Look, Lemondrop readers, I'm in a bit of a romantic slump. OK, fine, "slump" might be a small understatement. Do you know that omnivorous, semi-sentient, plant-like monster that lives in the Great Pit of Carkoon out in the middle of the desert in Return of the Jedi? I'm in a romantic "one of those."

This feeling of being deeply mired in a romantic Star Wars metaphor is universal. At one time or another, we've all felt as if we were being slowly devoured, love-wise, by a fictional beast that slowly digests you over the course of 1,000 years.

I've decided to get proactive, and perhaps lead by example here, so the rest of you suffering from a similar case of romantic destruction can follow me. Instead of my normal go-to coping mechanism (listening to Cat Power with a thermos of wine and thinking about all the women I've been rejected by), I'm going to turn my love life over to a really stupid book.

Team? I'm going to see what Rhonda Byrne's fantastically silly tome "The Secret" can do for me, sex-and-love-wise. Take my hand! (Or just imagine doing it.)

"When You Want to Attract Something Into Your Life, Make Sure Your Actions Don't Contradict Your Desires"
Already "The Secret" is annoying me. What does this even mean? That it's time to stop bringing a flask on dates? Is Rhonda Byrne telling me that I don't have the great hair I so desperately want because I refuse to stop going to my possibly-blind but longtime Ukrainian barber and that it's my fault that she shaved off part of my left eyebrow last week? Yes, I currently have 1.87 eyebrows, and yes, I really want to meet a nice girl, but my barber and I go way back.

OK, OK. I actually get what Byrne is talking about. So last weekend, I attempted "attracting something by not contradicting my desires" when I spotted a cute girl on the street and decided I was going to do something crazy -- I smiled at her. Smiling is totally in keeping with my desires to see this stranger super-naked.

People? She smiled back. The Power of Positive Thinking compels me! The Power of Positive Thinking compel -- oh, Christ, I know this chick.

Yup. Last summer I took her out on one of my patented slow-motion train derailment dates. Everything started out perfectly on course at dinner, went slightly off course during an ill-advised attempt at dancing (I was like a bear with vertigo) and ended with me waving at a rapidly departing cab.

So, I stopped smiling and pretended I was just squinting into the sun, which was good as she also stopped smiling and grabbed the hand of the guy next to her, no doubt waiting until I passed so she could tell him how I was like a drunk grizzly with an inner-ear infection.

But let's not get all negative, which is very counter to "The Secret"'s demands of constant positive thinking. We'll chalk this up as me not "Secret"-ing this situation correctly. I was definitely contradicting my desires by wearing a tight white tank top, blue shorts, running sneakers, and jogging in place at the time (I left that part out, I guess).

Moving on.

"Your Job Is You. Unless You Fill Yourself Up First, You Have Nothing to Give Anybody"
Talk about taking a tenet of "The Secret" a bit too literally! Sometimes I treat myself like a job to the point where I get carpal tunnel, if you catch my drift! Sorry, that's gross. But I'd be remiss if I didn't make a super-subtle reference to the masturbatory nature of "The Secret" itself. Also, did I mention I'm in a bit of a dry spell?

So, for this point, I figure filling myself should be easy, right? There are lots of ways to feel fulfilled. We improve ourselves by reading books. We travel and cook and container garden and take erotic pole-dancing classes. If you look at the hobbies people list on dating sites, it would seem most of us are at the damn bursting point. I spend so much time "filling myself" with books and documentaries and autodidact expertise of craft beer. All of this will be great if I'm ever in a situation where some pretty lady is dying to talk about the collected stories of Katherine Anne Porter and how many beers you can drink alone before it's stops being "Why not, it's been a long day at the salt mines" and becomes "Dude, it's Wednesday."

True, perhaps Rhonda's speaking of filling oneself spiritually, which I'm not sure how to do because I'm a lapsed Jew and I don't believe in making long lists about why I am worthy of love or taking a moment every day to appreciate that I am a shimmering creature. I prefer to think of my friend P, who has now successfully bedded like five women just by reading non-fiction at a bar. "Filling himself" with information and vodka first have indeed led to P "giving" lots to others.

"Treat Yourself With Love and Respect, and Attract People Who Show You Love and Respect"
OK, this is pretty valid. All these years of treating myself with hatred and disrespect probably explains why I'm constantly finding myself in mosh pits at death metal concerts.

But you know what? Things go awry when I do decide that I'm a worthwhile dude. Remember when I sacked up and decided to go on a date with a girl who'd initially terrified me with her ungettableness? I decided to project ungettableness and we ended up going out. I took her to dinner at the Awkwardtown Restaurant (my favorite Anne Tyler novel, incidentally), and we split a flaming appetizer of Too Much Buildup. I saw her walking down the street toward me recently, and I loved and respected myself by hiding behind a tree.

This "Secret" is having fast reflexes and living in a neighborhood with lots of old-growth foliage. ANYHOW.

"Focus On the Qualities You Like About Yourself, and the Law of Attraction Will Show You More Great Things About You."
Oh really, "Secret"? Oh, OK. Well, I know I have a pretty well-developed sense of humor and, um, moms love me. Will this make me suddenly realize I'm 6-foot-3 and in possession of a killer hook shot?

Look, in all seriousness, this "Secret" stuff, when it's not about projecting positive thoughts into the universe in order to get fame and fortune, is just a rip-off from Bing Crosby's "Acc-ent-u-ate the Positive."

"To Make a Relationship Work, Focus On What You Appreciate About the Other Person, and Not Your Complaints. When You Focus On the Strengths, You Will Get More of Them."
If I ever get good enough at this "Secret" nonsense to be in a relationship, I'll probably use my newfound dark powers to figure out how to get my girlfriend to have a three-way.

[Redacted] Guy is the resident single guy writer for Lemondrop. One time he was friends with this girl who was funny and quirky and smart, but he never really paid much attention to her because she wore glasses. Then one day, while they were listening to Sixpence None the Richer together, he impulsively slipped off her glasses and finally saw her for the first time. Terrifyingly, she was not a girl, but a trained walrus. Specifically, a walrus trained to wear glasses. He was sort of weirded out after that and they don't really talk anymore.

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