Arriving late to a conversation is like watching people kiss. They don’t mind doing it in front of you, but they’re reluctant to let you get involved.
The trick for joining a conversation is a soft touch. Unfortunately, kissers find being softly touched creepy, unless they don’t realise it’s you.
Remember, you don’t want to hijack the conversation. If your only tactic is to talk louder than them, and dazzle them with volume, then this is tantamount to Chat Rape, or Chape. Nobody likes a Chapist, so slip in softly, so to speak.
In your eagerness to get a word in, you may forget to keep it relevant. Try to focus on their words that stirred a reaction in you, and go from there. You could use this template, “That’s interesting that you should mention the elderly, Mark, because my grandmother is elderly.” Notice how I linked Mark’s point about the elderly with something relevant to my own life? You’ll also notice how I used Mark’s name, making it more personal to him. This is how friends are made.
So you’ve learned how to tangent from another’s remark, just remember to keep it tasteful and above board. If your boss tells you that his wife’s name is Katrina, then the correct response is to remark on her pretty name, and not say, “Makes sense, she looks like a natural disaster.”
So as not to appear a threat to the conversation, start small with grunts of agreement and monosyllables of approval. Once this has gone unchallenged, systemically double your input; shoehorning remarks, asides and anecdotes into every pause available. Before they know it, you will have wrestled complete autonomous control, shrinking the trialogue into an exquisite monologue. My favourite kind of log.
With the conversation in your dominion, you’ll have free license to espouse on whatever takes your fancy. I recommend the sort of things that are usually hard to segue into. Like balloon animals, and logs.
Going for an interview is a lot like going on a date. You have to get dressed up. You have to leave the house. It’s a lot like going on a date.
The main difference is that your interviewer probably isn’t your type, and you aren’t going to have sex afterwards. Unless it was a really good interview. In which case don’t blow all your bedroom cards immediately, your job depends on keeping your employer tantalised.
Illustrate your qualities in a narrative
It’s not enough to simply list your virtues, or brag about your legendary status at the pub. Interviewers want an example or parable to ratify your claims. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t actually saved a baby from a canal, or rallied the rest of the jurors at a murder trial to your perspective. Just remember that everyone else is going to lie, so lie more.
Mirror their behaviour
We respond best to people who behave similarly to us, so imitate your interviewer’s characteristics and manner. Unless they are consumed with self loathing, then all those familiar head tilts and jazz hands will quickly cement an intimate bond.
Don’t be surprised if by the end of the interview they shirk the handshake for a bear hug, holding you close as they whisper, “I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”
Being too obvious will only creep them out. If they break wind, then a sympathy fart from you is not going to put them at ease, it’s just going to make for a smelly room.
Don’t be put off by small details such as age and gender, a little bit of flirting never hurt anyone. Whether it’s just admiring the man’s toupee, or shaking hands longer than is comfortable, being open about your desire is a sure fire way of flattering the interviewer and leaving a lasting impression.
If you’re really good, then you’ll leave them in a turmoil of sexual self doubt, and so their only option will be to employ you and uncertainly reciprocate your advances.
In caveman days, men were all about physical superiority. It was pretty much all we had going for us. But this natural advantage has become increasingly obsolete ever since we stopped making everything from boulders.
Regular jobs develop no muscles beyond the wrist, so men have had to make up activities like ‘working out’ just so we don’t forget how to lift heavy things; surrounding ourselves with encouraging men and mirrored walls in a communal arena of admiration (or gym).
It takes a lot to impress ladies with strength these days. It’s not enough to simply hold the couch aloft, and proclaim, “There!” as the ultimate display of your worth. Ladies need to know, that should they decide to discard their shoes after a night of feet-swelling drinking and dancing, you are there to courier them back to their bed, where you will make tireless love to them.
It is common between men to share how much weight they can lift, but when you flood a lady with imperial data, they’ll give only vacant stares. However, if you tell her that you lifted the equivalent of four thousand lipsticks, she won’t be able to stop herself from clapping.
Once the lady is suitably impressed, she will allow you to do jobs for her in exchange for sex. This is called a ‘relationship’, and can be very rewarding for both parties. Don’t expect to spend your days destroying trees to be rewarded by dinner and fillatio, though. The only regular test of your strength will be opening jars and carrying the shopping, and she hates it when you open all the jars without a good reason.
