The Meet Cute is spontaneous, subjective, and contextual.
Author’s Note: A few reader’s comments have been interspersed. Links to original comments are contained in the initial word.
Length: 2,250 words
Reading Time: 7.5 minutes
The context for a Meet Cute
In previous posts, we learned that a Meet Cute initiates a dynamic feedback loop, and that the Meet Cute is not about “women chasing men”. I’ve also written about the Significance and Value of the Meet Cute Experience and how the Meet Cute is an organic form of Headship.
In the comments, RichardP described the Meet Cute as a common event but one which has a unique result. [Emphasis mine]
The Internet, as well as Wikipedia, gives information on what the “Meet Cute” concept started out as. The “Meet Cute” is roughly as follows:
“In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people … meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances. … Frequently, the meet cute leads to a humorous clash of personality or of beliefs, embarrassing situations, or comical misunderstandings that further drive the plot.” ~ [Wikipedia]
The important part of the definition of “Meet Cute” is that, whatever the “Meet Cute” is, it brings a male and female face to face in a way that doesn’t usually happen with folks mingling in a crowded room. (That sentence could be broken down further, but I won’t do that as I’m trying to make a simpler point here.)
Brings a male and female face to face …
Honestly, how often are we engaged in activities where this “meet face to face” happens? I would say “constantly”. And the moment passes, and we don’t give it a second thought. Either because we are not in the market for a partner (being already taken), or we are preoccupied with thoughts that are far away from “looking for a partner” (e.g. problems at work and/or home to solve; studying for the test coming up next week, etc.).
The reality is, we all have experienced awkward, or out-of-the-ordinary, or embarrassing encounters with folks we don’t know. That is the definition given for “Meet Cute”. It only matters (that is, it only registers with us as a “Meet Cute”) when the meeting leads to a romantic relationship. All of the other times this happens, we don’t give it a second thought.
But there are many ways other than “Meet Cute” that strangers encounter each other face to face for the first time and then take that meeting into a romantic relationship over time (short or long).
Deti pointed out that men and women have differing accounts of what constitutes a Meet Cute. He drew a comparison between two types of movies to illustrate his point. He wrote,
Now I get it. Now I understand why girls don’t get the Meet Cute.
John Hughes and his protégées (Cameron Crowe and others) depicted the Meet Cute as we men like to see it. Always depicted from the woman’s point of view, or rather, how we men think women view it. Cute but vulnerable and honest woman being vulnerable and honest with a man. Or at least, we think she’s being vulnerable and honest. To men, Meet Cute is Molly Ringwald, looking at him lovingly. To men, Meet Cute is Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything.
Girls don’t see it that way. To women, the Meet Cute is Katharine Hepburn, Meg Ryan, or Reese Witherspoon. Cute but “sassy”, intelligent, headstrong, and “plucky” woman, “You go girl”ing it, impressing her man with her intelligence and worldly wisdom, and riding off into the sunset as “equals” and “partners”. To women, the Meet Cute is Clueless, Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Sleepless in Seattle, The Philadelphia Story, and Bringing Up Baby.
And “Pretty Woman.” Don’t ever leave out “Pretty Woman” from the list of movies that women are determined to believe represent reality when it comes to relations between the sexes.
These films illustrate a clear difference between what men and women find “cute” or inspiring, respectively. In general, the first collection of examples depict men falling in love with a woman. A young, attractive girl’s receptiveness to the man’s intimations is what makes it “cute”. The second group of films are about a savvy or debonair woman who somehow manages to get a man to fall in love with her.
Interestingly, all of these films depict some elements of a Meet Cute according to RichardP’s definition, but men and women may disagree as to just how cute or inspiring each example might happen to strike them.
While RichardP’s and Deti’s observations are true, we still haven’t explained why some chance encounters turn into something more while others don’t, nor the basic ingredients for the sparks of love.
What a Meet Cute IS
In summary of what we’ve learned about the Meet Cute so far, the conditions necessary for the phenomenon to occur can be simplified into four aspects.
- The primary characteristic that determines a Meet Cute as compared with all other common encounters with strangers (c.f. RichardP’s definition), is that both the man and the woman both hold some measure of sexual authority over the other. One’s sexual authority is the overpowering emotional and visceral effect that one person has on another.
- In his Recipe for a Meet Cute, Scott clearly stated that a delicate balance of sexual authority is necessary. The man must cause the woman to be physically animated and totally out of her mind, while the woman must be only slightly above the man’s threshold of attraction — not too high, or he’ll lose his detached composure and begin to pedestalize her, and thereby screw it up. This balance also satisfies her hypergamic instincts and allows him to maintain a focus on his work/purpose.
- In the same post, Scott also said (in his own words) that the Meet Cute encounter must happen at a moment when Heart Trust can occur spontaneously (e.g. during a shared group activity) and specific expectations are absent in both the man and woman.
- In the examples of films that Deti gave above, one common denominator is that the man falls in love with the woman. Remember, men love idealistically, women love opportunistically. We might think this is one sided, but actually, women get a thrilling ego trip whenever a man falls in love with them, because “falling in love” with her places him at her behest and ensures the propagation of the Feedback loop which she needs to grow into the relationship. IOW, him falling in love with her creates the relational setting she needs to trust and find relevancy, humility, comfort, and security, according to the cascade model. Taken together, this is what moves the meeting past a chance encounter and into relationship territory.
