June 9, 2010

Story Time: What Would You Tell A Younger Version Of Youself About Dating?

He's not sad, he's making a lasagna (for one)
Maybe it's the rain dribbling down my window that's making me reflective this afternoon, but I've been thinking about what advice I would give to a younger version of me about how to date without being a total retard. I'm not saying I'm an expert at dating now. Rest assured, I still fuck it up regularly (as many men across the Delaware Valley can attest.) However, I'd like to think that I don't fuck it up quite as much as I did five or ten years ago.

Right off the bat, I can think of a few nuggets of wisdom that I would tell myself:
  1. No guy will ever be impressed that you used to listen to hardcore punk. Stop telling them how you interned at Victory Records for one summer. They'll think it's weird, not hot. Guys don't want to picture you in a Snapcase shirt and camouflage cargo pants, TRUST ME.
  2. Just because he holds your hands doesn't mean he's "in like" with you. This has fooled me, literally, dozens of times. I used to think holding hands meant that you were basically boyfriend/ girlfriend. Clearly, that is not the case. DON'T FALL FOR IT!
  3. Use the time when you're single wisely. This is usually the time to do the raddest stuff, like travel, meet new people, and start new projects. It's a gift; don't squander it on endless happy hours and pity parties.
  4. Don't try and seriously date a tall guy just to see if you'd be into it. You won't be. Their long limbs and big feet will freak you out. And, you'll secretly hate how they can reach shit off the top shelf without being on their tippy toes because that's your thing. Stick to your shorter guy guns, so to speak, no matter what anyone says. Follow that instinct and don't care what people say.
  5. Lie and tell guys you aren't interested in going out with that you're taken. Practice in the mirror if you have to. Pretend it's gonna go on your Oscar clip reel.
  6. Try to be friends with your ex if at all possible. I wish I did this when I was younger, but out of insecurity and immaturity, I didn't because I felt like it'd hurt my pride in a weird way. Now I know that people go through shit that I don't always understand, and it's better to be forgiving and loving than bitter and short-sighted. I burned a lot of bridges with people who were close to me and I sincerely regret that.
Is there anything you'd add? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


BradyDale said...

You are going to be a complete loser most of your life, true, but it's not nearly as bad as you think. Sometimes, unbelievably, some really awesome girls will dig you. There will be some long gaps between them, you are going to go out with some people you will really, really regret, but on balance, it will be okay. In fact, you are, at times, not even going to believe your luck. You're not going to be a Henry Darger or anything, so quit worrying about that and chill out.

It's fine. And love is overrated anyway, so keep doing your thing. The more you do your thing, the better the romance will fall into place.

And when this chick M&$*# emails you on MySpace, just don't reply. Really. Don't.

Anonymous said...

1. You're hotter than you think you are so wear that slutty top while you're still young.
2. There are SO many other men out there. No point to waste time on the ones that are stringing you along.
3. If you are asking yourself if you are in love, you aren't.
4. Don't worry if one of your friends doesn't like your boyfriend. Some of them just won't, period.

Anonymous said...

I'd specifically tell myself to stay away from dudes with one syllable first names. it sounds random, but trust me - if i had known this sooner in my life i could have saved myself a lot of trouble/drunken sob fests.

Anna said...

Huh. Now that I think about it, there are a few guys with certain names that I should ALWAYS avoid, without question.

I'd also tell myself that I should've started drinking in college because I probably would've gotten more action and I probably would've had a better college experience. If I could do it all over again, I would've partied way harder.

Ian said...

If I could give 20 year old me any advice I'd say: to "Get over yourself and appreciate what you've got going, also, exercise more."

Anonymous said...

Don't date married guys, they will never leave their wives and they are only looking for a distraction.

Yeah, I had issues.

Anna said...

I would also tell myself to NEVER try and date a Pisces.

And, if a guy tells me that he'd totally date me if he didn't already have a girlfriend, he's lying. He will never ask me out, even when he gets single again. It makes no sense, but it's the truth.

Anonymous said...

1. You are beautiful. REALLY!!!

2. You are worth so much more, and don't ever settle!

3. Have fun & embrace the nights when you are home alone, have some peace & quiet to yourself, time to do whatever the hell you want.

4. Yes, it's from "He's Just Not That Into You" (the book), so sue me, but..."Don't waste the pretty." Why waste time with a dude who really isn't into you? You've got far better things to do! So go out & do them.

