Written by dating expert, Connell Barrett
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are seven famous fictional couples who have something to teach us about true love. As a dating coach with The League, I see Valentine’s Day as the perfect time to learn lessons about romance, courtesy of a few iconic couples from literature, film, and TV. Here’s some real wisdom from fake people.
Romeo and Juliet, “Romeo and Juliet”
TURN-ONS: Forbidden love, balconies
IN QUOTES: Says Romeo, “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!” You wonder—today, would they sext in iambic pentameter?
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Feuding families, rushing into marriage, poison. (Spoiler alert: Everybody dies!)
LOVE LESSON: Take things slow. Get to know someone before you commit. And if doesn’t work out, don’t take the “till death do us part” thing literally.
Lois Lane and Superman, “Superman”
TURN-ONS: Thwarting super-villains, aerial dating.
IN QUOTES: “I’ve got you,” Christopher Reeve tells Margot Kidder on a romantic rendezvous high above Metropolis in the 1978 movie. “You’ve got me!” she replies. “Who’s got you?”
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Lois is hot for Supe but barely knows Clark Kent exists. Poor guy. The Phantom Zone is easier to escape than the friend zone.
LOVE LESSON: The Man of Steel gives up his powers to date Lois, with disastrous results. Don’t change who you are for love. It can lead to pain, heartache, and General Zod conquering Planet Earth.
Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley, “The Office”
TURN-ONS: Inside jokes, pranking Dwight, their steamy first kiss on Casino Night.
IN QUOTES: Jim, when he finally tells Pam how he feels: “I was just—I’m in love with you.”
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Pam’s fiancé, Roy; Jim’s girlfriend, Karen.
LOVE LESSON: Stop pining for your crush and either make a move or move on. Jim took a risk and (eventually) married his soulmate. Fortune favors the bold.
Han Solo and Princess Leia, “Star Wars”
TURN-ONS: Sexual-tension-fueled banter. Solo: “You just can’t bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.” Leia: “I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain.”
IN QUOTES: “I love you,” Leia tells Solo. His cocky reply: “I know.”
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Pride, ego, being frozen alive in carbonite.
LOVE LESSON: Han finally drops the scoundrel mask and opens up. Bad boys are fun, but women want a man who can be vulnerable. (Bonus points if he has a cool ride like the Millennium Falcon.)
Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, “Brokeback Mountain”
TURN-ONS: Roughhousing, whiskey by the campfire, revealing their true feelings
IN QUOTES: In the movie’s most iconic dialogue, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character tells Heath Ledger, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” The line’s power lies in its universality. Who hasn’t fallen in love yet wished that they hadn’t?
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Societal norms. In 1960s Wyoming, two gay men working as ranch hands couldn’t openly live and love as their authentic selves.
LOVE LESSON: If you see a chance for real romance, take it—or risk years of heartbreaking regret. As Jack tells Ennis at the end of the novel, “Tell you what, we could a had a good life together.”
Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, “Pride and Prejudice”
TURN-ONS: Dowries, dancing, universal truths acknowledged
IN QUOTES: Defying the Regency Era’s view that Darcy has higher status than she does, Jane Austen’s Lizzie Bennet declares, “He is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman’s daughter. So far we are equal.”
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Bad first impressions. After they meet at a dance, prideful Lizzie feels wounded when she overhears the bachelor Darcy call her “tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me.”
LOVE LESSON: Don’t settle for someone because of their money, status or looks. See and accept the other person for their true worth, and ask that they do the same.
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, “The Muppet Show”
TURN-ONS: Nicknames (“Kermie”), banjo-playing. (Hey, women like guys in bands.)
IN QUOTES: “When you are in love with someone,” Miss Piggy says, “you want to be near him all the time—except when you’re out buying things and charging them to him.” (She needs to read Pride and Prejudice.)
ROMANTIC OBSTACLES: Kermit fears commitment, and Miss Piggy ends quarrels with karate chops (“Hiii-yah!”). They could use couples therapy.
LOVE LESSON: So what if you’re different people—or even different species? Love is love.
Connell Barrett is a dating coach with The League, founder of Dating Transformation, and author of the forthcoming book, Dating Sucks But You Don’t: The Modern Guy’s Guide to Total Confidence, Romantic Connection, and Finding the Perfect Partner.