Real Life Meet Cute
Does the kind of meet cute we read about in romance novels happen in real life? Avril Tremayne and Mollie Blake tell us how they met their husbands and we reckon both these stories could work in a book!
Avril Tremayne - Not Quite Live At First Sight
Note to all readers: this is not to be shown to my husband!
The first time I met my (now) husband was upon entering a party in Sydney, thrown by what I’ll call “the Russian crowd”. (Not cold war spies or oligarchs or mafia – just a group of fabulously exuberant people whose families had ended up in Australia.) My husband, known as the Hon (short for the Honourable) belonged to one branch of the crowd and I belonged to another, and often the twain did meet.
It was a Pretentious Party. I walked in dressed as a member of the Rajneesh Cult - AKA the Orange people, smoking a rollie (the composition of which is best left to the imagination). He was already there, dressed in a dinner suit. We looked at each other, there was a little frisson of something electric... but we separately decided in a split second in our Aussie way: yeah-nah.
I met him again some time later at another Russian party. Dress theme: lingerie. Good Lord! Let me assure you I was wearing the equivalent of full-on pyjamas – at least I was, until I was unceremoniously thrown into the pool and ended up in some poor lad’s T-shirt for the night. The Hon was inveigled into giving me a lift home and as he dropped me off we had another frisson-filled moment that ended in a yeah-nah.
But the third time! Ah, that was the charm.
Pseudo Russian party this time (translation: thrown by a non-Russian who hung with my branch of the Russians) in a fabulous house rented for the weekend in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Booze was a-flowin’, music was a-blarin’, everyone was a-dancin’…and in the midst of all that, the Hon and I had a blazing political disagreement.
I have no idea what started the argument, but those of you who follow me on social media will know I’m not shy about airing my left-wing opinions (albeit diluted for public consumption), and I can assure you the Hon is equally uninhibited about airing his own more conservative views, so looking back it wasn’t at all surprising.
Strangely, however, we went from full-on fighting fury one minute to passionately kissing the next. Like – wow! A romance novel come to life! But with a weekend to get through in a house filled to the rafters with mutual friends, we had to leave it at Chapter 1.
It wasn’t until we were back in Sydney that our budding DARE manuscript-in-the-making turned into a romantic comedy.
You see, this was a long, long time ago, when mobile phones weren’t the ubiquitous items they now are. I was a poverty-stricken nurse without a landline (practically stone age) in shared accommodation in the inner west of Sydney whose only forms of transport were foot, bus and train. The Hon, by contrast, was an eastern suburbs guy with his own home, three phone numbers, and a company car.
We had two problems from what I could see:
1) Forget emotional communication, physical communication was going to be nigh on impossible!
2) What the hell were we even doing?
So of course after that weekend, I did what many a romance heroine would do: absolutely nothing. As far as I was concerned, there was so little common ground between us I’d be wasting my time.
But as it turns out, the Hon had other ideas.
A week or so after that fateful party, I came home to a note under my door with a “Call me!” message, with all three of his numbers listed.
After a heart-to-heart with my mother and sister, and a very large neat whisky (thanks, Mum!), I did call him (again, thanks Mum – she had a phone) – and that’s how our dating life began.
There’s one particular thing I love to mention when I talk to people about that period of our life. You see the Hon was – and remains – a social animal. At that time of his life, he was playing tennis, skiing, white water canoeing, occasionally golfing, going to the ballet and the opera, haunting art exhibitions…you get the idea. He had (and still has) the broadest circle of friends you could ever imagine. I, by contrast, am reclusive and intensely private, operating no-holds-barred within a very tight circle (people who’ll help you bury a body if you ask them to – others need not apply). Early on in our relationship, the Hon therefore asked me this question (he swears he didn’t but he’s so wrong): “What sort of relationship do you want, because I don’t have much spare time.”
My response: “Relationship? I don’t want a relationship. I’m only in this for the sex.”
And the weird thing is we were both telling the truth! With that as our starting point, is it any wonder I became a romance writer?
Mollie Blake - Fate Or Coincidence?
When I’m creating characters to star in my sexy romance suspense stories, I try to keep it real—it’s fiction not fantasy. So, I’m wary of serendipity and consider substantiating coincidences to avoid the criticism “It’s too far-fetched”.
