Monday, June 24, 2019

Through the Looking Glass

By Tim Smith
It’s true that opposites attract, especially in the world of romance. There’s something taboo about being attracted to someone who is your polar opposite, someone you may long for while thinking “Who am I kidding? They’d never want to be with me!” You may not realize it, but guys go through this from an early age, and some don’t outgrow it. Think about the most popular girl in school or the classiest woman at work, the ones who instantly grab attention. We assume that such a creature would only want to associate with like-minded people in their social stratosphere, so we don’t ask them for a date. If you suffer from terminal shyness, this can lead to a lifetime of loneliness and resentment. 
Class structure, that obnoxious bit of snobbery that emits the air of “look, but don’t touch,” has something to do with it. There have been many stories written where good girls only want bad boys, and I’ve seen it in real life. It usually involves ethnic differences, the kind that get disapproving looks and snide remarks from snobs. Did you know that also works in reverse? Good boys often secretly hunger for bad girls, the ones from the “other side of town,” for purposes other than sex. Remember “Pretty Woman”? Richard Gere didn’t hire Julia Roberts to be his arm candy just because she was beautiful. The fact that she’s a hooker was part of the unspoken allure, the polar opposite of his respectable businessman.
There are situations where a guy from an ordinary background is attracted to a woman from a well-to-do family, and it isn’t motivated by a chance to move up the social ladder. In a good romance story, the feeling turns out to be mutual. This is a classic example of opposites being attracted to one another. If the attraction is real, class structure goes out the window. I’ve seen that happen, too.   
I used this scenario in “Lido Key,” the second Vic Fallon private eye story. Vic is a working stiff regular guy, a former cop turned investigator, definitely middle class and proud of it. He finds himself in a popular bar in Siesta Key, Florida, where he experiences an instant attraction to a beautiful, classy woman he spies across the room. Watch what happens:
Their initial meeting had occurred on his first night in town, at a place called The Daquiri Deck in Siesta Key Village. Vic hadn’t been actively looking for a hook-up after a day of beachcombing, but when he locked eyes with Ariel Weston from across the bar, there was no escape.
Vic moved to the stool next to hers, drawn in like a marlin hooked by a determined fisherman. “Excuse me, miss, but I’m new in town. Could you please direct me to your house?”
She began with a chuckle that escalated into full-blown laughter, then she playfully smacked Vic’s forearm. “That’s so lame, it’s cute!”
“Thank you.”
Her eyes scanned him up and down. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, have I?” she asked in a low, smoky voice.
“No. Do I need a reservation to sit here?”
She laughed again. “A smart-ass. I like that quality in a man. Where are you from, smart-ass?”
“A whole other world. Would you like me to provide references before we go any further?”
She placed her hand on his on top of the bar and locked onto his eyes with hers. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but since we’re going to be friends, I think I should call you something more formal than smart-ass.”
“Are we going to be friends?”
“Unless you think you already have enough of them.”
“You can never have too many friends. Why don’t you call me Blake?”
“Is that your real name?
“No, my real name is Vic. I just use Blake to fool people. What should I call you besides totally hot?”
“I like that, but let’s go with Ariel.”
“Pretty name.”
“Thank you. I’m rather attached to it.” She massaged his hand. “I should tell you something, Vic. I’m married to a rich older man, we don’t have any kids, and we’ve always had separate bedrooms. He doesn’t really notice if I’m not at home, since he’s only there long enough to change clothes before he meets his latest girlfriend. He doesn’t ask me any questions, and I don’t grill him about where he drops his pants. Does that bother you?”
“One man’s ignorance is another man’s bliss.”
“Ooh, a clever smart-ass. That’s another quality I like.”
“And we’re just getting started.” 

To see how this lusty, smoldering encounter turns out, check out the link below. Happy reading!


  1. Some great lines in this excerpt, Tim!

    I'm glad you brought up the question of social class, too. We've talked about a variety of dimensions along which people could be "opposite" but this is one we haven't really explored.

  2. Thank you, Lisabet. This was a fun story to write, because of the difference in social class. That really is a good example of opposites attracting, especially when it's the man who is attracted to the woman. There are plenty of stories about women being attracted to rich powerful men, but not many where the situation is reversed. Maybe we should tackle that one more in depth sometime.

  3. Your dialogue is always snappy, Tim. It pulls us into the developing relationship.


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