Every month has a chance for romance, but there’s something about the shortness and sweetness of February, what with the increasing daylight in the northern hemisphere, and the lengthening of nights in the south, and the abundance of chocolates and roses thanks to Valentine’s Day, that sets a particular mood.
My husband and I celebrate our own meet cute this month – he went to a Valentine’s Day dance with a group of his fellow exchange students, and I popped in quickly after some sort of event (concert? movie? art gallery? I just can’t remember), and saw this guy with a million dollar smile.
Roughly speaking, I think most
romance novels and stories either start with a meet cute, or they are of the “we’ve known each other for a very long time” vibe. But even in a story of childhood friends, the author will often include a toddler meet cute. Contretemps in the sandbox, or maybe she was terrorized by a cat, and the love interest came swooping in brandishing a broomstick to banish the feisty feline. The origin story is very important for readers and listeners of a romance.
When Harry Met Sally is a smorgasbord of meet cutes. Harry and Sally meet cute several times in their lives. Their first meeting is when they are both moving cross-country, and share a ride to New York City, with Sally driving. They have hours in the car to talk and observe each other, and a perfectly good romance could spring forth from that scenario.
However, there’s an old trope about, “Oh, if we’d only met earlier! We could have avoided so much pain and loved so much longer!” On the other side of the coin is the consoling thought that the couple was not ready for each other yet at a younger stage. They needed the pain and the practice in order to become the people who fell in love with each other at a meet cute.
Harry and Sally weren’t ready for each other as new college graduates. So the writer, Nora Ephron, had them part, and meet cute again. The movie is full of meet cute stories, from the little vignettes of love sprinkled throughout the film, to the beautiful romance between the best friends.
For an extended meet cute, there’s also the Barbra Streisand/Ryan O’Neal/Madeline Kahn love triangle, What’s Up Doc?. It involves a number of plaid overnight bags and a meet cute at an airport, followed by a stalker meet cute (TV Tropes) in a hotel drugstore.
Meet cutes are just fun, and a traditional form of story-telling. My mom met my dad at an airport – she was taking flying lessons, and he was a teenage cropduster who loved to fly. What’s your favorite meet cute story?