The Mandate: Learn to Play the Modern Dating Game

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Dear Mandate,

Have I been living under a rock for the past ten years? I am completely incapable of playing "the game". What are the rules? When do they apply? Help!

Disclaimer: The following post is in no way a statement that men are the sex that should be pursued. In my total and utter belief, the old renaissance idea of courtship is ideal, complete with white powdered faces, pocket watches and line dancing. However, given the nature of this question I will be focusing on the ways to pursue a man based on the relationship you seek. I am unable to write about how to pursue women in this way, because I am simply NOT QUALIFIED! You are a far more complex creature than we troglodytic Neanderthals, and should be respected as such. Given this disclaimer, the following is not a "He's Just Not That Into You," sort of self-help post. If he's not into you, drop him. He's not worth wasting your time.

One Nighter: Men aren't the only ones who need sex. Fact. It's not talked about as much, and the old double standard of "player" to "slut" is a sad thing in our (somewhat) evolved present. Women should enjoy their sexual appetites to the fullest of their capabilities. We only live once, right? Even so, if you're really looking for a quick hit and run, best not to talk about it with your friends. They will try to discourage you, which will in no way help loosen your inhibitions for Rompfest 2012.

It's a common misconception that in the pursuit of the male species women should go out and group up. We men are children. Very sensitive children. It's hard to move past the cowardice of breaking the ice with one woman, much less seven. By all means, go out with your girlfriends and be on the hunt, but I recommend you split off from the group as quickly as possible. Plant yourself in densely populated area (i.e. By the bar, on the dance floor). Engrain yourself as part of the crowd and at once removed from it. When the right guy asks to buy you a drink; think about it for a second. Do not immediately nod your head. Think it over, shrug your shoulders as if to say, "why not," and head to the bar. Play the mysterious one.

You're most likely in a bar or a nightclub, there are too many aural and visual stimulants for us to comprehend long drawn out statements, so make physical contact. If it's a younger guy you're looking for, play with his hair. He's still vulnerable to mommy syndrome, and this coddling will have him cooing in your hands. If it's an older man, go for forearm or upper arm. It'll give him a chance to feel muscular and at ease. If you've gotten this far, you're in. Take him home and kick him out. If he wants to take you out and you're into it, then go for it. If you don't ever want to see the dude again, tell him you have a boyfriend. It gives him a story and lets him down easy.

Sex Buddies: Ahhh doom of the doom-ed. That fickle two-backed beast of mischief: sex buddies. Friends with benefits. Fuck buddies. No strings. The tango of the tempest. If you really want to give this a shot (and I highly recommend that you do not) you will need guile. You should already have someone in mind, most likely a new male friend. There should be obvious mutual attraction, but the way you two can hang should be right on the line of romantic and platonic. "Grab dinner, and then grab a beer?" Perfect. Eventually the topic of sex will come up, and this is where the tricks begin. Personally, I've found that women I've had casual sex relationships with tend to start off by saying that they don't get emotionally connected to most of the men they sleep with. They say this as if to put me at ease. I've talked to other guys about this as well, and they agree: WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU. It only freaks us out more. Immediately our mind races to the thought, what if I'm the first one she likes? We get scared, and wait for the inevitable. Even if it's true, why talk about it? What good does it do? None. Prove it through action. Allow yourself to be seen as a sexual individual. Talk about how you take pleasure in sex, this gets us thinking about what it would be like to be with you, rather than the cold mentality of, "I don't ever get attached." Once the relationship begins be ready for drama on either side. One of you guys is going to try turning this into a booty call, and there is a definite difference between the two. You need to be mature about it. Remember that you started as friends, and have now integrated sex into the great relationship you had before. Don't let things get weird, making it solely about the sex. It will dwindle into rage and hurt feelings. Always have a back up, whether it's someone you're casually dating or just someone to boost your ego on the nights when your fuck buddy is being an idiot. This goes for men as well. Feelings will get hurt if all energy is focused on one individual when something as personal as sex is handled immaturely.

Relationship: This is probably the simplest of all. Weird, right? There's just one major factor to it. Wait. Dear God WAIT! If you seriously want a relationship with the dude you're seeing (and be sure you do), wait as long as you possibly can to have sex with him. When men sleep with someone on the first date, they lose interest in the personality. Their brains kickstart from getting to know you, to getting laid by you. The getting to know part is when you find out about compatibility. I'm not saying pull a Sister Mary; foreplay is more than welcome. Go to town on it, and make sure he reciprocates. I'm just saying, no penetration for the first few weeks, and the longer you can hold back everything else, the better off you'll be. Do not get possessive or needy, think about how big of a turn off that is when guys are to you. What goes around comes around.

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