Monday, December 12, 2005

Romantic Comedy or Drama?

Way back in the misty epoch of January, I had the good fortune to go to Mexico for a company conference. While there I met this Big Deal Director. I thought he was engaged to one of my favorite models so I blithely chatted away with him till the wee hours, happy to be utterly myself. Since he was taken, there was no need to impress or strategize.

The next day however, my intrepid (read: nosy) colleagues Googled everything they could think of about him and came up with the surprising revelation that he was in fact not engaged, hadn’t been for months, and IMDB doesn’t update its facts very often.

Subsequently, I turned into a complete fluffy dork around him. He was after all gorgeous, intelligent, witty, successful, well-mannered, everything-on-dream-list and OhMyGod what if he fell in love with little-old-me? Adding fuel to the fire, when I coyly suggested he change his travel plans to stay till the end of the week like I was, he did. After all, things had started with Agent Man on a vacation. Maybe this was The Next One. Ooo! Maybe this was The One! Delusions of grand relationship beginnings danced in my head. Poor man thought he was just having himself a fling.

“Silly girl! What would your boss think?” You ask.
“Not just boss,” I correct you, “whole department.”

I knew there were possible job damning politics afoot but I figured everyone would forgive if it was “real.” Don’t we put everything aside for that which is “real?” We do in movies. Despite my protestations that I’m a good girl I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m not on the list for this year’s company trip.

The funny thing is I honestly did have a bout of morality at the time. Believe me, I was tempted. The man is very skilled. And gorgeous and witty and…But at the last minute, it hit me that I didn’t want to be just another notch on his infamous bedpost. I wanted to matter to him. I would distinguish myself by not sleeping with him. It was beautiful Mexico after all and after my twelve hour work days (who needs sleep?) there were entire nights to talk and share with each other and build that romantic base of friendship that would undoubtedly sustain us on our life of love. Cue violins…

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I am not delusional. After the Hollywood pretense fell away, he actually shared something of himself with me. I wonder now if he meant to. Beneath all the name and money crap was just a nice guy with a heart like anyone else. A pretty likable heart at that.

We did have fun together. We laughed a lot and I don’t think he minded my chastity too terribly. But when I gave him my number at the airport, he reciprocated with his assistant’s number and a look of “Oh God please don’t ever call me.” So I didn’t. Nope, I thought, I’m gonna be the girl who didn’t sleep with you and didn’t call you. Clever strategy, no?

After a few weeks of radio silence I got a text from him and my heart stopped. When I could again breathe, I texted back something deliciously witty in the moment for which I slapped my forehead the next moment. And so on. For months he’d text or call when ever he was in town. I’d think Ooooo! Maybe he sees something here after all. And I’d get all excited. And then get all heartbroken again, when he didn’t call again. Or when I found out again that he was instead with the latest shiny object (model/starlet) on whatever shoot he’d gone off to. I’d wonder what I was doing wrong. I found myself being exceedingly careful to be fabulous around him. It’s a fun cycle: hope, self-doubt and heartbreak. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to get some meat to draw on for real emotion in your writing.

It dawned on me that if we truly were meant to be, there was nothing I could do to mess it up so I might as well be myself. He still didn’t call and I figured it was time to listen to the message the Universe was giving me. I sent back a sweater I’d poached (oh but it smells like him! – gag) and I finally let go of my daydreams of an amazing romance.

My boss asked me “Did you really think something serious was going to work out with this guy?”
I smiled and told him that “Yes, yes I had.”

I had believed that he might like the idea of being with someone who valued him for him, not for who he has to be for Hollywood.

Then I realized the funny thing about dream guy lists. I had left the kicker off mine: must be crazy in love with me. The fact that the Director is missing that vital item pretty much negates the rest of the list and it took me a while to see that. I guess I was blinded by the Hollywood stuff after all. In the end I’m relieved things are as they are now. The gossamer treacle of daydreams can only sustain you for so long. After a while some good hearty living-in-the-now is much more satisfying.

I’m sure the Director laughed plenty at my naiveté’. But though I would have been hurt to know that before, he’s not wrong. It’s much easier when you can laugh at yourself. A silly, lovelorn girl who crazily believes her own Cinderella story is pretty funny. Especially if she’s a flawed but loveable protagonist. Now if I could just find some talking mice who know how to sew.

And just for the record IMDB still lists the Director as engaged. That’s probably for the best.

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