Thankfully the era of the fairy-tale is well behind us, now we have kicked out the Prince Charming narrative its time to turn to new idols to help us understand how to create great love stories. Love isn’t always easy and it is forever a work in progress, but despite the bumps and knocks, we are turning to these fab fictional couples to help us paint a more nuanced picture of what our own relationship goals could look like.
Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing
Its old but gold, Baby and Johnny may have started on complex class difference footing, but we stand by the fact that Dirty Dancing is the ultimate feminist movie. Not only does it subtlety subvert all the romantic tropes but it puts Baby firmly in the driver's seat. Every moment between them is tender, consensual, and brimming with respect. They teach each other how to be better in the world and they never force idealized expectations on the other.
Achilles and Patroclus
If you haven’t devoured Madeline Millers Song of Achilles head to your nearest bookshop right now. A gorgeous rendition of the story of the Trojan War, Miller puts Patroclus at the heart of the narrative. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is complex at times; Achilles picks fate and fame over his love for Patroclus, but despite everything, their love is honest, pure, and multifaceted. They both play to their natural strengths with each other, and despite their Achilles hero status to the outside world, they retained equality in their domestic life together.
Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt
We can all agree it would be pretty hard not to fall head over heels for Pawnee’s very own Leslie Knope. Fortunately for us, she found her own dreamboat in Ben Wyatt. A couple of kooks perhaps, but if you find someone who will make you your own version of the Iron Throne and bring you waffles when you are sick it’s a pretty good start for a love story. But waffles aside, they also continue to support each other, they both retain their independence, and they are fully-fledged individuals when they meet.
Santana and Brittany
Get your Glee on with Santana and Brittany. Celebrated as providing positive representation for bisexual teens, these two have a pretty solid relationship, they started out as the best of friends and never lost that throughout their relationship. They always encourage each other with plenty of positive affirmations, and they lift each other up through love rather than succumbing to insecurity and drama (the diet of many teen love stories).
Kevin and Chiron
Moonlight was the film that brought black queerness to the centre stage of the Oscars. It’s a love story about hardship anger, trauma, toxic masculinity, and identity. While there are certainly moments of deep-set damage between Kevin and Chiron, ultimately it's about two people aiming to be better together after all the hardships. It’s about people being bold enough to change, grow, learn and forgive. It’s not a formula for perfect love, but then again, there is no perfect love.
Who are your fictional couple faves? Let’s share the love!