Unlike the heroines of my favorite novels by Austen and Heyer who were not allowed to have jobs, about four years ago I was lucky enough to work at a small post production house. Though I worked with many men, including a Frenchman and an Italian, there was very little romantic about the place. For starters, the Frenchmanâ€™s name was Igor.
One day my computer started acting up. The guy at my office who fixed these things emerged from his hiding place in the back room to sit in my chair and fuss with the electronics under my desk. We maintained an awkward silence, until a lull while he restarted lead him to discover an empty plastic sleeve for a comic book which Iâ€™d left sitting on my desk.
If our courtship had been more traditional we might have moved from comics to finer literature discussions, but us being us, we proceeded to discuss more comic books. I told him about the upcoming San Diego Comic Convention that I was going to attend. Simply put the San Diego convention center becomes a pop culture mecca filled with comic book readers, TV and movie watchers, artists, and geeks of all shapes and sizes. Finally, we discussed anime.
Rather than exchange missives we exchanged anime DVDs. He lent me the cyber thriller Ghost in the Shell and surreal coming-of-age FLCL, and I leant him the action packed Scryed. I even went and saw the low budget but well-made British horror film 28 Days Later, because he said it was good, and–trust me–that’s not a film I would normally see. Our first outing did have a co-worker as a chaperon, but instead of going to a museum, we saw Finding Nemo.
He was invited to my birthday, and my present was not a traditional teddy bear, but a Gloomy Bear, which proved to me we had a deep understanding. There was no waltzing at the party, but plenty of DDRing. I kicked his butt.
Then we stalled. Except for the birthday party and movie with the coworker we were still work friends only. The attraction was there but I was shy and he was acting shy and nothing passionate was going to happen at the office. I got up the courage to suggest that rather than just trading anime we actually hang out and watch something together, like at his place. He mentioned heâ€™d been meaning to get a group of friends together to watch the kung-fu historical Hero.
A group of friends? I wasnâ€™t looking for more chaperons.
I was deflated enough that it took a whole week before I tried again. This time I made it simpler. I asked him what he was doing that evening. That worked. Our first date was at a Shabu Shabu place. Our romance followed our courtship in style, and when we went out we went to Japanese pop culture stores like Giant Robot and when we stayed in we watched Sci-Fi channel shows like SG-1. Lest you think we live totally one dimensional lives I also introduced him to the six hour version of Pride and Prejudice, which he has sat through several times since.
The real end of the courtship phase didnâ€™t come with a declaration of love on bended knee, but Iâ€™ve never seen anyone more touched than he when I moved my computer to his place.
So, what does Pop Culture have to do with romance? Iâ€™m not sure, but it had a lot to do with mine.
Sara Black has a degree in Cinema/Television from USC. She watches far too much television, eats way too much sushi and is always writing a romance novel. For someone who religiously stays out of the mainstream, she knows an awful lot about Pop Culture. This is the second in a series of posts on the subject.