Stereotypical Dating Rules: Keep ‘em, or Can ‘em?

We’ve all heard these before, the stereotypical dating rules like “no sex on the first date” and “wait three days to call”… but are they a bit outdated? In the twenty first century, do these rules still hold true, or do we need to move past them to be successful in the ever-evolving dating world?

Jobo from Determined to Be and I decided to play a little game with these rules and we’re calling it Keep ‘em, or Can ‘em. We’ve compiled a list of both stereotypical dating rules as well as things you commonly hear when talking about dating, such as “be honest”, and we’ve given our individual opinions and ratings of each one.

What do you think about each of these rules? Does reading our answers make you think differently about it? Is it time to “can” some of them?


1. Be honest. Seriously.

Jobo: There is nothing worse than someone telling you they had a good time, let’s go out again, and then they fall off the face of the earth, or string you along until they then fall off the face of the earth. We’re adults, just be honest and direct. Easier said than done.  Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: Well, be honest to a point. I mean, you can’t say things like “wow I really dislike that mole you have on your face” and are you really going to tell him/her “no, Friday doesn’t work for me because I’m seeing someone else that night”? Sometimes honesty hurts, so be honest about the things you can, and be vague about the rest. Just don’t lie, okay? Rating: Can ‘em!


2. Be upfront. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Jobo: If you are looking for casual sex, or casual dating, don’t say you are looking for something serious. If you don’t want to literally say “I want casual sex” (as I’m sure many wouldn’t be that upfront), there are ways around it, seriously. Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: While I don’t think you should have to necessarily be upfront about everything (this is only a date, you don’t have to lay all your cards on the table just yet), you should definitely be straight forward about what you do choose to say. Dating is complicated enough without feeling as though you have to read between the lines or second guess your date. Let’s make life a little easier on each other and mean what we say, mmmkay? Rating: Keep ‘em!


3. No sex on the first date.

Jobo: Um, yea, does this one even need an explanation? (Or the second date as I made the mistake – once – and learned from it!) Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: I follow Sex and the City’s four date rule. At a minimum. There may be a bit of game playing here but sometimes that’s unavoidable. The fact is that men lose interest if they aren’t being challenged, and they lose respect if you give it up too soon, so no matter how eager you are to jump his/her bones, wait. Rating: Keep ‘em!


4. Wait 3 days before calling.

Jobo: What are we, in high school? Use your judgment; go at your own pace. If you really hit it off, call them the next day, or send them a quick text after you get home, letting them know. I always found that to be a nice gesture (a call or a text or both), indicating your interest and it gives you a read from them, too. If they don’t answer or don’t reply to your text, that’s your sign, usually, and vice versa. Rating: Can ‘em!

IntrigueMe: Whoever came up with this rule is a retard. I mean seriously. Nobody wants to appear too eager but sitting around waiting to call or waiting for a call just leads to over-thinking every little thing. If you had an incredible date with someone and it feels natural to call them up the next day to say so, then do it! That said; please leave it at just one call. Nobody likes a clinger. Rating: Can ‘em!


5. Don’t talk about exes.

Jobo: At first, at least, I agree with this. If it comes up in conversation or is a direct question asked, I will answer, but I don’t think you have to go into details, either. I never hid from my divorce “label” and was upfront about it, and my friendship with my ex, however, pretty much upfront, because I never wanted that to be a “sticking point” later (if it is, then that’s their issue, not mine!) Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: Talking about your exes too early in a relationship is the kiss of death. Nobody wants to be trying to get to know you, whilst your ex runs around in the back of their mind. Talking about your ex comes off like you have unresolved issues, and what you say could leave your date judging you based on past behavior that he or she really doesn’t know enough about to understand. Leave exes and the messy past relationship bits for when you’re far enough into the relationship that it can be discussed rationally. Rating: Keep ‘em!


6. Don’t be “too available” and play a little bit of “hard to get.”

Jobo: To me, this goes hand in hand with #4. While I agree that over communication is a bit much at first (cue constant texter about randomness aka Text Boy!), if it’s going both ways, with calls and texts, I think it’s totally fine. This hard to get stuff drives me nuts. Rating: Can ‘em!

IntrigueMe: I think playing “hard to get” is childish. I think as grown-ups we need to take the initiative to cut out some of the game playing and be genuine. Let the phone go to voicemail if he calls while you’re up to your elbows in soapy dish water, but answer it if you’re lounging around the house free as a bird. Rating: Can ‘em!


7. When he calls you last minute to go out, don’t always jump.

Jobo: If you aren’t free, you aren’t free, don’t change your plans. If they don’t have any other times they are available, or refuse another time, that’s clearly a red flag! Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: You need to be able to tell the difference between a guy who expects you to jump when he snaps, and a guy who values your time. If he calls and asks you out at the last minute because he scored tickets to tonight’s hockey game, go for it… but if he always seems unable to nail down solid plans in advance, you might just have to come to the realization that you’re his back-up girl. Rating: Keep ‘em!


8. Offer to pay for dinner.

Jobo: I go back and forth on this. I always offer, but I have never once had a guy take me up on it. If they did, I might wonder. (Maybe it’s the tiny bit of old fashioned in me!) Rating: Undecided.

