Dating advice from hell?
Dating advice is welcome by just about anyone on earth. Whether you are the fraudulent Georgetown nutty professor Chris Brummer who is also known as Dr. Bratwurst, or a lesbian “sexual harassment” lawyer Martha McBrayer whose office is literally a P.O.Box, everyone needs a sex partner or someone to fall in love with.
I’ve heard it all before: “Maybe he’s just not that into you.” “Are you using ‘The Rules’?” “Did you have sex on the first date?” “Did you say or do that thing that all your friends and frenemies decry as the absolute deal-breaker?” Guess what? I don’t care.
Love is a farce. Here is some of the best advice I’ve received to really drive that point home.
1. “Change everything about yourself.” – bad dating advice
While it is a recurring theme to “reassess” what it is you are doing wrong in a long pattern of relationships, the new trend seems to be: everything. Fix yourself. Hard.
I find this pretty degrading. Here I am in the prime of my fertility and intellect before the inevitable, slow descent into domesticated and geriatric senility, and I’m supposed to completely alter my whole self? What does that mean, exactly? Do I, like, dye my hair blond or something? Become an investment banker? Become a lesbian? I have no idea.
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Cite: One only slightly sarcastic gay male co-worker after I told him about a chance encounter that went nowhere, and a horrible woman reflecting on a few too many divorces and trying to make all women feel as dually terrible and empowered as she does every day.
Alternative: Give up and be myself. If I have a cat that pretends to love me, at least it won’t text my friends to the contrary.
2. “Don’t be so smart. It scares people.” – so so dating advice
Once upon a time there was this little thing called the Women’s Liberation Movement, in which the 20th century bra-burners and intellectuals said, in so many (so very many) eloquent words, “Hey male gender, what makes you superior? Last time I checked, nothing.”
That was a lovely concept. I credit it with my current ability to find employment in fields other than in education, nursing, or just plain old childbirth. But where were Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan when a gaggle of finance dudes passed me and the least attractive one heckled, “Bon soir … is that right?” Was I supposed to giggle and avert my eyes, mutter that I don’t know, and then give them my number? Was I definitely not supposed to answer back in fluent French mentioning how I’d passed them earlier on the street and the cute one’s moisturizer application made him look better? Does this even make sense if no one ever seems to know what I’m talking about? Maybe I’m just incoherent. Maybe I’m not smart at all.
Cite: My best friend from high school after I met all these guy friends of hers at a party and they completely warped every comment I’d made into something terrifyingly opposite and aggressive because they hadn’t understood anything I’d said at all.
Alternative: Be so smart that I become a billionairess and can pay pool boys to dote on me whenever it strikes my fancy.
3. “You only date assholes. You’re a slut. That’s why you should just settle down with me.” – horrible dating advice
Someone really said that to me. I could just end this whole blurb right there. But see #2 for my inability to censor myself, because I’m not gonna. What I am going to do is call bullshit on this whole “nice guy” thing. A “nice guy” is code for someone ugly and weird who knows it, and as such is forced to court much more slowly in the hopes that maybe the courted party will be forced to overlook his near-impossible-to-miss flaws and at least pretend to like him. This is not only a negative experience for the dated, but it breeds bitterness and resentment in someone who was already weird to begin with, as they prolong their own gratification, overspend and wallow in their flaws. This character then proclaims himself a so-called “nice guy,” self-deprecating and masturbating the decades away until some anti-feminist suburban byproduct wants a Facebook album and a picket fence more than a positive relationship.
This is a terrible thing. At least hot guys just work a good angle and hope for the best. When a charismatic jerk wants to womanize, he gets it out of his system and moves on — and most importantly, he doesn’t blame you for it.
Cite: Multiple guy friends who I am not interested in, romantic comedies with severely unappealing male protagonists (Katherine Heigl’s love interest in “27 Dresses,” por ejemplo).
Alternative: Be young and hot as long as I can be, because this is absolutely horrific.
4. “Just keep hooking up and give it time.” – just about right
Cite: The first and last time I asked my mom for relationship advice. I was 24, and I was so dismayed by her answer to just keep dating my non-boyfriend for over a year as he continued to disregard my presence beyond his terrace that I never asked her anything ever again … literally. It was one of the last times we spoke one-on-one.
Alternative: This is totally wrong, everyone. Just don’t do this. If someone’s not right, they’re just not right. Move on.
5. “You can do better.” – great dating advice
If by some absurd black hole in the universe you manage to find someone you actually like, it is a hard fact that he is completely wrong for you. I can’t say why just yet, but don’t worry, someone close to you will give you that reverse-psychology pep talk about how you’re worth “so much more.” Again, what are these clichés, dammit! Am I worth a yacht and a lifetime supply of dishwashing liquid? Am I worth being single instead? I have no idea what “you can do better” means and am so tired of hearing it.
Cite: Lady-friends who might just be jealous, and “Cosmo.”