Last night, my wife and I endured the cold, our own sleepiness, and a gaggle of over-caffeinated teenage girls to watch the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn, the latest in the Twilight series. I could say my wife dragged me to the movie, that I went to appease her.
But that would be a lie. I admit it: I like Twilight.
I realize this is odd. Before the show started, I walked to the bathroom. The women’s bathroom was overflowing, a line all the way out to the Hunger Games poster. When I went into the guys’ bathroom, there were two people.
I don’t know why I am this way. I just know I am.
7 Things I Like In A Love Story
That being said, I don’t identify with the women in these stories. I care about the dudes. I am straight, after all. So in honor of the guys who were at the Twilight premiere last night (all seven of you), here’s a list of all the things that I like in a love story from a guy’s perspective.
1. The guy who doesn’t deserve her, but gets her anyway.
Let’s be honest. Most guys don’t deserve the girl they get. Girls are better looking, better smelling, and generally better at life.
So when someone who’s kind of a loser, like Jim in Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, one of my favorite novels about a love story, gets a beautiful and intelligent woman to fall in love with him, I feel like it’s just a very honest take on the world of relationships.
A subset of the guy who doesn’t deserve her is the guy who took a shot at her, failed, and now shrouds himself in self-pity for the next hundred pages. The best example of this, of course, is Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy takes self-torture to another level because he goes emo like a gentleman should, with poise and honor.
My favorite part of the book is when he gets angry with Miss Bennett for rejecting his proposal, and then, instead of storming out and slamming the door, he dismisses himself coolly:
You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.
Boom! He might as well have performed self-immolation.
3. Love at first sight.
I know love at first sight is a cliché and that it’s not real and all that. But you have to admit, if love at first sight worked, it would be a lot more efficient.
Think about it this way. Romeo sees Juliet, falls in love, and like two hours later they get married. They don’t date for five years like couples do these days. Two-and-a-half hours later, they’re done.
Love at first sight is just a well-organized, time-saving way to do romance.
4. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.
“Bella, stop being such an idiot. YES! He likes you!”
This is the thought you have frequently throughout the whole Twilight series. Bella just doesn’t seem to get it that Edward likes her. Over and over again, she doubts him.
It’s also genius. It takes skill to maintain the romantic tension in love stories, especially when both parties fall in love right away. Stephenie manages to maintain the tension throughout the novels by making Bella a complete fool when it comes to reading other people’s regard.
5. Pining in private.
The best example of this is probably The Princess Bride. The poor servant, Westley, falls in love with the beautiful Buttercup, and keeps it a secret until he can improve his situation to make him worthy of her.
Secret love is a powerful thing. Speaking from experience, it can make you do some pretty crazy things.
6. Head over heels.
People in love see differently. They notice the color of their beloved’s eyes, the shape of their lips, the way the light falls on their hair. These are things that are always there, and have always been there, but lovers notice them and are grateful for them.
As an artist, I am always trying to see better. I want to be surprised and delighted by life, so that I can, in turn, learn how to surprise and delight. Lovers see like artists do.
7. I would walk 500 miles.
After I fell in love with Talia, I realized I had a problem. She lived in Georgia, and I lived in California. Worse, I didn’t know if she liked me. In fact, I was pretty sure she didn’t since she wouldn’t reply to my emails.
So I did what any guy who has read too many love stories and watched too many romantic comedies would do. I drove across the country, knowing that if I could just be there in person, I could get her.
And I did.
(I’ve always loved that song.)
How about you? Do you like love stories? What do you like about them?
Let’s practice creating some romantic tension today.
The prompt is, “Edward loves Bella.”
How did they fall in love? Does she initially reject him? Does he do something crazy to win her over? Write for fifteen minutes, and post your story in the comments when you’re done.