and that’s one to grow on

Dating is just like taking the S.A.T.’s. Everyone asks how you did, and you’re either too embarrassed to say or you want to scream it from the rooftops. The S.A.T.’s don’t really measure much of what you’ve learned or accurately reflect your intellect. They expose how well you can take a test. You drive to Kaplan and listen to a coach.

We all know there are rules to dating. “Play it cool” is right up there with “eliminate as many wrong answers as possible.” The man is the gas; the woman is the brakes. A woman sets the pace of a relationship. Men like the chase, so make him work for it. I despise rules.

We all fcuk up. It happens from time to time—I certainly chick out, and shake my head in my lap come morning. Jesus, what the hell was I thinking? Sometimes it’s wine. Sometimes I’m just out of my mind. Sometimes, though, we’re loved for our irrational fcuk up—our Jerry McGuire Mission Statements. I’m left holding flipper wondering who’s coming with me.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, even though red isn’t my color—and, yeah, I know I shouldn’t have. I should have played it cool to increase my chances. Consistently circle answer B. The playing cool of it guarantees a leg up, even if it has nothing to do with you, and only a little to do with your legs. You know it’s really nothing to do with your eventual compatibility or success and everything to do with preying on another’s insecurity and fear of loss and rejection. You test well, but you get nowhere in the end.

At the end of the day, you end up with me, without the games. I might have gotten you there with games, but no one stays for the games. We all go home eventually. So, is it so unwise to throw yourself into something, to follow your red heart and just ignore the rules? Yes, boys will grip their balls and run. Good. Let ‘em. A man, the right man, will stay, lift an eyebrow and watch in awe. He’ll stare, most likely because he’s terrified. Well snap out of it. There’s shite to do. Kids to make. We’ve got to begin researching S.A.T. prep classes. Chop. Chop.



  1. Playing games is phoney and will never work. However, learning how men function and learning to speak their language is no different than learning any other foreign language. Have you read Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus? I swear it's all true.

  2. I've read "The Rules." I've read all about men and their caves in the Mars Venus book. My dad swears it's true, too. I have no problem giving people space. It's important. I DO have a "problem" pretending I don't care when I do. Playing it cool, not saying too much. Yawn.

  3. It is never unwise to follow your gut and throw yourself into something.

    This "Martian's" experience: Watch in awe; raise the eyebrow; shrug your shoulders; grab your balls; throw yourself in!

    The embarassment of doing so wears off far more quickly than the regret of NOT doing so.

  4. Just imagining if dating was really like exams – somebody coming up to both of you beforehand saying "you have 2 hours to complete this date. Please hand your partner back at the end of those 2 hours".

    I think I do dates well, I just can't do second, third and fourth dates – eventually, there is nothing else to do, nowhere else to go. You become friends, not

  5. No, we're not staring because we're terrified. We're staring because we're finally realizing that yeah, she's showing us that she's capable of so much more than any other woman has ever allowed us to see. That's relief and excitement on our faces.

  6. Most of our lives and what we have been through is already in music. It just takes time to remember and find the words which seem to fit. What I think fits here is Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." Jumping in is dancing, playing the game is sitting it out and not letting go. Read below and let me know what you think.

    "I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance,

    Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin', Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',

    Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter, When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,

    Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

    I hope you dance."

  7. "There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
    -George Bernard Shaw

    And if you can tolerate unrequited love you'll be content, because surely you don't expect the bread roll to love you back. Better to know that you are falling in love with a stale bread roll before you've brought it home. Even if the stale bread roll could talk and you bought a book to help you understand bread roll speak, it's still a bread roll and there's a limit to how much you can change it or what use you can get out of it.

    I have known quite a few couples who didn't speak a single word of their partner's language but they ended up eventually having successful relationships. This suggests that speaking is not as important as relating. Hmmm…. Imagine applying the "Rules" if you cannot use words to leave a person with the impression that you are ignoring them on purpose but that you may still be interested. What's left? The basics. Exchanging love for love, listening for listening, sex for sex, tenderness for tenderness, empathy for empathy, doing dishes for doing laundry… Mute, deaf and blind people are happily married. These books suffer from one enormous unwarranted assumption; that all that's missing is knowing how to communicate. No what's missing is a careful accounting of each other's needs and finding a person with whom a mutally beneficial exchange can be made. Get the right dog first, not the leash. No matter how many differnt leashes you have, you won't have a dog.

    A little over a year ago, the British paper "The Guardian" had an interesting series of articles and tests relating to "male" and "female" brains. It turns out that there is substantial overlap between the two even though women are generally more capable of empathizing than men, and men are more capable of systemizing than women. I took the tests and discovered that I was significantly more empathizing than the vast majority of women and significantly more systemizing than the vast majority of men. I had other people take the tests and discovered that the test results would have been reliable predictors of how well I would relate to them. The link to the tests is below.

    Anyway, not all cultures court or "date" in the manner that we do. Many believe in coming through the front door and announcing their intentions. Wrong door. Knock on the next one. But at each door they explain who they are, where they are from, where they have been, who can vouch for them, and what they want and expect. Nice thing about coming through the front door is that you can leave through the front door. Nice thing about coming through the front door is that the costs are extremely high if you (whether male or female) mislead or mistreat someone. Too many witnesses: her family, your family, friends of the family who have been invited to meet you and her. This is what's missing in our culture. We figure out that we need to be accountants for emotions, needs, desires, and mundane expectations such as sharing duties and responsibilities but not before we have squandered much time and hurt ourselves and others. If I have offended anyone please accept, my sincere apology in anticipation of your taking offense.

    I hope Stephanie doesn't block my IP address and prevent me from ever posting again. Bye!

    How male or female is your brain?
    The following tests were developed by Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge.
    Take the interactive empathy quotient test.

    Take the interactive systemising quotient test.,12983,937443,00.html

  8. Thanks. I just wish I would and could write less. I just don't have enough time to go back and edit for brevity. Anyway, you are, in the words of Victor Borge, "twoderful." Thanks for sharing your writing. The last few posts have been remarkable. Be of good cheer.

  9. I have learned the hard way that playing it cool is usually the best option. Until a date last week with a one night stand from weeks ago – he said that because of my (completely fake) indifference and coolness (no when can i see you again, i didn't ask for his phone number, and sent what he percieved as unfriendly replies to his two sms's over the following couple of days.) and the fact that i live in an apartment with no furniture except a bed he'd started to think a)i was a prostitute or b)I was a lesbian (i'd mentioned that i was sharing the room with my flatmate because the other bedroom has no a/c). Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I did point out that if I was a prostitute, I probably would have asked for some money, and if I was a lesbian, I probably wouldn't have jumped into bed with him.

  10. thank you stephanie for writing and anonymous for posting your thoughts here.

    "What's left? The basics. Exchanging love for love, listening for listening, sex for sex, tenderness for tenderness, empathy for empathy, doing dishes for doing laundry…"

    these words from anonymous have stuck in my mind. i've been trying to push someone i love dearly out of my mind because we come from such different backgrounds (including languages). i alternate between thinking i am a fool to stay with him or a fool to leave someone who loves me so unconditionally.

    keep writing stephanie, you are putting words to all the things that i, and many other women, feel on a regular basis.

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