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Editor: David Cashion
Designer: Devin Grosz
Production Manager: Alex Cameron
Illustrator: John Devolle

Library of Congress Control Number: 2017949415

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2914-0
eISBN: 978-1-68335-236-5

Text copyright © 2018 Brian Murphy and Emily Axford
Cover and illustrations © 2018 Abrams

Published in 2018 by Abrams Image, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Abrams Image books are available at special discounts when purchased in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact specialsales@abramsbooks.com or the address below.

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ABRAMS The Art of Books
195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
abramsbooks.com

We dedicate this book to you, cutie ;-)

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

I. HOOKING UP

› STOP HOOKING DOWN AND START HOOKING UP!

› ELITE PICK-UP TECHNIQUE: BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THEM AS A PERSON

› HOW TO INFECT THEIR PHONE WITH THE VIRUS OF YOU

› SEND SEXTS SO GOOD, YOU’LL WANT THEM TO GET LEAKED

› ARE YOU SEXUALLY COMPATIBLE? (KEEPING IN MIND HE GETS FIVE TRIES TO GIVE YOU AN ORGASM)

› 69-ING YOUR WAY TO A MORE SATISFIED YOU

› PREDICT THE FUTURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BY OVERANALYZING BRUNCH

II. DATING

› SHOULD YOU DATE? AN EQUATION

› HOW TO ASK SOMEONE OUT ON A DATE AFTER YOU’VE ALREADY SLEPT WITH THEM

› THE TREACHEROUS LANDS OF DATING

› WHO TO PRETEND TO BE, OTHER THAN YOUR GARBAGE SELF

› FIND OUT IF THEY’RE PLAYING MIND GAMES WITH YOU BY PLAYING MIND GAMES WITH THEM (WITH A SELECT YOUR OWN “VENTURE”!)

› DEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP BY OVERANALYZING HOW THEY INTRODUCE YOU TO THEIR FRIENDS

› PIECE TOGETHER WHAT THEIR LAST RELATIONSHIP WAS LIKE BY STALKING THEIR EX

› CASUALLY BRING UP THAT YOU WANT TO BE STRICTLY EXCLUSIVE

III. NEW RELATIONSHIP

› CHOOSE THE PERFECT PROFILE PICTURE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

› SINGLE YOU VS. COUPLE YOU

› WHAT TO DO NOW THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO BONE YOU

› HOW TO RELATE TO YOUR SINGLE FRIENDS NOW THAT YOU’RE AN INSUFFERABLE, HAPPY PERSON

› YOUR INSUFFERABLY HAPPY SCHEDULE NOW THAT YOU’RE IN A NEW RELATIONSHIP

› HOW TO SURVIVE BEING A +1 AT A WEDDING: A DRINKING GAME

› COBBLE TOGETHER AN ANNIVERSARY OUT OF YOUR AMORPHOUS BEGINNINGS

› DON’T SAY “I LOVE YOU” FIRST

IV. LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP

› STOP MESSING AROUND WITH FLASHY SEXUAL POSITIONS AND SETTLE ON THE TWO YOU LIKE

› TAKE OUT YOUR ANGER RESPONSIBLY (AN INVENTORY OF WHAT IS AND WHAT ISN’T OK TO THROW DURING A FIGHT)

› ESTABLISHING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AND TRUST (UNLESS THEY LEAVE THEIR EMAIL OPEN)

› CHANNEL YOUR JEALOUSY INTO PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES

› THINGS YOU CAN ADMIT YOU LIKE NOW

› THINGS YOU CAN ADMIT YOU DON’T LIKE

› PET NAMES YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY IN PUBLIC

V. MOVING IN TOGETHER

› THE THREE “L”S: LOVE, LUST & LOGISTICS

› SHOULD YOU MOVE IN TOGETHER?

› TEST THE RELATIONSHIP BY NOT HIRING MOVERS

› HOW TO DECORATE LIKE THE ADULTS YOU AREN’T

› DISTRIBUTE THE CHORES SO YOU’RE EQUALLY NOT DOING THEM

› HALF-ASSED CHORE CHART

› WHICH STREAMING SERVICE HAS THE BEST MURDER PORN?

