The Rules (Call Me)

Charlie Rose is newly single! The man who has done the verbal tango with everyone from Liz Smith to Les Gleb is letting his bodacious bod out, his single hair down and is casting his net far and wide looking for the bestest and smartiest fishy in the sea.

Lucky for you, this news breaks amidst my special two part series entitled "Dating in the Real World and How Fucked Up It Is." Now, knowing how to score that perfect Rose to plant in your garden is merely seconds away. So break out the Q-tips and clean out your ears, spray some Banaca in the back of your throat and douse yourself in some Axe deodorant spray--this Bud's for you!

Rule #1: Sleeping with strangers is really a lot harder than it used to be.

Everyone in college goes through what is commonly referred to as a "slut phase." Those weeks, months, or even years, where you will sleep with anyone. Really, just about anyone. There was that time when you went home with the last guy standing under the leaky roof in the Zeta Psi basement. You know, the one with the bum leg and the oddly patterned chest hair that formed large rings around his nipples. Or what about the girl in you Faulkner class that everyone referred to as Massive-Ass and who smelled a little like mushroom barley soup?

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But even these ghosts from our college pasts have one thing in common--you knew what you were getting into before you "got it." If you meet a special someone at a bar in college, the likelihood is that in about five minutes you can find out just about anything about that person--or at least all the relevant details, like, that they're not a rapist, and don't want to come back in their next life as Sisqo.

In the real world, that is not the case. You meet a guy out at a bar, you have a few drinks, perhaps you go home together. He could turn out to be perfectly normal, kind, funny and intelligent. The two of you could go on to have a long-lasting love affair. But let's be honest--that's not likely. The more probable alternative is that he's a weirdo. Suddenly, you're getting emails from and you're not sure why, until you realize--that's him. YOU are the one that put the "freak" in Yankee Jesus Freak.

Take a close friend of mine who met a fine young thing out at his local bar not too long ago. She was cute, she (in his words) "told some good stories," and they were both a little tipsy. One thing led to another, and before he knew it, she was telling him she was a gymnast as she hung expertly by one leg from his lofted bed.

"Score!" he thought to himself, and did what any respectable gentleman would (the details of which I will spare you from).

A few days later, he took her out on a lunch date. They both ordered a glass of wine, but she didn't touch hers. Curious, my friend asked her, "Is the wine alright?"

"Yes," she replied, "it's great. It's just that I had a bottle this morning and I'm taking it easy."

Not one to let a silly detail like alcoholism get in his way, my friend ignored this, only to discover that this woman was a crazy sheet-wearing racist.

Which brings me to my next point...

Rule #2: There's always someone better than you out there.

New York is the land of "what's next." Restaurants and clubs open and close quicker than the last incarnation of Radar. So why should relationships be any different? In a world where people are constantly searching for the next best place to eat, or the next best place to get plastered, they are also searching for the next best lay. As a close friend of mine noted, New York is like a giant Sony flat screen television with a million channels, and we are all holding the remote. In our ADD culture, we are constantly left wondering if there's something (or more importantly, someONE) better going on somewhere else. Because time is such a commodity (as covered in Part 1 of this series), if you don't immediately share a love for the Food Network and Pierre Bourdieu, chances for a relationship--or a second date--are doomed.

The good news is, that there's no shortage of people or places to meet people in New York. Walk around Whole Foods for half an hour. I guarantee you will meet some mysterious cavalier as you both reach over to squeeze the same Guava.

Rule #3: The Future is like, a big deal.

On the off chance that you do get beyond Guava squeezing (in and out of the bedroom) you will find that everyone "out here" is a little obsessed with tomorrow. If you have been dating someone for more than six months, your friends, your mother, and your trainer, all want to know if the two of you have "a future."

I am a freelancer. I don't know if I'll eat tomorrow. I don't know if I'll sleep tomorrow. I don't even know if I'll bathe tomorrow. The likelihood that I will still be with my boyfriend the next time J-Lo decides to tie the knot (read: in three months) is unlikely. The future is called the future because we don't know anything about it. Capiche?

(I don't think I've used the word 'capiche' since the Regan administration, but as I learned last night at the Richard Phillips opening, the '80s are back in a big way--more on this next time.)

This concludes our two part series on "Dating in the Real World and How Fucked Up It Is." I do hope you all enjoyed this incredible journey, and are now more likely to ask me out.

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