Monday, October 10, 2005

The Rules Live On

Remember The Rules, that widely decried book where two women decided they knew how to grab and keep a man using stupid mind tricks? Their rules included such helpful hints and "never answer the phone the first few times he calls" and "even if you don't have plans on Friday, never accept a date for the weekend if he calls after Wednesday." I thought those rules were retarded when they first came and I think they're retarded now.

Unfortunately, many of my female acquaintances tend to disagree. Not explicitly, mind you -- but they still do play by a set of rules that I find silly.

One friend, Lynn, gives out her phone number at bars but never gets the guy's number. Her rationale: it should be the guy who calls. At first impression, it's not an awful position to take. Then, however, she takes it a step further: she won't be the one to suggest getting together. No matter how much fun she and the guy have together, she won't be the one to suggest a date or a second meeting. That's "the guy's" job.

Egged on my other friend Loretta, they develop these rules together: Who was the last one to call whom? (The calls should alternate.) Was your last call just returning his call, or was there more to it? (You should also alternate who initiates conversations.) What was the previous mode of communication? (Return communication should be like in kind: email for email, text message for text message, phone call for phone call). All kinds of silly crap.

From time to time, these girls ask me for my advice on what to do, and I consistently tell them: Do whatever the hell you want to do. And I don't mean that in a "whatever, I'm not going to give you my advice" way, I mean it to say do what you want, as opposed to do (or don't do) what things based on your expectations of how things should progress. Whose "role" is it to ask for a date? Screw it; if you want one, ask for it. A common refrain I hear from these girls is "If he were interested, he would have approached me. I'm not going to go over there." Well then, you've just lost out on your chance with him. Maybe your approaching him would have sparked his interest. Now, nothing. You snooze, you lose.

There is some merit to the thought that if, after talking a good number of times, no one's brought up the "let's go on a date" question yet, then there's something wrong. But why does that party have to be the guy? Sitting around waiting for something to happen isn't going to suddenly make the date materialize.

The other day on Craig's List I found the following ad (I can't possibly find it again) which basically said: "You are the (insert description here) guy on my floor. We check each other out all the time. Why don't you ask me for coffee or something? You know I'll say yes! I'm waiting." Okay, lady, if you're both checking each other out and you clearly want to hang out with this guy socially, just freakin' ask him already. Grow some spine.

Then, a few short days later, another ad appeared along the same vein, sparking much dispute among the CL denizens: Woman saw guy at bar. She didn't approach him then, but she did post an ad for him and, surprise surprise, he responded. They've emailed back and forth, and although she keeps indicating when she's available, he never pulled out the words, "Let's get together on [X date] at [Y time]." Now she's frustrated that he's not asking her out despite her obvious interest and availability. My take: Not to say this guy is a genius or anything, but you've tried subtle and it's not working. Just ask him out already. And if his not taking this initiative is really bugging you this much, do you still want to be with him at all? Just call it a dealbreaker, and forget the loser.

Mind you, I recognize that as a very single gay man, I'm the last one you'd go to for heterosexual dating advice. I don't know what's successful in the world of dating (aside from being drop-dead gorgeous no matter how dumb as a post you may be), but I've seen that these bullshit tactics seldom work. Hell, those chicks who wrote The Rules are both divorced now. So much for being able to hold on to your man.

Now, single women, go forth, and talk to that boy you've always wanted to talk to! You'd be stupid not to.


anne said...

You should be a motivational speaker. ;)

terrance said...

Heh. I'd say that the odds against gay men are so great that we don't have time to play mind games. But we both know that's not true. :-)

Vince said...

Funny how it is the single women who like to play such games. Wonder if that is why they are still single?

Hmmmmm . . . just a thought.


Steve said...

Yeah! I've often wondered who the f**k those 'rules' broads thought they were anyway. I can offer no expert dating advice, as I am also available (very), but what's so wrong with meeting up with someone, whether you're gay or straight, and just go with the flow--see what happens? There are no rules for dating, and anybody who has criteria for said dating, probably isn't worth dating in the first place.

katie said...

I'm totally with you on this, except for one thing.
I won't go out with a guy who doesn't give me at LEAST 48 hours notice. My reasoning is simple: I think it's rude, and signifys that the guy doesn't think I have anything going on, so he waits until the last minute. This of course doesn't apply to something casual like lunch or coffee.

duane said...

I hate the rules. When "I was straight" (*snicker*), everyone was obsessed with them; but low and behold, when I came out, all these queens want nothing more than the rules! Well, to use those rules in their games, that is... so yeah, down with the rules!