work. Then I decided to incorporate Romanian dead lifts into my routine.

My hamstrings have never been more sore in my life.

Apparently I have not been engaging them at all (or atleast not the bottom of them) during my regular deadlifts. I basically wrecked my leg muscles for days. Tonight I only did body weight upper body exercises (pushups, pullups, crow into headstand…) I should not have neglected such an important muscle group for so long, clearly.

Since I pretty much only get hits when I write about romantic comedies (specifically, when I write about ‘jack nicholson rom coms’), I did a little bit of ‘research’ this week. I watched Friends With Benefits (Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis) and No Strings Attached(Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman). These were the rom-com Dante’s Peak/Volcano or Deep Impact/Armageddon of 2011.

Friends With Benefits Gross: $55,802,754 (USA)

No Strings Attached Gross: $70,662,220 (USA)

Friends With Benefits was the better movie of the two. They are similar in only one way- a guy and girl trying to maintain an entirely sexual relationship. However each movie sets this conceit up in different ways.

Friends With Benefits explores this relationship by way of two very likable people that seem to have been dicked over by boyfriends and girlfriends in the past and they are disinterested in being hurt in a relationship.

No Strings Attached is just Natalie Portman being a bitch seemingly because that’s what she is. There was nothing likable about her character. And there was nothing likable about a man being needy around her and falling for someone that treats him like shit. She never explained why she didn’t want a real relationship.

I’m not really interested in examining why No Strings Attached made more money. It was a winter release and Friends with Benefits was a summer release. Maybe it was a first move advantage and that the market for fuck-buddy comedies had already dried up by summer. There is also significant competition during summer releases and the less a movie makes initially can limit how many screens it will play on in future weeks.

I’m also not defending Friends With Benefits. If they wanted to MAKE GOLD then they should have adhered to a few rules. And I don’t think that means making a movie about 2 people that just want to fuck around.

HOWEVER…

In terms of an audience deriving some pleasure from watching these movies its clear why Friends With Benefits provides value from cinema escapism. There is the fantasy of being a successful indie blogger (hey…. that could be your boy!) who gets a lucrative job offer in the big city and the only person he has met is an attractive (and vaguely middle eastern) Mila Kunis who is sharp, funny, and can keep his ego in check.

Friends With Benefits is a slightly raunchy version of most rom-coms these days. It hits the main plot points by having them meet, hang out a lot, eventually conflict, and then the male lead needs to make a public romantic gesture to win the female lead back. Only it also has Justin Timberlake attempting to urinate with a boner. While following this formula it also makes fun of rom-com standards featuring a movie inside a movie (starring Jason Segal and Rashida Jones.. I totes would see that fake movie).

But its certainly not real.

No Strings Attached is much more real. And it is terrible because of that.

In real life a guy will be attracted to a terrible woman because she looks good and went to a good school and has a good job. He will do everything he can think of to distinguish himself from other men by being charming, buying gifts, and being nice. But a girl like that doesn’t want a nice guy. These kinds of girls are attracted to assholes.

I really wish the movie would have ended with Ashton Kutcher’s character learning that lesson. Instead he falls into the trap of answering her phone calls and agreeing to be her date to her sisters wedding.

In the words of Mila Kunis’ character:

Jamie: why don’t they ever a make a movie about what happens after they kiss?

Dylan: They do it’s called porn

The real movie after they kiss is one called ‘Closer’. If you go after a girl like the one in No Strings Attached then I guarantee you will fall for her shit over and over and eventually hate her (or yourself).

There is a whole industry of film and books about guys falling for girls that want them to like them and never date anyone else but the girl will only like another. Twilight and Hunger Games come to mind. Team Jacob vs Team Edward. Team Peeta vs Team Gale.

If you say you are on Team Jacob then you are a mark. You are a mark for the oldest con on the planet. The con where a woman will never let you close but will go crazy if you start to catch feelings for someone else.

I don’t know when girls find the time to practice this art form but it seems like they have all become masters. Girls have the ability to do just enough or say just enough to keep you close and out of the arms of their competition. But they will keep you just far enough away so they can be with the men they really want (ex. Edward Cullen).

Always be Edward. Never let yourself be Jacob (especially if you catch feelings for an infant. so weird).

I don’t know why girls give me shit for my movie viewing habits but I think its because they only notice that I watch romantic comedies and they tune out when I talk about other movies. Whatever.

If this was a Miller Lite commercial then I would have already lost my man card. I drink Guinness anyway.