Tuesday, March 18, 2008

10 Dating Rules for Women & One More For Good Measure

Women claim to want equal rights but then do things in the dating dance that makes them look like immature children. It's annoying. A couple friends, male and female, are experimenting with on-line dating, and based on their experiences all I can think is, what is wrong with people?

Before I get to that, let me say this in a woman's defense: Online dating seems absolutely terrifying to me. I have a couple friends whom I've met exclusively through the internet. I feel like I know them, but do I really? It's unnerving, because in person, this friend might seem totally different. Maybe they'll have wild eye movements or their body language will reveal them to be withholding or deceptive. Not to mention, online you can really like someone--they seem funny and kind, but in person, there is no spark or connection. More than one friend has expressed disappointment after meeting someone in person. So, for a woman, she has those normal feelings everyone has plus, she has to worry about personal safety. How much information do you give? How soon? So, there are realities that are difficult for women.

This post is not going to be an "ain't it awful" post for women, though. Quite the contrary. For the sake of this post, I'm making an assumption that the vast majority of men are good men, just trying to find a woman they connect with and desiring a relationship. I think this assumption is true, by the way. There are players and male sluts, sure, but I think most guys want what most women want--a close, loving, compatible, dependable relationship.

If a woman is going to participate in the dating game, she needs to follow some rules.

1. Say "no" nicely. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for a man to approach a woman, for most guys, anyway. There is no need to be bitchy and dismissive. There is a nice way to say "no" without insulting a guy. For example, say you're with someone else and a guy approaches, say something along the lines, "Wow, thanks for the invitation, but I'm here with someone. Thank you anyway." Now, some men don't want to get the point. A woman can still be polite and firm.

2. Mean what you say. If you say you want to talk, mean it. That means answering the phone. If you say you want to go on a date, mean it. That means showing up. If you are not sure how you feel, say it and mean it. If you want to be in a relationship with this guy or you see a possible future, how does dishonesty build toward that? Be honest.

3. Avoid the "L" and "M" words. Good grief. People say the word "love" way too much and too early. And marriage? You're saying the "M" word and you just met him three weeks ago? Um, no. Don't say it. Even if you feel it, keep it to yourself. It will save your dignity, if nothing else. More than that, it puts pressure on the budding relationship.

4. Don't have sex on the first, second or third date. Don't. If the relationship has a chance, sex complicates it right away. If the relationship is a no go, sex connects you to a guy you don't want to be connected with. Yes, I'm old-fashioned. But sex is more than a physical collision, it's a spiritual connection and an energy exchange. Are you sure you want to give your energy to that guy and that guy and that guy? And how will you feel when the energy isn't returned? And for the more serious relationships, will you doubt the emotional and intellectual connection you have because you've introduced sex so soon? Will you worry that he just wants you so he can get laid? Yes, you will worry about that. So save it. (And yes, this is very unfeminist advice, but feminists don't seem to understand how a man's mind works at all. And for all their sexual liberation, feminists seem enslaved to their bodies--they have reduced women to a standard held by the worst sort of slutty man. This is what women fought for? Please.)

5. Get a life. Why do women turn into simpering fools when a man enters their lives? Keep on living girl. Be "you" and be the best you and keep on motoring. A guy worth you will not be intimidated by your success, he'll be impressed by it. The guy who wants a needy, clingy creature has his own issues that you won't want once you manage to find your self-respect.

6. Vulnerable is not needy. All humans are vulnerable. To ever have a true connection with someone, the guard has to come down eventually. Pretending to be a fortress, will just make you look one-dimensional. So it's OK to express concerns or fears, just do it after there is a report there. And mirror his willingness to share. That is, don't pour out your life story on the first date if his deepest reveal has been that he owns a pet Schnausser. It's give and take.

7. Leave the baggage for later. The first time you meet someone is not the time to kvetch about your exes. It's kinda like going to a job interview and bitching about your old boss. It makes it seem like you're the problem and demonstrates an inability to be respectful. Newsflash, ladies! Your relationship woes have a common link--you. The new guy doesn't need to hear it.

8. Have fun. Must this be a mission? Must every phone call, IM, text, date and other communication be part of a master plan? Now, a guy friend of mine told me, "At this point Melissa, I'm not dating, it's a job interview." For him, it's a bit more serious. His wife died and he has a child, so he doesn't want to fool around with foolish women. Still and all, dating is meant to be fun and putting too much pressure on the process can rob you of the joy inherent in getting to know new people.

9. Express gratitude. Show it in small and big ways. For example, a married friend of mine had this simple test for a woman. He said it revealed her character, and he told me this after I had passed, by the way. Oh! The pressure! He would open the door for the lady. She would get in. In the olden days, locks popped up and weren't automatic and had to be unlocked on both sides. If she leaned over and unlocked the door for him, she was a keeper. Sitting there and not helping, got her one short date. For him, it was a demonstration of kindness that revealed an attitude. That seemed a tad excessive to me, but a sense of entitlement is repugnant. If he opens the door, say "thank you". If he buys dinner, say "thank you". Even if the conversation was flat, the night was a bust, appreciate that there was effort made.

10. You are not obligated. Just because a guy calls, or asks you out, or wants you, you are not obligated to him. A man's sense of entitlement is as repulsive as a woman's. A girl friend's mother said, "You can always say, 'I have plans'". You can say that. You can say, "Thank you for your interest, but I am not interested in dating you." Being straight and honest with a person is a whole lot kinder than stringing a guy along.