Now for shopping, carrying the food haul isn’t too demeaning, but when bags become brighter and pinker and say things like “Laura Ashley” or “Indisputably Girl’s Clothes”, then she has gone too far.
It is at this point that you need to remind her that Man Strength should only be used to carry Man Things. Using Man Strength on lady things is like when an adult gets stuck in the seat of a children’s swing. It looks weird.
The idea of what it means to be a man is always changing. In the fifties it meant smacking family members who disagreed with you, and in the nineteenth century it was all about wearing a hat. But there are four main principles that have remained throughout, defining the most desirable qualities in manly men.
Not doing things wrong is hard, and that’s okay. Ladies only need to know that when they decide to blame you for something, you can take it on the chin, absorbing the anger until you can reproduce it as forgiveness sex.
Your family needs to know you can protect them, so defend everything you own like a picnic from wasps. If someone tries to take a chip without asking, slice their hand away with all the fury of a mother lion.
When ladies see how well fortified you are against all forms of attack, they will soon entrust you with the keys to their ovaries.
To be resourceful is to be the hunter gatherer, the breadwinner, the bringer of bacon (N.B. Unless you’re a butcher, ladies are going to think it’s weird if you come home with bacon everyday). Although it’s not unusual for the gender roles to be reversed in these modern times, it’s a lot harder to earn respect when your only contribution to the table is a mediocre risotto.
A resourceful man is like a god, manipulating whatever he sees into new and wonderful shapes. This is called paper-mâché, and is one of the most vital skills you will ever acquire. Mastering it will prepare you for almost any given situation, or at least children’s parties.
Oil Your Chest
Looking at pornography aimed at ladies, the oiled chest is a prerequisite. Admittedly, most of the men are also grotesquely buff, but I imagine one of these components should be enough to inflame your lady’s ardour, and rubbing oil onto your chest is a lot easier.
If following this list scares you, then you have no right to graduate from the College of Man, either that or you’re a confused lady. How did you get in here?
It is the nature of disgusting habits that sometimes you didn’t realise you were doing them until someone pointed and went, “Eeerrrghhh!” That’s your first clue that you’re doing something long since abolished in the civilised world.
There are some habits that, although harmless, trigger the gag reflex in witnesses. For instance, it makes sense to not be wasteful, but if you finish a dinner date by holding your plate aloft so the foody debris can pour into your mouth via a gravy avalanche, she’s not going to want to see what you do to your dessert, let alone post-coitus. (Incidentally, I like to blend all my desserts into a flavour rich stodge which I slurp on through a crazy straw. It’s always delicious, but it makes even me feel queasy if I catch my reflection.)
Then there are the body functions and redundant habits that shouldn’t be revealed until you’ve gotten your ‘I love yous’ behind you. These include breaking wind, picking your nose and smelling your finger after every time you touch yourself.
If she accepts you after this – pustules and all, then you have either found ‘the one,’ or she may have some darker secrets of her own. Maybe even a penis.
For some men, receiving acceptance isn’t enough; they need to push the boundaries of their partner’s love. They can be aggressive, in fact. An accidental bowel song in bed is less a source of embarrassment, but more an opportunity to submit their sleeping bride to domestic abuse; lifting the duvet over her head whilst yelling “Dutch Oven!”
Barbaric? Yes. Malicious? No. It’s more likely that the man in question has difficulties expressing himself. What sounds like the gleeful shriek of a hyena are actually his desperate cries of, “Love me! Love me!!”
The lady’s ability to withstand said torture indicates her potential for the incubation of his sperm, which he’ll send her way in creative fashions.
Of course, these methods are the fastest way of determining compatibility, but they don’t always make a great first impression. It’s safer to harbour this uglier side of yourself until the keys of civil partnership have turned, locking you into an unholy union of horrifying proclivities.
A constant danger of being in public places is the public element of it. How terrible that being outside has to be spoilt by other people enjoying it. Even worse is the threat of walking into someone you know, societal pressures forcing you to make some meaningless exchange: How are you doing? How’s your work going? Why are you holding pomegranates?
This problem is most apparent at universities and large workplaces, where you regularly pass by the same people every day. Just how much acknowledgment is required? For bus drivers the answer’s simple, there’s no mistaking their genuine excitement every time they pass someone on big wheels.
Of course, for normal people, how we respond to each other is more complicated than the black and white binary world of Big Wheels Friend/Small Wheels Enemy. What usually paralyses us most is the fear of being blanked.