IntrigueMe: I’m not going to lie; I don’t like offering to pay for dinner on a first date. On the third or fourth date things are different but initially, he should be acting like a gentleman and trying to court me. I think we have to take into consideration the kind of guy we want to end up with, though. My dream man is the strong, confident, alpha-male sort… the kind of guy who takes the bill without hesitating and whose body language leaves no question that he’s a gentleman and intends on treating me like a lady. Rating: Can ‘em!


9. Don’t rush into things.

Jobo: While there are always instances where things just click instantly, that’s not always the case. Take your time, observer your reaction to them when you are with them and just go at the pace that you are comfortable with. It’ll be different for everyone.  Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: We’ve probably all been there, rushed into a relationship we knew was bad because we were insecure, acted naive and dove in because we didn’t take the time to see the big picture and we thought he was our prince charming, or ruined what could have been a good relationship because we didn’t take the time to explore it… but I don’t think for the most part that can be helped, you live and you learn and that’s just part of it. Should we rush in? No. Are we going to anyway? Probably. Rating: Inevitable.


10. Don’t drop your friends.

Jobo: Okay, this isn’t really a dating rule specific to the man or woman you date, but it should be noted. Always keep a good balance. Friends are just as important, if not more important! Rating: Keep ‘em!

IntrigueMe: Even if you’ve found a best friend in your spouse, you can’t rely on one person solely to fulfill all of your needs. Friends are the ones who are there for us during our youth, our single years, rocky relationships and breakups, and there’s no reason they can’t or shouldn’t be there during your good relationships as well. Friendships are healthy. Having your own life is healthy. Knowing you have a support group when you need them, and when they need you, is healthy. Rating: Keep ‘em!

About these ads

14 thoughts on “Stereotypical Dating Rules: Keep ‘em, or Can ‘em?

  1. I generally agree with all these rules. I really like the one about being honest about what you want. I think it would’ve saved me A LOT of time with ManFriend. We met via online daitng and it said he was looking for something long term. Uh…. no. He was looking for a hookup and something casual until he could work things out with his ex. I don’t think he was ever seriously interested in dating me. More like- we had some fun times together, but it was far from becoming anything more.

    • It would be really great if a guy would actually be up-front about that, but we can’t force them to be, right? The rules are written from our perspectives and we can only influence our own actions… so we can choose to be honest but we can’t force them to… unfortunately…. :( lol (P.S. When I gave my opinions on the rules I considered your example above to fall more under “be up-front/mean what you say” than “be honest”, though there is definitely overlap.)

  2. This was such a fun read. I pretty much agree with everything. Except maybe about the sex rule and/or the paying for dinner one. I’m not sure if I disagree with you, lol, I’m not a slut I swear! But the part of me that attended the oldest women’s college in the U.S. dislikes the sexism inherent in both of these. As a woman, I don’t see why the guy should pay for my dinner, so I would at least offer. Then again, if he doesn’t, I might be like you IntrigueMe and judge him for that. Same with the waiting to have sex rule. It seems sexist for a woman to deny her sexuality, just because the man might take it the wrong way. Then again, it is important to respect yourself, super important in fact.

    So, anyway, enough of my rambling. I feel torn between traditional values and being a modern woman, so I am confused.

    This was so fun though and it got me thinking just as I am getting ready to date again, so yeah, thanks ladies!

    • I agree with what you say regarding the sex rule, as a theory… but when it comes to dating it doesn’t much matter. A guy is going to label you easy or a non-challenge regardless of if it’s sexist or not. We can change the way we think about it, but not the way our date does, right?

      In regards to paying for the date… I also have a battle between being a modern woman and traditional. I am quite traditional in most dating customs (I believe a man should court a woman, still) but I am modern in the sense that I want to work and be financially responsible for myself. I see no reason we can’t be/have both :) I mean, I can be responsible for myself and he should still take me out on proper dates. I would do nice things for him in return. For example… my ex used to pay for our dates, but I surprised him one year with a valentines day get-a-way, and another year with a white water rafting trip for his birthday. What I’m trying to say, is that a lady finds other ways to even it out, but a gentleman should always pay for a date… in my opinion (which is not everyones!).

  3. Great post, ladies! I love the commentary from both of you.

    I still offer to pay for dinner, and I’m shocked how many guys take me up on it. I wish that everyone was honest and upfront about what they wanted. It would make dating much easier! xoxo

    • I think I am harsher in my opinion about this than I used to be because of the number of ungentlemanly guys I’ve dated this year alone. I don’t recall if I blogged about my date with this one guy a few months back, but we’d been chatting for several months and he asked me one night if “he could take me for drinks” and I was feeling spontaneous so I said yes. At the end, the bill came and he took it right away so I was assuming he would pay, but instead he opens it up, looks over the bill, then says “well I have a $20″ and he pulls a crumpled up bill out of his pocket. I was pissed…. he’d actually drank more than I did and his $20 barely covered his half of the bill, so I ended up paying more than him because I left the tip. Before that, I wouldn’t have minded splitting the bill but you don’t ASK a girl if you can TAKE her for drinks, then make her pay.

      Same thing happened on date #1 with Mr. Subway… he had a more expensive meal, one more drink than me, and when the bill came he asked if I wanted to pay it and he’d go to the ATM and flip me a $20… that didn’t even cover his half. I’m not one to sit there adding up the numbers but you don’t ask a girl out then make her pay YOUR way! Argh!

  4. I liked most of these, in particular the last one about not dumping your friends for a relationship (they won’t always be there when you sober up), it’s a great point and one that doesn’t come up often enough !

    (By the way, totally rock’n lay-out)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s