It feels like it’s a cold hard fact that every story needs to have a romance story. When in a writing class, I was asked why this was. My answer was, naturally, “lack of imagination”.
The reality is more heinous. It is genuinely believed that you won’t get a female audience without a romantic subplot and it’s genuinely believed that a plot won’t be good without one anyway.
After all, you need to give the hero impetus by kidnapping the princess right? Or better yet, kill them.
So in the spirit of Singles Awareness Day, I thought we’d take a look at characters who didn’t really need a date to make a good story.
1. Ellen Ripley: ‘Alien’
It seems only right that the Talented Ms. Ripley be at the top of the list. She is known as science fiction’s greatest character and she did it all without the need of a romantic subplot. Go Riley for kicking Alien butt three times in a row.
2. Angel: ‘Angel’
This may be just me, but seeing as Angel loses his soul anytime he’s too happy… he should just stay away from Valentine’s Day dates and having a girlfriend. I’m going to ignore that canon ignores this just because I’d rather he stay a good vampire and not be a bad one.
Did this actually happen in the show? No. But, he never really gained true happiness.
3. Katniss Everdeen: ‘The Hunger Games’
I’m probably alone in this, but Katniss’ lack of need for romance during… oh pretty much the entire series… makes her a great candidate for this. When Gale tells Peeta “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without”, her response is “At the moment, the choice would be simple. I can survive just fine without either of them.”
That was in the third book and not even the beginning of the third book. She went three books only committing superficially and surviving the Hunger Games before she ends up with Peeta in the epilogue. So, yeah, I don’t think Katniss really cared about the stupid love triangle everyone wanted to embroil her in.
4. Master Chief: ‘Halo’
One of ‘Halo’s crowning achievements, aside from truly fun multiplayer shoot-em-ups, was a plot that had drama and tensions without relying on tired romance tropes. Not even video games ignore romantic elements, but ‘Halo’ outright plugged its fingers in its ears any time the idea is brought up.
5. Black Widow: Marvel Movies
Once Black Widow gets a movie, this may be over, but for now, at least in the movie-verse, she is unencumbered with a romantic interest in anyone. This is among the chief reasons I love her. She displays passion for her friends in new and different ways and I find her bromance with Hawkeye far more endearing than anything non-platonic.
What’s interesting about her storyline in ‘The Avengers‘ movie was that Hawkeye was used precisely how B-story romance love interests are used. Then I say, “Aha! See, there are many kinds of loves that are important to people! Finally someone understands that all relationships are important!”
6. Data: ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
Sure, Data hooks up with Tasha Yar when under the influence of drugs in the first season, but Data’s character arc has never relied on romantic anything (unless you count Geordie).
Okay, not really. He once had a relationship with Jeanne D’Sora, but after they logically talked about his feelings he deleted the special program he developed so he could be a proper boyfriend. That’s right. He had to create a program to understand going on dates. So yeah, I think he’ll be fine without a date this Valentine’s Day.
7. Squirrel Girl: Marvel Comics
She’s a pretty minor character, and that should tell you how hard it is to find a female character that doesn’t have romantic interests as apart of her story arc in scifi/fantasy.
Anyway, Squirrel Girl is a Great Lake Avenger with the power to control squirrels, and that’s all she ever needs. Go Squirrel Girl.
8. Luke Skywalker: ‘Star Wars’
Okay, so in the expanded universe he ends up with *spoiler* Mara Jade, the Jedi set on killing him. But since those may no longer be canon in light of the new movies, we’ll just focus on the movies.
Luke, the hero of ‘Star Wars’, never had a romantic interest. Well, except for his sister that one time, but we don’t like to talk about it. No, Luke’s story is all about finding fulfillment in a different ways (namely finding balance in the Force).
9. Sarah Conner: ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’
We’ll sort of ignore the fact that all of the ‘Terminator‘ movies require Sarah Conner’s romance with Kyle Reese to produce the messiah, John Conner, who needs to be born to send his dad back in time to make him so he can save the world.
Sarah Conner in ‘Terminator 2’, however, is awesome. She trains day in and day out in a mental health facility and kicks ass until the very end in an effort to save her son. Essentially, if you don’t like Sarah Conner, you’re wrong. But don’t try and date her because she doesn’t have time for that.
10. Snake Plissken, ‘Escape from New York’
Snake Plissen escapes from *spoiler alert* New York, and LA, all with an eye patch and no girl. Date on Valentine’s Day? He’s going out with his awesomeoness.
As you can see, you don’t need a date to be awesome. So Happy Single Awareness Day! And if I missed anyone, let me know in the comments below.