Girls on Film

Seeing a movie is the most popular thing to do on a date. This is probably because it allows you to sit in the dark with someone of the opposite sex without actually having to talk to them. At least, you shouldn’t be talking to them. If you are talking, then, you know, shut up.

Because of this, we have a genre of movies called “date movies.” Now, when we say “date movie,” of course we mean “a movie women like.” Most date activities are centered around whether the woman will enjoy herself, with little regard for whether the man has any fun. I would like to think this is out of chivalry, but I suspect it’s more because men don’t care what happens on the date, as long as there’s some action at the end of it. A man would gladly endure a date that consisted of going to flower shows and reading magazines in a gynecologist’s waiting room if he thought there were a chance of even a peck on the cheek at the end of it.

Date movies are films that have very little profanity or nudity, no strong violence, and not a single original thought in them. They are made from templates by factory workers.

A date movie is usually about a smart, pretty career woman with short hair who is successful in life but unlucky in love. She really wants a man — but not in a pathetic, “I need to be validated” kind of way. She could totally do without a man altogether because she is self-sufficient, but she happens to WANT one, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Then, there’s a guy who is kind of a womanizing jerk, but in a cute way. The woman hates him because he’s a womanizing jerk, but then she starts to see his tender side because he’s cute. By the end of the movie, they are together. It doesn’t matter what happens in the middle, as long as they have sex (discreet, nudity-free sex) and as long as one or both of them walks in the rain at some point. A soundtrack featuring a love ballad by a popular rock band wouldn’t hurt, either.

Date movies cannot contain any violence. The only exception is if the cute womanizing jerk has to punch a non-cute womanizing jerk in the face in defense of the career woman with short hair.

So what separates date movies, which couples allegedly enjoy together but which are actually only enjoyed by women, from full-blown “chick flicks,” which men actively despise? Here’s what:

• In a date movie, the couple winds up together at the end. In a chick flick, one of them dies.

• A date-movie protagonist should have one wacky friend who offers sardonic advice and is not prettier than the protagonist. (This friend may be a gay man instead.) The male lead may also have friends, but they should not be better-looking than the lead (though they may be funnier) (but not more charming). A chick-flick protagonist can have an entire beauty parlor full of advice-giving friends.

• Date-movie protagonists may be male or female, but there must be at least one (1) of each in order to make the requisite couple. A chick flick, on the other hand, might have no more testosterone than what’s in Bette Midler.

• In a date movie, both the male and female leads must be attractive (e.g., Tom Cruise movies). In a chick flick, everyone can be ugly (e.g., Richard Gere movies).

• The worst thing that happens to a date-movie character is that he or she might get an adorable cold or have a cute allergy. In a chick flick, someone will have cancer.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies! I’ll be the one cuddling with a woman during the brain-eating scene in “Hannibal.”

This began as a review of "Someone Like You," which is a date movie. It was while writing it that I had my epiphany about the difference between date movies and chick flicks. I decided to break it off into its own column.

And there are two different categories here. Many things we dismiss as chick flicks are actually just date movies. Chick flicks include "Steel Magnolias" (the quintessential chick flick, in my opinion), "Titanic," "Anne of Green Gables" and all Jane Austen movies. Date movies include "What Women Want," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Jerry Maguire." Note that each of these has a man as its main character, which automatically disqualifies it from being a chick flick.

By the way, I have no actual evidence to back up the claim I make in the first sentence of this column. It sounds like I'm quoting a study or something, but I'm not. I'm just quoting me.

This column prompted an angry letter -- and I do mean a letter, not an e-mail or a phone call. A good old-fashioned letter sent through the U.S. mail. This was so the writer could remain anonymous, however, and not through any Ludditism. The return address said P.O. Box 50567, Provo, Utah, 84605, in case you want to write back to her. As you read her letter, try to figure out what she's actually angry about. If you figure it out, let me know, because I'm baffled.

Mr. Snider,

I try not to read your column. [Not very hard, apparently.] It angers me. However, I must be a sucker for punishment because I go back to it when I have time to open my Daily Herald. I don't know that I can be entirely constructive with my criticisms of your column because I think you are an idiot. 'Snide Remarks' should be re-titled 'Ignorant Bliss' by Mr. Dumb Ass. If your aim is to be the Dave Barry or Robert Kirby of Utah Valley, you're a far cry off. Not only are your little commentaries completely off base, they are poorly written as well. Perhaps you should consider a writing course [I took several, actually...] from somewhere other than UVSC [...when I was at BYU]. It might also be a good idea to listen to the instructor this time. Today's column, 'Only women love those date movies'is a prime example.

Are you really so provincial to think that a date is for the woman's enjoyment only? If that were the case, wouldn't men save themselves the trouble and either solicit a prostitute or find themselves a nice mail-order bride? Where did you find your lovely wife? Russia? [Did she just manufacture a wife for me out of her imagination and then make a sarcastic remark about her? Yeah, I think she did.]

Incidentally, I challenge you to find a woman brassy enough to include a trip to the gynecologist as part of a date. This is NOT a fun activity by the way. [What?!] I'm sure however, that you would take a woman with you to the urologist. That's sure to give any woman a laugh. [And she's apparently the leading authority on what makes a woman laugh.]

I'm certain your grasp of the defining qualities of 'date movies' would hold even the most discerning professional movie critics in awe. Your closed-mindedness in describing these moves as those that only women love is yet another testimony to the smallness of your world and your pea-sized brain. Do you by any chance suffer from Small Man Syndrome? I would like to know who elected you to be the voice of men and what they despise. Could it be the same Nazis that encourage BYU students to inform on their neighbors and kick innocents out of their institution? [Wow, that was random.] Your column does give off that same moral high ground odor that often accompanies the obtuse.

Should we talk about the nearly unbearable sentence structure? 'might have no more testosterone than what's in Bette Midler.'? Any fifth grade student with average intelligence would be bothered by this. [Yet, apparently, not the six editors who read the column before it's printed, or any of my reader.] This particular inadequacy is present in every column of yours that I have read. ["So here are some more examples: Oh, wait, that's the only one I have. And it's not a very good one, since there's actually nothing wrong with that sentence. Sorry, forget I brought it up."?] Wake up and smell the stupidity Mr. Snider. [Oh, I'm smelling it, all right.] You are a tribute to the stereotype that has engulfed Utah Valley. If you don't know what I'm referring to, you really do need to get out into the real world. [Not to generalize, but that's how you know this is a woman writing: "If you don't know why, I'm not going to tell you."]

As for your comment that everyone can be ugly when it's a chick flick, you should hold that candle to yourself. A greater ugliness is not to be found.


Former reader

Did you spot what she was angry about? Trick question! It's not there! It would seem that she was upset by my generalizations about what kind of movies women like, but that couldn't possibly inspire such hatred, could it? I suspect that when you get down to it, Ann is just a humorless bastard.