Unspoken Rules Of Dating And Sex: How To Get By In The Hook-Up Culture
You meet someone, and you really hit it off. You exchange numbers in hopes of planning a date. You shoot him a text, letting him know you had a fun night. And then, you wait.
Two days later, you're debating whether to write off that apparently perfect person you met on Saturday night, or to pitifully send another text because, maybe, the message didn't send. Or maybe, something was wrong with his phone. Well, you just forget it.
We are the generation of laissez-faire souls who thrive off meaningless sex with good-looking people. We spend our rent money on plane tickets, and we are always searching for something more.
We are by no means "put together." We have no idea where we are going, what we want or what we are going to do when we get there.
But carelessness aside, we have rules. I’m not talking about the rules your parents made for you when you were 15 and screaming at your mom to let you sleepover at your boyfriend’s house. I’m talking about those unspoken rules our generation places around dating.
The fact is that no matter how in denial you are, these so-called rules exist. And members of our generation actually follow and endorse them, although they’ll never admit it.
Have you ever stopped yourself from sending a text message because your friend told you it came off as desperate? Have you ever resisted the urge to sleep with someone because it was only your second date?
Personally, I’ve never been educated about the rules of relationships. So following the so-called rules, including listening to my friends when they tell me not to text someone, has not been my forte.
But, here it goes.
Every group of 20-somethings will tell you something different, but from my research, these are the most common rules of dating and sex:
1. The Age-Gap-of-Any-Kind Rule
You must not date anyone younger than you, or anyone who is "too old" for you.
Why People Follow the Rule: We are afraid of judgement from our friends, family and peers. Some people believe dating someone even a year or two younger while in university, for example, can be a huge gap in maturity. Others believe dating someone who is a decade or more older is simply "too old."
BS Factor: 8
If your sex life is great, and the two of you engage in interesting conversations, have fun and connect on a deeper level, then age is just a number. Yes, sometimes it may be strange for a 20-year-old to be tangled up with a 30-year-old, or a 24-year-old to be dating a 21-year-old.
But, I feel this is only an issue when you are in your early 20s. As long as you are comfortable with yourself, and you are not breaking any laws, there should be no wrongdoing.
2. The Three-Day Rule
You must wait approximately three days after a first date before you contact someone again.
Why People Follow the Rule: You don’t want to come off as desperate or too interested. Often, people feel uneasy if the level of desire isn't equal in a relationship. Being needy is also seen as a huge turn-off in today's society. We like our significant others to be independent and strong, and apparently not waiting three days demonstrates weakness.
BS Factor: 9
Who honestly gives a damn if someone texts you right after a date or three days later? If you had a good time meeting someone, you should let the person know whenever you feel it.
There should be no need to wait three days. You could literally drive non-stop across Canada in three days. You could watch four seasons of "Grey's Anatomy" in three days. Do you know how much happens in four seasons!?
If you’re on the other end of this situation, and your date texts you within the next hour, evening or day, and you do not feel the same happiness and urgency, then be honest. If you didn’t have a great time, give the person a second chance.
Most first dates go badly because of nervousness and anxiety. First dates should not be a first impression. If you’re still not into that person after giving him or her a second chance, be honest and move on.
3. The We’re-Not-Exclusive-Until-We-Say-We’re-Exclusive Rule
You must never assume the person you are sleeping with is only sleeping with you.
Why People Follow the Rule: Our generation has officially ruined relationships, and casual sex is becoming very casual in our society. It seems only natural to assume the attractive person you’re sleeping with has someone besides you to fulfill his or her needs. Our generation has also programmed us to be a little self-conscious, which also explains why we feel we’re not the only ones.
BS Factor: 6
If you slept with someone once, chances are the person's probably sleeping with multiple other people just once, too. And if your hookup becomes a recurring thing, it’s never safe to assume you’re the only one.
Cut the bullshit, and have a mature conversation if being exclusive is what you want. And if it’s not in the interests of you and your “friend,” then make sure you’re being safe. (That means using a condom and getting tested regularly, if you weren't already aware.)
4. The Booty-Text Rule
The only acceptable time to send a text to “hang out” or to ask someone to “come over” (i.e. to hookup) is after midnight.
Why People Follow the Rule: Perhaps, you want to make the other person know that when you’re drunk on a Friday night, you're thinking about him or her. Or maybe, you want the person to think you struck out at the bar, and that the 3 am phone call is totally okay. Or perhaps, you want the person to know he or she only looks good in the dark.
Sarcasm and bitterness aside, I believe people follow this rule because they are too nervous to call someone up for some afternoon delight. It's hard to be on that level with someone you're just sleeping with. People may also unknowingly abide by this rule if they only feel the desire to sleep with someone after they've been drinking or partying, which is a sad, but true, reality.
