Though it’s well known that I generally abhor the “list” and its deleterious effects on the cosmic spontaneity of the mating ritual, it shouldn’t be said that I’m sour on them altogether. Not all lists are created equal. Some are are fun, funny or fantasy–like the one I have which Rhona Mitra, Kristen Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Hathaway Anna Farris, Uma Thurman and a few others occupy. I’ll leave you to guess the title of said list. Other lists are necessary or practical, like grocery lists (so you never run out of cream), my Amazon.com wishlist, the do-not-call list and send-to-voicemail list.
Over the years this lil’ thing called life has taught me a thing or three. And since a lesson learned should be a lesson shared, this week I give to you my relationship “To Don’t List” and the floor for your additions, amendments or comments.
5.) Don’t solicit comparisons. This may be a difficult concept to grasp in a world where trends are set by a minority, followed by masses and open to all manner of subjectivity. The hope of besting another is perilous. So don’t ask if your ass is “J-Lo” unless you’re fully prepared to hear that it’s more like Jello. And even if you are among the rare few who can handle the truth, why give someone in the compromising job of delivering the blow while knowing that their future blow-jobs are at stake?
4.) Don’t offer comparisons. I wouldn’t even bother listing this because it seems such a blatantly obvious DON’T, but it happens overtly and covertly more often than we’re aware. From being constantly reminded how much we favor one or both of our parents (you geniuses ever heard of DNA?) to the, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like…” and the always ill-advised discussion of “best I ever had” sex rankings (hypocrisy alert: yes, I’m guilty of this, but it’s negated by the fact that I actually am the best you ever had) we are a people obsessed with associations, hierarchies and oneupmanship.
Note: A good experiment is to try retiring similes from your relationship vocabulary entirely, you’ll be better off for it.
3.) Don’t withhold sex. Another insanely obvious DON’T that is ignored all too often, withholding sex from an adult is analogous to withholding recess from a kid. It’s an ineffective consequence that almost always does more harm than good. Some people treat sex like taxes (and by “people” I mean women–though I’ve heard a few fairy tales of men committing this wretched offense). You have to calculate your exemptions to determine your withholding allowance. After itemizing your deductions then you file for that refund sex every year or so to make-up for the 300+ days of deficit. It makes no sense whatsoever to do this, but we “do it” (or more accurately, we don’t do it) anyway. And then of course, some of us find it easier just to cheat on our taxes.
2.) Don’t bring-up old sh*t (or dumb sh*t). Unless it’s for the purpose of nostalgic romanticizing, nobody wants to spend the future reliving the past. So stop that. No really, just stop it. If you’re still “there,” it should be because you want to BE–not because you feel compelled to play the warden a make sure a harsh prison sentence is served.
1.) Don’t ever, ever…ever-ever-ever-ever-ever incite or pursue an argument with your significant other over someone else. [Clears throat...ascends soapbox.] Let me say that even more plainly. Arguing is usually a thoughtless, reactive and emotive act. But arguing with someone over a person they haven’t shared a (threatening) level intimacy with is an absurd waste of time. Yes, this includes the eye-candy you caught them staring at, the old flames that call out of the blue, Facebook flirtation and Twitter titillation, et cetera, et cetera. Not only does it implicitly encourage the undesirable act (it’s the old “if I’m going to suffer the consequences I should, at least, be able to enjoy that of which I’ve been accused” theory) but it also effectually raises the relative sexy index of the third-party. If there’s a case to made about boundary-crossing or disrespect, then say your piece like an adult and leave it at that. But don’t ever take-up arms over someone whose never so much as been in their arms. In fact, I wouldn’t waste too many arguments over someone they actually have been intimate with either, but I’ll have to break-out the big shovel and dig into that another time.