1. Itchy fingers. The desire to say something — say anything — to her no matter what the time of the day. Heard a good song on YouTube? Why not forward the link? A decent line of poetry? Let’s recite it immediately.
2. Intellectual insecurity. Never fall for someone smarter than you. All your time will be spent Googling books, the provenance of words and plot summaries of Tolstoy novels.
3. Perpetuating the career of Celine Dion. Something has to explain the baffling sales of “My Heart Will Go On”. Sane people want to strangle themselves when they hear that song. Luckily for Celine Dion, love-struck fools aren’t sane.
4. Unleashing the inner stalker. “I will only peek at her Facebook albums.” Seven hours later, you’ve saved all her photos and read every inane post on her wall.
5. Spine-removal surgery. Sure, I’ve spent my entire existence nursing a well-founded hatred for the novels of Jane Austen. But the second she approvingly quotes that horrible opening line about single men and their want of wives, I’ll become a life-long fan.
6. Paranoia. “What’s she doing talking to that guy on the street? He’s so much better-looking than me. Oh wait, she was just asking for directions to the nearest bus stop.”
7. The Bond-villain scheming. Well, she gets off work at 6 pm, so if I take another two hours to file this report maybe I’ll run into her on the stairs and then I can tell her that her dress looks nice. Next thing you know, she’ll agree to marry me.
8. The blame-yourself-last syndrome. Didn’t get a reply to your text message? It’s all the stupid cell phone company’s fault.
9. List-making. This advice may be futile but never make a positive/negative list about yourself. It’ll only show you that your self-hatred has a basis in reality.
10. The inevitable anti-climax. If she never gives you a second look, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of time. If she ends up dating you, you realise she was never worth the effort.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.