I’m currently abstaining from dating to work on my sleep game, but when I was heavy into socializing with men, I could also often be found complaining about them to my girlfriends.
My complaints were pretty standard issue Taylor Swift song material, like “Why are the same men who say that they love the chase trying to sleep with me on the first date?” and “He twisted my nipples so bad, they chapped and bled and I’ll never be able look at him again without feeling that pain.”
My friends and I would sometimes come up with “rules” for my dating adventures. Such as no dating men with obvious issues, like an every day 1pm gambling addiction, or a stalker ex girlfriend who drops her dog off at the guy’s house unannounced, or no sex until we’ve gone on at least three dates.
These plans were used to prevent myself from repeating past mistakes, from getting dragged into someone else’s drama, and -- quite honestly -- to retain some power in dating because I tend to fall into the passive role, which quashes my natural proclivity for healthy self expression and lunacy.
Although I’m proud to say that I no longer date men who fit all of the sad criteria laid out so eloquently in the song “No Scrubs,” I often disobey my own rules and sleep with guys on first or second date. I did this partly because I just wanted to have sex -- a girl’s gotta eat, right? Also, rules are my kryptonite. I tend rebel against them, always have. So there’s that.
As I was talking about the trouble I have sticking to my own dating rules, my friend Amy mentioned that I might try a method advocated by a flamboyant Russian hairdresser we both worked for over a decade ago: no sex before you’ve gone on 10 dates or he has spent $1,000 on you, whichever comes first.
“HAHA,” I said, chugging my coffee nervously. “Of course he said that. He also kept vodka on the roof outside his window in the winter.”
“It’s not a terrible idea,” said Amy earnestly, always sympathetic to my dating woes.
“I would never even be able to keep track of that,” I told her, thinking of how ridiculous I would feel recording “DATE 4 -- $300” in my Moleskine day planner. What am I, a dating accountant?
As I contemplated the 10 dates or $1000 rule, my thoughts drifted back to a sweaty July day in Rome when an attractive gentleman in a killer grey Zegna suit approached me on a busy street and offered me money to have sex with him. It wasn’t a pleasant scene. I stared at him, got confused, cried, yelled “NO,” ran away, and spent the rest of the afternoon having cold showers to wash away the shame of being thought a hooker.
I had been wearing an orange sundress that turned red from perspiration (hot). I was on my way to get gelato from my favorite gelateria. I was experiencing the giddy, innocent happiness that ice cream and summer induce, and this jerk ruined everything by trying to make me a sex worker (nothing wrong with sex workers, but screw men -- not literally -- who try to put us into that role).
I was also bothered by the fact that I started considering his offer, after the fact. Maybe it wouldn’t be sooo bad, I thought. He was pretty hot in a rich-older-man-who-probably-has-herpes kind of way, and I do need money -- NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOO!
For days after, I felt like someone had crapped all over my soul, and I mentally berated myself for considering an offer I had already turned down. Zegna’s proposition had nothing to do with romance, and everything to do with immediate pleasure and profit.
And this is the problem I had with what my friend was proposing. I get the 10 dates before sex rule, I guess, but holding out until a man has spent $1,000 on me seems like a more drawn out form of prostitution than a modern day, feminist dating rule.
If I were to actually try this out, I’d likely fumble the whole operation by telling the guy that I was waiting for him to spend $1,000 on me, and if he’s at all normal and sane he’d be like, “Um, that is a weird, weird thing you’re doing.” Even if he was into it, my romantic track record dictates that the 10 dates would definitely come before the $1,000 because I don’t usually date rich men. (Nooooo scruuuubs.)
HOWEVER. What if you’re dating a rich dude who likes takes you to a fancy pants restaurant on the first date and buys you a Burberry scarf on the second, thereby spending $1,000 in two dates? Do you feel you owe him because he’s brandishing his black AMEX like a heroic golden sword and sleep with him?
Women who date men with padded bank accounts because they have padded bank accounts are a breed I have never related to, although I think a lot of them are actually very pragmatic life planners. Underdog dudes with unexplored potential are more my speed. Blame it on "Rocky." Blame it on my dad. Blame it on a lifetime of Springsteen on the speakers.
10 dates is too long to wait to have sex, assuming I’m seeing the guy once or twice a week. I wouldn’t have more than two or three dates with a guy I’m wasn’t super into, and when I do really like someone, I’m probably not going to wait until date 10 because I’m currently in my sexual prime and I quite enjoy the act.
I don’t want to have to think about tallying dates and dollars if I really like someone. I realize I’m a bit too airy-fairy head-in-the-clouds, but if you can’t be all hearts and dreamy thoughts in the nascent stages of love, when can you? Suze Orman might disagree, but too much finance talk is sort of a love-buzzkill at first.
There’s already so much anti-romance out there, and much of it exists in my own cynical mind. I just want to sleep with the men I date when I feel like it, because I feel like it.
I totally get having rules and principles in dating, and I do have some. I would never date a man who hates puppies or TuPac.
The next time I saw her, Amy asked me if I was following the 10 dates or $1,000 rule.
“Nah,” I said. “It’s not my style. If I was going to be a hooker, I’d definitely charge more.”
“I hope you find what you're looking for in a man. He’s out there somewhere,” she said.
“Yeah, and when I do, I’ll probably bone him on the first date.”
What do you think of the 10 dates or $1000 before sex rule? What other dating rules have you heard of/do you follow?