Some Rules for the First Few Dates

Do not begin with the expectation that we will marry; I look bad in white and I won’t like the way that you hum love songs under your breath. Do not tell me that you wish to remain anonymous, that you like it best when we don’t exchange any secrets, and when we could easily forget each other in a couple of years. Do not tell me that my name sounds pretty, ask to know whether the color of my eyes is natural, what I would call the color because you’ve really never seen eyes quite like mine, not on the first date. Do not tell me that you feel awkward when I don’t call back right away, that you don’t like it when I ignore you, that you programmed a special ringtone into your phone so you always know that it’s not me calling. Do not tell me that you don’t like to give chocolates or flowers, that they feel cliché, and don’t ask if I agree that giving paintings of crucifixions on tiny notebooks are better as gifts instead. Do not tell me that your favorite color is gray because it reminds you of the grave or reveal that you like imagining what your epitaph might read. Do not tell me that you want to have three children and that you think I would make a good mother because I have strong but delicate hands. Do not tell me that you bet you will hate the way my voice sounds when I’m sad, like someone shouting up from the bottom of a well, or that my laugh is too sudden, too unexpected, too uncontained. Do not after the third date tell me that you love me because you just know. Do not end with the expectation that you will see me again. Do not, do not, and I won’t either.

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