There is a lot of pressure on men in the courtship arena. We have to get up the nerve to ask out a woman. We have to face potential gut-wrenching rejection. We have to come up with a unique date that will surpass all previous dates. We have to be charming, yet not lecherous, nice but not too nice, intelligent but not elitist, and we have to wear nice shoes lest we risk a begrudging face because of our lacking fashion sense.

What do the women have to do? Show up. That’s about it.

There are so many standards, both direct and double, that men face when trying to woo women. There are so many rules, both expressed and hidden, that men need to follow in order to not get voted off the first-date island. To many guys, it seems a little unfair that they do all the heavy lifting and women get away with everything. To that, I present some new dating rules for the women out there, which require a little more effort than just showing up. Of course, these rules can be applied to the men out there as well.

1. No texting ’til the third date.

Regardless of how enlightened we are as a dating society, it is still universally accepted that the man must initiate first contact over the phone. Ladies, if a guy calls you and for some reason and you don’t pick up the phone, please don’t respond with a text message. Texting is the ultimate form of non-committal communication. You don’t have to be present to see the other side’s response, you can sit around and compose your response instead of letting your true feelings out, and you don’t even need to form complete sentences. If you are interested, call back. If you aren’t interested, be courteous and call back anyhow.

2. No researching on Facebook or Google before the first date.

I think this happens a lot more than people are willing to admit. First, it’s a little creepy. Secondly, researching potential mates means you meet them armed with preconceived notions based on their online persona. In general, people present themselves in limited capacities online, especially for sites like LinkedIn where everybody is touting their accomplishments. Therefore, if you are trying to glean any information about the person you are trying to date from online sources, odds are very strong that you have a skewed perception of reality, which means that you could be sorely disappointed, or prematurely dismissive of an otherwise great person.

The reality is that this behavior will continue, and that both sexes are equally guilty. Therefore, my suggestion is that you take whatever info you find online with a grain of salt.

3. Parity in paying.

A friend of mine from Atlanta tried to make it as a writer for two years. During that time he worked odd jobs and struggled financially, and also tried to maintain a relationship with a driven career oriented consultant for PWC. They are both wonderful people, but ultimately their relationship faltered and failed because of money issues. In order to impress the consultant, the cash-strapped writer was constantly paying for outings that were simply out of his budget, and the consultant never contributed. In our day and age, I think it is perfectly normal to be upfront with your financial limitations, but also to be understanding of the other’s limitations. Traditionally the guy pays for the first few dates, which is fine, but after that each person should contribute according to their means.

As a side note, never choose to date someone because of how much money they have in the bank. Besides the obvious superficiality, you could be missing out on some quality people.

4. Mention if you are already committed.

Yes, it is fun to get your flirt on. And yes, we all like attention, but if you are in a committed relationship, then find some apropos way to fit it in to the conversation in a polite way. Nobody likes to be led astray.

5. No Googling exes.

This should be a no-brainer, but a disturbingly high amount of women that I spoke with confessed to stalking the interwebs for any information, and ideally photos, of exes. As tempting as it may be, try not to scroll through past Facebook photos to see if one girl reappears for a prolonged period of time. This type of behavior can only lead to unnecessary competition and endless self-conscious comparing, which is no fun for either party.

And finally…

6. No presumptions about intent.

Not every guy is a douchebag, and if someone is being nice or gentlemanly, don’t assume immediately that he is trying to get in your pants. It could be that he genuinely wants to talk to you in order to create a more meaningful impression and actually ask you out on a date, and not directly up to his bedroom. If he just wants sex, there will be plenty of clues, so there is no reason to be presumptuous before he has even tried to talk to you.

Any other new dating rules out there?

(This post was written with generous contribution from my friend, dater, and comedian Benji Lovitt)

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