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Do You Respect The Rules?

Do you respect the rules of adulthood? You know, the subtle rules that establish how people should act or suffer disapproval from others?

Culturally, we are all reinforced to act a certain way. Some people respect these “rules” to a great degree and others never seem to notice. When it comes to dating ignoring the rules often just doesn’t work because it can affect how successful you are with the opposite sex.

Consider the “Musician Desirability Rule”.

  • A 25-year-old male musician who is poor, talented, and unsuccessful is often viewed as cool and VERY attractive by women.
  • A 35-year-old male musician who is poor, talented, and unsuccessful can be viewed as cool by women and might be attractive to women, but less so.
  • A 45-year-old male musician who is poor, talented, and unsuccessful is often viewed as sad by women and is while women might find him attractive they likely see his unsuccessful music career as a liability.

Certainly, this is a generalization and there are women who love unsuccessful musicians. But the point is that the unspoken rule – “By the age of __ you should be earning a minimum income, and if you’re pursuing something that is not meeting this minimum mark you are irresponsible or foolish” – is out there. You can try and ignore it, as a man, but the women you’re trying to meet probably won’t.

There are dozens of these rules, and many of them revolve around the concept of “acting your age” as defined by society. Here are a few others:

  • If you’re living at home after 25, that’s a negative.
  • If you don’t own a car, and you don’t live in a city with great mass transit, that’s a negative.
  • If you’re past 40 and you’ve never had serious relationship, that’s a negative.

We’re all forced to deal with these expectations. Which comes closest to describing your approach?

1.    I am a non-conformist. I act like I want to, when I want to. If 99% of my potential dates aren’t pleased with my choices, I’m willing to wait for the 1% who don’t mind them – even if that means I’ll have to wait for a very long time.

2.    I consider myself a practical non-conformist. I march to a beat of a different drummer, but I do march. People who say the rules don’t matter are fooling themselves. I live my life as I want to, but if you ignore the signals and symbols that help people decide who they want to live with and love…you’re going to end up alone.

3.    Can we all grow up? The reason there are standards for behavior is because they matter! Who wants to be with a grown man who can barely support himself? Who wants to be with a middle aged woman who dresses like a teenager? We all have a sense of what is appropriate and you’ll save yourself lots of trouble if you’ll just play along.