Friday, March 30, 2012

The Purpose of The Rules

The Rules are very simple. The most serious obstacle for a Rules girl tends to be her friends and family. These are the people in who think they know what’s best, who want you to be happy and who have never, ever read The Rules. The Rules are not just a code for dating but a code for being in all situations. It’s the finishing school you never went to, the lesson in protocol and etiquette you never took. The purpose of doing The Rules is to have a Rules marriage, where your values are not compromised, where there is no unnecessary heartache, where you are secure in the belief that he really likes you (much less loves you) and where you really know exactly who you are marrying.

When friends hear that you are doing Online Dating, they often frown and take pity, “OOoooh,” they coo. “Do you really have to do that? Here let me set you up with my friend Random X”. They rush over to an old-fashioned telephone book, blow off the dust, search for the number and proudly give it to you on a scrap of paper. “Here, call him; I’m sure he will go out with you”. You take it home only to realize the number is now unlisted. Ultra-depressing.

Or they invite you to the movies, the park, the cottage and there is a mysterious sixth person - a single man with deep-seated emotional problems (usually against his mother) – skulking around in the shadows. Luckily someone has told him (but not you!) about the set up and he has been sure to pack all of his anxiety and insecurity in his backpack today. He will be the friend/brother/co-worker of someone that your friends are trying to impress by “hooking” up. This is a huge drag.

Being single is fine. Realizing that your “friends” think something is wrong with you because you are single is really depressing. The number one way to insult me as a friend is to assume that you were listening when I said what I was looking for. Or to not have asked in the first place.

If you try and set me up with someone who is not my race or religion then you have wasted the time of two people, not just one. If you tell a man that I am a “burlesque girl”, when I am not, them you have misled him. If he then calls me, he is only calling because he thinks I am an exotic sex bomb. Not exactly Rules material, amirite?

The funny thing is, the man often already has a girlfriend (or boyfriend). Well-meaning friends who are oblivious to who you are, are often equally oblivious about the man they set you up with. I was once set up with a small, smelly, socially-awkward man who was deeply involved with a beautiful New York actress who found him "adorable". (They are married and expecting their first child.) My point is, well-meaning yet oblivious friends are not doing anyone any favours, and Rules Girls need to be smart about their boundaries with women as much as with men.

The purpose of The Rules is to form a relationship that is stable enough to be a Rules marriage. Not every fool who is married is an expert on marriage. Very few women in my peer group who have wedding rings actually know the difference between independence and co-dependence. Or what they want out of a relationship other than material possessions. I once had a girlfriend describe her current crush of the moment to me. She said that he was perfect for her because they both wanted a Murano. I paused and asked, “What is a Murano?” expecting it to be a rare but completely bliss-inducing eastern spiritual rite of passage. She explained that it was an SUV made by Nissan.

It is not easy to maintain respect for a woman that defines her most important relationship by physical possessions. And yet it is the standard we all use…

It is the Hollywood norm to stay married for no longer than 18 months, and these are the people we worship and spend money on. These are the people who are held as the societal ideal, who have every opportunity available to them. And these are the people who can’t get it right in a most spectacular way. It is not so surprising that the average person does exactly the same thing. We are copycat creatures of habit and adaptability. Being a train wreck is really good publicity, and publicity is the equivalent of fame.

The first thing that a Rules girl learns is that she should not talk about her relationships with her girlfriends. Then this is my manifesto: I intend my future relationship to be a sacred space. I won’t share what goes on. I will not bring outside nonsense in to my most important relationship. I will not speak candidly about something that is so precious.

And when it is over, I will blog the hell out of it.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Sometimes I see a group of girls sitting together, or going on vacation together and I sigh. Deep, lasting friendships with other girls has always eluded me. I am not the type that gets asked for a girls-night-out a second time. Everything I have ever touched has turned to ash. I absolutely abhor women who say that they get along better "with the boys" because that completely avoids that problem and does not give me the true wisdom I am secretly craving.

Sure, I like fellas well enough - everyone who reads this blog already knows that - but it's important to have women friends. More importantly, it's important to me to have women friends. It wasn't always my fault, but since I believe we manifest our own reality then yes, it's completely my fault. I am saying goodbye to a few people as our paths diverge and with them I hope they take this, my humble apology:

Starting from Grade 1 though to Grade 8:
I'm sorry I was only attracted to the loudest, craziest girls; girls I had to chase and fight with and be abused by in order to stay "friends" with. If you tried to befriend me and ignored you it was because I literally couldn't see you. You were too good for me then, anyway. I'd love to hear from you now. I bet you are married with beautiful children and a fulfilling life. That doesn't surprise me because you were completely awesome. I am sorry I did not appreciate your gift of friendship. I really regret it.

