Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Irish Independent, 9 February 2013

5 surefire ways to score a last minute Valentine’s date

So you find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day? It would do us both a disservice for me to mince words here. You’re a screw-up. You’re an abject failure. You are a disgrace to your family, an embarrassment to your friends and a bigger catastrophe for this country than the famine, bank guarantee and Euro 2012 combined.

That’s the conventional wisdom. And as I sit here luxuriating in the one-bedroom glorified garden shed I purchased for €575,000 in 2007, I know that the conventional wisdom is never, ever wrong. But wait, all is not lost. There are still have five days, and five hairbrained schemes, left with which to redeem ourselves. So put on your glad rags, folks, we’re taking the heifer to the mart!

1. Online dating.
The secret to online dating is telling lies. (No offence, but if the real you was a marketable commodity, we wouldn’t be in this fix.) The only snag is that, online, people expect you to lie. So if you’re 27, and you want them to think you’re 22, there’s no point saying you’re 22. Say you’re 15!

Oh, and you’d better pretend to have a good job too. So put that you’re a doctor. That’s right, a 15-year-old doctor. Doogie Howser is lookin’ for love!

2. Wear red.
A recent study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that men are more likely to find a woman attractive if she’s wearing red. They’re also more likely to sit next to her, strike up a conversation and – if he’s Chris De Burgh – write an appalling song about her. (Of course, if you really want to turn heads, you should buy one of those high vis jackets. Sexy and safety conscious!)

3. Breadsticks.
According to every women’s magazine on earth, wearing revealing clothes is another sure fire way to “snare” a man. (On behalf of men, please don’t snare us. It’s illegal.) The theory goes that, if a man sees your exposed shoulder, or midriff, or thigh, he will immediately start to picture the rest of you naked. And shortly thereafter, picture himself having sex with you.

Unfortunately, this approach is problematic for two reasons. First, it’s February. (Cold and flu season, hello?) But, also, because you don’t want him to picture having sex. You want him to picture going on a date with you.

To that end, I suggest that you (1) commandeer a table in his office canteen or college cafeteria, (2) put down a nice table cloth, (3) light a couple of candles, (4) sit there eating breadsticks and making polite conversation while he walks past. It’s all about planting seeds, folks.

4. Learn Portuguese.
I got this idea from Love Actually: a film I profess to hate, but whose plotlines I am curiously au fait with. It may be a long shot. But by any chance, did you used to have a Portuguese housekeeper with whom you were secretly in love? And was the relationship thwarted because she didn’t speak English?

If so, learn Portuguese, fly out to Portugal and propose marriage to her in front of her entire village. Now that you’re engaged, and can communicate freely, she can finally tell you all how much she loves the music of Nickelback, and how she is convinced 9/11 was an inside job. And you’ll belatedly realise that she’s an annoying idiot and you two have nothing in common. Mazel tov!

5. Fake girlfriend
Okay, final throw of the dice here. FakeInternetGirlfriend.com is a real website and, they are at pains to stress, not an escort agency. Interaction with your fake girlfriend will only be online. So basically, the next time you post a Facebook photo of you and your weird cousin Alan playing Subbuteo, or camping out to be first in line for the next Star Wars film, a woman resembling Scarlett Johansson will reply saying “OMG u r so sexy!! When r u coming over 4 sex??”

And when your friends wonder how come they’ve never actually met Scarlett, you simply explain that its because she works undercover for the government and cannot risk blowing her cover. As a wise man once said, I love it when a plan comes together!

February 11th, 2013.

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