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Veronica Varlow
  -  How To Tuesdays   -  The Dirt: How to Snag Your Secret Crush – A 3 Week Series

It starts with a confession.  Like all good things do.

Picture 67

When I met Burke Heffner, there were many women vying for his attention.  He had just gotten out of a year long relationship a few months before, and the girls were swarming.

I don’t swarm, but I do obsess from afar.  Just slightly….

Okay.  Maybe completely.

When I finally was hanging out with him, I had a volcano of obsession vibe swirling around us…around our conversation…around everything.

He was intrigued.

He was to be mine.  I wanted to win his heart, and I was up for the battle.

In the next three weeks….I’ll be sharing tips on things that worked for me.  Revealing all.

Get in.

Me and Burke.  I'm effing obsessed.

Me and Burke. I’m effing obsessed.

Let’s talk about:

The Secret Power of Nick Names

There is something psychologically binding about nicknames if you are already feeling close with someone.  It’s like a secret language, an inside understanding…and hell, I’m not bestowing a nickname on someone I don’t like.  It’s a natural progression that makes me feel closer to friends… so why wouldn’t it work with a love interest?  The key is that it has to be natural, you can’t just make up a nickname for someone in a forced way.  It will be weird coming out of your mouth, and even weirder to their ears.  So, chill the fuck out.  And let it come naturally with conversation.

One of the first times I hung out with Burke, he was telling me about how he grew up in Alaska and Montana.  He told me about his childhood and growing up out West.  It was a personal and revealing moment in the stories he told me and I appreciated it.  I was getting to know him better.

Cut to:  Next Day.  We’re meeting for dinner in the East Village a few blocks from our school.  My eyes find him immediately in the masses filtering down the city streets.  His tall, lean frame sauntered down the city street in his slow saucy way.  Before I even knew what I was doing, I  called out “Oh, hey, Cowboy……”  Half as a joke, half as a sweet thing.  It was just something that happened.  He raised his eyebrows – and it seemed like he liked my little term of endearment.  Soon my sentences became peppered with this nickname…. and it stuck during our courtship.

Burke, on our first Halloween together.

Burke, on our first Halloween together.

Two weeks later, he gave me the present of a book (note: above all things….books are the best gift in the world.), wrote a sassy little note to me on the front page and scrawled “Cowboy” as his signature.

Secret language.  Secret bond.  Hell to the yes.

While all the other girls are calling him his birth name….the same name his boss called him, the name all his friends call him, the name the people at the bank and his teachers at school called him….

I had this secret name for him.

And with a secret name came confessional comforts.  I would reveal more to him than I would to most.  I knew he was a storyteller.  That he was drawn by their mysteries, their lessons, their adventure.  So I told him my secrets.

I remember leaning over a tiny table in the East Village, a candle between us, almost in the dark, revealing this:  I was, am and always have been, as far back as I can remember…obsessed with bank robberies.  It was never something I would say outloud.  But here’s the truth:  I can’t go into a bank without casing it in my imagination.  My mind races about how it would play out.  I always imagined myself….my Lover and I…hurling our bodies into the getaway car, screeching off with dust scattering the air, ending up in a dive motel off the main roads, the blinking red neon from its sign penetrating the walls of our room…and there we are…surrounded by suitcases of stolen money…as our mouths find each other for the ultimate high.

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde

Goosebumps are on my arms now as my fingers tap these words into my ivory keyboard…and an audible sigh escaped me when I just wrote the last paragraph.  I’m in a French restaurant, alone – typing this to you right now.  I had to look up to see if anyone heard me.

My fantasies consume me.  They push me to the point where I forget where I am in reality.  And I don’t mind it.

I welcome it.

The Evidence

The Evidence

I made Burke a mix tape (second best present to give someone), and wrote one of these stories of mine for the storyteller himself on the inside flap.  I used my nickname for him and put him into my long-time fantasy:

The Cowboy and the Showgirl
(The last of two dying breeds)
America simply did not know what to do with them.
It was only a matter of time…
Down on the ground.
Put your hands where I can see them.
Nobody move.
His finger is on the trigger.
Ha. She laughed.
Another way
to get under your skin.
The rush of taking everything.
Honey, we don’t have the fingerprints
for this town.
A little traveling music, please…..

We created little stories for each other.  Hidden in the paper flaps of mix tapes of music, hidden in origami cranes over city doorways, hidden in pillows.

We created a world of fantasy and which later turned into the story of Revolver..

We were moved by story. By the world we created. By secret names for each other.

And that was the beginning of our wild love affair.

And the end of all the others….

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