1. Eat a lot. Eat so much and so often that when the topically ethnic eatery takes your order over the phone they can ask a) if you want your usual and b) if this will be for a large number of people (comically emphasizing how much food you eat by yourself). The most important reason for all this eating? To remind the audience that you are SO not weight-conscious. You’re just an average size 2-4 that eats her weight in egg rolls every night.
2. Work at an ambiguously creative job that is somehow simultaneously all-consuming and high-powered but also allows you lots of free time to do average girl things like watch black-and-white movies or go jogging or drink martinis on your lunch hour. Possible career paths: sculptor, photographer, fashion designer, undercover journalist, wedding planner, pie artisan, vague creative-type person in advertising firm. Looking for a more serious, grown-up job? You an also be a chiropractor, campaign manager, or prostitute. If you work for a woman, she should be ruthless but funny.
3. Live in a trendy loft with exposed beams and brick walls. Be sure to mumble something about rent control a third of the way through the movie to remind everyone that even though you have a 1200 sq ft apartment in New York City, you are still totally average and romantically comedic.
4. Have a slightly overweight and/or hopelessly dysfunctional BFF with whom to share your loneliness and pain. Or a neurotic, over-the-top gay man friend. The point is…someone who is not a threat to your love life because there is zero chance that anyone will find them as charming or attractive or adorably average as you.
5. Own an answering machine so that every night when you get home, you get to hear, “You. have. no. messages” and are reminded that you are pathetic and alone.
6. Have adorable flaws. These can include: southern or Bronx-type accents, snorting when you laugh, knowing all the words to terrible pop songs, wearing big cardigans with sweats when you decorate your tiny apartment Christmas tree, or inexplicable clumsiness that causes you to constantly slip, trip, run into things, or spill drinks on men’s pants. TIP: Be super embarrassed when you exhibit one of these flaws in front of a PSM (potential soul mate). Look flustered, don’t make eye contact, ramble on and on, offering a myriad of excuses that don’t make sense until you finally look up and catch him staring at you. Wait three seconds and then ask, “What are you staring at?” while self-consciously tucking a strand of hair behind your ear.
7. Always jump to conclusions. Assume the worst. Never ask for clarification. If the girl with him is whispering in his ear, it’s not his sister, it’s definitely his girlfriend who he is cheating on. With you. If you show up looking for him and the doorman tells you, “Mr. PSM is on his way to the wedding,” it’s definitely too late. If he made a bet with his friends for any number of reasons, it was obviously only to humiliate you. You can’t forgive him. Be sure to dramatically storm out of a huge public event, crying. If you have been given jewelry, throw it. Caveat: Unless he runs after you. And it’s raining. And he proceeds to list all your flaws and why you drive him crazy and why he can’t imagine his life without you in it because even though you are totes average, he has fallen under your spell. And there’s a close-up on his face and his eyes are totally sincere. Then you can forgive him. But don’t have a conversation. Just kiss him as the shot pans out.
*Teen rom-coms are a subset of the romantic comedy and have an entirely different rules. Maybe they deserve their own post?