AJ asked us to define “cute-meet.” Here’s the Wikipedia version:
A meet-cute is a situation in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing. It can also be applied to two people destined to become buddies.
This type of situation is a staple of romantic comedies, commonly involving contrived, unusual, or comic circumstances. The technique creates an artificial situation contrived by the filmmakers in order to bring together characters in an entertaining manner. Frequently the meet-cute leads to a humorous clash of personalities or beliefs, embarrassing situations, or comical misunderstandings that further drive the plot.
So, in a romance novel we might have something like this… the female protag is drawing seditious cartoons for publication against the monarchy and handing them over to her contact for payment late at night… in a whorehouse. At the same time, a group of the king’s men, which includes a double agent, is on the hunt for a couple traitors to the crown. The hero/double agent finds the heroine and her contact in a room exchanging money. She has to pretend she’s a whore. This would be the first scene, a whole mistaken identity motif. Chaos ensues and she escapes. As the protags encounter each other subsequently, he continues to believe she’s a whore; she thinks he’s a disgusting soldier for the king.
(Btw, I didn’t just make this up because of my awesome talents — this was an actual story, though I can’t remember the title offhand.)
A perfect example of a cute-meet in a modern romance is You’ve Got Mail. Two people meet online anonymously and like each other a bunch… then they meet in meatspace and dislike each other — well, she hates him anyway. It’s a great set-up.
In actual, real meatspace, most meets are not of the cute variety. We don’t often meet our romantic partner by rear-ending his car, for example. It’s more likely that we’d see him over and over again in a social or work environment or get introduced as a friend of a friend, etc. I don’t consider dating-site meets to be cute at all — they’re the opposite of cute. Whenever you’re trying to meet someone, cuteness goes out the window. Sorry, I don’t make the rules here.
Cuteness implies that the parties are not looking for anyone, at least not in the obvious way — she may be looking for subjects for a magazine article on dating sites and put up a “fake” profile, yada. He may be a cop looking for the “Dating Site Amex Card Scammer.” There ya go. (I did just make this up, thank you.)
Hope that helps!