Dear Dana,

My friend (let’s call her Nancy) is in love with her best friend (let’s call him Sam). They are like soulmates and share their deepest thoughts and feelings, and it is obvious to everyone that they are meant for each other. Unfortunately, Sam won’t go out with Nancy because he is a sexually-repressed Catholic. (Yes, he went to an all-boys Catholic school where he was brainwashed by nuns.) What should Nancy do to “encourage” the next step in her relationship with Sam?


Hopeful Cupid

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Dear Cupid,

Nancy should adopt an approach that aggressively targets the source of the problem: Sam’s adherence to religious doctrine. She needs to persuade him that being in a romantic relationship with her is not a violation of his beliefs. The best way to do this is to convince him of her own religiosity.

Nancy should start by asking Sam to pray with her every day, for extended periods of time. The key here is endurance. Even if Sam starts to hint that his joints are aching or that he has to leave for a meeting or that he desperately needs to take the medication that prevents his lungs from collapsing, Nancy should not relent. Sam will eventually be so impressed by her spiritual devotion that he probably won’t even notice that his legs are beginning to develop gangrene.

Nancy should also take advantage of extant religious imagery to further her case. The Virgin Mary, as one of the holiest figures in Christianity, is revered by all Catholics. Nancy should start emulating her in both manner and dress. She ought to wear multiple shapeless cloaks at all times and make sure to clasp her hands and look mournfully at the sky whenever she is seated. All questions directed at her should be answered in Hebrew. It would also be helpful to keep a book light hidden in the folds of her clothing so that she can emit a holy glow wherever she goes. When Sam observes the uncanny similarity between Nancy and the mother of Jesus, he will not be able to help the upwelling of divine love in his breast.

Finally, if Sam remains at all hesitant, Nancy should roll out a religious vision. The next time she and Sam are together, she should suddenly break off their conversation, stare blankly for several minutes, and then awaken gradually from her trance, bearing a look of wonder upon her face. When Sam asks her what happened, she should tell him that she just received a message from the Angel Gabriel, who revealed that she should join with Sam in blessed union, or risk the horrors of a plague spreading over both their hometowns. Once Sam is confronted with this divine mandate, he will have no choice but to sanctify his feelings for Nancy.

Go forth and help them multiply,