[Written By: Charlotte Dean]
All girls on the dating scene sometimes require a pocket guidebook for knowing their way around men (or just the rules of dating). Sometimes you may think men are simple creatures – they either like you or don’t – but you have to remember nobody is a one-way street, really. So, for the times when and if none of your girlfriends, mothers, or even brothers are able to reply in an instant and fill you with guidance with what to do in a certain situation, or what the perfect reply might be, I’ve decided to write this article on things to absolutely avoid doing when you’ve just starting to see someone. Just because you’ve nabbed a guy, ended up having extremely hot and steamy sex, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be yours for the keep.
NB: I definitely don’t have qualified knowledge on the male brain and all my friends think I am the epitome of being uncool, so please take what you will from this column: that is a warning.
This is your choice to do, but asking a guy who you’ve already been told has a commitment problem or who’s told you they’re not looking for anything serious out on a date is a tricky game. Chances are you will be one of the pit stops on the way to his next girlfriend – one he thinks is unattainable and only manages to snap up after a few months of fancying her. So the lesson is, know what you can handle and don’t be used in a way that you won’t benefit from.
I had recently been on a couple of dates/ hanging-outs with someone who not only did I find very attractive, but who had a very fine body (which I told him, perhaps a bit too soon), was fun to be around and above all, he made me dinner whilst I was hungover. It was really a winning situation. However, life got in the way for both of us and maybe it wasn’t the right time and past lives made us a little hesitant to leap into anything. I even think I taught his French soul what the term “fuckboy” truly meant. As soon as you tell a guy what someone else has done to you in the past, it almost creates a movie in their head of the part in their lives when he’ll do that exact same thing. Try not to mention your troubling troughs from your past early on. Yes, these things teach you many things but you shouldn’t allow the boys of your past to affect the relationships in your present and future – so try not to share information of your past relationships and what caused them to end too soon with your new beau.
On the one hand, you would want to prove to someone that they wouldn’t necessarily do the same thing, so agreeing to see where things go is always a good option. After a few more bedroom escapades, he invited me out to a dinner which never came to be, and whatever we were died with a silent and hungry death. When most of the experience is on his terms and the second you make certain requests, it can almost be too much for some guys to handle. Why is it that so many guys take what we’ve kindly given them without ever giving anything back? I really do wonder if it’s because we are asking for too much, but when you ask someone out for dinner, in French, it’s still not much to ask for a reply. The lesson here is to not give too much of yourself away so early despite feeling that you were compatible. As soon as you do, the lack of appreciation will come.
That is also true when it comes to giving your time away: cancelling plans with others, or thinking of the guy’s schedule when making your own plans is a no-no. He may well be going out with friends, or better yet, taking someone else out on a date. It’s all about balance and as soon as he thinks you’ll be there with the click of his fingers, he won’t value your time as much as his own.
Now, the real fun begins… double messaging. This goes hand in hand with a drunken phone call, and if you do both then you’ve really hit the bullseye and won yourself another weekend of being single. Personally, I believe that this should be seen as something that is allowed, especially if you’re asking about times to meet or to confirm plans. However, many of my ‘cooler’ and ‘wiser’ friends suggest to just wait until they message you back, because if they really wanted to see you or message, they would find the time to do so. If you’re finding that within the ten days of dating someone new you’re having to wait longer than a couple of days for a reply, then clearly something is up: they have met someone new, or they are just not that into you. Of course there are special circumstances – some people are exceptionally bad at replying, so perhaps ten days is too soon to tell, even for the millenial dating programme.
When messaging some guys in the past, I would send messages that were flowery and unclear. Although this could be just a symptom of my indecisive nature, it does help to be assertive and direct. It’s almost like over-sharing in a message, informing them of the little things that you would include to your girlfriends rather than just being direct. Messaging is a foggy territory: when using Facebook we can see if we’re being ignored so giving much of yourself away is definitely no longer safe, especially when what we message can’t be erased.
Saying this, over-sharing too soon in the dating game is almost like snakes and ladders: you need to select the information you tell according to what game you want to play. If you want to arouse someone in bed, tell them about your fetish for expensive underwear and what positions you like, but that might not be what will get anyone to commit to you if you’re only giving them the tactics to unhook your bra.
The guy, who we’ll call Croissant, also shared some of his ex-files with me. I never asked about them and in hindsight I wish I had, just to understand why he felt scared about the prospect of a new relationship and why he cut ties with people he used to be very close to. Maybe he thought by me not asking about it meant I just didn’t care what he went through, but sometimes being nosey and curious isn’t always a good thing, especially when you don’t know how someone will react. I guess I was trying to give him the time to tell me. It’s funny though, how women find a guy over-sharing and revealing himself as an incredibly attractive thing, but when a girl over-shares it can come across as a forced attempt at intimacy. The truth is, we’re all human, driven by the need to find people we can tell things to, be comfortable and have a laugh with – usually this is something we can tell by the first date, too.
At the end of the day, games may provide the guy with a chase that they feed off of, and they appreciate the success of winning their prize (you). This being said, being natural and yourself is the best prize of all. As soon as someone doesn’t care if you double message, tell them about the painfully open ex and sex stories early on and returns all your affection back, then I guess you know they’re worth it. We all need to think we deserve better and we’re not just going to have the same things happen to us that happened in the past.
My friend who we’ll call Techno Girl, tries to persuade me it’s all about having a clear mentality: thinking of what you want and what you deserve will make it happen. The rules of dating may be foggier than ever with more people having commitment problems than the amount of plastic currently in the sea. When you feel like you’ve lost something you never even had and don’t understand what made the tides turn, it’s a time when I will replay what my nanny used to say to me: “there’s plenty more fish in the sea.”