[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to welcome author Cara Bastone to the site today. She’s sharing her love for initially-anonymous love stories. Take it away, Cara!]
Is there anything more romantic than the idea of someone falling head over heels in love with who you are on the inside? (What’s that sound? Oh, that’s just the distant echoes of thirteen-year-old me lying on my bedroom floor, looking at the ceiling fan, listening to the Princess Diaries soundtrack on repeat, wondering when MY glow up was going to come and trying to guess which impossibly cute boy already secretly loved me even with retainers and frizzy hair).
If you are as much of a sucker for the idea of love at first sight TALK as I am, here are some recommendations for initially-anonymous love stories.
1. Tweet Cute by Emma Lorde
These two crazy kids fall in love on TWO SEPARATE anonymous platforms before they put it all together and realize they are meant for each other in real life. I loved this romance because it clearly shows how different aspects of your personality are magnified by different social media platforms, but in the end, you’re still you. Their magnetic pull feels inevitable and authentic because their attraction for one another has nothing to do with physical looks or social status.
2. Renewed by Harper Miller
This is the second installment in her Kinky Connect Chronicles, which is a series of erotic short stories about people who anonymously connect through a kinky singles website. The main character, Tanya, discovers her husband (the person who purportedly knows her most intimately) has been cheating on her. In her grief, she turns to the internet where she is surprised to find that the person who can offer the most understanding is actually an anonymous stranger. I loved this one in particular because it leans into the chat feature and really shows that a shared history isn’t necessary for two people to feel like they really know one another.
3. You’ve Got Mail
Love it or hate it, there’s a reason it’s a story that’s been retold so many times. Honestly, I think this film is a master class in how meaningful it is to bond with someone over… nothing. Because they don’t want to reveal aspects of their personal lives to a stranger on the internet, these two anonymous email pen-pals instead wax poetic about little things. And in doing so, reveal more about their outlooks and personalities than if they were giving details about their lives and pasts. They spend a good portion of this movie falling in love with one another’s mindsets and quirks and silly jokes. This movie takes lust out of the equation (in a good way!) and gives romance the old pedal-to-the-medal.
In fact, I love this trope so much, I wrote a book about it! Call Me Maybe (available through the Audible Plus program) follows the budding romance between two people who meet through a customer service call. Most of the story is told through phone calls and at first I had trouble imagining how to develop the plot and the characters using primarily dialogue. Compelling writing generally follows the old standby show instead of tell. But wouldn’t a dialogue-driven love story lend itself to ONLY telling? (I imagined the characters having to say things like “Oh, dear. I’m thirsty, I guess I’ll drink this water that is here on the table beside me”). But once I started writing, I found it surprisingly easy to develop their affection for one another using mostly dialogue. I realized it’s because this is generally the way people actually fall for one another! Long, winding chats. Bursts of surprising humor. Misheard words leading to misunderstandings leading to inside jokes. Confessions. Promises. And the best part? Because all these words are said to each other over the phone, Cal and Vera have never met in person. They fall in love with one another’s inner-selves instead of one another’s appearances.
Check out a clip below!
About the Author:
Cara Bastone is a full time writer who lives and writes in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and an almost-goldendoodle. Her goal with her work is to find the swoon in ordinary love stories. She’s been a fan of the romance genre since she found a grocery bag filled with her grandmother’s old Harlequin Romances when she was in high school. She’s a fangirl for pretzel sticks, long walks through Prospect Park, and love stories featuring men who aren’t crippled by their own masculinity.