GREETINGS bedraggled readers—if you are perusing this column right now you are most likely single, as Valentine’s Day has passed without any possibility that the enchanting secret beloved you have pined for since first year will remember to reply to your Facebook message. You are clicking the refresh button over and over while reading “A Softer World” and “Letters of Note” with at least 20 other tabs open, rather than in a bedroom, coffee shop, or somewhere outdoors hidden cozily beneath an umbrella with that said beloved. Why you wrote that little poem for him or her in thinking he or she will find your line-breaks meaningful, you haven’t the slightest. Why you then decided to attach the poem with a wry remark about the meaningless consumption of chocolate every February the 14th—that mystery feels greater yet.

But alas, desperately single readers: you are here. Please hold my purse while I feel down your pants pocket for your wallet. I need your driver’s licence and credit card to help you fix up your unanimated little life. Is that an unused pass to the gym? Oops, don’t let me drop your things—here, hold onto the January U-pass, though you won’t need it any longer.

Of course, if you find that I’m encroaching upon your precious ‘space,’ go ahead and declare yourself happily alone for the rest of your life (the road to your parents’ basement is short and wide; the nunnery is always in need of a good sweeper). Fool yourself into thinking your abandonment issues will dissolve suddenly, or that you will always have a bottle of scotch and bookcase full of post-structuralists—a term which here means curators of absence and absinthe—to accompany your weary Friday nights.

Today’s column features other desperately single or troubled students of literature. Only difference is that they bother to write me, unlike you, whose confidence in your ability to sound nonchalant about your problems is as bountiful as the state of your bank account.

Dear Bloody Mary Snippets,

I think my girlfriend is stalking me. I seem to see her everywhere: she alludes to anecdotes and people I haven’t told her about, and seems to know the play I’m reading for my 18th century drama course down to the page. I know this because she gets all my jokes, corrects me when I misquote Pope, and isn’t ever surprised when I bum out about my essay grades.

Am I being paranoid? We have been going out for three months. Or do you think she’s cheating on me with a professor?!  Would it be too rash to break up with her before things get out of hand? I don’t want anything to do with something so scandalous—I have a weak heart.

Do I Stay, Go, Run Away, Cry, Etc…
Dear DISGRACE…,

We live in one of the most voyeuristic times in human history, that’s true, but you clearly have a case of inferiority complex. You are simply not as good of a critic as she is. From the little you’ve described, it sounds like your ‘girlfriend’ has gotten used to the way you moan and groan about your academic shortcomings.  You are also too young to have a weak heart, so either you are in fact as old as a professor yourself (in which, your problem is more complicated than you make it seem), have been cursed with awful genetics, or have been eating too much red meat. I suggest you quit eating meat all together if you want to remain limber.

I wish I could tell your girlfriend to get a new, not-crazy boyfriend, but that’s a little rude. But it would be even ruder to tell you how to feel, DISGRACE. You need to confront your girlfriend about your fears and insecurities. But before that, you must confront them to the mirror… after the fog clears from your hour-long cold shower.

If she is as brilliant as you make her out to be, she obviously wouldn’t fall prey to a predatory professor. But then again, how did she end up with you?!

With all Overdue Respect,

Bloody Mary Snippets

Dear Bloody Mary Snippets,

I am part of an organization on campus which looks after the surveillance and management of automatic mopeds. Here at the Automatonic Readership Committee, a multidisciplinary organization run by literature drop-out student Engineers, we want trips to and fro classes, grocery shops, and optometrist appointments to be as filled with the most efficient and worthwhile engagement with texts possible.

You see, many of our University’s literature students do not have time or energy to walk from Buchanan to the SUB, where they are sure to bump into a professor whose class in which less-than-desired amounts of effort have been put. These devices are installed with a solar-powered lamp and come with awnings in many different colours and designs for when it frequently rains. It has come to our attention that some of our students’ mopeds are being used for dangerous games—such as speed-reading while racing down East Mall, narrating poetry outside Henry Angus building, and even the dastardly activity of writing poetry inspired by UBC’s deconstructionist scenery!

This has caused some clear embarrassment, as we have never anticipated English students to be so rowdy, unkempt, or exhibitionist. While your column is directed at students’ romantic/relational affairs, I sense that your engagement with students of English language and literature might help us illuminate some possible strategies to calm these particular students (for the problem seems to recur within a few individuals). We encourage critical thought as much as any established organization claim to, but we simply cannot accept this much degree of anarchy when it comes to expensive tools we have generously rented out for students to use.

Thank you very much for your time and concern,

Why Are English Students Taking Engineers’ Devices?

Dear WAESTE?,

Engineering and English literature students have long had fitful bouts of disagreements about the purpose of existence, and these debates can be had in a philosophy class. At the end of the day though, your on-again off-again love affair needs to be fleshed out for all to see. For my readers in need of guidance, I will proceed to unpack your sophistry and the issues hidden thereof.

Are you suggesting that you as the creators of publically funded technology—a phrase which here means “exploitive attempts to squeeze out student income”—may dictate how your customers are to use it? You should have thought of this before you quit literature. Without having a clear sense of the cultural forces influencing these students, your right to comment ends where your inability to close read a poem begins.  Why did you allude to the scenery and Henry Angus building? Why do you look after management and surveillance when you were the builders of said technology? What do you know about embarrassment, when you design those atrociously themed awnings? I think the problem is that you shouldn’t be in Engineering; rather you ought to switch to Commerce. I can race while speed-reading William Burroughs as much as I like.

With All Overdue Respect,

Bloody Mary Snippets

Dear Bloody Mary Snippets,

I think I have a crush on Ezra Pound. What do I do?!

Heart Is Pounding Slowly to Ezra’s Rhymes

Dear HIPSTER,

Iron your shirt, grow out your undercut, and please read some William Blake, James Joyce (including his love letters), Frank O’Hara, and Sylvia Plath—in that order. You will thence become a real human being capable of love and affection. People will start liking you, as opposed to your reactionary and fallacious poses. Trust me.

You do have good taste in poetry though, so you are not entirely without hope.

With all Overdue Respect,

Bloody Mary Snippets

Dear Bloody Mary Snippets,

I am your biggest fan. How can I get in touch with you? Would you like to go to the Lacan Salon with me sometimes?

Biggest Fan

Dear BF,

It’s not hot enough yet for me to need a fan—big, bigger, or biggest. I’m not part of any committee which would privilege me with the ability to measure fans. On the other hand I have so much admiration for those who are qualified to make and measure fans, with their two hands. Without fans, I don’t know how I would be able to answer columns in the summer time with my gnarly-nailed typewriting hands. What is this Lacan Salon of which you speak? What kind of hair-dos can I get there? Or is it a nail salon?

Just kidding, BF. In your over-analyzed dreams.

With all Overdue respect,

Bloody Mary Snippets

Posted by Bloody Mary Snippets’ representative, Jane Shi. Please send your queries to bloodymarysnippets@gmail.com for expert advice on your fictional love life.