You never know where the clickable online rabbit hole will take you after a long day.

Like where I ended up the other night while sitting down for some mindless interwebz after going a million miles a second all day from sunup to sundown: watching this ridiculous video. Its title was something like: “Tips for how to make a man adore you.” You might think I was hoping to pick up some real winning pointers, what with the fact that I’m rapidly approaching cougar status an’ all. I wish I was. Genuinely. I wish I cared that much to start faking this late in the game. But I’m too weary for that by now. Really, I think a large part of me – only 100% or so – was just rocking a raging morbid curiosity hard-on. I knew I was gonna fail every last one of the tips. And the BDSM dungeon master that lives inside my brain wanted to know just how unappealingly badly I was doing in my man-teractions. Just how many Notebook-Goslings are slipping outta my weathered, unmanicured, unlady-like fingers? Is that why I’ve only ever dated Half-Nelson-Goslings? Because I’m not living life according to user153449.5 who made and uploaded these how-to-chick tips?

As per usual, my pessimistic, defeatist outlook did not fail me.

I failed with flying colors.

For instance, one fun tip was “don’t square up to the man you’re talking to because it seems like a threat”.

I do this all the time. Why’m I a threat? I’m not a threat. I’m a worthy opponent. If you don’t want to conversationally spar, then this isn’t gonna be much fun at all. I don’t wanna be in that kindofa relationship where I hafta shy away so your ego can feel like a turgid schvantz with veins full’a viagra. Do you really want someone like that anyway? I mean, what would you rather have – someone who’s confident and got their own shit going on enough that they can square up to you and say “This’s me – open book – and who are you?” Or someone with insecure body language? Which signifies actual insecurity? Which signifies rapidfire text messages two months from now asking where you are, who you’re with, and why you’re not home yet? C’mon, man. You’re smarter than that. Unless you love drama, get this crap outta your head. Let’s be real here.

Then, a second one I saw was the “tilt your head a lot” advice.

“Like this?”

Sadly, not, my lushes. They mean “tilt to the right”. Advice which made me literally tilt my head – in confusion. I don’t really monitor the quantity or longevity of my dome tilting techniques (but I have been made to understand that my head is plenty good at other techniques, so I think I’ll be alright). The rationale behind the head-tilt took me a moment to figure out – especially with the “scientific supporting evidence” of men saying they found girls who did this more attractive. But then I realized it. It’s not just the head-tilting – it’s anything expressive, really. Gesticulation. Inflection. Movement. Just anything that shows your go-to selfie pose translates to an actual personality IRL. That’s what’s attractive. So, where I may fail at head tilting in convo, I A.) make up for in my own selfies (it is a fantastic angle, after all) and B.) hopefully also make up for by winning people over with the fact that I can never fccking keep any part’a my body still while we talk. Which probably includes my head. A fail, but also a win, kinda.

Then, came the tip on eating – what you might expect: order real food, but then eat it like you’re a 50’s starlet.

(I bet you the national debt that she was spitting that shiz into the cup she’s holding.
Also, there’s a good chance I’ve made that joke before. #senile #sorrynotsorry)

I don’t do this practice. I don’t do the first part (order a real hearty meal) because I can’t do the second part (eat it politely) if I do that first part. I’m sorry. But I do it for you. And maybe that’s my whole problem with pro-tips like these on how to strengthen your game: the whole spurious nature of it. So, I hook you and then in a month you’re seeing me in faded, stained, fuzz-balled sweats that look like those horrible trending atrocities called harem pants (except mine’re not even meant to look like that – they’ve just lost their shape over time and too many washes until they look like the opening of an asshole on a nursing home resident). Is that what you want, really?

Isn’t there enough fakeness as there is when meeting anyone new – romantic or not? I mean, when I think of it, even if I’m just my normal every day civil self, you’re still going to be getting some level of artifice from me. Why? Because I’m not in the privacy of my own home. No, that doesn’t mean I’m secretly Ted Bundy hiding dead co-eds in there. More like I’m Al Bundy rocking my four-fingers-in-the-waistband-move if no one’s around to judge me.

(Though my last ex did constantly tease me about this.)

So if I’m to start dating somebody, that’s already enough to have to worry about as the façade unveils slowly. Conjuring up a bunch of additional fake mannerisms or one-liners like pieces of inter-conversational jewelry that I just will take off eventually along with my make-up…. seems like a waste of energy and time. My energy and their time when they find out who I really am. And that’s why that third “tip” I failed at kinda makes me look like a hypocrite. I don’t order what I eat at home. But I make that exception out of absolute altruism. By that I mean, when we go out for a dinner date and I order next to nothing, I’m doing this for two reasons: First is because food is kinda distracting – and if we’re on a date and I’m getting to know you or you just don’t suck a conversation in general, the goal of my outing with you is to have a meaningful chat. Because there’s nothing more boring than sitting in silence with someone – especially if you don’t see them that often. What a waste. I can be quiet alone. Talk to me.

And the second part is this: if I order something I really enjoy, there’s approximately (and I’ve calculated this down to the last decimal) 0.0Nothing% chance that I won’t embarrass both myself and you. The moment I notice that platter’s making its way to my table, you’ll stop existing. The world will blur. All sound will soften into a deafened dubstep song. My face will transmogrify to caveman’s club as I beat the dentin-knife lined hole in it relentlessly against my plate – skipping forks, spoons, and knives altogether until I have successfully disappeared my delicious slop.

(Actual home footage)

But don’t be fooled. Should you find yourself half appalled by this fact and half still in love with me (leftover from before you learned what werewolf I am), please stick with those latter leanings. Because, you know, I’m only withholding from ordering some delicious dish for you. I recognize my dining defects and avoid the stimuli that educe them. It’s definitely not because of my vanity. It’s definitely not me wanting to avoid looking like the disgusting alley trash ransacking creature I inevitably become when I’m home alone and annihilating a bowl of soup, half of which I’ll definitely be wearing within ten minutes. It’s for you. It’s because I don’t want to embarrass you.

In fact, that should be the first on my set of tips since these ones suck:

Ash Tip: Dress sexy, but admit all your intrinsic flaws straight away.

It’ll confuse the enemy (fun) and weed out the emotional weaklings (productive).