The Junior Higher’s Guide To Dating in Your Twenties.

Do you remember junior high school well at all, friends? Do you remember painting your nails with white out and scribbling some older boy’s initials in your agendas? (Was our school the only one that gave us agendas? I have a planner now, it’s leatherbound and full of handlettered scribbles that translate to my plans, my big ideas and adult things…I still call it my “agenda” from time to time.)

It was in this phase of my life that the male population started to scare me. My mother would see the initials of some random boy in sharpie marker on the back of my hand and instantaneously scold me. She would tell me that I didn’t know what love was and that a man should never have to brand me in order to consider me worthy. These were the moments that I knew that getting anyone’s name tattooed on me was a bad idea.

But, seriously, if junior high and high school taught me anything at all, it was this. Any interactions with male human being result in disaster. I still, to this day, can only flirt on accident or with men that I don’t ever want to flirt with. I can’t be charming or coy in front of anyone I’m actually attracted to because, it turns into a massive mess! I end up word vomiting on some poor guy with a really genuine smile and going to hide in a corner. I’ll never be entirely sure how this much awkward fits into such a small woman. I should be SO much taller!

There are some really important things that junior high school taught me that are still real points of life skills that I follow. My mother would be so proud.

If He Doesn’t Like Me with Glittery Blue Lipgloss on and my Neon Butterfly Clips, He’s Not Worth My Time. Still true. Girl, if he doesn’t look your way at your 2007 Britney, he doesn’t deserve your Beyonce. Not ever. Be who you are. Dress how you’re most comfortable. If he doesn’t like it, don’t go on a date with him.

If He Doesn’t Call You First, He’s Not Interested. I’m big on this. Even in terms of friendship. You are worth the first contact. If he has your number, he’ll use it. If he wants it, he’ll ask for it. My job and this blog mean that I have the contact information for many a handsome musician, but, you want to know something crazy? They’ve all texted or called me first! Insane, right? Yep. It means I choose to share my life with the best ones.

“I Love You.” Is a Tattoo On Your Face. I’ve been in a lot-like-love a few times, and in love once. Every time it ends, it hurts. It’s not a joke. Forever is serious. It’s not just for a social media post or the end of a note or text message. Those words should be indelible to a soul and taken as seriously as a tattoo to your face. Yep. If you say “I love you” you’re basically Mike Tyson. You can’t take it back. It’s not a mistake. It happens and it’s painful and expensive to get rid of.

If There’s No Title, He Shouldn’t Be Holding Your Hand.(or kissing you, or standing that close to you, for that matter!) I am a pretty affectionate person. I live for hugs, and handshakes. I have a few hand holder friends that understand me, and a few close male friends that kiss my hand and my forehead when they see me. But, all of that is very sacred and special to my being. Part of that has a lot to do with the way that society has built me to see myself, unworthy of affection. But, it’s got a lot to do with training myself to appreciate the affection that’s given to me. Every time you hug me, it’s a gift. I don’t take it for granted. Thank you for loving well in purposeful ways. Affection is on purpose.

My mother is a pretty wise woman and she raised two pretty self-sufficient, independent daughters. My sweet kid sister is getting married in September, and I’m still waiting but, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t instill in me guidelines to being treated well. She did. She taught them early and often. For that, I am forever thankful.

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