I know I would be extremely charmed by a love letter. I've just never been written one.
I'm torn on romantic gestures. Half of me would love for someone to do something like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You and sing me a song while running around the bleachers in front of my whole soccer team. The other half of me can only cower in secondhand embarrassment for the poor woman in Love Actually who's just trying to do her job when Colin Firth shows up at her restaurant with half her town in tow to tell her in bad Portuguese that he'd come with a "view of asking [her] to marriage [him]."
I can be fairly confident in saying that I would probably be extremely uncomfortable as the recipient of some grand romantic gesture. However, I think I'd probably be swept off my feet with small cute ones: flowers for no reason and love letters.
In fact, I know I would be extremely charmed by a love letter. I've just never been written one.
I‘ve saved texts from boyfriends, long after the relationship was over, just because they'd said something really nice and I wanted to remember. I still have birthday cards from my last boyfriend, my favorite of which is simply a heart drawn in red marker and signed "from me." But I've never had any man send me a letter with the sole intent of expressing his love.
Recently, a friend and I had some Real Talk, and she told me I obviously had some kind of wall up that defied any love interest to get truly intimate with me. I'm extremely independent and have spent the clear majority of my life single, usually by choice.
She more or less told me that I tend to intimidate men by decidedly not needing one, and that keeping my feelings to myself doesn't exactly encourage a man to share his with me. I tried to fight her and tell her how incorrect she was but in the annoying habit of best friends, she saw through all my bullsh*t and I had to admit defeat. She was right.
But how do I change that?
Do I just go up to the next cute dude I see somewhere and put on my best Kitty Bennet impression (leaving my true literary soulmate Lizzie Bennet behind) so that Cute Dude will think I'm a helpless little thing that can't possibly survive on her own?
How nice is it, in the movies, when the woman is going through her attic and finds the shoebox full of love letters written by her husband of 64 years, back when he was off fighting in the war and mail their only means of communication? Or the 365 letters that Ryan Gosling sent Rachel McAdams in The Notebook, which were possibly the loveliest pile of unread mail I've ever seen depicted in media.
Or, on a completely different note, when you hear stories of women burning love letters after a bad breakup, as an offering to the love gods to please provide a better man next time? I love that! I love those scenarios, and I love every possible circumstance in between.
I love that love letters in the 21st century mean there was such strong feelings happening in a relationship that one of them actually picked up a pen and put it to a piece of paper just so they'd know exactly what the other person meant to him. That's heartbreaking — it's so perfect and beautiful.
So what's the plan? How do I go from a nice text to an actual piece of paper, without radically changing the person I think I am? I could ask the next guy I date to write me a love letter but let's be honest, that doesn't feel the same as one that comes to you spontaneously.
If I write a love letter, is it a reasonable expectation to get one in return? What do those women do to get that kind of love shown to them?
Maybe I'm the kind of girl who would keep that letter in my wallet and when I'm having a sh*tty day I'd pull it out and remember that all this will pass and I'll get to complain to the man behind this this concrete proof of love, and he'll commiserate and rally me. Or maybe I'll just re-read it one day in the future and smile.
Or maybe I'm the kind of girl who just needs to write a letter to herself because I know how good I am and I'll rally my damn self on my bad days.
(Full disclosure: I have written those letters to myself, and they do exactly what I need them to do. But I wouldn't mind at all getting one from someone else, who knows full well that I can go at it on my own, but is going to stick around anyway and wants me to know.)
Even Mr. Darcy eventually wrote a (rather angry and somewhat meandering) love letter to Lizzie Bennet. Maybe I just need to spend more time with landed gentry.
Because my Mr. Darcy's got to be out there somewhere, doesn't he?