Relationship Goals I learned from ‘White Christmas’

Every December I’m dreaming of White Christmas…hard. From the Edith Head gowns to the old-timey absurdness (who wears a full face of make-up to bed, honestly) the film is vintage Vistavision perfection. But one of the more under appreciated aspects of this masterpiece is how it doubles up on the romance, paving the way for some rather interesting (if not painfully outdated) #relationshipgoals.

See, magic AND music happens when musical duo Bob Wallace and Phil Davis meet Betty and Judy Haynes, themselves a sister act. Sparks fly, flirtations form, and within no time the couples are dancing and making out over sandwiches. But hey, it’s a comedy from the 1950s, there’s more than a few hiccups along the way…and, likewise, a fair share of things you might want to avoid.

So here is everything multiple seasonal rewatches of White Christmas have taught me about set-ups, romancing sisters, and using public transportation to find love.

Want a boyfriend? Manipulate your way into a relationship by matchmaking another couple!

Judy, bless her heart, is a first rate schemer throughout the film, with one eye on advancing her career and another eye on nabbing a rich husband. Regarding the latter, she zeroes in on Phil and tries to set up Bob and Betty, urging a “fake engagement” to push the other couple together. Right, Judy, this is for Bob and Betty’s benefit and has nothing to do with getting a free pass to mack it with Phil. Of note, I may or may not have done something like this with a modicum of success back in my Philly days. It didn’t work out great for me, but it DID work out for the other couple. Wash.

A good way to win someone ever is by paying off all their debts and following them to Vermont

Within the context of the film it makes sense. Phil thinks that by setting up Bob and Betty he might be able to get some well-earned rest, and the only way to do that is by pursuing Haynes sisters upstate (and, you know, cross-dressing, but that’s a whole other thing). Obviously it works and everyone lives happily ever after in matching Santa costumes. In real life, though? Following someone across several state lines may or may not be grounds for stalking. So, you know, be aware of that next time you meet some cutie on Spring break who seems like, “The one.” That’s the tequila talking, and you need to get off the Jet Blue website stat.

It’s totes normal to have an ideal man in mind, so long as you know that it’s hard for reality to live up to expectations

Betty dreams of a gallant knight sitting atop a white horse. I dream of 1994 Trent Reznor. Neither of us are gonna get what we want.

Lord help the mister who comes between you and your sister…and vice versa

Come on, guys, that’s literally the basis of “Sisters.” Accidentally or not, Wallace and Davis sort of cause a riff between Betty and Judy, though I think the sentiment stands. Hell to the guy that tries to break up the ties of sisterhood…and if one of your girlfriends does the same with your main man, hell to her.

Or, I don’t know, maybe listen to her advice because she might have some good outside perspective on the situation. Tbh I’m more about the “Hos before bros” part of the song.

If you suspect that your crush is dishonorable, come out and say it instead of running away from your problems

I hate to stereotype our entire gender, but honestly? In my own experience as a woman, when I’m pissed at a guy my first move is to respond passive aggressively and not address the problem (followed by responding aggressive-aggressively and flipping over tables). This is basically Betty’s move: Emma tells her that Bob is looking to make the General into a sob-story for profit, and she doesn’t bring up her concerns with, well, Bob. Instead she gets all huffy with him and takes the first train to New York once she thinks Judy’s engaged. The General says it best: “What you two need is a good talking to.”

Communication, guys.  It’s what keeps relationships healthy and cuts out the conflict of every movie ever. 

[Image via MGM]

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