I’ve been reading a lot the past couple of days about a school in Texas that invited some asshole to speak about how girls need to “learn how to shut up” to be “datable” and similar crap. Since I’m currently working on a book about two boys who try to make themselves over to make themselves more “datable,” this guy’s crappy advice struck home with me.
In response, I thought I’d offer some dating advice of my own. Feel free to take or leave it as you see fit.
My focus in this article is on straight boys and girls; I would offer my dating advice to gay boys and lesbians as well, but society is switching too quickly under my feet and advice I give you today may no longer apply in a year or so. Some of what I say to your straight brethren and sistren applies to you, but overall the best advice I can give to my LGBTQOMGWTFBBQ readers is to seek advice from people older than you but younger than me. When I was a teenager, the best dating advice boys like I could get was “run and hide.” It’s not like that any more.
The situation with boys and girls, however, is timeless. The interactions are the same, the conditions are the same, and the mistakes people make are the same. So here goes.
Remember that dating is not about sexual gratification. Dating is about pairing off and hopefully finding a partner for the long haul. Girls are not conquests, and if you are just dating a girl to get your rocks off then in the end you are wasting your time and hers. If you want hormonal release, that’s why God gave you an overactive imagination and tube socks.
Since you want to find a girl that you can be with on a regular basis and for the long haul, look beyond the surface. You want a girl that can hold down a conversation with you and shares at least some of your interests. If you are lucky, the two of you are going to spend a lot more time over the course of your life talking than playing bongo-bongo-bongo. You’re going to enjoy it more, too.
Look beyond the surface. Deep down, every woman is beautiful. Their surface appearance is just one aspect. Look at all the aspects of a girl. Clothes and hairstyles change at the drop of a hat, outward attractiveness may fade with old age, but the inner person and inner beauty are forever.
Remember one basic thing: don’t do anything that either of you is uncomfortable with. If she is not ready for something physical, stop. If she is pushing you toward something physical you are not ready for, tell her to stop. Any girl who won’t take no for an answer is someone you don’t want to be around, and a boy who won’t take no for an answer is someone no girl should ever be around. You are in this for the long haul. There is plenty of time for that when and if you two are ready.
Most importantly: be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Don’t put up a front. Again, you are in it for the long haul. If you lie about yourself to a girl (and that’s what pretending to be someone else is, lying) she’s going to find out about it sooner or later and she will feel she can’t trust you. And she’s right. Never think you aren’t good enough; there is always a girl out there for whom you are perfect.
Be patient. Finding someone takes time. Building something that is going to last takes time. Don’t despair, and don’t settle. Keep looking. When you find the right girl, you will know.
Finally, if it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. A relationship that falls apart that easily is not one destined for the long haul. Don’t mope, don’t sulk, just pick yourself up and get on with it. Something worth having will stand the test of time.
One important thing for you to remember is this: you don’t need to be with a boy to be complete. Every person in the world is complete in and of themselves. Couples are just joinings of two complete individuals to make one complete combo.
As I told the boys, dating is not about instant gratification, either sexual or social. Dating is about finding someone you want to be with for the long haul. Look for someone you share common interests with and enjoy talking to. Look for someone you feel comfortable with, and who you could imagine sharing part of your life with.
Be yourself. Whatever you do, do not change who you are or pretend to be something you’re not. Do not dress “sluttily” or play dumb to make a boy like you. A boy worth dating will see past those shallow things and grow to love you for who you really are. You are someone special and unique, and you shouldn’t feel the need to change that person to appeal to someone. They are not worth it, and you are.
Remember: you are not too smart for a boy, he is too dumb for you. If he is uncomfortable because you are too intelligent for him, then guess what? You’re too intelligent to settle for someone like that. You do not need the hassle of trying to hold down both sides of a conversation for the rest of your time together.
Don’t feel pressured into anything! You don’t need to “put out” to get a boy to like you. A boy who only wants sex really is only interested in one thing. Don’t waste your time pursuing a boy who keeps trying to get you to sleep with him when you don’t want to. If he threatens to break up with you if you don’t put out, for God’s sake let him break up with you. You will be better off for it. If a boy keeps pushing forward when you say no, walk away. Run away if you have to. And if that doesn’t work, there’s a reason God made women’s shoes pointy and men’s dangly bits so dangly.
In fact, I’m going to amend the above paragraph. If a boy threatens to break up with you for any reason, let him! Remember, you don’t need a boy to be complete. Any boy who tries to manipulate you in any way is not worth it! Do not change your friends, your hobbies, or even your hair just to please a boy. He is not worth it! Remember, you want to be in it for the long haul, and that means you need to be comfortable with who you are. If he doesn’t want to be around you the way you are, then he doesn’t want to be around you.
Be patient. Finding a boy you want to be with for the long haul can take time. Don’t settle. When you find the right boy, you will know.
Finally, if it falls apart, it’s not meant to be. Anything that fragile is not meant to last the long haul. Don’t sulk, don’t mope, just move on. There are plenty of boys out there worth dating.
Dating is tricky. It’s a minefield full of dangers, both physical and emotional. Mostly emotional. No one comes out of it unscathed. But follow these tips and you might just survive it.