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How We Met #1: the Meet Cute


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Ruths138


Welcome to “How We Met,” a podcast where we go deep into romantic comedy tropes, break them apart and then reassess them. In our first episode we decided to break down the meet cute—what it is, why we find it romantic and what power it holds in our relationships.

We all know a meet cute when we see one. It’s when two strangers meet by chance, offline and in a unexpected way that in retrospect looks fated. A man and a woman trip and fall into each other on the street. Or sit next to each other on a train. Or strike up a conversation on a fateful elevator ride. Fast forward three years and they’re married with kids. In romantic comedies, meet cutes bring together two white, heterosexual strangers through a series of slapstick moments and endearing misunderstandings when neither of them is looking for love. In many cases, the woman is actually engaged to someone else—but the universe has other plans for her.

In real life, of course, this all gets a lot more complicated. Meet cutes might be cathartic—it’s comforting to think that you’re fated to find love—but we all know that those “how we met” stories edit out the tedious, unflattering initial conflicts that form the foundation of our relationships. And we want to know exactly what kinds of telling details couples leave out.

So in this episode we talked to two couples we’re friends with. Isaac and Nobl’s meet cute is classic—she was on a date with someone else, he thought she was an escort. They live in San Francisco and have been together for nine years; when we interviewed them, Isaac had to sneak out occasionally to check on their young daughter, who was fast asleep upstairs. Our friends Lucas and Sierra sound like they have a meet cute at first but… they really don’t. They’ve been together for several years and live in Oakland with their adorably fat cat. Both couples maintain that the way they met each other strengthened their relationship and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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