And moving on to High School and University:
I spent a fair portion of my life being co-dependent with women. In the absence of knowing how to be a good friend, I just became a good copycat. I'm sorry that I didn't actually like you, or the music you listened to, or your boyfriend. I tried to be as kind as possible but it just exhausted us both.

I'm sorry you didn't get me. I'm into a lot of different stuff to keep myself occupied. In fact, keeping myself occupied is really hard and really important; otherwise I pop off with all that weird, intellectual stuff you hated. I never shared that with you because I figured you wouldn't understand or care. And I was right. But it must have been really embarrassing when the people in your world didn't get me either. For my part in that, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry but I can't be friends with you if you mock my parts of speech when I use big words, especially in front of men. I had a very, very expensive education and I often know the correct word or definition you are looking for. Yes, this makes me a know-it-all. If this intimidates you, then buy a dictionary. I didn't invent English but I do hold the copyright; don't take it out on me. Besides, men don't love girls who are mean their "friends", keep that in mind.

Speaking of which, I'm so sorry your boyfriend wanted to/ tried to fuck me. I encourage you to find a new boyfriend. Also, don't encourage me to hug your boyfriend when I meet him. I'm in the prime of my life and the only thing I think about when a hot man touches me is sex. Same goes for him apparently. That's not a bad thing, just stop forcing us together. I don't get it. I've never understood it.

I'm sorry but I can't be your friend if you want me to be jealous of your boyfriend, or if you picked him because you think that I think he's hot. You know who you are and you have some serious sexual hang ups; leave me out of it.

I can't be your friend if you think your pussy can control men (see Magical Sex Ninjas). Pussies can only control boys.

I'm sorry but I can't be your friend if you are a drug addict or drink a lot of alcohol. My mother doesn't drink alcohol anymore and that was a hard-won fight. I won't live through it twice.

I can't be your friend if you swear a lot, because I already swear enough for two people and I want to stop.

I can't be your friend if you have ever bragged about hating white people. My mother is a white person, so it probably won't work out between us.

I'm sorry but I can't be your friend if you have told a large number of people that you hate me, that you think I'm ugly (especially my nose) or that you think I'm "insane". My nose was broken when I was nine and I have had reconstructive rhinoplasty but it is still not straight from certain angles. I am looking into other plastic surgeons but it's expensive and painful. A normal person would understand and not mock it.

Insanity is trying the same process and expecting a different result. Thank you for bringing it up because it's a good definition for our "friendship". If you are wondering why I keep mentioning stuff from high school, it's because I haven't had a meaningful conversation with you since that time. If you weren't drug-addled, you would know this.

I'm sorry but I can't be your friend if you are a train-wreck. I fully acknowledge that I am a former train-wreck but I have been putting a lid on that for the last few years. I call it "wanting to be taken seriously" since "being an adult" has been seriously corrupted by the train-wrecks of the world. I forgive you for not noticing how well I am doing at it. It happens so quietly that most people don't know its happening. That is what not being a train wreck looks like. Dry your eyes, fix your makeup and hold it the fuck together. You are a smart girl and you will figure it out.

I'm sorry but I can't be your friend if you don't stand up for me. If you allow others to be cruel, then you are a coward. I can't be friends with you if you are a coward. Life has the power to rip people wide open. I can't waste my time with girl-women who need protection from normal things in life. My shield only fits my body; if yours is dented then get it fixed.

I can't be friends with you if constantly tell me I'm getting "ripped off". This is a serious personal pet peeve. Since I earn a lot more money than you (remember that expensive education?) I do not mind paying extra for what I like. I'm not sorry for this one, actually.

I'm sorry but I can't be friends with you if you are living with a man who won't marry you. You would just be bumming me out because it dominates every conversation. I've already lived through this experience and it hits too close to home. As I was living through it, I thought my example would warn you off this same situation. I imagined that as I was living through it, you would say inside your head "I am never letting that happen to me. No way!" I figured my complete humiliation would be worth something if you were saved from it. I love you that much, that I would protect you from the most soul-destroying thing I can think of... Yet, here you are.

No one could have talked you out of moving in with him; don't pretend like that was possible, so I wished you well and hoped for the best. I love that you have the courage to follow Love where it led you. I believe in Love. But now the bubble of love has popped and you are both just playing house. You knew this was a possibility but you thought you were special. It turns out you weren't: lick your wounds, pack your shit and go home. Run away from him because the alternative is you changing your energy and your beliefs into increasingly smaller and smaller pieces while you try to become what you think he would marry. Your energy shrinks until I can barely see you. The person I once knew has disappeared. I do not think this is Gods path for you. This suffering does not lead anywhere. It is self-indulgent. There are other worthwhile things in the world that need your attention.

