The Things I Will Do if I Am ever the True Love

   There is a distressing tendency in adventure fiction for the Hero's True Love to be nothing more than a trophy. She gives the hero something to aspire for, and gives the Evil Overlord someone to use as a hostage, but that's it. In the typical story she spends most of her time waiting around for the Hero to rescue her. If she had some kind of useful skill, she might be able to avoid capture, or effect her own escape in a way that does not depend on womanly wiles.
   The True Love is that category of protagonist whose main role is that of love interest for the hero or heroine. This does not preclude military skills, but then again it doesn't preclude the True Love from being an architect, painter, chef, house husband, etc.
   DISCLAIMER:  The use of masculine/feminine pronouns and assignment of gender roles is not intended to preclude a reversal of gender roles. It is, however, intended to offend clueless Web TV types who think that this list bears any relation to the way I treat women in real life.

Click here to read this in French.
Click here to read this in German.
  1. I will never take a vow to marry only someone who can defeat me. I will learn of those laws which limit my marriage options and work towards their repeal. I will decided when and who I marry, thank you very much.
  2. I will not freeze in terror in the presence of monsters or servants of the Evil Overlord.
  3. If I have a friend who never seems to be around when the Hero shows up and clobbers the Bad Guys, I will draw the appropriate conclusions.
  4. If I am captured by the Evil Overlord and escape, I will assume that he is tracking me in some manner. If I am going to the hidden rebel base, I shall first go to an alternate location, change clothing, equipment and means of transportation, and then go to the hidden rebel base.
  5. If I have a copy of the Evil Overlord's plans and my capture is imminent, I will not send the only copy of those plans away with a cute little sidekick. I will make many copies of the plans and send them away with many cute little sidekicks.
  6. I will obtain skill in unarmed combat, so that I can kick Bad Guys between the legs, and put my elbow into the Evil Overlord's solar plexus when he uses me as a human shield. I will not, however, attempt to tackle a Bad Guy bare-handed as long as more practical alternatives exist.
  7. I will obtain skill in armed combat, so that when the Evil Overlord and the Hero are engaged in mortal combat, I can grab some dead henchman's weapons and help tilt the odds in the Hero's favor.
  8. I will obtain skill in the use of my legs and feet, so that I can actually run from one place to another without tripping over every shadow, crack, and pebble along my path.
  9. If the Evil Overlord tries to force me into marriage, I will insist on a ceremony so expensive that it will debilitate his industrial capacity. I will be picky about the tiniest details of the ceremony and change my mind frequently so that the resulting delay will give the Hero more time to rescue me.
  10. My own sidekicks will be picked for brains, not looks.
  11. Since liberated women are still allowed to have it both ways, I will not rule out using my womanly wiles to defeat the Evil Overlord. Even if it only works on Stupid Bad Guys, it never hurts to try.
  12. After being forced into a compromising situation, I will not grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and toss it to the Hero when he walks in; I will instead grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and use it on him myself, before the Hero walks in.
  13. Likewise, if I catch the Hero in a compromising situation with another woman, I will give the Hero the benefit of whatever doubt might reasonably exist.
  14. When the Evil Overlord forces me to help betray the Hero, I will make a show of resistance and then feign capitulation. I will then use whatever resources are placed at my disposal to screw the Evil Overlord (in a metaphorical sense, of course).
  15. My clothing and footwear will always be appropriate for the occasion. It will enable me to run, climb, and fight, and will hide as large an assortment of personal weaponry as is practical. It will also protect me from frostbite and hypothermia. If my clothing becomes torn in a manner which threatens to kill me from exposure or transform me into cheesecake, I'll steal a jacket from some bad guy. As I am confident that my charm, loyalty and wit are enough to maintain the Hero's love, the harem girl outfit is reserved for private moments when we are living happily ever after.
  16. I will not hesitate to lie about the Secret Location of the Rebel Base.
  17. If I have any odd phobias to spiders, snakes, lightning, und so weiter, I will seek therapy and overcome them, so that when lives depend on my ability to behave intelligently, I won't panic. Since liberated women can still have it both ways, I will feign phobias in order to deceive or distract Bad Guys.
  18. If I am offered a bribe, I will accept it, and inform the Hero by a pre-arranged means. The happily-ever-after will be happier if we have a good nest egg to start on.
