Previously in this series: If Prince were your boyfriend.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, your mother would send you copies of Tatler (one for each of you) every time you were featured in a society column. “It’s embarrassing,” you’d say to her over breakfast. She’d just smile, and you’d both silently agree to keep the old copies in the bathroom, as a compromise.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, you’d insist on accompanying her behind the scenes of the Great British Bake-Off. “You don’t really want to come, do you?” she’d ask repeatedly. “It’s mostly just standing around waiting.”
“Of course I want to come!” (Mostly to hear if the rumor is true, that when contestants start to cry, she starts naming brands during filming so they can’t air any embarrassing footage. It turns out it is, but Sue won’t admit to doing it on purpose. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she’ll say.)
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, the two of you would host Top Gear together. After a few weeks on the air, Jeremy Clarkson would call you himself from his stay on a special therapy island. “It should always have been you,” he says. “You bring a special energy to the show that I lacked, somehow, in the very essence of my being, and I wish you both every happiness.”
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, you would have gone to the right college. You know the one. Whenever someone asked you in conversation, you’d mention the name effortlessly and unself-consciously, neither overly proud nor overly aggrieved about it.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, you would find little things you had mentioned an interest in – just casually, in passing, during unremarkable conversations – turn up around the house. “I heard you mention it, and it was on the way home,” she’d say, only after being pressed into a confession. “Honestly, it wasn’t anything.”
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, Giles Coren would turn up unannounced for dinner one evening, already a little drunk, and grill you with increasing rudeness over the course of the evening. Later, he would call Sue from his parked car. “I am sorry about that,” he’ll say. “I didn’t realize this was it. I hadn’t expected she was going to be the one.” And Sue will tell him to call a cab and sleep it off, and they won’t speak of it again, because they won’t need to. And the week after that, Giles and his wife will have the two of you over for dinner, and it will be wonderful.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, the island from Dinotopia would be real, and you’d be allowed to visit it once in your life.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, you’d have studied Latin in school, but you would never use your knowledge of it to make someone else feel backwards, only to bring joy to Classics majors at dinner parties. You would also, incidentally, know exactly when to leave dinner parties, neither too early nor too late, and you would never be the drunkest guest in attendance.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, every afternoon would be like that one hazy afternoon-sequence in Imagine Me & You, the really gorgeously lit falling-in-love montage, where Luce and Rachel walk through the park and make out on a bunch of cut roses.
You know those really great slouchy olive-green jackets that don’t look like much on first glance but go with everything and are somehow $700 and also the actual perfect weight and fit? You would have, like, six of those, just lying around the house, if Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, and they would effortlessly fall at just the right spot on your wrist.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, she would adjust your collar or scarf every morning before leaving for work. If you ever brought it to her attention, she’d have no idea that she did it, and probably become self-conscious about it, so you never mention it.
If Sue Perkins were your girlfriend, you’d start getting a lot of friendly social invitations from Rachel Maddow. You wouldn’t feel any rush getting back to her, either. Let her come to you.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.