Because peer pressure doesn’t sound as nice as being adventurous — and you’re not compromising anything if he’s your future hubby, right? Here are some things I’ve done, including things I’m not proud of, to impress a boy.

  1. Read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Like, it’s practically a tome, but a good one. Full disclosure: we broke up 72 pages in.
  2. Dressed up as a shackled Princess Leia, and then played slave to a very handsome Jabba the Hutt. ‘Twas a weird night indeed.
  3. Said I wanted it when I didn’t. The “it” here ranges from hand-holding to wanting to bear his children someday.
  4. Learned to play the song that Michael Cera and Ellen Page sing during the end credits of the movie Juno. It’s the only thing I can play on the guitar that even resembles a song and was only heard by an angst-riddled, slick-haired teenage boy.
  5. Sex G-chatted during almost every lunch break for a year whilst doing an internship down the road from my crush’s office.
  6. Played dumb. Or, treated my intelligence as a luxury, so as not to emasculate or embarrass him.
  7. Listened to every single Pearl Jam album (and not even the semi-bearable post-PJ solo ukulele records Eddie Vedder put out. I mean we only listened to stuff from the 1990s).
  8. Took up squash. Later, tennis.

Some of these past proceedings, I’m better for. For instance, Wallace’s work has made me a stronger reader and writer. Even posing as a diehard grunge fan led me to those indie and emo bands that got me through my formative years.

There’s nothing wrong with getting into the game when you’re dating a sportswriter (I once cared way too much about golf, a dull sport that reeks of hubris), but there is a difference between being inspired and being a sponge. When little things like books and movies pass go and collect $200, it’s easier to let the big things, like defining your relationship, slip through undeterred.

Having this list in front of me now, I’ve resolved to never do anything “for a boy” again. Your significant other should rouse your inner artistry. How that creativity is channeled is entirely up to you, and for you.