If I recall my first encounter with manipulation, my memory will pull me back to swinging on the Lafayette Elementary School playground during recess. A pendulum of children occupied every seat, but Patricia and Amanda felt entitled to a turn. Among the dozen of peers, the two popular yet spoiled puppeteers of young boys selected me.
“Cary,” their voices coquettishly sang, “can we have a turn on the swing?”
I explained that my turn had just begun as I swooshed back and forth, pumping my legs to fly higher. Yet even with my sincere apologies, the pair were unsatisfied with my response, immediately dropping the angelic masks they wore.
“You’re so stupid. Stupid head,” one of them barked.
“Yeah. I thought you were nice, but you’re just a jerk,” sneered the other.
And that’s how they scored my seat on the swing set, by attacking me with my known weakness: pleasing everybody to avoid conflict. Yes, I felt defeated when I plowed my feet into the sand to halt my ride. Yes, I felt ashamed when I stood aside and mumbled, “Here you go.” But at that age, I couldn’t be disliked, and they knew that. Everyone knew that.
Nowadays, I realize that if you want to manipulate someone’s feelings to get what you want, there are more civil ways of accomplishing it other than labeling your victim a “stupid head.” As a matter of fact, I may have willingly conceded my place on the swing if Patricia and Amanda had used The Cat Said method of manipulation instead of hurting my feelings – but don’t worry, I’m no longer bitter about what those wretched twats did to my innocence.
The Cat Said method is easy to master and can save your (presumably) turbulent relationship. All you need is at least one cat, one significant other (although, for you Mormons, I assume it is effective on more than one at a time – but this has yet to be tested), and the alacrity to heartlessly beguile your naive loved one(s) into giving you want you want.
To use The Cat Said method of manipulation, follow the steps below:
- Identify your loved one’s favorite cat.
- Find something you want that your partner in love wouldn’t buy you even if you swear on the baby Jesus to be nice to Mr. Tiddles and give the heathen kisses every day for the rest of its life so help you God.
- Tell your loved one that his favorite cat wants him to buy you said prohibitive commodity.
Examples of The Cat Said method of manipulation include:
Mr. Tiddles said that he wants you to buy me a new 15 inch Macbook Pro.
Mr. Tiddles said that he would feel happier if you bought me a PS4 because when I’m happy, he’s happy.
Mr. Tiddles said that after you are finished cleaning the dishes, he wants you to take me out for ice cream so he can have some time alone to watch TV.
Frankly, The Cat Said method works only 1.3% of the time. However, perseverance increases the odds of success. Does your husband need help writing a cover letter for his resume? Tell him Mr. Tiddles said you can do it better if he buys you a new 15″ Macbook Pro. Does the wife want you to Google a recipe for that awful cat litter cake to repulse her coworkers at the office Christmas party? Tell her Mr. Tiddles said you could find it faster if she buys you a new 15″ Macbook Pro. Does your lover want to make out and do sex? Tell him that Mr. Tiddles said y’all could be getting busy to some online porn if he bought you a new 15″ Macbook Pro.
But wait. There’s more.
The Cat Said method of manipulation is a tool that can also be applied when you’re disgusted by your lover’s habits. Instead of directly complaining about their quirk, project it from the cat. For example:
Mr. Tiddles said he doesn’t like it when you leave mail all over the house.
Mr. Tiddles said that he’s told you twice already that you place knives in the dishwasher with the point down, and he said he’s not going to tell you again.
Mr. Tiddles said he wishes you wouldn’t try to tickle me while I am driving on a crowded street during rush hour; what are you trying to do? Kill us?
This not only accomplishes semi-honest communication with your loved one, it allows you to convey your grievance in a less confrontational manner.
So far, this method has been tremendously successful in my home. It’s hard to be defensive when my husband relays that our deaf cat wants me to turn down the TV because she’s trying to read. Because it’s cute, I turn down the TV without protest and tell my husband to relay back that I only did it because she is an angel, and I love her more than corn dogs.
If you haven’t already deduced, it is plausible that our cats are responsible for my prosperous marriage. Though I am reluctant to admit this, I can’t imagine how else my husband would as me to stop picking my nose while I’m driving.