This Hollywood Myth Is Out of Control

I’ve been thinking a lot about kissing in the rain.

I started thinking about it last week when Page Six broke the news that Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost “kissed outside and didn’t care it was raining” (according to witnesses), and the story proceeded to go viral.

The Daily Mail picked it up (“Showered with kisses! Scarlett Johansson and rumoured beau Colin Jost ‘lock lips in the rain’ as they attend Diana Ross concert together”), as did The Cut (“Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost Reportedly Kissed in the Rain at a Labor Day Party”), among other outlets. I found myself compelled to click, which set off an internal alarm bell because generally my care level about two random celebrities going to first base hovers pretty consistently at zero.

So what made this A-list make-out different?


Yep. Perfectly ordinary, honest-to-goodness precipitation. There’s a reason Page Six mentioned this particular detail about the circumstances under which ScarJo and Jost’s kiss took place, and there’s a reason other news outlets honed in on it in their headlines: The idea of kissing in the rain is a full-on cultural obsession.

Go ahead. Think about it. Proceed with caution, though, because once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

Personally, I’ve already accumulated a bajillion examples of how this phenomenon has been perpetuated by popular culture. Allow me to present you with a short list of them, just off the top of my head:

+ The Notebook rowboat scene
+ The Spiderman upside down kiss scene
+ The O.C.’s imitation of the Spiderman upside down kiss scene
+ The Breakfast at Tiffany’s lost cat scene
+ The Four Weddings and a Funeral “is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed” scene
+ The Friday Night Lights Julie/Matt football field triumph scene

A mid-downpour kiss is framed as the height of romance in each and every one of these scenarios. The characters are SO IN LOVE they can’t wait the 60 or so seconds it would take to duck inside and make out moisture-free.

It’s powerful stuff, let me tell you. I was brainwashed for years. I know this because I have a distinct memory from my sophomore year of high school in which I fantasized about getting back together with my then-ex-boyfriend by kissing him during a hypothetical torrential rainstorm, ideally at dusk or twilight hour, underneath the flattering glow of a nearby street lamp.

I went to school in rural Massachusetts. There were no street lamps. Such is the all-consuming power of the kissing in the rain mystique.

My compulsion to click on the ScarJo/Colin Jost story snapped me out of my delusion, though. I finally saw this phenomenon for what it truly is: a myth manufactured by Hollywood, like policemen tracing a phone call in under a minute, everyone at a party knowing the same coordinated dance routine or the ability to sprint straight through airport security to stop someone from getting on a plane.

Romantic as it might seem on the silver screen, when you stop to consider the logistics of hunkering down for a bone-chilling, sopping wet, clammy, squelching make-out session IRL, the absurdity of such a seemingly widespread pursuit is crystal clear. Having come to this conclusion frighteningly late in life, I feel morally obligated to share it, if for no other reason than to prevent future impressionable youths from catching a cold.

You know what’s REALLY sexy? Clean, dry sheets.

Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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