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BYOB: the foolproof guide to man-landing

Due in no small part to the libido-dampening effects of Donald J. Trump’s hostile takeover of my television, I totally missed this year’s pre-Valentine’s man-snagging window. Uninspired to join the stampede of singles storming cinemas for 50 Shades Darker — the second women’s march — I did what any sensible modern girl in want of a boyfriend would do: I bought one.

The matchmaking agencies whose ads vibe discerning rather than desperate were out of my price range, so I went where I buy most of my stuff: Amazon.com. There, for just $32.99 — less than the cost of an Uber to meet a Bagel — I could have my very own boyfriend/husband(!), guaranteed ‘ready for commitment’. Just one click from happily-ever-after!

Feedback on the boyfriend was mixed. “Smaller than I expected,” noted one disappointed shopper. “Must be a minor.” She had, nonetheless, ordered three. A male reviewer lamented that his missus had enjoyed the boyfriend so much that she’d taken off with the surrogate, spawning two kids and a labradoodle. Satisfied customers outnumbered the naysayers, however, praising the boyfriend as the best purchase they’d ever made; better, in fact, than the real thing: “no snoring, drooling or talking back.”

The ‘frequently bought together’ suggested a Grow Your Own Willy (‘grows in water instead of shrinking!’), a steal at just $3.96. It also pitched a pregnancy pillow ($66.99) — the causal relationship between the two remaining murky — complete with a ‘detachable extension’. Having weathered a number of Valentine’s seasons alone, I was all set with extensions, so I proceeded to checkout, passing on the add-ons.

As a Prime customer, most orders arrive so quickly that I suspect there’s a deliveryman lurking behind my door 24/7, divining my desires before I can even press ‘Buy Now’. Unfortunately my boyfriend — from abroad — did not qualify for Prime delivery. No matter, I told myself. The course of true love never did run smooth.
Amazon’s ‘expected by’ delivery date came and went, with no sign of my beau-to-be. I contacted the seller to politely inquire about his whereabouts, trying (desperately) not to sound desperate. No reply. Nada. I was being ghosted by a stuffed shirt.

When pictures of my boyfriend began taunting me from the claws of Google ads, I began to lose my cool. “WHERE IS MY BOYFRIEND?!” I demanded. This time the soothsayers at customer service assured me that my knight-in-oxford-cotton was en route.

But the sands continued to seep through the hourglass of my youth, and still I was going to bed alone. Resigned to the fact that maybe he hadn’t been The One after all, I added another boyfriend to my cart. My pointer finger lingered on ‘Buy it Again’, but I just wasn’t ready to risk heartbreak again.

Love, they say, arrives when you’re least expecting it. I awoke on V-day, dreading a Facebook feed packed with my paired-off friends’ post-truth declarations of adoration. I heard the mail come through the slot, landing with a soft thud, so different from the usual cacophony of a barrage of books.

I leapt out of bed and dashed to the door. A lumpy package, wrapped in discreet brown wrapping, lay at my entrance. I ripped it open, and there — just like in my dreams — was my boyfriend. Travel-weary, a little frayed around the edges, but happy to be home.
Who says money can’t buy love?

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