But we know that real-life events can be weirder than fiction. You only have to watch the news on TV. And possibly look at experiences from your own life.
Agreeing to write this column on real life romance, my thoughts turned to the part fate has played in my love life.
So, the definitions of fate:
a) The development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power.
b) The course of someone’s life, or the outcome of a situation for someone or something, seen as outside their control.
Such a mystical word. Yet during the course of our lives, I believe we all encounter it, one way or another. In my once-upon-a-time, how many chances of fate and coincidences would I, as an author, feel were too many?
As a happily married coupled, my husband and I had two passions, skiing and scuba diving, both activities I would never have tried without him.
Fate? I married this man and got involved in these sports.
Scuba diving, particularly in the UK, has a technical side and we had to attend lectures. I loved my husband but quite enjoyed the vision of the guy giving a lecture at the dive club. He was informative and entertaining.
Oh, and he was the dive club hunk.
Diving with a British Sub Aqua Club is a very sociable affair. A group of people with a shared passion for the water and what lurks beneath, together with a readiness to “rough it” in tents and bunkhouse accommodation, get to know each other very well. So, my husband and I, and the hunk, were all good friends. The fact that the hunk’s live-in girlfriend wasn’t a scuba-diver didn’t matter. She was still a part of the dive club’s extended family.
Then one day my husband declared, “I don’t want to be married anymore…”
After crying, sleeping, working and repeating, I finally ventured out of the house. I went for a swim at the dive club. My friend and I took time out to admire the hunk swimming up and down in his usual, but never boring, perfect breaststroke.
“He’s split up from his girlfriend, you know. She left him,” my friend said.
Fate or coincidence?
Two swimming sessions later, he asked me back to his house for coffee. When I needed to use the bathroom I assured him, “Don’t worry. I’m taking it home with me.” You see, I was in the middle of tests on my kidneys for the hospital and had to collect all my urine in a jug.
Fate? I bet no other woman had said that to him. Now I knew he wouldn’t forget me.
Six months later a dive trip was planned and the hunk couldn’t make it; he didn’t want to splash out on accommodation. "That’s okay. I’ve got a trailer tent. We could go together.” I didn’t believe I said that. But I did.
Fate? I’d just bought the trailer tent. Never thought it would come in handy so quickly.
I won’t mention what happened in the trailer tent that night. I can’t believe I would have done that on a first date. But I did. Nor will I describe the events which took place in his bedroom over the rest of the weekend when we had to abandon the diving due to rough seas. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most
passionate, erotic weekends I had ever had. We never separated after that. It’s great getting to know someone for the first time. Of course, I knew he was passionate about scuba diving, even though he always threw up on the dive boat. But he also loved skiing. I soon learned there was no place in his life for someone who didn’t share his passion for the slopes.
Fate? Thanks to husband #1 who made me go through weeks, and bruises, of hell learning to get down said slopes. So worth it.
In the car on that first dive trip, the hunk played a cassette tape—remember those? It was Simply Red. We both loved them. We also discovered that, a couple of years earlier, we were both at the same Erasure concert in Manchester with our respective partners. To top it all, he had studied at Huddersfield. I nearly studied there, but started work as a trainee accountant instead. Just think, had I gone, we may well have met ten years earlier. We could have got together and cut out the middle people.
Fate or coincidence?
After that first passion-filled weekend, I knew I wanted to be with this man. Fate had brought two people scorned, together to share a very sexy, fun and exciting life. I just needed to try to make sure it stayed that way. Thinking about it now, in my story I would make sure the heroine did exactly that.
Sometimes too many occurrences of fate and coincidence can be too much for fiction. But in real life they make us who we are.
Twenty-five years later, the hunk and I are married with one son and one Newfoundland puppy. How do we keep the love alive? Someone said, “Reading erotic romance can improve your sex life.” I can concur, and would add that writing it is even better. Research, you know.
Happy Romance, everyone xx
Do you have a real life story of your own meet cute? How did you and your partner get together? Would it make a great romance novel plot or do you think it would be too unbelievable? We'd love to hear from you in the comments here, or on social media using the hash tags #MeetCute or #RealLifeRomance