No one ever said that dating and relationships were easy. If they were you probably wouldn't be reading this article. Still, I think that we all tend to make this business of trying to find love harder than it has to be. We overanalyze, we obsess, we nitpick, we get jealous.
Here's a radical dating strategy: just chill the fuck out. If everyone relaxed about a handful of things, plenty of the stress and drama that goes hand in hand with courtship could be eliminated. Then we might all enjoy dating more, and could redirect our leftover attention to more valuable things, like the government shutdown or global warming or if your roommate knows you borrowed her blender to make adult slushies last weekend. Here are the top six things you should never worry about again.
1. YOUR "NUMBER": Or, for that matter, anyone's number. No one on God's green earth needs to know how many people you've slept with, because it's none of their damn business. The amount of people you have, or haven't had sex with, reflects exactly nothing about your character, and thinking it's some kind of metric of how worthy a human being you are is outdated and gross. If you're the kind of person that likes to keep a secret coded chart of everyone you've hooked up with for your memoirs or whatever, then go for it. But feeling bad about yourself because you think you've been with too many or too few people is a waste of your precious energy.
Exception: If some of those experiences were without protection, in which case, get thee to Planned Parenthood for a test, wrap it up in the future, and proceed with your life.
2. LADY/MANSCAPING: I've had younger friends tell me that they've hooked up with guys and spent the whole time being embarrassed because they hadn't shaved in a few days. My reply to this, as a wise elder, was: "If a dude can't deal with a little hair, he is not mature enough to be having sex." I've also had girlfriends admit that they've snuck into a dude's bathroom and used his razor to shave before clothes started coming off. This is insanity to me. Whether you go full bush or full Brazilian, anyone who objects to your intimate grooming habits doesn't deserve to be getting laid.
Exception: You can't, um, find what you're looking for, in which case a sensitive discussion might be necessary.
3. THAT ONE THREATENING FRIEND: There's nothing more annoying than when your significant other has that one friend who just seems a little bit too into them. Maybe they flirt with them when you're around, or are texting at all hours of the night, or just tend to conveniently forget your existence when inviting them out. You've brought it up--"Don't you think X maybe has a little crush on you?"--but it doesn't make a difference. I mean, if it hasn't happened between them by now, it's probably not going to happen. Also, there's a chance that this friend is actually just a friend and you're constructing jealousy monsters where nothing exists.
Exception: That One Friend drunkenly plants one on your main squeeze, in which case you are absolutely allowed to make a scene. Maybe even throw a drink!
4. THE EX: A step up from the Threatening Friend, the looming specter of The Ex can haunt--and destroy--a relationship. But that's only if you let it. Relationships live and die on trust. It's OK to not be thrilled if there's still an ex in the picture, or even a little bit jealous, but if you don't trust the person you're dating, why are you dating them at all? People can be friends with their exes with no ulterior motives. Trust. You can do it. Deep breaths. It's going to be fine.
Exception: The Ex has expressed lingering feelings for your significant other, in which case the significant other should cut them off. Or, your significant other has expressed lingering feelings for The Ex, in which case you should cut them both off immediately.
5. SPORTS AFFILIATIONS: I had never heard of this, but my sources assure me there are dudes (and, I presume, ladies) who will not date members of rival sports team's fan bases. My only answer to this is that my dad is a Yankees fan and my mom is a Red Sox fan and they've been happily married for over 25 years. Now, cat people versus dog people, that I can understand.
Exception: Um, none. This is dumb.
6. MUSIC TASTE: So their online dating profile says they like "anything but rap and country," an answer which is the only thing more generic than wearing pair of khakis to buy Walgreen's brand ibuprofen tablets. They probably also like to take long strolls on the beach and dance like no one's watching. But really--having different taste (or no taste) in music isn't reason to write someone off. As the wise little sister said in 500 Days of Summer, "Just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate," and so liking different bizarro crap doesn't mean you'll never get along. Plus, now you get to introduce them to all your favorite bands and feel very cool and influential.
--Written by Jessie Lochrie for HowAboutWe
DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT ANY OF THESE ISSUES? WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST?
*Tips for Single Women from 1938
*Dating Advice As Told By Cats
*What Your Taste In Music Says About You On A Date
Photo: Courtesy Of Everett Collection