Back in the safety of their apartment, the gravity of Jeff's situation is beginning to settle in with him. Someone showing dogged persistence is endearing, even admirable. However, just millimeters beyond dogged persistence is where Jeff now resides – certified cyberstalker. And even a technophobe like him can see that's a hard place to come back from. These are the thoughts that consume him as paces the living room floor as a bemused Niko looks on.
"I have to do something," Jeff finally blurts out.
"You have to do nothing. You won't last ten minutes out there until you learn the secret to dating younger women."
Jeff stops pacing.
"Do not come off as needy. This is an absolute. It must be obeyed. Like never feeding Gremlins after midnight."
Jeff's cellphone beeps, he looks and his face lights up.
"I kind of feel like that ship has sai-" the buzzing of his cellphone stops him mid-sentence. He eagerly fishes the phone out his pants pocket."It's Katie."
Niko lunges and grabs the cell phone out of Jeff's hand. "It's time for lesson number one of the do-not-be-needy playbook. Wait one hour before replying to texts, unless it's a weekend night in which case don't text back until the next day."
"If you're dating a 38 year-old, it's okay to respond right away. But a 21 year-old reacts to desperation like a Gremlin reacts to water."
"What's with th-"
"It was on the movie channel last night. Phoebe Cates."
Later that night in Ashley's condo, she finds herself on the edge of her sofa with a perplexed look on her face. "You want my advice?" she asks in complete disbelief.
The question is neither rhetorical nor to herself. She is geniuinely interested in the reason Niko has come to her in search of life advice. There are several things she would have considered more likely happeneing to her that night. Included in that list are a polar bear attack, being serenaded by Justin Beiber, and being serenated in a duet by Justin Beiber and a polar bear.
"It's my little cousin," Niko offers. "She has a history of going from one bad boy to the next and she keeps getting her heart broken. I just wish I could help her."
Ashley figures this story sounds fairly plausible so she's ready to proceed with caution.
"Women with self esteem issues look for the shortest route to validation. That almost always means sex. You have to tell your cousin that she needs to take it slow and find her validation out of the little parts of building the relationship. I'll often tell my clients - when it comes to the bad boys, if you give in to the heat, you'll end up getting burned."
"Such great, great advice. But won't these guys try to work around that?
"How specifically would they go about working around that. You know, just so I can inform her." As non-chalantly as he can, Niko pulls and notepad and a pen out of his jacket pocket.
"Well, the smart ones will find a way to undermine her self esteem. Find little ways to make her insecure thus driving up her need for instant validation."
Niko starts jotting this down. "Oh that's great. Really good stuff."
Ashley shoots him a concerned look.
YOU ARE READING
The New TwentyHumor
***WATTYS 2017 WINNER*** When the newly single, 40 year-old Jeff Dempsey suffers an agonizing humiliation at his high school reunion, he comes to realize he has accomplished almost nothing with his life. Armed with this new found insight, Jeff char...