The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies by Lynn Messina

Hattie Cross knows what you’re thinking: Zombie sex? Ewwwww. But she also knows that since a virus turned 99.9999 percent of human males into zombies, it’s statistically impossible to meet–let alone date–the remaining 0.00001 percent. So she writes “The Girls‘ Guide to Dating Zombies” to help her fellow single women navigate the zombie-relationship waters.

Her practical how-to impresses the CEO of the largest drug company in the world, and before she knows it, Hattie, a reporter for a downmarket tabloid that specializes in conspiracy theories, is sitting down with the woman who single-handedly invented the zombie-behavioral-modification market. Granted access to the inner sanctum of zombaceuticals, she meets an actual, living, breathing M-A-N.

Now Hattie, the consummate professional, is acting like a single girl at the end of the twentieth century: self-conscious, klutzy and unable to form a coherent sentence without babbling. Worst of all, the human male appears to have impaired her ability to think clearly. Because all of a sudden she’s convinced a conspiracy is afoot at the drug company and it seems to go all the way to the top!


The Sweet Treat Sofa 

The High-Fiber Breakfast Hour’s Sweet Treat segment kicks off every morning with a flashing red light, a piercing police siren and a dancing pink panda carrying a fuchsia sign that says, i love high-fructose corn syrup fluff from funfoods, across the set. The crowd hoots and hollers because everyone loves a pink panda hopped up on sugar. 

The director points to the host, who smiles into the camera as it cuts to her from the audience. “Good morning and welcome back to The High-Fiber Breakfast Hour. Joining me on the luscious pink sofa today is an extra sweet treat for you: Hattie Cross, author of The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies.” Delia Fortune, a former Miss America with a towering strawberry bouffant and sparkling superwhite teeth, turns to me with a searching look. “Hattie, we have lots of ground to cover, but I’m going to get right to the nitty-gritty and say, Zombie sex. Ewww.”

I laugh. It’s completely forced and fake, but I’m on a national morning show with a pink panda and a strawberry bouffant. If I can’t roll with a few ewwws, then I should have stayed in bed. “Fair enough. The thought makes a lot of women go ewww.” I look to the audience. “Am I right?”

The response is mixed. Some women clap, but an almost equal number boo. I’m not surprised. Zombie sex has been around for almost as long as variant Y zombies.

I can tell from the response that some of the ladies here have tried it.” Another round of cheers follows. “I’ll admit that sex with a zombie isn’t the ideal situation. The ideal situation is sex with a human male. Who here has had sex with a human male?”

Dead silence.

None of us, right? Because human males haven’t existed for the average woman in twenty years. So if you keep that in mind, zombie sex isn’t bad at all. It can certainly be more satisfying than masturbation.” I turn to my host with a twinkle in my eye. “I’m sorry. Can I say masturbation on morning TV?”

Delia twinkles back. “Of course. It’s 2020. You can say anything. But let’s get really real: Zombies smell. They lose body parts. Their flesh is decaying.”

I nod profusely. “All valid points. However, with the right drug regimen, these conditions can be controlled. For example, Zombreeze neutralizes zombie smell from the inside. It can even make your boyzomb smell like roses. I devote an entire chapter to zombaceuticals in my book.”

I’m glad you brought up drugs. Isn’t it true that you have to medicate zombies for them to have sex? Doesn’t that underscore how unnatural the act is?”

All living and reliving things have a sex drive,” I explain. “It’s the basic nature of the beast. Sure, you have to use certain chemical stimulants in order for the zombie to perform physically, but the drive is there. Think of the late-twentieth-century male suffering from erectile dysfunction. It’s the same principle.”

Te audience cheers again. “All right. But kissing. You have to admit that’s pretty gross.” 

Oh, completely,” I say with girlish glee. The effort of being so aggressively upbeat is starting to make me light-headed, but I stay the course. “Kissing a zombie isn’t for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. But that’s a decision each woman should be free to make. Again, I refer you to late-twentieth-century practices that some women chose to perform and others didn’t. I think of kissing as the equiv-alent to what used to be described as swallowing.” I nod to the audience. “You know what I’m talking about, right?” 

The cheers turn into howls and last a full thirty seconds. 

Delia quiets the audience with a wave. “All right. We’ve talked about the worst part of dating a zombie. Now let’s talk about the best. What tops the list?” 

Never having to sit by the phone waiting for him to call. No mind games. No wondering if he likes you or doesn’t like you. No obsessing,” I say, referring to the common neurotic female practice that was at the heart of dating human males two decades ago.

I can get behind that,” Delia says. 

So I’m starting to win you over?” 

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Lynn Messina grew up on Long Island and studied English at Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked at the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media), TV Guide, In Style, Rolling Stone, Fitness, ForbesLife, Self, Bloomberg Markets and a host of wonderful magazines that have long since disappeared. She mourns the death of print journalism in New York City, where she lives with her husband and sons. She is author of six novels, including the best-selling Fashionistas, which has been translated into 15 languages.

Connect with Lynn… 

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