Friday, Feb 14, 2014
To: Love Potion Test Group #9
Re: Genomic Romance — Bleeding-Edge Dating for Bleeding Hearts
Contrary to popular belief, the Valentine’s Day Massacre was not a literal massacre involving actual death and destruction. Well, it could have been that, too, for all we know. Whatever. Here at the Genomic Romance Institute our concern is the yearly massacre that happens every February 14, when the death and destruction are primarily figurative, taking down hearts, self-respect, and basic human dignity.
We’re here to help. The Genomic Romance Institute conducts research into advanced new forms of romance and bleeding-edge dating techniques suited to a fast-evolving, post-happily-ever-after society. Why live in the past when you can love in the future? (We’re still working on our tag line.) And our staff of state-certified psychologists, hypnotists, swingers, and licensed gold-diggers are working overtime to develop exciting new methods to make romance fresh and — possible tag line alert — somewhat less harrowing!
Why Genomic Romance? GRI founder Clytaemnestra Rictus was a cutting edge molecular gastronomy chef until she observed that, while her experimental techniques yielded unpalatable and injurious results in the kitchen, they proved very fruitful in bars, clubs, and singles pharmacies. And it stands to reason, for what else plays on the senses and evokes the passions as richly as food or love? Perhaps music. And, for someone we once briefly dated, socks. Anyhow. Was it the Bard who said, “If food be the music of love, play on”? Maybe it was Shakespeare.
Either way, here at the Genomic Romance Institute we’re dedicated to applying Patented Sciency Techniques™ to the investigation, enhancement, and gratuitous, federally funded vivisection of all matters of the human heart. “Science?” you say, “And romance?” Yes, because romance is all about chemistry. And chemistry is science. And science is clipboards and charts, and pointy little implements with which we’ll surgically extract all the mystery out of life yet, rest assured!
To get you started, we’ve assembled a very special and statistically robust Valentine’s Day Genomic Romance Activities Guide for the unflinching romantic in you. So get out there and massacre up some lovin’! (Probably not a tag line.)
1) Centrifugal Speed Dating
Everybody stresses about time in this whiz-bang, I-need-it-eight-years-ago era. Who has time to fall in love? Yesterday’s speed dating has us checking our GoodReads feed in frustration at the glacial pace. Great to meet you, but enough already! I can tell you have off-putting dietary issues just by looking at your name tag. Next!
Now, can’t we throw some science and technology at this problem? Of course we can. And we have. Next V-Day, join us at GRI’s Centrifugal Speed Dating laboratory. We load 80 eligibles in the outer ring and 80 more around the central shaft. We don’t even sort them out by gender or orientation. It doesn’t matter! They say love is blind, and that’s especially true at 960 mph. Eighteen seconds at top speed, and when you regain consciousness you’re guaranteed to find several in-service phone numbers embedded in your face and torso.
2) The Ortolan
When it comes to either food or love, we can always learn from those suave, passionate French. Take ortolan, the controversial and illegal national dish. It goes like this: First, catch an ortolan bunting, a sweet little songbird, and fatten it up on millet for a few weeks. Then — and this is the good part — drown it in armagnac. That’s right. Hold its little head under fancy liquor until it stops kicking. Mmm. Then roast it and devour it whole, bones and all. To get the ritual aspect of this notorious dish right, though, you have to eat it with a cloth over your head, so that God won’t witness your shame. They’ve got the whole thing worked out.
And we think it sounds like a lovely idea for a date. But not just any date. You know the one: we’re talking about the egregious-lapse-in-judgment date. You both know the match is nil. You have nothing in common. You can’t abide the giant cardboard Miller Beer cutout she has in her strangely fuzzy bedroom, her penchant for candy-flavored vodkas, her use of adverbs. She can’t stand the existence of books, the way you look to the upper left when you taste wines, your use of adverbs. It’s the perfect setup for an exasperatingly cute, opposites-attract, chick-flick dream, right? No actually, it’s a recipe for disaster and mutual humiliation, and you both know it. And yet — and yet — neither of you can resist. We can’t bear to watch, and neither should you. But hey, you can still enjoy your evening! Here’s how: First, fatten up your date on millet for a few weeks. Then — and this is the good part — hold each other’s heads under armagnac in a vat or barrel until the kicking slows, and then spend the rest of the date under a cloth so that God won’t witness your shame. (Tag line? No?) Ideally, do this at a Chili’s or Red Lobster. Limit to one per month.