11. Being a flirt is fine. Being a tease is wrong. Know the difference. Flirting and having fun and enjoying a person's company is part of the excitement of male-female relations. Being a tease is just selfish and lame. Don't lead a guy on when you have no intention of following through. Don't give the impression you're into him and then blow him off like he doesn't have human feelings.

This is a lot of rules, but what it comes down to, to me, is treating someone else the way you'd like to be treated. Men might be from Mars, but they're still humans. All the male-bashing that goes on is offensive. One of my least favorite commercials features a guy ordering a pizza which will come in 30 minutes. He asks his wife for sex and she bats her eyes and asks, "What are we going to do for the other 28 minutes?" It's meant to be funny, but it just seems like more of the same disparaging of men.

Men aren't the enemy. They are lovely creatures. Sometimes strange and exotic, but always interesting. They deserve respect until they've proven themselves to be unworthy of respect and even then, treating any person with respect and kindness is a winning proposition. Because ultimately, it's you who you have to live with whether you end up with a man or not.


Sister Honey Bunch/Judi maloney said...

Thank you! I hate that commercial too! I get so angry with the way men are made to look like total fools on TV and in the movies.

Great post too, btw. I am an online dating success story. But it can be scary and I have the stories to prove it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your point about most men being good people - that seems to be pointed out so rarely in these discussions.

Anonymous said...

The door lock test was stolen from "A Bronx Tale". A good movie by the way. The point remains though, gratitude or the lack thereof is a huge reveal of character.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most men I know are very good people with good hearts.

In the context you have it here, it is understandable to refrain from telling someone you love them. However, in the bigger picture, when a person really loves someone, it can never be wrong to express that. Love is a precious, valuable thing and to keep it hid in the heart, seems very limiting to me and brings to much of an ache to the heart.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Saying "I love you" is powerful. They aren't words to take lightly and they should be said with absolute conviction. Anything less is to diminish the meaning of the words.

Conversely, I think those words can be said too rarely, too. It can be a huge regret to refrain from telling someone what is in your heart.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:37, "A Bronx Tale" came out in 1993. Perhaps the "door lock test" was stolen from real life, not from the movie, as you state. My husband told me...back in 1991...that it was part of his evaluation when we were dating. We were ahead of the movie, as I'm pretty sure Doc's date was too.

Melissa Clouthier said...


Yes the door-lock test predates 1993 or 1991. It is flattering however, that a dear reader would think otherwise!

Anonymous said...

What is the door lock test?

Anonymous said...

As a man, I like your points and agree with them from a man's point of view. Especially the player/tease and sex parts. I probably relate to those right now as a result of being played for 6 months recently and coming away from it feeling very, very betrayed. As an editorial aside, being an older person, I find this whole dating thing a bit disconcerting, but it's either that or staying alone for the rest of my life, huh?

BTW, been reading you for a little while and enjoy your blog. It's in my favorites now.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. C.,

My wife and I are marriage educators and help couples to get married and stay married. I think that your rules are good ones and will serve to start relationship out on the right foot!

Anonymous said...

You're saying the "M" word and you just met him three weeks ago?

I'll admit: I knew that I was going to propose to my wife before our first date was over. However, I did hold out for 6 weeks before finally asking her, since I did want to be certain that she'd say yes. Must be in the blood, because my grandmother married my grandfather 6 weeks after meeting him. By and large, though, it's sound advice.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Physics geek,

Sometimes you just know! Did your wife feel the same way?

SMP said...

I realize this may be obvious, but do you have any dating rules for men?

I suppose you could re-write the rules from a man's point of view and they would apply. But we men are simple creatures and often like to have the rules explained to us. Heh.

wigmon said...

I've used the door lock since i got my DL in 1983. I've told my girl friends and friend girls-"I've got the common courtesy to open the door for you the least you can do is unlock my door". Never heard of the Bronx Tale. I've told both to do it when they go out with guys. The feedback from them was that it made a huge impression on the guy. You young wooper snappers have a lot to learn. J/K

Anonymous said...

Huh. As a man, I thought the "other 28 minutes" commercial was cute. It didn't offend me at all. I think because it was an exagerrated version of something that is probably real: Women want a long romantic encounter while men tend to be happy with quick sex.

What annoys me are the endless commercials where the huband or boyfriend is an ignorant boob whose wife or girlfriend has to save him from himself -- usually by telling him to buy whatever product is being sold, but whatever. When was the last time you saw a commercial where a woman was ineffective and helpless until a man came along to tell her how to solve her problem? I have no problem with a commercial where a woman turns out to know more than a man about a certain subject. But why does the woman have to be the smarter one 99% of the time? And the man can't just make a mistake in these commercials, he has to be a blitering idiot. It gets tedious.

I will laugh at jokes that exagerrate a real foible, even when I'm a member of the group being made fun of. But jokes that portray a certain group as hopelessly stupid or cruel aren't funny: they're just nasty. If black people or the handicapped -- or women -- were portrayed in commercials the way men are, there would be activist groups demanding apologies and threats of lawsuits.

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I just can't take the advice of a woman who doesn't know the difference between "report" and "rapport". I hope you aren't really a doctor.

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