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The golden rule: Girls before ghouls

5 Sep

You don’t have to tell me about the giddy exuberance of a new romance. I know far too well how easy it is to get caught up in the minutia of a new partner: the adorable hesitance with which he nibbles the edge of a cow brain before digging in, the  sweet-acrid singe of his skin as he smells a burning candle, the slightly shameful tilt of his head when you catch him trying to eat your cat. The pleasures of a new relationship are many, even with a zombie boyfriend, and it’s easy to close yourself off in your own little love bubble.

Resist the urge.

Although the love bubble feels like a reassuringly warm and lovely cocoon, it’s in fact a treacherous place to be. Relationships with zombies, even the best of them, are temporary. One day, your boyzomb will disappear. Maybe he’ll follow some other woman home. Maybe he’ll get lost in a crowd. Maybe he’ll simply decay into a mound of slushy gray mushiness. At that moment, you’ll look around for your friends and they won’t be there. You won’t even be able to remember when or how you lost them. Because that’s what the love bubble does—makes you oblivious to everything but your love.

But that doesn’t have to be you, weeping alone in a dark corner, uncomforted by the warm hug of caring friends. You can overcome the lure of the love bubble by following one simple rule: girls before ghouls.

Here’s how it works: You want to take your boyzomb to the slaughterhouse for a very special, 17-day anniversary dinner but it’s also your bestie Tabitha’s birthday. You’d rather watch that adorable cow-brain nibble of your new crush, but rather than succumb, reschedule for the next night and take your BFF for dinner instead. Your pal will give you best-buddy points for pushing back such an important event, your zombie boyfriend won’t know the difference (17 days, 18 days, 1,265 days—it’s all the same to him) and you’ll get the lovely satisfaction of doing the right thing. It’s win-win-win.

Now, that’s what I call giddy exhuberance.

Who gets the door?: Zombie-neutral etiquette for the 21st century

4 Sep

Long before the H1Z1 virus turned 99.9999 percent of all men into zombies, the issue of who should open the door for whom was a hot-button topic. Opinions varied widely on the necessity and utility of chivalry in the modern world, and there were as many definitions of what it meant to be a gentleman as there were gentlemen.

Now, of course, the debate is over. Who gets the door? You.

Every. Single. Time.

The obvious explanation for this imbalance is anatomical: If your zombie boyfriend were to give you a hand with the door, he might actually give you a hand.

But the risk of limb detachment isn’t the number one reason the zombie love of your life won’t offer to hold the door for you. The sad truth is, he simply hasn’t thought of it. This might sound discouraging but take heart: Your boyzomb hasn’t thought of anything in years. His mind is a gloppy stew of decayed dendrites, atrophied axons and neutered neurons.

There is much to miss with the zombification of the male population—sparking wit, spirited conversation, even the well-thought-out zinger in the middle of a heated argument—but the loss of old-fashioned courtesy is not one of them. Don’t think of it as the end of chivalry. Think of it as the end of awkward pauses at the door. Think of it as the end of unintended offense when you competently open the door for yourself. Think of it as the end of scurrying over the threshold under the arm of a man who won’t let you open the door for him. Think of it as the end of gender inequality as we know it.

Still not convinced? That’s all right. The zombpocalypse has been hard on all of us, and we each adapt to this brave new world at our own pace. So if you don’t want to open the door for yourself, don’t. One of your fellow female human beings will be along in a moment or two and I’m sure she’d be happy to do it for you. Because it’s not the door itself that matters; it’s the portal of possibilities it represents.

Fork you! The zombie utensil debate

16 May

To spoon or not to spoon—that is indeed the question. And what a seemingly inconsequential one it is, too. And yet whether or not zombies should be given utensils is one of the most hotly contested issues of the post-human-male era. The reason is hardly surprising, as the question goes to the very heart of what a zombie is: helpmeet or equal, companion or predator, poorly motor skilled animated corpse or deftly coordinated uncomposing human.

