At long last, part 2 of Miranda’s Manifesto. It’s funny; I envisioned part 2 as this hard core set of rules for myself about dating. I’ve been pulling together bits and pieces of all these blogs I read, tidbits from He’s Just Not That Into You, and even pieces from The Rules. But I’m finding part 2 of the manifesto to be quite a bit different than I planned.
I’ve been joking with Gwyn that I felt like I was on some path of enlightenment this week that all came together with me reading this book called How to Be Single. It’s by Liz Tuccillo, one of the writers from He’s Just Not That Into You, and it’s loosely based on her personal experiences and her travels around the world to see how single women in their 30s deal with relationships. Even though it’s fiction, there are tons of anecdotes in there that made me reflect on my own life and my friends’ lives.
I’ve been trying to write this post since Friday and it took yet another crazy night out on the town (I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow) and lots of self reflection this week for me to be able to put my words together. So here goes. These are Miranda’s basic dating principles:
Follow the Leader - Let the boy lead, especially in the beginning. There’s nothing wrong with a gentle nudge every once in a while but during the first month(s) the man has to be the one in control. It sucks and it’s against my personality but my research (both personal experience and from my reading) has shown that’s what guys need, like, and prefer. Plus if you lead in the beginning, you end up always leading and that winds up creating resentment and an imbalance of power (see my relationship with Duckie).
Don’t Force a Relationship to Be Something It’s Not - Despite how much you like him, you can’t make the relationship into something it’s not. I learned that the hard way with FJB and all girls do it, so I’m going to blame it on the estrogen. If he wants to date you, he will. If he wants to do more than “hang out”, he will. You can’t delude yourself with a million excuses about why he’s acting a certain way or why he’s “scared” to be in a relationship. Because even the person who’s been through the most past relationship drama, will be in a relationship with you in a heartbeat if they really, honestly like you. Stop living in you fantasy world and be honest about the relationship you have.
Avoid Needless Contact – Before you’re exclusive, when you reach the crazy point of wanting to call/text/email him because he’s not acting/being/doing what you want, DON’T DO IT! It’s the only way to find out what his intentions really are towards you. You need to know how long he can go without talking to you, unencumbered by your phone calls, emails, or texts. If you initiate contact, you contaminate the evidence. This doesn’t mean you are aloof or unfriendly. But there’s a fine balance between letting a guy know you are interested and seeming desperate.
Hold Off on Sex as Long as Possible – This one is definitely the one that’s the trickiest for me and I feel like a hypocrite for even saying it (you’ll understand why after tomorrow’s post) but it’s true. Sex changes things and I believe in the majority of cases if you have sex too early in the relationship it can stall things out or even derail them entirely. I wish I had some hard and fast guideline to share but it’s going to be different for every situation. I think a good basic standard is to try to hold off until you are exclusively dating.
Love Yourself – Gross and touchy feely I know, but there’s some real truth there. You need to be content with yourself and understand your own flaws and imperfections. Like I said in part 1, recognize that you’re a catch and that you have a lot of to offer. Because if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you? And if you don’t truly love yourself, you’re going to end up settling for a lot less than you deserve.
Have Some Freaking Standards Already – Writing part 1 of the manifesto was incredibly rewarding. It made me really think about what I wanted and what I needed in a partner. And it’s changed the way I’m thinking about guys. Ever since I wrote my list, I’m evaluating guys differently. I did it Friday night (I know I keep teasing you with that) and even as I sat down and thought through my past relationships. I actually put my list of 25 characteristics on an Excel spreadsheet and listed out the guys I’ve “dated” in the last year and even put Duckie on there. The results were quite surprising. Even being generous with my “grading,” not a single guy met my 85% threshold. College Crush came the closest but he still didn’t qualify. Also, looking at some of these guys and how they rated in black and white was quite eye opening. It made the last vestiges of my “fantasy” relationships with these guys fall away and I was truly, bluntly honest with myself about a lot of things.
The truth is there are no basic dating principles that work for everyone. And honestly, I don’t want some long list of dos and don’ts that I have to work to remember. I want someone who’s going to love me for all the good things and the bad things that make Miranda Miranda. I don’t want to play these complex games because the more I try to “work” at dating, the less I want to date. And I don’t want to feel like I’m tricking some guy into thinking I’m something I’m not.
You guys know it from reading this blog. I’m an optimist. I believe in love. I want the fairytale. I’m not ashamed to admit that I fantasize about falling wildly in love with someone one day and having an amazing long term relationship. I’m also not afraid to admit that I realize that may never happen. I may be meant to be alone and I’m ok with that reality as well. But I’m not going to stop believing that there is someone out there somewhere who’s going to give me the kind of relationship my parents had.
As an addendum to my principles, please check out this post at A Girl Called Chris. It’s ingenious and hilarious and very appropriate. http://agirlcalledchris.tumblr.com/post/1725877423.