the bellamy & bromance

Ralph Bellamy was a character actor, sometimes known for playing "the almost." The almost right guy. He’s the one viewers thought, even for a moment, our female protagonist might just fall for in the end. In his roles in The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday, Bellamy didn’t get (or belong with) the girl. Bill Pullman in Sleepless In Seattle, total Bellamy, but it’s Peter Gallagher who plays the Bellamy to Pullman’s Mr. Right in While You Were Sleeping. In Writing the Romantic Comedy, the author coins this role as "The Bellamy."

I spent so much of my single life with Bellamys, though the ones I chose, more often than not, were Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones Diary kind of Bellamys: funnel cake, and not so much celery. Except when I found myself dating a safe celery-of-a-guy, as secure and at ease as I felt, I also pined for other and felt unfulfilled.

It always pissed me off when my friends didn’t take us seriously, whomever the guy, just because he was the first guy out of the gate after the tragic breakup. What would be the chances, in all likelihood, after all? Come on. It’s how I felt when I was young, too, sensing that tone, the one that refused to validate my feelings, the one that didn’t understand why I let myself fall so hard, the one that said, "You didn’t really think you’d end up together, did you?" Why would a young person ever bother with a relationship if they knew it wouldn’t last? That one day it would inevitably end? If someone from the future could swoop in and say, "This won’t ever be the one, so don’t invest too much," would we live differently? Fight for it less, refuse to compromise? Would it give us strength to leave? Or would it make us hold on tighter?

17superbad600 We date, not because we think it will last forever. We date because there are no guarantees, because we never really know what will happen. We date to learn about ourselves and others. It’s never a waste. It’s never "so much wasted time," as long as we learn something from it. What I want to know is, what does the Bellamy learn, always being left, or picked last?

And what happens to someone who always ends up with the Bellamy? Can we ever really be happy, deeply fulfilled, if we believe we’ve settled?

I realize this is a disparate thought, but I’ve also been thinking about male friendships as they’re portrayed in film. Typically, there’s been a touching moment, then the guys clear their throats, grunting with some guttural sounds and hard pats on the back–not true to life. A subset of the romantic comedy genre, or even a trend that can stand on its own is: BROmance. I don’t necessarily mean chick flicks guys actually enjoy (Brick Flicks), but rather movies about two straight guys becoming closer as friends, sharing their "I love you man" moments, drunk or otherwise, which in the end, move the audience into sniffle territory. What I want to know is, what are we going to coin it when the Bellamy in a romantic comedy gets a little bromance on with Mr. Right, either in lieu of our female protagonist, or simply as a "bi-product"–pun kinda intended?



  1. I have to tell you that *I* myself didn't take my now-fiance seriously when we first started dating. . . simply because he was the first person I'd really dated after breaking up with my ex-fiance about six months before.

    Sure, the odds were against it, but it turned out he was a keeper. ;-)

  2. I LOVE this – having just gone through a horrid break up, I have gotten a few of the "Well, did you really think this would last?" questions. Um, yes, I DID! I wouldn't have spent time with someone if I didn't think it was real. At first I felt like a lot of time, money and cell phone minutes had been wasted but I realized that I am stronger than he – or anyone else – ever gave me credit, and I deserve what will make me happy.

  3. Are you saying that because the "Bellamy" character never ends up with the girl, he gravitates to a same sex relationship? That, of course, would imply that gays and lesbians are who they are by choice and we all know that's just a load-o-crap. I do like your musings on male on male relationships, though. I think we're certainly ready to see a good story about guy friendships. I'd like to think we're evolved enough not to jump to sexual conclusions. As far as the "Bellamys" of the world, I happen to think they're the sexiest of the lot.

    FROM SK: Of course not. I'm not at all implying that, by default, they'd turn to the same sex. And if it read that way, my bad. It was more a blending of the two sub genres, that's all. As for Bellamys or "the wrong guy" whether he's safe and humdrum or wickedly delicious, the point is, if you go for a Bellamy, you're settling. Can we be happy, truly, if we believe we're "settling?" Sure, there's the understanding that no one is perfect, but that aside, can one learn to be truly happy if they believe in their heart that they settled because of a need they couldn't wait to fulfill instead of holding out for something that would feel right–like they were the luckiest person ever.

