In a nutshell: I hate them. I really, really hate them.
When I was in middle school, Titanic came out. A classmate came in one day and raved about it: “Oh my God, I’ve seen it like four times already, and it’s sooooooo good.” Why, says I? He dies. A lot of people die. It’s four hours long. What’s the point? She looked at me, shocked. “It’s for the romance.” But so many people suffer, I said. “Yeah, that’s the point.”
Clearly, I didn’t get it. I have seen Titanic and I still don’t get it (no offense, Leo, but you never did it for me), but it’s the heart-wringing and tear-shedding and nose-honking and mucous-dripping that I can’t stand. I mean, why put yourself through all of that when it doesn’t even end happily?
Apparently, there’s something about the bittersweet that tugs those heartstrings, however unwanted. People say it’s about the journey, or the growth, or even about the self-fulfilment reached at the end. But me, I don’t like the ambiguous or unhappy endings. I don’t like all the tears shed, which makes my nose runny and leaves me feeling like I’ve been wrung out. I have enough drama in my life, thank you very much – I do not need the extra yo-yoing of emotions. And I emphatically do not like not having a happily-ever-after, especially after all the suffering that came before.
Some stories temper the bitter with the promise of an afterlife together in eternity, or through reincarnation. So cue heaps and heaps of Asian legends, as well as the occasional story. (Butterfly Lovers? Geez, talk about depressing.), I can’t think of one that I’ve read, because although I’m sure I’ve read some good ones, I can’t recall them. Maybe I subconsciously blocked them from memory.
Which means I’ve never watched Love Story or A Walk to Remember, I am definitely not re-reading A Knight in Shining Armor or The Silver Metal Lover, and it’s a toss-up whether I’ll even pick up The Time Traveller’s Wife or To Hell with Love. (Although I’ve heard such good things about the latter that I might, just might, do that. If I see it in the library.)
Bittersweet, in short, is not my thing.
Do you like bittersweet stories? Why or why not? Which are your favourites?