All three of us had a list of things. Qualities, we hoped, the boy (it's a little silly to say man when you're fourteen and making lists) we fell for would possess.
I remember mine was something like this. "Can recite the dialogue to entire scenes from Friends episodes". "Likes Tennyson-y poetry". "Is good at math". "Doesn't think crying is for wusses but isn't too sensitive either". "Gets sarcasm". "Smells like fresh-cut grass". "Has a pet dog". "Plays a musical instrument or can convincingly whistle song tunes".
As you can see, it was a very exhaustive list. And it wasn't completely unrealistic. Or so I thought till my mum pointed out I wasn't likely to find a sitcom loving, poetry reciting mathematician and part-time gardener with a dog, in real life.
And growing up, what my mum said really started to sink in. I thought, okay, I could compromise on a couple of contentious items. Like, maybe we could get the dog later or maybe our kids could get my awesome math genes instead.
But Tennyson. Sigh. Tennyson can be so persuasive that he refuses to allow you to let go of your romantic ideals.
One of my favourite poems by him is a particularly recklessly romantic one I read from Piyu's mum's old, much-read, frequently-thumbed copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse.
It goes like this -
"O, were I loved as I desire to be!
What is there in the great sphere of the earth,
Or range of evil between death and birth,
That I should fear, - if I were loved by thee!
All the inner, all the outer world of pain,
Clear love would pierce and cleave, if thou wert mine."
Reading that again tonight, I remember once again what it was like to be in love with the idea of being in love. And I smile knowingly with the wisdom that only ten years of dissecting romantic films can bring. Yeah, maybe we could get the dog later.