Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Speak Softly, But Carry A Sharp Stiletto

If all’s fair in love and war, and love is a battlefield, then that must make dating a full-contact sport. (Hehehe—yes, it is!) Like any good tactical game, it needs battle rules. Even in war, there are certain things that are strictly adhered to. Maybe I wouldn’t get myself so emotionally vanquished if I actually followed the rules that sane people must when in a relationship, rather than being a sort of kamikaze lover, quick to jump in, and finding it very hard to get out alive, let alone in one piece.

The following are rules taken from the art of war and transferred to the art of love. Although you may not always follow them, like I don’t, there’s valid points to be made, and lessons learned.

Rule of Combat #1: Don’t let down your guard. Yes, this may make me sound overly suspicious and cynical, but even when things are going great, remember, they can get worse. Enjoy the good times—cherish them—but still don’t consider yourself untouchable because everything is roses today. One day, Perfect was waking me up, asking why I didn’t respond to a text of his, as worried as women always dream men will or should be about the “little things” like communication, and texting me all throughout the day, just to stay in touch because he wanted to. Three days later, it was “I think we should just be friends because I don’t want to go to college with a long-distance relationship.” Two weeks after that, I consider myself blessed if he even returns a text.

I’m a firm believer in the jinxing of things, and if anyone jinxed Perfect and I, it was me, because I thought that if it was so great now, nothing could possibly ever change it. Then, surprise! Attack! Don’t let down that guard—be vigilant.

Rule of Combat #2: Protect your bases. I let Perfect into the places in my life way, way, too much. He made himself at home in my apartment every time he came over, which at first I thought was good, and now realize may have been jumping the gun a little bit. My own bed isn’t even a neutral space. My bedsprings squeak and my closet door only shuts half the time because of him. He showered in my shower. We both spit in the same sink side-by-side as we brushed our teeth. My linens—sheets, hand towels—used by him.

The beach, Cait’s apartment, Colchester—all Perfect-invaded territory. And my favorite Chinese restaurant? Yeah, we went there, too. I will never think of their lo mien the same way again.

Rule of Combat #3: Don’t accept new cadets without engaging in a bit of a hazing ritual. Here, “hazing” means doing a proper background check—scoping them out, both you and through their friends or other people who know them, asking them questions about themselves, and generally assessing their character.

It’s been said by Lauren Frances, author of Dating, Mating, and Man-Handling, (a book that I very much recommend,) that men will straight-out tell you their dirty little dating secret, usually within the first few times you meet them. It will be casually stated, like a joke or a self-depreciating fact, and if you’re not listening for it, you won’t catch it. It’s so true, too. Since I read her book, I’ve applied this to all the men I’ve been with. The Flaky Artist told me he was flaky and lost interest quickly. Jersey Blunt flat-out said he was a player. Legs noted that he wasn’t ready for commitment, as he was getting ready to graduate and move. And Perfect told me not once, but twice, that he had a lot of girl friends because he got along with them better. Making the leap to the fact that these “girl friends” would be interested in being more than friends wasn’t hard.

After they tell you what their Achilles’ heel is, constant vigilance will probably be required. I’m warning you now.

Rule of Combat #4: Never go into battle ill-equipped. You friends, your wardrobe, your make-up, your fitness, your diet, and your hygiene are all your weapons in the world of dating. And yes, although there may always be someone out there who is prettier than you, taller than you, has better abs than you, can afford to shop designer, or just has a bigger gun than you, take proper care of your assets. A good wing-woman is invaluable. I will do things for my friends that money couldn’t buy, whether it’s scoping out where their boyfriend is while they’re on vacation or taking one for the team at a party with a guy’s less-than-stellar best friend so they can chat Mr. Hottie up. In return, I expect my friends to do the same for me, and they always pull through—drive-by missions, tagging along with me to events, or welding car doors shut. (I’ve never really asked anyone to do that, just so you know. Though I do have a friend with a welding set who has offered her services if ever needed.)

