Just follow the rules and (almost) nobody gets hurt

I lost a bet.

A bet I shouldn't have made.

A friend of mine broke a cardinal rule in the "Single and Fabulous Male" handbook. A big rule.

Not one of those for-your-own-safety rules like change your underwear every day, or don't smoke at a gas station. I mean a big rule.

You see, in the lives of single men, there are simple rules that should be obeyed to maintain order. We, the unbetrothed, agree in principle to uphold these truths for our own protection and for the continued prosperity of our kind.

Violating them makes it harder for us to exist in a world controlled by relatives and friends pushing the "Married Movement." Worse than drug dealers, the "pushers of pairing" are good at screaming irrational statements meant to frighten us into taking the Kool-Aid.

"You know your biological clock is running out."

"People are starting to wonder about you."

The "pushers" are kind of like the American Dental Association.

"Gingivitis causes gum disease."

"Failure to floss results in poor gum health."

See the similarity? Yep, both crazy, and both wrong.

Now, back to a sampling of the rules.

One, don't accept every one-night stand possibility. Women talk, and it will come back to bite you if you do it too often. Either your new target knows your rep, or you are forced to call in a genital etymologist for an "extermination."

As much as we like to think one-nighters only happen in the movies, they don't. They happen.

Period.

Sometimes it's just what both involved need, and sometimes it's a Stephen King book. Not our place to judge, but moderation please.

Me personally, not a fan of the one-night stand. I've been told my best qualities take time to come to light (Read: Abrasive at first but wears them down).

Two, look at each day as a first date that you don't know about. 'Cause it could very well turn into one. Not those first dates involving a camera and a tree outside your Internet girlfriend's house but one without felony charges.

Through the wonders of modern single life, the plan of going to the bank turns into drinks with the cute teller, followed by dinner at her place, followed by waking up in a bathtub of water without a kidney and realizing you made a horrible mistake and will never, never be the same, and "oh my god what happened to me she seemed so nice and she collects teddy bears crazy people don't collect teddy bears."

But I digress.

Three, set dating disqualifications. There has to be some boundary that can't be crossed. Some otherwise datable person that must be disqualified.

Former flames of friends, co-workers, girls named Cupcake.

Don't be Wal-Mart, accepting everyone who wants in. Be selective. Pretend you are a Porsche dealership, and weed out some of the applicants.

It doesn't matter what the criteria are, as long as you have some. For me, it's ex-girlfriends of friends, which I have violated and thankfully lived to regret.

The corollary to this rule is that there are certain groups of girls who should probably be on everyone's no-date list.

Strippers/hookers, factory workers and (the rule my friend broke) waitresses.

Hitting on a waitress is dangerous. Why? Because she gets hit on for a living. Any single, attractive, two-eyed girl who works at a restaurant or bar gets hit on like Xena at a comic book convention.

They are jaded, and unless you can crack a walnut with your neck or break an egg on your abs, she ain't gonna notice you.

Yet my friend liked this particular waitress and decided to be courageous. From what I am told, he did a marvelous job.

So I bet him that she would call. She didn't. I guess it's my own fault for betting against the rules.

So I will console him by paying my debt, telling him she didn't deserve him anyway, and pointing out that she had a tattoo of a teddy bear on her arm.

That ain't good.

Who's on your no-date list? Tell me about it.

- Jarid Shipley is a reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

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