Life & Love


Dear Auntie Eeee: I am happily non-monogamous and usually have a few romances of varying types going on all at once. But there’s a new rascal in my life I’ve been dating long-distance for five months, and I’m utterly besotted—daydreaming at work, uninterested in the modelesque tennis player who just asked me out, and suddenly wanting to have children! The long-distance dude is brilliant, fascinating, and, TBQH, the most attractive human being I’ve ever seen.

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We visit each other once a month. When we’re together, the conversation is captivating, the sex is i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e, and we have each other’s complete attention. But as soon as we part, he becomes aloof, and I turn into a pining teenager waiting for him to text me back or have time to Skype. I don’t mind that he’s dating others; in fact, I prefer it—I’m good at welcoming whatever level of intimacy and time my lovers are able to offer (which, most often, is more than I want). However, I need to be this man’s number one, and I’m not above scheming to get there.

I’m a confident, attractive, professional 32-year-old who has her shit together, but I’m afraid that in my unbridled enthusiasm, I’m going to blow it. I know my situation is not unique, nor is my question for you: How do I make him fall madly, devastatingly in love with me? —Woman on the Verge of Blowing It

Verge, My Kumquat: Please. Of course you’re “not above” a scheme. A scheme is indispensable to a woman of strong character. Whereas a few hours spent in the hard labor of making a man “fall devastatingly in love” will douse the last flames of passion a guy has for you, a scheme can crack a chap like a California condor chick in its egg. Hell, Verge, old girl, we’ve hatched so many seduction schemes in the Ask E. Jean column that I consider the existence of any single man in the country with grateful amazement.
But look here a minute. Over here, Verge. The weird thing (gleaned from two and a half decades’ worth of Ask Eeee letters) about a seduction scheme—or call it by its proper name, an intelligent design—is this:

A brilliant seduction scheme is a scheme the exact opposite of which is also a brilliant seduction scheme.

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Ergo: If your scheme is to play hard to get, chances are just as good that the chap on a different day, in a different mood, will fall madly in love when you do the precise opposite—i.e., make yourself available, find out what he wants, and give it to him. Mix it up, Verge. Even the eternally surefire, even the most holy and sacred—the wearing of the killer dress—will bring him to his knees one day, while your old, ratty hiking fleece redolent of Off! will enchant him the next. If you make him jealous, you must also soothe his soul “by distributing [your] flattery,” as Plutarch describes Cleopatra’s scheme in seducing Mark Antony, “ever contributing some fresh delight and charm to Antony’s hours,” and so on.

While you’re at it, Verge, as I said before, it’s really smart not to try to make him fall in love with you. Instead, make him fall for himself. (“Mark Antony! What big biceps you have!”) When a chap is enthralled with himself, he’s more likely to fall for the woman inspiring that exhilarating feeling. (But shh. The exact opposite may also work.)



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