As for your body, don’t mistreat it, and it won’t mistreat you. Watch what goes into your mouth—it’s directly proportional to what you’ll feel like afterward. Drink lots of water. Eat more fruits, veggies, and lean protein. Cut out the chemical crap if you can, or at least, cut it down. Start reading labels. They’ll shock you into changing your eating habits. Like any machine, your body has to be constantly used to run and look its best. Get to the gym. I like using the elliptical for my thighs and butt, running a mile for cardio, and doing chest presses and other weight repetitions to keep the girls in place. Look at the older women in your family—your mother, aunts, and grandmothers. That will give you a good idea of what your body will look like when you’re their age. All the women in my family could tuck their tits into the waist of their pants, so I do multiple chest presses EVERY DAY to fight gravity. My boobs will not be resting on tabletops, thankyouverymuch. If you can’t, work out at home. Take the fucking stairs. Do lunges—it seriously doesn’t get any easier than standing in one place. Also, buff and shine that body of yours. Shower, daily, please. Wash your face before you go to bed. Things settle on you while you’re out and about during the day that would terrify you to know about, so get rid of it with some soap and warm water. (If you can smell it, that means little particles of it are in the air, in your nasal passages, and on your skin. Think about this next time you walk into a bathroom.) Plus, a hot, steamy shower always makes me feel like a million bucks, especially after the gym. It’s an easy way to pamper yourself.

Dress for the shape you are, not the shape you want to be or the shape you used to be. Flaunt your assets. Figure out what’s flattering, what makes you feel comfortable, and what you’ll wear over and over and still love. A great outfit that you never get the chance to wear is a waste of money, and in today’s economy, no one can afford that. Friends come in here, again. Make sure you have one or two with great fashion sense whose taste and opinion you trust to ask if you look good in something or not. And remember—just because it’s in style, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily for you.

Personality is the deadliest weapon of all. You need to know what about you is good, fun, lovable, and society- and man-friendly. Have go-to stories that provide caveats of information about you and the kind of person you are to tell at parties. (Generally, keep the ones that involve tequila for friends’ parties, and not work parties.) If you know there’s an aspect or two of yours that are less than charming—for me, it’s jealousy and bluntness—make sure that if they rear their ugly head to address it. When Perfect told me he was sensitive, I responded with a, “That’s great that you told me, because I can be blunt, and don’t mean to hurt you.” When he sent me a text about skinny-dipping with a friend and six other girls that got my green-eyed monster out-of-control, I texted him back and said, “Hey, I know it may be no big deal, but I found myself getting a little jealous.” I owned up to him later, telling him that although it’s not a great trait to be in possession of, it’s one of mine. BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHO YOU ARE. If you’re not, people are going to figure it out sooner or later, and it almost never, ever goes well.

What, you may ask, does this all have to do with love and the fine art of dating? Well, these are the things that you can use to your advantage. Stun your opponent—be it the man you’re after, or a threatening other woman—with one, some, or all of these things. Remember, men don’t really see the little details; he’s not noticing the cellulite on the back of your thighs while he’s looking at the sexy hemline of your Little Black Dress. And the girl giving you nasty looks from across the room is probably wishing she had your teeth or cleavage, let alone your man. We’re all insecure, and we all have skewed views of ourselves. Other people see you differently, so put your best high-heeled foot forward.

Rule of Combat #5: It’s ok to play dirty. This can apply to being both delightfully dirty, or to being deviously dirty. Playing dirty is sexting, something that feels deliciously naughty. Playing dirty is also getting in good with his friends so that they’ll tell him (hopefully fairly regularly) how cool you are. Playing dirty is teasing him with innuendo while pretending not to notice to get his blood boiling. Playing dirty is also keeping or using mutual friends to get the inside scoop. As long as it doesn’t get too nasty—i.e: one of you is going to get hurt—it’s pretty harmless.

(P.S—On the whole “sexting” topic, which usually brings up pictures, too: I’m a firm believer in the fact that less is more. If you don’t give a man instant gratification, it’ll keep him thinking about it. Just don’t tease too much; follow through with what you promised the next time you see him. Talking about sex or talking about how turned on your are or about things you’d like to try over text or messaging is great. Phone sex—not until you’re pretty committed. He asks for pics? A few options. A picture of lingerie, not on you, will get him imagining what it looks like on you. A picture of you in some lingerie or a suggestive outfit will make him think of him taking it off of you. A naked picture—and please, don’t, but if you must, no face!—will give him about 5 minutes’ worth of thought while he whacks off and that will be the end of his thinking about you. No delicious delayed action. And I really believe men are getting things too easy these days. Make ‘em sweat a little. It’s good for them. Plus, a sweaty man is a sexy and tasty man!)

