Archive for Relationships

23. Congratulate a woman on her fictional baby.

So many terrible things going on in the world. Death, war, famine, Heidi Montag. You really want to put some good out there today. You don’t usually talk to strangers out of the blue, but a strange feeling is stirring in you this morning – the need to interact with your fellow human beings in a jovial and compassionate manner.

You wonder if you might have a fever. You grab a thermometer.

You do have a fever, but that’s not going to stop you from spreading the joy in your heart, along with perhaps a few harmless (probably) germs. You set out for the day and immediately begin complimenting everyone you see. “Nice hat!” you shout to your neighbor. “Love those shoes!” you say to the mailman. “Are those new fishnets?” you ask the corner prostitute. You know your fashion.

But you’re not just a shallow, superficial mouthpiece. You move on from clothing, wriggling deeper and deeper into the psyche of humanity. “How are the kids?” you ask your grocer when you purchase a kumquat. “New hip treating you right?” you query an elderly woman as you wander into the old folks’ home. “Have you been working out?” you ask the security guard as he escorts you off the premises. You’re making so many new friends!

Once safely back on the sidewalk with a brand spanking new restraining order, you decide to spend a little time in the park. “Adorable shorts!” you shout at a nearby lad. “I love your pigtails!” you yell at a little girl. “Where are you going?” you demand of the hordes of parents dragging their kids away in alarm.

Finally, your gaze comes to rest on a rather portly woman whose tummy bump can only mean one thing: a baby’s on the way! You saunter over with a spring in your step and a gleam in your eye. Beaming from ear to ear, you tap her on the shoulder and cry, “Congratulations on the little bundle of joy!”

Why isn’t she smiling? Why is she reaching into her purse? Why won’t she — is that pepper spray?

She scowls angrily as you stare a little harder at the voluminous folds of her muumuu, and suddenly it clicks. She’s not pregnant! She’s just morbidly obese! Your mouth goes dry and you rapidly lose the power of speech, grasping for an apology that you both know will never come. You look around frantically, as if maybe someone else said what just came out of your mouth. But there’s no escaping it. You’re an idiot. You’ve just ruined this poor woman’s day, and, quite possibly, her life. Well done.

So if you want to suck at life, congratulate a woman on her fictional baby. As you flee in terror, embarrassment, and spicy excruciating pain in the ear, nose, and throat area, you once again remind yourself of the lesson learned today: never talk to anyone, ever again.

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7. Fall over while proposing.

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She’s the one. The love of your life. The woman with whom you’re destined to spend the rest of your days. You’ve got it all planned out: a candlelit dinner, a romantic stroll through a dewy rose garden, the removal of thorns acquired during said stroll, the applying of the antiseptic, then a graceful ascent to the top of the tallest building in town for a breathtaking view of the city below.

It’s all perfect. The time is right. Sure, she’s looking at her watch and muttering something about how the wind carried away her favorite hat, but it’s all a blur to you. The moment is here. You look deep into her eyes, take her hands in yours, drop down to one knee…

And keep dropping.

Maybe you slept on it wrong. Maybe you’ve fired up that old wartime injury from your tour in ‘Nam. Maybe you’ve chosen to kneel upon an especially slippery pile of pigeon droppings. Any way you slice it, you’ve somehow lost the ability to remain upright, and no amount of “Will you marry me?”s or “I love you”s or “Dear God, call an ambulance”s will save you now.

The moment is ruined. She doesn’t know whether to say yes or to help you up, though her true feelings reside closer to the option of running away in horror. Other couples are now staring. The security guards point and laugh. That one random frat kid over in the corner yells “Proposal foul!” The whole thing is a disaster.

So what now? The recovery plans begin surging through your head. Brush it off and continue with the proposal? Say you were just kidding about the whole thing, and that the ring is only some aluminum foil wrapped around a Tic Tac? Jump off the building and just bring it all to a quick and bloody end? There’s no wrong answer, but there’s really no right one, either.

So if you want to suck, fall over while proposing. Not only will you look like an idiot, but you’ll also be giving your beloved the greatest gift of all: a reminder of the ineptitude she will soon have to endure for the rest of her natural born life.

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6. Be left hanging.

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Friday night is finally here. You’re with your pals, having a grand old time. The beer and Tostitos Queso dip are flowing like wine. Everyone’s crowded around the television, watching the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards or the ever-popular Antiques Roadshow. It’s a perfect evening!
Suddenly, it happens. You can almost feel it coming. There’s a crackle of electricity, a shift in the breeze, a faint smell upon the air. You should probably get that gas leak fixed. But that’s not important now. What’s important is that Something Amazing is about to occur.

And there it is! “Touchdown!” you yell, or “I told you Tilda Swinton would win Best Supporting Actress!” or “That’s one hell of a mahogany armoire!” The room goes wild. Cheers are chanted. Hats are thrown. Pants are removed. You’ve entered a realm of utter chaos, and only one thing will bring it back to anything approaching a semblance of normalcy. It’s time to express yourself through the magic of the sacred High Five.

You turn to your buddy, extend your hand into the heavens, and wait.

And wait.

Time abruptly stops. The party comes to a crashing halt. Tostitos are frozen in mid-air. Were there music playing, now would be the time for your standard awkward-moment-record-scratch. All eyes are on you, except of course for the pair that you most covet: that of the intended recipient of the best and most intense high five you’ve ever prepared. Unfortunately for you and your self-worth, he’s more interested in the funbags that just walked through the door, and, to a lesser extent, the girl that’s attached to them. Either way, his attention no longer belongs to you. And no one feels the piercing pain of this slight more than your cold, lonely, clammy hand.

Sure, you try to salvage your dignity. Your hand immediately, almost instinctively shoves its way into your hair, attempting the old “I was just smoothing my coif” trick. As if displaying your palm to the entire room is something that everyone does before attending to their tresses. Or you change your motive, using your outstretched arm to now wave to someone across the room as if they’ve just arrived, even though they’ve been here since the beginning and you yourself even greeted them at the door and talked to them for no less than an hour about how consistently punctual they always are.

Or, fully accepting that your dignity has left the building and probably fled the country as well, you make no attempt to fix this irreparable situation. You keep your hand high in the air, stoutly resolute, staring down anyone who dares to point and laugh. This will not keep them from doing so, but this is okay with you, as they may in turn attract your friend’s attention quickly enough for him to turn around and end your suffering. You might even try to hurry it along yourself, with a curt “yo” or “dude” or, as a truly last ditch effort, “Up high, BRO!” Though more than likely you will just continue to hang there, forever, until someone quietly points out that you’re starting to resemble a Nazi.

So if you want to suck, be left hanging. It’s technically not your fault, but you knew the risks when you stuck your meaty paw all the way there in the first place. You should have known better.

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