“I always thought the Meet Cute thing was a situation where two people bump into one another and lightning flashes and they each experience a strong and visceral attraction to each other. However, this doesn’t necessarily require the woman to be obvious in her interest.”
Yes, and the entertainment industry is not the only source that casts the “Meet Cute” as an accidental occurrence. The Bible does too!
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.Song of Solomon 8:4 (NKJV)
Another way to state this, is that the Meet Cute is not a transactional arrangement, but is orchestrated either by God, or by vastly more astute players in the game, such as RedPillBoomer’s wife’s aunt who encouraged their meeting (see the previous post for this case study).
What a Meet Cute is NOT
The only qualification for the man to have a Meet Cute is for him to surpass the woman’s hypergamous filter (which is actually quite a complex matrix of traits). However, the kind of woman involved in the meeting greatly determines whether it is a Meet Cute or not. She has to be…
- Sufficiently innocent (i.e. sexually “fresh”), at least compared to the man
- Nubile (i.e. sexually alluring)
- Young (or at least younger than the man).
Taken together, these traits render a girl defenseless and rather susceptible to having a Meet Cute and going gaga for a man.
Women who don’t have these qualities don’t qualify for a Meet Cute.
Women who are older and more experienced lack the above traits. Although they have the self-awareness and agency necessary to orchestrate meeting a man for themselves, their knowledge of the process prevents them from falling into Meet Cute mode (per number 3 in the previous section), and thereby hampers a true Meet Cute experience. Therefore, they must make a conscious and concerted effort to pursue a man. This is the context that Liz was assuming in her comment about “women pursuing men” (which was covered in the previous post).
I don’t think there is a man alive that knows every kind of “trick” that a woman can engineer in order to bring about a face to face meeting with someone she has her sights set on. As personalities are real, persistent, and different, I accept that some women are going to be better at (that is, seem more “natural”) manufacturing “Meet Cute” situations than others. But I think the evidence shows that there are plenty of men who think their Meet Cute is a real, accidental happening — when it was anything but.
As defined by the entertainment industry, the “Meet Cute” is always accidental. In real life, I suspect women have engineered more meetings with the target of their attentions than have occurred accidentally. In real life, this is often the only way a woman can bring herself to the attention of her target. And skank bars around military bases are notorious for the military men who think she is innocent and seriously interested in him as a man (as opposed to an “opportunity”) when she is actually neither. There are plenty of stories around about that. But I have been in the military, and I have seen that happen with my own eyes.
Also, Deti’s second set of films is more in line with the idea of “women pursuing men”.
The thing that Liz, et al. don’t understand about the Meet Cute phenomenon is that it must follow Song of Solomon 8:4 to be legitimate.
Women who chase after men, go bar hopping, get on online dating sites, and/or swim in the OASIS are violating Song of Solomon 8:4, and are disqualified from having an authentic Meet Cute experience.
Case Study — Scott and Mychael
Scott was the one who first introduced us to the Meet Cute in his post, Opportunities (2020-02-26). He has described his relationship with his wife Mychael as one that started with a Meet Cute.
Someone may point out that Mychael did not meet the three qualifications listed at the beginning of this section — that she was not so young nor innocent, since she was a single mother at the time she met Scott. However, Scott passed through her hypergamous filter, and furthermore, there was something about Scott that humbled Mychael, elicited her Heart Trust, and brought out the innocent little girl that had been hiding in her heart for many years. Something about Scott made her go out of her mind and weak in the knees, such that she was, in effect, a young, naïve school girl once again. They also met by chance, thus fulfilling Song of Solomon 8:4. Hence, their Meet Cute story.
“Why does it sound like this Meet Cute terminology is a bit flexible and a judgement call in the eye of the beholder that can be used to fit whatever we want it to, after the fact?
To me, it is beginning to sound watered down to where it is near becoming just the serendipitous way that two mutually attracted people first met and realized the other was attracted to them.
This whole Meet Cute concept seems to be just a clue to be aware of when vetting a potential mate.”
The Meet Cute is rather flexible, but we can’t call just any romantic encounter a Meet Cute. There are specific factors that must be present for a Meet Cute to occur. As Scott wrote,
“It is spontaneous. You cannot plan it. You cannot pick her out of a crowd and then do cold approach with the idea that you might “get lucky”. Your friends can’t “set you up on a date”. Your “wingman” can’t contrive a meeting somehow. It just happens, and it happens when you least expect it!”
The part in bold is what sets the Meet Cute apart from other meetings. It is as Deti wrote,
The Meet Cute is not about “women chasing men”.
The Meet Cute is about women showing clear, unequivocal, unmistakable interest in ONE man to whom she is sexually attracted.
The same could be said from the woman’s perspective.
The current state of the SMP makes it obvious that having a Meet Cute is an act of God, and a man’s ability to detect when it is happening is a miracle. We mustn’t detract from God’s glory by neglecting this fact.
- Σ Frame: On the Significance and Value of the Meet Cute Experience (2020-04-03)
- Σ Frame: Only God can grant a successful marriage (2020-05-20)
- Σ Frame: The Meet Cute Phenomenon (Scott’s Axiom) (2020-12-06)
- Σ Frame: The Recipe for a Meet Cute (2021-07-24)