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Dating Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

I recently read an article about a book for women on dating.

I have just one thing to say: the 1950’s called; it wants its dating protocol back.

I have to say that I am immediately suspicious, skeptical and sarcastic when it comes to books that give you a set of rules about doing something so unmethodical. Rules are for board games, what kings do, and to make straight lines on paper. Love, or even sex, cannot be bound by rules. (And that’s an opinion, by the way, not a decree.)

With so many books about dating rules, does this imply that dating is merely a game? When you get the guy do you win, and when you don’t are you a loser? Are there penalties for poor sportsmanship (or, rather, sportswomanship)? And is there a trophy for the World (or at least Municipal) Series winner?

There’s so much I clearly don’t know, so, let me go over what I’ve learned. These rules tell me, as a woman, to:

  • never call a man
  • not talk too much
  • be the one to end all phone calls

If I were the man in this situation, I’d figure that the woman was being held captive and allowed to answer the phone only with a gun pointed to her head.

The rules also instruct me to:

  • make the man travel to me
  • never split the check
  • insist he take me somewhere fancy

If I were the guy, I’d assume the woman was living on food stamps. Either that or she had an extra serving of the Princess Complexion for lunch.

These rules further drill into my head to:

  • keep all forms of conversation light and breezy
  • not respond to a text right away
  • act mysterious

If I were a man trying to get to know this woman, I’d be thinking “pothead” or “airhead”.

So here’s where I’ve gone wrong in every dating situation: I call a guy I’m interested in, engage in interesting conversation where we get to know each other, and always forget to hang up on him. I frequently meet him for a date at a halfway point, constantly offer to split the check, and enjoy good food regardless of the price. I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but I easily make him laugh with my witty repartee, respond to his texts whenever it’s convenient for me (which sometimes means <cringe> right away), and only act mysterious when I’m hiding a body in my trunk.

This book advises women to treat the guy they’re interested in like a guy they don’t care for. I’ve got news for you, rule-followers: if you treat a guy like you don’t care for him, he’s going to act like a guy who doesn’t care for you.

So if you absolutely need to follow a rule, I’ve got one (and only one) for you: break the goddamn rules and act like a grown-up! (I know that was two rules, but I was just following my own advice.)

Read more posts by Selena Templeton, love and relationship expert. Selena blogs for JenningsWire.