I’m going to share this story with you, despite it being embarrassing. I’m here to work out those uncomfortable things we struggle with privately, publicly. I’m hoping you can learn from this story (and this guy’s mistakes) so that when you manage to snag a woman’s heart you don’t blow it in less than a week.

After months of being on one another’s radar, we’ll call him “Hot Comic” and I finally got the courage to strike up conversation with one another while we waited for Ubers outside the comedy club. I went home and stalked him on Twitter. He friended me on Facebook. An hour later we were talking on the phone until 5 AM like teenagers, and suddenly I could not wait to see him. He came over the next night. He was the first person I’d been excited about in a long, long time, and his combination of looks, charm, wit and intelligence had my heart straightaway. All he had to do was keep it.

So, congratulations! You got the girl! Don’t fuck it up. But here’s how you could do that very quickly.

Don’t be self-absorbed
I take responsibility for this one. I broke my own rule. I NEVER date comics. Ever. Or actors or musicians or professional athletes or married dudes. Basically I try to stay far away from the narcissistic, unavailable types. Don’t get me wrong. The “unavailables” are great for one-night stands, but as far as falling in love material? No. Never trust your heart with an unavailable. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part they’re perpetual babies with ridiculous hours, blind ambition and a desperate need to be adored that can never be filled with your love. There is a saying in showbiz, “Only one headshot per couple.” And that’s a great guideline. Too much of the same thing is no good. I’m a selfish narcissist, too. I should be looking to date a teacher or a doctor to achieve some harmony (boooooorrrrrringgggg) in my life. I guess what I’m really saying is: never date yourself.

Hold up. You love me?
Homeboy was throwing around, “I love you, baby” by day two. It’s flattering, but I was like, “Oh shit. This dude’s a codependent love addict.” Trust me. It takes one to know one. I’m notorious for taking the “L” word for a test ride, usually just to scare a man off without having to hurt his feelings. Men rarely beat me to that punch, and when they do I know if they don’t really mean what they’re saying. They’re just addicted to “the feels” of a new relationship. Even if you think you could love her and know she’s absolutely THE ONE–wait it out. Give it some time. You just opened the wine. Let it breathe.

Don’t treat her like a booty call
I realize many relationships start with the late night hook-up. That’s fine. And with Hot Comic, because of his profession, it was inevitable that I would always hear from him at 1 AM. At a certain point, though, if you’re serious about each other, you have to take the relationship out of the darkness and into the light. You can’t get all, “Who does this belong to, baby?” pussy possessive while you’re going down on me if you can’t even commit to being seen with me in public. Make a date for a hike or lunch or take her out to a proper dinner, unless of course…

There is such a thing as too broke to be dating
Full disclosure: I wasn’t in a much better financial position than he was. We both happened to be broke af (waiting for checks) the week we were hanging out (again, this is why it’s a bad idea for two comics to date) and I’m certainly not a gold-digger, but at least I have a car. I felt bad for him the next morning when Uber declined his card, and he had to ask for a ride home. I mean, I don’t think a man should have to pay for everything, but you should at the very least be able to find your way back home.

Don’t get too comfortable
He made some pasta and was in the kitchen cleaning his dish when suddenly I smelled smoke in my house. “Are you smoking a blunt?” I asked. “Oh, yeah, whoops, I probably should have gone outside.” Who just fucking lights up and smokes in someone’s house?? Not to mention—I’M SOBER. My roommate hates weed even more than I have a hard time being around it, and she was PISSED when she came home. Up until this moment I could have overlooked the other stuff and continued to enjoy the snugglefest and incredible cunnilingus. But seriously? Who does that? Someone who either doesn’t think—or doesn’t care. Either way, it’s a bad sign.

Don’t be flakey, unreliable and emotionally unstable
When you say that you’ll call or show up in 15 minutes and really do it in 45 or not at all, I’m going to feel insecure. This is the beginning of the end. When you go from texting me all day, every day, to suddenly not texting me at all or sporadically, I know something has changed or that the novelty has worn off. I really don’t ask that much from a man I’m newly dating. Be a gentleman. Be consistent. Follow through. I realize this is the exact opposite of what an artist type is generally known for, but I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You never know who might surprise you, but then again, they might end up living up to every lame stereotype, ever.

Don’t urinate on my roommate’s antique, hand-carved, wooden, Italian armchair in a blackout
It was late, and he was desperate to see me, and I was eager to see him, too. Against my better judgment I Ubered him to me (because Uber delivers booty now—what don’t they do?) On the way he texted me that he loved me again, and I was like, “Are you drunk?” And he said, “Yeah, but still me, bae.” I said, “Oh shit, I should send you home.” I should have. When he got to my house he was so blacked out I had to put him right to bed after he knocked over everything in my living room. In the morning he had no idea how he got there or any recollection of texting me or peeing in my dining room at 4 AM. And that was it. He did a long walk of shame that morning, and I cried tears of disappointment while I cleaned the chair. I haven’t seen him since.

By the way, this list can go in both directions—you can read it as things you should avoid doing if you really like someone OR behaviors to watch out for if you see the other person exhibiting them, in which case end it, or cover the furniture in plastic.

Bridget Phetasy is a writer and comic in Los Angeles. Twitter: @BridgetPhetasy.

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