When Lloyd Dobler held that boom box up and blasted “In Your Eyes” for Diane Court, I fell for it. When Keith Nelson bought Amanda Jones that pair of diamond studs, I fell for it. Same thing when Jake Ryan pulled his red sports car in front of that church to find Samantha Baker.
Grand gestures. They aren’t desperate, but romantic, not calculated, but passionate.
They also only work in fiction.
He has flown from Amsterdam, basically, for one date. He knows I have no interest in a long distance relationship, but he wants to risk it because he likes the idea of keeping a smart, sexy woman in his life. Over a lovely meal, he explains that even though it has been 8 months since I last saw him, and even though we have not kept in touch at all during those months, I have stayed on his mind. I am the right brain, I am the right body type. And he’s come all this way, for this one date, to explore the possibility of me being Ms. Right.
It is a grand gesture.
It is greatly flawed.
On the pro side. He’s gorgeous, 6’4″, fiercely intelligent. Ambitious, successful.
On the con side. He’s self-centered. He talks almost entirely about himself, asks me nothing about myself. He barely hears the words I am saying, returning most often to whatever thought is in his head regardless of the actual conversation we are having. He also, swear to God, thinks he is paying me a compliment when he says to me, “You have a great childbearing body.” What. The. Fuck?
He doesn’t remember the hours long conversation we shared last summer about our divorce stories. He doesn’t even remember that I am divorced.
And he doesn’t pick up on the social cue of engaging conversation even after I say almost exactly these words, “Perhaps the reason you didn’t remember I am divorced is that you largely talk about yourself and don’t ask me a thing about myself. If you were more interested in me, you might remember the things I have shared with you about myself.” He doesn’t get it.
I ask him what he’s looking for out of life. His answer. First, to find that significant other. Two, to plan for retirement. Three, to start a family.
Oh, my dear man of grand gestures, perhaps if you talked a little less and listened a little more, you would remember one other thing that I clearly remember saying to you on that hot July night months and months ago. I don’t want children.
It is far less romantic, far less passionate, but I will take common courtesy over a grand gesture any day.