BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN ROMANCE FICTION
(Small spoilers in the first paragraph for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. I found it as good as the first, so enjoy it if you haven’t seen it already, and consider whether to read on.)
In the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, which releases this weekend, Peter Quill asks Gamora about this, “unspoken thing,” between them. She acts innocent, claiming she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Naturally, he has a quip about how, if she did say there was something, it wouldn’t be an unspoken something between them.
Thankfully, he’s not content to make a joke and move on. He follows it up with examples, particularly Sam & Diane from Cheers. Who doesn’t love to watch a couple throw sparks and insults, until the long silences, looks, and tender moments finally overtake them? Eventually, they’ll stop with the unspoken and finally speak or, even better, act. Of course, that only happens once enough seasons or pages have passed.
The thing is, even though the unspoken something is a romance cliché, this might be the one we point to and say, “Yes, that’s pretty much like real life.” Most folks don’t find each other, click instantly, and profess their interest in so many words. It’s a dance. A shared interest where subtle clues, like humor and teasing to test the waters (I’d written insults here, but I hope that in real life we don’t insult each other as much as you see in sitcoms and movies. There’s no audience and laugh track to soften the blow.) followed by long looks, are a repeated pattern until someone’s brave enough to finally speak up.
In real life, relationships might progress from someone asking the other person to a group lunch that no one else quite gets the invite to. Or to coffee. The couple shows interest, but not too much, until the unspoken is pretty darn obvious. If not to them, then to those around them. (You’ve seen those people, right? Who are interested but not quite committed to admitting their interest yet?)
This is one reason for the dreaded friend-zone. If no one speaks up, then the tension might fade (for one or both parties) and nothing ever comes of it, because real life isn’t a novel or movie where you just need the right number of seasons and pages to pass before things fall into place.
So if you’ve been waiting, speak up! Or risk it always having been an unspoken… something.