On the other hand, I'm sorry but I can't be friends with you if you are looking for a rich man to keep you from working. There are a lot of beautiful girls out there. You aren't really that special. It also means I can't introduce you to my friends from work or church. I would be scared you would shake them down for cash. Sadly, you won't be beautiful forever. He knows that, too. If that's the only thing you are selling, then I need to break it to you that supply exceeds demand. I learned that phrase while studying for an Economics degree. It means get ready to start reducing your price.

You'll notice that I'm not excluding the people who make fun of me to my face, the girls who get me drunk and then forget where they left me, the ones who think my blog is great but don't read it because "there are too many words". I understand that as a female you need to talk about me behind my back. You need to mock my success and my failure with equal measure. Don't worry, it keeps me humble. I don't blame you for being jealous. I am seriously jealous-worthy without even trying.

I'm sorry that you confused my loving support with a desire to actually live like you. I'm sorry you are under the impression that your path looks good to me. I'm sorry you confused my silence with condoning your choices. You didn't ask my opinion so I didn't bother forming one. I'm sorry that you thought you were coming on this journey with me. I hate to leave you behind, but this way there be dragons and it turns out that I'm the only one with a sharp sword.

It must come as a shock to you that I am rejecting your kind offer of me helping you during this, your last most recent crisis. I realize in retrospect that I trained you to think that I had nothing better to do, that I would always "care". It's just that I am really good at multi-tasking. I wasn't honest with you. I did not show you the best part of me. As I said before, this is my fault.

And I'm sorry.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Date#60 - A Sign of Good Faith

This man emailed me a few times, asked when I was available, settled on a day and then asked me to suggestion something convenient. Of course, I offered my old favorite haunt and he agreed. He almost planned the whole thing via online message but the day of the date – perhaps as a sign of good faith – he messaged his number with a quick confirming message. I replied with my number, nothing more, as The Rules indicate.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was early and he texted me as I was walking across the street to tell me he was there. Points for Redundancy! He was tall, dark and handsome, with a professional financial planner designation and an office north of the city. He was extremely personable and friendly. He kept the conversation clean, upbeat even humorous and used my first name a lot when he talked. It’s a technique used to make a person like the speaker and it worked.

On his profile, he wrote that he had played “professional hockey” but when I asked him about it, he was reluctant to expand further. He said that he played at the “Division 1 Level” which was a paid job. He certainly had the physique for it. I say that I like hockey because I am Canadian, not because I have ever actually watched it on purpose, but for the record: Date#60 is the second semi-pro hockey player I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Go figure. Does this make me a puck bunny?

He said that he went to school in upstate New York but he had never been to New York City. He clearly did not have a sense of adventure. Or something was very fishy. He said was living downtown in a rented house with his buddy. Because he was eight months separated from his wife, not yet divorced. After nine years of marriage and no kids.

Houston, we have a problem!

After an hour, I wound the date up with the typical “Well I have to be up early tomorrow because I’m going to the Marni pop-up store at H&M with my friend Brook Alviano who is an up and coming fashion designer and burlesque costumer” (which is all true) and went home. There is not point in telling you how the date went, Dear Reader, because he is a married man. Separated is not divorced, Single Girl, I caution you to remember that.

When I asked if he was going to go ahead with a full divorce, he broke eye contact for the first time, made a face, shook his head and stared out the window for a long moment. He did not tell me any details - which was a great relief! - but it was clear that he did not want to let her go, which did my heart so good to see. Very, very gently I said, “Well, it is probably repairable”. Silence. He looked at me hopefully and started to slowly nod his head. I felt like I was actually meeting the real Date#60. He was a lot quieter than the other guy.

He expressed an interest in seeing me again and sent me a few texts, but they were usually late at night and at the last minute. This man is making a huge mistake by going online to find a reason to get fully divorced. He is just complicating an already complicated situation. The most activity that men in this delicate time should be doing is group bowling nights with a bunch of happily married men, nothing as serious as one-on-one dating. He is biting off way more than he can chew. But that is not the reason I will never see this guy again…

The Rules advise to NEVER be a rebound girl and to always be very aware of time-wasters. A separated-not-divorced man is both of these things rolled up in a tight landmine of emotion that rolls through the online dating world looking for a place to detonate. If you want to cause years of endless pain and destroy the lives of three people simultaneously then a separated-not-divorced man is just the way to do it. If you want to be smart, wish him well and try again next week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

False Starts

The beginning paragraph of all my dates starts exactly the same way. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. This makes them seem effortless – which they are – and almost boring, which is also true. And when you become mature enough, Single Girl, you will also see that is the benefit of the Rules; if you follow them there is no "man drama". A Rules Girl always knows where she stands. If a man can not “hunt and fish” well enough to secure a simple drinks date, there are likely bigger problems at work here and he is not a catch. Or he is not single.

