By the time this is published there will probably be an announcement that Josh and Pam have hooked up and plan to get married in December, a happy ending to start the academic year with. With quixotic whims there is always the possibility that they develop successfully, but I could not help but worry about Josh’s romantic ideals when he put his infatuation on display for the whole world to see [cover, issue one, 1/3/04] with all the dreamy hopelessness of a first-year student. Romantic ideals may be what caused Romeo to poison himself over Juliet’s undead corpse, but they are also what inspired Sam Neill to kidnap Rachael Blake in Perfect Strangers and burn all her clothes.
I can imagine what had been going through Josh’s head after they had parted that fateful night. And when I say his head, I of course refer to his heart, and other parts of the body through which blood will flow when the senses bypass reason; and then reason itself becomes subject to the flow of blood. The head becomes filled with an irrational feeling of loss, and it is no longer possible to wait for a chance encounter during the remainder of the university year, because in less than a week Pam might encounter Josh II, someone who actually does have the good sense to trade phone numbers. Love cannot seem to wait, although any true romance aficionado knows that waiting is what romance is all about.
I want to write a warning, not just to Josh, but to all first-year students. It is based on excerpts from my own life.
When I first arrived in Wellington, we were driving past my new home (Victoria House) when my eyes were caught by a girl walking past. Something about her caught my imagination, not beauty in the traditional sense but some unknown quality. Imagine my delight when I found out that we would be living together at Vic House! Being too shy and unassuming to talk to her, I worshipped her from afar until near the end of the year when I finally realised that we had absolutely nothing in common.
My silly infatuations didn’t end there, however. Over the last three years I have been infatuated with a girl with a passing resemblance to Natalie Portman, a girl with an odd habit of biting her fingernails in public, a particularly tall, elegant and beautiful female who now works in the literature retail industry, and several other girls who caught my imagination for absolutely no reason at all. I knew absolutely nothing about any of these girls, but was sure that, in some cosmically significant way, each one had in turn been meant for me. Being sincere yet artless when talking to females, unlike ‘real’ men who are artful yet insincere, I sometimes approached these females and made an utter fool of myself. There are a few females about with the impression that I am a creep, a pervert, or more than just a little confused.
Between me and Josh there is very little similarity; he actually goes out and talks to females, whereas I generally only talk to myself. But there is something about being single and going to University in a strange city that makes certain romantically minded men become infatuated with the first female to make an impression on them. Josh seems to be of that frame of mind; I doubt he would make such an attempt to contact his Pam if he just wanted to exchange Dragonball Z cards with her.
My advice is this: take a cold shower, find a good book to read, and never, ever spend all your time thinking about one ‘perfect stranger’ of the opposite sex. It is very unlikely that they will be spending all their time thinking about you, and if you do spend too much time with them on your mind, you will build them into something they are not, a sort of divine feminine being descended from Heaven to fulfil your romantic fantasies. Reality will only set in when she stabs you to death and hides you in the freezer. There are, as they say, other chocolate fish in the teacher’s desk drawer.