1. Don’t call until three days after your first date.
I believe that there were several truly evil figures throughout history: Hitler, Ted Bundy, and the Ed Hardy-wearing toolbag that coined this torture device of a rule. I’ve always been of the camp that if you like someone, enjoyed their company, and have some kind of interest in ever seeing them again — letting them know in a timely fashion is amongst the best ways to communicate (third only, perhaps, to telepathy and throwing a brick through their window with “LET’S F-CK” written on it in blood). There are few things worse than going out with someone you’re truly interested in, only to spend the next few days wondering if the sight of you repulsed them and they’re busy moving out of the tri-state area to avoid you, or they’ve just read Tucker Max a few too many times and are now waiting a standard three days to ask you out again. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a small heart attack every time your phone buzzes, only to see it’s just your lame friend again, and not the only person in the world you’re actually interested in hearing from. Let’s just avoid this process in the future.
2. Wait until the third date to have sex.
There seems to be some kind of rule of thirds when it comes to douchey pseudo-rules to dating. And it’s strange, because the kind of person I imagine would subscribe to a set amount of time before which it’s not “okay” to bone a potential suitor also strikes me as the kind of person who’d want to wait for much, much longer than three dates. I mean, it’s surprising that in 2012 anyone would have some kind of line in the sand about how many pasta dinners a guy has to take you out for before you can take your vagina out of its silk-lined jewelry box and let it participate in the relationship. In any case, it’s probably best to just do whatever feels right. Things going awesome on a second date? Go for it! Wanna wait a month? It’s your prerogative. Just do you, and don’t carry around a stopwatch counting down the seconds until you can stop pretending to be coy and get to baby making.
3. The man must always pay.
While I am in no position to deny someone a moment of chivalry if they so desire to exert it, it seems so outdated and, frankly, stupid to have this rule etched in stone. Let’s face it, with the economy the way it is and post-grads looking at job prospects closely resembling the Hunger Games, I kind of feel like whoever can pay should just do it, regardless of sex. I have girlfriends who won’t even take wallets out on dates, and though that makes them a heavy favorite in the running for Worst Human Being Ever, I can’t say it’s not reinforced by our dating culture. I personally get a thrill from being able to tell my date, “You get whatever you like tonight, sweetheart, have fun,” chucking him gently under the chin, and leaving a fat stack of hundreds bound together by a rubber band on the table when we leave. We all deserve such joy in our lives, why just leave it to the men?
4. Only date men with good jobs.
This one clearly goes hand-in-hand with the previous, and is often espoused by your witch-like aunts and grandmothers who insist that, should you marry a waiter who goes to school at night, you will essentially burst into flames out of shame and poverty a few months after your wedding. Yet another archaic remnant from the era in which the only reason for a woman to go to college was to wait outside the medical and law buildings with tranquilizer darts and drag their conquests to the nearest chapel. Today, though, we all work — and we’re all trying to make ends meet. And while it’s certain that someone who completely lacks ambition and envisions their financial future as just consistently having enough for a couple of bong-loads is perhaps not our dream date, in this economy, the job that you hold today is often zero reflection of your talents, qualifications, or desires. If you find a guy that’s putting in his time at a coffee shop, staying on his game, and working hard to one day fulfill his dreams — there is no shame in that. (I would endorse dating guys who are super-dedicated baristas and envision their career in coffee, but they are almost guaranteed to be crunchy-granola-good-looking and already nailing every girl who orders a soy chai.)
5. Eat lightly on a first date.
There is no pain greater than watching people use all this money and energy going out to a bomb-ass restaurant with things like roast duck and four-cheese risotto on the menu, only to limply pick away at a salad as they sip their drinks and make stilted conversation. If the date is good and you guys are hitting it off, be yourselves and indulge in that awesome four-pound pasta dish. If the date is going horribly and you want to gouge your eyes out with a melon baller, why make a bad thing worse? Use the one upside of this situation and gorge yourself on awesome (and potentially free) food. It’s a win-win. And you certainly wouldn’t want to ensnare someone on the false premises that you only daintily nibble the occasional shred of lettuce, only to have them discover that you essentially eat your hamburgers like a duck, often forgetting to chew. Just be real, it’s better that way.