Popshot Magazine


Kirsty Dunn suggests how to reignite the passion in a relationship in this satirical manual. Illustrations by Michael Parkin
Compose a song

Write a love song on a twelve-string guitar. Inscribe the lyrics onto its body with a fine-tipped permanent marker as you compose it. Crossings outs and edits are fine as this only adds to the effect. Be super-meta about it. Use the lyrics to describe what your love is like, adding that you can’t adequately describe love in a song. Avoid clichés such as roses, oceans or red. (You could mention how clichéd these are, saying they just don’t reflect your views on the matter.) Sing the song, then give them the guitar. Release it on iTunes. Watch it reach No.1 overnight. Donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice. When you are interviewed, blush and say: ‘This person knows the song is about them.’

Prepare a picnic

Using wooden utensils whittled by your own hand, as well as hand-me-down saucepans, create a three-course meal inspired by previous meals you have shared. Use produce from your home-grown, companion-planted, bee-friendly garden. The rest of the ingredients should be gluten- free, vegan, paleo, unrefined, fair-trade and, of course, organic. Create a raw masterpiece because: symbolism. Serve on a picnic rug on charity-store-sourced crockery in the middle of an enchanted forest. Have the woodland fairies play their flutes in the boughs of ancient apple trees. Persuade the birds to harmonise.

Get a tattoo

Have their name etched upon your skin, choosing a font that says ‘This is the only tattoo I will ever need’ and ‘This reflects the esteem upon which I place our relationship,’ but not ‘I chose this from the range of options at the tattoo parlour right before they stuck the needle in my flesh’. Also ensure the size and location reflects the intimacy and gravity of this long-lasting decision, yet nullifies the possibility of awkward future interactions with those unfamiliar with yourself or your love or the act of getting someone else’s name inked upon one’s skin for the purposes of… The colour is also vital.

Book a winter getaway

Take them to seaside cottage in winter because everyone knows that winter means blazing res, cuddling up under woollen rugs, hot chocolate, wine and whisky, and the sound of wind and rain outside while couples remain cosy indoors. Pack alcohol and chocolate. Drink enough to cause you to be red-cheeked and adventurous, but not so much that you blurt out your deepest fears, darkest desires, previous conquests, and the chocolate. Look into their eyes, hold their hands and attempt to explain the unexplainable. Have the storm stop long enough for you to step outside and wonder at the stars. Say: ‘What gets me is that the light from one of those stars may have left that star when Shakespeare walked the Earth.’ Let that linger in the air just before you play your No.1 hit single on a glockenspiel that once belonged to your grandfather.

Take up gardening

Cultivate a flowerbed that looks untamed, but is really the outcome of hours of careful seed-raising, plant placement, watering, feeding, sunlight management and verbal encouragement. Ensure there is a range of brightly coloured blooms of different shapes and sizes. Do not pick them. Instead, lead your love, blindfolded, to the garden, before whispering in their ear as you remove the black, silk scarf from their head: ‘It’s all for you.’ Arrange for a warm breeze to create a wave of scent in your direction at that moment, strong enough to cause the scarf to utter in the air, but gentle enough for you both to observe two white rose-petals rise from the flowerbed and dance around each other in front of you. Smile with your eyes closed, knowing they are watching you.

If all else fails, you could always try…


What to Do When the XXXXX is Gone is from The Romance Issue – Issue 19. Order your copy here


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