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What Ever Happened to Life Skills?

July 23, 2012

What do you get when you combine a dating service with a personal assistant?  Assuming you would want to do that, the result is something called a “Romance Secretary.”

A romance secretary is not someone who handles Cassanova’s little black book and keeps him from confusing his multiple relationships.  It is a person who sort of manages your relationship, singular.

I suppose that the idea of a Romance Secretary was inevitable.  We already have Lifestyle Managers, who walk your dog and visit your sick relatives for you.  We have Retail Curators who do your shopping for you.  We have Sweatworking, so that you can work out while doing your office work.  And who can forget “ShameBeGone,” the people who will send an email on your behalf to get you out of difficult social situations.  Or FakeGirlFriend, where you can subscribe to a service that will send you “cute” text messages from your [non-existent] girlfriend to make your friends think you actually have one.

Sadly, the Romance Secretary is not an idea in search of a buyer.  The position was created when a “busy” couple (ages 27 and 24) advertised on the Internet for someone to help them manage their relationship.  According to the couple, they were about to call the whole thing off because they had no time to plan dates. 

If you are wondering how they have time to go out on dates but not plan them, you aren’t the only one.

Anyway, this unemployed guy stepped up and charges them $12.50 per hour to come up with “interesting” date ideas, work through scheduling issues and find a time that both members of the relationship are available and “calendar” the date, he will also send them reminders to respond to each others’ text messages, and will even pass messages between them.  So far, they have paid him “a small fortune,” and he has started a company known as “Couples Consolidated,” hired staff and has plans to grow the business.

As the Romance Secretary says, “Not everyone is good at planning dates, keeping track of someone else’s schedule or even communicating clearly.  The administrative tasks in a relationship may be small ones, but they add up to one big stress.”

How has the human race survived without people to handle relationship admin?

Reminding the couple to communicate with each other is a big part of the job, but according to the Romance Secretary it’s time well spent.  “It’s easy for both of them because I can harass the other without the other feeling annoying.” 

What that basically tells me is that you can now stalk someone and outsource the work!

A major selling point apparently is that the Romance Secretary will come up with “quirky” date ideas.  The article I read listed some of the quirky things couples can do:  “going shopping for things they think the other one will hate, giving flowers to strangers and children in the park and watching a foreign film without subtitles and creating the dialogue themselves.” 

I come back to the question of how you find time to sit through a foreign film that you can’t understand when you don’t have time to make a date to do that in the first place. Also, just between us, I think that creating dialogue in a foreign film would get old really fast.  And irritate the other people in the theatre.  And giving flowers to strangers and children in the park might result in the date ending differently than what you might have in mind.

Over the years, there have been many times when I’ve said, “I wish they’d had that back then . . .” You know what I mean.  Things like Google, GPS, DVDs would have, if not enriched, at least made life a little easier.

Thinking back to my dating days, maybe “Couples Consolidated” could have helped. But I doubt it.  You see, the women I dated were very busy.  It seemed like they were always (a) washing their hair, (b) babysitting their little sister, or (c) going to their grandmother’s funeral. And I can’t believe that even the machinations of a Romance Secretary would have enabled them to find time in their busy schedules. 

And in retrospect I’m really glad.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2012 8:26 pm

    For obvious reasons, the romance secretary better be physically unattractive and genderless.

  2. July 23, 2012 8:51 pm

    HOOOOOT! I don’t need a romance secretary. I need a garden secretary. Someone who’ll make an appointment with my weeds. Maybe threaten them a bit before I get out there with my Round-Up. It’s amazing that any couple would skip over the logic that if they couldn’t work out dating schematics, then they probably aren’t a match. But, hey…we need more jobs.

    • July 24, 2012 5:19 pm

      If everyone who says they are too busy to do something hired a secretary, there would be no unemployment!

  3. July 23, 2012 10:20 pm

    The next logical step is to just hire people to live your life for you. This whole thing has me thinking that cyborgs may be the best employees for many of these jobs. It starts out simple – just create a man-machine to go to the prom for me, because I’m too busy managing my other cyborgs. Ten short years later, the robots revolt, and we have Terminator 3. Actually, I never saw Terminator 3 – I was too busy. I was going to send an employee to see it for me, but my best one was busy getting the oil changed on the other two employees.

    • July 24, 2012 5:21 pm

      Actually, your comment reminds me of a dystopian science fiction story I read a long time ago. The idea was that the human race had gotten so lazy and stupid that machines had to do everything. For example, when you got a candy bar from a vending machine, a robot would unwrap it because humans had become too dumb to figure out how to do that.

  4. July 24, 2012 12:29 am

    OK, suppose the Romance Secretary keeps the relationship going despite a lack of effort from the participants. Let’s say he does such a good job that the couple marries. When the marriage collapses, could the Romance Secretary be held liable?

    • July 24, 2012 5:22 pm

      Good question. I hope the Romance Secretary has a Legal Secretary to advise him on this sort of thing.

  5. July 25, 2012 3:03 am

    The obvious solution would be to have a secretary to handle all the crap that gets in the way of living your life. Oh, now I’ve had an awful thought. Does the romance secretary shop for sex toys? Or is that a whole other niche market?

  6. July 25, 2012 10:13 am

    The publishers to whom I submit need an “acceptance” coach.

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