This is what happens. You’re in a library on a Monday night, wandering around half-heartedly, wondering how long you’re going to put off your homework, when suddenly you see a gorgeous guy browsing in the nonfiction. Before you know it, your staring at him stupidly while a fantasy bursts to life in your head without your consent… You, him, a castle or maybe a cottage or beach house, love, happiness, whispered promises of forever…
Okay, at least that is what happens to me. I have these fantasies about how romance should be, about how I want it to happen for me. Most of these fantasies are a jumbled reincarnation of all the romantic comedies I’ve seen or romance novels I’ve read. I have found that if you were to throw together all of these movies and books, you’d find only two different scenarios, only with different names and varying degrees of charming character flaws.
In scenario number one, you have the beautiful but slightly damaged woman in need of rescuing, usually with a name like Shanna or Rebecca, who can’t help but fall prey to the cold, self-centered men who make them weak and weepy. Then you’ve got your aggressive, roughish man, Drake or Jonathan, who’s brooding good looks go unnoticed by him and he can’t imagine why women collectively sigh and swoon whenever he’s rescuing babies or fighting crime. Drake too is misunderstood, and he’s jaded by women who only want him for the good looks he still has yet to admit he has. But wait! Here comes Shanna who notices his good looks but looks beyond them to the misunderstood man beneath, and finally – FINALLY – they each have found someone who understands them, who looks beyond all the physical beauty, into the beauty of their souls, of their minds, the things that truly matter.
In scenario number two, the woman is confident (still beautiful, of course) and self-sufficient, with a name like Charlie or Sam (something befitting of a woman who defies traditional gender roles) who is still damaged, but not as weepy as Shanna, and who hates men until she meets the one who’s witty enough and sensitive enough to make her feel again. And that’s where quirky, artsy, and always funny man number two (let’s call him Remy) comes in, whose heart has been broken by carbon-copy blondes who can’t appreciate his love of art or passion for playing the guitar. He happens to run into Sam, spilling coffee on her high powered low-cut suit or something equally choreographed, and he sees the real woman underneath, the woman who, as a little girl, had dreams of making pottery or helping orphans, and doesn’t really care about her 6 figure paycheck. Remy helps Sam loosen up and Sam in turn helps Remy see his potential and in the end they both succeed and fall in love.
Happily ever after. The end. Lights out.
I fall victim to these scenarios all the time, whether they play out in a book, on a screen or in my head. Then as soon as I’m done dreaming, watching or reading these scenarios, the blinding lights of reality send my mind crashing back to where I really am: single, lonely, and wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life. Or as it happened last Monday, standing in a library, clutching a math book, and still staring at Mr. Gorgeous.
I don’t know who he was, but he reminded me of why I hate being single. Before I could stop myself, I started envisioning how cool it would be to date someone who loved reading as much as I did; who would understand my obsession with David Sedaris and my love of the way new books smell.
For so long I have been hiding and pretending, all the while waiting, for this person. Not for library boy specifically, but what he represents. It’s such an awful feeling sometimes, this waiting. It’s not that I think about it all the time or that I’ve stopped living just to wait for it. I live my life and have fun, but the feeling is always there in the back of my mind. Like the old leaky faucet, drip drip dripping a reminder that I’m still alone no matter how many people I surround myself with. Usually, I ignore it enough to enjoy my life anyway. Because really, I don’t need a significant other right this second to make life worth living.
I hope and pray that there is someone out there for me. I live for hope. That’s all I have. It’s the only thing I have the power to possess or destroy. No one can take it from me. At the end of the day when I’m mulling over everything my life has become and everything it will never be, hope is what gets me through.