An Open Letter To The Woman I Never Met, From A Hopeless Romantic...

by Philip Portolano

To the woman I haven’t met,

Last night as I sat in my apartment, chugging a beer and getting ready to stumble out the door for a night of debauchery, I saw a link to your article: “An Open Letter To All The Men Who Have Given Up Hope Of Finding Love.” While I wouldn’t say I have completely given up hope of finding love, I was intrigued nonetheless. The title grabbed me. It suggested that there was a woman out there who knows how men really feel about love.

Immediately, I was reminded that I haven’t loved another woman since my girlfriend of four years left me for another man two years ago. I hoped I might find some salvation in your letter, or at least some inspiration. Well, you had me at “Dear Jaded Straight Men.”

As I read on, I thought perhaps I had clicked on the wrong link. Clearly this must have been “An Open Attack On All The Douchebags Who Have Given Up Hope Of Getting Laid.” Unfortunately, it was not the wrong link. There was no salvation to be found. There was no inspiration to love again.

Before I continue, there’s a few things you should know about me. I’ve always been a romantic. Growing up, my favorite movie was "The Princess Bride." It's a love story of epic proportions. It taught me many things, such as “Death cannot stop true love.” I waited my whole life to find my princess. When I was 18 years old, I thought I found her. A friend set us up on a blind date, there was instant chemistry. I asked her what her favorite movie was. When she replied, "The Princess Bride," I kissed her.

We were inseparable for the next four years. We lost our virginity to each other. We promised we would get married and have children. My parents introduced her as their daughter-in-law. We were best friends. Well, I already told you how that relationship ended. Now back to your letter.

While I agree that Generation-Y is not as proficient in face-to-face communication as other generations were, that is another issue entirely. It seems from your point of view that the issue is that men are not being honest with women. We are not telling them how we really feel. We are not treating them honorably.

Well, from a man who always fantasized about being the man in black, climbing the cliffs of insanity, defeating giants, escaping the fire swamp and coming back from the dead in the pit of despair to save my true love, I can assure you this is not always the issue. I had always taken the honorable and honest approach. I wrote girls love letters and poems in elementary school. They wound up dating the kid with the new pair of JNCO Jeans. I quoted love songs and romantic movies to girls in middle school. They wound up dating the kids on the football team. Don’t even get me started on high school.

Fortunately, once I fell in love, none of this mattered. Here was a woman that appreciated the romantic in me. She responded to my love letters and poems with her own, she quoted love songs I had never heard. Life was perfect. When she decided she would be happier without me, I was broken. I was nothing. I was suicidal.

When I tried to pull myself together and meet other women, I thought it would be easy. After all, by this time, I figured I was an expert on romance and relationships. It wasn’t easy. I found that by trying to be honest and romantic with a girl in a bar, she just thought I was a creep. Maybe meeting a girl in a bar wasn’t a good idea. So I tried to meet a girl during the day -- you know, like when the sun is still out and I’m sober. Well, walking up to a girl on the streets of New York City and trying to strike up a conversation is not the easiest thing in the world. Most of the time she thought I was crazy or trying to take a survey.

While walking through a Barnes and Noble one day, I thought I found the answer: a New York Times bestseller on pickup artistry. Here were stories of men who went from geek to chic, from zero to hero. All you had to do was say the right things to women at the right times and they were yours. I immersed myself in the craft and got immediate results, I couldn’t understand it.

I spent my whole life pouring my soul out to women and still didn’t have my true love. Yet, here I was practically insulting women and having them all over me. After a while, the game got old and I gave it up. After all, my goal in life has never been to get laid. I never even had sex with a woman until I was in love with her.

As for that woman, I did exactly as you suggested. I called her and let her know that I missed her. My calls went unanswered, my messages unreturned. After a while, I emailed her, the only choice I had left. I wrote her a very long letter. I told her everything I wanted to tell her for four years.

I told her that I loved her more than life itself, that I’ve only been half of a person since my soul mate left me. I took full responsibility for the breakup. It wasn’t her fault that she left, it was my fault that I drove her away. I told her that I don’t wish to have her back, I wish that she finds someone better than me. I wish that she meets her real prince and gets married and has beautiful children and lives happily ever after. I signed it “Love always, Philip.” After a few days, she finally responded. She wrote what she wanted to tell me for four years: “Best wishes to you and your family.” She signed it off with her name.

As for me, I recently saw a pretty woman walking down the street. As she passed, I said: “Wow, you’re really pretty,” she ignored me and kept walking. Two years ago that would have crushed me. It no longer does. I spend the majority of my time these days just working hard and trying to be a better man. For my fellow men out there, I can only offer the same advice.

There’s no point in climbing the cliffs of insanity for a woman who will only think you’re a creep for doing so. Eventually, we’ll meet the woman we haven’t met. Hopefully she’ll be worth coming back from the dead in the pit of despair. Until then, stay honorable, stay honest.

Love Always, Philip