The first impression lasts a lifetime, doesn’t it?
If he’s got leather shoes on and so do you, order an old fashioned. Make sure to answer all of his questions about your parents in a transatlantic accent.
Atmosphere is important. Choose two seats under the wrong light and you run the risk of getting stuck in the bottomless wells of each others’ pores. Lead him to a corner with a candle. Once you have him there, mention that you’re learning to whistle even if you already know how.
At this point, you should be prepared for the possibility of him touching your arm, hand, or hair. You are both city people. You both smell like soap. There’s no reason this shouldn’t work out.
If he leans both of his elbows on the bar, chew on peanuts and let him see some of your bite. Find a moment to mention that your molars are cavity free.
If, after a drink or two, he mentions feeling peckish or quitting his job, that is your cue to smile wider. Lie about you boss. Tell him, My boss is a saint. Tell him, Can’t complain. Make sure he believes that you are already full and fulfilled without him. Prove to him that you are the kind of lady who can make absolutely anything out of pathetic scraps of love and cold, leftover chicken. Prove to him that you are the exact breed of gal that can survive on almost nothing at all.
If he orders food, don’t eat a nibble. If wine or nerves cloud your better judgement and you slip up, spit it out immediately into a nearby glass, napkin, or faux plant. Don’t let him give you anything at all, not even a french fry.
If either of you spills a drink at any point, get on all fours and offer to lick it up. Put your chin almost right onto the damp floor and look up at him perched on his barstool above you. A gentleman won’t take you up on this offer, but will keep the image lodged in the back of his brain where you want it saved for later.
If you get this far, that means that things are all, more or less, going according to plan.
If, God forbid, he starts digging around and asks what you love, throw him off your trail with enticing contradictions:
‘I love mud and ball gowns.’
‘I love swimming in sweatpants and swelling under tight leather.’
‘I love dogs and goldfish.’
‘I love a red-lipstick mouth that won’t lose its crisp cartoon outline even while eating buffalo wings.’
‘I love Miller light and caviar.’
‘I love pornography and Pixar movies with feminist undertones and satisfying endings where good, lovable characters follow their dreams.’
I love saying, ‘Come here,’ when I mean, ‘Please don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me’.
And if months go by and you find that the bags under your eyes have grown more than his love for you or yours for him, don’t come crying to me. Think about what advice you asked for in the first place.