23 Things (Allison & I) Learned From Dating
When a fellow fabulously fierce female blogger, Allison Arnone, reached out to me about a collaboration on things we've learned from dating, I was like... DUH. Below is the final result (originally posted on AA's website):Something you should know about bloggers: instead of being jealous, competitive and catty, we’re (for the most part) insanely supportive, chummy and complimentary. Nothing makes me happier than stumbling on a new blog to read by a writer who I adore instantly. Keeping up with each other’s blogs actually creates this bond between you and a friendship forms, despite the fact that you’ve never even met…and likely never will.
Once I find this new blog buddy, I read. I follow. I share. I comment. I “like.” And sometimes, I send them emails that read like love notes from a 13-year-old girl with a crush asking them to collab with me on something.
…and that’s exactly what I did a couple weeks ago to Emma from the blog Emma’s Thing:
she had me at ‘big mouth.’
One thing I noticed very quickly about Emma and her writing was that a lot of it was focused on dating; on single life. “Modern romance,” if you will (oh, you won’t? Fine then). And even though she’s a little younger than me (bitch) I often found myself reading her stuff and nodding just going, YES. YES, ALL OF THIS. Not to mention she’s also friggin hysterical to boot.
So I asked Emma if she wanted to collaborate with me on a piece about dating – seemed fitting since it’s one of my favorite topics to write about on AA – and to jot down some of the “lessons” she’s learned from being a Single Lady in this bizarre, aggravating and downright ridiculous world of dating. And since I have a lot to say on the topic, I’m including a few of mine too.
It’s taking everything in me not to put dating in quotation marks because, like, come on. None of this shit is actual dating. It’s “dating.” It’s a distant cousin of dating. It’s a fuzzy memory of what dating was supposed to be but somehow got very lost along the way. However, Allison asked me specifically for little nuggets I’ve learned from “dating,” so here goes nothing:
- If messaging in a dating app/texting goes on longer than a week, maybe two given specific circumstances (i.e. holidays, illness, work travel), nip that shit in the bud. It’s great to banter via text for the first week or so to make sure he has good bullshit, but if he doesn’t ask you out and nail down a hard date, call it out then walk away (if he still doesn’t ask, of course).
- If a guy says he “doesn’t do drama” or “doesn’t play games,” HE LITERALLY LIVES FOR THAT SHIT. No one actually says that out loud. If he goes out of his way to state either idea, he is the biggest player in the game (or so he thinks). RUN AWAY.
- Use condoms. Don’t be stupid. Also, get screened for STDs because not enough people do it and it’s a smart thing to do and it’s fun to be smart.
- This has been tough for me to overlook, but don’t write a guy off just because he asks the dreaded, “So what do you want to do/where do you want to go?” question. It sucks and shows a lack of planning, but I’ve found the “I’m gonna let you take the reins on this one” retort usually works?
- Movie dates are for the birds. And by birds I mean an established couple. I just don’t understand how you can get to know someone by spending the majority of the date not talking inside a dark, quiet theater? Save it for when the newness has faded and a break from talking is welcome.
- If a guy ghosts on you, be thankful. Because clearly he was a prick and it wasn’t meant to be (although it’s maddening and makes you question what’s wrong with you. You’re allowed to wallow, but not for longer than 2 days).
- I’m honestly not sure whether or not the speed at which you decide to allow penetration effects the longevity or legitimacy of a budding courtship. Really. I don’t know. I can’t decide? I think it’s very easy to use as a scapegoat for why things went wrong, e.g. “It’s because I slept with him too soon.” “He was just in it for sex.” I’ve read articles that swear the first occurrence of sex in a relationship has absolutely no effect on whether or not you end up together — that it’s predetermined. But… I don’t know. I just don’t know.
- If a man with a penis states the following as things he first notices/looks for in a woman, GTFO OF THERE NOW: “Eyebrows. Teeth. Denim. Shoes. Presence.” In that order.
- If he doesn’t open doors for you, nope. Call me old school, but a guy should make it a point to get ahead of you and get the door. My ex swore he didn’t because I “walked faster than him,” so one time, I slowed waaaaay down to test his bullshit and guess what? He slowed down with me and we both full-stopped at the door and stood there. I can’t.
- There’s nothing wrong with the first few dates being drinks-only dates. But you should be enjoying food together at a normal dinner hour by date 3 or 4. If you aren’t… cue up that radar.
- Just because a guy is good at text banter doesn’t mean he’s going to be a witty conversationalist and vice versa.
- If you want to cancel on someone/have had a change of heart about them/don’t even know why you accepted the date in the first place, be honest. There are enough flakes and passive people in the world — do us all a favor and be as straightforward with your reasoning as possible.
- If he sends selfies/asks you for selfies before y’all have even met, NO MA’AM.
- You’ll say asinine things like, “I met this great guy but I shouldn’t say anything else ‘cause I don’t want to jinx it” because you’re so f*cking jaded that you start to believe talking about things optimistically is what ruins them.
- “We should hang out again!” is NOT a plan. It’s a very casual statement that means nothing and is nothing and should not, in any way, be taken as a plan or promise. In fact, if a man says this to you, you will probably never see him again.
- If he’s always the shortest person in the group photos on his dating profile, he doesn’t have insanely tall friends and he isn’t hanging out with NBA players. Homeboy is just SHORT. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
- Some people will insist that you “put yourself out there!” in order to meet someone while others will tell you that “things happen when you least expect it!” and honestly all you want to do is just lay down and take a nap cause this shit is EXHAUSTING.
- You’ll be genuinely surprised when a guy does something nice or actually follows through on a plan or something they said, which is really pathetic and sad. We now live in a world where we award people just for being decent human beings and not shitheads. Congrats.
- Be a little open minded. Give things a shot. Go on that first date. We tend to rule things out and disqualify people from a game they haven’t even gotten to play.
- Speaking of games… why all the games? I’M IN MY 30s WHY THE HELL ARE WE ALL STILL PLAYING GAMES.
- If you’re casually dating multiple people at once, good for you I guess, however good luck keeping any of the facts straight.
“So, John, you’re from Seattle right?”
“Huh? No, I was born here in New York.”
“Oh right, with your three sisters.”
“…I’m an only child.”
- If something seems off/not quite right/strange/a bit odd… it probably is. Go with your gut. It tends not to fail you.
- A bad date or experience will make you want to wave the white flag and quit the dating game for a while. That is, until you eventually get bored (and also get some form of dating amnesia) and get back in the saddle like a damn masochist. Try not to feel bad; we all do it.