SparkNotes Blog

How to Date, According to Shakespeare

There are a lot of things you probably don’t know about Shakespeare. For one thing, he invented crop tops. For another, he didn’t believe that France existed.* But the thing you probably don’t know the most about Shakespeare is that his #1 priority was EDUCATION in the subtle art of SEDUCTION. That’s right. He wanted you to know how to date. He wanted you and your crush to high-five with your tongues. That’s why he wrote how-to guides for romance, disguised as weird plays that he knew you’d be forced to overanalyze in a classroom setting. You’re young, and you’ve got questions. Well, Billy Shakespeare has seen a lot of life, and he’s got answers. If you read between the lines, you’ll learn…

What to do on a first date:

  • Commit the rest of your life to this person. Immediately. No take-backs.
  • Watch creepily from the bushes as they talk to themselves on a balcony.
  • Curse their future children.
  • Start crying about your dead father.
  • Ask if they’re betrothed to anyone else, and also if they’re a virgin, because obviously.

What to do when you’re kissing somebody:

  • Compare the kiss to exile.
  • Shout, “THUS WITH A KISS I DIE,” all dramatic-like.
  • Tell them they have witchcraft in their lips.
  • Tell them that their kiss is very “by the book.” This is the polite way of saying, “YOUR MOUTH IS INCREDIBLY BORING. KISS BETTER. USE YOUR HANDS OR SOMETHING.”

What to do when you find yourself in a really complicated love triangle:

  • Wait for a magical fairy to give everybody a love potion. The rest will take care of itself.
  • Fake your own death and let your would-be lovers duke it out over your seemingly dead body.
  • Marry your crush’s twin brother by accident.
  • Just straight-up murder the husband, then flirt with the widow over his coffin. Don’t bring up the murder thing though. That would ruin the mood.

How to flirt:

  • Tell them that their physical presence infects your very eyeballs.
  • Mention sex, but call it “the deed of darkness.”
  • Say you’re in a “holiday humor” (translation: you’re drunk) and, ya know, you wouldn’t not sleep with them.
  • Call them a wench.

How to deal when your parents don’t approve of the relationship:

  • Secretly get married and then steal all your dad’s money.
  • Secretly get married and wind up disinherited.
  • Secretly get married and then die together. Tragically. And take a few innocent bystanders down with you.

What to do when you get rejected:

  • Take it badly.
  • That’s it. That’s the whole thing.

What to do when you have difficulty meeting people:

  • Sneak into a party. Any party. You’ll meet the love of your life.
  • Disguise yourself as a man in the service of a duke and just see where it goes from there.
  • Wait for an eligible bachelor to conveniently shipwreck himself right onto your desert island. It’s bound to happen eventually.

What to do when you’re jealous:

  • Trick your partner into kissing a donkey. That’ll show ’em.
  • Accuse them of cheating with absolutely no proof, then smother them in your sacred marital bed. It’s the only logical next step.
  • Poison the other guy, throw your wife in jail, and drop-kick your newborn daughter out into the wilderness. Seriously, proof is for suckers.

What to do when you finally snag a partner and they’re too cowardly to commit a murder for the good of kingdom of Scotland:

  • Do it yourself, then re-evaluate your taste in men. Sheesh.

* These are 100% factual, but don’t look into it too closely.

Dost thou thinkest Iago would have loved catfishing?