The world is hungry for a meet-cute. So hungry, in fact, that we'll giddily watch a woman who's giddily snapping photos and narrating every move that two strangers in front of her are making during a flight from New York to Dallas this week.
It started with a stranger asking for a favour.
On Tuesday, Rosey Blair asked a woman on her Alaska Airlines flight from New York to Dallas if she would switch seats so that Blair and her boyfriend, Houston Hardaway, could sit next to each other. "We made a joke that maybe her new seat partner would be the love of her life," Blair tweeted on Tuesday.
Last night on a flight home, my boyfriend and I asked a woman to switch seats with me so we could sit together. We made a joke that maybe her new seat partner would be the love of her life and well, now I present you with this thread.— Rosey Blair (@roseybeeme) July 3, 2018
And who sat down next to this kind soul? An attractive man, who's since been identified as former professional soccer player Euan Holden. (He's now known on Twitter as #PlaneBae. The woman has been identified as Helen, and she's declined to share her last name with the media, who have quickly devoured this in-flight romance.)
Two hot strangers hitting it off on a flight isn't necessarily noteworthy. But Blair's minute-by-minute narration - and her and her boyfriend's vicarious excitement over what was unfolding right in front of them - is what made this meet-cute so riveting.
Blair's excitement was contagious, as she gushed over every incremental twist and turn. A child popped up to wave hi to the chatty fitness buffs, and Blair tweeted: "The baby senses the love." The woman went to the restroom with her hair in a ponytail . . . and returned with it down. Hardaway joined the play-by-play by creating an Instagram poll for those following along at home: "Will he get her a drink!??" Options: "YES. NO THEY ARE FITNESS PEOPLE."
And they order a cheese plate to share, instead of alcohol.
Several times Blair tells her followers she's purchasing extra WiFi access so that she can keep live-tweeting this budding love connection. Her phone battery's juice is dwindling, but she continues tweeting about how Helen and Euan are showing each other pictures of their family - Helen tells Euan his mom is "so hot" - and Blair shares a video of her and Hardaway, snacking on potato chips and eating up every word uttered.
The incremental updates give way to bigger ones - the pair leaves for the bathroom at the same time, she puts her head on his shoulder for a quick second, Blair tweets, they follow each other on Instagram. After the plane lands, Blair shares an image of them walking together. Cue the video of Blair and Hardaway cheering, fists pumping the air.
As Blair was invading the privacy of the people in front of her, she gave them this one courtesy: She obscured Euan's and Helen's faces in her tweets, instead capturing the excitement on her own face and that of her boyfriend, while also sharing images of her followers who were taking in the romance from afar.
This is the absurdity of falling in love or breaking up in public these days: Anyone can be listening or broadcasting it, while those experiencing it are unaware. Does merely witnessing sparks fly give someone the permission to broadcast them? We seem to think it's okay if the story is happy, or if someone is behaving badly. But Helen has been smart to stay silent, as oversize hype about your meet-cute can overshadow the actual work and delight of getting to know someone new.
On Thursday, Blair shared an image of herself on Instagram, with a caption noting that her first name, Rosey, rhymes with nosy. She notes that her favourite movie is the Nora Ephron romantic comedy You've Got Mail and that she "believe[s] in the possibility of magic in the minutiae of everyday life."
Blair's tweet stream, which had reached 339,000 retweets by Thursday, revelled in that minutiae, bringing hundreds of thousands of people along for the ride. In the days since, Euan has been on Good Morning America and the Today show, saying that he and Helen plan to meet up soon.
The internet this week fell in love with a viral story about a woman who asked to switch seats on her flight and managed to spawn a fairytale for two other passengers. pic.twitter.com/PDMUOpKawn— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 5, 2018
Blair, who's an actor, writer and photographer, connected her own love story to her compulsion to document someone else's. "I am a plus size woman and for years I believed dating and love were experiences that simply wouldn't happen for me. I was proved wrong," she wrote on Instagram, noting that "experiencing a love free from judgement has changed my life."
She said she hopes others are inspired by the story she shared while aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 3327. And she's mining this brush with viral fame for potential professional gain. Attention screenwriters: Blair is looking to make a rom-com - or facilitate someone else's love connection.
The Washington Post