by Nomfundo Mbaba

Pretty Woman - Special Edition Julia Roberts Richard Gere

I have a small group of single friends and when we often get together we chat about our single lives in Sex-and-the-city style. Why are we single, why can’t we find a man, why, why, why. In one such discussion, one male friend says: “Maybe we want romance from the movies”

We all sat silently for a few seconds as waves of flashbacks of our most favourite romance movies filled our heards. Is that what many of us were searching for? A movie romance?

I remember my first experience with Pretty Woman, a Hollywood romance with a difference. My eyes filled with tears when an acrophobic “knight” Richard Gere (Edward Lewis) walks up the emergency staircase, branding an umbrella as a sword replacement on one hand and flowers on the other, to a patiently waiting Julia Roberts (Vivian ‘Viv’ Ward) or when Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack Dawson) gave his floating board (or was it a door?) to Kate Winslet (Rose DeWitt Bukater) in Titanic (My male and female friends cried during that one).

Even though those movies were released years apart, when I do see them again, I can’t help wanting to be a Hollywood whore and an English heiress at the same time. If Vivian and “Cinda-fucken-rella” could find love, there was hope for me and hope for all my single friends.

Perhaps there is hope, but in reality, romance is not as Oscar deserving as Hollywood would have us believe. The best place to put romance to the test is when a person proposes to their partner. For example, reality kicked in when three

female friends recently got engaged. The words: “Alan and I got engaged this weekend” from a woman are often followed by synchronised gasps of: “Oh my god”, as eager women (single and non-single) swarm around the announcer. This is shortly followed by: “How did he pop the question?” We all want to know, perhaps to compare it to our other girlfriends or even…yes, compare it to Hollywood. Silently wondering: Did Alan jump out of a plane, pull the parachute chord to reveal the words:” I luv U. Will U marry me?” Or did he rent one of those planes that have the same words dragging behind the plane.

In all three engagements it was a sweet and somewhat normal proposal. A romantic dinner or a romantic picnic. The ring box in the pocket. The words I love you, and then …*drumroll* – the question. You get to realise that the joy of romance should not be compared to the movies but be enjoyed and appreciated as it is in your life. And for all my friends who are waiting for the ultimate Hollywood romance to knock them off their feet, and take them away in a white horse, into the sunset…fogertaboutit (said in an Italian accent)!