Maybe that's for the best.
What authority do I have, after all? My go-to response in social settings is to laugh awkwardly and fidget while avoiding eye contact, sometimes replying to questions with a noun or adjective that has absolutely no right to be included in the sentence.
"How are you doing today, MeMe?"
"Jaunty birds. Two-by-fours. Eclectic coffee pencils (nervous laughter). Amiright? You know!"
And yet, the shocking realization is that I am still not anywhere near the most awkward, uncomfortable, cringe-inducing human in the Internet Dating World of OkCupid.
Even my Groupon subscription, at this point, is gently recommending I try Match.com:
"Half off. Come on, MeMe... please listen. We're worried about you. It's 50% off now, and 50% more normal. Just think-- that's 50% less bitching from you. Think it over, won't you? For your own good?
For some reason, I persist, although my interest in the dating world can only be described as "lackluster" at best.
Gerard Butler did his best, and even suggested a mini golf outing, which, I feel (for him) was a true stretch of the imagination. I agreed, because I hate open rejection, and then went into the ritual of only answering half his texts, weaning him off until there were no more responses and he got the hint and stopped asking.
Since he would only text me once every few days this was not much of an issue, and my worry that I was stifling his burning passion for me alleviated.
Smoking Hottie, meanwhile, actually texted that he realized he was being rather stingy in an attempt at strange (and awkward) flirtation, and offered to buy me (yes, purchase!) sushi one day if I could make it out to his neck of the city.
Obviously, he reads my blog.
I'm open to this, because I enjoy looking at him, but again, there's really no worry that these boys are going to bust down my door to get to me. Call me old-fashioned but I like a man who's the perfect mix of giving me breathing room and obsessing about me to the point where it is no longer healthy.
Because this blog also turned out more popular than I could ever have expected or hoped (and I love you desperately for being so interested in my terrible dates, tragic history, and overall madness), I've been getting a lot of feedback from various individuals, who are trying to follow my "rules" but not fully grasping that I make shit up as I go, and will in all likelihood change my mind next week, swearing I never even SAID the thing that I had, previously, been so strident about, let it GO already good gracious.
So, for my bros out there in utter confusion, here's a few basic rules that I may or may not waver on down the line (my ladies, please feel free to comment any additional Golden Rules that I may have overlooked):
Rule One: If You Ask Her Out, You Pay. Jesus.
It's really as simple as that. Yes, we live in 2013 and feminism means women are striving to be equal to men, earn the same amount per dollar, and live in a world where we can be respected and admired and safe, even though Kickstarter just funded a guide for men that literally tells them it's okay to just grab our hands and put them directly on the penis. It's a confusing battle between good, evil, and old fashioned here.
But just answer me this: Did you ask her out? You did, didn't you? Then plan on paying.
If she asked you out, and you said yes, not only is she my new hero, she should also expect to foot the bill. Or at least go Dutch. Fair's fair.
But, speaking as someone who gets rejected every time she asks a man out, yet seems to be in hot demand when she appears to be totally uninterested (admittedly, awkwardness maaaay be a factor here), men seem to prefer to be the ones doing the asking. Am I being too bold? Am I scaring you? Am I literally not making any kind of sense whatsoever in my attempt to communicate with you? I don't know. But if you want to be the ones doing the asking, go right ahead. Just pay.
Don't preface the date with a condescending wink and a pat on the hand, followed with, "It's on me, so order whatever you want, little lady." Thanks, I think I'll order my dignity back.
Don't hold up your hand like a Supreme and tell her you've got it when the check hits the table. Just pick it up, and put your card down like it ain't no thing. You got this. You planned this. Let her fiddle with her purse a minute, because we genuinely feel bad if we don't offer (unless 1- she is an entitled bitch or 2- you were just the worst of companions for the course of the meal), but assure her, it's on you and thanks for spending the evening with you. Boom. I don't care if you bought me water and I splurged for a slice lemon, that's what I like to hear.
If you can't afford a nice dinner and a movie, or don't want to put that kind of investment into a new person, go for coffee. Go for ice cream. Take a walk. Read her some romantic epic poems (please don't read her poems on the first date). Figure it out, son.
This does not mean you have to front the bill for your female friends, your mother and extended family, and every woman in the bar. Are you trying to sleep with them? I certainly hope not (though I can't speak for some guys I know). Thus, they don't expect you to throw cash at them like they're spending their weekend twirling on a pole beneath a shiny disco ball.
Not again, Cousin Judy... You promised!
Rule Two: On the Initial Approach... Don't Be So Weird.
Seriously, quit being so fucking weird.
-Do not propose or profess love before a socially appropriate amount of time has passed.
That is just never okay. Please stop doing it.
Let's analyze an example, shall we?
"Ok so maybe this is a bit forward.. .. but how about we go explore Chicago, you know because I'm an expert on the place... While there we could get engaged.. Yeah you know like wedding future wife be with me forever engaged hahaha .."
My first reaction to this (second, my first is that this individual absolutely has no concept of how to use ellipses) is holy hell, he's going to murder me somewhere in the three-hour drive it would even take to get to Chicago. I'll end up stuffed into his dead mother's wedding gown and kept in a dry basement closet until the police find me twenty years later during a drug raid.
You look like you're about a size four...
Not only is suggesting we spend a total of 6 hours in a car together on a first date (assuming I even make it back) very presumptuous and completely horrifying, adding to the fact that I'm coming home with a (very small, no doubt) rock on my cold dead finger is just way too much pressure.
Desperation level: Expert.
My friend is experiencing a similar problem--a man she dated for a month (a year ago) continues to text her with declarations of love, and an insistent that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
They broke up because she found out he was engaged. To his cousin.
You can't bounce back from this, buddy. I don't care how much you claim to love her in the hopes that she'll forgive you for being an absolute piece of crap, because girls like that, right? That's all they want--committment!
You gots to git.
Please help me; I don't even know this man.
-Don't start off with a joke. Or a pick-up line. That ranks only slightly less pathetic.
-Do NOT neg her. I don't even think men know they're doing it half the time. If you are incapable of delivering a compliment without wrapping it in an insult, than you need to analyze why you can't just tell someone you think they're attractive without adding that they look like of like a thicker version of Julia Roberts. Are you so afraid your honest appreciation will be rejected that you add in a preemptive return snub? Don't get pissed when she's not flattered.
DO: Be honest. Yes, that can be difficult. It may not get you a return message on a dating site. It may not get you much in person, either. Women have men bombarding them with crap, crap, crap, all the time. In the bar. On the street. While driving. At the store. While walking the dog. During delivery of our firstborn. Constantly, it's just:
Hey! Girl, you single? Hey! Hey! Hey! Nice Ass! Hey!
In my case, "Hey! How old are you? Hey! Hey! Hey!"
We block it out, automatically. Honesty will make an impression. A nice, "Hello. I'm sorry to bother you, but I think you're really lovely, and I'd love to buy you a drink/talk with you for a minute/get your number and maybe take you out this weekend, because I can see you're with friends and I hate to interrupt" will either get you digits, or at least a really nice lie about already having a boyfriend if you're a 2 and she's a 9 (Rule Three: Know Your Limitations).
DON'T: Be too honest. "You're so hot I want to bang you right here and now on the bar, and I don't care who's watching. Ursher-style."
Rule Four: Accept Rejection Gracefully
I can't really help you here; I'm still working on that one.
It always has time for me.