If years were structured as novels, then we are currently wading in the thick of the final chapter. Anyone who has picked a novel, be it a literary treasure spanning a thousand pages or a romance paperback featuring a smoldering, chiseled hunk worthy of being a Roman god smoldering on its cover, knows that the last chapter is filled to the brim with unexpected twist and turns that the heroine must survive these turn of events with her heart intact.
The holiday season is the ideal setting for a perfect ending. Families spend most of their time with each other and friends reconnect. But for many single women, the holidays might as well be Halloween Part 2 for all the horrifying social interactions and sweets served on the dinner table. Everybody just cannot stop asking you the same old questions like “Why are you still single?” and “When are you planning to get yourself a man?” Apart from these insensitive questions, they also spook you by insisting that if you fail to find yourself a dashing knight in shining armor to rescue you from a lifetime of being a singleton and a social pariah, your ovaries and egg cells will expire and you can never attain a fulfilling life as a woman because you will never get the chance to embrace motherhood. All because you are currently single.
What they do not know is that the rules of this crazy game called love have changed over the decades. While a century ago, women married to fulfill societal expectations imposed on them, these days, women marry in the name of love. This does not imply that our grandmothers are not in love with our grandfathers. The thing is that modern women seek men who will become more than just their significant others. The modern women are craving for men who will complement them and accompany them on their journey toward becoming successful ladies in a man’s man’s man’s world.
A loveless punctuation to your year is understandably discouraging and depressing. But who says you cannot write a new novel? Treat the end of this year as a mere cliffhanger in preparation for the New Year, which is right around the corner. Here are your eight rules for dating in 2017.
1) Thou shall not be traumatized by failed romances.
Horrible dates are the stuff of nightmares. They are more than just a waste of your golden time, hard-earned money, and precious effort. How so? Date nights that begin romantically before verging on horror movie territory can be damaging to a woman’s self-esteem and confidence.
However, you must keep in mind that the number one reason that dates do not serve as the beginning of your happily ever after à la Cinderella is incompatibility. Nothing is wrong with you. Possibly, nothing is wrong with him either. The two of you can be the perfect lovers on paper. Two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, if you will. But your edges are not a perfect fit no matter how hard you try. It is time to stop forcing it and look for a new man.
I know, I know. It is much easier said than done. But remember when you tell your girlfriends about how your date night with that charming guy left a lot to be desired? It is precisely that.
Take a look at Bridget Jones from Helen Fieldings’s popular chick lit series. Poor Bridget. Her mother sets her up on blind dates on every New Year’s party. It has proven to be failure until that one particular year, when thirty-two year-old Bridget is introduced to Mark Darcy. No immediate sparks are present on that encounter, but the story ends well for them.
Be like Bridget. Embrace the possibilities promised by the New Year.
2) Thou shall drink moderately.
Alcohol has been proven to lower our inhibitions and break down the walls that we surround ourselves with. But whether you are saturating yourself with holy red wine, bubbly pink champagne, or ice cold beer, do not drink it until you pass out or develop kidney cancer. Chances are you will not drop dead gorgeous. Limit yourself to a few glasses instead of chugging entire bottles.
This matters because, when you are dating, it is very important to preserve just the right amount sobriety that will allow you to evaluate your date’s personality. Beer goggles are a thing after all. It is not just urban myth. Scientists have chimed in with their opinions to make your dating life a little less difficult. According to science, alcohol makes people seem more attractive than they are. No, liquor is not some secret potion that magically makes you more beautiful. Rather, it alters your perception. You do not need to be reminded that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The wise thing to do is to restrain yourself from drinking more than two glasses.
3) Thou shall avoid treating your date as an emotional punching bag.
A date, whether it is the first one or the twelfth, is meant to be romantic. While your motives include getting to know a guy better and allowing him an opportunity to get to know you beyond a superficial level, a date is not the perfect time to serve him with a big bowl of your life’s dramas.
Your date did not ask you out because he wants to listen to you complain about your boss’s decision to overlook you professionally or your roommate’s habit of “borrowing” your parmesan and promising to replace it soon, then acquiring amnesia the next minute. This type of behavior goes against the sanctity of romance.
4) Thou shall not speak ill of your former beaus.
The battlefield that is love leaves many a people with ugly scars. Some scars are evident while some can be tucked away. Some scars are cautionary tales. But, as previously mentioned, dates are a venue where potential lovers present their best selves to each other in hopes of fulfilling your fairy tale aspirations.
Presenting your ex-boyfriends in a less than flattering light does not make your new date want to ride a white horse and sweep you away from your doomed love life. What portraying them as devils in disguise accomplishes is depicting you as an emotionally unavailable or wounded woman who blames all her failed romances on men.
5) Thou shall not act like a Class B witch in a cheap horror movie.
I will never get tired of saying this. When you are on a date, you need to make a conscious effort to present the best version of yourself. But that does not imply fabricating stories to make you seem like the perfect Disney princess.
You have been told that confidence is sexy. But through the roof levels of confidence will not do you any favor either. Strive to be a real woman, but refrain from reading to your date a laundry list of all your flaws. So, you have cellulite around your thighs or a birth mark in the most unfortunate place. While men appreciate women who embrace their imperfections, men stay away from women who have nothing else to talk about except how their genes have betrayed them.
6) Thou shall not act like a dog that needs water.
You are the dog and your date is the water. Yes, dogs are adorable furry creatures, but these beings’ cuteness is irrelevant in this situation.
Men are hunters by nature. They love the thrill of the chase just as much as they love women. Encourage your date by paying him little compliments here and there. Mention how the color of his shirt compliments the color of his eyes or tell him that he has a killer smile. But you shall not go beyond minor flirtation.
Give your date the chance to pursue you and to prove to you that he is worthy of your attention and affection. This does not only make things more interesting, but it is also another way for him to prove his sincerity.
This rule also includes avoiding physical intimacy on the first date.
7) Thou shall be comfortable with silence.
One of the scariest parts of going out on a date is running out of things to talk about. Awkward silence just reeks of disinterest from both parties. But you shall not be scared of the occasional silent periods. After all, filling moments of silence with meaningless talk can only come off as annoying.
Use silence as a way to get to know your date better. Remember a certain romantic experiment conducted by scientists a few years ago? Two people ask each other thirty-six prescribed questions. Once that is over, they stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. That, apparently, will make them fall in love with one another.
Whether this little experiment works for everyone is irrelevant. The important thing you need to remember is to take advantage of silence to study other aspects of your date’s personality.
8) Thou shall not propose to your date.
Unless you two are on your hundredth date, of course.
You probably feel like you should make good use of your time. Next thing you know, you are telling him all about your dream wedding and what you want to name your future sons and daughters. Conversations like this can be cute. But on a first date, it is spooky.
Save this type of conversation for a man whom you have known for a long while instead of a stranger you met via a dating app. Why? Because only the man whom you feel has the intention of spending the rest of his life with you deserves to hear about your fantasies.
Now is your time to decide how you want to write the story of your life. Is love a big part of it? If so, wipe your tears away and stop holding yourself back from playing the game of love.