› SHOULD YOU GO TO YOUR FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY AT A BAR? A QUIZ

› REPAIR THE FRIENDSHIPS YOU DESTROYED WHILE YOU WERE FALLING IN LOVE

› HOSTING A DINNER PARTY WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT WINE

› ARE YOU PLANNING ON HAVING FRIENDS WITH KIDS?

VI. GETTING ENGAGED

› PICK THE PERFECT BLOOD DIAMOND FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT RING

› HOW TO ASK FOR HER DAD’S PERMISSION LIKE A GOOD LITTLE BOY

› HOW TO SURPRISE HER, EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST PICKED OUT A RING TOGETHER

› HOW TO RUIN YOUR PROPOSAL BY TRYING TO MAKE IT GO VIRAL

› WAYS TO STRETCH YOUR ENGAGEMENT CELEBRATION TO ITS ABSOLUTE LIMIT

› LEARN TO LOVE THE WORD FIANCÉ, UGH

› HOW TO TELL YOUR IN-LAWS THAT YOU’RE NOT TAKING THEIR LAST NAME WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE THE DRIPPY TAMPON OF A FEMINIST THEY SUSPECT YOU ARE

› ESTABLISH YOUR FAMILY AS THE CHRISTMAS FAMILY BY TURNING YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AGAINST THEIR OWN PARENTS

VII. THE WEDDING

› DAMN IT, NOW YOU HAVE TO PLAN THIS THING: A CHECKLIST

› HOW TO DISCOURAGE PEOPLE YOU DON’T LIKE FROM COMING TO YOUR WEDDING

SEATING CHART BATTLE PLAN

› A LIST OF OUTDATED TRADITIONS YOU WILL BE FORCED TO PARTICIPATE IN

› CHOOSING YOUR SIGNATURE SEXIST WEDDING COCKTAIL

› YOUR WEDDING WILL NOT BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE

› HOW TO HAVE OBLIGATORY SEX ON YOUR WEDDING NIGHT

EPILOGUE

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INTRODUCTION

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When you’re single, it feels like you’re surrounded by happy couples. You imagine all of your friends in relationships constantly having mind-blowing sex, occasionally coming up for air and candlelit steak dinners. In your head, all they do is bone and brunch and go on hikes and ignore your text messages. Somehow, they’ve managed to thrive in the very same dating pool in which you are currently drowning. What’s it going to take for some hot lifeguard to finally pull you out? And maybe let you live in their penthouse, rent-free, because they also happen to be rich? You know, one of those wealthy lifeguards, who works by choice.

Why does it seem like everyone can find love but you?

You are, objectively, a great catch. You are a learned person who reads books (apparently), you have enough disposable income to buy books (presumably), and you have a great sense of humor because you’re enjoying this book so far (definitely). You should be the one having tantric sex in your king-size bed with your conventionally attractive soulmate and ignoring your friends’ texts about the weird bird they just saw.

But your friends’ relationships aren’t as glamorous as they seem. For every romantic getaway that they document on Instagram, there are twenty-six Costco runs, eighteen mandatory family gatherings, and at least two fights about whether or not they should get insurance on the rental car. In fact, they’re jealous of you! You don’t have to attend your nephew-in-law’s christening this weekend! You’re free to waste your whole Sunday on a hangover. Single people have no one to hold them accountable!

Everyone wants the companionship and security of a relationship, but with the passion and enthusiastic oral sex of being single. It’s like that movie Blade, where Wesley Snipes has the advantages of being a vampire without any of the weaknesses. Is that too much to ask? To get all of the good parts of a relationship, without any of the bad? And to have vampire strength, but also be immune to wooden stakes?

Well, we’re here to tell you that you can have it all. Because we found it.

We are Murph and Emily. Before we got together, we knew each other as coworkers at CollegeHumor.com. That all changed when we got a little too tipsy at a work party and ended the night dancing naked to Frank Ocean. It was sweet. It was romantic. It was the most 2012 thing you could do outside of voting for Mitt Romney.

Our secret office romance was secret for about two hours, and we continued to raise eyebrows when we moved in together after only three months. The general reaction was a mixture of concern and awe. As our friend David put it, “This is either going to end in marriage or murder-suicide.” Luckily for us, it ended in marriage!