The most difficult date is one that usually never gets to the drinks stage and if you want to know what to look for to weed out these “difficult” men, then read on…

Mr. Needy (above) called me on a Monday around 6pm and started talking. At 41 years, he was older, into yoga (huge bonus for me) and asked A LOT of questions:

When were you last in a relationship? Why did you break up? …etc. He was wondering if I had ever met anyone as old as him (Answer: yes, my grandparents)

My list of friendly non-answers was getting exhausted. He told me a story about being in his last relationship that was supposed to explain why they did not work out. It went,

“I spend 8 years eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I don’t even like mint chocolate chip ice cream”.

Now, clever girl that I am, I thought that he was making an analogy about the boring sex life he shared with his ex-girlfriend. But no, he was actually talking about eating ice cream and not having the balls (?) to negotiate a different life for himself. Since the world is made of up two types of people: Those who LOVE mint chocolate chip ice cream, and the sub-human monsters that fed on the nightmares of live children in the dark crevasses of time and space, I knew we did not have the right stuff.

At one point he asked, “Do you make your bed in the morning?”, when I asked why he wanted to know, he said that it was a “test” question to see if I was really doing my morning meditation like I said I was. (i.e. a person who meditates for a few moments in the day will be more likely to do so in a tidy environment). Since I have already scored a near perfect on the SAT Verbal, my days of being tested by strange men are far behind me. I breathed easily knowing that I would never have to suffer through a date with this man.

But he didn’t know that.

So he talked very engagingly (read: in a solid stream of consciousness) for a total of 8 minutes but he – say it with me now, Single Girls! – NEVER GOT TO THE POINT. He did not ask me out. He just loved the sound of his own voice and so he kept talking about… nothing. {Hint for the fellas: I have to actually know you to care about the small minutiae in your life. This goes for women too. Rule # 2 is SHUT UP (I may have paraphrased a bit there).} At which point I said

“Listen, I am on my way out, so I have to let you go but I hope we can talk again”.

His voice immediately hardened into an icy whisper that stayed with me long after the call was terminated, and he said:

Then why don’t YOU call ME back when you are finished?”

It was like the beginning of a horror movie… With a broad smile on my face I responded in my friendliest tone “I will do that!” and heard him hang up as I was still speaking. I deleted his number off my phone and proceeded to make dinner. And take a hot bath to shake off the bad juju.

The following day was Valentine’s Day. He was clearly lonely. And drunk. But Valentine’s Day can be an opportunist’s dream! He could have started with something kind, gentle, funny or sweet. He could have been endearing and scored himself a date with a real live woman for the upcoming weekend. Instead, he wrote:

“I guess you found someone to play with ;)”

If that is not the creepiest thing you can think of hearing from a stranger over 40, then I have no idea where you hang out. The deranged winking emoticon adds a little something, don’t you think? It’s like he thinks he can cover his passive-aggressive rage at being ignored with a cute smile, the same way a homicidal maniac tries to pretend he’s okay with having a group of gangbangers run a train on his girlfriend.

The first mistake this clever boy made was thinking I saved men’s phone numbers. Nope. You call me. You hang up. I delete the call so that there is no embarrassment if my phone is lost or stolen.
Police: “So, who was the last number to call you?”
Me: “Uhmmm…”

Since I don’t call men (See The Rules) there is no reason for me to keep your number. That goes for texts: Unless I have a reason to keep your texts messages (i.e. you have planned a date with me) then every new one is an undiscovered country. I have to ask for his name. And when he responded he put another winking emoticon. Why?!? What’s funny? Is your name funny? Is it not your real name? Your goddamn emoticon is menacing me! I have deleted his name out of courtesy so you are just going to have to believe me.

Anyway, I wanted to know what he meant, so I acknowledged we spoke last night and asked him. He wrote:

“Just saying Hi”.

Wow. Jealous much? I have never met you and already you are building strange relationship castles in your head. What was wrong with just saying “Hello”? Did you want to start a fight about who I am with? Did it occur to you that since you are a stranger, I do not owe you any kind of explanation?

My point is, Single Girl, there is something wrong with men who fill up your inbox with nonsense messages. It is the dating equivalent of going through a drive-thru without ordering anything. The question is the same: Why did you come here?