Nicholas Sparks sinister face

Nicholas Sparks in is the business of making beautiful people more beautiful by packaging them in storylines that make teenage girls swoon and single women weep before they fall asleep at night. Unfortunately, these seemingly epic love stories are dangerous to women who bear a delicate psyche, because they begin to believe that just around the corner is the white knight, the sexy visiting urban cowboy, the modest millionaire.

And while it's important to remain hopeful about your romantic future, it's more important to be realistic.

They say every love story is special, but what I wouldn't give to see that Longest Ride cowboy inhale that city girl's salmonella farts while holding a warm plastic grocery bag full of vomit. Remember ladies, your meet-cute scene will happen; it just won't include billionaire Christian Gray. Instead, feast your eyes on Tom, the recently unionized plumber; Aaron, the sporadically absent pilot; and Nico, the perpetually unemployed idea man saddled with 100k in student loans (but who makes a mean chicken tamale). They are all yours for the realistic taking.

Nicolas Sparks screenplays only work because everyone is ridiculously hot. If that cowboy looked like a hairy overweight Vin Diesel, it wouldn't have made it past pre-production… well, unless this was New Jersey.

These Nick Sparks characters are inspired from fiction and eagerly casted by those who could never make it as leading actors. So the lesser beautiful people of Hollywood go to work casting the ridiculously good-looking actors with glee, knowing that they get to bed them first before alerting their agent that they got the part. The leading man may be a serial monogamist on screen, but off the sound stage he is being passed around like a Game of Thrones whore.

After all, Entourage isn't a sitcom…. it's a documentary. Ask Mark Wahlberg.

Life isn't like it is in the movies, it's all smoke and mirrors—even the leading man abs are painted on. This is true. I painted abs onto the men in my college production shows. In movies you'll never see abs during a pouring rain scene, but they'll be sculpted by a paint brush for your viewing pleasure in every sweaty love scene (sweat on screen is a light coat of Evian mist, or tap water out of a spray bottle, depending on the actor's contract). But the bottom line is, that humbly successful Wall Street broker with perfect abs does not stick around with the rural cowgirl. In real life the small town girl stays in the small town, gets her master's degree online, and marries her high school boyfriend, because the big city boy had an aversion to cornfields and a severe allergic reaction to horses. I know, I've seen it.

Aidan Turner has abs painted on movie set

But Simonne, you're missing the metaphor!!! True love conquers all!! It's literature meant to inspire!

No ladies, it does not. It sets delusive expectations.

Real love is taking care of someone when they have food poisoning at three in the morning. It exists in the tenderness your significant other treats you with when they find you naked on the toilet puking into a plastic bag while simultaneously crapping out those overpriced imported birthday oysters your credit card sprang for earlier in the evening. I know this. I lived through it.

They say that every love story is special, but what I wouldn't give to see that Longest Ride cowboy inhale that city girl's salmonella farts while holding a warm plastic grocery bag full of fresh vomit. That doesn't really paint the picture for a seductive love scene does it?

No, that scene isn't marketable at all, but that's what real love is, not choosing whether to stay rural or go urban. Relocating is an easy choice. You pick one and if you don't like it you just rent a U-Haul and move back. It's just trying something new. Lots of people try out New York and move back home to South Dakota. There's no shame in just breaking up with your apartment's landlord. It's not scary.

Scary is when the one you love needs a kidney and you're the only match, but you suspect he only loves you because he needs your kidney. That was the B-story on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Always keeping it real that Shonda Rhimes.

So for the record….

  • Real love is performing in Vegas every night for five years to pay off your husband's $100 million gambling debt. Celine Dione I'm looking at you.
  • Real love is not getting to spend high school kissing Ryan Gosling, only to grow up to kiss James Mardsen and grow old forgetting which hot stud muffin you chose to kiss forever.
  • Real love is taking care of your Parkinson's-diagnosed husband with grace and good humor. Cheers to you, Mrs. Marty McFly.
  • Real love is not seeing your first love released from prison without a single tear on his asshole or a tear drop tattooed on his upper cheek.
  • Real love is watching your ex-boyfriend and best friend fall in love, then showing up to their wedding six years later without holding a grudge and making a scene.
  • Real love is not leaving dog shit under the handle of your ex-boyfriend's car when he leaves you for your best friend—regardless of how good it feels.
  • Real love is spending the rest of your life working through your SO's PTSD—and not complaining about it one bit.
  • And finally, real love is not getting matching tattoos. These two kids in my grad program fell hard and fast for each other. They were very young. The kind of young love where long-term decisions are fun to make because the consequences are so far into the future they don't even exist. But now, out there somewhere is a woman who has "true love" tattooed in Latin on the underside of her wrist while her partner coexists with another woman who has to stare at "is forever" on his wrist every day as a reminder that he doesn't always make the best decisions.

I asked a recently married friend what it was like being married to his soulmate. Things don't seem to last long in our generation and this includes relationships. He said it was nice having someone there when he needed it, but missed the ability to flirt and get random blowjobs from other women. He doesn't feel as desired as he used to. Women don't offer to buy him drinks anymore; he just drinks a pitcher by himself, in the corner of an Applebee's.

I'm not trying to be a downer but when you're in a long-term relationship, people change. They grow out of you. Ladies, think how great acid wash jeans were when we were kids. Could you commit to acid wash jeans for the rest of your life if Tom the plumber showed up to your broken toilet wearing them? Probably not. Could you do it if James Mardsen showed up in them? No, but he'll always hold a place in your Netflix queue—and that's exactly where they should stay.