Leave it up to movies like Think Like A Man and Two Can Play That Game, and you'll swear that the only way to get and keep a man is to play by a set of well-documented rules. But as much as I appreciate the opinion of my male and female counterparts, I must admit that I've never been one to be on my best behavior in hopes of locking a man down.
Rules are designed as a way to perpetuate standards, moral values, and to maintain boundaries. When applied to a dating lens, they're more so dependent on the trust and comfort levels of the person you're with. I've read article after article touching on first date rules and dating no no's, and I've realized I've never been one to follow many first date rules.
The tried and true method ultimately does not work for me. In fact, I felt that I wasn't being true to who I was on a first date because I was too concerned about what my date thought of me based off of a list of first date rules that were, in my opinion, very much outdated. I wondered if there was something wrong with me for dating rules like “never return a call or text immediately" or “wait three days to call" never worked for me. That was until I started thinking for myself during dates, feeling the man, reading the moment, and allowing myself to be.
So here are my rules, the ones that may go against the grain, but have yet to keep me from being in fulfilling relationships.
Do Ask the Guy
When we talk about the principles of the chase, it stems from women's desire to be certain that a man is interested in her. How can you know he's interested if you become the pursuer versus the pursuant? You can ask. I don't believe shyness or fear of rejection knows gender roles, so that guy that sits three seats up from you in class or the barista who makes your vanilla bean frap everyday who you think will just ask if they are interested could be having that very same thought about you. If you want to go on a date with someone, just ask. It takes a lot of pain out of beating around the bush and/or making assumption after assumption.
Do Talk About What You Want
Again, the pretenses. While I don't think that you should talk about your desires to wed in Hawaii by the time that you're 30, I do think that it's important to be clear and direct about what you want, even if it means giving a canned answer of “I'm going with the flow". I think this is important because sometimes women aren't honest with even themselves that they are looking for something serious out of fear that the man they're dating will run at the slightest hint of commitment, but if that's what you're looking for and he's paralyzed by the idea of it, you've saved yourself the time and energy of getting to know someone who isn't the one for you. If you feel like you have to play cool to get the guy, you're not starting things off on the right foot and you should ask yourself the question of why you feel you must hide behind a mask.
Do Mention Your Ex and Do Hear About His
Okay, if he left you a couple of weeks ago and the wound is still fresh, you should probably sit this one out. But I think a lot can be revealed about a person when you have an ex talk. There's no need to write an eloquent detailed history for him right then and there about Mr. Wrong, but it's worth it to touch the surface a little bit. With that one conversation, you can learn how fresh the relationship is, whether or not he is over the situation, whether or not he is capable of accepting blame or if he sees himself as perfect, and most importantly, what that lesson has led to him as far as discovering what he wants in a future partner are.
Do Wear Whatever You Want
It's unsettling to hear at times the feeling of ownership society has on what women wear and how they define or label us based on those decisions. If you feel sexy in a turtleneck, some jeans, and those vintage All Star Converses in your closet, wear them. If you feel sexy giving enough cleave to the gods, do it! I think we internalize what everyone thinks so much that it silences our own wants. Wear what makes you sexy and even though there are men out there like Rev Run who believe, “Dress the way you want to be addressed" – do you. My value is not entwined in what I decide to wear and if you're going to radiate confidence on your first date, wear what feels most true to you.
Do Talk About Whatever the Hell You Want
It's usually taboo to talk about any hot button topics that could potentially cause an argument, especially when you don't really know a person or have that comfort level to properly diffuse situations without being offensive. I don't think that should stop a natural progression of a conversation though. If it comes up that you love God and you're a devout Christian, talk about religion. If it comes up that you don't believe in Trump's desires for foreign policy, so be it. Let the conversation go where it flows. If a difference in opinion is something that he can't handle, that could indicate whether or not you'd like to see him again. And some of us like intellectual debates with our dates. It shouldn't have to take a backseat just because it's your first.
Do Focus on the Present
All in all, a lot of the weight that comes along with acing a first date comes with the pressure we place on ourselves as far as expectations go, especially when we're really into someone. Truthfully, one of the best ways to stay true to yourself is to stay in the now and don't look so far ahead at where this date may lead. Just be. The real you is under that bundle of anxiety-ridden nerves so let go and focus on the moment. Don't think about whether or not he'll call, get to know him, and decide whether or not you like him.
Do Engage in Kissing on Either Set of Your Lips
This is not for everyone, but I am a believer that sometimes chemistry is instant and sometimes you might want to kiss him at the end of a great night, sometimes you want to do more than kiss him. Do not allow the stigma of first date rules stop from doing something you want to do. If you've learned from past experiences that sex too soon makes you a stage five clinger, you might want to refrain until you're certain about how you feel. But if you're all for the count, you feel comfortable, and you want to, by all means, why not? Sex does change things though when it comes to dynamics between two people. The best thing that can happen is that you have a night of fun where someone you were into was equally into you and swept up by the flow of the night and lost themselves in you as wondrously as you did into them. The worst that can happen is that he doesn't call you after. But I'd like to emphasize that if he doesn't call, he never planned to call. Sex doesn't make a man lose interest, and if it does, they weren't interested enough in you to begin with. And if that's the case, did you really want him anyway?
Keeping that in mind, be one with yourself and true to yourself. Don't worry about what he thinks about you and instead worry about what you think about him. That's the way to survive the dating world. I am a firm believer that if you value yourself and know what you want, the world can see that. There is no need to follow a set of rules to act as guidelines to get you to the commitment you want so if you break a couple, so what? Just be yourself. Truthfully, that's the kind of genuine connections you should be gravitating towards and holding close to you in your world anyway. A finger is constantly being placed in our faces when we act on our desires in an act to tell us “no", and I'm just here to say, “yes". Yes. Yes. YES!
What first date rules are you not afraid to break?