I’ve read To Sir Phillip, with Love, many, many times, but not for a few years now. I revisited it because a) buying books costs money and b) I wondered if I would think the same things about it as I did before. Of course, it’s hard to tell with any book exactly what you thought about it in previous readings, but I caught a strange shadow of my younger self coming through the pages.
Julia Quinn is an excellent writer, managing to churn out family after family of books while still keeping each character in the web feeling new and fresh. But it was this particular book I loved, and it’s not hard to see why. Simply put, I was more romantic.
My ideas about romance have changed drastically in the intervening years, as I have witnessed people I know in their relationships at various stages, and as I have figured out what I really want out of my love life.
So sure, I’m romantic. But I no longer believe that sex equals compatibility, and that you no longer belong to yourself when you find your one-est, true-est love – notions that are so beautifully espoused in the story. (And not-so-beautifully championed elsewhere.)
I still want long walks holding hands, and I still want flowers. But I also want to hog the covers. I want to play practical jokes, and tease. I want to be comfortable enough to share my secrets and to sing in front of my partner – without being so comfortable as to be gross.
And as far as the characteristics I want in my partner, I have written a list. Most people who know me know I love lists – and if you have been one of the few reading this blog, you’ll have seen a smattering of them throughout. This is the sort of list that I keep adding to, keep considering; I enjoy it without expecting that every single bullet point will somehow be complied with – nobody’s that flawless.
And because you can tell where I’m going, I’ll share some of the catalog of The Perfect Man:
Nose not too big (though if Nathan Fillion look-alike, all bets are off)
Looks good in flannel
Exercises, but not enough to make me look flabby by comparison
No baby powder
Looks amazing in turtlenecks or NEVER wears them
No crocs. Ever. EVER.
No food allergies (unless it’s shellfish)
Nice parents (within reason)
Not addicted to hot sauce – no more than two bottles in the fridge
Not fixated on a strange pet
An active life of the mind
Doesn’t need to fill the silence – but he does know how to talk
Confident, not arrogant
If this inspires you to write a list of your own – let me know!
(For reference: 7, 12, 14, plus a variation on You’ve Got Mail.)