Melissa is not going to move in with the next guy she dates. Even though Melissa and I are both completely incompetent at all things social, we can see that Melissa has moved in with three guys who were never going to marry her. So part of her new dating plan is she has to stop doing that.
Melissa wants me to make sure that all the 25 year old girls who read this blog realize that moving in with a guy is not a step forward for the girl.
The clients for Melissa’s company are all CEOs, and once a month one of them wants to fund her company to grow it big: A recruiting revolution!
Melissa does not want a startup. She wants a family. She is restructuring her life to get what she wants.
She hired another person in her company to take half her workload so she can focus on dating. She moved into an apartment that is big enough to actually live in so she won’t want to move in with the every guy she meets. She stopped traveling all the time because she can’t date if she’s out of town.
Also, she doesn’t call me for dating advice anymore. I tell her just marry anyone. Whatever. All the San Francisco guys seem like the same guy to me. I have no patience.
For a while she was asking Dana for advice. Dana is our go-to ENFJ and knows all things social. But Melissa tells me Dana says she can’t help because she met her husband five years ago. It’s not like five years ago is before the Internet. I don’t know what she’s talking about. I take this to mean that Melissa has also exhausted Dana’s patience.
Melissa made a new friend, Chen, who is also an ENFJ and has a boyfriend Melissa likes. So Melissa started getting dating rules from Chen. Things like: Never be negative on a first date. No going on dates two nights in a row in the beginning. Respond to texts at variable intervals. The goal should always be to have fun.
It turns out that Melissa needs about 400,000 rules. How long is “in the beginning?” How varied do the “variable intervals” have to be? Does fun mean fun for you or fun for the guy?
Melissa exhausts Chen and has to turn to books.
I am surprised she is reading dating books. Melissa reads the New Yorker. She recommends authors to me like Miranda July. How did things get so bad?
Melissa says dating advice is like career advice. Everyone thinks they are too good for it but the people who are most successful are great at absorbing advice.
“What books?” I ask. “What sort of advice?”
“I’m not telling you. You’d think it was all stupid. But as soon as I followed the advice I got an intellectual, well-adjusted nice guy who is gainfully employed and actually takes me out on real dates.”
Dates are a big deal for Melissa. Other guys she’s been with have been incompetent at going out on dates so she just skipped over that part and moved in with them. She is convinced that if she wants to be with a high-functioning guy she needs to find someone who can plan a date, schedule it and follow though.
After I badger her, she sends me a list of a bajillion books she has read. I know you will ask, so her favorite book is Mars and Venus on a Date. And here are the most important rules she has decided to follow:
Do not treat the man the way you want to be treated.
Men are like rubber bands. They pull away. If you don’t run after them, they will spring back.
Women fall in love on dates. Men fall in love in between dates. So let him do the pursuing.
You don’t need to reciprocate, you need to receive.
Physical intimacy doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A woman needs to understand that by receiving and responding in a warm and friendly way to a man’s romantic gestures she is already giving back to him.
A man is attracted to a woman who can clearly be pleased. This is one reason that the man needs to give the woman an orgasm before there is any sex.
The secret for success for a woman is to continue receiving. By being receptive and responsive to what a man gives, she is actually giving the relationship the best chance to grow. Her role is to give him the opportunity to keep succeeding; his role is to keep succeeding.
I’m fascinated by how much of this my husband has told me, in not-so-clear-cut ways. He would like to be treated like this even after marriage. And I realize, no wonder my career has never recovered from having children. It’s not just the kids: Like dating, marriage is a full-time job.
Melissa says, “Don’t write the rules. It’s embarrassing. Everybody will think it’s lame.”
I tell her, “Forget it. I love the list. I’m publishing it.”
She says, “I get anxious when you write about me dating because I don’t know what the ending is. I want the ending to be I never have to worry about this again.”
“The ending,” I tell her, “is that we love you.”