Despite being a member of the Write Romantics I found the romance bits of Beltane the hardest to write. Magic, action and even the occasional bits of comedy were all much easier for me. Maybe that’s because, for various reasons, I’ve got a bit out of practice when it comes to romance. So encouraged by my fellow Write Romantics one of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to change that.
At my age internet dating seems to be the main way in which people meet. I have to admit it fills me with a certain amount of trepidation. I’ve heard a lot more horror stories than happy ever afters. A couple of weeks ago I started reading Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane. In the first chapter the heroine goes on a disastrous first date with a man she’s met through an internet dating site. Before they’ve finished their starters he’s told her about the many and various ‘unusual’ sexual practices he likes to indulge in. After reading that I shuddered, put the book down and thought there’s got to be another way.
So I turned to the books I’ve read recently to see if they could give me some good ideas on how to meet members of the opposite sex.
Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
We’ve got a male hero here and the books starts with him holding a girl’s bags while she gets into a taxi. She smiles and in that moment he feels an amazing connection between them, a feeling of recognising his soul mate. She accidentally leaves a disposable camera behind and he gets the photos developed and uses them as clues to try to track her down.
I get the moment of connection thing, I really do. But what he does next seems a little too much like stalking. And then when he finally sees her again it turns out that she’s newly single. How lucky is that! Though I guess it wouldn’t have made anywhere near such a good story if he’d gone to all that trouble and then, when they meet at the end of the book, she’d said, ‘Sorry but I’ve got a boyfriend.’
When I fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson
Elsie meets the hero when she’s caught accidentally shoplifting from a certain well known high street chemist. He’s a lawyer and manages to make sure she doesn’t get arrested. As one of the items that she’s taken is haemorrhoid cream (apparently for her father) I can only hope that nothing this embarrassing ever happens to me.
The Ghost House by our very own Helen Phifer
Annie meets Will (who is lovely. I do like a man who wears a lot of Berghaus) because there’s a serial murderer in town. She’s a PCSO and he’s the detective investigating the murders. I can think of any number of books where a romance starts during a murder investigation but, to be honest, I’d rather not discover a body or meet a serial killer.
And the classics are no help. Elizabeth and Darcy meet at a ball. I’ve not been to a ball since university and they were absolutely nothing like the ones in Pride & Prejudice. Jane Eyre meets Mr Rochester when he falls from his horse and then (would you believe it!) he turns out to be her employer. Well, let’s be honest that was pretty improbable in the 1840’s and it’s never going to happen in twenty first century York. And seeing as he’s got a mad wife in the attic Mr Rochester is really not the kind of guy I’m looking to meet! Then there’s Cathy and Heathcliffe who meet as children but let’s not go there because that doesn’t end well for anyone.
So I’m back to square one. Any ideas? I’d love to hear how you met the special person in your life.
Photo by Maynard Case http://www.maynardcase.co.uk