Is it alright if I come in, son? Hand check! Ha ha.

So, your mother tells me you’re interested in a girl at school? That’s nothing to be ashamed of, son. We’ve all been there. Well, I used to be in high school, too, so I can sort of coach you through the confusion you must be feeling. It’s important to be confident, so that she sees the kind of guy you are. Have you tried learning everything about her and then never speaking to her?

Well, let’s see, what do you know about her already? When I first met your mother, I found out she was into home aquariums. So, you know what I did? I bought one of those treasure chests that open up and spew bubbles, I wrapped it in a plain brown paper bag, and I left it on her doorstep at four in the morning. No, she didn’t know it was from me. Are you crazy?

Well, my plan was to tell her at prom, you follow? During the last dance. Take it from me, son, that’s the best time. How did she react? React to what? Oh, your mother and I didn’t end up going to prom together. No, years later, I ran into her in the self-help section at Barnes and Noble shortly after she got out of an emotionally abusive relationship, and by then, she was in her early thirties, so.

But, son, you’re too young to be thinking about marriage. Now’s the time to fix all of your emotional, psychic, and spiritual energy on a single person who thinks of you as the weird and moderately asexual kid who gets A’s in AP Art History.

Oh, she’s on the volleyball team? That’s perfect. Here’s what you do. You’ll want to go to one of her games. No, don’t tell her you’re going. Are you crazy? No, you and one of your buddies should get there about an hour early. Right, when they’re still warming up. Yeah, and there’s no one else in the stands except the skanky girl’s gigantic father. Yeah, and just sit there and make fun of everything. For sure. And then afterward, assuming they lose, and this girl of yours is crying, maybe walk over and kind of half-wave. Yeah, and then just linger. No, trust me, she’ll definitely notice.

Oh, but son, here’s an important point. If that girl who’s ten, twelve pounds overweight approaches you while you’re hanging around and asks you if you’d like to get a Jamba Juice, definitely do not take her up on it. That would be cheating son. No, remember, love is true, and there can only be her. That’s why you should at all times observe a priestlike asceticism. How could you sully what you have together? Well, what you will have.

Son, I’d like to ask you a personal question. No, no, although, frankly, your mother and I could have guessed by the way you’re home by ten, ten-thirty on Saturday nights. No, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Well, with the average life expectancy stretching into the eighties, you’ll have plenty of time for sex in your late twenties. Anyway, son, I was going to ask you if you’ve written her any songs.

Oh, well, son, you’ll want to learn guitar immediately. No—to play in front of people? Are you crazy? Play guitar for her at a party? Hang on, son, back up. BEEP BEEP. No, here’s what you do. Get your guitar, sit in your room until two in the morning on a Friday, and just let your heart sing.

Oh, to think of the countless nights I spent, just me and my instrument. You’ll never get those times back, son. Those rivers of emotion you feel now will one day cease to flood the banks. You know, I think I can still recall a few lyrics I wrote. “Would you read me a story, gal? / Oh, your voice makes a sweet, cool sound. / Would you read me a story, gal? / It’d keep the fire in me down. / It should be a story of a couple walking on the sand, / And you know I’d be a fan / If we walked hand-in-hand.”

Yup, all by myself. Thanks.

Oh, you just got a textual message from her? What’s she want? She wants you to help her write her English essay? Son, Jesus Christ. This girl is in love with you. No, trust me, son, that’s a sign. Ask her to meet at Starbucks? Are you crazy? No, I think you gotta play it cool here. You don’t want to tip your hand, emotionally. It might scare her off. Here’s what you do. Call her back and offer to write all her essays for her. Give her a riddle to puzzle over.

Trust me, women love that.

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