Since the dawn of time, just as man has attempted to drag woman back to his cave, woman has dragged man to a warmly-lit romantic drama about star-crossed lovers set on some Eastern sea coast or another. Now, as we grow more modern and equal, woman realizes she is better off just going with a group of her female friends to partake in these tear-jerkers based on the novels of Nicholas Sparks (but with all the faith-based undertones removed) so that she doesn’t have to hear the man hold it over her head for all of eternity.

But Brandon Curtis‘s recent column on “The Lucky One” has reminded me that men can make a lot of headway with the ladies (catch my drift? gross) if you are man enough to withstand the golden celebrations of true love undamaged by overbearing parents, evil ex-husbands, and terminal diseases. But with the impending NFL season looming, waiting to put distance between you and your beloved like a scholarship to a college hundreds of miles from your hometown and her senior year in high school, who has the time or the tissues to watch all these tearjerkers solely to wow the ladiezzzzz with your super-sensitive love side?

Luckily for you, I have watched (and wept at) all the Sparks movie adaptations from this century at least twice and can give you a rundown you can use to impress the ladies.

The Bro’s Basic Guide to Nicholas Sparks

Quick Synopsis: You’re really going to want to know about the five major / more recent/most popular Sparks movie adaptions, which are:  “The Notebook” (duh),  “A Walk to Remember,” “Safe Haven,” “The Lucky One,” and “The Last Song.” Since most of Sparks’ oeuvre follows the same general beats, you can fill in the blanks for your particular film.  Here is the basic run down on those five, respectively:

1. So boy meets girl.  Boy is totally smitten with girl despite the fact that ___________:

a. he’s poor and she’s rich (TN)
b. he’s rich and she’s poor and has cancer (AWtR)
c. she’s not telling him she’s wanted for murder charges up in Boston (SH)
d. he’s basically stalking her after finding her photograph in Iraq (TLO)
e. she’s Miley Cyrus (TLS)

2. There is some kind of misunderstanding based on the girl thinking they shouldn’t be together, but the boy thinking they should.  Sometimes another man is involved, usually her dad or ex-husband; sometimes she’s just being Miley.  The boy tries to show her he is not just jagging her around and is super serious about their lurve by _______________:

a.  building her a house (TN)
b. fulfilling everything on her Bucket List (AWtR)
c. confessing he loves her despite the murder accusations (SH)
d. befriending her son who needs a strong male in his life (TLO)
e. putting his hands up and playing their song (TLS)

3. There is a big dramatic climax that involves ____________:

a. kissing in the rain (TN)
b. getting married even though you’re 18 and she has cancer (AWtR)
c. a fire (SH)
d. a treehouse accident in which he has to save her son (TLO)
e. a Climb (TLS)

4. Ultimately, he is totally a better man because of her, and they kiss and are in love until _____________:

a. they both die (TN)
b. she dies (AWtR)
c. they ride off into the sunset together as the ghost of his dead wife smiles on (SH)
d. they ride off into the sunset together on a boat (TLO)
e. everyone twerks in a unicorn costume (The real plot synopsis of “The Last Song” is this: Miley spends the summer with her dad. She falls in love with a jerk. Her dad has stomach cancer. They finish a song together. The dad dies. The jerk stops being a jerk. Miley goes to Julliard, asking the audience to take an incredible leap in suspension of disbelief. Don’t watch this movie. Tell her you want to watch “The Notebook” again. There, I just saved your life twice.) (TLS)

You can sprinkle in some frame story with Alzheimer’s or looking back how much he’s learned from her  from the beach as you see fit.


Impress your friends: Remind everyone that Sparks actually wrote books that these movies are based on.
Lady boner points: Let her know that the ending of “The Notebook” involves old people sex before they die in each other’s arms.
Super lady boner points: Don’t mention the old people sex.

Impress your friends: Sparks wrote the screenplay for “The Last Song” first and then adapted the novel from it.
Lady boner points: Sparks wrote “The Last Song” specifically for Miley Cyrus. Talk about the long standing tradition of Greek muses.
Super lady boner points: Don’t mention the screenplay that you wrote specifically for Miley Cyrus.

Impress your friends: Let everyone know loudly and proudly that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively got married at the house “The Notebook” was filmed at.
Lady boner points: Kiss her in the rain.
Super bonus lady boner points: Let her know if she’s a bird, you’re a bird too.

So there is your helpful primer. Write it down in a notebook and read it back to yourself everyday so you don’t forget how real and pure a love can be.