Friday September 22nd, 2023
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Katherine Heigl Syndrome

KHS is a serious affliction, leading Karim Rahman - and pretty much every 20something - to believe way too much in RomComs. The reality of finding The One, however, is far from what Hollywood would have us believe...

Staff Writer

We all have those crazy expectations of how we're going to meet The One, that one person so attuned to our being and our character that we'd click with upon the first meeting. Hell, we'd click even before we talked to them: the ever elusive love at first sight. Not that I'm a big believer in that (seeing as how I usually start off my relationships with a healthy dose of repulsion towards the other person), but I do firmly stand by each of us having a perfect match out there somewhere. We'd meet at some high-profile socialite gathering, a wild drunken night out on the town or even cutely bump into each other at a bookstore (that one is my absolute favourite).

The reality is, of course, less than romantic.

Romantic comedies are an essential part of our lives. In fact, it is where I get most of my dating know-how from (no jokes about how disastrous my love life is, please). I've watched He's Just Not That Into You more times than I would like to admit and Love, Actually still tingles my inner Taylor Swift. I'm a sucker for a good RomCom, a condition my friends and I like to (not so) endearingly call The Katherine Heigl Syndrome (KHS). KHS is a serious mental ailment where one constantly expects that one will magically run into their soulmate in the supermarket and immediately go out for pain au chocolat in the boulangerie next door (hint, hint, Maadi residents), or where one thinks one's soulmate will be a hot, blue-eyed reporter who decides to write a story about how one has been a bridesmaid at 27 weddings (without ever actually having been in a relationship of one's own) and in the process, falls deeply and madly in love. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, then let me hit you with a blunt instrument of reality.

You live in Egypt; you don't go grocery shopping, you order because everything fucking delivers here. You haven't been to 27 weddings, let alone been a bridesmaid/best man in any of them, because you don't have that many friends. Your blue-eyed reporter is probably going to be a fat, balding pudgy old man who smells musty and is probably not going to write a feature about you. Probably.

In the face of all those disastrous odds (and pudgy old men), I remain optimistic. In fact, I keep an aloof, scientific and objective view; the laws of probability, if I understand them correctly (which I probably don't), state that the more you try, the higher your chances are at success. Eventually, the odds HAVE to be in your favour, because it's physics, right? Nobody can fault physics (although, I'm still sketchy about gravity). Well, I recently learned that I can shove my physics beliefs (even though I have a feeling probability is maths) right where the sun don't shine.

I have a friend who has not been out on a single date. Not one. Sure, she's hot, funny, classy and overall a genuinely nice person but she never gave dating much thought. More often than not, she passes up on the occasional hookup; her love life was never that big of a priority for her.

Therefore, it obviously makes sense that her first relationship would be with her fucking soulmate. Obviously. 

Don't get me wrong, I am extremely happy for her. The way those two light up around each other, finish each other's sentences and just generally click makes me feel all warm and human inside. On the other hand, it calls for some very dark, introspective thoughts. My relationship with Big came about, not from a random supermarket run in, but from some serious Facebook stalking (on Big's part). Big's sort-of cousin has led me on a wild goose chase (on my part) and I had deluded myself into thinking there was ever a connection between me and Artist, while Designer was nothing more than me reading too much into a friendly ride home after a night of drunken partying. I have basically been doing this for the most part of my teenage years, and with adulthood literally knocking on my door, I find it kind of unfair that my friend should easily just run into her soulmate without a moment's notice.

But here's the truth: as much as we'd like to think we are Katherine Heigl, we will never be as blonde or as pretty as she is. My actual point is that life isn't a Katherine Heigl movie. More often than not, relationships don't start off in a magical, breathtaking and completely humorous way. Instead, they sneak up on you. The methods are mundane. We like someone, spend some time with that person, and suddenly they're texting you asking if you want to exclusively put out. There's nothing amazing about that. What's amazing is what comes after that, something I have yet to experience fully, but will dutifully write about if it ever rolls around. Expectations are a real bitch and, especially in Cairo, it is easier to just let go of all of them. 3am Ahmed el Ba2al is no suitable place to meet your soulmate (believe me, I’ve tried).

However, KHS is just as hard (if not harder) to overcome. I couldn't help but start concocting scenarios in my head when that very same friend of mine mentioned how she's setting me up with a very prominent, very cute club owner on our Gouna trip this weekend, one who has bad decision written all over. It's not my ideal bookstore setting, but a midday "run-in" at the Clubhouse would do just fine. Should we have lunch at Bleu Bleuor La Scala? What should I wear? I'm thinking it's time I pulled out my weave snatching skinny jeans (more on those later).

I also guess I'll have to dutifully write about that impending train-wreck as well.