How Not To Fall In Love: A Literary Guide

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Some fool proof methods for securing that somewhat questionable but oh-so-literary relationship…

1. Become a governess in a huge dark mansion. Arrange for your first encounter with your brooding and frankly nasty employer to take place under dramatic circumstances in some sort of misty atmospheric location. Take a well-earned break from that journey towards independent selfhood. Ignore the strange noises coming from the attic and unexplained bed fires – I’m sure it’s nothing. That spectral figure tearing up your bridal veil in the middle of the night? Probably a hallucination – you’ll be fine.

2. Move to a depressingly rainy corner of the U.S. There, attractive sparkly vampires abound. All you have to do to snag one for yourself is smell great, allow him to watch you while you sleep and get over the fear that he might someday rip your throat open to drink your blood. A disturbingly possessive (bordering on abusive) relationship and extremely violent carnal ‘pleasures’ await…

3. Allow your neighbour to develop a paternal concern for your adolescent development. Be fantastically irritating to everyone around you to get him even more invested in your growing up process. Misguided matchmaking is a wonderfully efficient way to do this. Think the twenty year age gap will be a problem? Well, who’s to say really…?

4. Set your sights on the son of that family your parents really hate. No matter that he was in love with someone called Rosaline like five minutes ago – you guys are meant to be. And if the warring families become too much of a problem, call in a helpful priest to deal with the situation – they always have great plans, having had so much experience of relationships themselves. The plans do sometimes involve faking your own death, but hey, what’s the worst that could happen?

5. Move to Siberia with that shady murderer guy you’ve fancied for ages. You can totally ‘change him.’ Men who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up philosophical justifications for murder are always a good catch. And at the very least, according to Russian novelists, Siberia is better than sex work.

6. Spend your childhood together roaming the Yorkshire moors. Ensure that he is mistreated so that he grows up bitter, brooding and abusive. Cultivate a pretentious, snobbish personality and marry a personality-deficient rich guy – voilà, you’re all set for years of tempestuous romance and post-mortem passion.

7. Find a war veteran who’s paralysed from the waist down. Marry him. He’s sure to have a sexy gamekeeper knocking around the estate who’s up for some extra-marital fun. This will lead to plenty of tortured soul-searching.

8. Use your sexuality as a way to rebel against the totalitarian regime under which you live. Take a mild-mannered, tentatively rebellious civil servant to the countryside for a passionate woodland romp. Prepare yourself for gruesome consequences.

9. Marry a painfully boring doctor in rural France and fill your time with aimlessly wandering round the house and buying pretty things that you can’t afford. Within minutes you will find yourself having passionate love affairs with young legal clerks and local aristocrats. Can’t promise it won’t end with arsenic though.

10. Bootlegging, outrageous parties, affected accents and pining at the end of your private dock are all completely justified when you’re in pursuit of your one true love.

N.B. The author accepts no responsibility for any loss of life, loss of sanity, loss of dignity, loss of hair, loss of moral compass, loss of liberty, loss of loved ones, etc. that may occur as a result of following this advice.

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