Dear real, live, non-fictional boys,
I’m just going to put this out there: you have a lot to learn.
I’m nearly 30 now, and I started dating you guys when I was 15. If you do the math, you’ll find that I’ve now spent half my life in your company, trying to find that one boy who really impresses me, the one I want to stick with for good. During those same years, I’ve also spent a lot of time reading young adult literature. And I have to tell you, real-life boys: you just don’t measure up to the guys in these YA books. Not by a LONG shot.
Let’s do a little comparison, shall we? If I were to peruse the profiles on any popular dating website, 98% of them would read like this:
“My friends say I’m a pretty laid back guy. I’m just as comfortable drinking at the bar as I am snuggling on the couch and watching movies. I like music, I’m a big baseball fan (Go [insert team of choice here]!), and I love to laugh.”
Really, guys? THAT’S supposed to dazzle me? Are there people in the world who DO NOT LIKE TO LAUGH? If the boys in my YA books were to make dating profiles, do you know what they’d sound like? They would sound like THIS:
“Want to travel through time with a tall, dark, handsome stranger? I’m your man.”*
“Mechanically-inclined genius with excellent taste in pants seeks girl who is unapologetically her own person. Oh, and if you ever have a hair disaster, I can totally fix it.”**
“What am I looking for in a woman? You. Yes, you.”***
Come ON, real-life boys. Read and learn.
The boys in my books all have eyes that are one color but are flecked with another color. They all have quirky half-smiles, where only one side of their mouths go up at a time; I don’t see any quirky half-smiles looking back at me from OKCupid. A surprising number of my fictional boys know how to fight with swords. And best of all? Every single one of them speaks and writes with proper grammar and punctuation, because they run themselves through copyeditors before presenting themselves to me. THAT’s how much they care. I love a well turned phrase, boys of the real world. And that’s why I don’t respond to emails like this one, which I recently received on Facebook:
“Hello, baby. I would like to know you better. You look sweet on your pics and i fell for you when i saw your pics. I want a serious relationship which will lead us to settling down together to be man and wife. Hope to hear from you soon as i await your reply.” (Note: THIS IS NOT A DRAMATIZATION.)
Non-fictional boys, I KNOW you can do better than that. The guys in these books are sixteen and seventeen years old. They can’t even vote yet, never mind taking me out for a drink. And yet, it’s been a very long time since one of you has made my heart flutter like Cricket Bell or Cameron Quick or Prince Po does.
It is time to step it up. I’m waiting.
*Thank you, Myra McEntire.
**Thank you, Stephanie Perkins.
***Thank you, Megan McCafferty.