Young Gillian: "What are you doing?"
Young Sally: "Summoning up a true love spell. called Amas Veritas. He can flip pancakes in the air. He'll be marvelously kind. And his favorite shape will be a star. And he'll have one green eye and one blue."
Young Gillian: "I thought you never wanted to fall in love."
Young Sally: "That's the point. The guy I dreamed of doesn't exist. And if he doesn't exist, I'll never die of a broken heart."
You can both cast a dreamy grin and adjust your bag strap, looking up the sky and wiggling your fingers as if someone was touching them back. Or you could pout and wish that Ben & Jerry’s was in your immediate, general direction.
I actually wrote something concerning this (or maybe echoing it) in one of the online novels I’m writing. Here is a full chapter from my serial novel, Birdcage Girl, where my main character Ashlyn faces her own desires head on. The chapter is called “The Prince List.”
At the age of ten, Ashlyn decided she had five qualities she expected for any man who would become her husband. She sat on her knees inside the birdcage and flattened a piece of her mother’s sketch paper. Her little face screwed up in concentration as she slowly dragged out the list with a salmon-colored crayon:
1. I have to be able to hear him approaching.
2. He should have one crooked pinky.
3. He can make homemade marshmallows.
4. He can't sing better than me, but he can play the piano from memory.
5. He must like birds.
She saved it in her scrap drawer. Over the years it got buried under other lists and other doodles. But Ashlyn still remembers it. She figures that one day, when she unearths it, she’ll either:
1. Laugh at the absurdity of the list.
2. Wonder how her ten-year-old self knew.
Before Figment decided to limit the genre boxes (ah, another kind of list), I had Birdcage Girl ticked off as a romance. And it is. It just hasn't happened yet. Ashlyn has a lot of other things on her mind than finding a boyfriend, certainly, but it doesn't mean she’s not thinking about it. Those gauzy thoughts flutter in her head – way in the back, where they’re practically abandoned. But they are there. And I can say, with every assurance, that someone will step up soon to draw that fragile gauze out and into the light.
Like Ashlyn, I’m sure there has been a time in everyone’s life where we’ve made such a list (though right now I’ll speak specifically to the girls).
You’ve heard they’re bad for you. You watch these lists burn on television in fire pits or just with the flick of a lighter’s delicate tongue.
But there’s something more to them, or to any action involving dreaming up that wonderful person.
Whether you hope your significant other has webbed feet or can make a good ham sandwich, I think it’s important to have fun with these thoughts. Don’t carry the list around with you in your purse, taking it out whenever you see a cute guy in line at the coffee shop or while waiting for your car to be repaired. Rolling it up in a tube and using it as a spyglass is much more useful than meticulously checking off the boxes.
For anyone still wanting for that special someone to walk in the door… well, there are ways to make the interval easier: