Hot Fudge Wednesdays: Mingling with Complete Strangers 101

Nothing says Spring has Sprang like tulips and gratuitous dating advice, and I'm all out of tulips! As a human person who has been single for longer than one month, I am officially Now An Expert On Being Single and I'm feeling generous with my knowledge, honey! Take advantage of this spontaneous outpouring. Hold a bucket under this truth fountain. While you're at it, wear something sturdy that doesn't chafe and prepare to get your hands dirty. With wisdom. Here are my tips for dating. Dating tips, go!

1. Just get married. Who has time to date? Nobody! If we're not working two jobs, we are inventing two new businesses, racing two new race cars, slaying the whole thing with kindness and compassion. And just when everything seems perfect, society says we have to hang out with some rando for goddess knows how long? Why not cut to the chase and make your first date your last: Communicate until you're blue in the areas and meet each other at the altar with the same amount of trepidation as if you had waited for years. You can pack your own blue face, along with the life you'll be borrowing from me because of how good this advice is.


2. Have you ever asked yourself: What it is like to date me? If you have not, make your brain explode trying to figure out what it is like to sit across from yourself, slightly tipsy, and have a conversation with the you you've never met before.

3. Lose your job. More time to date! Furthermore, unemployment forces creativity and eliminates situations like having to sit across from a total stranger and watch them painfully deliberate over and then grotesquely chew their food. Winnow your bank account down to the single digits and take a walk in the park.

4. Don't believe a single thing your partner says for the first two months at least. They are probably lying to you to gain your trust and, hence, access to the gold coins sewn into your straw mattress. Knit your unruly eyebrows together and respond to everything your date says with something like "Do ye now?" or "Is that so?" to really push them away. By the time your date figures out that the coins aren't in the mattress, no, they're at the bottom of the deepest ocean, they, with any luck, will be on to the next sinister cartoon villain.

5. Limit the conversation to the topic of horses. This, dear readers, may be the single most important piece of information in this entire paper. If you take away one gem of wisdom today, let it be horses. Searching for a conversation starter? Look no further than, "Have you ever seen a horse?" Most people, especially people you've never met before, will relish the opportunity to question the nature of the very act of seeing and discuss, at length, what constitutes a "horse."

6. Be creative about where to bring your latest internet crush. Do you want to go to a sexy bar, surrounded by sexy people all having the same background-check-conversation? How typical. Side note: do a background check on your date. Take your date to City Hall and see if either of you have any outstanding parking tickets, then borrow money from each other to pay them off. Give cohabitation a dry run with a first date at IKEA.

7. If your date doesn't have a hat, purchase one for them immediately. Remark loudly upon their lack of hat, even if they are wearing a hat. Icebreakers such as "Goodness, what a hat could be there!" or "My name is Cleb, may I hat you?" are the gateway to intimacy. Nothing brings two humans together faster than hailing a taxi and rushing to the nearest milliner to size up a set of matching pillbox chapeaux.

8. Bring a chess clock to facilitate timed intervals of deep-ass, hardcore listening. When you're done bloviating about some prior misery for minutes on end without a break for oxygen or eye contact, hit the button and spend the next few minutes listening to your date attempt to pick up the pieces of conversation shrapnel. You could use this time to eyeball the basketball game on the bar television right over their shoulder, decide which boxes on your Possible Partner Checklist they aren't ticking at that exact moment, or, gosh forbid, attempt to listen.

9. Smart remarks about my vest are uncalled for, really. I'd like to see you try to pull off this many pockets.

10. Dating is like walking around in an unfamiliar grocery store. You know everything you need is there, just shelved in slightly different places. Keep in mind that the stranger sitting across from you is also Lost in the Supermarket, so to speak. Head to the dairy case of your heart and pitch all those expired Notions of Selfhood. What loaves of gluten-free regret are you storing in your Frozen Feelings aisle? Forget being Emotionally Unavailable: Are your emotions even in season? Make sure the nutritional content of your expectations is properly labeled, and be warned that if you grab at even the lowest possible expectation, the entire pyramid could come crashing down on your head.