This story about a Canadian man who has come to Ireland searching for a woman he met in Ireland last year, has been doing the rounds this week. The story goes thus… He had a brief encounter with the woman in a cafe - she was the “most beautiful Irish girl you could ever imagine” – and now wants to find her. He says his mysterious girl (who I suspect is - hopefully being older than 18 - actually a woman) is a ‘genuine caring’ person. Which he would definitely know, having ‘exchanged a few words’ with her and watched her in the café for a short while. All we know about her physically is that she has red hair and freckles.
One wonders if he has turned up in Ireland expecting to find her sat on a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
What’s interesting about this is how the story plays on our cultural notion of what romance is. In the story itself, it’s said that “his search for love has tugged the heartstrings of people across the globe”. This is supposed to be our collective idea of romance: Someone likes you enough to travel across the world and up and down the country looking for you. For you! Aren’t you flattered? Or are you just a tad weirded out that there is someone headhunting you who you probably didn’t even notice while you were sat in a café minding your own business?
What exactly is he hoping to find? In this story, all of the concern or empathy we have is aimed at him and his feelings, and not those of the poor woman he’s trying to hunt down. Isn’t that the wrong way to look about it? It smacks of male entitlement – he wanted to find her (though it’s never made explicitly clear what he so desperately needs to do – pay her a compliment?), so he’s tracking her down whether she wants to speak to him or not. What he wants, he gets.
It is not acceptable behaviour, to travel the globe in search of someone you saw in a café once and have become obsessed with. That’s what is also known as ‘stalking’. We should not be condoning this by writing news articles about how romantic it is, or let it tug at our heart strings. It is behaviour which, in any other context, would be threatening and concerning.
Somebody needs to tell him to get over himself and get on with his life instead of hunting for some mysterious woman who probably isn’t as attractive as he now thinks she is. That’s what time does to you – you think they’re extremely attractive, and then you see them again and you realise that nobody could ever match up to your ridiculous expectations, especially ones built up over a year of pining.
He’s expecting her to be flattered, perhaps even to go on a date with him - but what if he finds her and she’s not receptive? Won’t he be really angry that he wasted all of this money and time and effort on a venture that turned out to be fruitless? This is the kind of situation that I would worry would potentially turn bad or, if nothing else, be extremely awkward for the woman involved.
If I were her, I’d be mortified that the press are helping him, and hide until he got over himself and went back home.Reuse content