We got engaged six months in and married shortly thereafter at a wedding venue that a cultured person might describe as “reminiscent of a medieval hamlet,” but we described as “mad Lord of the Rings-y.” Since getting hitched, we’ve continued to work together as comedy partners, collaborating on a ton of successful (and unsuccessful!) Internet, TV, and, now, literary projects. If you don’t know us from Hot Date, College-Humor, or Adam Ruins Everything, you would probably recognize us as that couple in your Facebook feed that occasionally pops up having sex in a comedy sketch. We haven’t made the shift to actual porn yet, but who knows what will happen if this book doesn’t sell!

Somehow, we manage to work together, live together, and sleep together without killing each other. We’ve got what everybody wants and what every so-called “qualified” relationship expert says isn’t out there: Someone Just Like You That You Also Want to Bone. It’s for this reason that our friends, skeptical at first, now come to us for advice: “How can I be like you? How can I find my soulmate and nail them down, in no time flat, after a series of rash decisions?”

We’ll show you—out of the goodness of our hearts, but also to fulfill our publishing contract. This book is a step-by-step guide through every stage of a relationship. We’ll take you from your first hookup to consummating the marriage doggy-style. If you’re already in a relationship, there is still plenty to glean here, but you could always skip ahead to the section that best applies to you for Maximum GleanTM. If you’re single and/or know how books work, just start at this page.

Be aware: some of our advice is not to be taken literally. This is comedy, after all. Ahead are a series of satirical stories and essays that can be applied to your own life as you see fit. You know, like the Bible. Also, like the Bible, we recommend you start pushing this book on all of your friends and maybe even go door-to-door asking people if they’re ready to accept Murph and Emily into their hearts. If any hotel managers are reading this, feel free to place this in every dresser in your establishment.

We promise it has almost as much weird sex stuff as any holy text.

HOOKING UP

—Our Story—

We got drunk at a work event and went down on each other.

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I.

This book is about finding your soulmate. And the first step to finding your soulmate is to drunkenly make out with your soulmate in the back of a cab that you’ll forget you paid for until you look at your bank statement. Welcome to the hookup scene! We hope you brought a travel toothbrush.

Navigating this hive of scum and villainy (and, in some cases, HPV) can be tricky. How can you be sure you’re hooking up with The One and not some jamoke who just happened to look good in the low lights of that painfully self-aware dive bar? You can’t. You can, however, up your chances of knockin’ boots with The One if you narrow your pool of potential hookups. Maximize your chances of going home with a winner by ruling out the losers. You’ll thank us when you don’t wake up on an air mattress next to a thirty-four-year-old wannabe DJ named Klaus.

STOP HOOKING DOWN AND START HOOKING UP!

Let’s be honest. You don’t always make the best decisions for yourself. Sometimes you miss the FedEx delivery because you’re too scared to answer a phone call from an unknown number. Sometimes you go to the McDonald’s and order the Quarter Pounder Value Meal instead of the much more sensible Fruit ’n Yogurt Parfait. Sometimes you stay up all night just so that you can “sleep” on your three-hour flight to Houston the next day. Then you’re too tired to enjoy Houston’s famed Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center!

You do the same thing when you sleep with someone who should be below your standards. Like somebody who doesn’t have a job, or even worse, somebody who works in social media. That’s not hooking up. That’s hooking down. And you’re not going to sleep your way to The One by hooking down.

Let’s examine some of the people you’re likely to run into on a night out. Bring this book to a bar and we’ll help you sort the creepers from the keepers. Go ahead, we’ll wait. We’ll have two of whatever you’re drinking. Two for each of us.

COME ON! A TGI Friday’s? You don’t want to have sex with someone who’s been eating loaded potato skins all night. Let’s go somewhere that doesn’t have snowshoes on the wall.

OK, that’s better. Now look around. Who do you see?

A guy with a Macklemore haircut. Why shouldn’t you pounce on this trend-hopping fashionisto who may or may not know his haircut is identical to the signature ’do of the Hitler Youth? Because he might be a Nazi. Or, equally distressing, he brought a picture of Macklemore to his barber and said, “Like this.” Either way, this guy is a serious HOOK DOWN!

A girl with purple hair. A girl with purple hair is like a horse wearing a fake horn. The first time it was done, everyone was like, “Wow, cool! A unicorn! How unique and quirky!” But then a bunch of horses started doing it and it stopped being special and you stopped believing in unicorns. As interesting as it might seem at first, having sex with a horse is a major HOOK DOWN!