Despite the chatter, the only thing that matters is how you feel about the issue. Not sure where you stand? Answer these questions and decide for yourself. Then stick a fork in it! This debate is done.

Do I have the patience to teach my boyzomb how to use utensils?
Forget should zombies use knives and forks. The real question is can they? The short answer is yes. With training and practice, a zombie can master the skills necessary to pick up a piece of brain with a fork. But it takes a lot of training and practice. A zombified human male loses 3.5 percent of its gross motor skills each day and 4.75 percent of its fine motor skills. By the time it’s one year into its zombihood, a typical grown male zombie has merely a fraction of its human coordination. And that’s only its physical decay; mentally, a zombie decays at five times the rate. This means teaching your zombie how to eat with utensils requires a tremendous about of patience and effort on your part. If you decide it’s worth it, stick with it. Studies show that after three years of consistent behavior therapy, a typical zombie can cut with all the accuracy and flare of a 4-year-old.

What do I find embarrassing?
Picture this: You and your boyzomb are at your boss’s house for dinner, and she puts a plate of perfectly prepared brain au jus in front of your beau. What happens next? Does your boyzomb clumsily pokes at his meal with a fork and knife or does his pick it up and start munching? Both options have their risks. At any moment, his knife could fly across the table or a fine stream of brain drizzle can run down his chin. Which one makes you cringe more? If it’s the latter, then run out and get Jennifer Junipers’s international best-seller, Introductory Utensil Skills for Dummies, an indispensible primer on teaching your zombie the basics.

How good are my reflexes?
If you do decided to go the utensil route, be prepared to duck often because knives, forks and spoons will frequently fly out of your zombie’s loose grip and straight at your head. Last year, eight women in the United Provisional Authority died from utensil-instruction-related injuries. Eighty-seven percent of wounds are caused by knives, so you might consider limiting your boyzomb’s repertoire to forks and spoons at first. Introduce the knife only after he has mastered the grapefruit spoon. Another alternative is to eliminate the knife entirely. Just know that in doing so you run the risk of being picketed by zombie-rights groups, who believe that denying zombies the right to a knife is denying them their essential humanity. Wearing headphones and drawing your shades should effectively drown out the protest, which typically last from five to thirteen days.

Defusing the zomb Guam bomb

30 Apr

You arrive at a dinner party of an old college friend or a colleague from work. Your host greets you and your zombie date graciously at the door. She invites you in, and as she takes your coat, she runs through the basics: hors d’oeuvre on the coffee tables, drinks in the kitchen, zombies in the corner by the ficus. You look up and sure enough, six zombies are herded into the far corner of the living room behind a tall plant.

Welcome to zomb Guam.

A zombie-holding zone, or zomb Guam, as it’s more commonly known, is an area that’s put aside exclusively for zombies to keep them out of the way during a party or event. This practice, which is patently offensive to zombies and the women who date them, has been wholeheartedly condemned by the NAAZP. Nevertheless, many women, particularly those of the older generation, still think it’s perfectly fine to park zombies in a dark corner like they’re strollers.

If zomb Guam happens to you—and if you date a zombie for an appreciable amount of time, it will happen to you—don’t be shocked. Handle the situation with equanimity and give the zombaphobe a reason to blush. Here are four ways to keep your cool.

1. Speak up. Gently suggest to your host that you don’t think it’s entirely appropriate to deposit your date in the corner like an inanimate object. Smile so she knows you’re not judging her or her attitude.  It will be a little awkward because you’re a guest and you don’t want to make waves, but she’s your friend—she’ll understand your concern and respect your opinion.

2. Suggest an alternative. Most zombie zones are tiny. Wanting to concede as little space as possible to brain-munching interlopers, a host will typically cram six or seven zombies into an area large enough for three. Ask your host if the zombies could be relocated to a spare bedroom or a finished basement, any space that’s not currently in use. (Do not propose the room that’s being used to collect coats. It does not further the zombie cause to have a guest go home with skin slippage on her cashmere scarf.) Putting the zombies in a different room provides them with greater comfort while at the same time ensuring they remain separate. If she seems receptive, request that she bring in a  television for their entertainment.

