Ask any teenage girl: a million hearts will shatter when Prince William marries Kate Middleton on Friday.
Let the royal wedding bells ring - if they must
On April 29 2011, Prince William is set to break the hearts of teenage girls around the world. It doesn't matter that he's closer to 30 than 18; the usual rules of attraction don't hold sway over him because he's rich, speaks posh and is heir to the throne of the United Kingdom.
Preparing for their big day must be hard for any bride-to-be, but I can't begin to imagine what it might be like for Kate. Her every word, smile and incline of the head will be analysed to pieces by story-hungry media. She will also be scrutinised for the slightest flaw by several of my friends, and no doubt many other love-struck girls who openly despise Kate and aren't afraid to make their opinions heard.
Until the "I dos" have actually been said and the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared them man and wife, a lot of us remain firmly in denial that William ever shot so much as a glance at a girl. "There's still time", is the opinion of one of my ever-optimistic friends. "He hasn't had a chance to meet me yet - he's just going through a silly adolescent phase." A silly adolescent phase that's been enthusiastically broadcast by thousands of TV channels and covered by every newspaper and magazine worth its salt, and one that will be the cause of national outrage if it blows over.
Others were less subtle. A few weeks ago, Lisa called me, sobbing, having just heard the news that would presumably hang like a shadow over the rest of her life. "And," she managed tearily, between hiccups, "he didn't even invite me to the wedding!" Reason is futile when you're trying to calm down an oestrogen-charged, emotionally wrecked 16-year-old. I assured her I was sure that a prince who lives seven hours' flying distance away would surely have invited her - or even married her - if only he'd known her in the first place.
It's funny how you tend to want something all the more when you realise you're not going to get it. When I reminded Lisa of her last obsession, a floppy-haired giant who played the drums and was therefore a "Greek god", she dissolved into a fresh flood of tears. "He's. Not. A. Prince! And also he's not marrying anyone, so he's not taken."
"So I can't like him because there isn't any competition." I failed to grasp the logic behind that last statement, so she explained very slowly and clearly, as if trying to teach a particularly thick five-year-old the alphabet. "You can't win a race if you aren't running against anyone, see?" I didn't, but we left it at that. The mind of a woman has many deep, intricate layers that are best left unprodded.
Considering that we try to pretend Kate Middleton doesn't exist, it's surprising how much we try to emulate her. A satisfactory replica of her famous engagement day dress - a blue Issa - was nowhere to be found in the shopping malls of Dubai. We were eventually reduced to fighting over who among us had the rights to buy a single piece in H&M that was a different shape and a different shade of blue but would just pass. (I won, courtesy of my superior picking-up-the-dress-and-running-away skills.)
We have also begun to consider applying to the University of St Andrews in a few years' time because Ciara's theory is that William might come back just in case he wants to do a refresher course or something. You know, to make sure his MA in geography hasn't been made redundant because of the effects of global warming or whatever. The rest would be easy, she believes; it's in all the fairytales. The prince always falls head over heels for the, er, rich girl from Dubai. "The commoner," Ciara observed. "The prince always marries the commoner, rich or poor." She's even designed a coat of arms for her own family so she'll be prepared for the day when William finally sees the light. Kate's is blue and red (Union Jack) with acorns on it and is suspended from a ribbon to show that Kate's unmarried. Ciara's is pink and purple (glittery, at that) and is shaped like a heart. It has a picture of Ciara, Wills and three squalling infants on it. It also doesn't have a ribbon on it to show that Ciara's married to the prince, "in the abstract plane".
We'll all hate ourselves for it, but we won't be able to resist watching the wedding live. Teenage girls are usually quick to recover from broken hearts and even quicker to spot other rich potential hubbies. I suppose we must come to terms with the fact that Wills will soon be a married man with a family and new responsibilities. Oh well. There's always Harry.
The writer is a 15-year-old student in Dubai.