  19. The Hero and I will have a pre-arranged signal so that if one of us is held at gunpoint and the other is ordered to drop his/her weapon, the hostage will know when to duck while the other one plugs the Bad Guy.
  20. Knowing that tentacles have a preference for True Loves, I will keep an eye out for any and all creatures that might have them.
  21. I will obtain some basic mountaineering skills so that when I am dangling off of a cliff the Hero can finish off the Evil Overlord instead of letting him escape in order to rescue me.
  22. If I am presented with a reasonable opportunity to save the day myself, I will at least try, and not wait for the Hero to do it.
  23. I will never buy an apple from peddlers plying their craft in remote places where the customer base could not possibly support a full-time merchant.
  24. I will not give sloppy, wet kisses to the Hero until I verify that he isn't related to me.
  25. I will not jump out of a lifeboat as it's being lowered over the side of a sinking ship. I'll either give my spot to a mother with a baby and join the Hero in a noble death, or sensibly stay on the lifeboat and treasure my memories of him forever.
  26. I will not steal confidential information from the Hero in an attempt to further my career, thus causing the Hero's dismissal from the team assembled to save the earth and severely damaging his efforts to succeed.
  27. If the Hero tells me he wants to break up with me or quit his dangerous job for my protection, it's already too late; a kidnapping is already in the planning, and I will take all reasonable precautions against it.
  28. I will obtain a device that the hero can use to locate me when I, despite my best efforts, am kidnapped.
  29. I will refrain from converting the Captain of the Guard to our side, as it means he will be killed while helping me to escape.
  30. I will refuse all gifts from the Evil Overlord. They probably contain mind-control devices that would make me giddily happy to marry him. It's demeaning enough to be head-over-heels for the Hero, let alone a creep like the EO.
  31. When the Sidekick rescues me, I will dump any gifts received from the Evil Overlord. They probably contain tracking devices, which would result in the Sidekick getting killed; then I'd have to listen to his confession of undying love while he croaks, and feel obligated to say some comforting baloney before his eyes close for the last time, and then after telling the Hero about his friend's courageous sacrifice, wind up naming our first child after him.
  32. There is a fifty-fifty chance that the Hero's Sidekick is in love with me. I'll find him a spunky, moderately-attractive tomboy type about his height, and steer them towards each other. If they quarrel, they're in love; if they hit it off, she loves him, but he's secretly unhappy with her and still loves me, and the Hero will need to send them off on a mission together.
  33. If I absolutely must scream, I'll use actual words with useful information. "I'M BEING EATEN BY A SHUGGOTH!" better enables the Hero to rescue me than does a simple ear-splitting "AAARRRGGHH!"
  34. When the Evil Overlord says that he was driven in his evil by my radiant beauty, I'll just kill him.
  35. I will never vow to slay the killer of my brother or other near relative; there is a fair-to-middling chance that the Hero did it, that it was an accident, and that I won't learn he did it until after I fall in love with him.
  36. If someone capable of feeling pain covers my mouth with their hand, I will make use of my pearly whites at the moment when my captor can least afford to be distracted.
  37. I will save my ethical dilemmas for times when I don't have an enemy at gunpoint.
  38. I will not, under any circumstance, faint from any emotional cause, such as fear, surprise, or astonishment.
   The Things I Will Do if I Am Ever the True Love is a group effort. The women listed below have all contributed in a large or small way. If I were the Hero, I'd offer them the chance to be my True Love, but some of them already have Heroes of their own, and in any event my wife would crack my skull if she caught me foolin' around. However, I will grant them a waiver from whatever sexist stereotyping might plague society at that time:

   There are also some males of the species who had something useful to say. If I am ever the Hero they will receive the Firm Manly Handshake:

   And the Internet being what it is, there are contributors whose gender is not easily discerned, for reasons of culture, unisex names, or Secret Identities:

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© 2005 by John VanSickle. Permission to quote for non-commerical use is granted, provided that this copyright notice is included. Permission to link from non-commericial Web pages is granted. All other rights reserved. If you translate this page for publication on the Web elsewhere, please let me know and I'll put a link to it here.

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