3. Accept it. If you’ve made your case and your host is stubbornly committed to zomb Guam, let it be. After all, you are her guest and you have to respect her wants and wishes. Apologize quietly to your zombie date for the disrespectful treatment and visit him often in his pen. It’s unlikely a zombaphobe will have refreshments on hand for her zombie guests but give the kitchen a thorough once-over  just in case. If the cupboards are bare, check the mousetraps.

4. Plan better. Once you’ve been hit by a zomb Guam bomb, you learn to anticipate it.That’s good. It doesn’t hurt to keep your guard up. The next time you’re invited to a party, ask explicitly if your boyzomb is invited. If she says yes, confirm that he will have the run of the house and not be confined to a tiny zone. Once you know everything, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to attend. Take heart: As more and more women date zombies, the old-fashioned anti-zombie attitude will become an artifact of the past, as will zomb Guam. Just give it some time.

The birthday double whammy: two gifts, one perfect package

27 Apr

Let the older generation lament the loss of mankind. Sure, there’s a lot to miss—your fella picking up the tab or fixing a leaky sink—but who pines for the wildly-off-the-mark birthday present, an annual feature of most healthy heterosexual relationships at the latter end of the twentieth century? You know what I’m talking about. One year your dad bought your mom sponges or a vacuum or a jeweled pin that looked like a fly that had been run over by a sixteen-wheeler. The next year, he gave up completely and had his admin pick something up. Worse, he had his admin send a dozen long-stemmed red roses—a lovely romantic gesture, but your mom’s favorite flowers are lilies, which he should have known.

But lucky you dates a zombies so you don’t have unrealistic expectations of the perfect gift. In fact, you have no expectations of a gift at all. Zombies can’t shop: Their fine motor skills are insufficiently developed to let them handle merchandise, let alone sign a credit card receipt. And even if they could read a price tag, they don’t have a clue what a birthday present is or why they should give you one. (Most times, they’re not even sure who you are. But that’s another post.)

This is great for you because it means you can buy your own gift—and you know exactly what you’d like. In the olden days, you had to drop mega-hints and hope for the best. Some women, having given up completely, would get the gift themselves, give it to their husband to wrap, then feign surprise upon opening it.

Zombies don’t play that game. Zombies don’t play any games, which is why they might just be the world’s best boyfriend.

Still not convinced? Here’s the bonus round: When it’s his birthday, you don’t have to stress over finding the perfect thing for him. Simply get him a box of Mrs. Yummikin’s Preseasoned Cat Brains. It’s what you would have given him for dinner anyway, so you know his rotted zombie soul will love it. Better than that, it’s the sort of practical gift his human self would have given you—an item you needed anyway topped with a pretty bow.

And there it is—two gifts in one! Vive le zombie romance.

Maggot infestations. Bursting body cavities. Bad breath. Andy Warner tells his fellow zombies to clean up their act if they want a second date.

17 Feb

If it sometimes feels like you’re doing all the work in your zombie relationship, take heart. Not all undead are willing to coast on their corpse-y charm. Andy Warner, the hero of Breathers, by S.G. Browne, reminds his follow zombies that appearance is important—just because you’re dead is no reason to let yourself go. Read this to-do list to your zombie boyfriend. If he doesn’t eat the paper, then he might be ready to take your relationship to the next level.

I’m Andy Warner, the protagonist and hero of the dark romantic zombie comedy Breathers, written by S.G. Browne, here to give a few helpful dating tips to my fellow zombies. Or as we refer to ourselves in therapy: the living-challenged.

When you’re a gradually decomposing reanimated corpse, you have to expect to deal with certain challenges—like the smell of hydrogen sulfide and the oozing of intestinal juices and the occasional skin slip. It’s just part of being a zombie. But there are a few things you can do to improve your general hygiene that will help to keep your date from gagging or dry-heaving before the appetizers arrive.

