I See Chick Lit Everywhere
by Jo Piazza
I’ve never met a romantic comedy that I didn’t like. I will watch anything starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks or with the name Bridget Jones in the title each and every time they are on TBS.
Late at night when I have writer’s block NetFlix (a master who knows me so well) will recommend Lucky Number Seven starring Kimberly Williams (now Paisley) and Patrick Dempsey, post Lover Boy but pre-McDreamy, as the bagel guy of her dreams. I will accomplish nothing.
Similarly. I have never really found chick lit that I didn’t enjoy.
This may make me predictable, but if loving romance, a plot where hilarity ensues and a happy ending is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right.
It has only been in the past few years that I have started seeing chick lit everywhere I look.
Let me tell you about the first time it happened. A few years ago back when I was a newspaper journalist who used to have cocktails on Tuesday nights in swanky places a wonderful friend of mine was sent over to Afghanistan as a war reporter.
She was beautiful, brilliant, talented and one of the most bad ass war reporters you have ever met. She was also 39 and miserable over the dating scene in New York City.
“I think you’ll find one in Afghanistan?” I blurted out over a martini on the Upper East Side a few days before her flight. She laughed at my optimism, reminded me that a war-torn country wasn’t exactly an optimal place to find a mate and ordered me another drink. Still, I did a small dance then crafted a story line for her in my mind. There would be bombs and barracks and danger and a sexy soldier would lock eyes with her across the army barracks. She told me I was crazy.
A couple weeks ago I went to her wedding at the American Legion post in Washington D.C. Apparently they locked eyes across a crowded cantina instead of the barracks, but he was a sexy soldier and her happy ending did begin when she boarded that plane.
“I waited a long time to find you,” she said in her vows. An ending doesn’t get happier than that.
Not all of my predictions come true. There was the time that I told my friend Sara that the creepy guy from high school who contacted her on Facebook was like Duckie Dale from Pretty in Pink all grown up and quite possibly the one who got away. There is a reason restraining orders exist.
But I simply can’t stop. When a subway suddenly stalls for fifteen minutes on a steamy July day and the passengers start shifting from one foot to the next, swiping sweat away from places that sweat shouldn’t be allowed to pool I picture that guy and gal at the other end of the car discovering a shared love of The Great Gatsby as they realize they’re both carrying around a dog-eared copy of the same novel.
You can call me a hopeless romantic, but it’s just a nice way to go through life. When you break your leg on a ski slope it is just better to imagine that the good-looking guy driving the snow mobile will kiss you for no good reason when he helps lift you off the stretcher. Every plane trip offers the possibility of being upgraded to first class to sit next to a handsome stranger. Maybe a seagull flies into the engine of the plane forcing an awkward conversation and eventual attraction. That subplot may have already been turned into a rom com starring Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock.
These kinds of fantasies make us feel better every time we go out with the guy who gets too drunk and hits on your friend or when Saturday night’s date tells you he is moving away … tomorrow.
Seeing chick lit everywhere lets me live for the happy endings. It feels like a superpower rather than a handicap.
Jo Piazza is the author of Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps. When she isn’t manufacturing meet-cutes on the subway she is the executive news director of In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly. Her journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Glamour, New York magazine, and the Huffington Post. Piazza is also the author of Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money. Love Rehab is her first novel. She lives in Manhattan with her giant dog.