The beginnings of a new relationship are a dance. One steps forward, and the other steps back. The other steps forward, and the partner steps back. Back and forth in concert with each other.
Sounds lovely and fluid and well choreographed.
And maybe, sometimes, it is.
It's really been a number of years since I've really done the dance. And while I love to LITERALLY dance a lot, this dance I don't have a lot of experience with doing.
I have been, for the most part, a serial monogamist. Going from one long-term relationship to the next, and each one increasing in length, suggesting that MAYBE I learned something from the one before.
Frankly, I don't think it's that I learned anything, as much as I think that the more mature we get, the more realistic we enter into a relationship, the better chance of success it has.
Remember those first dances in junior high? Uncertain whether a boy (or a girl) was going to ask you to dance. And then if you did dance, wondering what it meant? Would he (or she) try to kiss you? And if they did, would that mean you're going out? And didn't it always seem more significant and serious if the dance they asked you for was a *slow* dance? Where do the hands go? Again, what does it mean?
There was a dance to the dance.
In both circumstances, the question is, do they like me? And do they like me the way that I like them? That's the dance. How do you express that you like someone? There's the timing, the intensity of expression, the manner of expression. An ask to a dance. A touch of the knee. A hug. A kiss. Oh, and then there's the words: "I like you". But that's too simple. "I want you." "I love you" "I love spending time with you."
There are so many potential steps to take in this dance.
People liked "The Rules" - for those who liked the Rules - for the same reason I like country line dancing. I like line dancing because I don't have to think about what the next step is, I'm not free-forming it and worrying that I look like an idiot to others. Once I feel comfortable with the basic steps, there is room to add my own flair and style, but simply competently following the steps is enough to make me look good. Or at least okay. And I don't have to think too much or wonder too much about what others might be thinking of me.
The Rules were designed to take that awkwardness out of the situation. A lot of simple if, thens. If he asks you out after Wednesday night, say "no". Let him contact you x number of times before you respond, etc.
I'm not a Rules girl. By a long shot. But in a world of women with low self-esteem who jump on anything that sorta moves in their direction, showing some restraint, and culling the herd by waiting until a real interest is shown makes some sense.
It is easy to get something in your head, and pursue it so strongly you don't pay attention to what is really happening.
When building a fire, in real life, there is often a time where blowing on the fire can help it grow. But you have to pay attention to the intensity of the air and where it is applied so that you don't overpower the tender flame and blow it out. The Rules are designed to keep one from blowing too hard and extinguishing the flame that might actually be there.
The dance can be fun. That's what I keep telling myself.