The only reason to get excited about Meghan and Harry

I'm not sure if you've heard but apparently Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle this week. Did you notice?

I know, it's been hard to get hold of any information about Meghan, her outfits, her background, her skin-tone, her ring, her potential dress, her mother, her father, her freckles, her embittered half-sister, her first husband, her love of roast chicken, her hair, her body language during the proposal video.

Still, it's good news, isn't it? And we need good news right now. We need news that won't be twisted into "fake news". News that prompts us to say to that co-worker we usually avoid, "They're engaged!" To which they reply "Huh? Who?" and you smile to yourself, thinking, "You idiot. Don't you read? This is why I hate you." And then we walk on.

I don't care if you think Meghan is "basic" or that the TV show she just quit was a glorified soap opera. I don't care that Harry looks a little too much like that reportedly lecherous redhead Captain James Hewitt. The point is, "Basic" and "Ginger" are in love and it's the first bit of good news we've had in a century. At least, it feels that way.

Let's review. The year 2016 carried with it the stench of an open coffin. If you loved a celebrity, chances were they died on you last year. David Bowie. Prince. Carrie Fisher. Muhammad Ali. Gene Wilder. George Michael.

And just when you thought humanity couldn't sink any lower into the bog of our collective grief, along came the self-proclaimed swamp-drainer himself, Donald Trump.

The reality-star-turned-punchline-turned-president functioned as the perfect bridge between 2016 and 2017, personifying not just the death of hope, but everything we were yet to learn about so many narcissistic men in power.

Oh yes, that's right! It might have taken until October of this year but as soon as The New York Times published its detailed report on movie producer Harvey Weinstein, what once amounted to a few dying embers of sexual assault rumours, became a bushfire of allegations. And half-baked apologies that managed to offend even more people.

"Sorry, I came of age in the 1970s", "Sorry, I am gay", "Sorry I have Asperger's", "Sorry, I misread the situation, I actually thought the women were into it. But now that I've been exposed, I see that was maaaaybe a mistake?"

The accusations were so frequent, and often so shocking, you almost wished some of these men had been taken from us in 2016 so you didn't have to face the disappointment. Don Burke and Kevin Spacey? Sure, we heard the rumours for years. But Matthew Weiner? Jeffrey Tambor? That weird-looking guy from Gossip Girl?

Who's next? Big Bird?

Don't answer that. I don't want to know.

What I do want to know is more about Meghan. Does she really use roast chicken as a vehicle for making friends? Was she really surprised when Harry proposed? Every news outlet in Britain is screaming "ANY DAY NOW!" and still she's shocked? I'll tell you what I'm shocked about, the creeping sense I have that Harry might actually be hot.

Oh, I know everyone has been saying it for years, but calling a royal good-looking comes with a long list of caveats, the first of which is this: Harry is good-looking for a person whose parents were distant cousins. OH but pish tosh!

Do you not see him, standing there, beaming at Meghan, a woman who is clearly a good 50 kilometres out of his league? And did you not see her beaming right back? Well, it warms one's heart. And just in time for Christmas.

I refuse to be cynical about their union, I choose joy; for them, for us, for the souvenir collector's items, because joy feels as if it has been in limited supply for two years now.

The royal engagement is an omen, a flicker of light at the end of a long, sewage-filled tunnel. A sign that maybe we don't have to keep re-watching The Crown just to get a hit of old-world glamour, a spot of pageantry and plummy accents. We can now fix our eyes firmly on the real crown, and then turn, ever-so-slightly to the left, and then, turn again to look further down the road to a little church, well, chapel to be exact. And we can wait like the crazies we are until one fine May morning ...

Well, not literally. I mean the weather's bound to be terrible.

What we can do is return to our news feeds, comforted by the fact that people will once again fight the good fight about grammar, lack of sleep, and how bored they are by the royal coverage. And we can rejoice once more, marinating in the gossip and good humour that comes with the news that two people we've never met are going to hold a slightly awkward party we are not invited to.

Cheers, eh? To 2018.

This story The only reason to get excited about Meghan and Harry first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.