Four of My Illogical and Arbitrary Dating Superstitions

Am I playing games or just trying to protect myself? Probably a little of both.

Jul 22, 2014 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

So I've been thinking about some of my weirder, more arbitrary dating rituals -- you know, those little superstitions that are most likely totally groundless and unfounded, but that I've bought into at some point over the years.

Some of them are abstractions of dating advice my teenage best friend's sister spouted off apathetically while clicking her gum; some of them are vaguely modified theses from god-awful books I never EVER should have read (much less believed), like The Rules.

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Hogus bogus?

But all of them I've somehow managed to internalize, and despite my better judgement, still catch myself mindlessly following today. Here are a few of them...

1. AFTER A DATE -- ESPECIALLY A GOOD ONE -- I SHALL NOT CONTACT A DUDE FIRST.

At some point in my dating career, I noticed that almost every time I had what I thought was a great first date, I wouldn't hear from the guy afterward. (Not quickly enough, at least.)

Growing increasingly impatient and starting to feel that slow-rising hum of panic in my chest (you know, that whole "I NEEEEEEED AN ANSWERRRRRRRR NOOOOWWWWW!" thing), I'd attempt to, well, GET an answer and relieve my fear. I'd do this by biting the proverbial bullet, sending the guy a text or an email telling him something totally harmless and NBD (think "Hey, I had fun on Saturday. Let me know if you want to hang out again sometime").

Not scary, right? I didn't think so, but without fail, I'd get a message back rattling off excuses for why he couldn't commit to seeing me again (finals, or a work trip, or parents visiting, or...). Of course this principle became the foundation for my No.1 dating myth, which I still adhere to, most of the time, today.

2. I SHALL NOT FANTASIZE ABOUT A DUDE UNTIL I'VE GONE OUT WITH HIM AT LEAST THREE TIMES.

Another thought pattern I've noted in my poor widdle brain is that just like most ladies I know (men too, of course), if I have an amazing date with someone, I tend to get ... excited.

Like, afterward I'll feel all giddy and Cloud Nine-y, spending WAY too much time thinking about the dude, wondering what's going to happen next, whether he feels the same way, what our first kiss will be like, what the eventual sex might be like, and (ugh, I'm a cliche) sometimes even doing that Horrible Terrible Most Embarrassing No Good Very Bad thing: imagining what I'll do with my last name (hyphenate? take his? keep mine? no hyphen?) if it does, indeed, turn out that he is MY GUY.

The problem with all this fantasizing is that without fail, it usually means I'm building someone up ... only to drop him like a steaming potato when I get the inkling that the fantasy might not align with the reality. OR it means I'm starting to reek of desperation, thereby sending the man scurrying long his merry way. So I try, nowadays, to not let myself go to fantasy-land at all unless we've moved past the scariest part of a new possible relationship.

3. I SHALL NOT WEAR A DRESS, A SKIRT, OR ANYTHING SUPER-SEXY ON A FIRST DATE.

This rule only applies if it's not the summertime. During the summer, I'm like most women I know -- I only want to wear lightweight, breezy dresses that manage to conceal or absorb rivers of boob sweat. But at all other times of year, this one goes without saying -- that I shall never try too hard to physically impress a man on a first date. I will always opt for a cute sweater and my favorite jeans over a fashionable shift dress.

See, I'm superstitious about the level of effort I put into dates at the beginning (see above). I seem to believe that the harder I try, and the more I care, and the more I secretly hope and pray and obsess, the less likely it is that the date will go well or that the guy and I will mesh. Whether this is true or not, I do not know, but I do know that it makes me feel better after a date goes bad -- "Well, glad I didn't waste my adorable new leather skirt and heels on THAT!" etc., etc.

4. IF HE SHALL NOT PAY FOR MY $15 DINNER (OR MY $3 COFFEE, OR MY $1 CLUB SODA), I SHALL NOT SEE HIM AGAIN.

I know this is well-worn, somewhat controversial territory. Yes, women have different stances on chivalry. Some find it embarrassingly outdated, reminiscent of a grosser time when women had no rights or respect or means to support ourselves. A time when we were treated more like property than equal partners. I'm a feminist; I understand why some people loathe those chivalrous modern dating routines.

I have a job. I own a house. Of course I don't need a man's money. But ... if a guy doesn't offer to pay on a first date, I will write him off almost immediately. Not for being cheap, but because in my experience, that indicates a simple lack of care and interest.

Almost every time I've had an amazing date with a man who seemed genuinely intrigued and excited about seeing me again, he's taken the time and effort to pay for our date, whether that meant coffee or movie tickets or a moderately priced dinner. He has done this even if he doesn't make tons of money. Not because he thinks I'm beneath him or because he hates feminism -- but because he likes me enough to actually give a shit about making a good impression on me. 

In my experience, the guys who haven't done that just ... weren't that into me. They didn't care about impressing me, and that was showcased in other ways, too, like failing to hold up their end of a conversation or not taking the time to ask me any polite questions about myself. So while this is one dating superstition I've danced around in the past -- of course I've gone on dates with guys who didn't pay, and sometimes I'd go out with them again. But in most cases, the guys who didn't pay were the guys who didn't care. And I don't have time for those sorts anymore.

Do you follow any dating superstitions? Please share below.

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