Tough job, PR. Speaking as someone whose inbox is flooded every 24 hours with messages about the latest torch you can wear on your nose, or a brand-new skiing festival in Warwick, I know that most of the communications sent by public relations officials are unwelcome and superfluous, like an extra testicle on your back.
I thought I would indulge in a little experiment; have a little fun.
For an entire month, I decided, I would reply to every single one of my PR emails with the phrase "I love you."
In 95% of cases I used this declaration as a sign-off, but occasionally a PR would be lucky enough to receive the three words in the body of an email.
Here's how shit went down.
Some PRs immediately terminated all communication with me
This was my first email. It didn't go all that well.
Rob didn't even reply - Michelle just jumped in and took care of things:
If Michelle reacts like that to everyone who says they love her, she will end up missing out on a lot of fun.
Here's another one, from Anita this time:
ANITA, ANITA, I WANTED TO MEET YA.
Most PRs didn't even acknowledge it
That could very easily be an email to someone who has not just randomly said "I love you" to a total stranger for no reason whatsoever. "Yeah it would be great if you do come along!" he writes. What a total nutter, he's thinking inside.
Here's Sophie, again refusing to acknowledge the astonishing awkwardness of the situation:
This was overwhelmingly the most common response: simply to ignore the fact that I had declared my undying love. Just don't mention it, they thought, and this weird man will stop saying he loves you.
They were wrong, but I admire their professionalism.
Even when I made it more obvious - nothing
Nothing after that. No "Sorry, what was that last email all about?" Nothing. Not even a "Did you mean to send that email to me?"
I had said "I love you" in the body of the email. Maybe this kind of thing happens to them on a fairly regular basis.
Some, mind you, were bloody shocked
But some were brilliant - they played along
Look at that; "I love you too", casually tossed in at the end of the email. Classic. Playing me at my own game. Daring me to say it again. (I did of course. She didn't.)
Here's the best conversation by a country mile
Look at that. Straight in there, deadpan; he knew what was going on. "I love you too," he said.
Things are hotting up. I've ramped it up to "I love you very much."
Fucking hell, Michael's good at this. "I love you more." Phwoaarr.
How's he gonna take that?
BAM. Michael smashes it out the park. This guy's probably done this before. Unshockable Michael, they call him. Mike The Unflappable.
No word from him since then.
I even got some free sex toys out of it...
Well, that was fun.
The experiment taught me a lot about email etiquette and about the nature of PRs. In most cases the exchange was simply exactly the same as usual, as though I hadn't professed my love for the PR. They just flat-out ignored what I'd said and carried on trying to sell their product.
This could mean one of a number of things:
1. They assumed I was someone who ended all emails with "I love you";
2. They thought I had genuinely fallen in love with them and were deciding to ignore the incredibly weird situation;
3. They hadn't actually read those three little words;
4. They knew they were involved in some kind of prank and didn't want to rise to the bait.
It amuses me most to imagine #1 or #2 being the main explanation. That cracks me the hell up.
Stay tuned for other email antics from yours truly. Next time I'm aiming to smuggle a Disney quote into every single email I send.