Some dude with a leather messenger bag. Nothing says “I’m ready to be a live-in boyfriend” like a leather messenger bag. Because inside every leather messenger bag is a leather-bound moleskin notebook. And you know what’s in that? Feelings. This is a man who thinks and feels, and feels and thinks, and would love nothing more than to feed you his signature pancakes and teach you how to make French press coffee after you HOOK UP on his tasteful leather couch. So much leather!

A woman with bangs. Bangs take maintenance. Which means she’s responsible. Not to mention, there’s a 95 percent probability that anyone with bangs likes baking.1 Which is perfect, because you like eating. Enjoy the smell of fresh red velvet cronuts while you HOOK UP. (NOTE: If those bangs are uneven and freshly cut, STAY AWAY. This recently dumped hot mess hasn’t even started the Eat phase of her post-breakup Eat, Pray, Love.)

A grown man in a novelty T-shirt. Some people say puns are the lowest form of wit. We disagree. Wearing a T-shirt with a pun on it is the lowest form of wit. The only stretch bigger than the forced wordplay is the literal stretch of his medium T-shirt across his soft, doughy chest. If you’ve got to pull off a shirt that says “Fruit Lupus” with a picture of Dr. House eating Froot Loops, then you’re HOOKING DOWN. This also applies to novelty hoodies that double as costumes. If your date can turn into a Stormtrooper by zipping up his sweatshirt, he is exempt from blowjobs.

A lady drinkin’ a whiskey. What is it about whiskey that attracts the most adult people? Not only will her kisses taste like a wood chipper in Vermont, but she’s clearly classy as shit. Luckily for you, classiness can be sexually transmitted. So HOOK UP.

The DJ. Avert ye eyes and heed not the siren’s call! Or rather, the siren’s electro-haus mixtape. We guarantee that when you get back to his place, you’re gonna be sleeping on a mattress on the floor of an air conditioner–less room. Avoid this HOOK DOWN, unless you want to receive Facebook invites to his “sets” for the rest of your life.

Someone who’s there with their dog. A doggy drinking buddy? Borderline irresponsible, but undeniably ADORABLE. HOOK UP with this animal lover and receive a free dog for the duration of your relationship! You’ll never have to pay vet bills or walk it when it’s raining! And if you feed it treats behind its owner’s back, it will like you better.

A minor celebrity that you kind of recognize from something. Whoa, is that the guy from Suits on USA? Or maybe he’s the dude from White Collar. Definitely one of those shows with suits in it. Either way, your parents definitely watch the show and they’ll be super impressed if you bring him to Thanksgiving. Fucking a basic cable superstar? Now that’s HOOKING UP!

Unfortunately, bar hookups have a low success rate. Since most people’s buttholes clench the moment a stranger speaks to them, we recommend you don’t waste your time approaching total randos. They’ll label you a creep before you even get to do any of the creepy stuff!

Instead, invest your time in kind of randos—that sweet spot between stranger and acquaintance. A kind of rando is someone you’ve never met before, but have a tenuous connection to: a friend of a friend, someone in your adult dodgeball league, the paramedic who revived you after you were knocked out cold in your adult dodgeball league.

When you share a common interest, you can bypass the social vetting that a total stranger would endure and get straight to layin’ pipe and fallin’ in love. And, if things don’t work out between you two, there will be little to no social consequence. They’re just some kind of rando, after all!

EXAMPLES OF KIND OF RANDOS YOU SHOULD ZERO IN ON

Your roommate’s friend who’s in town for the weekend. Anyone from out of town is usually down to do something stupid, like hook up with you. If things go well, they’ve got a built-in excuse to visit again. If they don’t, who cares? They live in another city! Simply don’t take a three-hour bus to Boston and you’ll never have to see them again.

Other people at this weirdly horny convention you’re at. Whether it’s a business conference or AnimeCon, if you’re gathering at an event space in a hotel, you’ve got a good chance of getting laid. Maybe it’s because you’ll be attending meet and greets with drink specials in a bar three floors below your bed. There’s no fifteen to twenty minute taxi ride to second-guess your “chemistry” with Caitlin from the Ohio branch.

Someone wearing the same sports jersey as you. Rooting for the same team makes you allies. And what do allies do? They high-five. That’s constant, excited, physical contact. A few up highs, a couple down lows, maybe a too slow to show that you’ve got a sense of humor, and you’re in. If your team wins, what better way to celebrate than by scoring your own home run? If your team loses, what better place to drown your sorrows than someone else’s butt cheeks?

