The following is a guest post by Tucker Liszkiewicz
I’ve dated a variety of women in my short time on this planet. Some of them were absolute gems. Others ended up being fool’s gold. The only consistency from one to another was that I tended to make the same mistakes over and over.
One day, frustrated by losing the same battles over and over, I compiled a list I found to be true most of the time. Most of the time.
1. I’m wrong.
2. It doesn’t matter that I know I’m wrong; I have to know exactly what I did. If I apologize to keep the peace, not knowing exactly what I did, I’m in trouble twice.
3. When I ask what’s wrong, “nothing” is an antonym for what you really feel, and now it’s my job to figure out what that is. Otherwise, I’m just confessing to stuff you haven’t decided to be annoyed about yet.
4. A fight isn’t always over when I think it is. It’s only gone on hiatus until the next time something reminds you.
5. Cut flowers are not a stupid overpriced gift that shows how something will wither and die if you take it away from its home. They’re “pretty.”
6. “My mother doesn’t hate you.” Memorize it, and say it when prompted, even if it’s a lie. There’s some kind of weird competition going on between you and my mom. Which is funny, because at some point, you might start treating me like a child.
7. Never complain about how long it takes for a woman to get ready.
8. Allow forty-five minutes from when she says she’s going to leave an event, and when it’ll actually happen. A guy says goodbye and leaves. A woman gets her affairs in order with every single person there – even the catering and wait staff.
9. You don’t want solutions, you want empathy. If you’re complaining about someone being mean to you at work, the answer is not, “Call HR,” or, “Get another job.” The correct answer is, “That must be so difficult for you. You are so strong to be able to put up with it.”
10. First time you met. First date. First time you kissed. First holiday together. Relationships are a series of firsts; if you forget the dates they occurred, it might be the last time you see her. Send yourself an e-mail, on an account only you know the password to, and check it. Constantly. Do not leave a list lying around the house – this will start a fight. Even this list is a bad idea.
11. Don’t clear your Internet history. There is no situation in which a lack of recently visited links is not suspicious.
12. Decorative towels in the bathroom are not to be used, they’re for ambiance. That being said, you will never check to see if I wipe my hands on the back of them.
13. Decorative pillows on the bed are not to be used. They are to be taken neatly off the bed before you go to sleep, and put back on after you wake up. If I say they’re a waste of effort, somehow I’m criticizing the effort you put into our home’s appearance.
14. It doesn’t matter how angry I am about something you did. If you start to cry, I’m powerless against it.
15. I should never complain about being a taxi for you. If I do, you might start insisting on driving, and it’s going to aggravate you when I start slamming an imaginary brake into the floorboards from the passenger seat.
16. Open the car door for her, and when you go out to dinner, wait for her food to arrive before you start eating. There’s no pithy joke about this – it’s just good manners.
17. The toilet seat stays down. If you consistently leave it up, she might make you pee sitting down.
18. Hair and shoes. Always remember her hair and shoes. If she buys a new pair of shoes, or gets a haircut, it is your responsibility to notice and compliment. It doesn’t matter if she cuts a quarter of an inch off, you need to notice it.
19. “I Love You,” is not a panacea to remedy every problem in a relationship. Carefully marshaled, it can have some power to take the edge off an argument. Or even better, just say it when you mean it – and never if you don’t.
20. Dating, relationships and marriages aren’t static. They’re always working towards the next thing. Dating leads to a relationship; a relationship leads to being engaged; an engagement leads to being married; a marriage might lead to having children, and so on. Don’t ever take steps that you don’t believe in, solely because it’s the next “logical” or “right” step. You owe it to both yourself, and her, to address any concerns you have, and if they’re insurmountable, let her move on to someone who will love her the way she deserves.
I’m sure I missed some items on this list: the importance of cuddling, tiny dogs, Saturdays are not for the watching sports – they’re for activities, and so on. What applies to one woman doesn’t always apply to another because women are as varied as the stars in the sky, and as equally wonderful. The only universally applicable commandment is “pay attention, and be appreciative of what you have.” Almost every fight could be avoided if only we could learn to remember what’s important to you, and let you know that you’re the most important person in our world. In fact, the problem with women might actually be men.
We will, however, never take responsibility for doilies – unless you can crochet a football on it.