"Take a salsa class!"
That's a direct quote from everyone who has ever given advice to a single person.
The technology of dating may have advanced in recent years, but the advice still sounds like tips gleaned from a Jennifer Lopez movie. Maybe it's the mixed messages or the complete homogenization of the soul mate tracking process but it's time dating advisers got some advice of their own. Like come up with some new advice that doesn't assume Richard Gere is just waiting for you to stop working so hard at your career so he can love you with the strong arms of a professional dancer.
Here are some more of the least helpful and most overused dating advice that just won't die.
Bad dating advice #1: "Be Open!"
Okay, but can you be a little more specific? How open are we talking here? Obviously if you're looking to connect with another human being it helps to line your face up with theirs, and listen to the words coming out of their mouth. Now what? Does "open" mean giving your number to a guy who might actually be asking for your ATM pin? Does it mean dating outside your type or does it mean embracing a man who wears a Bluetooth earpiece 24/7 like he's on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? I'm open I just need a few parameters.
Suggested Revision: Just don't be mean to people who try to talk to you.
Bad dating advice #2: "Attraction takes time."
I'm positive this is not something men are ever advised. They're allowed to just not be into us, isn't that what that book is all about? In exchange can women have the same dating rights as guys? Not according to the expert matchmakers and the occasional married friend. Have you ever been coaxed into seeing a person you're just not into twice, three times maybe four months until that person finally catches up to your lack of interest and dumps you first? That rejection is still more appealing than the regret that comes with worrying you were just too picky. And by picky I mean instinctive.
Suggested Revision: If you don't like their smell, don't mate with them. Monkeys have this down, why don't we?
Bad dating advice #3: "Nobody's perfect, especially not you."
I'm deeply aware of this. See accompanying photo. But thanks for the reminder.
Suggested revision: [This video of a dog saying 'I Love You' ]
Bad dating advice #4: "Nobody will love you until you love yourself."
Bad dating advice #2 and #3 certainly didn't do my self-esteem any favors. Now comes this added pressure of worrying some simple self-doubt could be skunk odor to potential mates. You know who seems like he unquestionably, consistently loves himself? Jack Nicholson. It's something that takes decades of perspective, zero romantic rejections, The Betty Ford Clinic, a Proust questionnaire in the back of Vanity Fair, and a pair of gymnastic eyebrows. That's not to say you need to be famous to love yourself unconditionally but you may need to be a healthy narcissist with no monthly hormonal fluctuations to trip up your groove. Instead of constant self-love, is there something a little less abstract, and more practical when it comes to partnering up?
Suggested revision: Don't talk about your poop until you've been with someone for a while.
Bad dating advice #5: "Get out there!"
I get it, you'll never meet someone if you're stuck inside, unless your stuck inside on the internet and then you actually might meet someone. Sure, saying yes to opportunities provides exposure and burns off your rusty dating training wheels. Just one question, where's this 'there'?
Suggested revision: Internet date. Also read more Shel Silverstein. He has better advice.
Bad dating advice #6: "Always look your best, you never know who you'll meet."
Okay let's say "getting out there" is technically anywhere: a coffee shop, a supermarket, a traffic light. That's exciting but the prospect of having to look my very best to buy a delicious meatball sub for lunch really doesn't fit in my schedule. It's not that I work too hard, it's that my face doesn't always do that thing where it looks like a girl and maybe I don't have the mental stamina to primp in front of a light-bulbed vanity like a Liza Minnelli impersonator in order to leave my house for a snack.
Suggested revision: Don't ever let a man come between you and your sandwich.
Bad Dating Advice #7: "Wear red."
I love these "study" based tips that involve a room of 12 dudes and a slide show of different models in colored t-shirts. So 56 percent percent of men, which is about 6 and half guys who do psychology experiments for money or school credit, choose a girl in a red shirt over a girl in a blue shirt. I really need more information on the cut of these shirts before I start taking fashion advice from studies published in 1997.
Suggested revision: Wear low cut shirts. Men like boobs.
Bad dating advice #8: "Add a conversation piece to your outfit."
Lets see here, do I wear the neon glow-stick necklace from my cousin's Bar Mitzvah or that pin from Cluck U that confirms I once ate a really hot wing? Those are the only two items in my jewelry collection that would spark a decent conversation.
Suggested revision: Stop accessorizing and leave the house already.
Bad dating advice #9: "Don't be too available!"
If you're playing by "the rules" you're supposed to turn a guy's first date offer down.
If you're (still) in a Jennifer Lopez movie, you should probably slap him for even asking! From my experience, this is not a winning move. It's also really ambitious to expect a normal, nice guy to assume your "I'm busy" response is code for "go on, ask me again." I'd imagine most guys don't mind not getting rejected right away, but what do I know. If it is a major turn-off that I'm free the night a guy asks to hang out, just wait till he sees how often I clean my cat litter. I is not your dream girl.
Suggested revision: It's okay to be open with the guy you actually want to see again.
Bad dating advice #10: Be yourself.
This is really great advice for people who wear circus stilts and act like they're their own uncomfortably long legs. Also a very important lesson for Jan Brady, who was never very good at tucking her hair into her wig. Really, 'be yourself' is an invaluable in hindsight when you invite a crush back to your high powered corner office only to realize you're a 16-year-old high school year book editor and not your mom! And it's especially useful when you're dressing for a date and can't decide whether or not to wear a dog with a cigar in his mouth on your shoulders, and wrap a trench coat around the both of you like an upright dog detective.
Suggested revision: Act like you're not in a sitcom.
Please note, my suggested revisions should not be considered advice from a legal or practical perspective. I'm neither a dating expert nor a human who should be allowed to dispense dating advice to anyone ever, especially to other humans. I am, however, a lover of bad dating advice stories. What's some of the worst dating advice you've gotten? Best answers get free neon necklaces. No, not really. I only have one, okay?
"Take a salsa class!"