Jason Lea's Charm School: Better Wooing through Reading
Normally, I’d dissuade referencing “the worst of times” while proposing, but it must have worked because Tricia accepted. They married and had four children: Lucie Manette, Nicholas Nickleby, Artful Dodger and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come Ambrose. (I kid you a little.)
The moral, of course, is that women love a reader. So if your tongue is twisted, allow me to play Cyrano. (My advice is unisex. If women want to use my suggestions, I’m sure they will have just as much success as my male pupils. That is, to say, none.)
First, never push too hard while attempting to entice the object of your affection. It is better to bait the trap (preferably with money and expensive liquor) and let them come to you.
As Douglas Carlton Abrams put it: “Restraint is the defining strength of a true caballero, since any boor can thrust but only a skilled swordsman can parry.”
(A caballero is a duck dressed as a South American cowboy, in case you were wondering. In this context, it is a compliment.)
If you find yourself yoked to a talker and are desperate for a moment of silence, I offer two options. One, you can sprinkle some Lord Byron on them:
“Deceit the guilty lips impart
And hush the mandates of the heart
But soul’s interpreters, the eyes
Spurn such restraint and scorn disguise.”
If that doesn’t work, kiss them. People have trouble talking and kissing at the same time.
If your significant other bothers you while you’re watching TV, let him/her know W. Somerset Maugham-style, “Life isn’t long enough for love and art.”
Then, tell them you choose art, at least while “Scrubs” is on.
Perhaps, your woman (or man) might want to talk about your relationship. For this situation, I recommend the big gun, Jane Austen’s “Emma." Tell her (or him), “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
Finally, if your squeeze asks you one of those deathtrap questions like “Would you mind if my grandma spent the weekend?” or “Do you think I’ve put on weight?” fake a seizure.
What? Not everything can be solved with literature.
--Jason Lea, JLea@News-Herald.com