November 2, 2013

A Manifesto for Dating Vacuously.

F**k all that deep and meaningful shit.

I decided a few days ago that I’d really like, for a short while, to just date a rich, hot, fun, generous fella—someone who will adore me, wine and dine me, buy me lots of unnecessarily expensive things and take me to bed for unlimited amounts of mind-blowing sex.

So here’s the thing—I think I’ve been taking this relationship thing far too seriously for far too long. I’ve been looking for something deep and profound, something that will shake up my whole world and send a symphony of violins ringing round my ears. I’ve been dreaming of those magical, profound, everlasting sorts of connections that turn into movies like The Notebook.

Clasping this earnest ideal of love and romance close to my bosom like an old brooch, I’ve dated boys who’ve barely had enough money to pay for (their share of) dinner or who not only never went to school, but also consistently struggled to spell my name right (my name!). But I was so besotted with them that I saw the eternal sharing of bills and language barriers as romantic, a sign of character and a strengthening of our bond.

A load. Of. Crap.

Romance and delight stops quickly and dead in its tracks when I have to keep digging into my purse to hand him gas money as he leaves me in the morning. Or when our dates turn into spelling lessons.

No. Love and joy and relationships don’t always have to be this romantic, angst-ridden story of overcoming suffering that we keep telling ourselves through the ages. Now and then, in between the big heavy deep stuff of finding that imaginary, elusive, goddamn “one” (whatever the hell that means anyway), can we just please let loose and have a bit of fun?

And so, in the recent newfound freedom of my singleness, I have come up with this new manifesto for dating vacuously and frivolously—for the sake of fulfilling baser aims, for pure, unadulterated fun or for just the sheer hell of it.

May this inspire fun times, laughing, dancing and far, far less heartache.

(I write about dating men but I think this can apply for dating women too).

1. Date a rich man.

Or at the very least, someone who is able to take care of his own shit without having to turn to you to cover the essentials of food, gas, etc. And also afford to spoil you a little—nice dinners, a night on the town, a trinket or two, an extravagant bunch of roses—without you having to feel guilty or worry about having to now pay his rent because he’s exceeded his monthly budget.

2. Make sure he’s also generous…

Goes without saying—even if you could well afford everything yourself, coming up against a stingy attitude is about as sexy as a visit from your accountant. There’s no joy in hanging around a wealthy guy if he’s tight-fisted and grubby about spending on anyone or anything. That’s possibly the only thing worse than dating someone who doesn’t have anything at all.

3. …and successful or ambitious

I’m not getting any younger so I’m not wasting any of this precious time left dating a directionless, waffly non-achiever. To date light-heartedly, I need to know that the person I’m dating has a life and interests of his own and that he’s not going to be depending on me for all his entertainment and stimulation. I need to know that the times we’re not hanging out, he’s living a happy, successful, varied life all on his own (for us to talk about in Point #5), not mooching about bored and aimless. This is dating, not babysitting.

 4. …and handsome.

Because we like looking at beautiful things and it’s always easier to maintain Point #5 when we have something beautiful to look at while we’re doing it.

5. Have fun conversation.

Forgodssakes no more of that mind-drowning deep and meaningful shit that finds you discussing the finer points of existential thought at 3 a.m. in the morning. Just vacuous, good, shallow, happy, fun conversation about vacuous, good, shallow, happy, fun things that you’ve both been doing/seeing/enjoying in Point #3—new movies, good books, the most impressive sex toy you’ve ever seen, where to eat the best desserts etc.

6. Have only good sex.

This sounds obvious but I’ve been through the bad-sex mill enough times to know that whatever excuses you make for putting up with it just doesn’t fucking cut it in the end. All that stuff about your relationship being more transcendent than sex, about you being connected on a deeper level, beyond the physical—it’s all bullshit. Bad sex is bad sex. And we shouldn’t have to put up with it if it makes us feel bad or less-than in any way. Especially not when you’re dating frivolously, which is all about feeling good and light and happy.

7. Be silly.

If we’re dating vacuously, we’ve gotta stop taking things so seriously. Throw caution to the wind. Stop trying to impress. Just do any and every goddamn thing you wanna to do and fuckin’ enjoy it. If the dude isn’t silly—or game—enough to take it, then (politely) ditch him and hang out with another one who will.

8. Don’t introduce him to your friends (yet).

Because bringing him out to meet friends starts to cross that scary ‘take things seriously’ line and he creeps a little more into the ‘deep and meaningful’ part of your life. Keeping him some distance away from friends and family for a while maintains a little mystery and keeps things interesting, mixed-up and light. By the same token, also keep his friends and family at arm’s length for as long as you can.

9. Tell him you’re being vacuous.

Don’t play that game of leading him on—it’s just not nice. Be clear from the start that this is fun and frivolous and might not go anywhere beyond the depth of a (beautifully manicured) fingernail. In other words, darling, let’s keep things shallow and enjoy it for that.

10. Be kind.

No matter how much fun we’re having, I think the one serious thing we do need to bear in mind is that we’re not hurting anyone. Be kind, always, and be sure that everything is consensual both ways. There’s never any real fun in living warily, suspiciously or dishonestly.

There. My little guide for dating vacuously—and enjoying the f*ck out of it as you do.

Live and love freely, unencumbered by all that heavy stuff of expectation and self-consciousness and needing to make an impression.

Hang out with someone who will just make you laugh all the time (even inelegantly, as you snort and chortle into your wine glass), buy you a fantastically over-priced dinner, spoil you, seduce you and take everything at joyous, unfettered face value—at least for a while.

Laugh, tumble, get up, dust yourself off, and laugh and tumble some more.

It might lead to greater, bigger things. Or it might not. Sometimes, it’s when you’re not looking for the serious stuff—when you’re just having a really good, clean, fun time—that big unexpected things happen. It’s a time we’re likely to be at our freest, most unfettered, most joyful, best selves.

At the very least, dating vacuously promises that harmless fun that’s so often overlooked these days in our huge search for the deep and meaningful. And what’s not to love about that?

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo via Michael Keen on Pixoto}

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