Rule of Combat #6: Be a gracious loser. If something happens, make sure to get out with your dignity intact. No one ever had anything bad to say about the person they dated who was civil, friendly, and classy when things went down-hill. You don’t hear “crazy bitch” stories like, “Oh man, yeah, I saw her the other day, and she said “hi” and genuinely asked how I was even though it was kinda awkward.” You hear “crazy bitch” stories like, “Oh man, yeah, I saw her the other day and she hid behind a fruit display.” Or, even worse, “Oh man, yeah, I saw her the other day, and she burst into tears and started screaming at me about how I killed our love. What a crazy bitch.”

Rule of Combat #7: Don’t just play dead. If you’re still kicking, kick. Fight for what you want—never surrender. No woman in the history of the world has ever felt truly happy or fulfilled because she surrendered something that she wanted. Even some of the most peaceful, loving women—think Mother Theresa, Jane Goodall, and Rosa Parks—fought for what they believed in. And you better believe you’d don’t know their names today because they just gave in and called it quits.

If you want something—speak up. If you need something—ask. If things just aren’t working—talk about it. Believe me, please, PLEASE, believe me—I know this is not easy. I am the champion of Girls Who Don’t Talk About Their Feelings, Emotions, Or What That Want Or Need, Especially To Their Men. If there is one thing that Perfect taught me that I will forever be indebted to him for, it was the fact that being a sensitive, feelings and emotions sort of guy himself, he (I don’t want to use the word “forced,” but it almost was,) asked me to open up to him and actually tell him what was going on. He wanted to know what I thought. He wanted me to know what he thought. Yes, under all that muscle and man’s man attitude, Perfect was a guy who was in touch with his feelings, and considered other people’s feelings as an important thing as well. It’s always interesting the surprises that men hide. Even in The Conversation (I have a feeling that in later years this will become known as The Conversation of June 2009), Perfect cut through all my pleasantry bullshit with a “Well, I want to know where you stand and what you think.” Even after, when he couldn’t ask me himself, he was calling Cait to see how I was.

That, my friends, is the mark of a Good Man. And that Good Man made me a Better Woman by teaching me not to be afraid of saying things like, “you know, this isn’t working,” or “something feels weird—what’s up?” Before Perfect, if a man ended with me, I waved the white flag and let depression take me prisoner. Now, I’m strong enough to say, “you know what? I’m not done. This is what still needs to happen.” I never got closure with Legs, even after our cease-fire coffee date a year later. If there is one thing I have learned since to demand, it is whatever is exactly what you need—closure, a second chance, a reason, restitution, half of everything, all your stuff back; whatever.

People get hurt both in war and in love. Emotional wounds may be harder to stop than physical ones, but they all take their toll on the victim. Fight the good fight—play the game wisely and you’ll get out both alive, and happy. Winning—the guy, the fight—is just the icing on the cake.

Good luck!

P.S—I’m sure I’ll come up with more of these as I go along, but I have to be up and at the gym in under seven hours, so I’ll revisit this post in the future when beauty sleep is not at stake. Please stop by this post again and look for some more rules!


  1. I'm glad you sent me this blog of yours. I thoroughly enjoyed the tasty little tid bits of art and war, & [I] especially appreciated #7 as it most connected with my most recent events with "Guy." Like "Perfect" has taught you, Guy has encouraged me to resolve through things that might be bothering me in order to allow our relationship to grow. Sometimes though it's not the best to mention every little thing that may not fly... What may seem like an innocent approach to problem solving may be perceived as nagging and unresolving. Sometimes you just have to bite your lip and make some sacrifices when it comes to men, as they should with us ladies... haha but that's a whole other issue that I'd like to see you talk about one day. Keep up the great writing! I'm interested in what else you produce.


  2. Thank yous so much-- and by the way, I loved your other idea for a post that we talked about earlier, so look for that one, too!

  3. I'm glad I got to read this post! It has some great pieces of advice that I will DEFINTELY employ. I especially liked what you said about guys not noticing "the little things" and that the girl across the way, well she's just jealous of my amazing butt. This rule is what I live by. I'm one of those all to picky people who never thinks I'm good enough for myself let alone anyone else. But, every time I get ready, be it for work, the gym, or a party, I tell myself to not sweat the small things; I DO have a great ass, toned arms, and a great personality. You, my dear, are a wise girl and a great writer. Keep cranking out these blogs and I'll keep reading!

    <3 Dr. Highpants (Only you will understand:-D)

  4. It took me a minute, I will admit it, but I got you, Miss Fabulous of the Dr. Highpants.