1. Rather than relying on deodorants or neutralizing fragrances to mask the odor of decomposing flesh, I suggest soaking in a Pine-Sol bath. It penetrates the skin and lasts longer and will do wonders for your self-confidence.

2. If you have zombie breath, which, admittedly, most zombies do, try gargling with Lysol disinfectant. Simple Green is good, too. And it tastes minty fresh. Either one works. And they’re both wonderful at preventing pesky maggot infestations.

3. Spontaneous dismemberment happens. While there’s nothing you can do to prevent it, how you deal with it can make or break an evening. So rather than getting upset that your ear has fallen off and landed in your soup, make a joke about it. Women love a sense of humor.

4. Finally, even if you get regular formaldehyde fixes, at some point it’s likely that one of your main body cavities is going to burst open. So a good rule of thumb is to wear Depends. This can help you to avoid an otherwise embarrassing situation and improve your chances of scoring a second date.

If you take the time to take care of yourself, you’ll eventually find that special someone who appreciates you for who you are. So I hope these dating hints are helpful to all of my living-challenged friends out there.

One final word of advice for any Breathers who might be reading this: When you’re out on a date with a zombie, much the same way it’s polite to let someone know they have spinach stuck between their teeth or a glob of mustard on the corner of their mouth, it’s always proper etiquette to let a zombie know if his nose is sliding off his face.

S.G. Browne is the author of Breathers and  Fated, an irreverent comedy about fate, destiny, and the consequences of getting involved in the lives of humans. His new book, Lucky Bastard, drops on April 17.

First zombie date jitters? Dating coach Evan Marc Katz talks you down with these smart, simple pointers.

16 Feb

Evan Marc Katz provides pointers for the perfect first date with a zombie.

So you’ve finally decided you’ve had enough of Wall Street alpha males. Good for you! But you’re still not sure you want to date a zombie. That’s understandable. Millions of women share your concerns. Dating expert and media commentator Evan Marc Katz thinks you should keep an open mind. Here, he makes a case for dating the undead and provides pointers for a memorable first date.

As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, you can only imagine the number of requests I get for tips on how to better connect with zombies. Today’s working girl doesn’t need some Wall Street alpha male who is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to appreciate that she changed her hair color or needs a spa weekend to detox. Zombie men are among the most open, least judgmental and appreciative dudes on the entire planet.

So if you want to connect with that cute zombie in the next cubicle, here are 3 tips that are sure to make him grunt with delight on your next Z-date.

1. You know how normal guys like to hear themselves talk? Not zombies! So if you generally try to connect with men by being a really great listener as they prattle on about their golf games or college hijinks, stop. Zombies are all about YOU and will keep lumbering and lurching forward as long as you’re doing the talking. Make sure you tell them about your funny girlfriends and your everyday workout routine. Unlike regular guys, they LOVE that!

2. Despite their penchant to be traditional and conservative, most zombies simply will NOT pay for the first date. Some say it’s because they’re unsure about the ever-changing dynamic between men and women, and some say it’s because they simply don’t have wallets, but either way, make sure you bring a little extra cash when dining out with the undead.

3. Most importantly, just be yourself! Zombies can sniff out a Nervous Nellie as quickly as they can detect the scent of a nearby severed head. So relax. Have an extra cosmo. Try not to recoil at the pungent scent of rotting flesh, freak out when he loses a hand in his lobster bisque or scream when he attacks the sommelier. You do want there to be a second date, don’t you?

To be sure, zombies aren’t for everyone. But for the young, upwardly mobile woman who prefers the strong, silent type to today’s sensitive Peter Pans who cry when they can’t sell their Bright Eyes–inspired acoustic music, you’re in luck. A date with a zombie isn’t only a thrill a minute, but it’s likely the last first date you’ll ever go on. Have fun!

Evan Marc Katz is a dating coach for strong, smart, successful women and the author of Why He Disappeared. He has appeared on the Today show, The Early Show and The Rachel Ray Show, among other programs. Read his blog at EvanMarcKatz.com, watch his videos on YouTube and follow him on Twitter @evanmarckatz.