Until a year or so ago I operated under what blogger Mark Manson calls “The Law of Fuck Yes/No.” He writes:
The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.
The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.
I have pretty good instincts. I can honestly say that my history is not littered with people — friends, colleagues, lovers — who are complete assholes. Some weirdos here and there, sure. But mostly I trust my gut, and my gut has attracted good people to my orbit. Also: I’m very sensitive. A byproduct of this sensitivity is that if I’m not totally into you — no matter how nice or kind or decent — you annoy the shit out of me and I’d rather be home watching Netflix. And I get a sense of whether that will be the case on first meeting. In my dating life, I proceeded as such.
Then last year I read this New York Times Modern Love essay about a wildly successful matchmaker who insisted on the unorthodox practice of joining clients on dates in an effort to learn more about them. He explained: “Most first or second dates go awry not because there’s no chemistry, but because someone had a bad day and the communication was off.”
I started to question my faith in my instincts. After all, there have been many cases in my life when someone I met gave me a nasty vibe but went on to be a close friend or cherished client. People have told me that I was intimidating when they first met me, but later found me to be warm and funny. We’re all complex humans, affected by moods and hormones and stresses and weather. After all, if my instincts were so stellar, why hadn’t they sniffed out the love of my life?
And so I began what I joked was, “Operation Second Date.” I started to initiate second meetings with guys who were really solid matches, but with whom I didn’t sense an immediate, Fuck Yes. This lead to to a couple of affairs with remarkable people, but more than that, it shed some light on the realities of relationships — and highlighted some fallacies of those I’d ascribed to. Here they are:
1. Strict adherence to a “Fuck Yes/No” dating life means being guided by the notion of love at first sight. I don’t ascribe to love at first sight.
2. By taking the time to know someone, go on second and third dates, I am exercising my belief that people and relationships are complex and worth working for. I’ve tampered the quick judgements and am more open-minded.
3. Committing to second dates is also an act of humility and acceptance that my inner dating spidey intuition is flawed. If you’re reading this, yours probably is, too. After all, how many divorce stories start with, “When I met him, I knew he was the one …” ?
4. Ultimately, I really do believe in the Law of Fuck Yes/No. Manson’s theory is about relationships — saying no to people who dick you around, who aren’t passionate about you, or who do not inspire in you that kind of commitment. I’ve been on both sides of that equation, and I agree: The relationships that inspire me are those where both people work really, really hard at it. They’re the couples who are inspired to work really, really hard at it, because in each other they intuitively, passionately are inspired to say, FUCK YES.