  4. I am a happily married gal to my college bf, and reading SK's response to mebw made me think further, even though I liked the original post. Settling. Could we extrapolate that to settling for the Ann Taylor garb, when what you really want is the Marni (or Kate Spade or what-have-you)? Because the Kate Spade would over-extend you budget-wise, or just be a generally risky? Obviously. most people don't "shop" for mates (although by the looks of match.interwebs, you might think that is what they are selling). But, sometimes, I feel like settling is more of a matter of getting over yourself. Or not. You just need to know yourself to know the difference.

  5. One woman's Bellamy is another woman's Ben Affleck.

    Falling in love isn't objective. What I think is a dream come true could be a nightmare to another.

    "That's the story of, that's the glory of love…"

  6. There are a few reasons I see for going for a Bellamy:
    1) You're afraid you can't do any better, or no better guy will come along for you – so you "settle"
    2) You just want to have some fun, not a serious relationship

    I could never bother with one myself. I'd rather be alone than in a relationship which I knew would fail. Of course, there is a possibility in every relationship that it could fail, but I'd never begin anything with a set expiry date – what's the point?
    When the man I lived with for 3 years turned to me one day and told me "I love you, but not enough to marry you" I replied "Then what the hell are we doing here" and broke up with him. I just can't be with someone without the possibility, or even hope, of a forever.

  7. "We date, not because we think it will last forever. We date because there are no guarantees, because we never really know what will happen. We date to learn about ourselves and others. It's never a waste. It's never "so much wasted time," as long as we learn something from it."

    yes, yes, yes. As someone who recently started something potentially Great with an older man then fairly haphazardly cut it off because he seemed full of fatalistic ideas about how it was such an "unlikely story" it was doomed to fail anyway, I really agree with this so much and was glad to read it in this entry.
    As much as most everyone, of course, aims for the long term in the end, I just don't believe in trying to anticipate everything from the get-go. I don't even believe in doing that once you've gotten to a certain age, the age where people start hearing "clocks ticking", because what'll you do? "I only expect this to start *forever*, no pressure or anything"? What kind of starting point with somebody is that?

  8. I like to think DamWrite is correct.

    Sometimes that Bellamy goes a good long while through life being the Nice Guy Who Never Gets The Chick. And then, when he thinks it's just not in the cards, he meets the right woman.

    And they live happily ever after.

    With lots of communication and some compromises.

  9. i sues to be the girl bellamy. i have so many tall, pretty (professional dancer) friends with such great style, and when we'd go out invariably all the male attention would turn to them.
    i ended up being a good conversationalist, making freinds, and mostly being the one my pals would talk to when they ended up dating the cutest guy at the bar.

    eventually though, i stopped believing that looks make one sexy or attractive. i mean, of course they do, but there's also, style, attitude, and sexuality. and i stopped feeling bad about myself because i wasn't the willowy blond that got a lot of male attention — even if it was the kind of male attention i wouldn't want, or from the kinds of guys i wasn't attracted to anyway.

    and thus, i started dating more, flirting more, and ended up no longer being a bellamy. in fact, now i can look back on a lot of scenarios where i wondered what was wrong with me, and see that the guy i wanted, well, i actually could have had him if i just had more self confidence and thought i was worth what i desired. so in many ways, bellamy-ness is a state of mind.

  10. 2 'guy' friendship flicks I liked (and saw recently) were
    'The Matador' (strangers becoming unlikely friends, and Pierce Brosnan is hilarious..) and 'Reign Over Me' with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle in serious dramatic roles. It's written by Mike Binder who also did Upside of Anger and an HBO (now canceled) show I liked. I've made my husband watch numerous romantic comedies with me and he was fine. But when we watched Adam Sandler breaking down in tears in front of Don Cheadle he said 'now that's not something you see very often". So true.

    And I agree with that NH wrote; you just have to know yourself..

  11. The BROmance/Bellamy stuff made me think of Aiden and Big meeting and eventually bonding on Sex and the City…

    Is it possible for women to be Bellamies? I've joked around for years about being a "rough draft" for several boyfriends who went on to marry girls a lot like me. If I am, in fact, a Bellamy I'm happy to say there's hope for us. I seem to have found the perfect combination of Bellamy/Leading Man – I don't feel like I'm settling one bit, but I do feel quite settled.

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