The easiest answer is to become The Blanker yourself, making you invulnerable to anyone else’s blanks. This doesn’t just involve avoiding everyone’s attention; a good blanker can make their lover feel like a stranger, or turn away from the crying eyes of their child.
This is preferable to the hesitation two people might feel as they approach each other, deciding whether a greeting is appropriate. At the moment of passing one says hello, and one does not, and they both walk away feeling as embarrassed as an unpractised saxophonist at a Jazz recital.
Nowhere is this anguish of uncertainty worse than when you spot them at the end of a long street, drifting towards you like a boat into harbour. Avoid any temptation to display recognition until you’re at a distance where you could poke them with an umbrella. If you catch their eye straight away, the anticipation built by the time you enter salutation range will force you to have a conversation no matter how well you know or like them.
However, if you can’t bear this game, then why not try running at them? It reduces the interim from spotting to speaking, and they may even be flattered by your enthusiasm. They may also be horrified; in which case just keep running, all the way home.
A lady’s honour is a precious thing, and it must be protected at every opportunity. Mostly because any efforts to do so will be handsomely rewarded. But a lady’s honour is not a tangible thing; she cannot accidentally spill it on a tablecloth or spend it on shoes, unless the shoes have ‘I’m a slut’ written on them.
Her honour is more like a castle; it can be high and strong, but sometimes she leaves her door open to any intruder. It’s your job to keep constant vigil on the Lady Watch, ready to counter-strike any siege on her bailey/feelings.
When a man calls a lady’s honour into question, the accuracy of his comments is unimportant (in fact, defending the dishonourable ladies is often more fruitful than the proper, frigid ladies), what’s important is that you seize the opportunity and quiet his flapping lips.
Most ladies abhor senseless violence, but when it’s done in their honour, they can’t help but be pleased. It excites them, and demonstrates your ability to protect them from negative attention, like tramps.
If you’re an alpha-male, then it’s your job to meet any criticisms with the might of your fist. But you can only do this to men; you can’t Chris Brown ladies or children. Or the disabled. Unless they’re only a bit disabled, like with dyslexia, or hay fever.
If physically dominating men is not your forte, let me reassure you that success is not required; it is the gesture of being affronted on a lady’s behalf that the means most to her. Indeed, it can even be beneficial to ‘take the fall’ at the hands of a more impressive man, so as to arouse the maternal sympathies of your lady. What better way to instigate intimacy than with the nursing of your pummelled visage?
Defending her honour is a great way to charm a lady, but when you’ve done it once, it will become expected of you. From swatting every arrow of slander, to braving every club of defamation, shielding a lady is a full time job. It’s a bit like being in the mafia, except with more tampons.
Some people don’t talk properly. Whether they’re speaking too quickly, too quietly or too foreign; they can never quite make themselves understood the first time round.
Sometimes they just don’t know how to pronounce their vowels properly, a symptom of what I call regional interference. Have you ever tried speaking to a Scot? I say speaking, it’s more a case of enduring the tortured noises that they bark at you, which are as intelligible as a distressed Wookie.
There’s only so many times you can reasonably ask someone to repeat themselves before things get unforgivably embarrassing. I would say the absolute limit is three, and if you haven’t made sense of them by then, their words are lost forever.
Who knows how brilliant it might have been. You may even have yourself a modern day Oscar Wilde, spouting gems with biting hilarity, only to have them fall on your shirtfront, alongside the rest of the spittle from their contorted mouth.
Upon establishing that meaningful communication is implausible, your only strategy is to get out whilst causing minimal offence. Some would suggest making occasionally affirmative noises, but I wouldn’t even go this far. If you don’t know what they’re saying, then there’s no telling what you’re agreeing to. They might be making hotel reservations for their next BNP rally, or inviting you on a gay cruise (which doesn’t sound too bad if you are a seafaring homosexual).
What’s certain is that you’ll need some vocal input, but you should sound as vague and commitment free as possible, leaving you unaccountable. The trick is to sound pleasantly provoked, like you were experiencing the active ingredients in a healthy yoghurt. You can’t be rude for being indecisive, though it might seem strange if they’re just trying to offer you some jalapenos.
If you are feeling mischievous, then why not try your own hand at incomprehensibility. There is much fun to be had in babbling nonsense like a jabbering baby. What I find more rewarding is to have people lean in to hear you, as if your words were of great importance, like a wizard’s. Whisper something enigmatic, and as they move in hit them with ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’