Relationship Goals I learned from ‘Elf’

My day-job as Princess of Darkness is somewhat obscured in December since I unabashedly adore Christmas flicks. And on the top of my list? Brace yourself: I have a childlike obsession with Elf,  beloved to the point where I literally traipsed around as Buddy last year. But the gumdrop on top of this perfect gingerbread house of a film is this relationship between Santa’s most enthusiast elf and the delightfully deadpan Jovie (AKA our girl Zooey Deschanel). Their casually twee courtship is Christmastime #relationshipgoals to the max.

Though at first Jovie resists with plenty of side-eyes and “go aways,” there’s something about Buddy that warms her icy heart. Ok, he seems to have that effect on basically everyone, including his estranged father. But because this is, you know, a relationship column, we’re gonna zero in on the beauty of Elf’s B plot, the Buddy and Jovie arc. So grab my hand and join me as I recap everything Elf taught me about window gazing, coffee dates, and “the code” (wink).

A great way to bond with your crush is by singing together.

When Buddy first meets Jovie he mistakes her decorating as having an “affinity for elf culture” when really she’s like, nah, bro, just trying to get through the holidays. Their next encounter is a bit more serendipitous. Despite Jovie’s insistence that she’s not much of singer, Buddy catches her doing a rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and he joins in on the duet. How sweet. Hey, singing worked for the cast of White Christmasand it almost works here. Almost.

Another great way to bond with your crush is by lurking in the bathroom while they shower.

No, though.

Earnestness is sometimes strangely effective.

If you’ve read any of my previous columns you’ll know that I generally believe you shouldn’t violate a restraining order… or like, do anything that’ll get you a restraining order. I stand by that. However, I’ll cop that Buddy breaks his Gimbel’s ban for a cute reason: to ask out Jovie. And he does it in a precious, totally honest way. “I really wanted to see you, and…and I think you’re beautiful, and I, um…I feel really warm when I am around you. And, um, my tongue swells up,” he stammers, before adding,  “So…do you wanna go eat food?”

Granted, Buddy’s earnestness comes from a place where he’s entirely incapable of being suave and/or cynical. It’s refreshing, nonetheless, to hear someone ask someone else out in such a straightforward manner…and in person! What is this craziness? Naturally it works like a charm.

If you’re taking someone out on a date, it’s good to have some ideas. Bonus points if they are holly and/or jolly ideas.

Can I tell you a secret, because we’re such great friends? Whenever “You Make Me Feel So Young” starts playing my heart bursts, because Buddy and Jovie’s date montage is a level of adorableness I legitimately can’t comprehend. Taste-testing the world’s best cup of coffee? Skipping hand and hand, looking at Christmas trees? Skating in Rockefeller Center? I am mystified, genuinely mystified by this veritable melange of perfect yuletide activities, culminating with that “You missed!” kiss on the ice.

Gets me every time.

Now I don’t see this as an everyday possibility, at least for me, as the men I’m into can’t muster anything more ambitious than “Wayne’s World and chill.” Subzero low romantic expectations is par for the course of being 24 in my reality. But ugh, maybe someday (a thousand years from now) I’ll capture someone who can dedicate a day to the magic of the season. We all deserve that date at least once in our lives.

The right person for you brings out your best qualities…and helps you overcome your fears.

Jovie is introduced as guarded, and more than a little self-conscious about publicly singing. You, me, and everyone who owns A She & Him Christmas know there’s no reason she should be so insecure. But it’s Buddy who urges her to pipe up, declaring, “I think you have the most beautiful singing voice in the whole wide world.” It’s with his encouragement that she’s later able to lead civilians in a day-saving rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” All together now: awwwww!

Truth is, on paper Jovie and Buddy make an improbable couple, what with her pessimistic nature and his being-raised-by-elves. But his strong sense of Christmas cheer, enthusiastic compliments, and complete candidness makes her fall for him. And honestly, who wouldn’t?

[Image via Universal Pictures]

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