Dating advice I won’t be taking


I relented. I bought a dating book. It told me a lot of things including an explicit timeline for dating ‘activity’. Now no-one has given me such prescriptive information about the right time for a kiss, a hug or a roll in the hay since high school.. and yet I was enthralled to be lectured after 20 years of dating. After 8 seasons of Sex and the City, endless conversations with women since the age of 17, and a not-so-impartial-lecture from my mother… I always thought I knew what was appropriate ‘activity’ when dating guys. And I would like to present to you the summary of the last 20 years of advice.

Do/ Don’t kiss on a first date

Don’t have sex on the first date
Don’t have sex until the third date
Don’t have sex until he’s committed to an exclusive relationship
Don’t have sex  (guess who that came from…Mum)
Don’t wait to have sex too long, or you could be wasting your time
Don’t go down on him until you’re in a ‘relationship’
Don’t bring up having a ‘relationship’ unless he does
Don’t ask to be exclusive, that’s his job
Don’t stay in a relationship unless he’s going down on you
Oh and the one I love, continue dating multiple guys at the same time until one of them asks you to be exclusive… …..which seems to me, well, kind of whoreish. 
Basically I think overall it means no sex
…or maybe some sex
…or sex with one person
…but only in a relationship
…unless you’re testing driving him
…or think it has potential
…or more often, you’re horny and had too many martinis. 
It’s very confusing really. And after a sexless marriage, and quite a few sexless years in my 20s and 30s (..ahem and 40s), I really don’t know what the rules are any more. Or whether I really want to follow them.
 
I grew up dating in the UK where the words ‘to date’ didn’t actually exist. You had friends who had friends, you fancied one of them rotten, you drank too much one night and snogged outside the pub and that was your boyfriend. No conversations about it, people didn’t go out with more than one person at a time (unless you were charging by the hour) and the only game playing occurred in the pub and generally featured darts. You moved in when your lease was up, and for most of my friends, a ring followed a couple of years later (pre-empted by a few pregnancy scares and way too much time at Ikea). Easy.

So back to the dating book. According to this gem, I’m not to even KISS the guy until date #4. Mind you, I am only allowed to date a guy, 1 night a week. And it has to be ‘out of the house’. This means no cooking at home, no ‘hanging out’, no last minute drinks, and definitely definitely, no date more than once a week. It has to been scheduled, in advance, out of the house, a formal date (I’m presuming that I won’t be need to be wearing a prom dress or a corsage, but they didn’t specify). I’m not to drive myself, he’s to pick me up (apparently future stalkers or weirdos aren’t a concern to the books authors), and I’m to not even so much as glance in the direction of my purse. If he goes in for the goodnight kiss I am to shake his hand. Yes. Shake his hand. Like I’m Obama or the Queen. And if he goes in for the hug, I am do step aside and say ‘Not yet’. Apparently the new catch phrase for ‘I’m a prude’. Seriously? Not even a hug according to this  book. I often get a two handed handshake or a pat on the shoulder from a job interview… but no, apparently no touching on Date #1. Or #2. Date 3 I am allowed a hug. Date 4, I can kiss him, but no tongues. Yes, the book is that specific. At this point, I don’t even want to date me.

With my mouth hanging open in a combination of awe and horror, I skipped through the chapter to find out when I might actually get to make out with this poor guy and discovered that the schedule allows for date #8 (but second base only). Any awkwardness is meant to be dealt with via the ‘Not Yet’ phrase and a ‘wry smile’ (to quote the authors). Drive a man wild? Drive a man to dump you. Who does this? In case you’re wondering, you get to have sex only after 12 weeks have passed, or 12 dates. At which point you can see your blue balled beloved more than once a week. If he’s even speaking to you at this point.

While I agree that we’ve all gotten used to everything too fast and that things need to slow down, I had a hard time swallowing this program. On the plus side, you know who you’re sleeping with and it means something (presumably because you’ve been doing nothing but talking and saying ‘Not Yet’ for the last 12 weeks).. which theoretically means you’ve garnered the guys respect, and you’re actually in a relationship before sharing yourself. But what really sticks in my head is how the author recommend that since you’re still ‘figuring out’ whether you even like the person, you’re also meant to be pursuing other guys. Meaning you’re spreading the blue balls around. Which somehow feels cheap and callous. Frivolous. Selfish. Cold. Mean. Exactly the type of women I hate.

So I’m stuck. I like the idea, but in reality I’m a one guy girl. I could not more wait 12 weeks than the average guy could (not without some serious intervention requiring hospitalization). And really, do you get to know someone over one date a week for 12 weeks? Do you know how this person will react when faced with non date, real life things? Do you know anything about someone with whom you’ve shared bread and wine, but not even a kiss?

Thank god I’m on a dating break because I don’t know if I have the stamina with this program. I don’t know if the man this is aimed to find even exists and if I found him, whether I’d even want to date him.

Plus in the immortal words of Murtaugh, ‘ I’m too old for this shit’..

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