It is 2100 and some students get together to study the important events that occurred from 2020 to 2021. One of the students suggests that something that can help them understand the strange society of 80 years ago is to watch movies that were popular at the time. They are excited to see a piece of the past that was frozen in those movies, they sit down to understand the complicated minds of the people of that remote era, which surely offered profound insights after going through a global crisis that threatened the end of the planet as the pandemic was. So, they ask their grandma what was popular at the time, and she says proudly, The kissing booth.
Don't think I'm pretentious and only watch indie movies or movies that look for the meaning of life. I'm a fan of teen movies and low-budget, cliché, illogical romantic comedies. But The Kissing booth is not only a low budget, cliché and illogical movie, it's also a danger to any teenage girl who watches it.
A friend posted a story on instagram in which she reposted a picture of the three main characters in this movie: Noah, Elle and Lee. Underneath, she wrote how much she would love to be Elle and have a best friend like Lee and a boyfriend like Noah. A few days later she uploaded another story in which she said she would like to have a boyfriend to watch him play football and to cheer him on. The plot of the trilogy can be summarized as a girl planning her whole life around two boys. She had a best friend who told her who she could and couldn't date, told her where to go to college, how to organize her time and her summer and complained if she didn't devote 24 hours a day to him, which of course she had to obey because of rules they had written when they were six years old and which only he claimed when he wanted something. Everything was justified by a ridiculous list that not only conditioned Elle's desires, but also said that he had to give an ice cream as a gift to ask for forgiveness. I think he was more of a demanding baby than a best friend. And Noah, who is also her best friend's brother, was even worse, I guess being an unbearable and macho man ran in the family: when he was not yet her boyfriend, he would beat up the boys who wanted to talk to the protagonist. Obviously he didn't apply this exclusivity to himself, who like any good alpha male dated a lot of women. And when they officially dated, all he did, like his brother, was ask her to make crucial decisions based on what he wanted.
Why does the plot of teen movies have to be about a woman deciding between her desires and those of a man who would never give up his for her?
What does it mean to want to have a boyfriend like Noah to cheer him on when he plays football and to have a friend like Lee?
It means being spectators of their lives. Watching them play soccer, going with them to their dream college, dedicating the whole summer to them and just being there for them, while we sit in the stands, watching the game and never playing.
That's what these movies are telling millions of teenage girls around the world, including my friend. It's okay if they write you a list of 21 rules that you have to follow, it's okay to hit boys who want to talk to you, it's okay to be forced to go to a college you don't like, it's okay to want a boyfriend like Noah and a friend like Lee.
To the list of best friends, I would add one more thing, it is completely forbidden to plan your life around two boys.