(July 12) Everything I Learned, I Learned From Hollywood

After marathons of public displays of affection and constant public appearances, even Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck got sick of themselves. ( Elizabeth Sinclair-Smith)

After marathons of public displays of affection and constant public appearances, even Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck got sick of themselves. ( Elizabeth Sinclair-Smith)


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When I was younger, one of the ways I learned was through fables. So, this week I’m sharing a little fable of my own:

One upon a time, there was a prince and princess.

Princess Jennifer overcame battles in the land called Bronx and one day, randomly gave herself the titles of Princess and J.Lo. Although she made them both up, the people went along. She had a wonderful singing career and a fairy godmother who somehow ensured people continued to watch her subpar movies, so those were quite successful as well (although no one else knew how).

Prince Ben also had a successful movie career once upon a time, but after losing his faithful companion Duke Matt Damon, he starred in films such as “Reindeer Games” and “Paycheck,” and had now fallen on hard times.

The prince and princess were happy together until one day they realized that people couldn’t stop talking about this monster called Bennifer. In terror, the village people started to flee the kingdom until there was not even a single subject left to watch over their daughter, Gigli.

One day, the prince and princess walked past a mirror and realized that all their time together had turned them into a two-headed beast attached at the hip! They were the evil monster known as Bennifer, and the reason no one wanted to watch the baby princess Gigli.

So without much further ado, this week’s lesson is also conveniently the name of one of Miss Lopez’s films: Enough!

No one likes too much of a good thing. Even your favorite CD easily downgrades to the status of “coffee table coaster” if the songs become overplayed. Similarly, while it’s always nice to see two people fall madly for each other, you never want it to reach the point of combining names. Being called John&Jane is not the same as being called “babe” or “darling”–it’s not a pet name you want.

Appearing at red carpet events, or, in our case, major parties, together is fine. Appearing at everything together is the romantic equivalent of swallowing a whole spoonful of mustard. That is, turning something that was great in moderation into a disgusting (and often slimy) punishment for all involved.

Overexposure of a couple makes people bored and forces those in your company to make certain accommodations. For example, no one likes to be a third wheel, so your friend will be forced to call for backup.

As one half of a relationship, you make enough sacrifices without needing to lose your complete identity as well. First you dress up, then you dress down, then you have to look at the person you are used to seeing dressed-up dressed-down and still want to take them out with you.

Showing up without your significant other once in a while won’t make your friends uncomfortable, awkward or disgusted. Constantly making out in their presence will. Giving yourselves a few choice outings away from each other will be healthy for yourselves, your friends and your relationship.

I’m not saying that it’s not good to share interests and learn from each other; it’s just that you are not obligated to share all your interests. If she doesn’t like shopping, grab your best friend and let her take the day off. If he doesn’t like poker, get the girls together for a game night and don’t make him sit around watching. (Hey, I’m all about crushing stereotypes.)

A strong bond in a couple is a beautiful thing, as long as it stays away from the “us against the world” mentality. Bennifer are a perfect example of this, TomKat are on their way to becoming one as well. The greater the public backlash, the more people seem to shut everyone out. Declining to hang out with you two as a couple is not an insult to the matchup, it’s merely a request for some one-on-one time.

If personal experience isn’t enough motivation for you to heed my advice, think of the fiasco known as “Gigli.” Remember the name? Probably. But do you remember anything about it besides the fact that it tanked like the Titanic (the boat, not the movie; the movie did fabulously)? Probably not. That’s expected because it was severely overshadowed by the never-ending PDA of the leading couple.

Don’t let your social life become another Gigli. Spend some time apart from each other, that way when you are out together, it will be welcomed as an eagerly awaiting photo op.