The 30 Things You Need To Know About Dating In Your 20s
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I have recently turned 25. Quite a big birthday, I think. I am now the same age Otis Redding was when he wrote (arguably) all his best songs. If I auditioned for The X Factor, God willing, I’d be an “over” and inevitably mentored by Sharon. Or Louis. I’m the same age Geri Halliwell was when she left the Spice Girls for greener pastures. But most importantly, it marks the middle of supposedly the best decade of my life. So I feel a bit like I’m on day seven of a two week holiday. Or half-way through a great party. Here I stand, slap-bang in the middle of it all and I have to remind myself I’ve only got half left. So it’s time to make sure I drink up the free bar of my life, as it were.
I’ve also realised this means that I have now been dating for ten years. I had my first boyfriend when I was 15, so this game of love, this endless cycle of flirting, dating, break ups, make ups, heart ache and mistakes — I’ve been a player in it for ten years. So, on this, the eve of my 25th birthday, I give you everything I have learnt so far:
1. A good relationship is one where you take turns to be the parent for each other. A bad one is when this is unbalanced. Partners should both need each other equally, at different times, for different reasons.
2. Of course a first date should not be an activity, you mad asshat. Stop making it complicated. You should only ever be eating, drinking, talking or snogging on a first date.
3. The perineum is not just a mountain range between France and Spain.
4. In a relationship, the woman will always integrate into the man’s life more easily than he does into hers. I have never seen it happen the other way round. She’ll go to all his friends’ birthdays, she’ll do the group holidays and she’ll befriend all his friend’s girlfriends. It’s not because she finds the integration process more enjoyable than he does, she just finds it easier.
5. If you really like someone, you really should not have sex with them on the first date. Sorry. I know. Annoying.
6. The greatest, filthiest, nastiest, most exciting sex you will ever have will be with someone you’re in love with. Sorry. I know. Boring.
7. If you are having doubts about your relationship — this is the litmus test: Imagine you can go into a room, press a red button and it’s all over. No break up conversation, no guilt, no tears, you just press the button and it’s done. If that were an option, would you do it? Yes? Then you need to break up with them now.
8. Moving in with your partner too soon is relationship anthrax. Leave it for as long as possible.
9. Buying a pet in a relationship is a bigger deal than buying a house.
10. You should have sex with as many people as you want, but you should always be careful with their heart, your heart and contraceptive methods.
11. Mischief is what ties a couple together. Lust inevitably fades, mischief will be thrilling forever. Have cruel nicknames, get pissed, go on adventures, break rules. The couple that pranks together, stays together.
12. Being single is a gift. It’s incredibly freeing and almost always not forever. Use the time to get really, really happy with yourself. Don’t use it to run around chasing love.
12a. You will only meet someone truly great when they find you at your best. Being saved will never work.
13. The bit about breakups they never warn you of is how many things that end other than the relationship. You’ll lose friends, you won’t be able to listen to certain albums anymore and there are places you’ll never want to visit again. Memory association is the fuck-tonne of salt poured into the wound of a break-up.
14. A man who pushes pubic hair preference on a woman is no man at all. She ain’t no topiary bush for you to play with, pal.
15. You will nearly always fall for the person you didn’t think was your type.