The “Anyone But You” Meet-Cute Proves That Chivalry Is Still Sexy

Boy meets girl is the age-old story we can’t seem to get enough of.

By Jillian Schroeder3 min read
anyone-but-you sony pictures

Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney doesn’t just want to change people’s minds about motherhood. She wants to bring back the rom-com, with the help of Top Gun hunk Glen Powell (no stranger to the genre himself).

Anyone But You is loosely – and I do mean loosely – based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, where two people with a romantic past are tricked into believing they’re in love with each other, that is, until they do actually fall in love again. In this twist on the enemies-to-lovers trope, we meet Ben (Powell) and Bea (Sweeney), whose one perfect night together goes sour. But when Ben’s friend gets engaged to Bea’s sister, they are thrown together once again and decide to call an uneasy truce.

The trailer of the film prepared me for two characters whose contempt disguises intense attraction, along with all the usual rom-com tropes (sure, they’re kinda corny, but don’t we love it that way?). Though Anyone But You has its moments, it’s not a perfect rom-com by a long shot. Yet there’s one way the film surprised me: the film’s meet-cute, the moment Ben and Bea first lock eyes and wonder, “Is this the one?” 

Sony Pictures/Anyone But You
Sony Pictures/Anyone But You

Many modern romantic comedies, such as Jennifer Lawrence’s No Hard Feelings, rely on contrived situations to throw their main characters together and crude comedy to maintain their attention. But when Ben meets Bea, it’s more normal – just a run-in at a coffee shop – and also much more endearing. This meet-cute goes straight to the heart of what really keeps us coming back to rom-coms: the enduring appeal of chivalry in men. Here are a few things the Anyone But You meet-cute gets right about romance.

He Notices When You’re in Distress and Does Something About It

It all starts in a coffee shop. Bea runs in, desperate for a restroom, but the barista won’t let her unless she buys something. Bea offers to buy the first thing she sees – a loaf of bread – but the line to pay is a mile long. Ben, who is standing next in line, notices the dilemma and takes action. “Honey, do you want a double shot? Or maybe not a double because you’ve been having trouble sleeping,” he says. Catching on, Bea orders a tea. “And don’t forget the bread,” Ben adds to the barista, “It’s grilled cheese night.”

What can I say – we love a knight in shining armor. Nowadays, he probably won’t be charging in on horseback, but a real gentleman will notice when you need something and step in to help without you asking. It’s one of the trademarks of chivalry – a man uses his masculinity to protect a woman who is vulnerable. He’s not just aware of his surroundings – he’s aware of your surroundings too, and will make sure that you’re kept safe (and when possible) comfortable. 

Sony Pictures/Anyone But You
Sony Pictures/Anyone But You

And as we see later on in Anyone But You, a guy who’ll come to your rescue is likely to do so again. Sometimes, that’s walking on the outside of the sidewalk so nothing from the street will get on your cute outfit. Sometimes, it’s getting you the restroom key from a grumpy barista. And if he offers to buy you bread and make you grilled cheese? That’s just the cherry on top.

He Holds Your Jacket and the Door, but Not for Show

Bea thinks their interaction is over when Ben hands her the restroom key, but Ben’s got another idea in mind. Grabbing Bea’s coat smoothly, he jokes that he “can’t leave his wife” and that he will wait for her. He does so patiently, though it takes much longer than it should after Bea gets water all over her outfit and tries to dry it out with the air dryer. Bea asks if Ben is going to ask her out (he says yes, of course), and she is impressed when Ben holds the door for her on the way out. What she misses is the toilet seat cover stuck to her shoe – that is, until Ben quietly steps behind her to remove it from her heel.

Being chivalrous isn’t always an action that causes a big scene. More often, a man will show his respect in the little things. And for a real gentleman, these things aren’t a quid pro quo, giving you a certain kind of treatment in order to get a certain response from you. In fact, a high-quality man will often try to fly under the radar when giving you all these little acts of chivalry because it’s not about him and how he looks. He doesn’t treat you well so that you’ll notice (though he’ll appreciate it if you do). He treats you well because he respects you and because it will make you look good – whether it’s holding your coat while you freshen up or keeping you from embarrassing yourself. 

Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures/Anyone But You
Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures/Anyone But You

He Wants Intimacy, Not Just Sex

So Ben and Bea go for a long walk – first down the street, then through a tree-lined park. They go back to his place for the promised grilled cheese sandwiches. Bea tells Ben she’s not sure that she really wants to become a lawyer. Ben tells Bea about his deceased mother. And most importantly, they don’t have sex on that first night. “We just talked all night until we fell asleep,” Bea tells her sister the next morning. Though they feel a physical attraction, their connection is about more levels of intimacy than that alone.

So many modern rom-coms seem to have forgotten that most men want more than just physical expressions of love from a relationship. He wants to get to know you – from your basic interests to your secret desires and deepest needs. A quality man doesn’t just want to sleep with you because he also wants you to get to know him on these deeper levels too. Intimacy is crucial to any lasting relationship, and a man who wants something long-term (ie, who wants to commit) is going to show interest in emotional intimacy.

Closing Thoughts

The meet-cute in new rom-com Anyone But You says it all: We love a chivalrous man. Saving the day, listening to your inner thoughts, or just holding your coat – they’re all ways that a quality man will get your attention and, if you’re both lucky, win your heart.

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