NaNoWriMo: The Incredible Love Showdown

Dan took a long, deep breath as he looked himself over in the full-length mirror. Valentine’s Day was on its way. There were only four weeks left to prepare, and he had a lot of big ideas. This was going to be the year he won Jessica’s heart. The time had come at long last. He was ready. She would finally be his.

He’d been studying hard, watching every romantic comedy she had listed on her Facebook page (and there were a lot of them) and memorizing the patterns. To be fair, it wasn’t the most complicated of formulas. All he had to do was meet her (check), fall in love with her from afar (check), spy on her online and by watching her through the window during her shift at Starbucks (check), ask her out (check), get rejected (check), and then do something to prove his love to her, at which point she would realize how she truly felt, recognize that fate had brought them together and he truly was worthy of her affections, and fall madly in love with him. Romance accomplished. Roll credits.

The trick was finding the correct way to prove his love. He couldn’t take something directly from one of the films – it had to be original. But not too original, obviously. so he’d made a list of examples to use as inspiration.

Mostly, it seemed to involve a combination of:

1. doing something incredibly stupid and/or inappropriate, then making a heartfelt apology and/or gesture of sincerity.

2. displaying his manly prowess by dominating other males in some variety of competition.

3. proving his loyalty and devotion by not giving up, no matter how many times she rejected him.

4. making a physical advance on her while she was “playing hard to get”, proving that he was manly enough for her.

Fortunately, he didn’t see any evidence of any men attempting to understand the woman’s point of view, listen to her problems, be sensitive and caring, look for common interests or compatible personalities, or taking a long, hard look at themselves and figuring out how to make themselves more likable and interesting. Well, there were certainly characters who did those things, but they never got the girl in the end. It was clear what women really wanted, and it was mostly Harrison Ford forcing themselves on them until they fell in love.

Easy peasy.

Of course, there was one other important element he hadn’t quite accounted for yet: a rival. Without a competing man vying for her affections, how would he prove how much better he was in comparison?

Dan’s reflection looked back at him meekly. Muscles? Not a whole lot. Body hair? Uneven. Chiseled jaw? Not even close. Rugged good looks? No. All he saw in front of him was a semi-flabby, awkward-looking dirty blond with a small head, an unkempt rust-colored goatee and, for some reason, coarse black chest hair. He couldn’t risk some sort of young Bruce Willis sauntering in and wooing his lady-to-be. He needed to up his odds. He needed to rig the deck. He needed control over the situation.

Instead, he had Ryan.

Ryan was his only competition for Jessica’s heart. He was aloof, crude, and stupid – three qualities that women seemed to go nuts for. Worse still, he was good at sports. He played soccer with a local group of guys every Monday evening, went mountain biking every weekend, and even liked to go skateboarding by the shopping center on sunny afternoons. And the cherry on top of the whole perfect package? He had no interest whatsoever in women.

He wasn’t gay, or at least he said he wasn’t gay. He just didn’t seem interested in dating or romance. He had never had a single girlfriend, which naturally made women want him more than anything else. He was a prize that no woman could ever win, and the worst possible rival for Jessica’s affections.

Somehow, Dan had to prove himself manlier than the alternative. He had four weeks to do it – and one chance to make it happen.

It took longer than he expected to round up enough friends to form a soccer team. Most of them (himself included) hadn’t played since they were 14, but that didn’t matter. All that was important was that he had enough bodies on the field to constitute a team; once they fell far enough behind to make it look hopeless, he would be scoring the winning goal and saving the day himself. He didn’t waste too much time figuring out how that would happen. After all, this was true love, and love always finds a way. The power of his love would give him the strength, skill, and talent to win the game, and Jessica’s heart.

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