Happy New Year! It’s 2011 and there are, uh, 360-something more days worth of dating to be done! But let’s be smart about it this time, shall we? Here are five dating mistakes I am not going to make this year. Won’t you promise to do the same?1. Don’t s**t where you eat. Or at least be darn sure it’s worth taking the risk. Given that we spend waaaaay too many hours of the day at work, it’s pretty unrealistic to forgo dating and hooking up with people you meet via your job. But all I ask is that in 2011, you make sure the risk — of it going sour and seeing each other day in, day out at the office — is worth it. Likewise, don’t have sex with your neighbor, even if you have a raging crush on him, because you’ll never be able to leave your apartment with bedhead, unbrushed teeth, and no makeup ever again.
2. Don’t get drunk. I have been known to get a little drunk on dates. I also have been known to have sexual relations on dates. Luckily, I can say with assurance that I don’t regret any of the sexual encounters I’ve had while drunk. I have never woken up next to someone and slapped my forehead, uttering a Homer Simpson-esque, “D’oh!” The people I sleep with drunk are the people I would happily sleep with sober. However, I have come to learn in my years of dating that generally deep relationships don’t develop from dates that end with drunk sex, no matter how fun or un-regrettable. That’s why, in 2011, I vow to stay sober-ish on all dates henceforth, if only so I can tell myself the following: “Amelia, I know you want to have sex with this person. There is nothing wrong with that! But do you also maybe want to get to know this person and to see if he may be someone you want to be in a relationship with? Yes? Then maybe hold off on the sex thing and rub one out with your vibrator instead. Deprive yourself for the greater good!”
3. Don’t be someone you’re not. Truth time! Sometimes, in an effort to be funny and entertaining, I think I present myself as, well, less serious than I actually am. You know, more casual and go-with-the-flow than actually reflects my emotional state. At times, I think I’ve tried to be the kind of girl guys want to date — the No Pressure Girl. And I manage to do it pretty well, at least temporarily. But honestly? I am not the No Pressure Girl. I can be needy and insecure and there is no one MORE needy and insecure than than the chick under the No Pressure Girl mask. That girl is gasping for breath once she pulls the mask off. The thing is, it’s not that I need to wear my insecurity on my sleeve when dating, but I certainly shouldn’t be pretending to be more confident and casual and “whatevs” than I actually am. That’s just stupid.
4. Don’t forget to use condoms. I mean, this really goes without saying, people, but I will take any opportunity I can to emphasize the importance of safe sex. Wrap it up!
5. Don’t be so damn available. Not to endorse game-playing, but dating is a bit of a power struggle and if you are always there to meet the other person’s needs at the drop of a hat and they are the ones always doing the hat dropping, well, you’re looking to be taken advantage of. If you have a life of your own, this shouldn’t be so hard. As apparently this column has turned into a way for me to expose my most pathetic weaknesses, here is another confession. When I really like someone, I have found myself clearing my schedule on the off-chance he might want to make plans. You can be damn sure no dude is doing that for any girl, anywhere, ever. In 2011, live your life as the single person you are and anyone special who does come along will need to fit into your schedule naturally.