Modern Romance Dos and Don’ts

By Chris Chafin

This #MeToo moment has some men worried they don’t know the difference between romance and harassment. For them, some tips on navigating new ground in sexual relations.

DO:
At a ball, you see her across the room. She’s delicately eating plums, being careful not to drip juice on her ravishing dress, and looking around in a bored way you immediately identify with. Candles surround her as she sits in front of a snow-darkened window, but the glow which lights her cheeks and sparkling eyes seems to be coming from within. You walk across the room, directly past the young countess whose mother has been trying these many weeks to arouse your interest in match. You stop, introduce yourself bowing low, and ask if she would like to join you in dancing les moulinets. She says nothing, but carefully puts her uneaten plum on the windowsill and places a single gloved hand on your epaulette.

DON’T:
Just take out your dick.

DO:
At a picnic, you notice a particularly fetching woman, unknown to you. You conspire to sit nearer her than you otherwise might, and are sure to tell the story of the obstinate marquis who (trusting no one but himself) insisted on mending his own estate, and found in such a position one day was nearly conscripted into the army by an equally obdurate colonel who mistook him for a serf (a hilarious story, it produces uproarious laughter, as always). Later in the day, as the last of the Bordeaux has been drunk and the sun is hanging pendulously low in the sky, you turn to her for the first time and say, “Madame, I’ve spoken so much, and at such length, but I feel I’ve hardly heard a word from you. Would you allow me to remedy this grave imbalance over dinner?”

DON’T:
Mail someone a framed 8 x 10 photo of your penis wearing a tiny fedora and trenchcoat with a letterpress card that says, “America’s #1 private dick.”

DO:
Your regiment is retreating through the countryside, pursued by the villain Napoleon and his forces. The country is falling apart, and armed bands are looting everything they can carry. Along the way, you pass by a country manse, surrounded by shouting peasants. You notice one brutally strike a house servant across the face and hear a scream from inside the building. You have many of your own problems, but mob violence is never the answer to anything. You leap from your horse and rush into the house. In an empty ballroom you spy a lone woman collapsed on the floor and sobbing. You stop in the doorway, surprised — this must be the Princess Boloksya! Of course, how could you not recognize the estate! She is beautiful. You go to her, she looks at you with tenderness and anxiety. You tell her she has nothing to fear from the rabble, carry her out the front door past the dumbstruck rioters, place her on the back of your horse, and the pair of you ride off to safety.

DON’T:
Literally lock someone in your office and show them your dick.

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