When it comes to casual dating, I am pretty low maintenance. I don't own a copy of The Rules. I don't make ridiculous, impossible checklists for things like height, education or profession. And I don't have unreasonable expectations for perfection or mind-reading capabilities.
This is real life, not a Cameron Crowe flick.
I do, however, make a few basic assumptions when I decide to go out with a guy. I assume that by his late twenties, a man should know three things: how to dress, how to kiss, and how treat me like a girl. Notice I didn't say "treat me like lady." Because the obvious is that a man should always be respectful of his date. But what may be less obvious is that he should also be aware of the distinct differences between his date... and one of his buddies.Allow me to illustrate.
Example 1: The A-Game
Sometime late last summer, I went on a couple of dates with an attractive, well-spoken, and charming entrepreneur we'll call Drew. Drew tended to ask me out for Thursday evenings, and yet, still be a little miffed when I wanted to be home by midnight. Not to be my mother, but it's a school night! After a full day in the office, a full evening on the town can be a lot of effort. For what would have been our third date, and as an invitation to meet his friends, Drew left me a voicemail one afternoon.
"... Thursday night, if you can bring your A-game. Peace out."
Peace out? Were we on the same paintball team? It wasn't even the goofy signoff that got me. I remember being most taken aback by the bit about bringing my A-game. I have never been accused of being a bad time or bringing down the group fun quotient. Was insulting me really meant to woo me? Maybe. At the very least it was thoughtless and ultimately, a deal breaker.
Example 2: U just don't get it
More recently, I started seeing Mark, a wise-cracking, Peter Pan type. After exactly two dates, I received the following text message, late one Friday night (incidentally, the same Friday night we didn't make plans because he was busy):
Can I reserve u for a make-out session tonite?
Reserve me? What am I, a library book? I replied, no, and with a click!, closed my phone and the window on that potential relationship. Had we been dating for a few months, a message like that might have been not only acceptable, but probably even funny and cute. But in the early stages of dating, it's cringe-worthy. It's icky and it's lazy. I honestly appreciate when men at least go to the pretense of making a date if they're after some nookie. And frankly, if he can't be bothered to make a proper drunk dial (or at least spell out the word y-o-u), he's likely to be lazy about a whole bunch of other stuff. If you catch my drift.
Perhaps I'm being fussy. But I'm a sucker for some finesse and a little bit of sweet talk. I mean, is it really so much to ask to be treated like a girl? To be handled with just a little more care than say, the guys in his Fantasy Football league? God, I hope not.
And to the guy who says, "I didn't clean up my apartment because I didn't want to put up a front and make you think I was cleaner than I am." I say, put up a front! Be cleaner, be nicer! Allow me at least a few good months of ignorant bliss. Because by then, you'll probably be farting in bed and a little mess will be the least of my grumbles.