Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Fought The Law And The Law Won

"Fools fall in love just like schoolgirls
Blinded by rose colored dreams
They build their castles on wishes
With only rainbows for beams"
Elvis Presley, Fools Fall In Love

I’ve never been one for game playing when it comes to dating. I’ve got some manipulative tricks up my sleeve like anyone else, but they always seem to backfire when I whip them out. I’ve never been especially coy. I’ve always wished I played harder-to-get, left more to the imagination, waited longer to give all of myself away. My thing has always been, “Hi. I’m in love with you. Here’s everything I have to give you. Don’t worry about keeping something for myself- I won’t need it. I’ll just give it all to you.”
About 10-15 years ago, my mother bought me a copy of The Rules (that book that instructs women to hold back on everything until he’s monogamous &/or has proposed. It’s sort of the original He’s Just Not That Into You). I thought it was cute, but I would never actually use the book’s instructions. I kept the book in my bathroom for years as a conversation piece & some entertainment for my guests who used the can. About eight years ago, ÇA-RAGE & BAIT & I thought it would be hilarious to conduct an experiment. Our friend, THE PERFECT WOMAN tried out the rules on her boyfriend of (already) four years. He had always been on the fence when it came to commitment, often took her for granted, & rarely surprised her with romantic gestures. The week she secretly implemented “the Rules” he bought her flowers, called her twice as much, & paid her more attention than he had in years. I lost the book in my many moves over the years, & I didn’t much care to replace it- as I had only ever thought of it as a novelty book, a joke. Fast-forward a couple of years, when one of my besties TWINS & I sauntered down Bloor st. in Toronto. A few hours before, she had brought up those infamous “rules” again, saying that I might have something to learn from them. You can see it as a step-back for feminism or self-expression, or you can take a look at many of the success stories that come from women who’ve saved a little bit of themselves (I’m not just taking about sex, I’m talking about keeping your own life, not giving yourself away from date #1). Anytime I have even REMOTELY held back from presenting myself voluntarily without expecting any compensation (I’m talking men/dating only, here… ) things have worked out far better than when I behaved contrarily. As the two of us sauntered along, a book LITERALLY fell from the sky, right at my feet. I’M NOT JOKING OR MAKING IT UP. The Rules lay on the sidewalk at my feet, as if it cascaded from the heavens. I picked it up, leafed through it, & tried to hang onto the advice I thought would help me. I still have the book, but it’s hidden as I’m not sure how I might explain it to men that spend time in my place. (I know I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, I just don’t feel like tackling THAT conversation with potential boyfriends…)
I was thinking about those Rules again the other day. I was perusing books on my eReader/bookstore & they “suggested” that I buy ALL Of The Rules (the newest copy, which includes Rules for on-line dating). I almost bought it, but I can feel myself tipping that self-help book scale in my bookshelf/eLibrary & I can’t bear to overdo it. Fast-forward to last night- me eating my rice, broccoli & fish, perched in front of my TV, watching “How I Met Your Mother”. Jennifer Lopez was the guest-star (it was a repeat) & played the author of a fictional book called “Of Course You’re Still Single- Look At Yourself You Slut!” which is basically a parody of The Rules & perhaps the answer to Neil Strauss's The Game. I couldn’t help but wonder why the universe keeps shoving the criterion of saying “no” that this book promotes in my face, in such a conspicuous way.
I spoke to a man I used to sleep with who called things off with us. I asked him (we’re “friends” now) what it was that changed, that he didn’t feel as attracted to me. Flat out he told me that I gave too much of myself away, too quickly. It angered me to the core- why can men give it all away, but we have to act modest & demure in order to be loved? It’s BULLSHIT! This is who I am, & if you don’t like it, then go fuck yourself.
But I’m beginning to understand a bit more. It’s not about self-effacement or protection, it’s about getting to know someone a little bit at a time, not throwing yourself at someone you barely know, & staying true to yourself- only giving yourself completely to someone when they actually deserve it. That goes for men AND women. It’s fun to save a little for later. It’s about pulchritude & sentiment. It can make everything much more exciting. It’s about the flame that burns the brightest, that doesn’t burn for long.
I want my flame to burn for a long, long time.


Anonymous said...

By Jove; I think you've got it ;)

Anonymous said...

The Universe is trying to tell you something... Are you listening?

Christophe Davidson said...

Love this one Beader. Great entry!

Anonymous said...

I was given the same book by a girlfriend after ending a relationship that lasted way longer than it should have. I had to read it twice, but I was making the same mistakes as you with men. I decided to implement the rules with a guy I had met on an Internet dating site, mostly to see what would happen It was tough, but I stuck to them. There was a lot of tounge biteing, but it totally paid off. A year later we live together, and i am happier than I thought I ever could be in a relationship. The rules have fallen by the wayside, but I think by forcing myself to follow them they have changed the way I react in most situations.

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