I always cry at weddings. So it makes sense that I would cry so much at my own. I got married on October 8 (that is still so strange to type), and I started tearing up almost immediately upon entering the church. I cried during my entire walk down the aisle, and through half of our ceremony. And then when I took photos with my grandmother and during my dad’s speech. (They were tears of joy, I promise!) But that was just on the wedding day.
I’m an easy crier. But I surprised even myself with the number of times I teared up in the week leading up to the wedding. And even I couldn’t believe it when Billy Crystal made me cry.
It was two nights before the wedding, and I was watching When Harry Met Sally. For the second time that night. (I think the TNT movie channel was created for women working on mindless crafting projects.) I was cutting and wrapping and organizing things for the weekend and half paying attention to the screen. But the second time I watched that scene where Harry professes his love to Sally, I started to cry and couldn’t stop.
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In this case, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t marrying someone like Harry. And it made me absurdly happy.
I’ve lived in New York City twice, for over a decade cumulatively. And I had no idea how much I’d internalized the plot of When Harry Met Sally until that point.
Billy Crystal’s character is so charming in the movie that he helped make generations of women think a small, easily distracted commitmentphobe could be the man of their dreams. And Harry’s monologue in that scene is the kind of thing that women wish men would say to them:
“I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
In the back of my mind, I always thought that I would likely end up with someone hilarious, who didn’t realize he wanted to settle down until he met me. And because I put a premium on finding someone who “got” me, I was undeterred by men who hadn’t yet figured out that they wanted to be in a relationship. I live in New York, the majority of the dating pool is either afraid of monogamy and/or boring.
But if I met someone, and we had a connection that developed over time, somehow it would work out – eventually.
And then I met Mark. Someone who got my jokes, understood my strengths, and liked my weird quirks without making me jump through the hoops of having a decade long friendship where we ignored our feelings for each other first.
From almost the moment we met, Mark let me know that he cared about me. He is smart and funny and awesomely fun, but I think his strongest quality might be how quickly and deeply he shares his affection for the things that he likes. And I’m lucky enough to be someone he loves.
We’ve been almost inseparable since we met at a friend’s party on the 4th of July two years ago, when he asked me out and put a great amount of effort into taking me to an amazing dinner a few nights later. I’ve felt extremely lucky to be with him the whole time. But it wasn’t until I actually rewatched the scene where Sally goes alone to that New Year’s party and Harry runs across town to explain why he loves her that I realized how lucky I was to be marrying someone who is nothing like Harry Burns.
Romantic comedies trick you into thinking that relationships have to be confusing and convoluted enough to warrant a break up montage that sets you up for the couple’s redeeming reconciliation. But in real life, sometimes you meet an amazing person who you just want to be around, without all the immature convoluted crap that people create when they’re not ready to let someone else into their life.
When Harry Met Sally is still a classic romantic comedy for me. The dialogue and banter between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is tremendous, and the chemistry between Harry and Sally makes the whole thing infinitely watchable.
Subconsciously, it made me want someone like Harry. Someone who understood all my weird quirks and strengths and loved me, not despite, but maybe even because of them. But real life isn’t always like the movies. And when I actually fell in love, I lucked into something much more amazing.
Looking at the odds, I probably shouldn’t have met Mark in New York. But I did. And my whole life is better off because of it. Which kind of makes me cry all over again.
(Top Photo: Rachel Hulin, Bird in the Hand Weddings)