So you’ve been sleeping in this guy’s bed all week, and you’re still not sick of him. Or you’ve been in love with your best friend for four years and you’re finally inching towards a relationship that involves kissing. Or you’ve found someone on eHarmony you can actually tolerate.
That’s great! I’m excited for you. But hold up. Slow down. Before you put all your eggs (biological or otherwise) in this human being’s basket… before you throw precious time, energy and money into someone other than yourself… before you take your gorgeous, wonderful soul off the market . . . make extra-sure it’s not just your sex drive talking.
1. Fix something.
I don’t care if it’s putting together Ikea furniture or talking your roommate through her heartbreak: if you can’t work through problems or struggles with this person, you’re each going to be left with a lot of shattered pieces. So if you can tile the backsplash in your kitchen and still want to sleep with them: well, that’s a good sign. Bonus points if you’re dating someone who knows how to tile surfaces.
I’m a grammar nerd. I’m also a writer on my better days. So I have no qualms with admitting that I’ll judge you if you can’t punctuate correctly or take the time to spell out Y-O-U. I’m also looking to see if you can make a clever quip (or four) while still being pitch-perfect flirtatious. Everyone’s got their own text hang-ups, but you want to know that whoever you’re seeing isn’t going to flagrantly irritate you during casual communication.
3. Eat sushi.
Sushi isn’t any old dinner date. It’s a highly collaborative, potentially explosive tango that can tell you worlds about the person across the table from you toying with their chopsticks. Are they assertive or go-with-the-flow? Do they like variety, or do they want to eat four crispy eel rolls in a row? Did they go to Kindergarten and learn how to share? I once went for sushi with someone who hated my favorite roll, and vice versa. We both talked each other into giving the despised sushi in question another chance… and both ended up nauseated and taking the rest to go. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t work out.
But hey, while you’re at it…
4. Watch how they order and tip.
Do you want to be with someone who gives a waiter 13.5 percent of the bill? Who barks at your bartender? Who is picky beyond reason?
Well, go for it. I’m going to take my receipt and run.
Dance movies are sexy not because Sean Patrick Thomas and Julia Stiles are amazing, but because movement is a barometer both for how you carry yourself and your compatibility with someone else. Is your date doing the worm in the middle of the floor? Or standing at the bar throwing back G&Ts? Are they fluid or stiff? Willing to make a fool of themselves or showing you up? Grindin’ up on you or giving you your space? I’m not saying you have to breakdance to win my heart (though it’d help), but I want to see you move before I move in with you… or go dancing with you again.
The way someone navigates through traffic or reacts to a high-stress parallel park can be a) really goddamn sexy or b) completely horrific. Also, it’s just good to know if you’re putting your life in danger when you get it the front seat with this person.
Full disclosure: You’re putting your life in danger when you get in the front seat with me. I think that’s something my future significant other would want to know.
7. Hang out with your/their friends.
I rarely give out brownie points (unless it involves building stuff — See #1), but I always melt a little bit when someone gets along swimmingly with my friends. Likewise, you need to have great friends if I’m going to date you… mostly because I want to be That Cool Girlfriend who hangs out with them a lot and receives said brownie points. It’s bad news if the person you’re seeing can’t at least hold a conversation with your best friend while you’re putting on your mascara or get a drink with your crew once in a while. Your friends are going to be much more inclined to resent this person for the entirety of your relationship, one, but two, you’ve known said friends way longer than whoever this punk is. They’re a pretty good indicator of what kind of people you love.
8. Hang out with animals.
Cat person or dog person: the great existential question of our generation. I have a World Wildlife Foundation debit card, which involves my face on a piece of plastic next to a panda’s… so if you don’t love animals, I’m going to be hesitant. Similarly, if you hear me talk to my chocolate lab over the phone (which I do, often), you may think I’m certifiably insane. Whatever your stance on the creatures of the earth, it’s a good idea to get the animal question out of the way. So take them to the zoo, or watch your mood-swingy kitten react to their presence in your living room.
9. Go down on each other.
Some people think you should sleep with someone before you date them. Some think all it takes is a kiss to diagnose your level of physical chemistry. Either of these could be correct, but I’m going to just average them out and say that you should, well, get down to it and make sure you’re OHMYGODSOATTRACTEDTOTHISPERSON. Also, it’ll solve that terrible relationship issue of being with someone who hates giving oral sex. ‘Cause unless you hate it too, that’s just sad for everyone.
10. Do whatever you want.
I know I’ve just wasted 15 minutes of your would-be-productive life telling you what to do, but really, there’s no set of rules when you’re into someone. So if you like them… just go ahead and like them. Spend 48 hours straight at their house. Make out with them even if they hate dogs. Make fun of their dance moves and then still go home with them at the end of the night. Being in like or lust or even love is too much fun to not just go with it.
But really — if they’re awful tippers… just don’t.
This article was written on Jan. 30, 2012 By Talia Ralph – Talia Ralph is an editor and breaking news writer for GlobalPost.com