5. The dude who seems sweet, the one constantly calling you & wanting to know where you are and what you're doing, showing up at your home & work with flowers, etc. even when you ask him not to...that guy...run as far away from him as you can & don't look back!!!

Phil said...

"If she really wants to be with you, she will make it work."

I think that's the one thing I'd tell my young self. It would have saved me a lot of heartbreak. I spent a lot of time making excuses for significant others who, in the end, just weren't all that into it.

Joe said...

Really? You're now judging guys based on their names or approximate day of birth? No wonder you're having so much trouble dating.

Anna said...

Dude, I was kidding! Besides, I judge guys on shit all the time. Have you read this site before?

Clarissa said...

1. Trust your instincts. If you feel like something isn't right, it's because something isn't right. Don't wait to find out what that "something" is.

2. You are a romantic.

3. You are lovable.

4. If a man wants to be with you; he will make it happen.

5. Be your own knight in shining armor.

Jimi James said...

I'd tell myself to simply: Man Up!

Anonymous said...

1. Love isn't an instant thing. If someone says they're interested, see what happens.

2. You're attractive.

3. Say "hi" to her. The worst thing that can happen is she won't be interested and then you'll be where you are right now anyway.

4. People want to be with you.

5. If they seem like a nice person and you're just waiting for them to be nice to you, leave.

6. You're nice.

7. You will only regret not loving.

8. They are just as horny, insecure, and screwed up as you, which means, respectively, very, pretty, and not as much as you think. So go for it.

9. Be kind. Cause it's too short--everything, life, college, high school, this moment--and like Kurt said, "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

10. Read lots of Vonnegut, listen to lots of punk, and remember that the girl in the pit is your queen, though, I never needed to be reminded of that.

Anna said...

Blankbooks, I liked your answer a lot.


Anonymous said...

Dear self:

Don't date the girl that seems really exotic or different. Chances are she'll be in prison for a few years.

rich said...

Never make anyone your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.

citygal said...

I need to listen to number 5. I know it, yet I can't seem to put it into practice. Perhaps it's just like an old habit?!

Leslie said...

I like a lot of what Clarissa said, which I read after I wrote this (which is why some of it is similar)

1. If something feels wrong, that's because it is. You have incredible instincts.

2. He needs to try too -- you can't singlehandedly make a relationship work, no matter how good you are at grasping at threads.

3. You don't get points for having the hottest boyfriend of all your friends. Especially if you wish he'd shut up and just be pretty.

4. No one is the whole package. Not even people who look like it. But some are pretty close if you look the right way!

5. Your independence is not negated by letting someone in.

Phil said...

I forgot to add this - I'd tell myself to grow a beard WAY SOONER than I did.

At 18 if possible. Not sure if I was quite ready for beard-growing then yet though.

Lilja said...

"Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

So, my lovely younger self, pull yourself together and don't be so fucking shy. Believe it or not, there is a 99.9% chance that he really IS "just that into you," (fuck that fucking movie), or could be if you tried harder, so fucking put yourself out there and go fucking GET HIM because you're fucking beautiful and awesome and you don't even fucking know it. You'll never fucking know if you don't fucking try and then you'll spend the rest of your fucking life wondering what could have happened if you HAD fucking tried. So fucking DO IT!!!!

Pardon my inappropriate language.

Sincerely, your future self.

Unknown said...

I'd tell myself to get far more involved with my hot group of guy friends in college than I was. I'd had no idea it'd be the LAST TIME I'd be around single, smart, hot, tall dudes.

Charme said...

1. Aim for what you want, not what you think you can get. Naturally you also have to be on you way to having your shit together to pull this one off (which your future 30 year old self does of course). Trust that the universe will give you what you deserve.

2. Don't act crazy. Don't go looking for shit. Don't accuse him of stuff. When girl logic goes out the window, keep your mouth shut and exit to your room watching High Fidelity with a bottle of Jameson and cry for 36 hours while weathering the storm accordingly without making an ass of yourself. If he really likes you, he'll come and find you and explain himself. If not, his loss. (also applies to if you're sleeping with dude for a few months and he refuses to label it, walk away scenario 2).

3. Don't date anyone that is not on their path to a real career. Bartender, freelance photographer, movie maker or anyone self employed or starting a business. You'll never see eye to eye about the future since YOU have a career he is content with living for day to day for himself. Of course they are the cutest and smartest and flirtiest and most fun, they are good for partying, not boyfriending. They are heartbreakers for you and the reason you are almost 30 and single. Dont sleep with them. Or let them move in. See below.