BS Factor: 10
If you want to call someone up, send the person a text or whatever, do it whenever you feel like it. Personally, I feel it’s nice to be “acknowledged” outside the hours of midnight and 4 am. If you’re going to have that one magical person who is “there for you” when you need him or her, you should probably make sure it’s not just the tequila talking.
And if you actually never feel like sleeping with someone when you're sober, you should at least have the decency to take the person's feelings into consideration. Unless, of course, you're both on the same page.
5. The After-Booty-Text Rule
It is never acceptable to text your “friend” after a hookup, unless it's to see if he or she arrived home safely.
Why People Follow the Rule: Millennials are guilty of pretending we have no emotion, when it’s actually the complete opposite. So when you follow this rule, you’re pretty much taking that laissez-faire attitude and lighting it on fire.
If you are having a strictly no-strings-attached relationship with someone, then you shouldn’t feel obligated to ask the person how his or her work day is going. However, if you ever feel like asking the person, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you.
This person saw you naked last weekend and will probably again in the near future. Get over yourself, and say hello if you really want to.
BS Factor: 5
Let me set the record straight on this one. If I put the time and energy into getting ready and hanging out with you, I'm going to text you the next day and tell you I had a good time. I'm going to send a flirty text to ensure that you felt somewhat the same.
And I will not apologize for doing so, and neither should you. If you want to text someone to tell him or her that last night was fun, you should feel no guilt or remorse in doing so. This person saw you naked for God's sake!
6. The No-Double-Double Rule
If you ever send a text message, and the other party does not respond, do not send another message until the person does.
Why People Follow the Rule: Breaking this rule apparently makes you look needy and eager. Supposedly, texting twice in a row indicates you're a little too into someone, and that is not good (see Rule 2).
BS Factor: 6
Sometimes, I have more to say than the last text I sent. Sometimes, I forget something. Sometimes, someone takes way too long to respond, so I'll message you again.
I don't have patience. I'm not needy. I just get excited.
It's okay to be excited about something, isn't it? If you just sent a text to someone, and an hour goes by with no response, you should not assume this person was mauled by bears or got hit by a car. Simply assume that the person was not near his or her phone, and send another text if you desire to do so.
7. The Sex-on-the-Third-Date Rule
You must not sleep with someone until at least the third date or the third encounter.
Why People Follow the Rule: People wait a while to sleep with others for a number of reasons. You may not want to come off as *insert nice word for slutty here.* You may want to give yourself a milestone to be sure you're comfortable with the person.
BS Factor: 2
It doesn't make you crazy if you want to wait to have sex with someone. It makes you crazy if you have a strict rule against sleeping with someone for a certain number of days.
We all can agree that sex is always better when it's spontaneous. Therefore, you shouldn't have to feel so uncomfortable when you feel that three dates seems too long.
8. The Two-Drink Rule
You must not consume any more than two drinks on a date. You must only get buzzed, not drunk.
Why People Follow the Rule: You don't want to get drunk. You don't want to look like you're super nervous and are pounding back the liquor. You want to be classy. And if you don't know the person that well, you want to feel safe.
BS Factor: 3
Having a drink or two often acts a social lubricant. In the world of business, drinking at networking events and other social gatherings is completely natural. Having a drink or two on a date is fine.
Know your limits, and set personal boundaries. For some, that may be two drinks, and for others, it could be a pitcher of beer. Whatever your limits are, ensure you trust your date and yourself.
9. The Eat-Like-a-Lady Rule
On a date, you must order something that will be easy to eat, something that doesn't cause a mess. But, it cannot be a salad.
Why People Follow the Rule: You don't want to gross out the other person. You're probably not on that level of comfort with your date yet. Salads are a cop-out, and ordering a salad will let your date automatically know that you're following this rule.
BS Factor: 1
It's understandable to be uncomfortable with destroying a rack of BBQ ribs on a date. That's reserved for deeper relationships. Eat whatever you want to eat. And hey, if you like salad, go ahead and order one!
10. The Timed-Text-Back Rule
The time it takes for you to respond to a text message must be equivalent or approximate to the time you waited for that text message.
Why People Follow the Rule: I waited for you, and now you wait for me. Again, you can see the common thread here of desperation and neediness.
BS Factor: 8
If you're the kind of person who is glued to your cell phone, don't be ashamed to answer someone back right away. You answer your friends and family back promptly, so why not everyone else?
Of course, you can make someone wait for you if you were annoyed waiting for his response. But paying close attention to how long it took someone to answer you, then waiting that time to respond is a little whacky. Texting someone back right away could either mean you were on your cell phone, or you were waiting for the person to text you back.
Each and every one of these rules are completely made up, and they are complete crap.
The only rules you should have in your life are your personal values and beliefs. Know your limits, be comfortable, and do what ultimately makes you happy.
There are no real rules to dating, and there are no real rules to having sex (besides, of course, the laws of society).
The right person will love you for the crazy, double-texting, exclamation-sending, call-you-the-next-day, high-five-you-after-sex kind of person you are.