You might ask where I’ve been. And the answer is (well, recently anyway) – over at Anne R. Allen’s blog! And what have I been doing there? Well now. I’ve been thinking about what it might be if you – me – or any normal person – ended up living with a classic Romantic Hero from our favourite book or screen swoons, during a pandemic.
And seeing as yesterday was Valentine’s Day, it was time to check in on him, and see how he was coping with lockdown. As you can imagine, it hadn’t knocked much of the swagger out of him. His very normal partner, on the other hand, was showing a bit more wear and tear…
It’s Valentine’s Day. And for the first time in forever, you’re not single. In fact, even though you’ve always considered yourself quite, well, ordinary, both in terms of appearance and achievement, not only are you in a relationship, but you’re in a passionate fever dream with… a classic Romantic Hero! The very man who has been centre stage of every romance novel, every costume drama, and every fairytale you’ve encountered since infancy.
True, some people said you moved in together too quickly. But you had no choice: it was either live together, or be prevented from seeing each other entirely. Just like the best romantic stories, the love between you and Romantic Hero encountered a terrible obstacle in the form of COVID-19: and just like the best romantic stories, you decided to completely ignore this obstacle, along with experience and good sense, and commit to each other forever.
You wake up to the soft kiss of sunshine streaming in your window. You sit up and stretch, knowing that you are already fabulously coiffed and fully made-up, because a Romantic Hero is in love with you.
A movement catches your eye. Romantic Hero stands in the doorway, wearing a designer navy suit, a white open-necked shirt and no tie. He crosses the massive bedroom in just 7 long strides, reaches for you with his big strong arms and crushes you to his chest.
ROMANTIC HERO: Good morning, my everlasting love. Happy Valentine’s Day.
YOU: What time is it? Did I oversleep? How long were you standing there?
ROMANTIC HERO: Only 43 minutes. And it’s 7am. But you know I like to get up early, in order to watch you sleep.
YOU: Um, okay. Not creepy at all. Anyway, happy Valentine’s Day to you too! And I know I keep doing this, but just to humour me, how much money did you make during those 43 minutes from your incredibly successful and yet extremely vague business dealings which have something to do with property in the Mediterranean, Middle East and odd rural corners of the north-western United States?
ROMANTIC HERO: 2.5 million dollars.
ROMANTIC HERO: I also spent the time I was watching you sleep, thinking about what we could have done to celebrate Valentine’s Day, if it weren’t for this infernal pandemic. But I still have something special planned for us.
YOU: Oh dear. You’re not going to force me through hours of YouTube videos again today to show me all the places you would have brought me if we weren’t in lockdown?
ROMANTIC HERO: I want to show you the world, my love.
YOU: Just so you know, I did backpack around quite a bit of it. Just because I didn’t see the world in five star luxury doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it.
ROMANTIC HERO: But I consider it my duty to introduce you to the finer things in life.
YOU: Okay. But I’m not sure that’s coming across on YouTube. Videos of French patisserie and exclusive sushi from Tokyo don’t quite tickle the tastebuds. Plus, I have to say that wearing a new designer evening dress to dinner at home every night is starting to get a bit annoying.
ROMANTIC HERO: But how else will you show off the wardrobe I bought you?
YOU: Exactly who am I showing off to, though? Apart from you, obviously. But I’m not sure that counts.
ROMANTIC HERO: That’s true, I suppose. At least 86% of the pleasure I took from buying you things came from watching other people look at you in them.
YOU: Again, not creepy at all.
You can read the full piece here and enjoy my special gift to all those who, like me, greet Valentine’s Day with a raised eyebrow, a loud guffaw and a tighter-than-usual grip on the wallet! Big love to all my fellow cynics!