You always hear that some rules are made to be broken. Some rules are better left intact, even when they're self-imposed. I have to admit that I like a lot of rules (in case you don't know me irl and therefore didn't already know). Strange or not, it makes life easier to live, simpler somehow with fewer options—that is, until you reach the tipping point. I've had a few experiences in my life that I could say led to reconsidering adhering to all of my rules. Usually those are times that something happens to alter my worldview—like a death, if not death of a person, death of some ingrained ideal or ideology. Sometimes, though, I just break the d@mn rule. For no good reason. Just because. I started smoking before high school. First one of my friends to do it. I didn't have sex until college. Last one of my friends to do it. Can't really tell you why in either case.
So when I break rules, especially my own, I don't really examine why until I look back on it, which is usually when I ask why the hell I did that. I'm probably asking myself that because regret rears its nasty phiz. Why did I do that, or why didn't I do it sooner, or later, or why didn't I do that? For no good reason. Just because.
I hate to date. Dating rules are pretty common, though, and you'd think that would make it simpler, somehow, with fewer options (and, as you know, you'd be dead wrong). Maybe the rules aren't about the right things, or there aren't enough of them. Here are the ones I've been thinking about lately (for those who know me irl: play the game 'who's she talkin' bout' and see how many you can get right!). Don't date coworkers. AKA: Don't sh!t where you eat
No, I didn't break that one, technically. But I did date someone in my social group; at least after we started dating he became a part of it, and fast. Maybe too quickly, but when you care about someone, you want to share everything at first. Then, you seriously regret your feet-first attitude and may start to pull back a bit, and hopefully you've hung onto separate friends so you can do that. Because it's too damn late for everyone else by that time. Your friends are all asking where he is, whenever you go out without him. Like you can't have an existence singly once you've coupled. (I use that in the most casual, non-sexual sense.) Yeah, I'm sure it's worse with an actual co-worker, because then you have to go in every day. You can't just elect to stay home and blog about being single, like I do. But I still miss swing dance events, and they honestly don't have a lot of joy when I feel like the bad kitty who can't really relax, napping on off-limits furniture, in case someone comes home early and you have to run out of the room. And it's not that seeing an ex-bf is so awful, it's that you can't just live your normal life when they're in the same room. At all.
Don't date dudes who drive trucks. Okay, maybe that's not a common one. But it was one of my rules that I spontaneously made up when a college gf set me up with her bf's friend (who drove a giant truck, even though he was about 5” taller than me—if you know me, you know that I'm flattered to be mistaken for 5'2”). Lest I sound completely snobbish or materialistic, I will clarify that my aversion to pickup trucks that dates back to my days growing up in Knoxville, when you could prove how much of a redneck you were by how loud your truck engine could get, or how big your truck was (or at least its tires). I may not still feel that way, but I also have the same aversion to SUVs and cannot think of a time I've dated someone with one, although I admit the rules are different for friends with SUVs and trucks. Still don't have many friends with SUVs, though. (Hey, you who know me irl: still playing along? You probably don't know this guy, and I couldn't tell you his name at this point. Maybe Alzheimer's has set in.) But back to Trucker Blind Date. It was an F150 or something, not a big rig, but the proportions for each of us shorties were still pretty far off. Even when I do get Alzheimer's, I will forever have an image of riding around in that gleaming white beast, even though we were on a double date, because (of course!) we couldn't all four fit into one or the other of the guys' trucks (and no way can chicks drive on dates, right?). Needless to say, date #1 was date #only1. So I wouldn't say that 1 blind date really counts as breaking the rule. But, yeah, I broke this rule later, too! It was years after Trucker Blind Date, which doesn't really count since I had no idea he drove a truck when I said I'd go out with him. Meeting a super-hottie at *dish* one night, of course I didn't think someone open-minded enough to go to 80's night with 99 gay males would be redneck. Didn't think to ask what he drove, either, as in, “What car to you drive? An '82 Beetle? Sweet! At least it ain't a truck!” (see, the East TN upbringing still comes out sometimes). But I found out on our first date, and went out with him anyway. Ended up being the worst boyfriend I ever had. Bleah! I blame his truck. Either that or his mother for carrying him to term. HA!
Don't date the same guy twice. Note for those who know me irl: Yes, we're going in reverse chronological order of SB's significant (>1 year) relationships. **siiiiiiigh** I'm not sure I even have the energy to get into this one, it was so long ago now. Is it a general rule, or just something I made up after we got back together and I got dumped (a second time**)? Anyway, I broke it more than once, I have to admit. Generally, I'd have to say it's not a great idea, but it's really easy to get back into something that wasn't all that great to start, because it's usually A-predictable/familiar, and B-convenient/accessible sex. Or do I mean A-predictable/familiar sex and B-convenient/accessible
Don't date a friend's ex. Yep. Kinda broke that one unintentionally (not unknowingly) by hanging out with a hall mate's rush party date. The thing is, I didn't really realize that 2 weeks was a lifetime in college, or that the girl was my de facto friend, just because we were placed 2 doors down in the dorm. I also didn't date the guy much longer than a week myself. It didn't have a permanent impact on our friendship; in fact, we became quite close over the next 2 years and ended up being roommates later. Thankfully, I've never really broken this one when it mattered.
Don't date an ex's friend. OK, now we're finally into the realm of dating rules I haven't [knowingly] broken. Didn't realize I was such a rule-breaker! As anyone has, I've dated 2 guys who ended up being friends, and only found out by mentioning Mr Previous Ex's last name (which was distinctive, and mentioned a type of fruit.) Now I know better, I guess (not to mention last names, or not to date guys with fruit in their names, I'm not sure).
Don't date outside your race, age group, social strata, etc. OK, broken alla these. A couple of times each. Moving along....
Don't date a roommate Along the lines of coworker/don't sh!t where you eat philosophy. Thankfully, I've never violated this rule, but I've only lived with 2 guys, and then just for a few months at a time. Sounds pretty convenient, but then where do you escape?
NEVER date your gynecologist Or your friend's gyne. Or your gynecologist's friends, either. It just can't be a good idea to share that much, in that way. Not that I would know, because my gynecologist is a lesbian, and I'm not. This shouldn't be a tough rule to adhere to, now that I think of it.
So ends the list of dating rules (sorry I didn't number them, but the tech writer in me didn't want to, because I failed to organize them in order of importance—I am also struggling with comma and sentence structure due to my background. Bear with me, please).
What have I learned from all this mess? Unfortunately, very little. I know now to not make dating decisions that will have either obvious or immediate repercussions on your life, in a negative way (if you can predict, as with the coworker/gyne thing). I learned to think a bit about why I'm dating someone, but when you get along well, it's hard not to just go with it. I learned that sometimes my friends appear to be able to read the future, just because they see how these rules are going to pan out. I've also figured out that my friends' rules are sometimes too restrictive, or that they're even more afraid for my well-being than I am. Thanks, guys.