4. Unless you seriously plan on marrying the dude, DONT LET HIM MOVE IN. If it breaks up its another few months of messy and you always lose your favorite dvds and sometimes a pet. That said, unless HE IS GAY, don't let a dude move in. You will sleep with him and get feelings of weird psuedo-boygirlfriend living arrangements and it will be awkward and so not worth it.

5. Trust your instincts. And rock your cleavage.


Charme said...

And Im sorry, I have to +1 to Pisces. I have dated a few and they are ultra sensitive, guarded and hard to read!

I wouldn't say no to them... I would just proceed with caution.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the pisces. virgos & pisces just dont mix! it starts off with a bang, and ends with you wanting to bang your head against the wall.

1) dont date somebody who you know isnt dating you.

2) you shouldnt have ever picked up the phone call from *him*

3) dont ever let someone make you feel like you arent worth it.

4) definitely trust the instincts

5) get off yasmin NOW

6) dont validate yourself through others.

7) you should have given **** a real chance. going back with the ex is always a fail move.

Joe said...

Well it all works out well enough anyway because I wouldn't want to date someone who judges people based on some crazy nonsense about stars aligning. Sheesh people -- this astrology stuff is complete BS!

Anna said...

Joe, are you a Scorpio? 'Cause that's something a scorpio would say.

K said...

1. stop shitting where you eat. seriously. how many times has that NOT made things weird?
2. don't date guys who are on the rebound.
3. don't date guys when YOU are on the rebound.
4. don't shit where you eat with guys when EITHER OF YOU are on the rebound. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
5. oversharing is not the same as intimacy
6. learn how to say "no"

kream&sugar said...

I totally understand with the staying civil with your ex part.

Anonymous said...

1. the entire female gender is pretty retarded. fuck 'em, leave 'em. milk it for all it's worth and move on.

2a. do whatever you want to do, do nothing for anyone else's benefit unless it helps you get laid. people will see your talent and genius when they're ready; those who deserve to see it, anyway.

2b. quote emerson, whitman, kafka, thoreau, and the like as often as you can as fast as you can and don't stop for anything: fast track to getting laid.

3. all your cool shit was in a box in your basement ALL THIS TIME.

Lucy said...


screw "leagues" if you want some one, go for it.

and PLEASE speak up! You have smart/funny/clever things to say, the only reason he isn't appreciating them is because he can't HEAR YOU.

also I love this: "Never make anyone your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."

jenelle said...

Everything ends. Nothing is forever. You are your own biggest fan.

Anonymous said...

He's a lair, he will leave you. Don't put up with his shit. You deserve WAY better than he will ever be no matter how much faith you have in him.

Anonymous said...

I like what Rich said: "Never make anyone your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."

Amen to that my brother!

Jaime said...

1. Attractive men aren't as scary as you think they are. Talk to them.

2. Run from any man who is an Aries OR is named Al or Brian. Seriously bitch, high tail it!

3. You don't have to date a guy simply because he adores you. It really helps if you adore him just as much.

4. Working out will totally make you feel like a sex goddess.

5. Do not take rejection personally. And while we're on the subject, don't tell yourself why a guy won't like you before you know whether he does or not. It's self-sabotage.

6. You'll be single for a few years, but you'll use this time to travel, improve yourself inside & out while making some amazing friends. Your next boyfriend will be REALLY appreciative of this :)

James said...

bull id totally be into a girl that interned at victory

Anna said...

Ha! James, that gave me a good laugh. I appreciate the compliment. For sure. xoxo

Tanyu said...

Treat your body like a temple, not a public toilet.

The number of guys you blew is not equivalent to how attractive you are, just how low your self confidence is.

You had such great skin and a great figure. You should have layed off that soda and fried foods.

Stay away from the taken guys. Even if you manage to steal them away, they'll end up leaving you too.

Quit being so jealous and sensitive. Being high maintenance is not a good quality in a mate. Give him a break every once in a while.

Try to be friends with your ex. Even if you can't be in a relationship, doesn't mean you can't be each other's FWBs.

Try to keep at least SOME mystique and modesty about you.

Get out more and try to talk to guys. Even if mama taught you to "always let the man make the first move or else you're looking for trouble", some men are worth being pursued and it has no direct effect on the dynamics of the relationship.

Aknowlege that you're beautiful inside and out. You shouldn't have waited so long to see that.

Give the little guy a chance. He may not be what you pictured your Prince Charming to look like, but there's more to life than looks.

Anna said...

Wow, Tanyu, that is some insightful advice. Bravo!

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