The Golden Rules – A Survival Guide to Dating in the 21st Century

“I’m confused. If I’m really as intelligent, as attractive, as charming and as successful as people say I am, why the heck am I still single? Why can’t I find someone??”

Be honest now, how many times have you cried yourself to sleep asking this very question?

You read this article with skeptiscism, yet at the back of your mind; you are secretly hoping that it contains some sort of magical solution or a proven set of simple guidelines that can finally help you net that elusive “right one.” You quickly glance back at the title of this article again and the words “Golden Rules of Dating” unwittingly catches your eye this time.

“Golden Rules of dating? There’s just too many of them around now,” you grumble. Very true indeed. And you’ll also notice that most of them actually hold the promise of bringing you one step closer towards capturing the heart of that “special” someone you’ve been eyeing on.

To be honest, I didn’t even know that there were actually dating rules to be adhered to until I turned twenty one and have had quite a fair bit of flings and relationships already. Before this, I had always stuck on to the 21st century way of doing things – that is, go to a pub, make eye contact with a girl you think is really hot, proceed to making out and if you get lucky – much more.

Sounds quite simple and effortless huh?

Well this spontaneous approach to dating has actually led me into several random hook-ups with a variety of women from the petite model who had this creepy lazy eye and sinister-looking crooked smile, to the cute waitress who looked absolutely gorgeous in the dark but then looked totally different out in the light, to the hot and sexy podium dancer who had this uncanny ability to neigh and roar like a noble steed, she also had this bizarre foot fetish as well which I don’t even want to GET INTO. Bottom-line? It’s been a roller coaster ride that’s for sure.

When I finally hit twenty one, that’s when I discovered there where actually various rules which I never even knew existed. I only found out about them after reading several books and browsing through various websites.

And you know what else I discovered? I discovered that it’s actually a JUNGLE out there. A jungle that consists of men who speak in plain black and white language, and women that are programmed to decode every little aspect of the male behaviour.

I just saw the movie “He’s just not that into you” the other day actually, and as embarrassing as this may sound, I think I have a movie-crush (aww shucks!). The movie was realistic, the script was spot on, the characters were smart and witty and most importantly the movie tackled a topic close to our hearts – dating in the 21st century.

“People just don’t meet organically any more. If I want to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex, I don’t go get a new haircut – I update my profile,” Drew Barrymore miserably rants in the movie out of sheer frustration.

Now, doesn’t those words just hit home?

Here’s something interesting I’ve noticed in the last five years: I’ve noticed that a great deal of dating gurus, date doctors, pick-up artists and self-help authors have emerged out of the blue in big numbers armed with their very own unique set of dating rules. Each one of them is also claiming that their own distinctive set of rules is the ultimate magical formula that will enable you to be successful in the dating game.

Verrry interesting indeed.

The funny thing is, many people just decided to blindly follow these rules without really looking into it and delving into details.

The result?

In the end, most people just ended up mystified, bewildered, perplexed and *gasp* dare I say it? Still ALONE.

You know why?

Because most of these dating rules were just too puzzling and too downright absurd. In the end, it ultimately drove hundreds of single people out there to pull their hairs out one by one in frustration and give up on the whole dating scene altogether. Most of them have now just chosen to just stay home and watch reruns of Sex and City all the while shaking their heads at the show and repeatedly saying to themselves “Carrie Bradshaw is soo right. . . so, so right” over and over again.

Well, that actually applies more towards the single women out there, most single men out there on the other hand are probably just surfing the net for some porn.

Am I right, or am I right?

There are now literary hundreds of dating rules out there, it’s just crazy. If you surf the net or go to your nearest bookstore, I bet you that you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of dating rules from rules in seduction to rules in love to rules in online dating and so on and so forth.

Since when did the dating scene become so damn complicated?? Whatever happened to the old saying that “if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be?”

Oops . . . I think I just unleashed my inner little girl there for a second. Sorry, my bad.

Wading through all the rules and exception to the rules that we are bombarded with on a constant basis, I’ve come to a conclusion that there is one outstanding truth out of all this – it is that the dating scene is not what it used to be. Never in my wildest dreams could I have possibly foreseen that 21st century dating will be an era of online chatting, text messaging, emailing, facebooking, myspacing and googling.

Welcome to the digital era my friend.

The sad thing is, the digital era seems to have erased any thoughts of spontaneously finding the “right” one.

To be honest, I’m still a hopeless romantic at heart. You can call me mushy, you can call me a romantic fool or you can even call me a little girl waiting for his big fat crush to finally arrive – Awww . . .

Bottom-line? I don’t think I’m alone either. I think most of us still have this secret hope of finding the “right one” – even though no one would admit it outright.

Ironically, although I do know that dating rules play an important role in the dating jungle, well at least initially, I believe that at some stage, they are actually meant to be broken. Here’s the trouble with most of the dating rules around: They rely way too much on the ancient philosophies of femininity and masculinity. They also hold back the most important ingredient to falling in love – our GUT FEELING. Instead of something that should be enjoyable and liberating between two people, these rules actually make the whole dating experience such a difficult task to comprehend.

If there’s anything I learned from all my experiences, it’s that sometimes you just have to break the rules if you want to achieve happiness. Because the fact is, even if you follow the rules religiously, there are still no guarantees that you’ll live happily ever after anyway. Let’s face it, in the dating field, situations arise and vary all the time therefore there could be no one “perfect” formula or set of rules because the only thing that’s really constant is CHANGE.

Sometimes, it’s not even about following or breaking the rules though. Sometimes it’s just plain luck or maybe even divine intervention to help you snag the man or woman of your dreams. Wether you like it or not, in the end it all boils down to one solid fact:

If you want to WIN the dating game, you have to PLAY the game.

If you don’t like the game then you’re more than welcome to sit on the bench since there are plenty of other players aching for some court time. It might take months or maybe even years to find the elusive “right one,” you might not even find him or her at the end. But then at the very least, your odds go up when you submit an application form.