Alright y'all, here goes nothing: single girl trying to give dating advice. Maybe I'm not the best person to do this, but really, who is? And seeing as I have a date tonight (insert nervous giggle here), I'm inspired to blather on about my opinions on dating.
1) I've Got Baggage, Too
Every last person I have ever met has some kind of emotional baggage from their dating past. I've been on the receiving end of about 80 different kinds of crazy, and I know I've probably been "the crazy one" to a few people. But at the end of the day, you gotta let it go. I try never to enter a new dating situation with the anticipation of anything short of wonderful things from the other person. This means that just because Jerk Face #4 was a dirty, lying cheater, that doesn't mean fresh, new, shiny Not A Jerk Face is. Just because Super Tool #5 was a crazy, pathological liar bordering on stalker, that doesn't mean Super Sweetie is. LET. IT. GO. Don't get me wrong - acknowledge what happened, deal with the hurt/pain/anger, but do that before you get your cute little self back on the dating market. This is best done over multiple pints of Ben&Jerry's on the phone with my best friend...wait...sorry. Like I was saying, let it go. This is not to say you should pretend it never happened - you can talk about it with your new special friend later on if it becomes serious - but no one wants you to be that heavy in the early stages. Those stages should be all rainbows and sno-cones.
2) I Know What I Want
Most important part of dating - period. Know what you want from another person, and what you absolutely don't. If you (like me) think chivalry is an art form that should be preserved, don't take any crap from guys. "Wanna hang out?" is not a request for a date, it's a request for tomfoolery 9 times out of 10 from a little boy who has yet to grow up. I don't play that, and neither should you, if you want a true gentleman. Men - this is on you, too - be that guy who opens doors, and calls when he says he will, and respects and values women. You know what I call a guy who isn't afraid to be overtly nice and considerate to women? A MAN. Man up! Also, if you don't want a serious relationship, don't get coerced into one - I have let this happen, and eventually you just end up hurting someone else. Be up front (again, not on a first date, but once you know you really like a person) about what you want. The worst that will happen is the other person saying no or pulling away and that's ok, you didn't want that one anyway - throw that fish on back in the sea! And NEVER settle for someone who doesn't want what you do out of a relationship. Life is too short to be miserable (or to eat Miracle Whip - that junk is nasty).
3) Be Classy and Fabulous
This is my nice way of saying not to go too far too fast. I won't preach to you about what you do behind closed doors - not my place - but I will say you can screw up a good thing by screwing around with someone too soon. Be patient - it always works out better that way. And, if your new friend is a total tool bag, you'll know before you got too involved. Also, dress nicely - guys and girls. Don't put it all on display, and don't look like you were raised by wolves. Respect yourself and your date enough to put a little effort into your appearance. And please, for the love of pete, please do not excessively paw another person in public - that's not cute. Save it for the parking lot, or your car, or the privacy of an empty movie theatre or your home. PDA is like really rich food - totally fine in limited quantity. Otherwise, we're all ending up sick.
4) Express Yourself
For crying out loud, don't be fake. Don't. Why on earth do you want someone to fall in like with a you that isn't your true self? You deserve someone who likes the you that you love, so be that person. And expect the same from other people. Don't play games - I mean, don't be all crazy, but be honest about yourself, your wants, your needs. Don't be scared to tell someone you like them, don't be afraid to ask for what you want, and don't be frightened by the prospect of being alone. Sometimes you need to be.
If this seems sort of stream-of-consciousness, it may be. All of these things have been on my mind and discussed at length with my best homegirl. Just believe that there's plenty of someones out there who could be your someone. Value yourself and know that you deserve what you want out of a relationship. As for me, I'll let y'all know how this pans out. You never know...