So you've recovered from your last affair, and are ready to re-enter the dating scene. As any astronaut will tell you, re-entry is the most treacherous part of the job, with temperatures reaching several hundred degrees Celsius even before you get back to your place. Here are a few tips to reacquaint you with tried and true dating rules, as well as new developments you may have missed out on.
No-No #1: Your sexual prowess. "In my last relationship I spent a lot of time--at my boyfriend's insistence--learning how to perform the Mongolian Cartwheel," a sexual position that requires a pack of red Twizzler licorice and a yak, says administrative assistant Lu Ann Salloway of Manchester, New Hampshire. "He learned it from the Dalai Lama on a Junior Year Abroad program. When I described it over potato skins at T.G.I.Friday's to a guy my friend Lisa fixed me up with he barfed all over the place, although we hadn't even eaten our entrees yet."
In other words, keep it discrete when you first meet.
No-no #2: No Lizards. Matchmaker Valerie Brunel says she scours through the profiles of her clients and requires those who own Komodo Dragons to sign a separate written statement promising not to bring their giant lizards on "Lunch Dates," her patented no-risk introduction service. "No matter how much you love your lizard, your primary focus should be on the lady or gentleman sitting across the table from you, not a slimy creature with a yellow forked tongue that carries virulent bacteria in its mouth," she says. "Oh, and remember to bring a business card so your Lunch Date can follow up if you spark some interest."
No-No #3: Kids.
Kids--you can't live with 'em, and yet the human race won't survive without them. That doesn't mean you should say things like "Do you see us getting serious because my biological clock is ticking and it's like quarter to midnight."
Men like to believe they'll be able to go through life without children until they actually have them, so it is best to defer this sort of talk until the cost of getting a divorce stands in the way of him dumping you.
"If you listen real close, you can hear the ocean!"
No-no #4: Cutesy-Pie Names.
If you hit it off with your date, there will be plenty of time to come up with pet names for each other while you watch old movies on TV and eat popcorn together. Until that time, calling another person the names of baked goods such "Cupcake" or "Muffin" is viewed as presumptuous, as if you have already won a heart that may still be undecided. "While expressions of affection are not entirely off limits, you should maintain a certain reserve until it is clear that your date shares your feelings," says etiquette expert Mercedes Rockland. "I would start with a delicately-placed 'Dear' while you're perusing the menu, graduating to a 'Sweet Thang' when it's time for dessert."
No-no #5: Your former lovers.
There is nothing to make love curdle like a wistful recollection of the great times you had with the guy or gal who took the shot that put you on the rebound. "If you spend all your time reminiscing about your old flame, you'll end up putting out a potential fire right in front of you," says Hook and Ladder Co. 9 Captain Dale Bevins of Florissant, Mo. "Your date may then stop, drop and roll, and proceed directly to the nearest available exit in an orderly fashion without talking in line."
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Take My Advice--I Wasn't Using it Anyway."