What Was The Get Him System, Anyway?

by Lamar Clarkson

In eighth grade I liked this boy. So much that I wouldn’t talk to him. My best strategy — wearing my girliest shirt and walking by him, with freshly brushed hair whenever feasible — was not producing the necessary results. So I did what any enterprising/terrified 13-year-old would do and I ordered The Get Him System from the back of Teen magazine. Remember this ad?

The girl in the ad says no guys noticed her until one night she locked herself in her room and devoured The Get Him System, and then the next day at the mall she got all the attention. And all the shoulder rides, we are to presume! Among the things the ad promises to teach us:

*How to flirt — without looking easy.

*The right way to touch, feel and hold a guy — Plus every guy’s biggest weakness!

*How just looking at him in a “Special Way” can get him interested in you.

With the promise of a money-back guarantee and a free copy of Secrets of Kissing, who could resist? I got the $15 check from my dad by pretending I wanted to use the order form in the back of a Sweet Valley High book. (What if he noticed the form had expired because the book was from 1987? AAAH! He didn’t.)

Weeks and weeks went by, and the book never came. (What a great scam, by the way. What teenage girl is going to get her parents to intervene when Secrets of Kissing does not arrive?) According to the internet, this was not an uncommon experience. This blogger Christa describes how she and her friend waited seemingly forever:

it was impossible to not talk about the ‘get him system’ every day that we waited. but because we were sometimes surrounded by other boyfriendless girls, we made a code word for the package: scrunchy headbands.

“did we get the scrunchy headbands yet?”

“i wonder when we’ll get the scrunchy headbands.”

“maybe our scrunchie headbands are lost in the mail.”

“once rob gets a load of my scrunchie headbands, he’s going to be madly in love with me.”

After writing a letter to complain, Christa and her friend did manage to get their book. And so have I, finally, thanks to the aforementioned internet.

The Get Him System is a thin, apparently self-published volume from “Johnson & Collins Research,” which turns out to be one guy who asked 25 other guys what they look for in a girl. Rick, Vinny, Ken, and the rest share their advice in really huge type via chapters like “Looks,” “Love and Sex,” and “Getting Him to Notice You” (in that order). Each new topic announces itself with what I can only describe as ripped-from-your-geometry-textbook vérité.

In this chapter, we are reminded that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (“You have heard that before. And you should memorize it because it is so true!”) and told that our noses can be a turn-on (“18 out of 25 guys believe a girl’s nose has a lot to do with her looks”). That gives us a total of 7 guys who are nose blind.

So, unless your nose is actually detracting from your appearance or making you insecure about yourself, don’t run out and get a nose job.

And anyway, eyes are the most important:

The color or shape of a girl’s eyes are always more attractive if they are expressive. So try putting some emotion into your eyes.

Even though looks will catch a guy’s eye, it’s your personality that will keep him around. Of course, certain personality traits must be avoided:

Here is a list of things the guys considered offensive in a girl.



Chapter 2 lays out the tricks for getting a boy hooked. The most important one: “Like him? Show him!” (Uh, now you tell me? I never even talked to my crush because I was convinced I would mess up without this book.) Still, you must watch yourself. If you want snag a guy as snuggly as the Hawaiian-shirted JTT on the cover, you must be subtle. And sincerely sincere.

So don’t just like a guy for his looks, especially the most gorgeous guys in school. They already know they are good looking, and superficial compliments like, “Oh, Bill, you have the most intense eyes!” will only boost his ego and make you look desperate.

The real secret?

[B]e interested in him and talk to him about himself. You will see how interested he will be — in you!

On the other hand, don’t be so serious that you forget to laugh:

JEFF: “I went out with this one girl, she was so boring to be with, no fun. So I broke up with her.”

Love and Sex

Hold on, how did we get here? I am still trying to think of a subtle way to compliment him on his Green Day tee while looking at him in a Special Way. Well, anyway, now that we have found ourselves in a true love situation, it’s time to talk about sex.

I feel weird saying this, but the advice isn’t all bad. Don’t have sex before you’re ready (9 out of 10 times he’ll understand!), and guys feel pressure to start having sex too. A boyfriend who ignores you when you’re talking may be just using you. Avoid creeps: “Are you subjecting yourself to a guy that gives you more grief and sorrow than he’s worth? If so, it may be better to forget about him.” I kind of wish I’d had this book in college!

Alas, it’s time for more dos and don’ts (mostly don’ts). Don’t talk loudly, don’t be possessive (it’s annoying), and whatever you do, don’t make the FATAL MISTAKE girls make 9 out of 10 times.

Many girls come out with “OH, I LOVE YOU,” only to bring a premature end to her relationship. . . . For the majority of guys, your early affection will make you appear too “easy.” . . . So, pace yourself and keep a little mystery in your personality.

Getting Him to Like You

Before he has noticed you but AFTER you’ve told him you’re not ready to have sex, here is how you are supposed to get him to like you:

Invite him over on a weekend for lunch.

HA. (The alternative is going rollerblading together.)


Thankfully there are no rights and wrongs in kissing. But if you are thinking about yourself you are doing it wrong.

A good kisser does not think about herself. She thinks about the other person, how she feels about him. How she cares and loves him — FEELING.


When you get nervous, you tend to tighten up. Relax. Your mouth should be relaxed when you kiss. Don’t be afraid to open your mouth wide and explore with your tongue. Variety is the spice of kissing.

Remember: a good kisser is someone who kisses with feeling! Try putting some emotion into your tongue.

Previously: The Poetry of Danielle Steel.

Lamar Clarkson is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.