Learning from the Masters: The Meet-Cute Part III


Time for another Meet-Cute! (In case you missed them, Parts One and Two).

Behold, one of my favorite meet-cutes of all time:

I grabbed a cookie and poured some lemonade into a Dixie cup and then turned around.

A boy was staring at me.

I was quite sure I’d never seen him before. Long and leanly muscular, he dwarfed the molded plastic elementary school chair he was sitting in. Mahogany hair, straight and short. He looked my age, maybe a year older, and he sat with his tailbone against the edge of the chair, his posture aggressively poor, one hand half in a pocket of dark jeans.

I looked away, suddenly conscious of my myriad insufficiencies. I was wearing old jeans, which had once been tight but now sagged in weird places, and a yellow T-shirt advertising a band I didn’t even like anymore. Also my hair: I had this pageboy haircut, and I hadn’t even bothered to, like, brush it. Furthermore I had ridiculously fat chipmunked cheeks, a side effect of treatment. I looked like a normally proportioned person with a balloon for a head. This was not even to mention the cankle situation. And yet–I cut a glance to him and his eyes were still on me.

It occured to me why they call it eye contact.

I walked into the circle and sat down next to Isaac, two seats away from the boy. I glanced again. He was still watching me.

Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy … well.

Finally I decided that the proper strategy was to stare back. Boys do not have a monopoly on the Staring Business, after all. So I looked him over as Patrick acknowledged for the thousandth time his ball-lessness etc., and soon it was a staring contest. After a while the boy smiled, and then finally his blue eyes glanced away. When he looked back at me, I flicked my eyebrows up to say I win.

This is of course from this book, which I assume you have read, because not only was it all over the place for a while, it was amazing.

Why does this work?

1. Like the other examples I gave, there’s a great description of the potential love interest–just enough that we can picture him, not too much that we get bored. And I love that here there’s also a description of how the protagonist sees herself, and the fact that it’s implied that how she sees herself is not how he’s seeing her.

2. There’s some action going on, but not too much–them seeing each other is the main event.

3. The sexual tension–eye contact.

4. Finally, this works for the same reason this whole book works–the voice of the narrator, Hazel. She’s funny, she’s self-deprecating, and she’s also unexpectedly bold–I love love love that she stares back and he looks away first. It tells you a lot about her character in the early pages of the novel.

That’s all for now. I think I’ll do one more next week, because these are fun. Stay tuned!

Photo by Tony Mucci on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Learning from the Masters: The Meet-Cute Part III

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