Love Riot: A Manual
Part 1: Getting
How to Be a Bartender
Rack em up and knock em down. Never meet anyones eye. Wipe
it all down with a cloth damp as snailskin. Keep your top lip down over your
pointed sneer even
though you know that you are more than this, more than them. You do not grub
in the dregs like they do; you are not desperate for the rasp of flesh, for the
sound of another persons voice saying your name. Do not ever spend a single
penny of your tips. You are saving them all up for shoes with steel in the toes
and heels, a dress made of clouds, a beard that will never go gray, a one-way
trip to the circus.
How to Be Pursued
File your nails to points. Salve your mouth where the bit has chafed it; paint
it red and make sure it is wet. Display all your teeth when you smile; think
wolf, think pussycat. Dont let your damage show. Ensure the whites of your
do not begin to crack. Color your extremities—fingernails kite-pink,
hair burn-red, toenails elephant-blue. There is no space for nature in the amphitheatre
and you are not the lion anyway. Seek out ferns that match your irises, then
stand next to them.
How to Pursue
Always carry a Zippo—no flags, no skulls, no flowers; just silver scratched
through use and shined by your pocket. Straighten your tie and blunt the tips
of your shoes. Only lean one elbow on the bar. Answer in polysyllables; if you
do not know what to say, gaze into the distance and sigh. You are aloof yet accessible,
pensive yet hilarious, tender yet hairy-chested. Wax your toes.
How to Be the Wingman
Get the round in. Make them doubles. Take one for the team. Lurk at the sidelines.
Develop an interest in unpeeling beer mats into their various layers – they
may have secret messages, and if they dont then you can write your own.
Envy and loneliness and secret vague unspoken feelings should be kept in the
behind the molars. Do not bite down; you will break them.
How to Be the BFF
Look less. Think less. Be less. Ensure your heels and your eyelashes are an inch
shorter than hers, that your flesh is redder and your lips paler. The spotlight
is too bright anyway; the heat melts your foundation and the textures will not
mix well. It will all be OK because at the end of the movie shell unfasten
your ponytail and take off your glasses and then … and then …
Part 2: Wedding
How to Be the Best Man
Clip holes in the hedge maze. Sew the ring box into your trouser pocket. Remind
everyone about the time you stole your fathers boat and sailed out among
islands for two weeks of puffins and cider and campfires; don’t mention
that it was snow-spattered or that the girl went back to where she came from
or that you sailed back with your fists covering the compass in the hope that
you would accidentally sail out across the ocean.
How to Be a Wedding Singer
Move your fingers across the keys faster than is necessary. Glaze your eyes.
Look up the bridesmaids sleeves. Remind yourself that theyre motherfuckers
anyway, everyone is a motherfucker, and every single one of these motherfuckers
is going to remember your name, oh yes motherfucker, theyll remember this.
to subtly insert the word motherfucker into The Way You Look Tonight.
How to Be the Mother of the Groom
How to Be the Bridesmaid
Paint stripes on your cheeks. Mutter your retreat. Select only poisonous flowers:
adonis, maikoa, bloodroot. Ensure that their leaves spread sufficiently to hide
your knuckles. Wear blue because it will remind her of the bluebells thick as
dust on the ground and the blue of veins under your stretching tongue; of the
softness of two pairs of creeping tiptoes through the woods; of girlhood and
its elasticity; of the tightening hood of marriage.
How to Be the Bride
Let the grass grow up between the floorboards. Empty your fathers shotgun.
up your breasts like theyre a riverbank about to collapse. Wander all you
but do not wonder. Paint and tuck and pluck, even though the lie has already
been told, even though he has seen the dawn along your brow. Do not be afraid
How to Be the Groom
Never show your palms. Change the locks. Make an island of your bed. Snap the
necks of the doves and stuff wads of cotton down every open throat. Just to be
safe, just to be safe. Remember the grit against your fingertips of the sea-salt
stuck to her scalp; remember the bend of her toes and the sounds of sleep; remember
the pink of the insides of her cheeks. Memorize.
Part 3: Keeping
How to Love
Sticky-tape the coffeepot and the plate of toast and the jamjar of flowers to
the breakfast tray, because those kisses will unsteady your hands. Match up socks
properly. Use extra fabric softener. You were always the type to get away with
things, but those times have passed. You will never be uptight enough or relaxed
enough about the detritus of another persons day; let your eyes unfocus
over stacks of unread magazines by the coffee table, teacups with biscuit crumbs
their joins, toothpaste hardening on the taps. The ring is tight on your finger
now. Remind yourself that this is love and love is worth it. Suck your lovers
tongue and bite your own.
How to Be Loved
Maintain eye contact. Do not fidget.
How to Choose a Pet
Keep small pockets of love aside for the pet so that it does not tap the main
supply. Ensure that you can stand the touch of fur or claws or scales despite
hangovers or powercuts or insomnia. Consider how big you can make the cage. Select
a beast that will live long enough to test your combined skills, but not so long
that the house must be split in two: one side for the cat and the other for the
baby. Because toxoplasmosis, because myxamatosis, because other peoples
stinks worse than your own.
How to Keep Your Friends
Never let it to go voicemail. Line up Foreigner for them at karaoke night, but
never videotape it. Keep bare flesh and dirty dishes and comparisons with exes
between yourself and your twin in the bathroom mirror. If you must, write an
anonymous blog and then delete it. Embrace lolcats and quizzes and animated gifs
and political jokes and Tarantino references. Poke straws into the wine box and
suck, suck, suck.
How to Be the Mother-in-Law
Collect dust under your fingernails, then press it out along the top of the television.
Rearrange the biscuits on the plate and frown at the naked teapot. Write her
name first on the Christmas card, then wrap up rawl plugs in glittery paper.
Unalphabetize the CDs. Realize suddenly that you are allergic to prawns, chilli
powder, peanuts, apples, salt. Catch your heels on the carpet tacks. Afterwards,
do not look in the mirror. Trust that you are still the fairest.
How to Make It Last
Say what you think, sometimes.