500 Days Of Summer

movie still from 500 Days Of Summer

“500 Days Of Summer” is a romantic comedy, sorta, kinda.

The “Summer” in the title refers to the love interest of Tom, an architect by training working as a greeting card author. He meets Summer at work where she gets hired as an assistant to his boss.

The movie is fairly uncreative. I could see bits and pieces of other romantic comedies in this film. Yet, it had one big difference that makes me wish I saw this film when I was in my early twenties.

The star of this movie, the romance, failed.

Tom does indeed fall in love. Summer seems to be having fun too as the movie takes you through the usual scenes of the young, urban and in love frolicking through the big city. Toward the end of the frolicking scenes Summer tells Tom that she isn’t looking for anything serious. They continue the frolicking and begin sleeping with each other shortly afterward.

All seems well, but Summer refuses to call Tom her “boyfriend” insisting that she doesn’t believe in defining relationships.

One day, she disappears from the job and disappears from Tom’s life, devastating him. She reappears months later at the wedding of a common friend from work. They talk for a long time, they dance romantically and she invites him to party only for Tom to discover that she is recently engaged.

Months after that Summer finds Tom sitting in his favorite spot in a park. At last, she is honest. He asks her why she danced with him at the wedding. “Because I wanted to” is her only answer. She goes on to tell him that she learned from him and that she now does believe in love. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe in defined relationships, she is married now, aferall, she just wasn’t sure that she was in love with Tom when they were together.

Oh man, where have we heard this bullshit before?

My first encounter with this idea of “not labeling relationships” was with a woman I had a crush on, Beth. Like Summer she didn’t like “labels” or “defined relationships”. Like summer she went on to have a very labeled and defined relationship with a guy she wanted as a boyfriend.

I was talking with a gal pal about this movie. The gal pal told me that she too did not like “labeling relationships” and didn’t believe in the idea of a boyfriend or primary guy in her life. When I reminded her that she recently had a boyfriend with whom she broke up with and an ex-husband she told me that they were “exceptions” and that she still held firm to her beliefs.


When a woman tells you that she is not looking for anything serious or that she doesn’t like to “label relationships” what she really means is that you aren’t the right man for her.

She may be bullshitting you because she doesn’t have enough character to tell you flat out or she may be bullshitting you because she is not ready for the good times to end yet.

She also may not be bullshitting you at all. From her view she may be telling you the truth, but she just doesn’t know herself or life that well yet. No insult to anyone, we all find ourselves in spots in our life where we really don’t know what will work for us to make us happy.

I’m chagrined to write that after the lesson Beth taught me so long ago I went on to be made a fool of again. I believed that some people cared for me when they would not call me their boyfriend, citing their unique and erudite philosophy of “not labeling relationships”. I believed that “not looking for anything serious” could change…..courtesy loads of sappy romantic comedies I saw as a child.

Eventually I learned.

I would have liked to have seen this film a long time ago. I may have learned more quickly. I hope many people, especially young guys who are dumb enough to fall for this BS and sensitive enough for it to really hurt, see this movie.

Bottom line:
Exceptions aside, if someone isn’t looking for something serious, nothing serious is going to happen…..with you. If someone will not call you a BF or a GF after a certain amount of time in a relationship it isn’t going to happen. Move on, now.

Many people will let you go on believing something that will cause you pain just to avoid the momentary discomfort of telling you that they aren’t interested in you.

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5 thoughts on “500 Days Of Summer”

  1. I once had a guy I really had a crush on tell me he wasn’t interested in getting involved with anyone before he finished his PhD. He went on to get involved with someone else before he finished his PhD. And yet, I managed to get through the experience (I think) without harboring any bitterness toward all men. (Hell, I don’t even have any bitterness toward *him* – he’s still one of my closest friends.)

    When someone tells you they don’t want a relationship (or a certain kind of relationship) with you, you’re not actually entitled to a full, or even accurate, explanation of why not. And if you decide to read something into what they say that they didn’t actually say, that’s not actually their fault. And it’s certainly not the fault of all the people who have the same kind of genitalia as they do.

  2. You are a rare woman Buzzard. In this respect you think like a man.

    Most men, when having a bad experience with a woman are likely to say something negative about that woman.

    Over the course of my life, with women I have known in addition to the plethora of talk shows, books, magazine articles, etc geared towards a female audience, the comment I most often here is something like “Men(all)___”.

    In the context of the movie which I reviewed, the female lead slept with the male lead after she told him she wasn’t looking for anything serious and continued behaving like it was serious, like she was a girlfriend, long afterward.

    I would call that leading someone on, despite the lack of verbiage confirming it. Most people know that particular behaviors will be interpreted in a particular way.

    Same thing happened to me with the incidents I mentioned from my college days. I was young enough as well as naive enough to take people at their word and the woman involved continued to behave in a way that most women only do with boyfriends.

    Men do use these lines too, but I think as a group, men use it a lot less and most of the time those types of lines are used by players who are seeking sex.

    I am a galaxy away from endorsing that behavior, but one thing you can say for those people is that once they get what they want they are gone.

    They aren’t hanging around providing fuel for someone to build up a painful mistaken impression.

  3. Just want to agree with beforewisdom. Actions speak louder than words. You can’t blame a decent lad for falling head over heels when the girl he is with acts like his girlfriend in every way except name!

  4. Man thank you for this post. I just spend a year and a half mourning about a similar experience (and I saw the movie couple of times long before that, actually). For guys it’s real typical and easy to simply call the girl a b***h or something, but it’s so hard and selfish for me to do that, and it kinda brought up the whole self-worth issue inside, making things worse for a while.

    Now I realize it’s just that, a truth, the relationship is real and the love is real, it’s just not a lasting one and one of us don’t feel the urge to preserve it like that, nobody is to blame and it’s not a mistake. (if there is something wrong, blame monogamy and the cultures built around it, hehe)

  5. I think the point was that in the case of mixed signals, the real signal is “no”. People ignore that of wishful thinking. It is better for your feelings to move on if someone will not commit to being called a GF or BF despite wanting to keep company like one.

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