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My girlfriend is so pretty that I can't get over it. Every week I celebrate the alignment of her features by parading a giant photograph of her lovely face around the town center. I've written the words "pretty face" on the picture's border, and drawn an arrow to direct people's attention toward it. It's not bragging, because it's her that's the pretty one, not me. I'm going to parade every week for as long as she lets me be her boyfriend, and probably even longer. Nothing's going to put me off, not even the shouts of "Had her" or "Been there."

My girlfriend was lost in space, and I was at my wits' end. Eventually her spaceship was located and brought down to Earth. I was euphoric. She was full of stories of how frightened she was when her circuit died, and how incredible it was to be in orbit. It was wonderful to hear, but she has been back for some time now and I wish she would change the subject. This morning she told me again how the Earth was about the size of a tennis ball, and the moon seemed much bigger and brighter than it ever had before.

Running Water left me. She told me she was very fond of me, but that she needed some time to herself. Six weeks later I saw her outside the local church, wearing her very best ceremonial head-dress and clinging to the arm of an unusually handsome man. I rushed through the confetti, and glared at her. "So how did you enjoy all that time to yourself?" I hissed.

"It was great, thanks," she answered, smiling for the cameras, and looking even prettier than I remembered. "I had two cups of coffee and a croissant, and then I read a magazine."

I'm hopelessly in love with a bland girl. She has never said or done anything interesting. I spend hours trying to work out why I'm so deeply attached to her. I can't find the answer. Her hair is boring, her face is boring and her body is boring. Every time I come home from work to find her slumped on the sofa, surrounded by used yogurt cups, my heart explodes and I feel giddy, like I'm walking on air. I take her lifeless hand, kiss her pale cheek and say, "They broke the mold when they made you." She rarely responds.
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Excerpted from Anthropology by Dan Rhodes. Copyright © 2000 by Dan Rhodes. Excerpted by permission of Villard Books, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.