Dating Tips For Twentysomethings In a Nuclear Apocalypse, by Jon Wolper

Dating in your twenties isn’t easy. Your friends are coupling up and moving far away. The best guys and girls all seem to be taken. And the nuclear holocaust that has annihilated 97 percent of humanity has also annihilated that cute guy a few miles down the highway. It’s tough!

But your age—and, of course, the ever-present spectre of death—shouldn’t dissuade you from getting out there, meeting new people, and maybe even settling down. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be assertive

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and no one’s going to wait for you if you’re too shy to strike up a conversation. So don’t wait: Take the initiative. Talk about whatever comes to mind and go from there. Maybe discuss the unusual amount of six-eyed wolves prowling the area, or comment on how the vaguely pulsing green sky is particularly ominous that day. As long as you’re confident, you’ll be fine. Just make sure you don’t approach too quickly. Your advance may be misinterpreted as a threat and you could be murdered on the spot, which would really kill your dating chances.

Plan a day out

The world is less connected than ever, at least since the Cataclysm ruined pre-Earth’s electrical infrastructure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Take the object of your affection down to a nearby stream, use a piece of plywood to remove the tar from the top of the water, and try to find a live fish. You’ll be there for literally hours, and you can spend that time chewing the fat of a night creature, or talking to each other.

Give a gift

Nothing too crazy, mind you; you’re not exclusive yet. Maybe pick some flowers, if you can find some that haven’t wilted or gained an appetite for flesh. More practically, give your beloved a box of ammunition or a can of beans. If you really think there’s a future in the relationship—there’s probably not, considering the Plague will get one of you soon enough, but still—consider gifting a blanket without any rips or tears. We know it sounds like a big deal, and that’s because it kind of is. But it’s nice to show that you’re in it for the long haul, however long the haul may be.

Try to dress well

Now, we don’t mean you have to be a cutting-edge fashionista all the time, but try not to schlub it up. First impressions are everything, and what potential partner is going to give you the time of day if you’re wearing something gaudy like bearskin? Choose your skins wisely. Ox is great for meat, but you’ll only want to use its outer layer as a blanket. Try deer. It’s form-fitting, looks good, and should be worn regardless of the radiation poisoning it could give you. Suffer for fashion, as they say.

Be yourself

This is the most important tip of all. So many people try to be someone they’re not while dating, and it works against them. So be yourself. Be a savage. Show him that you can rip meat off a bone with only your teeth. Show her that you can pluck out the eyes of a bandit without flinching. Scream to the heavens in blind fury. Claw at the ground in primal rage. And don’t forget to smile!

Jon Wolper is a writer and journalist living in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,, and several dusty corners of the internet. He tweets here.

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Dating Tips For Twentysomethings In a Nuclear […]