Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to accept a universal truth that deserves some long-overdue recognition: Magazines know more about human interaction than you do.
It’s just a sad fact. No matter how many romantic relationships, platonic friendships, genial work associations and cordial interactions with strangers that you successfully manoeuvre throughout your life, you will still be woefully inadequate when compared to those damnable weekly periodicals. I mean, look at how shiny they are. You can’t argue with shiny.
Personally, I accept that I’m even less equipped to deal with social relations than the Average Joe(sephine). Just the other day I had a mild panic attack because I had to walk past a group of hippies and I was wearing shoes with a leather interior. I thought they might start some kind of ruckus, like a patchouli-scented gang fight. So as you can imagine, I’m grateful for all the help I can get when it comes to navigating this big scary world of ours.
I’ve found the answer – my Bible, Koran and enlightening Bodhi tree – in magazines. As my first wedding anniversary looms on the horizon and my friends make witty and original jokes about ball-and-chains, “old marrieds”, and why I haven’t splurted out a brood of infants yet, I’m increasingly conscious of my duty to not let my relationship stagnate*.
I decided to commit myself wholly to this task, and follow the Magazines’ instructions to the letter. I was determined to do things right.
Lesson One: Spontaneity
“Act out of character,” was sound advice from Toni Coleman, a relationship coach in America. Well, that was the heading to her advice paragraph, but it was really long so I just kind of skimmed it. Out of character made sense though. Wild. Spontaneous. Exciting. I could do that.
I decided to show up at my husband Amos’s workplace unexpectedly. I brought with me a long-stemmed red rose and a bottle of champagne. We’ve been looking at rescue shelters with a view to adopting a dog recently, so I asked a friend if I could borrow her puppy for the afternoon, telling her that I was planning a surprise picnic. A scruffy little mutt, he sniffed about happily as we waited behind the dumpsters in the alley for Amos to come out for a smoke.
Forty-five minutes and three severe leg cramps later, my beloved appeared. Immediately, I leapt from my hiding spot and hurtled the champagne bottle to the ground where it shattered, pelting our legs with broken glass.
“I’M GOING TO KILL THIS DOG!!!” I screamed, holding the small animal aloft and seizing one of the larger glass shards, holding it to the dog’s furry little neck. “I MEAN IT, MOTHERFUCKER!”
Amos was shocked. This was very out of character behaviour for me indeed. “Bridget?” he asked, stunned by my spontaneous visit. “What the fuck are you doing? Put that dog down!”
“Arrrrrgh!” I shrieked, lobbing the pup at him overhand like a grenade. Amos managed to catch it just before it hit the ground. He cradled the mutt to his chest and watched in horrified adoration as I ripped the rose out of its wrappings.
“HAHAHAHA!” I laughed maniacally, slicing my face repeatedly with rose thorns. “I am become death!”
“What the fuck!?”
But another magazine had told me to be mysterious and keep some things close to my chest so as to not seem dull, so that was my cue to vault myself onto the dumpster and over the fence, cackling as I ran away.
Always leave them wanting more.
Lesson Two: Boundaries
Some solid relationship advice that I keep coming across is to not be friends with your partner. That makes sense: Why would your fella want to hear about the daily ins-and-outs of being a woman? Save the gossip, tattles and manicure tips for your gal pals and keep your relationship with Him sizzling and steamy. I decided to take his advice to heart one day when Amos returned home from work.
As he shuffled tiredly through the front door, I arranged myself in a seductive pose, leaning casually yet sensuously against the refrigerator.
“Hey there,” I purred, not really knowing how to “purr” but rolling my “r”s like a Soviet spy. “I’ve been thinking about you all day.” I sucked on my index finger suggestively, then immediately removed it and tried to remember if I’d touched anything that would explain that taste.
Amos dumped his bag on the floor and rolled his shoulders. “I had such a shit day,” he told me, looking depressed. “The boss was acting really strange. I think I might be getting fired.”
This was clearly the kind of conversation he should be having with a friend, so I had to put a stop to it right away. “I’ll let you be my boss,” I murmured, arching my back so he could see up my nose. “Have I been a bad employee? Do I need to be punished?”
“What?” He looked dumbfounded. “What are you- No. Bridget, did you hear what I just said?”
“I know what will make you feel better,” I purrmured, slinking over.
“Can you drop it for five minutes?” Amos sounded irritated as well as distraught about his job or whatever now. “I feel like crap and I really need someone to talk to.”
A ruse! Luckily, I read enough magazines to know that men don’t really have feelings, they just pretend to because they think it will get them laid. Now that I was in on the secret, there was no reason for Amos to continue this façade around me. Thank god we could finally have an open, honest relationship unimpeded by pretence.
“You should [censored] me in the [censored] with [censored] like in that film where the guy [censored] the [censored] after the horse was [censored] and they got covered in [censored] and body glitter and I’ll [censored] like a big bowl of cream,” I told him sexily.
Amos’s jaw dropped. For several seconds, he was so terror-aroused that he couldn’t speak. Finally, he croaked out, “Are you on drugs?”
I’m not sure if he was asking me as a friend or a sex-partner, but I’ll still call that one a success.
Lesson Three: Freedom
Men, I have learned, are biologically wired to sex multiple women with little to no emotional attachment. This frees up their time for trips to the pub with other men during which they talk about sports, cars and the important things they do at work that women wouldn’t understand, like spreadsheets and mergers. Cling to your man too much and he will resist, as it is his natural impulse to break free from any relationship cage in which you try to confine him.
The only way to get him to want to be with you, obviously, is to trick him into thinking he has the freedom he so innately craves.
“Blow him off,” suggests Cosmopolitan in their article What Makes Men Fall In Love. Your unexpected cancellation or failure to arrive at a prearranged date will relax him, they explain, as he won’t feel tied down. This sense of liberty will encourage him to be more open and, surprisingly, actually produce within him a greater sense of attachment towards you. I never would have thought it would work like that. Science is amazing.
I was determined to get this one right, so I took myself off to a bar one night and didn’t ring Amos back until he’d left me five missed calls and two voicemail messages. Talk about clingy!
“Where are you?” he asked upon answering my call (after one ring – desperate!).
“Out,” I replied with cryptic breeziness, signalling the barkeep for another triple-shot of Captain Morgan. “What’s up?” I was careful to not sound like I cared too much, or he would think it was an interrogation and withdraw.
“I’m at the restaurant,” he replied, sounding annoyed. “Where are you? The reservation was for seven thirty.”
“Oh, is that today?” I asked, because it’s important for him to know that you are a “social butterfly” with lots of plans. “I’m out with friends. Can we do it another time?”
“Bridget, it’s my birthday.”
Men don’t care about anniversaries and are more logical than us sentimentally-minded women, so I knew that the date didn’t really matter to him. “Oh, yeah?” I feigned mild, but disinterested, surprise. “Well, go out with your friends or something. Have fun!”
There was a weird sound on the other line, like a bad connection or outraged spluttering or something. “I told you about this weeks ago!” Amos said. “I’ve been really looking forward to it.”
He said some other stuff, but at that point I hung up. Long phone calls with your man are up there with texts more than two sentences long: A big no-no. Guys don’t want to be forced into a big long droning conversation with you – they’re not as gossipy or emotional as women and don’t need to spend all day talking.
Tossing back my shot and feeling the familiar burn of spiced rum, I felt like the best wife in the world.
* Heheheheheheheheh “doody”.