The Cardinal Rules of Dating

By: Jenny Foughner

GUYS. Can you believe it’s been almost a year since we first met? In preparation for our official anniversary (I’m sure you have big plans… we’ll get to that when the date looms closer and much more menacingly), I put together a little cheat sheet for y’all that distills most of the hoo-ha I’ve been harping about for the past 11 months into easy-peasy rules to date by. Consider it an early anniversary gift! It didn’t cost much, but it’s worth a whole lot, and it’s way more fun than the other gift with which I considered surprising you.

Here’s the thing: women are complicated. We know this. Dating can be a confusing nightmare if you’re just hangin’ loose and flyin’ by the seat of your hard-headed dudepants. However, when you date by a few (simple!) cardinal rules, you’ll be wildly more successful and, ultimately, thismuch closer to snagging your dream girl. There are several non-negotiables when it comes to wooing womenfolk. They are, in no particular order:

Call to make plans, text to confirm them.

Alexander “Holla At Me” Graham Bell didn’t spend his entire life researching the transference of sound so that you could eschew actual phone calls in favor of misspelled, emoticon-laden text messages. I know texts are easy – in my misspent youth, I too was guilty of responding to phone calls via text messages, and you know what? I’m not proud of it – but they’re also a cop-out. When making plans with a woman, you must always call her. Always. When breaking plans with a woman, you must always call her. Always. (And… I can’t believe I have to say this, but do NOT wait for her to call you to find out where your sorry date-dodging ass is.) Simply picking up the phone and dialing a few digits instantly sets you apart from the thousands of guys who are too lazy to do even that, and who subsequently spend most of their lives in pursuit of women who will never date down far enough to give them the time of day. I also urge you to consider the fact that text messages instantly betray your incompetence with the English language, which is not something you want to lead with when trying to land the lady of your dreams.

Texting isn’t verboten, of course. Feel free to text to confirm dates, times and locations that have already been discussed, or to send cute and/or naughty messages while you’re at work. (Just make sure to proofread them before hitting “send”.) And puh-leeeeeeease. Cool it with the emoticons. I can’t emphasize enough how much gratuitous emoticon usage makes you look like a giant (undesirable) wiener. 

Dinner is a first date. Coffee and cocktails are not.

When you’ve mustered up the courage to ask someone out for the first time, do you really want to eff it up by suggesting something that makes you look cheap (coffee) or something that makes you look skeevy (cocktails)? No. You don’t. You want to take your woman to dinner, like a real person, and get to know her over a bottle of wine and a delicacy of your choosing. Bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be a bajillion-star bank-breaker (some of the best dates are on the cheap; think champagne and burgers, pizza and cab-shiraz or a homemade picnic, which is one of the most romantic things you can do), it just has to say “I like you enough to take you somewhere and treat you to a full meal”. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to employ my patented recipe for a perfect first date.

Give more than you receive.

Men who regularly ravish their honeys enjoy exponentially high returns on their investments, especially when compared with guys who worry more about themselves than about pleasing their partners. If you avoid putting in a lot of effort because you’re worried that you’re not going to get yours, then you’re (1) petty and (2) silly. Women are natural caretakers. It’s amazing how hard we’ll work to make sure you’re enjoying yourselves, especially when you consider how much of a sure thing you all are. (Consider, for example, how often you have to fake it. Not often, I’d wager.) Guys who nickel-and-dime in the bedroom are a huge turn-off; guys who take pride in the pleasure they give, on the other hand, are prized above all others. Plus, when you shift focus from yourself to your lovely lady, she’ll feel extra motivated to give back in kind. Make it your goal to make her squeal/scream/writhe in ecstasy/etc/and so on. Simple as that.

On that note…

No sex till you’re serious.

We all fudge on this one from time to time, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that getting to know a girl before taking her to bed is the number one way to build a lasting relationship. We ladies can have hot, anonymous one-night stands just as well as you guys can, but when we’re dating a guy we really like, we want to wait a little while before engaging in a naked wrestling match with him. This isn’t some crazy “rules” crap; this is common sense. Sex changes things. Take time to build a relationship outside of the bedroom and get to know one another as individuals; the anticipation will make doing the deed that much hotter. You’ll also build trust, the number one female aphrodisiac, which ensures that your girl will be uninhibited when you finally get her between the sheets.

You don’t have to put a ring on it to put your thing on it. (Wait. Let’s enjoy that for a moment.) Just keep your pants zipped until you can say with some certainty that your flavor of the week has main-squeeze potential. Then feel free to enjoy the hotter-than-you-could-imagine sex that ensues.

Let your lady dress you (occasionally).

I’m sure you’re not one of those guys who regularly embarrasses his girlfriend, but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that sometimes you wear just a touch too much cologne or a smidge more Ed Hardy than is actually necessary. If your girlfriend loves you – and values her sanity and social standing – then she might, at some point, gently urge you to put away the guido chains or button your shirt so as to hide your cascading chest hair, making you instantly more presentable and infinitely more desirable.

Most women delight in a good man make-over, but decades of being told that we’re too demanding and too quick to judge have taught us to quiet this primal urge and let boyfriends be boyfriends. It’s not that we don’t love you just as you are. (The rose-colored glasses of love pack a powerful punch.) Our attempts to offer helpful wardrobe and grooming tips come from a place of loving you enough to want you to look their finest, and when you listen, it makes us over-the-moon, act-out-some-naughty-fantasies-tonight happy. Heck. I’d love to date a guy who had enough fashion know-how to pick out the perfect dress for me that plays up my assets and hides the jiggly bits, but that’s what gays and personal shoppers are for. Enjoy your free consultations where you can!

Make time for romance.

Successful daters make their love lives a priority. You can’t fall in love – and you can’t convince someone to fall in love with you – until you’ve decided to focus on it, even amidst all of your other myriad responsibilities. I don’t mean to suggest that you should drop everything and cling to whomever you’re currently sleeping with like you’re floating on a door in the middle of the Atlantic after the Titanic just sank; I mean to say that if you’re serious about getting serious with someone, then your love life should be just as just as important as your work life and your aspirations to heavy metal rockstardom or whatever. Love isn’t just going to drop into your lap like errant bird excrement. You have to work for it. (Let us pause, smell the incense, and listen to some mystic drumming). Keep in mind: the universe provides, but only when you ask.

 

 

 

 

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