I hate you! I hate you! Oh, wait.
April 14, 2010 11:06 AM   Subscribe

You know how in movies when the two (heretofore antagonistic) main characters are arguing bitterly, and in the heat of the moment one of the them reaches out and grabs the other in frustration, which leads to an abrupt and pregnant pause, and then all of a sudden they're making out? Yeah. Does that happen in real life?

I've seen this in all sorts of works of fiction (film, TV, novels) but since it hasn't happened to me or anyone I know, I'm wondering if this is something that occurs in real life, or if it's just a convenient trope to cap off lots of unresolved sexual tension in works of fiction. It seems so unlikely to me that two people could be so ignorant of their own mindset that they would hate hate hate each other right up until the moment they suddenly and accidentally discover they care for one another (or at least want to sex it up), but since it's so prevalent in fiction, maybe it does happen in real life?
posted by gavagai to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not in my life.
posted by amicamentis at 11:09 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]

I really don't think it happens in real life. A more realistic version of this trope is given in the classic work Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, when Mr. Darcy proposes and Elizabeth karate kicks him in the face.
posted by motsque at 11:12 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]

I think it's just a lot of wishful thinking/writing. I also have never heard of this happening in real life.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:13 AM on April 14, 2010

Yes, this has happened to me!

Wait. I'm an actor, and it's really only happened when I've been acting.

But it feels plausible. I'd like to believe it could happen in real life, for some reason.
posted by rainbaby at 11:19 AM on April 14, 2010

It does but it comes from angry/hate flirting, not simple arguing, they're different.

I happened to me multiple times and it was kinda hot but on balance really, really obnoxious. I still hated the guy, even while we were making out.

It's a reaction to the fact that sometimes you get shoved for a prolonged amount of time into a small and boring space with someone who is both obnoxious AND hot.* You can't avoid them for whatever reason (same friend group, work, you're spies, whatever) so you can't avoid fighting with them or wanting to do them. We had this ongoing hate/argue/screw/hate/argue/screw thing that was all jumbled up together because we hated each other, were madly attracted to each other, and hated that we were so attracted to each other, and...

*tiny high school
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2010

And yes, you can hate hate hate someone and still want to sex them up. It is a very common combination of feelings.

However, most people shrug it off and go for the easier and more fun sexy times. But there are some people who make entire relationships completely based on fighting bitterly and doin' it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:23 AM on April 14, 2010

Not in heretofore antagonistic relationships, but about twice during heated and long but mostly silly arguments with SOs. It's kind of fun when that happens, but I've not been able to plan it out that way. Not the same, huh?

A more realistic version of this trope is given in the classic work Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, when Mr. Darcy proposes and Elizabeth karate kicks him in the face.

I'm going to have to read P&P again; I don't remember that happening at all.
posted by Some1 at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2010

Ah, it has happened to me once. Kind of a gurk! moment when it happens.
posted by adipocere at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2010

My fiancée and I aren't exactly what you could call "antagonists" but like any couple, we do argue occasionally. Our disagreement has turned into making out in exactly the manner you described, more than once. I think it's a case of life imitating art though — I always feel like it was subconsciously inspired by movies whenever it happens.

I've never tried this with a mortal enemy (only to emerge with a passionate lover) though.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:29 AM on April 14, 2010

I'm going to have to read P&P again; I don't remember that happening at all.

(Some1, it's a new book, called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, not the classic.)

This happened to me once. During college. Wound up in the bed of this guy that I had almost daily run ins with. I think alcohol may have been involved.
posted by newpotato at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2010

This happened to me in a...shall we say 'unilateral'? manner, once. It did not end up with making out and falling in love. It ended up with me being very confused and freaked out and eventually moving and using a PO Box.
posted by cobaltnine at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

newpotato: Doh. Thought it was two books. Yeah the 'and' is italicized. Reading comprehension or visual acuity, that is the question. I guess just 'Zombies' wouldn't be much of a title.
posted by Some1 at 12:30 PM on April 14, 2010

That is how Mrs. French Fry and I started dating.

We we're very distant and cold former friends and we had a giant explosive fight that suddenly turned into making out.

That was about 7 years ago.
posted by French Fry at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

I was once fighting with my then-boyfriend in a parking lot at the beach. Things got super tense, in an angry, ridiculous way, so he dumped a bucket of water over my head. Then we laughed and kissed in public (big deal for us!)
posted by iamkimiam at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2010

Frasier did a play on this once, when a new female colleague had joined the station where Frasier worked. They were not getting along at all, due in part to her arrogant and condescending attitude, but everyone thought Frasier had a thing for her. They got into a bad argument, and suddenly he grabbed her and said, "Are you as turned on as I am right now?!" She was not, and it led to mandatory sexual harassment training. I think a few episodes later they eventually did start dating.

Anyway, I think this is probably a pretty rare occurrence in real life. I think there probably has to be some underlying relationship beforehand besides just being enemies -- they dated once, or they've been flirting but have a big difference of opinion, or whatever. That is, there has to be a baseline for the attraction, not just the heightened emotions getting transformed from hate to horny. I know that whenever I've gotten into arguments with women that I just plain didn't like, I would have never, ever, EVER wanted to have sex with them. But, there have been women that I've been attracted to that, at times, I got into a bit of a tiff with, because I was in an "aroused state" (not in the boner state) already, so my emotions were a bit charged.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2010

"Are you as turned on as I am right now?!" She was not, and it led to mandatory sexual harassment training."

That, btw, is certainly a specific callback to the identical moment between Sam and Diane from Frasier's predecessor, Cheers. There it ended very differently, becoming, basically, the iconic version of the plot trope gavagai is asking about.
posted by Naberius at 1:57 PM on April 14, 2010

No, it doesn't happen in real life.

In fact, it's one of those irritating Hollywood conceits: that nobody in the audience will notice the complete lack of chemistry between the two protagonists, who 'fall in love' anyway, because that's what the script says happens.
posted by Rash at 2:22 PM on April 14, 2010

No, it doesn't happen in real life. (Rash)

Speak for yourself. It has happened to me. A friend of mine has a roommate whom I generally can't stand, but whom I have (in the past) found very physically attractive. One night, I was over at my friend's, roommate was arguing with me and being ridiculous and stupid, and for whatever reason the only way I could figure out to make him SHUT UP ALREADY was to start angrily making out with him.

The main differences between this and the Hollywood cliche: 1) he was a terrible kisser 2) afterward my attraction to him entirely vanished, and now I just find him repulsive.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:12 PM on April 14, 2010

Yes, it happens. I mean, maybe not exactly step-by-step as you describe it, but it happens. Anyone who says it doesn't just hasn't experienced it. (I've experienced this minus the falling in love part).
posted by Felicity Rilke at 7:28 PM on April 14, 2010

Are you talking about the scene in "The General" where Buster gives the girl smaller and smaller pieces of wood until he finds that she would actually put a toothpick in the fire, and then he grabs her like he's going to shake her, but instead kisses her? Because I wouldn't mind having Zombie Buster do that to me. Not one little bit.

And what do you mean by fighting? Sometimes, when people are shy and got off on a weird foot and are desperate to make themselves understood by the other person (who is also shy and off on a weird foot), things can get pretty heated and appear to be a fight. But are not. And at some point during the shouting, one of them can either figure it all out, or just take a leap in the dark, and the other is grateful.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:28 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

As I keep reminding people: Romantic comedies lie.
posted by effugas at 12:05 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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