Maeve Higgins’s guide to surviving Valentine’s day and finding love

Valentine’s Day is looming and – horror! – you’re not part of a couple. Panic not, Maeve Higgins is here and she has six fool- proof ways to find love

In 2011, Rihanna said repeatedly that she found love in a hopeless place and we all wondered, does she mean here at The Irish Times Magazine?

No. She couldn’t have, because until today we haven’t told you how to find love.

Well rub your eyes and put your pants on my friend, because today is the day! After you’ve read this you will want to jump out of bed, clamber across those piles of yoga pants you didn’t do yoga in, sidestep those plates stained with dried-in egg (symbolic?) and rush right out that door to meet your Destiny, assuming your new boyfriend’s name is Destiny. Also assuming you are a woman or a man who actually wants a boyfriend. Sorry straight guys, this advice is not for you. Don’t complain – you get everything else. Alright, here are the top six ways to find love (or some approximation of it). Kick it!

1. Break the ice
The initial approach can be difficult: what is there to talk about? Think carefully – do you have anything in common? Start small – check if he has eyebrows. If he definitely does, you could say, "What are those things? I've got them too, see?" and waggle yours suggestively. That will launch you into a discussion on eyebrows. He might say "How strange they seem, when you take the time to look!"


Alternatively, start big. Commit. See a cutie, covertly take photos of his tattoos, get down to your local tattoo parlour and ask for the same tattoos, using the photos as your guide. After you’ve removed the cling-film and they’ve scabbed up nicely, find that cutie and introduce yourself. Flaunt that ink! He will be bowled over by the “coincidence”.

2. Do the work
I absolutely mesmerise guys. I mean, memorise. I memorise guys. You know, by studying them. Do they take sugar, how many, what type of sugar? Do they just eat it in handfuls from the bag or do they stir in into their coffee? Keep a little notebook and jot down the things you notice about your target. Which language do they speak? Learn it. At least learn the basic phrases needed to keep a long-term relationship functional and fun. I know how to say "Would you like some money?" And "Please please stay by my side – just for this party" in Afrikaans, Portugese and modern standard Urdu.

3. Enjoy yourself
I asked a middle-aged man what his ultimate turn-on was. Actually, this guy was only 28 years old, but he was a morbidly obese chain-smoking tree surgeon so I'm guessing he's at his own special middle age right now. What he told me, between delicate bites of a Whopper, was that he loved nothing more than a woman who knew how to have a great time in bed. So don't be afraid to go with what your body wants; perhaps that's curling up into a tiny ball and humming tunelessly as you read Jane Eyre for the fifth time? Do it – it will drive him wild.

4. Be next
If the guy is married but you still want him, watch the wife – learn from her – that's obviously what he likes! For example, if you are crushing real bad on Bono, your set of blueprints is his wife who he loves very much. Go full Ali Hewson – get a brown bob, a pair of kind eyes and start making ethically sound fashion items. Conversely, sometimes the guy wants a flimflam lady (for our international readers, flimflam is ancient Gaelic for "opposite") in which case you have to become the Anti-Ali Hewson. Shave your head, cruel up your look with lots of glaring and wear a duster jacket made from kitten fur, preferably kittens who were unhappy while they lived.

5. Be sassy
In the documentary Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Howard Keel rides into town determined to find a wife. He provides women and girls (yawn – heteronormative Wild West!) with a handy checklist for what men want. He wants his girl to have "heavenly eyes" and be "just the right size". The first one is easy: do a smoky eye in greys if you have brown eyes or browns if you have blue eyes. The size thing varies from culture to culture – here in the West you can check the Daily Mail website for a steer, they constantly monitor women's bodies. Kind of like the Taliban, just with more celebrity photos. Keel sings that his girl must also possess a certain attitude, specifically be "as sassy as can be!" So, be sassy. I think that involves having opinions, but I could be wrong.

6. Stay present
Never, ever let him forget that you are in the room. If he's not looking at or snuggling with you, dominate his consciousness in other ways. Ask him questions, about anything. Does this milk smell gone off? On the turn, maybe? Make tiny little sounds. Peel your nails. Clear your throat, in a delicate way. Do not make a guttural sort of wrenching sound. Guys hate that.