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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching- a cheerless, depressing holiday with no other way to make it through except to drink copious amounts of alcohol and have a pillow handy for crying or screaming purposes.

Just kidding!

Well, kind of.

For some, any date is better than no date on February 14th, and the despairing moments days before this holiday can lead to impetuous attempts to find a date… any date. If you are so lucky to find a date at the last minute, be aware! Dates are in such high demand during this holiday that sometimes you have to take extra care to KEEP your date - at any moment, some desperate fool may try to swoop in and nab your date out from under your nose. Valentine’s Day can be brutal, to say the least.

Never fear! Shake off those feelings of dread, because the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex has the answer to this problem.

How to Fend Off Competitors for Your Date

1. Evaluate the situation: Are you on a first date that is not going well? Is your date paying more attention to the interloper than to you? Do you want to continue dating this person?

2. Determine the seriousness of the offense: Is it a passing rude drunk, a persistent boor, or someone seriously interested in leaving with your date? How big is the interloper? These factors will determine your response.

3. Stand your ground: Put your arms around your date, whisper in her ear, and kiss and caress her. Show the suitor that your date is enamored of you, and you with her.

4. Place yourself in the “pickup screen” position: Wedge yourself between the suitor and your date, with your back to the suitor. Try to block the suitor’s path of vision. An “accidental” bump or push with your shoulders or buttocks may be appropriate.

5. Ask the interloper to stop: Politely but firmly explain that you are trying to have a conversation with your date and that you would both prefer to be left alone. If the suitor persists, use humor or sarcasm to diffuse the situation. Tell him you can offer him a few phone numbers, or tell him that tonight she’s taken, but you will let him know when she’s available.

6. If the suitor is with friends, enlist their help to rein him in.

7. Ask your date to ask the suitor to back off.

8. Try to leave: If given the choice, choose flight over fight. Suggest to your date that you both move to a table or go to a new establishment. A fight generally doesn’t make the evening go any better.