Man Wanted

In this scene my main character (30 years old – single) goes to the wedding of her niece. There she is introduced to someone who is totally not her type. This will eventually lead to her telling a big lie about her love life.

Wow. I let my eyes wander around the room and can barely believe how crowded it is. Everyone and their grandmother is here! Marie and Jasper can’t possibly know every single one of these guests, can they? I cannot seem to decide whether this is a wedding or a festival.

My glass of champagne is almost empty and I make my way to the bar for a refill. But I have barely moved two feet when someone taps me on the shoulder.

‘Lexie,’ coos aunt Vivian. ‘My favorite niece. I have been looking all over for you.’ She plants three big kisses on my cheeks. ‘How are you doing, girl? Have you finally found a boyfriend?’

‘Eh?’ I haven’t seen her in six months and that is the first thing she asks me?

‘Do you have a boyfriend? Or are you still single?’ She says with a hint of horror.

I give her a polite smile and try to get away, but she keeps nagging me.

‘The thing is, I have a surprise for you. The son of my colleague is also single and he’s here tonight. I’m sure you two will hit it off. Come on, let me introduce you to him. You will be surprised how easy it is to date someone,’ she says as if I’m a toddler who cannot even tie her own shoes.

In my head the alarm bells start to go off. Aunt Vivian wants to introduce me to some pathetic guy? No thanks.

‘Oh, I really appreciate this, but please, don’t bother.’ I smile at her and pretend that I’ve just spotted someone I desperately want to talk to, but aunt Viv grabs me by the arm. Jeez, the woman doesn’t know when to stop, does she.

‘I’ll take you to him. Really, I don’t mind, it’s no trouble.’

Oh my. I’m sure aunt Vivian means well, but her taste in men is horrible. She is married to a member of the male species who already looked terrible when he was twenty. At least, that’s what I can conclude from my dad’s old pictures. Uncle Bart’s belly is so big that he can make a grizzly bear jealous and when he has to walk somewhere I’m always afraid his legs might break because they are so effing fat. And let’s be honest, aunt Vivian is not the paragon of beauty either. I mean, look at her. Her breast protrude from her wrinkled cleavage and her arms are squeezed tightly into a purple dress that is two sizes too small for her. She looks like a big fat worm that crawled into a tiny straw and can’t get out anymore.

‘So, are you coming, Lexie?’ Aunt Vivian’s look is filled with expectation.

No, I’m not coming. I’m going to turn around and run away. Not that I can make a quick escape in this crowd, but she will never be able to catch me in those ugly wedges of her anyway.

‘Alright then.’ As soon as I utter these words I regret them. Why is it so hard for me to say no?

‘Look, there he is. Cute as a button, right?’

I doubt whether that statement is true. Still I give her the benefit of the doubt and glance at the guy that is supposed to be the man of my dreams. But all I can see is a bunch of guys huddled together and wearing suits that I can only describe as disturbingly nerdy.

We make our way through the wall of people and before I know it, I’m standing at their table.

‘Hello guys, this is Lexie,’ aunt Vivian beams at them. ‘Lexie, this is Audri.’ She points at a gangling guy. You’ve got to be kidding me.

‘Hi,’ I squeak.

‘Hi there, beauty. I was just telling these guys how you can make a killer deal at the stock market. If you want, I can always teach you some tricks as well,’ he blinks.

Oh, so he’s also arrogant. Just my luck.

‘No, thanks,’ I say.

‘Can I offer my lady something to drink?’

‘How can you offer me a drink when everything here is free?’

The other guys start to laugh. Audri doesn’t even wait for my response and goes to the bar to fetch us some drinks. Maybe it’s for the best. I’m going to need some alcohol to get through this ordeal.

Aunt Vivian pats me on the back. ‘Good luck, girl. I’m going back to your uncle Bart now. And don’t forget that your entire family is here, so you’d best behave,’ she winks at me.

Good gracious, as if I would want to do something shameful with this loser. I take out my phone and send a text message to Suzanne.

Help. I’m stuck with a real nerd. I don’t mind talking to nerds. But I do when they are arrogant and called Audri.

About thirty seconds later my phone beeps.

Audri? Isn’t that a girl’s name? You crack me up, Lexie. Where do you find these guys?

14 thoughts on “Man Wanted

  1. Lula says:

    The scene certainly conveys the MC’s discomfort at being at the wedding and being set up by her overly interested aunt. But her anger/description of her aunt (and uncle) is pretty aggressive. Maybe this is just part of the MC’s character and has already been set up prior to this?
    I wasn’t sure upon first read what the character meant when he said this:
    ‘Hi there, beauty. I was just telling these guys how you can make a killer deal at the stock market. If you want, I can always teach you some tricks as well,’ he blinks.
    I’m assuming that he was telling his buddies how to make a stock deal killing and that his opening come on the minute he meets her is to tell her he can do the same for her? Just struck me as odd that was how he basically said hello, but I guess that speaks to who he is.
    You might want to stick to simple “he said” or “she said” with the dialogue rather than things like “she winks at me.”
    Definitely could see this being an amusing/comedic romance novel.

