Playing hard-to-get — one of the most fundamental tools in a woman’s romantic repertory — is as difficult a maneuver to pull off as it is necessary. Handled skillfully, it’s as effective as setting a barbed hook in your man’s nasal septum. Used clumsily … well, it’ll probably still work. The keys to playing hard to get are twofold.

First, you’re gonna need to give him a taste of what’s to be had early on. This can be a full-on sexual encounter or just a sampling. But without it, you’re selling nothing more than hopes and dreams. Maybe that worked in the ’50s. Today, forget it. A test drive is like a first encounter with a crack pipe. You want to keep him coming back for more, but — like any good supplier — you’re always fresh out.

Secondly, never, ever, ever be obvious about it. You’d love to stay with him at his place after that nice dinner at The Oak, you really would, but unfortunately an old friend is arriving early in the morning and you have to be at the airport early to pick him up (and yes, it must be a him).

Make plans, but cancel at the last minute. There must always be a good reason, though. Work is an excellent cover. Cleaning your andirons is not. Neither is watching TV or spending quality time with your pet parakeet.

How To Know When You’re Being Played

See above.