The “meet cute” is the second by which two unlikely individuals encounter one another whereas going about their strange lives, and one thing extraordinary begins.
In the romantic comedy The Holiday (2006), Arthur (Eli Wallach) describes it thus to Iris (Kate Winslet):
It’s how two characters meet in a film. Say a man and a girl each want one thing to sleep in, and so they each go to the identical males’s pyjama division. And the person says to the salesperson, “I simply want bottoms”. The girl says, “I simply want a prime”. They have a look at one another, and that’s the meet cute.
The meet cute is a magical second of happenstance. The individuals concerned aren’t in search of love (not less than, not proper then).
In 1991, Roger Ebert relatively prosaically described the meet cute as:
a comedian state of affairs contrived fully for the aim of bringing a man and a girl collectively, after which they’ll work out their destinies for the rest of the movie.
However you describe it, the meet cute is sudden. It occurs when romance is the furthest factor from the characters’ minds. But in actual life, within the age of online dating, more Australians meet their partner online than via pals and work (not to mention, whereas shopping for pyjamas).
So are you able to have a meet cute once you are in search of love? Is it attainable to have a meet cute on a dating app?
Searching for love
Driven by new 12 months’s resolutions, vacation break-ups, and the need for a Valentine’s Day date, the “busy” interval for dating apps in Australia spans from Christmas Day via to mid-February. Across this era in 2020, Australians despatched over 52.8 million messages on dating app Bumble.
In many ways, discovering a valentine is simpler than ever. But dating apps aren’t conducive to stumbling into simply the appropriate particular person exactly once you weren’t in search of them.
They rely on a logic of lively selection: you signal as much as the app in pursuit of some type of coupledom. In interviews one in every of us, (Lisa), carried out with dating app customers, many described these apps as pre-meditated and strategic.
When speaking about what they could need in a relationship, many members particularly desired a “Hollywood second”, but felt this might by no means occur through a dating app.
Simultaneously, many felt meet cutes weren’t one thing that might ever occur to them: meet cutes had been reserved for “particular” individuals, not strange ones.
People in search of romance on dating apps are caught between two opposing forces: they really feel apps present the perfect alternative to meet somebody, but additionally that apps shut down the potential of a rom-com-style romance they dream of.
How fictional meet cutes tailored to online dating
In essentially the most well-known rom-com that includes online dating, You’ve Got Mail (1998), Joe (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen (Meg Ryan) don’t meet on a dating website. They meet in an over-30s chatroom and pursue a correspondence, not realising they’re enterprise rivals in actual life.
They may have met online, but neither was in search of love – and their enterprise rivalry makes them impossible lovers.
More not too long ago, Netflix’s Love, Guaranteed (2020) pairs a man suing a dating website for failing to search out him love (Damon Wayans Jr) along with his lawyer (Rachael Leigh Cook). They meet due to the location — but as a result of they’re suing it, not as a result of they matched on it.
We see related patterns in widespread romance fiction. In Christina Lauren’s My Favorite Half-Night Stand (2018), the heroine finds love through online dating — but along with her greatest buddy, who she already knew.
In Kristin Rockaway’s How to Hack a Heartbreak (2019), the heroine creates her personal dating app, but her fortunately ever after is with the man who sits within the subsequent cubicle.
Some romance novels are starting to emerge the place the protagonists do meet solely due to apps, such as Alisha Rai’s The Right Swipe (2019), the place the protagonists meet through an app — after which meet once more within the boardroom.
Conflict or compatibility?
Meeting somebody through an app may by no means really feel precisely just like the Hollywood rom-com meet cute members in Lisa’s analysis had been in search of — but this isn’t essentially a bad factor.
Romance narratives are pushed by battle. There’s often a cause the 2 individuals can’t be collectively, a battle they spend the entire story overcoming.
In Notting Hill (1999), Will (Hugh Grant) and Anna (Julia Roberts) have a traditional meet cute after they stumble upon one another and he spills his orange juice throughout her. But then they have to beat the obstacles posed by the very totally different lives they lead with a view to be collectively.
On dating apps, these in search of a relationship are looking for compatibility and chemistry, not battle — for somebody they may construct a reference to, not essentially the most unlikely particular person attainable.
In different phrases: discovering a valentine through an app is a lot extra seemingly than working into them on the road or getting trapped in a elevate with them.
And if it doesn’t really feel fairly like a rom-com, it’d simply be as a result of we haven’t fairly labored out how to inform that sort of story but.