(Note: For some reason my post formatted incorrectly. I tried fixing it, to no avail. My apologies and my thanks to those of you who persevere long enough to read the whole thing.)
In movie talk a “meet cute” describes an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them.
My own Studly Doright and I had something of a meet cute when we were teenagers. I was the new girl in town, he worked for my dad at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. I asked him where the ketchup was, he pointed at the row right in front of us. I felt sheepish, he was intrigued (heaven only knows why) and pursued me all summer. Our paths crossed again when we had the same P.E. period at Dumas high school, and we’ve been nearly inseparable ever since. That was 42.5 years ago.
Now, what would one call an encounter that is charming, but goes no further than that first encounter? Technically it’s still cute, and it’s still a meeting, but if it doesn’t lead to anything more can it be deemed a “meet cute”? Or is it merely a flirtation?
Once, over a decade ago, Studly and I lived in Melbourne, Florida. I taught math and science to fifth graders at a small neighborhood school, and became good friends with the three other fifth grade teachers. One Friday evening the four of us went to the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios in Orlando to see Hootie and the Blowfish in concert.
Prior to the concert there was a parade with all the fun of a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration. There were marching jazz musicians and krewes manning floats. Beads were thrown willy nilly, but female recipients didn’t have to bare their knockers to earn the shiny baubles. In fact, seeing as Universal Studios is a family friendly venue, baring a breast probably would’ve gotten one evicted from the park. I certainly wasn’t going to be a test case.
My friends and I eagerly caught beads that came our way, and I made sure any children in our vicinity were the final recipients of any I snagged. So engrossed was I in this activity that I accidentally bumped into an attractive, well dressed man who was also watching the parade. I apologized and went on obliviously about my bead catching.
“Hey,” the man said. “Why aren’t you keeping any beads?”
I barely looked at him, saying, “Don’t you know the fun is in the catching?”
No more than a minute passed before I felt a tap on my shoulder. The man held up an ornately decorated set of beads, smiled, and handed them to me.
“You’re right,” he said, winking. “The fun is in the catching.”
I’m sure I blushed bright red, but I grinned and thanked him before quickly locating my friends and rejoining them. If I’d been single maybe that could’ve been a meet cute. As it was it was just an innocent flirtation.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, I gave those beads away, too, but not until later in the evening when Hootie and the Blowfish were singing, “Only Wanna be With You.” Studly Doright is my only meet cute.
Let’s wrap this up with “Only Wanna Be With You,” by Hootie and the Blowfish.