So, I saw a post by @trinity23rose in the Westallen tag indicating that she hates Westallen because she doesn’t have a love like Barry and Iris love each other. I’m not sure if she meant to imply that in some way, she finds the sort of comparatively tepid, casual affection Barry and Caitlin have for each other to be more attainable and thus she likes it more?
But…look. People need to take it from me. Westallen is important for this very reason. Because “I hate it because I don’t have it” dovetails all too neatly into “And therefore I believe it doesn’t exist.” And that eventually becomes “And so I will settle for less than I deserve because that kind of tepid, casual affection is realistically the best that can be had in love.”
I’ve been a Clois fan for at LEAST 25 years. (Oh my god.) I remember watching LnC as a tween and thinking “I would love to find a love like that…but that kind of love doesn’t exist.”
I watched other shows where the guy would kind of notice the girl when it was convenient for plot but was really quite selfish in love. On/off relationships. More emotional investment was required by the girl than the guy. And I didn’t consciously do it, but I learned the lesson “if you find an otherwise good guy who’s kind of like that in relationships…really the best that can be expected.” I decided that’s not what I wanted long-term so at that point, I decided I would never get married.
I did date. In law school, I basically lived with this guy. Law school’s tough. It was nice to go through it with someone. One day, middle of winter in Cleveland, he asks if I can drive him to school early the next day. Sure, I say, but my car has to go to the shop after I get out of class the next evening because the steering would go out when it rained (kinda terrifying). So I could drive him in the next morning if he could drive me in the day after. After all, we were expecting a few feet of snow.
I drive him in the next morning, no problem. Take my car to the shop. Morning after comes and…“Hey, time to get up. You said you would take me to school.” “…Yeah…I’m really tired. Can’t you walk?”
Tepid, casual affection. Well, that’s what guys are LIKE, right? So I walked. And on the way, I slipped on some ice and got hit by a car. Not hard, but I was on crutches for a few days.
Two days later, my neighbor/friend who was a doctor stops by to ask how I’m doing. I’m not there but this was apparently the conversation.
“How’s Jade doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is she feeling better? She screwed up her leg pretty bad when she was hit by that car.”
“She was HIT BY A CAR?” (Yes, I had told my boyfriend what had happened.)
“It’s why she’s been on crutches for two days. Didn’t she tell you?”
“Wait, she’s been on crutches? I didn’t notice.”
And that’s the key part there. “I didn’t notice.” When she told me this, we laughed. That’s what guys are like, right? They don’t notice things. Even obvious things. Like when they person you profess to love is on crutches.
I finally broke it off with him when I mentioned something to him I knew I’d told him about every week for a year and a half and he said “you’ve never mentioned that to me.” I mean, not noticing something is just What Guys Do, I guess, but a year and a half seemed excessive.
I remember about two years later, sitting on my mom’s couch, and she said I’d meet my own Clark Kent and we’d have a love like Clois’s someday. And I said to her “mom…come on. Guys like that and love like that doesn’t exist.”
About three months later, I met my husband. Yeah, he made a liar out of me.
Two weeks after we started dating, he messaged me to say he had to take care of something for work and could we push back our date for an hour? “Yeah,” I responded. “That’s more important! Go take care of it and let me know when you’re done.” “No,” he responded. “It’s NECESSARY, but just because it’s necessary doesn’t make it more important. Having dinner with you is more important to me, it’s just necessary I get this done before 5.”
On our second date, he made me a goofy little drawing I accidentally left on the table at the restaurant. It was thrown out. I mentioned I was bummed because I wanted to keep it, and I pretty much forgot about it. Two years later, he recreated that drawing for our wedding day because “You mentioned you wanted to keep it and it made you were sad when it was thrown away. So I wanted you to have one you could keep.”
I’ve posted before that his mom told me “if we ever want him to do something, we tell him we think it’ll make you happy. He won’t do it if it’s just for him or if he thinks we just want it. But if he thinks it’ll make you happy, he’ll do it immediately, no questions asked.”
I mean, I could go on. But obviously, a far cry from the kind of tepid, casual affection I’d come to expect, having learned what love looks like from too many television shows that normalized “that’s just the way guys are. They don’t pay attention. It’s normal for the woman to put more work into the relationship than the man. What else can you expect?”
You can - and should - look at the kind of love Westallen have and think “I want a relationship like that someday.” But rather than hating it because you don’t have it and coming around to tell yourself “it doesn’t exist which is why I don’t have it” you should be using it as an example of the kind of love you deserve. The kind of relationship you deserve. So you don’t spend time settling for less - for tepid, casual affection.
Love like exists between Westallen, between Clois, DOES exist out there. If anything, we need more love stories like it on television so we can stop teaching girls early to settle for less because “that’s just the way it works.”
It isn’t. It doesn’t have to be. And everyone deserves more than that.