3) Helium Dating
Face it: you’re irritating. Sooner or later the truth will out. Relationships that last do so because both parties have ways of tolerating each other’s irksome little quirks and habits, like the way you just stare off in silence whenever intimacy issues come up…You know, as a for-instance. Unfortunately, it’s a Scientific Fact® that when people begin relationships, they thoroughly idealize each other in what amounts to a cosmic bait-and-switch. Is there any way we can cut through the fog of new love to see the genuine, totally exasperating human being underneath? How do we know we’ll be able to put up with this person? The GRI team of stratospherologists has found a way to simulate the post-honeymoon-period reality check. You’ll have your first date in a classy but helium-filled French restaurant. If you can make it through the duck foie gras plate without wanting to fatally force-feed the aggravating duck-voiced person facing you, there’s a good chance you can make it together “forever”; i.e., the 7.85 years the average American marriage lasts.
4) Solipsist Club
Of course, not every date has to lead to divorce. It’s fun just to go out for going out’s sake. But even for one evening the problem of compatibility remains. How do you know this attractive person with the winning symptoms you just met at the pharmacy will be into the things you care about? Do they even like the same music? You could just ask, but time is money, and money is Vicodin. That’s why all GRI facilities feature a state-of-the-art Solipsist Club™. The secret is in the silence. Everybody dances to their own music. Maybe s/he’s all Cash Cash, but you’re more Einstürzende Neubauten. Who cares? Dance like nobody’s watching, sing like nobody cares about you, love like nobody’s billing! (Which could maybe be our tag line.) And when the dancing’s done, relax separately together in a pair of adjoining sensory-deprivation tanks alluringly shaped like anatomically correct human hearts.
5) Dinner-and-a-Movie 2: The Revenge of Dinner-and-a-Movie
It’s the most predictable date ever: dinner and a movie. Right?
Wrong! Instead of trying to cop a provisional feel at this week’s bleary rom-com, the GRI offers you a fresh new take on an old favorite: you’re going to produce your own movie together. While you and your sweetie enjoy a candle-lit dinner of raw Hollywood-style phyto-paleo-yoga Kalesteak®, you’ll also be pitching each other scripts, hashing over rewrites, firing directors, appeasing divas, reshooting endings, and playfully chewing your publicist a new one together. Because nothing says “death to romance” like the unrelenting stress of high-stakes creative and financial collaboration. If you can survive one night haggling about overseas on-demand royalty interests, you can make it through anything together. For at least about 7.85 years.
6) Keep it Virtual
Of course, there’s no reason the modern lover even has to be in a relationship to be “in a relationship.” Millions of satisfied customers worldwide have found true love through our online partner OkCasanova. Most of them have never met their significant others in person — and yet they are enjoying fulfilling, media-rich love lives from the comfort of their mobile devices, on-demand 24/7. Signing up is as easy as botching a pickup line in a crowded pharmacy! In a mere few hours, you’ll be subjected to thousands of fun, strangely specific, potentially incriminating questions Scientifically Designed® to match you perfectly with that special someone whose photo is as out of date as yours, plus a whole lot of other people whose keywords are alphabetically close to yours. Let the endless messaging begin! And when you’re ready to get serious, you can choose from a series of one-click trial separation and divorce packages available in Amicable, Seething, and Psychoterrorist modes. “Love is just a software licensing agreement away!” (Anybody? Does that make it into the tag line focus group list?)
