There’s a lot of dating advice out there, and, like most things on the internet, most of it is really terrible. So much of it is focused on what YOU ARE DOING that is TOTALLY WRONG and how YOU MUST CONFORM TO THIS SINGLE STANDARD OF DATEABILITY or else you will DIE ALONE SURROUNDED BY CATS.
And I’m calling bullshit.
I’ve been on so many bad dates that I even wrote a column about the worst ones (shameless self-promotion!). We’re talking the stuff of nightmares. But you know what’s even worse than nightmare dates? Meh dates. Where nothing is really good or really bad, it’s just…meh.
That’s what this dastardly Single Standard of Dateability is trying to do to us: Turn the dating world into a world of meh. As if we didn’t have enough problems.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a meh-date world. So I think it’s time to shake up conventional dating wisdom with some actually awesome advice. Hello Alle proudly presents…
- “Don’t be a weirdo.” There’s nothing worse–okay, maybe there are a couple of things worse–than going on a date with someone who is obviously putting forward their Job Interview Personality. You know the one: “I’d say my worst trait is that I’m TOO sexually giving.” Ugh, no. That is nobody’s worst trait. Your worst trait is that you let your dog kiss you on the mouth (which for the record, ew). While I’m not advocating bringing out every weird quirk in your arsenal on date one, you gotta BE YOURSELF, man. And if being yourself means occasionally high-fiving your date or giggling more than is usually appropriate, go for it! People who are put off by your weirdness aren’t less weird than you; they’re exactly as weird in a different way, but also judgy about it. I speak from experience when I tell you that you cannot say the wrong thing to the right person. Someone, somewhere thinks that your crush on Doctor Who is cute. I promise you that.
- “Don’t put out on the first date.” Hetero girls, this one is mostly aimed at us: Cosmo wisdom tells us that if you bang a dude on date one, he will only think of you as a piece of ass, and then he will never marry you, and then you will be FOREVER ALOOOONE (sinks to the floor in a slow spiral). I say baloney to that! Sure, there are guys who will not respect you if you don’t provide the thrill of the chase to which they feel entitled. Those guys are assholes. You don’t want to date OR have sex with them on a regular basis. I’ve had sex on the first date and I’ve not had sex on the first date, and guess what? Whether or not I got into a relationship with the guy had NOTHING to do with when initial banging took place. Stuff like emotional compatibility, hilariousness and kindness are much, much more important than outdated sexual mores.
- “Be a little late.” Apparently this is some kind of dating power-play, designed to show the other person that your life is sooo busy and sooo cool that you don’t even notice that you’re twenty minutes late! Ha ha! Appletinis for everyone! NO. That shit is rude as hell. All that it does is show your date that you don’t think their time is valuable. Even in the midst of your sooo busy sooo cool life, you can remember to send a text. “I’m so sorry, I’m running late!” is all it takes. Being considerate is never out of fashion.
- “Keep topics neutral.” Look. Nobody wants to get into a fistfight about the intersection of race and class in America over appetisers with the person you just met on OKCupid. A lot of people will tell you not to talk about politics and religion too early in a dating relationship, but I disagree. First of all, big issues are big because there are a lot of threads that go into them, and you can learn an awful lot about the person sitting across the table by which thread they pull at. Secondly, if your date expresses views that are the exact opposite of yours, how do they handle that conflict? Can you have a civil discussion, or do they end up calling you names? Finally, if their views are so totally abhorrent to you, at least you know about it now and can nip the relationship in the bud. I can’t imagine anything worse than finding out six months down the line that my boyfriend thinks the Tea Party is just what America needs, can you?
- “Always have an out.” Sorry everyone, the game’s up. That emergency phone call in the middle of a dinner that will never end? Everyone knows it’s not your mother/brother/grandfather in the hospital. It’s your best friend calling with a fake emergency so you can bail without hurting your date’s feelings. Except as I’ve mentioned, everyone knows about it, so you’re really just lying and you’re not even doing it well. Don’t be a bad liar. No matter how badly a date is going, stick it out. It’s two hours of your life and maybe you get a funny story out of it when it’s safely in your rear view mirror. It’s not like you have to do it again. Though if it’s going bad-scary, there’s always an exit through the kitchen, and that’s not an out, it’s an escape route. Smart people always have those.
And now I turn it over to you guys: What do you think about “Dating rules”? Are they there for a reason or there to be broken? Let me have it in the comments, or let’s get into it on twitter.