We’ve all been there. You’re nomming on after-Mass donuts in your parish hall, or answering phones at your local crisis pregnancy center, or in the library researching your thesis on Medieval art. Suddenly Ted–I can call him Ted, can’t I? saunters up and engages you in conversation. Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary, just two good friends shooting the…..wait. Oh no. OhNoOhnoOhno. There it is again in his eye, that sickening spark, that marrow-freezing gleam. The love light.
You’re not repulsed or creeped out–you’re actually quite flattered, because on paper Ted is a catch. A steal. A nice Catholic Ken-doll dreamboat. But for personal reasons, because of your thesis, or your crush on the latte guy, or your inward conviction that you’d rather eat cicadas for breakfast than ever enter into matrimony, you really, really don’t want to be courted. You want to blow whistles and wave octagonal red signs. Halt! No wooing! No courting! No feeeeelings! (because ew feelings, right?) And since simply waiting to freak out till he actually asks you out and then politely turning him down is way too mature and commonsensical (because ew common sense, right?), I have compiled some helpful tactics.
1. Expose him to your violent feminist streak. Mention Gloria Steinem often and fondly. Tell him he is the bicycle to your fish. Bring up your sympathies with the Slutwalkers, and muse aloud on the unfairly neglected merits of the Vagina Monologues. *
2. Casually read Sylvia Plath in front of him. Ten points for The Bell Jar, one hundred points for “Daddy.” *
4. While out for drinks after work, challenge him to a chug off. *
3. Bring along your best friend to your informal coffee are-these-dates?. Wear flannel, and snuggle over your cappucinos.
4. Take out a garlic clove and bless yourself when you see small children.
5. Tell him you could only marry a man who shares your love of Bjork.*
4. Tell him you could only marry a man whose Christian name is Earnest.
6. Talk constantly about your career plans, hopes, and dreams, making sure none of them include–how you say?–settling down? I have found aspirations to foreign correspondency particularly helpful in this respect.*
7. If he does ask you out and you really can’t fool yourself or anyone else that it’s not a date, and couldn’t bring yourself to say no because you’re such a non-confrontational weasel or kind of like the attention or whatever, make sure you wear don’t-mess-with-me-boots. These are like the younger sister of fuck me boots, except she went to Bryn Mawr and is now a community organizer. By no means wear the take-me-home-to-Mom floral print dress and ballet flats.
8. Tell him you are a sedevacantist. Wear mantilla with said don’t-mess-with-me boots.
8. Tell him you are a liberation theologian. If he says “I think you’re a contra,” marry him.
9. Be unable to properly number your posts?
10. Tell him you are on a raw food diet, are revisiting veganism, and don’t shave your legs.
*Denotes personal experience.