“Honesty is the best policy” seems to ring true for everything in life, except for dating. Yes, you want to put your best foot forward when trying to find a partner—we all do. I’m not suggesting that you unveil all the whitetrashery on the first date and lead with the story of how you once fist-fought your sister outside a gay bar on a Tuesday afternoon. First, let’s break down some stupid “rules” and swap out ridiculous games for honest answers on what you’re looking for in a partner.
For instance, everyone knows that if you’re actually into someone, you better not text them first. Why would you? So you can lose all the power? People time out text messages and purposefully ignore others to evoke a response. It’s like a shitty version of chess where instead of a rooks and queens, you have a drummer who doesn’t respond for days at a time and a hair stylist who sends 12 drunk texts in a row. See how that might make it impossible to master a game that ultimately ends in a dog or a house?
If you’re really not into someone, you better make something up about being too busy for a relationship. You sure as shit can’t admit that you would rather blow your brains out than listen to one more terrible story. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had great conversations with men where we seem to connect and then poof! Disappeared into thin air. No explanation. No texts back.
That hurts. You’re left alone and confused with a million questions running through your head. Was it something I said? Am I not good looking enough? Was it because I made fun of his Weezer obsession? You question everything about yourself when a simple, “Hey, I’m just not feeling it” or “I’ve started talking to someone else” would’ve solved everything.
In two years of actively dating, I’ve had one encounter where we each actually spoke our minds. It was the most refreshing experience. A man named Adam and I matched on a dating app and hit it off immediately. Conversation flowed, and he was so funny and impossibly good looking. Timing wasn’t going to match up for a date for a few weeks, but that didn’t detour us. We talked on the phone and texted until the day of our date.
We met up at a local bar for drinks, but the vibe was different in person than what we had electronically. When we started talking and getting to know one another past “how was your day?” we realized that we could not be more different. He was in his late 30s, owned his home and car, had a great job, and was looking to settle down with someone and start a family. I was 27, at the beginning of being busy on the road with comedy, and dreamt of a life where I had the cutest apartment in New York City with a cat and not a single kid. Ever.
Maybe we could still enjoy some drinks together in the meantime, right? Wrong. He was boisterous, entitled, and treated the bartenders like trash. With every sip of vodka, his MAGA was showing and I couldn’t have been more turned off by him.
At the same time, he was throughouly unimpressed with me. I’m used to people asking about stand up, but his questions were less from a place of general interest, and more of a condescending, “it’s cute you’re trying” tone. Questions like “how long are you going to try this before you give up and settle down?” and, “as a woman, don’t you feel a biological need to have a husband and children? You can’t really do that from the road, can you?”
After the second double drink he ordered from the “barmaid,” I had enough. I simply told him that this wasn’t going to work out because we were clearly headed down different paths in life. He very quickly agreed and then we kind of just sat there for a minute and stared up at the TVs. He broke the silence with a “well, what do we do now? I don’t really see a point in us having another drink.” I laughed, agreed, and we shook hands and parted ways. Not three months later, I saw on Instagram that Adam was engaged. In those same three months, I performed in Hawaii, worked with one of my comedy idols, and paid an entire month’s worth of bills from comedy money alone.
Honesty is absolutely the best policy. If you like someone, tell them. If you don’t, tell them. If you hate the restaurant or bar they suggest, tell them. For the love of God, stop playing games. Imagine what you could have if you stopped being an idiot and just text them first.
Photo courtesy of Michael Prewett