Some Life Lessons from “Pretty Woman”

You’re perfectly allowed to be horrified at this statement:

I have never seen Pretty Woman before.

I know. I’m a 24-year-old girl and I’ve never seen it. To be fair, according to D at work, I’m quite uneducated when it comes to films (you should definitely follow her on Twitter because she’s ace). So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Anyway, go get back to the point – I’ve now watched it. And I have discovered a few life lessons from this film, which I thought I would share with you all.

1. Richard Gere is the Perfect Man
I have a massive crush on Richard Gere – I think An Officer and a Gentleman basically ruined my love life because no one will ever match up to Richard. Ever. And I think Pretty Woman just proves it. This guy not only looks hot in uniform BUT he willingly hands over his credit card? Like I said. Perfect. Man.

2. What you wear matters
Once I got over the shock of realising just how many 80s fashions have snuck back in (and how many are in my wardrobe) I started to pay real attention to the outfits. Mainly because they’re integral to the plot. Firstly, if you want to be seen as a hooker, wear thigh-high shiny pleather boots (and for extra realism, keep some condoms in them). Secondly, if you want to be “accepted in to society”, wear hats and gloves with some matching shorts-and-blazer combo with shoulder pads.

Anyway, the real transformation comes with the introduction of The Red Dress. The call-girl becomes a woman, and this is probably the moment that Richard Gere falls irrevocably in love (hint: it started at the polo match and now it’s incurable).

So, the Pretty Woman tip to take from this: look like a hooker and the man of your dreams will pay you for the night… look like a woman and the man of your dreams will fall in love with you forever and ever and ever.

[Can I also add in my opinion on this – my favourite outfits of all were the spotty dress at the polo match and the white blazer dress she wears coming back from shopping … and I couldn’t help but snigger every time Julia Roberts ruined the “beautiful woman” image by stomping. I only hope it was intentional.]

3. Keep surprising people
Never stay predictable. I don’t mean go on a psychopathic rampage (because gore just isn’t attractive and prison visits are not the most romantic setting), I just mean that you shouldn’t be afraid of being yourself and doing what you want to do. And that means, every now and then, surprising your potential soulmate. Keep some dental floss in your bag like Julia Roberts, or admit to liking cheesy zombie films even though your favourite colour is pink, quote some Buffy or Big Bang Theory over first date cocktails, or start a conversation on the origins of the human race. When your potential soulmate meets you, you’re going to have to make it memorable. Maybe have a pet badger or something?

4. Keep your distance (or: The significance of kissing on the mouth)
I’m not saying the literal implementation of the “no kissing on the mouth” rule, I’m going for a more metaphorical interpretation. Like the whole “no kissing until the third date” or “no sleeping with someone you met less than 12 hours ago” rules, there’s a lot to be said for holding back for a little while. Unlike all these romantic stories, your potential soulmate may only remain a potential soulmate, and your real soulmate might still be out there (try Serendipity for a bit of are-they-aren’t-they love mangles). What if you jump in feet first and realise down the line that you’re going for the wrong person (typically this happens at the altar, which makes things hugely embarrassing). So just hold back for a while, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and don’t kiss until your third date…

5. “Haters gonna hate”
I’m going to admit that I’m a little ashamed I even wrote that. But I failed to think of anything wittier. So there we have it. Those people who don’t like you now? They’re not going to like you in the future. Sorry. They’re just not. Julia Roberts was rejected simply by the way she looked. The best bit? When she goes back and throws it back their faces. You are better than those people who don’t like you. Honestly. So, by all means, rub it in that you’re better than them. Just keep in mind, they’re always going to hate (and it’s a massive cliché, but it’s only because they’re jealous). Just remember that it’s not worth the time and effort to try and make them like you – just spend your shedloads of money elsewhere and then drop by to make them realise they made a massive mistake!

6. Old films are the cure
I have long believed this. Old films can cure any ill. And do you know how I know? Because, not only have I experienced the curative powers of Charade and Some Like it Hot and Dr. No first hand, but Julia Roberts also uses the wonder of the old film in an attempt to cure Richard Gere of his workaholic-ism.

Vivian: Let’s watch old movies all night… we’ll just veg out in front of the TV.
Edward Lewis: Veg out?
Vivian: Yeah. Be still like vegetables. Lay like broccoli.

I also love the image of broccoli lying around.

7. Nothing wrong with being spoiled
My absolute favourite scene in Pretty Woman is when Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts shopping and makes sure she gets absolutely spoiled. This film, as well as Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, proves without a shadow of doubt that there is nothing wrong with spoiling yourself every now and then (just avoid getting your head chopped off). So, when you have Richard Gere’s credit card (because he’s off somewhere doing something manly in a uniform, whilst bonding with a puppy and singing about some razzle dazzle) I think you are completely, and utterly entitled to spend it all on you. What can I say – we’re worth it!

8. Have a special song
This is not just something from Pretty Woman. This is from every romantic film ever. You and your potential soulmate must have a special song. How else are they going to seduce you from the garden when you’re ready to leave forever, all heartbroken and stuff? Think John Cusack with a boombox in Say Anything… or Heath Ledger dancing along the steps in 10 Things I Hate About You, and now add in Richard Gere standing out the sun roof of a limo in Pretty Woman. So, have a decent romantic (meaningful) song in readiness to win the heart of your loved one around.

9. You only realise your true feelings once they’ve gone
It happens over and over again. You fall in love, you don’t realise you’re in love, you fall out with your soulmate and they prepare to leave, but then you realise that you really are in love with them and have to stop them getting on that bus/plane/boat/train and leaving you forever. So far, not even Pretty Woman has given me the solution to getting around this tricky situation. Which is why I have learnt tip number 10.

10. Always have a limo on hand
– – – Sub-note: always live on the top floor
There is nothing attractive about turning up to announce your undying love all sweaty and out of breath. Also, you will probably have to move pretty quickly because you’ll probably leave this to the last minute and have to rush to the bus station/airport/harbour/railway station. So the next trick is to always have a limousine on hand to take you there (remember to make sure said limo has a sound system suitable to play your special song [see life lesson no.8] unless you’re planning to take a boombox with you).

The sub-note is for the soulmate you are going to find. Make sure you’re on the top floor. If you haven’t got one foot on the bus/train/boat, and if you’re not going through security of the airport lounge, then you definitely need to have a top floor apartment. It’s far more romantic to look out and down to your soulmate – complete with limo and special song – looking up at you and imploring you to stay; and then you have to run down into their arms. It’s terribly romantic.


1 Comment

Filed under Films

One response to “Some Life Lessons from “Pretty Woman”

  1. Ah, shoulder pads… *laughs* *shudders*
    And now I have to go watch 10 Things I Hate About You because I’d forgotten how much I LOVE that scene with Heath Ledger dancing on the stadium steps! Great post!!

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