Entry Nickname: Meryl-&-I
Title: Blame it on Meryl Streep
Word count: 95K
Genre: Women's fiction
At age 28 TV producer Laura Sanders has never been in a relationship, never had sex, and never been loved. Certain that something has to be terribly wrong with her, she’s resigned to a dull, lonely life in the company of a few friends and her disinterested cat.
But when she watches the movie Mamma Mia, Laura is unexpectedly mesmerized: Meryl Streep seems to dance off the screen, showing Laura all the joy and passion that’s lacking in her life. Clearly Meryl Streep would be the perfect coach to guide her to a happier place.
Instead of spending her evenings watching Grey’s Anatomy and memorizing some of the show’s relationship conversations to copy whenever she feels the need to cover up her own inexperience, Laura now hangs out with her new BFF: imaginary Meryl Streep.
Meryl pushes Laura to try online-dating, advising her to rule out profiles with nicknames such as MrCool4Sale, OrgasmGiver or GotSomeWantSome. She teaches Laura her icy The Devil Wears Prada demeanor to copy when dealing with bigheaded, bullying co-workers. And she encourages Laura to spend more time with her new colleagues: women more likely to discuss vibrators than Danish directors. All of a sudden Laura is something she’s never been: cool. And while her sex-life used to consist in hugging her pillow good-night, Laura now has three potential love interests: two very real men … and one very imaginary Meryl Streep.
But soon Laura feels invincible and starts to ignore Meryl’s advice. Her best friend thinks Laura should finally grow up? – Laura counters with radio silence. A great date reveals he’s no Meryl Streep fan? – Laura dumps him. Her boss ignores Laura’s ideas? – She goes behind his back. Ultimately Meryl is all that Laura has left. Will she be able to take what she learns from her fantasy life and rediscover the very real possibility of love and happiness that await her? Or will Laura lose touch forever?
First 250 words:
I’m Laura Sanders.
I’m a TV producer in Los Angeles.
I’ve travelled the world.
I have a cat named Sartre.
I own 108 pair of shoes.
I’m a virgin.
The worst part about my pathetic, lonely life is the constant pretending. Pretending to be normal. Everybody knows the drama of love, the passion, the pain, and not knowing makes you a complete freak. Until some years ago I used to be honest and tell friends that I never had a boyfriend, never had sex. Someday I’ll tell a stranger that I killed a person. Simply to see if that confession arouses a similar mortified look.
The look is always followed by the insensitive comment: Why don’t you just pick up a guy at a bar? A woman can get laid even if she’s coyote ugly and you look cute. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want to get laid. I want to be loved.
Next is usually the sexist, but popular, good advice:
Good Advice Number One: Be dumb. Men don’t like smart women.
Good Advice Number Two: Be hard to get. Men still think like hunters.
Good Advice Number Three: Be a listener. Men need attention.
Finally there’s the worst part: the awkward silence. After all, everything everybody talks about are relationships and to fit in you need stories to contribute. So I make up stories. Stories that cover up the fact that I’m an invisible woman, unable to catch a guy’s eye, let alone his heart.