I read a short story in the early 90s, from a collection dating from the 80s or earlier, which detailed a young man teaching logical fallacies to his female friend. Later, when he begins to court her, he finds himself rebuffed as she uses the logical fallacies to take apart all of his reasons for loving her. A fine and frustrating tale! Does anyone know the author or title?

  • 1
    Are there any other details you can remember? Mar 13, 2017 at 5:30
  • No, Gallifreyan. Mar 17, 2017 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Googled "short story love logical fallacy" and got a PDF to Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman as the first result. Quoting:

"... It is clear that we are well matched."
"Hasty Generalization," said Polly brightly.
"I beg your pardon," said I.
"Hasty Generalization," she repeated.
"How can you say that we are well matched on the basis of only five dates?"
I chuckled with amusement. The dear child had learned her lessons well.
"My dear," I said, patting her hand in a tolerant manner, "five dates is plenty. After all, you don't have to eat a whole cake to know it's good."
"False Analogy," said Polly promptly. "I'm not a cake. I'm a girl."
I chuckled with somewhat less amusement. The dear child had learned her lesson perhaps too well.


"Polly, I love you. You are the whole world to me, and the moon and the stars and the constellations of outer space. Please, my darling, say that you will go steady with me, for if you will not, life will be meaningless. I will languish. I will refuse my meals. I will wander the face of the earth, a shambling, hollow-eyed hulk."
There, I thought, folding my arms, that ought to do it.
"Ad Misericordiam," said Polly.

It seems to fit the description quite well.


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