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?
My parents met in an airplane factory during WWII. He was a supervisor, she a line worker. He was a war veteran, she a girl who was “cute and she knew it” (her words) and “the cutest thing in shoe leather” (his words).
In what would today be a horrible story of sexual harrassment, he proceeded to jump in front of her as she walked to her work station each afternoon and ask her out, then snap his fingers, say, “I forgot, I’m busy,” and walk away before she could answer–while the whole factory laughed. On his third foray she said “yes” before he could rattle off his repartee.
Six weeks later they married, and stayed married for 30 years, till she passed away.
I love all these meet cutes!
I met my husband on my first day at university. He was a year ahead of me, a member of the student welcoming committee at my hall of residence. The other committee members were wearing suits, making nice with the parents. Mr. W was in a checked shirt with the sleeves rolled up, offering practical assistance. He carried my suitcase to my room for me and we became friends. Five years later we got married, and that was a very, very long time ago!
Right now I’m trying to write the meet cute of Prince Daire of Caldermor and nomadic healer Annis Benkith. They have never met before, they’re from wildly different worlds, and there’s a lot at stake. I think/hope it could be fun if I get it right. I’m not there yet, but I feel as though I’m getting closer!
I met a long-time boyfriend on my first day of university! He was a year older than I and registering incoming freshmen, which, at the time, was byzantine. I’d just had a terrible, horrible, no-fun day trying to register for classes that were always filled by the time I walked to their offices to apply, so when he checked and said a class I had just walked two miles on a hot day to get was full…well, I yelled at him. In very colorful vocabulary. And it turned out that he was registered in one of my classes, and he remembered my name, so he called me up when he needed the notes for something. Didn’t last, though. 🙂
Aw. My first serious crush was on a guy I met my first week of university. Never evolved into a relationship, but there were friends-with-virginal-benefits things going the whole year. He was right, it wouldn’t have worked. But oh, he was so sexy.
Aw! That’s cute!
It might help to do a quick review of your favorite meet cutes. I’m trying to think of a high-stakes meet cute, but failing. Oh, there’s Cordelia, meeting Aral in the middle of a mutiny. (Vorkosigan series, Shards of Honor) They both had high stakes going on — she had to save her crew from Aral’s people.
I read a review of the Prince Harry interview with James Corden.
Interestingly (and it is a theme in some romance novels) because of who he is, they had to date initially by spending time together alone; they couldn’t go out to dinner, see a movie, or any of the normal date activities because he is a press magnet. They inverted it, and didn’t go out in public together until they decided to make it official. He said that it sped things up a lot, as they really got to know each other.
Oh, interesting! I’ve been meaning to watch the interview, but it’s nearly 20 minutes long, and I think I don’t have time. I’ve done less interesting things with 20 minutes this weekend, so I should just bite the bullet and watch it. I like James Corden when he’s not doing that cranky diva thing. Good interviewer, great entertainer.
(-: I’m so curious about what they did do, then? “Meet me by the third karaoke booth in this bar in Paris, and we’ll have time to talk” sort of thing? I was originally thinking supply closets, but . . . that’s not where a Prince conducts his affairs, I don’t think.
I think they spent a lot of time – at least in London – in his house in the Kensington Palace compound. I haven’t watched the whole interview, just the edited highlights, but I think he does mention where they were.
The best thing is that he looks so happy. Clearly – despite missing his family (Archie talks to the Queen on Zoom every week/fortnight, I can’t remember which, so at least some of them still care) – this was the right move. Lots of other people still love their families but choose not to work in the family business, but the UK press carry on like the world will come to an end.
Saw the interview with James Corden! So worth it, LOL. Very good and fun. I want to seek out the Oprah interview, but I don’t think it’s going to be available here. This week, I just haven’t had a two-hour block of time for it, either. Maybe next snow day . . . .
It’s about an hour and a half, if you fast-forward through the ads. Maybe it’s somewhere on Youtube? I watched it on, I think Channel 10, an Australian free to air TV station; I know they had it on catchup online; maybe it isn’t geo-locked?
It wasn’t fun like the James Cordern one, but the thing that I found the most confronting – and no media outlet seems to have picked up – is that Meghan had to hand over her passport, driver’s licence and keys. That right there was abuse.
I haven’t been able to find anything on YouTube. Just highlights. I’ll look harder.
You are right! That is just nuts, that she had to surrender her passport, DL and keys. That’s what very sketchy employers make you do if you are an immigrant. (I’ve heard it happens to people in Japan if their employer is really awful.) OTOH, I suppose it makes sense for a flunky to go through security and immigration, and just wave the royals through.
But it would make me feel very nervous and insecure to give up my forms of ID.
That’s exactly how it felt to me – completely controlling.
I met my future husband in Navy flight school. I didn’t like him at all; he knew I was the “one”. He was annoyingly persistent at helping me-memorizing checklists, how to get on the schedule, traits of different instructors, etc. I would not go out on a date when he asked because we were in the same squadron; I was trying to be a serious pilot after a disappointing long term relationship had ended. He was persistent, moved on to his next squadron so I agreed to one date. 30 years later…here we are. 😉
I love that story!
That’s so fun! I had stuff to do, and didn’t think a long-term relationship was going to help me do it (in my case, that was true), but bit by bit, I wound up where I am.