I am single again at age 31 for the first time in four years—and I’m a little in shock. As confusing as the dating world was the last time I flew solo, it is exponentially more terrible now. The pick-up lines are worse. The attitudes are worse. Everyone is notably more jaded. Online dating apps are so overwhelming that a girl needs a social secretary just to keep up with all the pointless small talk and assorted bullshit.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned—or just old at this point—but I’m completely unimpressed with the general quality of single men in 2015. I don’t want to waste my time hanging out with guys who cause me to text the word “meh” to my best friend. I don’t want to sit through an hour-long dinner talking to someone who has nothing to offer me intellectually. I don’t want to correspond with a guy who cannot effectively communicate his feelings without an emoji. Call me stuck-up or crazy, but I prefer to date a guy who behaves, well, like an actual man.
Frankly, the behavior of guys today can cause a girl to pause and think, Where the fuck have all the real men gone? And so I’ve put together a little list of requests for the entire male population. These are things that men used to do in past eras—behaviors that I wish the men of my generation would adopt today.
Fellas, put these little requests into action, and I promise you will start to differentiate yourself from 99% of the other single men out there. Really, I’m writing this for your own good.
Here we go:
1. Use proper grammar.
I cannot tell you what a turnoff it is when a man speaks as if he failed his tenth-grade English class. Or worse, when he texts “Your” instead of “You’re” — or even worse yet, “UR.” Seriously boys, make the effort. Spell out the words you are trying to say and use that education your parents paid so much money for. Please, don’t make it obvious that you are less intelligent than we are—at least not in the first (incomplete) sentence.
2. Have ambition.
This step may be a little cumbersome, because it actually requires that you think at least a little about the world and your place in it. Think about where you are, what you are doing with yourself, and where you want to be in five years. When you take a girl on a date, don’t tell her that you’re a freelance photographer and then shrug and say, “I dunno” when she asks you where you see that going. Tell her why you’re passionate about photography, what inspires you, and how you’re currently turning your passion into a career. Ambition is sexy, fellas. Haplessness—not so much.
3. Order a big boy drink.
Do you really think that Don Draper would have gotten laid so often had he been ordering PBR cans instead of Manhattans? There is something so sexy about a man who prefers Scotch to Bud Light—a man who will take you out for cocktails at seven instead of draft beer at nine. Fellas, if your only experience with liquor consists of tequila shots at a post-collegiate Mexican bar with your broskis, go educate yourself. There’s a whole, more refined, world of drinking out there just waiting for you.
4. Shave your face.
I cannot wait until this whole Abraham Lincoln-esque beard trend ends. To me, it just seems like an excuse for more laziness. Think about it, fellas —how would you feel if we stopped shaving? Pretty grossed out, huh? You don’t want to stick your face in a giant bush? Well, neither do we. So do us all a favor and shave your face. Besides, how the fuck are we supposed to tell what you even look like under all that facial pubic hair?
5. Show some humility about your past relationships.
Do you know how incredibly often a guy will claim that his last relationship didn’t work out because his ex-girlfriend was “crazy?” A lot. And here’s the thing: We know she probably wasn’t actually crazy. Conversely, the fact that you have convinced yourself that she was crazy is a giant fucking red flag. When you tell us that your ex was “crazy,” we often assume that you did something terrible to her, like banged her sister, and then you rewrote history for yourself in order to diminish her justifiably strong emotional reaction to your shitty behavior. So just be kind when you’re talking about your ex, fellas. Or at least don’t shit-talk her.
6. Send flowers.
Whenever a millennial woman receives flowers from a millennial guy she is dating, it is like winning the fucking dating lottery. Why? Because it is SUCH a rare occasion. Now fellas, I’m not saying that you need to send a bouquet of roses after every first date. However, if you’re a couple of months in and you really like a girl, why not show her what a classy, thoughtful guy you are and send her a dozen of her favorites? What? You haven’t asked her what her favorite flower is yet? Shame on you, Sir. Shame on you.
You know what’s great about phones? They were actually invented to make phone calls. The truth is, girls actually get sick of receiving vague, ambiguous texts from guys all the time. If you really like the chick, pick up the phone and call her once in a while. About a month ago, a guy I had been out with a couple times called me at 2:00 am, just to tell me he was thinking about me. Yes, he had just gotten back home after getting loaded with his friends at a country concert, and no, it didn’t end up working out for us. Regardless, it was a sweet gesture, and it reminded me of how awesome it can be to actually hear your love interest’s voice on the other end of the line once in a while.
8. Say goodbye when it’s time.
When it’s over, say it’s over. If you’ve got other things going on, or you’re not over your ex, or you’re morphing into an alien and moving to the planet Jupiter, just tell us. We aren’t going to die. I promise you, women today aren’t nearly as fragile as you think they are. I know it’s easier to disappear—to leave our last text unanswered and just fade away like Casper the friendly ex-boyfriend, but saying a proper goodbye is actually your golden opportunity to shape the way we remember you. Want to be that jerk who confused the hell out of us? Fine. Go ahead and just disappear. But if you want to end up being that amazing guy we remember, be direct with the woman you’ve been dating/seeing/talking to/banging on the regular. We’ll feel better about it, and honestly, so will you. And besides, there’s always something sweet to be said about a goodbye kiss.