Joe Queenan's guide to romance cliches

According to popular lore, the romantic film is based on a simple formula: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again. But that is not true. For the most part, the boys have nothing to do with it. The cliche that actually serves as the infrastructure of the classic romance is that the female lead almost never ends up with the man she was originally supposed to spend the rest of her life with. That has been true ever since Cary Grant starred opposite Rosalind Russell and Katherine Hepburn in The Front Page and The Philadelphia Story, and it runs straight through Notting Hill and The Runaway Bride and Sweet Home Alabama and (500) Days of Summer. Romances are constructed around the idea that love is an obstacle course, but if you keep your nose to the grindstone, the rewards can be immense.

That is actually the theme of every Jane Austen novel,

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