Combat Zone

Spring in love: Tips for the savvy reader

By Anna Graham

As the cold winter months slowly fade away into spring, many of us begin donning our bright summer outfits and thinking about a fresh new love. But if romance novels have told us anything, it is that love is never easy — and catching the eye of a new beau can sometimes be a tricky task. Fortunately, we were able to catch up with worldwide relationship expert Knert Gnerp, who has managed to extract some sage pieces of wisdom from his own experience.

Recounting his first experience with his one true love, Gnerp began, “I remember the precise moment we fell in love. It was a beautiful day in early summer — one where the clouds hung like cotton candy in the sky, and the birds were singing joyously from the cherry trees. I had decided to go for a walk in the local park, because I wanted to enjoy the view from outside the local jailhouse for once. So there I was, walking along a path blooming with flowers, when I suddenly saw her. She was across the lawn, wearing this sultry-looking sundress and gazing in the opposite direction towards some mysterious subject. One glimpse of her luscious locks blowing in the wind and I had already picked out a wedding date.”

“I did not inform her of our future marriage just yet, though. First, I had to get her attention. Gathering my courage, I walked directly to her, introduced myself, and asked for her number. Now, here is where the story gets interesting. That sly fox — she couldn’t simply fall to her knees and declare her undying love for me just yet, no — first, she had to lead me on a wild chase. So the first thing that she ever said to me was, ‘I have a boyfriend.’”

Now, for many men, if a simple “no” won’t suffice, even the mention of another man would be enough to send them packing. Gnerp, however, was not so easily deterred. “Anyone who has ever seen a romance film knows that the presence of a boyfriend is completely irrelevant to the actual love story. And she was my one and only — it was so, so obvious! The only thing that was missing from our first encounter was the theme music! Therefore, I wasn’t worried about her boyfriend. I knew that halfway through the first act, she would realize that he was a complete narcissistic piece of crap and dump him gloriously.”

“Therefore, my response to her first reply was to wink and say, ‘That’s fine, let’s just be friends then!’ But of course, still playing hard to get, her reply was ‘No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I have to leave now.’”

“Now, I’ll admit, I was a little disheartened by this first encounter. Though my first sighting of her had seemed so promising, I began to wonder if we were actually meant to be together. Disheartened, but not deterred, I decided to phone my wise old grandfather for advice. His words were so inspiring I remember them verbatim to this day. Looking down at me with his hat tilted at a jaunty angle and twinkling eyes of a man who has lived long enough to receive all of life’s answers, he told me ‘Son, don’t get caught in the trap of believing what she says. Women never say what they mean, and in fact often say the exact opposite of what they truly want. If you know in your heart that you two are meant to be together, then on some level she must know it too. Therefore, you simply can’t take no for an answer. Remember the age-old adage: if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. If you keep after her relentlessly, eventually she’ll come around.’”

“My grandfather continued, ‘Just take a look at your grandmother and I! Now, she didn’t want to get married, no siree. She was a wild one, in her younger days — wanted to keep working straight ‘till she hit fifty. But her family and I knew it was impossible for a woman to really want to remain single forever, so I talked with her father and paid him a good sum to take his daughter as my wife. Fortunately, this was back in the good old days when bride-stealing was still a thing, so to complete the marriage ceremony I simply marched into her family’s home, hauled her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and carted her off to my house thirty miles from town. And just look at us! Sixty-seven years of marriage and still going strong! Now that’s a success story if I’ve ever heard one.’”

Gnerp took his grandfather’s advice in stride, returning back to that park every day from dawn till dusk in search for his lovely bride. When she failed to return, he hired a private detective to locate her address, where he would remain for hours, leaving bundles of roses and playing guitar softly outside her window. He has noted that the current state of affairs looks rather bleak, as she has moved to another town and gotten a restraining order. Nevertheless, Gnerp is not one to give up easily. “If I have learned anything from my thirty-seven years in this world, it is that love conquers all.”