Romantic Hero

Sometimes when I watch a romantic-comedy, I wonder how I managed to miss my hilarious and sexy male counter-part. I think my life could easily be written into one of these films, the only plot point I’m missing is the guy. I need a love interest if I’m going to manage to live in my own romantic comedy. I wonder to myself, and occasionally to anyone who is with-in earshot, where I missed my guy. Which time was it that I left the house and I locked eyes with a handsome stranger that I managed to miss my moment? Of course these things happens every time I leave the house, if they didn’t why would I bother to go outside?

I suppose it is possible that I missed him during my world travels. I have spent a good amount of time traveling, so this must be the answer. Perhaps he was waiting in Ireland when my family decided that we should all go to the Mediterranean for my senior trip. It might have been the boy on that cruise who I was determined to talk out of becoming a Priest. Last I heard from him, he still hadn’t taken vows or gotten married. So what if we didn’t really have anything in common, movies and books have taught me that all we need is some minor attraction. Well, maybe not.

I suppose it could have been Steven. We met on a cruise to the Baltic when I was 15. He had dark hair and light eyes, and of course an adorable British accent. We stayed friends for four years after we met, and he even came to visit me in Paris (on the trip where I obviously missed my Irish husband.) His gothic attire made my family nervous and uncomfortable, and then he missed his train home. My mom wouldn’t let him crash on my hotel room floor, nor would she let me take him back to Paris Nord—Paris is too dangerous for a 17-year-old girl. If my birthday had been a few months earlier they might have considered it, but as it was I had to leave him to find his way back without knowledge of the city or the French language. A year or so later he came to visit the States, and my mom wouldn’t help me go visit him. Now I understand that I didn’t have the money on my own to travel to Arizona, and I did have school, but it is hard to make a romance work if one party is willing to travel to another country while the other won’t travel across their own—even if it’s three times the distance. Steven didn’t speak to me again after that, and while I can’t blame him, it does reduce the chances of him being my romantic hero.

I guess it could have been my attractive waiter Zoltan on the cruise where I met Steven, but I leave him to Cosima. Perhaps it was the really attractive French waiter from my last trip to Paris. His name was Quinton and he worked at a bar called La Pirat, Adrienne—my favorite travel buddy, and I spent every night for a week in that bar, just to look at him. Adrienne was engaged, and although I too would soon be engaged I didn’t know it at the time and I was free to weigh my options. At the end of the week I secured Quinton’s email address, and he made me promise that I would write. I put it into my travel bag and lost it for two years. I now keep it with my camera. I wonder if I wrote now if he would remember me.

Could it have been the Canadian who lives and works in Paris? He was a good dancer. Or maybe the kid from Belgium who went to graduate school in Miami, he was definitely cute. Perhaps it was the kid I met when I was 14 on a cruise in the Caribbean. He was from Norway and really into the Norwegian version of the band Insane Clown Posse. I would really rather think that fate has better things in store from my romantic life than a kid who would put on clown make-up and pretend to be an evil juggalo, but a person never can tell.

I suppose it could even be the boy whose name may have been Ryan, and was from Berkeley, California. He was dorky cute and he did own the first penis I ever touched. Of course, I was young and had no idea what to do with it. I more or less spent our time hidden under the stairs inspecting it and trying to figure out how to make it work. This scene, I think, takes away from the romance and either leaves it as truly comic, or horribly tragic. And although my eyes did get teary as we parted for the last time on the ship, I never bothered to try to keep in touch with him. Though I did write with my two other friends from that year.

The truth is that it is probably just some guy I bumped with my pool cue during a match, said ‘Pardon’ to squeezing through people on the train, or reached past to grab a carton of eggs. Some guy I never thought to look at, much less hope they might hold some type of importance in my life. Just some stranger I didn’t notice, who has no reason to stop and take notice of me from anything other than my rudeness. Sometimes, I believe that we don’t have grand romances in our lives not because we don’t want them, but because we are too busy to stop and notice if one were to happen. While this is actually a comforting thought, I don’t think that we could change to break the cycle. I know I couldn’t. The more I look for grand moments, the less likely I am to notice them when they happen.

The moment doesn’t make it the right person, any more than the car they drive does. A beautiful sunset in Istanbul, wrapped in the arms of a goofy 18-year-old who wants to be a priest, does not make the goofy kid the right kid. Nor does the forgotten promise to write, a kiss to make you melt at sunrise, or the first penis. Of course these are the moments we all want, and the truth is that they are all meaningful. These moments stay with us. They shape what we look for and add to our own perfection. Everything from the awkward recognition of a friend unseen for two years, in Paris Nord—the awkward reunion of the perfect sexual companion, after 8 months apart, in your driveway. They give us comfort—make us feel as if for one moment that Hollywood isn’t lying to us.

These are the moments that songs are written for. They are why we have so many romance novelists. The strange, awkward, accidental moments of our lives. These are the memories that later make us laugh, cry, and most often wonder. Then we pick up our luggage, print out our boarding passes, and head out into the world again—still looking. That is the part I love. And when or if I find my romantic hero… Well, I will probably call him an asshole for bumping into me as I try to take off my shoes for airport security.

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4 thoughts on “Romantic Hero”

  1. In the romance novels, the perfect couple always fight and decide they hate each other the first time they meet. I used to devour those novels like candy. When I met the real guy, I was immediately comfortable with him. He made me feel safe. Of course, I was on the rebound from one of those self-centered bad boys who usually caught my eye. In that frame of mind, I was able to recognize the real deal when it showed up. Good luck in your adventures. The right guy is out there. Don’t settle.

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