Dating Rules? This Dude Will Pass

Dating Rules? This Dude Will Pass

Dear Ladies: Before you don't return my call, allow me to explain something: I am a rebel.

When it comes to dating, there are so many rules. Rules, rules, rules. You can't call someone the day after you get her number. You're not supposed to wear a T-shirt with holes in it to your new flame's swanky birthday dinner. When someone says, "call me back—if you want to," the day after you have a "talk" about not "calling enough," maybe you should just call her back, even if you don't want to.

Obviously, these "rules" are for the most part common sense, but before rebelling into breakfast sausages, James Dean had no time for common sense, either. He didn't want to have to explain that he understood the rules, saw them as boring formality, and wanted something entirely outside the rigidity and expectations of sock-hopping squares. With that kind of boredom, no wonder he's dead.

If I just had a motorcycle and a leather jacket, I think things would be a whole lot easier. Those are rebel tip-offs. With a leather jacket, people know what kind of bad mamma jamma they are dealing with. And if, in your leather jacket, you wrote a poem about a girl, gave it to her, and then rode off on your motorcycle, she would be like, "Wow, he's so sexy," instead of being like, "Wow, ew." That's why I'm going to start smoking Rebel brand cigarettes. Maybe I should just get a pet snake or an electric guitar, too. Then they'll understand that rules don't apply to me.

Sometimes I just want to rebel against being a rebel and start cleaning my bathroom. Sometimes I want to say screw rebellion, I am going to bed at a reasonable hour, and I am going to wake up at seven to get some fennel at the farmer's market. Whatever.

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But I can't do that. Not yet. A one-man fennel-seeking rebellion? I'd probably meet a nice girl and spend the rest of my days talking about sweaters and redecorating the living room. 

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A rebel dude needs a rebel chick. And he needs to meet her in the smoker's lounge, of a pool hall, on the wrong side of the tracks, during a full-moon knife fight. (Or a Starbucks, maybe.) But she has to have on jeans with holes in the knees (or sweatpants) and dig dudes that are into thinking about getting pet snakes and motorcycles some day. And then a rebel dude can just kick it, with his feet up on a stuffed tiger surrounded by a collection of knives he bought off the Home Shopping Network.

Until then, my only alternative is the traditional dating dance. Things are changing and have changed, but the guy usually has to be the initiator of a lot of the dating-based responsibilities. He approaches the girl, asks for her number, maybe gets it, hopefully calls in the allotted window of time, doesn't leave a weird message on her voicemail, gets called back, sets up plans to meet up and get dinner, eats the dinner, pays for dinner because only a poor loser can't pay for dinner, talks about dinner, asks about work, keeps his hands to himself, nods his head, and tries and be interested in Stephanie's job in PR. Holy shit! Old Yeller had it easy.

I would love it if one day a rebel girl (who did not look like Rodney Dangerfield) asked me out on a date. I would order a salad with a balsamic mist to imply that I pay attention to my figure. I would eat in small, careful bites to hint that I am demure. I would not laugh too loudly, keep my legs crossed, accentuate my bosom tastefully, wonder if there is something in my teeth, not mention things that might let on that I have some intelligence, talk about my job in PR, nod my head, keep my hands to myself, eat the dinner slowly, talk about the dinner, let her pay for the dinner even though it's awkward when the check comes and I say "It's the twenty-first century, um..." Holy Shit! These dating rules have got me either way.

Ladies and gentlemen, dating is biding time. But sooner or later you meet someone with whom you don't have to measure your words out in teaspoons. If you're honest.

I'll start. Hi, my name is Johnny and I do not want to be expected to interpret the punctuation of a text message. Too tedious.

Can't we just try to understand each other and get over ourselves? And that's the true crux of my rebellion—honesty and communication over unrealistic expectations and egotism. What a bore it is talking to people who have learned proper protocol. Give me the raw realness and spare me the fakery. I can't smile and nod anymore while you talk about The Hills.

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