I became an avid reader of Shakespeare at an early age. I was only in 4th grade when my mother gave me my first book of Shakespeare's Sonnets for Valentines day, thus spurring my love affair with poetry of all kinds. (For the record, I highly recommend just about anything by Seamus Heaney.)
Only a few years later, she also gave me the Complete Works of Shakespeare's Plays. I have read many of them, and among my favorites are Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Twelfth Night (or What You Will), and of course, Romeo and Juliet.
As a pre-teen who happened to be obsessed with boys, and knowing what I knew about Shakespeare (which, at 11 years old, was actually very little) the first play I read in full was Romeo and Juliet.
Ah, forbidden love. And to be with that person that made your heart flutter into your stomach and throat at the same time. To be touched by a lover, and kissed by a boy with breath, sweet, and adoring. How romantic. How cliche. How girly of me.
It did not take me long to realize that Romeo and Juliet was not romantic at all, but that the two of them were particularly stupid in all their dealings and that Romeo was not, as I had previously believed, a heroic, masculine, untethered rogue that represented the perfect man. No, he was, in fact, a coward. I mean, first, he's all infatuated with Rosaline, who rejected him because she wanted be a nun (read: she's only saying that because she sees Romeo as an immature boy, and she only dates college boys) and swears that he will never love another.
And yet, having crashed Juliet's party, upon seeing her, he is in love.
Essentially, we all know the story. They fall in love, they marry, Romeo kills Tybalt, and thus is banished. (Might I add also, that he throws a rather impressive tantrum here, forgetting the oh-so-beautiful and ready for the taking Juliet who sits waiting for him in her bedroom, a bride without a groom.) Juliet, who is in the throes of being forced to marry her father's choice, Paris, (who, by the way, seems to be the most eligible bachelor in all of Verona. Seriously, Juliet, get off the rebellious kick, and take a look. He's hot. He's rich. Romeo's a baby, and you're getting screwed- not in the good Las Vegas way either.) takes an elixir that makes her seem like she's dead. Romeo doesn't get the message, and he runs off to buy poison so he can bravely and admirably kill himself.
Now, what gets me the VERY most, is that Juliet is on the verge of waking when he storms into the family crypt and sees her lying there, all beautiful, with pink lips and cheeks, and warm skin...wait, what? Why would a dead girl have color in her flesh, and heat in her nostrils? Why would a dead girl twitch? BECAUSE SHE'S ALIVE, YOU FOOL, AND YOU ARE IMPRESSIVELY UNOBSERVANT! Anyway, he drinks his poison, dies instantly, and Juliet wakes, surrounded by dead things, and a dead boy who drove her to the brink of insanity. Of course, he drank every drop of the poison, which apparently is a quick painless death, and she has to use his dagger to kill herself by shoving it through her ribcage, and into her heart. Mmmm hmmm. Sounds like a good time, bleeding to death on your own burial shroud, just glad that you didn't die a virgin (because at this point, that's all she's got going for her.) THIS, my friends, is why people shouldn't get married when they're 13.
All in all, I think Romeo jumped too far, too fast, and had severe discipline problems, while Juliet (not any smarter by any means) got the short end of the stick in every way possible.
Even at the ripe old age of 11, I knew that there was no sense in ever wanting to find my "Romeo" (No, I was a 'good Mormon girl. I was looking for a Stripling Warrior.)
Darling. She's a cute little thing, with big talent, and a sweet voice. I like her a lot.
Unfortunately, I don't think she ever read Romeo and Juliet. If she had, she would know that Romeo does NOT talk to Juliet's father (nor does she wear a white dress, because that is quite a contemporary practice- but that's irrelevant) they get married in SECRET, and then they DIE. (Listen: "Love Story" by Taylor Swift)
If you are in LOVE with someone, why not compare your love to Cyrano de Bergerac (Now there's a guy with a silver tongue!) or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from the classic, and romantically satisfying Pride and Prejudice.
My point is that if you want a romance to survive, you should never ever compare your love to Romeo and Juliet. They killed themselves, for heaven sake. Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. It's a tragedy.