Because I can't help myself, I watched a Hallmark movie called The Wish List this past weekend. I don't know what it is about having nothing to do and being roped into a silly, love is all around you made for tv movie but I can't help myself. If it happens to feature my crush since age 12 or Rory's dad from Gilmore Girls, well so much the better.
This round: The Wish List. The movie is about a hyper-organized woman named Sarah who tires of dating the wrong guys so she makes a list of all the things she is looking for in a man. And I don't mean that she keeps a list in her head; she puts up a large white board in her closet and writes it all down along with check boxes. It's pretty amazing actually. In the space of days she meets two men - one who embodies almost every item on her list and one who is the complete opposite of everything on the list (Rory's dad from Gilmore Girls). I think we all know where this is going. These movies are addictive because they follow a very specific formula that makes everyone feel calm and loved and hopeful. Damn you, Hallmark!
We all know I love a list so at the onset of this movie, I thought this whole list for love idea was genius. What could possibly go wrong with a list like this? I firmly believe that life's issues and concerns can be solved by a great list. Organizing your day, pro/con lists for things that aren't easy to decide, deciding on which apartment you prefer (you can substitute other material goods here - cars, computers, etc.), making sure you get everything you need at the grocery. Lists are the best.
As the movie progressed, I became completely underwhelmed and disappointed with Sarah and her list (it's also possible that it was the bad dialogue and the overacting but I can't really be sure). I'm not convinced that a list could actually help a person find love. A list is the exact opposite of most of the words and ideas people have about love. A list is rigid, organized, planned, contained. Love may be some of those things but it's also spontaneous, unexpected, uncontainable. I may be passionate about lists but I don't think there's anything particularly passionate about them. No one reads Anna Karenina and wonders if Anna was organized (I'm guessing not) or wrote a good list (it's possible this is true since she did have a household staff and infidelity to manage).
This also goes completely against the idea that life is not linear. I know that's not true and if I tried to plan every aspect of my life, I would never accomplish anything. Or I'd only accomplish the mundane things. I'm realizing that I am way more Type-A than I really want to admit.
The perfect man (in this movie) points out that one of the items not on Sarah's list was actually love. She could list qualities and habits but she couldn't plan for falling in love with someone. She could check off all the criteria but that didn't mean that she felt anything. Interestingly, I had a similar conversation with two friends at happy hour yesterday. Our conversation went something like this: when you're the single friend in a group, your married/attached friends automatically find the single person in the room for you. They work through a checklist of things (single, not a felon, told a mildly funny joke, knows how to read) but don't really think through the longer term connection that's needed to make a relationship work. Being single is the only factor that matters.
So I've decided that this is just one of those things that I will have to stop trying to plan. Instead I will consider the following: the only thing that I really require in the future love of my life is his ability to sit through a terrible Hallmark movie with me without being asked and having Kleenex ready (since I do tend to get weepy when I watch these movies).
Trust me, that's love.