I don’t know about you, but I tend to like characters who don’t have their act together. Especially when it comes to love. Men who say all the right stuff? Women who never get wedgies? No thanks.
Now maybe I just have a particularly large library of embarrassing romantic moments, but when writing scenes of seduction (or introduction, depending on where your characters are in the mating process), I am always drawn to the goofy over the flawless.
Love is messy. We like it that way. As much as we imagine ourselves having all the right moves and all the right words, we don’t and–let’s face it–we won’t. So in honor of February 14th (that would be my beloved pup’s 14th birthday, but I hear there’s another holiday then?), I would love to hear the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love—-unrequited or otherwise.
I’ll go first. (It’s only fair.)
In my early twenties, I worked in the art department of a clothing company in NYC and watched the same red-haired fellow ride the subway with me each morning, grab a bagel at the same deli, then ride the elevator into the same building, always getting off several floors below mine. I pined from afar for weeks until, one day, a few days shy of my last day of work, I spent the better part of a Saturday drawing up a phony business card, taking it to the copy shop and causing the demise of at least fourteen trees while I got it JUST RIGHT (for what it’s worth–God, I’m sorry, Mr. Pine. You deserved better!).
On my last day of work, I held the labored-over card in my sweaty hand, followed my crush into the elevator, plotting my delivery, lost in the promise of the moment I was about to experience when–Oops! I realized the doors were closing on my floor! So I did what any love-sick, about-to-be-unemployed textile artist would do: I karate-chopped the doors to keep them from closing, turned to my crush (with leg still raised!) and handed off my card, saying breathlessly: “My name’s Erika and I’d love to get coffee with you. ”
I don’t remember much about what happened next, just that he looked at me like a deer in headlights (or perhaps he was trying to secure my features for the NYPD sketch artist he’d be calling later?) and I walked off the elevator to my department, feeling utterly euphoric, mission accomplished.
He never called. (I know, you’re shocked.) But then again, I did move out of town the next week. So for at least two months, I indulged in fantasies of him calling my empty apartment, wishing he hadn’t waited those requisite three days!
Whew, I feel much better now.