Mel was dating a magician … of sorts. Every now and then her boyfriend Greg would vanish into thin air. Unreachable by phone, email or via door bell, Greg would literally disappear. As much as three weeks would go by before Greg would ‘ta da’ back into existence, and like all good magicians, he would never reveal his tricks, and offer very little explanation. Having investigated ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’, Mel figured he was just disappearing to his cave, as all men do from time to time. It just happened to be a very big cave, very far away, and with very little phone signal. Like all magic tricks, repeated a few too many times, they become tedious. Tired of having her self esteem chipped away by his Houdini routine, Mel decided this time she would be the one to disappear, and the ticket to her cave was one way.
Greg’s tricks had left a dent in her trust, and fearful of the prospect of meeting another vanishing act, she took some time to wonder whether there were any signals from the outset to suggest he might be this kind of guy, signals to look out for in future dates. She didn’t think so. Greg jumped into their relationship with both feet, professing his investment from very early on. She had very little reason to doubt that this wasn’t love at first sight. According to Marni Battista and Christian Anderson, perhaps this was exactly the problem:
Mel eventually realised that having constructed a mountain of expectation from the outset, Greg had put himself under a ridiculous amount of pressure, under which he was apt to bolt. He was also more invested in fantasy than reality, and in short, a poor candidate for a relationship. If she had seen through the hazy smoke of fresh infatuation, there had been signs all along.
A generation bred on romcoms, where handsome protagonists waltz into our lives and sweep us off our feet, are we subject to buying into these fantasies too? An interested party professing love at first sight can be intoxicating, mesmerising and make floating off the grounds of Planet Reality near impossible to resist. But is insisting on slowing the pace, keeping perspective in the picture, and our objective wits about us the only means by which we can spot a magician before he saws our self esteem in half?