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Three "love" stories

The stories are based on common experiences and the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is most likely coincidental. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I

Once upon a time there was a girl, and all she ever wanted was to be an independent woman who wouldn’t take nonsense from anyone. She witnessed firsthand how her mother’s pride was slowly but brutally grated away by her father, chip by chip, year after year. So she declared marriage unreliable and announced to all her friends: I will never marry … most likely.

That was, until she met this boy — smart, confident and just emotionally unavailable enough to pique her interest. He tried too hard to be casually cool and kept many “girl friends” (emphasis on the space) on the side. He claimed that he’d had X number of dalliances, tried Y kinds of drugs and made $Z worth of money from his stocks. She always solved for their real values by adding 5 and then dividing by 2.

She broke up with him every time she got drunk and flew to his bed every time she sobered up again. Sometimes, while studying his average looks, below-average height and less-than-average sense of humor, she wondered what exactly gave him the guts. But more often than not, she watched him admiringly as he tried to show her a cooking skill that her own mother had taught her years ago.

Maybe it was the companionship. Maybe it was the thing in his eyes that made her feel desirable for the first time. Maybe it was just that the sweet memories were too sweet to forget and the bitterness at least reminded her she was alive.

She even began to doubt the whole idea of “independent woman.” Her pity for her still “independent” friends was both sincere and condescending. It’s just an excuse people use to save face when they can’t get laid, she thought.

Now comes Feb. 14. She had just broken up with him again after three rounds of tequila shots the night before. But as she finally climbed into bed, she remembered to remind herself: Gotta get up early tomorrow to meet my Valentine at nine a.m.

Moral of the story: Love?

II

Once upon a time there was a girl, and all she ever wanted was an extravagant romance that would make everyone else crazy jealous. She decided that her life was too “middle”: middle child in a middle-class family living in a middle-size city. She desperately and secretly wished, under the guise of her “independent woman” banner, for a “he” to save her from the boredom of her average American life.

She downloaded, deleted and re-downloaded all the dating apps on the market. She’d had many lovers and never ran out of love stories to entertain her friends: He was handsome but too flaky. He was sweet but too clingy. He was French, but way too French …

She was always on the hunt for the next one, hoping that this time it would be the one. The one to give her devoted attention, shower her with gifts and eventually propose to her by jumping out of a private jet to prove his love.

She got around, but she was a good girl. She had a little too much fun, but she was a good girl. People often thought of her as crazy, but she was a good girl. After all, I am a liberated, independent womanright?

Now comes Feb. 14. She was dreading that she’d be among the ones left alone on this day. Luckily, she discovered this new dating app called “Marriage Pact” and just got a date with her match. Apparently, the algorithm said that this will be the one.

Moral of the story: Love!

III

Once upon a time there was a girl, and all she ever wanted was a once-in-a-lifetime relationship like the one her parents shared. She watched her mother gave her father a haircut in the backyard every other week, and her father pick up her mother’s hair from the shower drain every other day. I would like to have that love, or none at all, she thought.

Ruling out everyone in the world but one, she went out to test all her potential candidates. She waited three days before replying to texts, made sure to always show up fashionably late or fashionably too late to her dates and never took the first step. If they can’t take it, they are not meant to be.

She was sharp-tongued and quick-witted, and her candidates resented and loved her for that. She frequently gave free and observant relationship advice to her friends who were stuck with the wrong boy. Poor thing, she often thought pitifully and condescendingly. As a result, she heard many horror love stories: He said that Tinder account is definitely old and inactive. He claimed to have X number of ‘girl friends’ (X=(X+5) ÷ 2). He was French but way too French…

From time to time, someone would emerge into her self-indulgent world, just emotionally unavailable enough to pique her interest. She closely observed the arc of his jawline, found out from Google that he played sports in high school and tested their astrological compatibility. But still, she refused to take the first step.

Maybe she just loved herself too much. Maybe she was just not brave enough. Maybe she was afraid to find out that no relationship could ever live up to her expectations, not even her parents’.

Now comes Feb. 14. She might try to get very drunk and then text him. Or she might just stay in and be a self-caring, independent woman again.

Moral of the story: Love,

The stories are based on common experiences and the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is most likely coincidental. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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