I am often shocked (but never surprised) by how clueless my coitus buddies are. They are so out of touch with reality that it is almost comical and definitely rage inducing. They’re not clueless in a cute Alicia Silverstone kind of way, but rather in a “I know we haven’t spoken in six months but what do you mean we’re not still having sex?” kind of way. They lack common sense and empathy and a stable Internet connection.

Worst of all, they are not innocent in their cluelessness; they are clueless by choice. They want their heads to be up in the clouds because it relieves them of all responsibility. They like not knowing what’s going on ‘cause it’s a lot easier than knowing what’s going on. They plead ignorance to every accusation tossed their way.

Thus, in order to eliminate this perpetual cluelessness, I present to you this straight-forward, explicit, detailed list of necessary dating instructions. So the next time he quotes Mr. Justin Bieber and inquires, “What do you mean?” I will simply point to the list.

  1. Ask me to hang out on a specific date and at a specific time. Don’t rely on me to always make the plans. I am not your secretary. I am a human person you want to sleep with. Do not hope that we bump into each other in person. Use technology and make legit, concrete plans. I am busy. I don’t have time to leave sex up to fate.
  1. When you cancel, apologize, ask when I am free next and suggest another time. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow. It could be in three weeks. Suggest anything. I do not care if you need to cancel. But I do care if you don’t suggest another date and I’m left to wander in the unknown. It makes me feel discarded and irrelevant.
  1. If you don’t want to see me anymore, tell me. Don’t ghost. Don’t simmer. Don’t block. Be a grown-up. Be honest. Be direct. So I can move on. And if you’re not sure that you want to see me anymore, then you DON’T. Do not string me along cause you’re lonely. It is disrespectful and hurts more in the end.
  1. Always offer to get me off. Sex is a pleasure exchange. It’s not a one-way ticket for your genitals. If I try to give you an orgasm, you try to give me one and I shouldn’t have to request it. You should automatically volunteer your services.
  1. Inquire about what I like sexually and what you can improve on or do differently. Do not assume that you know what I like. Listen to what I say. I will inquire in return. Also, be direct and honest with your answers.
  1. Ask me how I’m doing and what’s going on in my life and why I’m so happy/sad/neutral. Dating should not just be me interviewing you. It’s a back and forth interview. Otherwise known as a conversation.
  1. Show an interest in my professional pursuits. If you don’t know what I do, ask me, and then follow up with more asking as the days go by. Support me by sometimes attending my shows or reading my pieces or remembering what I do for a living.
  1. When I send you a message, read it, think about it, eventually type words into your phone as a response, reread your words, spell check for typos and grammatical errors, read it one last time, and press send. This will likely take you between thirty seconds and a couple of minutes.
  1. Include me in conversation with your friends when I’m out with you. Do not introduce me only by my first name and then proceed to talk to them for three hours, ignoring my existence and never offering up a subject I can contribute to.
  1. Write to me just to say hello, especially if we haven’t seen each other in a while. Or call me. I probably like talking to you if I’ve slept with you more than two times and connecting for no particular reason makes me feel appreciated.
  1. If you want to message me, then message me. Don’t hold back as a power play. Making someone feel insignificant is not powerful or cool. It’s gross and mean. Remember that next time you almost text and then don’t. If you worry that you’re bothering me, know that you’re not. If I’m busy, I’ll reply when I can.
  1. Like my shit on Facebook! Favourite my tweets! Heart my Instagram photos! You’re on there anyway. I see that you liked that page. Give me social media love.
  1. If I invite you to a show/party/event and you say you will 100% be there and then you can’t, let me know. If you don’t, I will be waiting for you to show up.
  1. Compliment me occasionally and not only on my appearance. It’s nice knowing that the person you’re sleeping with is a fan of yours. Tell me I’m funny or smart or insightful or generous or good at whistling. Pick any positive quality and let her rip.
  1. Make physical contact with me when we are out in public together. Don’t treat me like I have a contagious disease. Your friends will be fine with you touching my lower back once an hour. If you don’t want people to know that we’re dating, then we shouldn’t be dating.
  1. Be honest with me. If you’re not sure if you should communicate with me about something, you definitely should. Unless I have explicitly asked you not to. Lying is the worst and withholding important information is also terrible.
  1. If I ask you to stop doing something because it hurts me, put in some actual effort and try your best to stop doing that thing. Do not be lazy. Do not deny my needs. Change takes time but you can at least try.
  1. Learn how to have an adult conversation about real emotions. Such emotions may include anger, sadness, and anger. If I’m upset by something you did, listen to what I have to say and share how you feel and tell me when I upset you. Do not refuse to talk to me about anything remotely serious ‘cause you “don’t want drama.”
  1. Take responsibility for your mistakes and your actions and the pain you caused. Don’t blame others or pretend that you didn’t know or act like it doesn’t matter because we aren’t in a relationship. You don’t have to be in a relationship to apologize for treating another person like shit. You just have to be not an asshole.
  1. Inform me of what you want to happen between us and/or what you are looking for in general romantically. If you don’t know what you want, figure it the fuck out.