Full disclosure: I am a thirtysomething single woman. So when I watched the Antoinette Jadaone-directed rom-com The Achy Breaky Hearts, I found myself relating to the heroine. Hard.
The Achy Breaky Hearts tells the story of Chinggay (Jodi Sta. Maria), a jewelry store manager in her thirties who has been single for the last seven years following her split from an ex who cheated on her.
All at once, two men come into her life: Ryan (Ian Veneracion), a swoon-worthy customer recently dumped by the girlfriend he had proposed to, and Frank (Richard Yap), the same ex who broke her heart seven years prior.
There are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the film…why haven’t you? If you have, and you’re a thirtyish single gal yourself, nod along to the 13 shots of realness ahead.
1. When Chinggay repeatedly gets asked “Kelan ka mag-aasawa?” followed by comments about her diminishing baby-making abilities.
Not only is it rude to ask this of single ladies, the ones asking clearly assume that all women on earth want to get hitched and pop out babies, which is just not true.
2. When Chinggay decries the double standard in dating between women in their 30s or older and men of the same age.
Chinggay exclaims, “Bakit ganoon? Kapag ang lalaki single, in his thirties or forties, cool, eligible bachelor. Pero tayong mga babae, kapag tumatandang dalaga, tuyot, lantang gulay, panis!” The double standard is REAL.
3. When Chinggay and her single friends remind themselves about the things they don't have to put up with from boyfriends.
Among them: uncalled for jealous episodes, expenses on V-Day and anniversaries, and snoring in bed. Ah, the little joys of being partner-free.
4. When Chinggay complains about the five years she invested in her relationship with Frank.
“Lahat naman ginawa ko, pero walang naging return of investment,” Chinggay says. When we look back on failed LTRs of yore, it’s normal to wonder how much of our lives could have been better spent on some other, more loving guy who might even have put a ring on it. But too late for that, obvs.
5. When Chinggay asks her accidentally knocked up younger sister Jenny, “Ina-accept ba sa tiangge, sa palengke, sa grocery ang love?”
After having been single for a while and just focusing on her work and her family, Chinggay had grown more practical, and yes, more cynical. No wonder she snaps at Jenny and her boyfriend for thinking that love is the answer to all their problems—the same way we do at foolish youngs who parade their infatuation around.
6. When Chinggay squeals with kilig once Ryan and Frank start clogging her inbox.
Hello, just because we’re in our thirties doesn’t mean our hearts are dried-up old shells that feel nothing when we get a good night text from a guy we like.
7. When Chinggay tries to talk herself out of crying after realizing that she’s just a rebound to Ryan.
“'Wag kang iiyak, Chinggay; tapos ka na diyan,” our heroine chides herself as she fights back tears. Being older and wiser doesn’t numb romantic pain; it just makes us more acutely aware of how we let ourselves hope and get hurt again. *sniffs*
8. When Chinggay realizes that love isn’t enough to sustain a relationship.
“Hindi dahil mahal mo ako at mahal kita, okay na,” Chinggay tells Ryan. Older women are less likely to put up with lopsided relationships because we’ve experienced enough to know what we deserve.
9. When Chinggay turns to her mom for advice.
Mom is usually not the first person we run to for romantic advice, because the last thing we need is a lecture on our bad relationship choices, TYVM. But at a certain age, our mom stops being a person we hide things from and becomes an older, wiser woman who has been there and done that—and who can tell us candidly, “Tayong mga single, hindi natin sila kailangan. Hindi tayo kabiyak ng kung sino man.”
10. When Chinggay asks her friend Maxie, “May mali ba sa akin? Pangit ba ako?”
Once we hit our thirties still single while friends get hitched left and right, it’s normal to wonder if there are legit reasons we’re alone. But screw that; we’re awesome just the way we are.
11. When Chinggay keeps coming back to her friends, whether she’s coupled up or not.
Friends are EVERYTHING. It’s true when we’re in our teens or twenties, it will be true no matter how old we get.
12. When Chinggay chooses to be happy on her own.
“Kapag hindi mo nahanap, okay lang,” Chinggay says in her toast at her sister Jenny’s wedding. “Ang mahalaga, piliin mo pa ring maging masaya.” The older we get with still no ring on our finger, the more we accept the possibility that marriage just isn’t in the cards for us. Not because we’ve given up, but because we’ve lived long enough to know that we can find joy in so many other things—not just in romantic love.
13. When Chinggay’s friend Joan had a strand of puting buhok plucked out from her scalp.
Damn those white hairs. They just start popping up way before we’re ready.
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