Flagstaff, AZ

Say Goodbye to Online Dating and Hello to the Meet-Cute

Vanessa Torre

I’m putting my faith in a Hollywood-created concept. It’s fine.

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I met my college boyfriend in the poetry section of Bookman’s in Flagstaff, Arizona. If that does not scream “I was an overly emotional 19-year-old English major attending a small liberal arts college,” I do not know what does. I was with my friend Winnie. No, seriously. I was also the girl in college who had friends named Winnie. I was smitten the second I saw him.

A few days later, my friend Angel (not making that up either) invited me to go hiking with some of his friends. They met me in the lobby of my dorm. Behold, there was Tony, the cute boy from the bookstore.

This, my friends, is what is now known as a “meet-cute.”

I did not even know this had a term in 2021. I have been totally convinced that online dating has ruined any semblance of meeting people organically that it never occurred to me that it actually, you know, happens. But it does and I am 100% here for it.

Meet-cutes are when two people happen upon each other in an unconventional way. And then it happens again. Maybe again. Again? Feelings are caught. Bumbling occurs. Joy prevails.

Side note: I think most Hollywood meet-cutes involve John Cusack. Not sure about that. Research is needed.

The awful part of being a society totally trained to find romance by endlessly staring at our phones is that we’ve become convinced of one of two things: 1) romance only lives in our phones and the only way to find it is to keep swiping on it until the genie in our phones lets it out or 2) romance does not exist at all. I wholeheartedly resist both ideas. I firmly believe that love exists and I know for sure it does not live in my phone.

I have tried to make it clear to people who ask, I am not dating and I am not not dating. I am existing. I am having fun. I am living my life.

I am doing all kinds of weird things like buying roller skates with pink wheels and turquoise laces while simultaneously being a grown 47-year-old woman.

My existence is wide open. Having sworn never to go back to the hellscape of the online dating world, any potential love life I may ever have is predicated on the concept of the meet-cute. I will boldly say that the meet-cute can revolutionize dating and we need for it to.

Of course, in order to do that, we need to get our faces out of our phones and look around. You can’t have a meet-cute if you don’t actually see that there are people coming and going from every direction. And really, the more people that abandon phone dating and lift their heads up, the more meet-cutes that are bound to happen. We. All. Win.

When I think about the number of meet-cutes I’ve had that I didn’t realize were meet-cutes until the moment had long passed, it’s sad and embarrassing.

Twice I had connected with the same guy on the same dating app. Apparently, we both have recidivism issues and lack romantic follow-through. We just never met. This time last year, I was walking with my friend and her dog across an intersection downtown and there was this guy with the window rolled down, sunglasses on, very cute, and smiling at me. It was the guy.

I don’t think I was out of the crosswalk before I had my phone in my hand asking him if I just saw that right? Yep, I did. He said I was cute. I said he was cute. We talked about meeting. We still didn’t meet. I had the most brilliant meet-cute right in front of me and it did not even sink in. That moment rode away into the sunset on a horse called “Clueless Fool.”

The success of the meet-cute and why it can revolutionize dating is dependent on us paying attention and actively participating in our own lives.

Swiping on people is not living. Getting out and doing things is living. Looking around you to see who else is doing all the things in all the places is living.

The beauty of the meet-cute is that we have to give up to fate just a little bit. That phone in our hands, doling out little nuggets of dopamine when we get a new online match, is nothing more than us trying to push life in the direction we want it to go.

Life does not always move in the direction we push it. Sometimes, it pushes back because that is not where it is supposed to be and it does not like it. If we let it go where it wants to go, we remove ourselves from having to make things happen, and we’re a hell of a lot happier and far less tired.

Yes, I have waded knee deep into some serious hippie dippie manifesting shit. Way deep. Come with me. Water’s fine. Trust.

What has sucked the life out of dating is the need to try too hard. It’s become a game. Games require effort. Games take time. Games have to involve strategy. That’s fine if you’re playing Othello with your 11-year-old niece but not if you’re looking for a quality human to spend some time with (maybe rollerskating…).

Yesterday was the first day I had a meet-cute that I was aware I was having while I was having it. I ended up in a lengthy conversation with a guy who seemed to linger a while where I was because he really had no reason to keep staying there. I got his name but we did not exchange information. We have similar interests so it’s possible we could run into each other again. Who knows.

What I feel good about is that I noticed another human being sharing my space. That’s fun.

Could I have given him my number and told him to call me the next time he’s going to the craft beer place we talked about? Sure. Did I? No. I don’t push. I live. We need to get off our phones and let life happen. Meet-cutes welcome.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ
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