  2. calgal says:

    Personally, I find Lexie to be rather annoying. Her nasty descriptions of her Aunt and Uncle are so mean (and shallow!) that I immediately dislike her. Same with her impressions of Audri. Nothing he says or does is that bad – he offers her a drink, and she makes fun of him. Eww. I need to like the M/C in a romance, and Lexie – at least in this section of the book – is pretty unlikable. Of course, I realize this is a short excerpt. Maybe she’s not always this bad? Or maybe she’s a girl about to learn a big lesson? I’d be curious to find out.

    I hope this is helpful – without a lot of backstory, it’s hard to get a feel for where this is going!

  3. AB says:

    I agree with the others that Lexie doesn’t come across well with her descriptions of her relatives and Audri. She’s just so mean and there seems to be no reason for it. I think you are probably aiming for a more humorous tone so perhaps have her back off on being so critical. It’s difficult to want to read a book where you don’t like the main character.

  4. jmpayer says:

    I stumbled over the line describing suits as “disturbingly nerdy”. Like, they’re wearing pocket protectors in their business suits? Or they’re cheap and old fashioned? Maybe a strange color? I wasn’t sure how to read that.

    I agree with the other commentors about Lexie, she’s not very likable. Seems a bit immature and judgmental. The name Audri for a male character is an interesting choice, I was glad that was pointed out at the end.

  5. Jennifer Eller-Kirkham says:

    Unlike some of the other critiquers, I really enjoyed this. It made me giggle and comedy is really hard to do. I think you did it well and it was so refreshing to read a romantic piece that had a mean and bitchy MC and was not all smaltzy and cheesy. I liked her mean description of her annoying aunt. I’m sure later in the novel she will come to appreciate her and the uncle’s kind natures, right? If this is aimed at young adults or twentysomethings, I think they will relate to the MC.
    The bits that did jar for me were when Audri calls her ‘beauty’ and ‘my lady’ – that was just plain weird and I agree with the comment above about the first thing he says to her. I also think she was a bit OTT mean when she makes the comments about the drinks being free – you can still fetch someone a drink, even if they are free. I think you need to work on making him a more real character and getting his arrogance across differently. But keep going – it’s fun.

  6. allisonnewchurch says:

    Any reason you’re using single quotation marks instead of double?

    I found Lexie to be a very distasteful character. Her criticism of her aunt and uncle is vicous and cruel. If this is really a romance, then I’d need to feel empathy with the character and I’m afraid I dislike Lexie at this point.

    Would a girl really be rude enough to be standing with a group of guys (however nerdy) and start texting her friend?

    I wonder if you’re setting Audri up to be a bit of a control freak. He’s just met her and already calling her by possessive names.

    HOWEVER…

    The fact that I’ve taken an avid dislike to these characters means that you’ve written them well enough for me to form an opinion. Whilst Lexie is rude, shallow and nasty, she’s not boring.

    Good luck with it.

  7. Leah McKinnon says:

    I like the setting and the premise of this excerpt and wonder where this interaction will lead. I like your main character although the way the aunt and uncle are described is harsh (but maybe that’s just the personality of the character). I really felt the awkwardness and frustration of Lexie at being confronted by her aunt with no warning. I would continue to read for a while in the hope that there would be some possibility of my liking Lexie or at least being able to connect with her somehow.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m afraid this passage didn’t resonate with me. While I don’t mind reading a MC thoughts, I found Lexie’s distracting, possibly because I perceived them excessive and unnecessary. There were also things about the writing that interfered with my reading pace.

    May I gently suggest a few issues you should consider addressing, which I think would help this section:
    -Check the grammar in your dialog (at the very least, fix the quotations marks from single to double)
    -Remove cliches and overused phrases (ie, ‘everyone and their grandmother is here’ and ‘Cute as a button’ and ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’)
    -Make sure to show versus tell (‘disturbingly nerdy’ is telling whereas ‘he’s wearing a pocket protector with a short sleeve shirt’ is showing)
    -Consider revising odd phrases (‘member of the male species who already looked terrible when he was twenty’ and ‘Her breast protrude from her wrinkled cleavage’ are difficult to decipher).

    Good luck!

  9. Sofie says:

    Thank you so much for all the comments so far! I did not intend on my MC to be such a distasteful character. She just came out that way while I was writing 😉 . I will definitely work on that because I would like for people to connect with her. I just didn’t want readers to think of her as a ‘sad lonely girl’, but I guess it went completely the other way now.

    The reason she was being so mean to her aunt/uncle is that they have been trying to set her up with someone for years and Lexie feels like she’s had enough.

    Audri will turn out to be a guy with no social skills (hence the weird things he says when he first meets her) and he will not take no for an answer.

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