Soon after finding the manosphere I was horrified to learn of the “three date rule.” In short, if a gal wasn’t sleeping with a guy by or before date three, it meant she wasn’t sufficiently attracted to him and he should “next” her.

Now I get the reasoning, and also that many a gal doesn’t even wait until date three to drop the knickers, but I found myself uncomfortable with this whole concept. How could I navigate the dating scene without racking up my N count?

Luckily, the manospherians helped me navigate the waters. They said first, never go on more than one date with a guy you were SURE you weren’t into. And if you couldn’t decide before date three, that may be a sign it’s not a match, too. And it’s true, leading guys on who you have already decided you aren’t into isn’t fair or nice. Don’t dilly dally or friend zone someone leaving them with hopes it will someday be “more” if it won’t.

See, it’s not so much that these guys think you OWE them sex for the dates, but they just don’t want to get strung along only to hear months down the line, “Gosh, I just don’t think of you in that way.” Fair enough.

However, if I was into a guy but didn’t want to jump in the sack at the end of date three, the solution they said was to be demonstrating value at every opportunity, making it clear in other ways that I was interested (like baking him cookies!), while clearly stating that I was not comfortable with casual sex, and to say demurely, “Not yet,” rather than “No.”

So I did. And it mostly worked. Yes, sometimes I didn’t make it past date three, or even one, but on the other hand I kind saw it as a way to screen out being played. Not that he had to put a ring on it by date three either, but at least by then we both should have a sense if there was a “there-there.”

In my mind sex is way too intimate of a thing to be engaging in with practical strangers. And in my mind, three times in someone’s presence makes them a practical stranger. But then again, I am the kind of person who knows lots of people but can count on one hand those I would truly consider friends.

Ladies, like myself, you may be reacting pretty strongly to this three date rule idea, as I did at first. But after hearing it from a guys point of view, and really putting myself in their shoes, I get it. They don’t want to be played either. Who does?

Dating used to be about courtship. People were looking for a spouse, not for a hook up. Well, while that world sounds charming, let’s just admit it’s not been seen in most circles for a long time now. Which is too bad. The courtship model has a lot of advantages. Sadly in the name of progress, it was discarded as “old fashioned” and replaced with this new way.

Modern dating, if people even call it dating anymore, occurs in jaded and cynical waters. I am not a big fan of these new rules, but I understand Pandora is out of the box, and so each one has to make the best of it.

My advice? Bake cookies for guys you are interested in “something more” with, rather than rack up your N count hoping to get another date. It’s not a perfect system, but then again neither is the alternative.

Let those with ears hear.