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Abby Dates Austin: Is the secret admirer an extinct phenomenon?

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Painting love at GeeBerry Art Studio
Is the secret admirer a phenomenon of the past?  Courtesy of GeeBerry Art Studio

It was unexpected and unprecedented, but as a lover of letters, surprises and mysteries of all stripes, I was intrigued and enticed. Was this a new secret admirer? Or simply a kindred spirit I’d engaged in a whimsical discussion of late?

The content of the letter was quite good: parts of it were baffling, and highly philosophical. “Is heaviness always deplorable and lightness always splendid,” the writer asked. “If Nietzsche is correct, we will meet again. But when?”

Is what was once romantic, if a bit kitsch, now obsolete and “creepy”?  

The implication was clear that we’d met before, but I still couldn’t be sure who Fate’s Child was. He (I have a hunch it’s a he) was clearly no joker, but someone who also spends ample time considering life and all its funny little intricacies — someone like me.

Accompanied with an Austin return address, I found the unexpected correspondence uncanny, mysterious, and alluring all at once. Here, I held in my hands a little philosophical nugget of magic, and I couldn’t wait to sit down with it and pen my response. I told Fate’s Child that the letter had been the highlight of my week, and probably wrote far too rambling of a return, but it’s not my fault that such provocative and insightful questions were asked.

I picked apart my thoughts on each of his musings, and said that I’d love to hear from him again. I didn’t have a particular agenda, and I’m not sure that Fate’s Child had one to begin with. I believe we both simply wished for someone to wax poetic with.

Fate’s Child got me thinking: is the secret admirer an extinct phenomenon? Is what was once romantic, if a bit kitsch, now obsolete and “creepy”? Nowadays we banter by way of the emoji and gratuitous Instagram selfie likes. Would a sweet, anonymous note in our locker be a total shock to our system? Personally, I like the style. On one hand, it’s bold. On the other hand, it’s covert and self protecting: watching over the recipient for a reaction to determine whether or not it’s safe to own up to their feelings.

It’s sort of like the TV show The Voice, where contestants sing for judges who can’t see them until they’ve approved of the voice they’re hearing. Corresponding with a secret admirer allows you to get to know the person in a more intimate, revealing way than perhaps showing up on their doorstep with roses and intention would.

One might be less likely to get shot down in the end by testing the waters first. It’s a delicate balance to strike, between creepy and romantic, but the world could use more secret admirers, I say.

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