When I was a sophomore in college, someone introduced me to the magic that is Old Gregg from The Mighty Boosh. For anyone who hasn’t seen the Old Gregg skit, I’m not going to go so far as to recommend watching it, but I wouldn’t tell you not to, either. In any event, there is an amazing, epic, wonderful song in this skit titled “Love Games” - and, truly, it is about 1,072 times better than Lady Gaga’s song of the same name.
The song features Old Gregg asking his hostage whether or not the hostage is playing “love games” with him. Lyrics such as these represent a dramatic shift from music popular in the mid-twentieth century, which often contained lyrics that, today, would be better suited for a Lifetime move script centered around stalking. Mel Carter once sang, “Hold me, never let me go, until you’ve told me what I want to know…,” while The Temptations crooned, “I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.” Honestly, I can’t even type these lyrics out without thinking to myself, “What a psycho, stalker, loser.” And yet, I think my reaction is just a sign of the changing times. Because I doubt, given the number of songs with lyrics like that from the 1950s and 1960s, that people in our parents’ generation (or a bit older than our parents, perhaps) would have been similarly phased. The singers of yesteryear weren’t concerned with sounding pathetic or obsessive. They weren’t anxiety-ridden about the possibility of saying something dumb or showing too much emotion or making an unattractive face that might turn the other person off forever. In comparison, the lyrics of Old Gregg’s “Loves Games” bring to light how ridiculous it is that the modern-day dating scene comes with so many “rules” and “love games.”
Below are some of the dating “rules” that I’ve picked up over the years, most of which dictate how I handle myself with members of the opposite sex that I have even the slightest interest in. Many of these go out the window once you’re in a long-term, committed relationship - but, for the period of time where they “must” be adhered to, they make things unnecessarily difficult and stressful:
- Don’t double text. If you say anything that goes unresponded to, you cannot text that person again unless it’s been at least several days or it’s an emergency of sorts.
- Don’t send another text if the last one you received was under three words. If you’ve gotten a “No,” “Yup,” “Yah, “Ha,” “Haha,” “Cool,” “I see,” “OK,” or anything like that - don’t say anything else.
- Don’t send a text that’s longer than 5 lines on the iPhone screen - even if that means you have to replace “and” with “&” and “with” with “w/” just to save space. It doesn’t matter if you’re just telling a story - if your text looks overly long, guys will think you’re insane and probably prone to annoying text message rants.
- Don’t friend a guy on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and follow him on Foursquare in the same week - or perhaps even in the same month. In fact, don’t ever be the one to place the Facebook friend request, and then don’t even think about a Twitter or Foursquare connection, where applicable, until a DTR has taken place.
- Don’t communicate in too many different forms. If you typically text message, don’t suddenly initiate a Gchat - otherwise, the guy will feel as though you’re attacking him from too many different angles. If the guy decides to Facebook chat or Gchat you, however, certainly respond. But in a nonchalant way, obviously.
- Don’t message a guy too quickly when you see him pop up on Facebook chat or Gchat. It looks as though you’re creepily waiting for him. Actually, just ignore him altogether unless he reaches out to you first.
- Don’t mention a guy’s status update, Facebook picture, blog post, check-in, or Tweet in conversation. It confirms that you do the “stalkerish” things that he assumes you do (and that he does too) but is still freaked out by.
- Girls should initiate dates at the very beginning - it makes you look cool and confident. After the third date, however, never initiate a hang-out. Otherwise, you just look obsessive.
- Never be the first person to describe a hang-out as a “date.”
- Don’t be the one to suggest hanging out more than once in any one week period.
- Don’t tell a guy he was in your dream. It could be totally no big deal in actuality, but once you say “So, you were in my dream and….” he’ll stop listening and start thinking instead about what a crazy you are.
- Don’t. Show. Any. Emotions. At all. I’m not counting “happiness” or “glee” - those are just part of the “I’m cute, you should like me” act.
Just writing this list was exhausting - so imagine how tiring it is to actually adhere to all of these rules. To be fair, I have certainly been known to break some of these. But I try really hard - maybe too hard - to abide by them. It seems to me that technology has made dating so much more challenging, as there is a new standard of actual and implied dating etiquette that has sprung up since the creation and popularization of text messaging, email, instant messaging, Facebook/Facebook chat, Twitter, and Foursquare. And it really just makes dating not fun. I mean, just look at my list. The majority of my “rules” pertain to virtual communication. One day, I hope this all gets easier. Do you all have any other dating “rules” that should be added to this list?