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Ah, romance. According to reliable sources it’s the newest yuppie trend, coveted and pursued by men and women alike. Nobody is entirely sure why trendy people in Benetton jogging suits are swooning left and right, hoping some romantic fool will catch them before they hit their moussed little heads on the pavement, but it’s a good bet that Sony has something to do with the whole thing. I just know it.

For the astute Today’s Chicago Woman reader, male or female, this trend brings up two very important questions:

A. How can I cash in on it?
B. Does this mean I am going to have to become goofy and romantic myself?

To the first question, the answer is simple-you’re too late. I’ve developed the ultimate preemptive romance-exploiting product, soon to be available in the frozen food section of your supermarket. Are you ready? You’re going to kick yourself for not thinking of this first — Chef Runté’s Romantic, Monogamous, Candlelight Frozen Dinners, complete with frozen champagne. Brilliant, isn’t it? And, of course, it has less than 300 calories a serving. I tried to work the word Lean into the title but I decided that the word Monogamous was more important.

As for the second question, I’m afraid the answer is equally grim. If you really want to go out and date in the real world, you’re going to have to learn to fake out all the phony, born-again romantics out there.

Fortunately for you, after years of hard work and dedicated research, I’ve perfected many important pseudo-romantic techniques, and I’m going to pass a few of them along to you. Maybe together we can use these simple ploys to make the world safe again for shallow, empty, jaded, mindless relationships. The kind that are fun.

If you follow these simple rules you’ll have the romantic skills necessary to make a total fool of yourself. You’ll be on the road to developing a “meaningful relationship” with that “significant other” in your life, maybe even four or five a week! Just remember what Olivier said when he was asked the key to great acting. “Sincerity. Once you can fake that the rest is easy.”


If you ask me, names are just a source of confusion in a relationship. You already have to remember the names of your friends, co-workers, and obscure relatives. Why go through the trouble of memorizing the name of someone who’s going to leave you for a Learning Annex Rolfing Instructor in six months, anyway?

Fortunately, the first sign of falling in love is that you totally forget the other person’s name, and start calling them by affectionate nicknames. Romantics use them because they think it’s endearing — we pseudo-romantics use them because we’ll be less likely to call another person by the wrong name in a moment of passion. (Tip for guys: Women invariably lose their sense of humor when this happens. Some more than others.) (Tip for all you bisexual women: Cute nicknames are unisex, so use them! Nothing shoots down a guy in bed like the phrase, “Oh, Jennifer!”)

There are two types of cute nicknames:


A. Darling
B. Sweetheart
C. Baby
D. Honey
E. God

THE INTENTIONALLY UNROMANTIC (Used to revolt and scare them into leaving you)

A. Buster
B. Fathead
C. My little bile duct
D. Goreth, Worm-beast of Dor
E. Grace Jones


Think of the language used to talk about champagne. If a person has too much hard liquor, we say he’s stinking drunk. Get just as loaded on champagne, and you’re a little light-headed. Anything you do under the influence of champagne is acceptable in the name of romance.

Similarly, if a man plies a woman with hard liquor he’s an unethical scoundrel. If he does the same thing with drugs he’s a criminal. If he pours champagne down her throat until she’s barely conscious and takes advantage of her he’s a romantic, mischievious scamp.

I personally would like to see more women use champagne for seduction. When a woman offers to open a bottle of champagne it says three things to me. First, she has the same thing on her filthy ilttle mind that I have on mine. Second, she wants to carry on the pretense of romance. Third, and most importantly, I’ve just been spared the financial and aesthetic expense of buying her drinks at a fern bar.


A lot of things that are inherently romantic are also inherently inexpensive. For example:

Moonlit walk. COST: $0.00.
Watching sunset/sunrise. COST: $0.00.
Late night phone calls. COST: Save up to 50% after 11:00 pm.
Love letters. COST $0.22.
Out of the way bungalow/love nest (cheap, sleazy motel). COST: $17.95.


By most people’s standards, The Way We Were is a thoroughly romantic movie. You probably like the movie yourself. In the context of a date, The Way We Were will almost certainly set the correct romantic tone to help you achieve your evil ends. Why, then, should you avoid this movie at all costs? Because I, Terry Runté, happen to loathe the movie, and Barbara Streisand, and this is my column.


One of the problems of acting romantic is that people sometimes think you’re gay. You act nice, dress nice, and actually spend time picking out flowers instead of having them delivered from Dominick’s like normal men. Of course people are going to think you’re gay. Not a big turn-on for the ladies.

Just to set the record straight, try to proclaim your heterosexuality every five minutes or so in a subtle, tasteful way. There are three ways to do this:

1. Casually mention your preference for women in a subtle, tasteful way, e.g., “What a terrific Art Deco bookcase. I hate the crap myself, but I wish my girlfriends were here to see it. Of course, they’re all still in bed, exhausted from last night.”

2. >Pretend you don’t like Art Deco (see above).

3. Say something really vile about Judy Garland, Grace Jones or, best of all, Barbara Streisand. God I hate her.


Always use candles.
Always wear a tie (for gentlemen).
Always wear heels (for ladies).
Always pick up the check (gentlemen).
Always put out (ladies).
Never yell “FOOD FIGHT!!”