Modern Love Recap: The Real Importance Of A Meet-Cuteby Chiara Atik on October 31, 2011
After taking a few weeks off from straightforward romance (that butterfly sex one was kind of a blip), this Sunday’s Modern Love column is straight-up misty-eyed sentimentality, in the best possible way.
The story starts out, as many stories do, with a Meet-Cute: the author meets a boy on an airplane, he hands her a poem, they meet again on the return trip, they kiss.
“And this is exactly where the story should end. It should cut to credits, and the music should be triumphant but soft. Your last image should be of the young girl and the handsome poetry-writing boy frozen in a movie kiss. You should brush the popcorn off your lap and leave the theater smiling because everything worked out the way you knew it would.”
Ah, but can you guess where this is going to go? Spoiler Alert: this couple does not end up together.
Instead, they break up, and the author meets the man who would later become her husband in a very conventional way: at a bar, through friends of friends.
The author then goes on to explore the importance of a meet-cute. Her parents met in an adorable way, and have been married for 50 years. But the author is quick to point out that it’s not because of their meet-cute that they’re together. The way they met is an anecdote to refer to in toasts and on anniversaries: the real romance of the story happened later, when they fought and reconciled and worked together and stayed married for over five decades.
The essay made me think of romantic comedies and the expectations they set up, not only about how you should meet someone, but the expectation that the kiss in the snow on the street is the end, and not merely the beginning. In movies, once the couple finally gets together, marriage is a given: they’ve already gotten over the hard part. But this author argues that getting over the real hard part — which happens over decades of marriage and can’t be easily summed up in a two hour movie, is what is interesting and inspiring.
“And that’s love,” she writes. “Big, epic, fairy-tale love. The kind of love people write about. The kind of love that could inspire a poem.”