No Humping on First Dates

Some weeks this column practically writes itself. I can't wait to sit down and get to it. I know exactly what I'm going to say and can occasionally even manage to crack myself up in the process.

Other weeks—like, say, this one—eking out even a sentence is torturous. I think it might be because of an e-mail I received a few days ago. Last week's letter writer—the guy who, after happening upon her e-mail account, discovered his girlfriend was a big fat cheater—wrote me a furious note because I had to edit his letter down. He felt that by doing so I had changed the focus from what he wanted me to concentrate on (the snooping) to what I wanted to discuss (his plan to exact revenge upon her).

I don't know why his anger bothered me so much. It's not like I'm a stranger to hate mail. Maybe it's because he and I had gone back and forth about the matter before the column ran. I'd told him I was going to run it and even let him rewrite the original a bit so he didn't come off as so angry. I certainly understand how ephemeral feelings can be.

But the Weekly only gives me a certain number of words each week (700, to be exact). Which means that if you write me long-winded letters, you're going to get chopped. Otherwise, how could I fit my always, ahem, brilliant take on any given situation? Also, unless you specifically state otherwise, there's a good chance I'm going to print what you send (unless it's really boring). There's also a better-than-average likelihood you're not going to like what I have to say.

For instance, I think that this particular fella was annoyed that I said he was acting kind of cuckoo. But who wouldn't go a little nuts upon finding out their beliked was fucking around on them? I've certainly ridden that particular crazy train round the bend, haven't you?

I mean, one of the few advice-columnist qualifications I have is that I've made pretty much every mistake a dater could possibly make. It's not like I'm doling out dollops of wisdom from some cushy Advice Queen Throne. If there's a wrong way to do it, I've done it. (Shameless self-promotion moment: Which is why I recently finished writing a book called How Not to Date, in bookstores this January!)

Shall we review some of the things I've learned not to do? I've learned not to...

...fuck on the first date: I've done this more times than I can count and have come to realize that as a hetero woman dating men, this is a bad idea. (The gay community isn't as unenlightened as the straight male contingent, so you guys and gals can keep on keepin' on with impunity.) As infuriating as I find this double standard, most men treat you like shit if you sleep with them too early. I can't even articulate how angry this makes me, but I have found that more often than not, it's the case. If you want him to be your boyfriend, hold out for at least date No. 2. You may still end up with a loser, but at least you'll have given it a shot.

...burst into tears immediately after having ignored the above advice. Post-sex waterworks—especially in front of someone you don't know very well—is possibly the most humiliating thing EVER. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's done this.

...say "I love you" until after you've heard the other person fart. Meaning, those three words are not first-, second- or third-date material. Don't do it. You'll only wind up scaring someone.

...show up drunk for a date. If you need five cocktails to stomach dating someone, you probably shouldn't be there in the first place. It's a good way to wind up having sex with someone you normally wouldn't waste spit (or any other fluid) on.

There's plenty more where that came from, but what I'm trying to get at in my own meandering, defensive way is that any criticism I deliver is probably one I've earned myself at some point.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

 
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