Dating Rules For People Who Break All the Rules

by: Khai Devon

For being a lesbian, my level of badness with girls is something of a joke. As in, my friends like to laugh at me about it. A lot. And I have to admit, for a while there, even I was giving up hope that I’d ever find a girl who’d like me enough to want to be my girlfriend, and that wasn’t also somewhat a little bit crazy. So each time I’d find a potential someone, I’d get advice.

Oh, the advice I’d get! Apparently, there are accepted rules for dating interactions among the adult population of America. Some of them are strictly for heteros, some strictly for homos, and some strictly for everyone. None of them are things I’ve managed to learn. So, I’d start liking a girl and I’d get sat down and reminded of the rules.

1.       Go slow. Don’t give your heart away, don’t jump into anything, don’t rush anything, you’ll scare them off, hold yourself back, don’t reveal how much you like them, bite your tongue, keep it quiet, don’t do your thing that you do where you want to tell them exactly what they are starting to mean to you

2.       Don’t go too slow! Show them what they mean to you! Make an effort! Show them who you are, be yourself, they’ll lose interest if you don’t!

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3.       Romance is good. Be romantic and sweet and sappy and give compliments generously.

4.       Don’t be too romantic, you’re not at that stage in your relationship yet. Back off, you’ll smother them. Don’t give too much, don’t be too sweet, you’ll push them away.

5.       Wait three days to call, after the first date.

6.       Call them right away, and tell them you had a great time, ask for the second date right away!

7.       No kissing on the first date. Or the second.

8.       Kiss them right away, so you know if you like it! Chemistry is important!

Essentially, you see the conundrum. The rules contradict each other. Do you wait three days to call her, or do you call her right away because you can’t wait to hear her sultry voice? Do you kiss her right away because she has that irresistible half grin, or do you wait until she kisses you? Do you tell her when you know she does it for you, and you want to be exclusive, or do you wait until you’re sure she’s feeling the same way? Once you make it past the initial stages, when do you drop the “l” bomb?

I just kept getting it wrong, always. I was hopeless, it’s true. Being me was never good enough for anyone. I was always too much, and I always, always broke some rule I probably knew existed but didn’t really understand.

Then I met her. Her name, for the purposes of the internet, is Buttercup.  (Hey, it’s my pet name for her, because she’s seriously like bright spots of sunshine on a rainy day.) Buttercup sent me a message on a dating site, and I sent her one back, and within a couple messages we were smack talking each other about who was better at Clue. For the record, no one beats my Miss Scarlett—not even her Professor Plum, much as she’d beg to differ.

Since then, we haven’t stopped talking. Hang the code, they’re more like guidelines anyway, as our favorite slightly drunken made up pirate likes to say. Any rule that existed, I’ve broken with her. Within two days of starting to talk to her, I knew I wanted her to be mine, and I told her so. And she said yes—lucky me. Within four days, I knew I was in love. (Remember: the only break in the talking, literally, was a couple hours of sleep). And I told her so. And it didn’t freak her out. In fact, I think her response was, “I’m grinning so hard I can literally not form sentences.”

There are a lot of rules, for dating. There are a lot of things I’ve been told, by a lot of people, about how to be and what to say, and how to act. And every time, it’s been wrong so it’s failed. But people are like puzzle pieces, and when it’s right—the two of you just click together, and fit neatly, and that’s that.

And that’s how it is for Buttercup and I. I want to spend every day making her smile, and there is nothing in the world that fills me with as much peace as holding her hand and knowing that she’s as perfectly content right there as I am. Everything with her is easy and natural, and I don’t have to worry about what the rules are, I only have to worry about any boundaries she and I set together.  And the best part is, she’s right there with me. She tells me I’m fantastic, and wonderful, and amazing, and foxy, and special, just as much as I tell her those things. We are sweet and sappy and supportive and kind to each other. We have found a pace that works for us, where neither of us have to be anything but exactly what we are whenever we are it.

So, kiddos, you listen to your Uncle Khai. When it comes to dating, the only rule you really need to know is this: be you. Be wholly, completely you. Someone will come along who snaps into place next to you, and it’s the greatest thing in the world. And, no, you won’t be able to wait three days to call them. At least not if you’re anything like me.

Besides, if you have to worry about whether you’re violating someone else’s rules for your relationship with your partner, you’re probably doing it wrong. Just ask the poly people.

Khai Devon is a genderqueer lesbian poet with a dreamer’s sensibility and a compulsion to create the world sie wants to live in. Sie writes blogs at, and, updating whenever the words overflow and sie has internet access. Sie also writes poems like sie’s breathing, and sie’d like it if you emailed hir at if you wanted to talk about poetry, activism, or anything sie’s written about here.

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2 responses to “Dating Rules For People Who Break All the Rules

  1. So happy to hear that someone has realized how amazing and special you are! Love and miss you bunches!!! And congrats on your wonderful life!

  2. Bravo, says the queer who divorced hir husband just to end up making him hir domestic partner (and yes, against all advice). Do your thing, friend, and love every soppy minute of it! 😀

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