7) Get Complicated
Not every date has to be a high-tech, infrastructure-intensive proposition. There are plenty of ways to spice up even a first date with what they call the sexiest organ of the human body: the brain. Not that that’s true. The brain is frankly repulsive. But taking that sexy-brain attitude will help get you access to the sexier organs. One of our favorite techniques doesn’t even have to wait ‘til the first date. Try it out at a bar or pharmacy. It’s called “Get Complicated,” and it’s simple: Just skip forward several relationship stages right out of the gate. For example, you might open with, “We have to talk. What do we mean to each other? My name’s Michelle.” Or, “Things are moving too fast. I just need some space. Come here often?” If the vibe is solid, go straight to “You’re just like your mother! I’ve had it up to here with your control issues! I totally love this band.” If you want to make a bold move that’ll really snap him/her to attention, hit the ground running with “No way do you get the Camry! You’re already taking all the furniture, including my damn stereo! I will sue your ass back to the Stone Age, you [gender-appropriate term of abuse]! What are you drinking?” You get the picture. Just remember: “Get Complicated” — and keep your night simple! (Yeas? Nays? Abstentions?)
8) Amour Sous Vide
Another French culinary technique awaiting a romantic application, sous vide means “under vacuum.” It’s a way of cooking foods extremely slowly at very low heat, by sealing them in airtight plastic bags and immersing them in low-temp water baths for as long as 72 hours. The result is foods cooked to perfect consistency inside and out. And that’s exactly what you want from that tricky third date. Get started on a Wednesday evening. Take your date to any 24-hour restaurant in the most banal suburb you know. Keep your conversation to a minimum on the drive. You don’t want to stir up the slightest interest. If it’s fund-drive week, listen to NPR. Hell, listen to NPR anyway. When you arrive, make no sudden movements. Request a booth away from the door. Give the hostess your credit card and your car keys. Tell her you want to start a tab. Take your seats. Turn off your mobile devices. Carbo-load. Speak occasionally, just often enough to qualify as a conversation. Don’t get in too deep with the really long silences that only marriage can prepare you for. Use a measured monotone. Avoid all topics with potential emotional charge, such as sex, politics, pharmacies, and socks. Suggested topics: last month’s weather, workpants, Belgium, grout. Do not doze.
The key to success of Amour Sous Vide is perfect consistency. If you get it right, by Sunday night you will have semi-simmered your way to a perfectly balanced wash of almost-steaming, lukewarm near-desire. You will find it moderately annoying to wait the whole drive home before carefully and deliberately removing some of each others’ clothing, climbing methodically into bed, and appreciating a mind-blowingly tepid act of orderly sexual congress. Savor it now, because it’s all downhill from here, statistically speaking. (And that, I believe, is our GRI tag line right there. Boom.)
9) Liquid Nitrogen and Acetylene
Here at the Genomic Romance Institute we pride ourselves on the most advanced and thorough research worldwide in the domain of dating and romance. But there is one contingency that continues to baffle our team of Top Scientists®. We find no shame in admitting that — for the present — there is one enemy we cannot face, one frontier we cannot cross, one cake we cannot ice. Men throughout the millennia (and by men, we mean men and women, but mostly men) have struggled even to articulate this formidable human challenge, like Laocoön grappling with the sea serpents — or, if you prefer a less recherché simile, like Hulk Hogan wrestling some other guy. It has bested the likes of Plato, Chaucer, Otto von Bismarck, and the entire World Wrestling Federation. It is a perplexity of such epic proportions that it is arguably the very reason for the prevalence of pharmacies worldwide. We are of course talking about — and here I think we have to resort to italics — love.
The mere word is enough to send grown men (and by men, we mean men and women, but mostly men) into anaphylactic shock and financial ruin. But take heart. The GRI is throwing all its resources into this war, and we will never surrender until that seems like totally the reasonable thing to do. For now, we strongly urge you: be careful out there. If you do find yourself succumbing — if you find that you have fallen in love — we have two important pieces of advice for you, drawing on the most advanced Scienciness™ available. The first: Do not panic. Keep your head. Wrap yourself up in a rug or blanket and roll to the nearest door. Exit in a swift but orderly manner, avoiding chandeliers. Once outside, stand clear of trees and call the police. Alternatively, our other important piece of advice is: Do panic. Go completely bananas foster. Break things. Set things on fire. If you have access to liquid nitrogen or acetylene, use them. Cause ruin. Wreak havoc. In short, lose your head. It will only weigh you down.
Good luck out there. It’s a massacre.