EXAMPLES OF KIND OF RANDOS YOU SHOULD AVOID

The barista who works at your local coffeeshop. Attractive, cool, mysterious, and attentive to your every need—is this your fantasy come to life? Or are they just a person working in customer service? Sorry, playboy, it’s definitely the latter. As a general rule, don’t read into any interaction that involves a tip jar (or a tip G-string).

Someone from class. Avoid anyone you see on a weekly basis in a room with unflattering fluorescent lighting. This could be continuing education classes, learning a new language, improv, etc. Especially improv. Watching people try to be funny is stressful enough. You don’t need the added anxiety of finding out that someone you dirtied the sheets with still does the Borat voice.

Someone who has the same morning commute as you. Whether it be by train, bus, car, or, heaven forbid, elevator, you do not want to have to see your ex every day. Hooking up with the toll booth lady might seem like a great idea now, but do you really want to reopen your emotional wounds every time you hand her a quarter and feel her sweet caress?

A coworker. Obviously, it’s on a case by case basis. We were coworkers and it was smooth sailing for us! They say not to shit where you eat, but it turns out it’s actually OK if you have a casual work environment where everyone is cool eating in a big office full of shit.

Once you’ve set your sights on that hot piece of pseudo-stranger ass, it’s time to go in for the chill. Engage them in a private conversation that discourages anyone else from joining. Questions like, “What was growing up in Ohio like?” and “How many kids went to your high school?” are only interesting to two people: the person answering them, and the person trying to sleep with the person answering them.

ELITE PICK-UP TECHNIQUE: BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THEM AS A PERSON

Successfully nailing down your hook up requires DECEPTIVE PICK UP TECHNIQUES like “listening” and “making a human connection.” If you want this person eating out of the palm of your hand, try this MASTER CON: ask them a series of personal questions, based on a genuine curiosity about who they are as a person.

People like to talk about themselves. EXPLOIT THIS WEAKNESS by BAITING THEM into engaging conversation. POUNCE on the opportunity to relate to them on a deeper level. THEIR VULNERABILITY is one you share—two souls, wandering this crazy planet, just trying to make sense of it all.

When you’re SCAMMING your soulmate into enjoying your company, TAP INTO THEIR DEEPEST DESIRES. One way to do that is to ask them, “What are your deepest desires?” Then, when they answer, listen. If you want to totally PULL THE WOOL OVER THEIR EYES, you can even ask thoughtful follow up questions. This kind of PSYCHOLOGICAL MINDFUCKERY shows that you are interested in what they are saying.

Here are a few topics of conversation that will BAMBOOZLE this SUCKER into feeling like a living, breathing, human being who matters:

their favorite hobbies

what their childhood was like and how it shaped them

where their career is now and where they’d like it to be

their favorite vacation they’ve ever been on

what their major was in college

their relationship with their parents and how it shaped them

their favorite movie, television show, or book

if they believe in God or the idea of a soul that is metaphysically separately from the body

Once you’ve laid your TRAP, all you have to do is wait for your PREY to GET CAUGHT and accept your invitation to speak candidly about the things that matter to them. If they say something that you relate to, TURN THE TABLES by offering personal information about yourself, painting a picture of your values and what has shaped you. There is nothing like a rewarding, reciprocal conversation to COMPLETELY HOODWINK someone into wanting to spend more time with you. Regarding someone as an equal is the best way to GET IN THEIR PANTS.

If you guys are drinking, this is going to be easy. No one is more comfortable speaking about themselves in excruciatingly personal detail than two drunk people who want to smoosh sexy parts. By the time you hear yourself say, “It’s not that my dad wasn’t physically around, as much as he wasn’t emotionally around,” the two of you are practically inside each other. They may even want to do it right then and there, in the bar bathroom! Being classy goes a long way, so remember to use the stall.

However, if you or your red-hot rando don’t want to get down immediately, let your phones do the fuckin’. When you can’t swap spit, swap numbers.

HOW TO INFECT THEIR PHONE WITH THE VIRUS OF YOU

In this day and age, asking for someone’s phone number is downright crude (short for creepy and rude). That’s why it’s always a better strategy, upon meeting someone you’d like to have telephonic access to, to just give them your phone number.

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