The Ground Rules

We all deserve blueberry pancakes. Wait, before your mind wanders to dirty places, I’m not talking about a weird new sexual practice. I’m talkin’ real, warm and gooey, hot-off-the-pan blueberry pancakes. Let me explain.My friend Becca has had some trouble dating recently. Well, she’s gotten some tasty action, but nothing substantial that would result in any sort of long-term relationship.
We were talking about her dating life one night over a bottle of cheap wine, and it dawned on me that so many of us approach sex and dating with the wrong perspective. I touched on getting laid in my first column for Red Shtick, but I didn’t delve into much real-life application. So this column is by special request for Becca.

Becca had recently encountered several men she was not only attracted to but also wanted to sleep with. And after a few dates, she did. She didn’t jump right in the sack singing “Promiscuous Boy” like Nelly Furtado, but she definitely didn’t make it clear that sex, for her, was an indication of something serious.

There was no chase. There was no game. There was no conversation about what having sex meant. So, one day, they were having sex together, and the next, he suddenly had a real girlfriend. Whether or not she harbored hopes that they would end up in a relationship, she’d lost her chance.

So I gave her my advice, which usually just happens after a couple glasses of Merlot. And she made the decision to experiment, using my Ground Rules as her guide. Here’s how it all went down.

Becca went out one night with friends for drinks. She met an attractive, intelligent man. After hours of flirting and intense conversation, they kissed. They kissed in the bar. They kissed outside the bar. They kissed next to the car. This sounds like a strange Dr. Seuss rhyme, I know, but you get the point.

This guy – we’ll call him Jason – asked her to go home with him. Now, Becca’s a great judge of character, so I don’t suggest this to everyone, because there are some super creeps out there, but she accepted his invitation.

Here’s where Ground Rule #1 comes in: If you choose to go home with someone, whether it be the day you meet him or after three dates, be very clear about what is going to happen.

Becca used the line I’d prepped her with: “I will go home with you, but understand this: You are not, under any circumstances, getting laid. In fact, you’re not getting any more than some lip action. That does not mean I will go down on you. That does not mean I will touch it. And keep your hands off my panties. We can kiss. That’s it.”

And that’s all they did. For three incredible hours, they made out on his couch and then in his bed. And then on their heads. (Okay, my attempt at another Dr. Seuss rhyme failed horribly here.) After what I’m sure must have given him a severe case of blue balls, they fell asleep.

Then the most amazing thing happened. She woke up the next morning to find Jason in the kitchen, making her blueberry pancakes. He must have gotten the inspiration from the way his package felt the night before.

Now, I don’t know if there’s some strange sect of American culture that teaches men that a way into a woman’s pants is breakfast the next morning, but Becca was thrilled. See, with that simple declaration of what she would not do with him, she’d established that she was someone worth respecting. And he’d taken the clue.

He also learned another valuable thing about Becca: She wasn’t just out for sex. As much as men let us think that they are comfortable with us being “sexually liberated,” they aren’t. To a man, a girl who sleeps with you quickly is not the kind of girl you keep around. So she’ll never become a girlfriend. It’s just that simple.

After breakfast, they did the usual exchange of phone numbers, and she left.

Now for Ground Rule #2: Don’t immediately start to stress. You just made out with someone of the opposite sex. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have a long-term relationship. Hell, it doesn’t even mean you’re going to get a phone call in a few days. But don’t jump the gun. Ladies, don’t make the first call. Wait for him to call you.

That also rules out Facebook and MySpace® stalking. Step away from the computer screen – I mean it – and get back out into the real world. Anyway, there’ll be plenty of time for electronic stalking if you actually end up dating him.

Now, I’m not trying to say that you have to be elusive. I’m not trying to say that you have to trick a man into liking you. All I’m saying is that, if he is worth having at all, he’ll call you first. And he’ll do it within a few days. It’s about knowing your worth.

Jason called Becca the very next day. They made plans to see each other again. And guess what: She still didn’t sleep with him after that date. Of course, from the way Becca’s been talking lately, I’m now more convinced there is a version of blue balls for women. (See my July column for a greater explanation.)

This week at Zippy’s, Becca filled me in on all the juicy details. And together, we came up with the last rule.

Ground Rule #3: For heaven’s sake, give him some! The poor boy has been following you around, calling you, taking you to dinner. It’s time to show him just how much you’ve appreciated his patience. Holding out hasn’t been any fun for you, either. And maybe you can come up with something new and crazy to call “the blueberry pancake.” Just let me know if you do.

In the end, dating is all about getting to know someone and letting him or her get to know you. This means that complete honesty is the way to go. Think about it: He’s only going to get pissed if you pretend that you’re going to sleep with him and then don’t. You wouldn’t want him to tell you he was going to pick you up at 7pm for dinner and then have him not show. It’s a similar kind of frustration.

And keep in mind that you’re going to have to spell it out. Make it clear that you are worth it. Make it known that you are not just an easy lay. He’ll get the picture. And if he doesn’t, he’s better left alone.

Oh, for all of my readers who miss the saucy attitude and style from my July and August columns, don’t worry: I’ll be back in cynical full swing next month!