In high school, I was a Goth chick who stole a popular girl’s boyfriend. In college, they called me the “Make Out Queen.” My early 20s, I was a warning: “Watch out, man, that girl’s a player.” That was until I met The Guy that made me act like an idiot.
Admit, it’s happened to you, too. We like to think we’re all super sexy and confident — and we are, truly — but men can strip us of our self-worth and make us into pansies. They know it, and they use this knowledge to their advantage.
I’ve been married for almost three years to a wonderful, sexy man who resembles Tyler Durden. Jake is hot, funny and intelligent. He is fearless, and the longer I’ve been with Jake, the stronger I’ve become.
That said, the week before I met Jake, I was obsessively texting some dumb-dumb who dropped me for a younger version. I begged him to take me back. I was, in a word, pathetic. How did I go from Make Out Queen to bumbling fool? It’s easier than you’d think.
When we get together as women, we dish. We order cocktails and dismantle any guy who comes into the conversation. It is so easy to give our girlfriends advice, because from the outside, everything seems so clear.
He didn’t call you last night? Dump him.
He didn’t offer to introduce you to his mother? Dump him.
He wears Crocs? Yay God, dump him!
But are we even listening to ourselves? From my years (years) of being “that crazy girl,” I’ve come to understand a couple of things about dating. Call them rules, if you want, but here, dedicated to all the single ladies, is a list of what I learned after I found Mr. Right. Some of these might sound antiquated, but hey, I’m a little old fashioned.
1. Texting is stupid
Clean and simple: If the man communicates only via text, he’s probably a loser. A man should call. I know a lot of people are scared of human interaction nowadays. We all sound a little awkward on the phone, true, but if this guy is worth his weight in Italian shoes, he needs to call you and make plans — oh, and keep those plans. Duh.
2. Texting too much is worse
This is all on you, girl. I love my friends, but they text too much. They ask me over dinner, “Should I text him?” If you have to ask, the answer is “No.” I made the same mistake. In the past, I used to text cute things to guys I was sleeping with. They never responded. They usually broke up with me soon after.
3. Do not sleep with him on the first date
Do not. Just don’t. I can’t make this any clearer. I’ve slept with men on a first date. Did the relationship last past breakfast? No. There are exceptions to this rule but very few. We’d like to believe men don’t think with their penises, but, well, they do. If you give it up on date one, you’d better be as interesting as the Dos Equis guy. Otherwise, you’re not getting round two. Patience is a virtue, in this case at least.
4. Never be the first one to call the morning after
So you finally do have sex. Hooray! Don’t call him. We’re women. We like to be polite and thankful and say, “That was wonderful,” but really, don’t. Let him wonder if it was wonderful. Make him be the first one to get in touch with you and, obviously, ask you to dinner. If you get all cute and clingy after one sack session, that’s a bachelor red flag. But if you’re cool and don’t check in, he’s going to wonder who else you’re sleeping with — and are they as good as him?
5. If there’s drama, jump ship
I got no time for drama. Neither do you. I used to get really annoyed with my married friends who would say everything was simple with their new beau. My best friend, when she met her husband, said, “I never knew it could be this easy.” Then, I met Jake, and I became one of the annoying people. It’s true: Everything is easy when you meet the right guy. I make no exceptions. If there’s drama, it’s never going to work, because there will always be drama.
6. Let him buy you dinner
Here we go, I’m getting antiquated. Gloria Steinem is punching a wall. I have girlfriends who go on dates and refuse to let the guy buy them dinner. This blows my mind. One, because I’m cheap, and if a guy asks me to dinner, he’s paying. Two, if a guy asks you to dinner, he’s planning on paying. Why do we rob men of this one, simple gesture? It’s like we’re trying to make them feel metro and modern when we all know they just want to be Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Let him be Humphrey Bogart.
7. Always look your best
One of my favorite quotes: “A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you.” You don’t have to wear a dress every day. Just look good. It doesn’t take much effort. Red lipstick is my go-to when I’m feeling “less.” Oh, and high-heeled shoes. If you wear high-heeled shoes but have tired eyes, no one’s gonna look at your eyes. I used to go to this sports bar to watch football, and I always wore my lucky red shoes. By the end of the season, I was “Red Shoes Girl.” Every man in the bar knew who I was, and I dated an incredibly hot photographer because of it. You never know who’s paying attention: might just be your future husband.
8. Date around
I suppose my record is three guys at once. (Not in bed; you’re dirty.) No, I dated three guys at once. I feel this is the way to go, especially in modern dating. Old expression, but true: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Dating multiple men is almost like a power play. One asks you out for Tuesday, and you have to say, “Oh, and I already have a date that night.” Your market value just went up 90 percent. Also, it’s a protective mechanism for you. If one guy stops calling, you’ve got two in the wings. And who knows? Maybe eventually, you’ll pick a favorite, drop all the others, marry him and become Sara Dobie Bauer.