Has anyone else noticed that courtship has gotten way boring? You meet at a bar or a party or through friends. Then you exchange numbers and end up at dinner or a movie or coffee. Then maybe after a few more movies or coffees or dinners, you become boyfriend/girlfriend. [yawn] I mean, what the eff? Where’s the suspense? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the creativity? They're all completely missing...and it's become acceptable. We singletons need something to get us out of this rut. We need something bold, something clever, something interesting. We need...the secret admirer!
The secret admirer has built-in mystery, and drama, and fun, and I’m getting excited just thinking about it. But it’s not as easy as simply signing a greeting card "guess who." A good secret admirer has forethought, preparation, and if nothing else, a reliable plan. "But how do I do all that?" you ask. Well, it's quite simple: you just keep reading...
NOTE: This is written to guys, but (of course) I believe that girls can secretly admire with the best of ‘em – the only difference is the pronouns.
Find Your Target
Choose a girl you like. It’s no fun doing creepy-sweet gestures for someone you’re only half into. Go for the girl who, at the very least, knows your name. At the big reveal, you don’t want hear, "Aren’t you, like, the breadstick guy from Olive Garden?" Please pick someone you know a little bit better than that.
Timing is Everything
Don’t blow your cover too soon. Building suspense takes time; keep the operation up long enough to arouse her curiosity, but not long enough for her to get a new boyfriend. When she looks your way with that shifty narrowed-eyes "is it you?" gaze, it’s time to reveal. In general, a day is too short, a month is too long.
Make it Personal
I hereby outlaw the use of stuffed animals and/or heart-shaped boxes of candy. It’s secret admirer, not secret tacky-ass cheeseball. Do something personal like putting her favorite half-caf vanilla 3-shot soy latte on doorstep. Or leave her an umbrella on a rainy day. A mix CD in the mailbox? Always good. Or how about a fortune cookie with a personalized message inside? No matter what you give her, be sure to leave a note. You don’t want some lazy dweeb taking credit for your moves.
And remember, it’s the thought that counts, not the perceived market value. I know that some gold diggers– um, I mean, girls– may disagree, but I think jewelry is a bit too much bling for a secret admirer.
Create a Buzz
A secret admirer needs to be his own PR department. If her friends are excited about you, she will be too. Be sure to send something to her workplace. Try flowers or cookies or a letter (I, myself, am a big fan of the long stem cookie bouquet – future secret admirers please take note). With an entire office full of nosy witnesses, word is bound to spread. Forget "Desperate Housewives," you will be the water cooler discussion. If you’re really good, they might even start an office pool on your identity.
If you plan on using snail mail, send your letters from a different zip code to keep her guessing. For example, if you live in Sherman Oaks, post the letter from Santa Monica. (Though I wouldn’t recommend the reverse: only sneak up the real estate ladder.)
To make it interesting, put a bouquet of flowers in a public locker, then slip her the key and directions. But don’t make her go too far out of her way. Road rage is not an aphrodisiac.
And for godssake, use the internet to your advantage. Being e-nonymous is easier than ever! Send her emails from a specialty address (Krystal’sAdmirer@hotmail.com). Or if you’re way net-savvy dedicate a website or blog to your girl. Send her the site’s URL, and then each day, post a new message just for her.
I Said "Sneaky," not "Stalker"
Don’t do anything illegal unless you have some sort of freaky pepper spray fetish. No girl is impressed by having to re-key her locks, change her passwords, or move out of state. In fact, even hinting at stalker behavior could push her away. Permanently.
Oh, and don’t collect any of her hair, clothing, or garbage. Someday she may find it, freak out, and know for sure that you are the creepiest of creepies. Really, don’t do it, you perv.
Get Her Ready for the Reveal
Send her a "Save the Date" card that discloses the night of your big reveal. Give her things for the date as it gets closer – a bottle of wine with 2 glasses or a business card of the romantic restaurant you plan to meet at. If you’re a total horndog, you might be hoping your reveal date will end with "Good Morning," but for the love of God, don’t let her know that. If I open my mailbox and see a Trojan Super Sampler, I’m not gonna meet you. I’m just not.
Once the date and time are all set, make arrangements to pick her up. Or have her meet you at a restaurant, and let the host lead her to your fabulous table.
Secret admiring doesn’t guarantee to get you a girlfriend or even to get you laid, but don’t underestimate the power of a little thoughtfulness. No matter what the outcome, I promise it’ll be more interesting than another run-of-the-mill [double yawn] coffee date.