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7 Bad Dating Tips From Literature

When I was single, I hated dating—which is probably why I didn’t do much of it. There are so many unspoken rules, and girls play games, and it’s enough to make you want to become a celibate monk. Okay, it’s not quite that bad.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find the right girl, and the rest is history.

But even though my “game” probably sucked, I knew some common rules of dating. I mean, the really, really basic do’s and don’ts.

The same can’t be said for some of these characters from literature. These guys and girls really knew how to screw up some relationships.

Here’s the type of advice they might give you based on their stories.

“Girly, spineless men are the most attractive kind of men. Obsess over them, and never stop obsessing over them.” –Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With The Wind)

We all know Rhett Butler had serious game. You know who had terrible game? Ashley Wilkes, the man whom Scarlett spends almost the entirety of Gone With The Wind obsessing over. She’s the worst. She’s the literal worst. Not only because she was attracted to the whiney, testicle-less Ashley, but because she left Rhett hanging.

“If you stalk her enough, she’ll eventually love you.” –Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

Ladies, if you knew that a dude built his house across the lake just so he could stand on a dock and longingly stare at a light on your dock, and if you knew that same dude threw million dollar parties in hopes you’d show up, and if you also knew that same dude liked to hide in the bushes outside your house, wouldn’t you just fall head over heels in love? Or maybe you’d just call the police. It’s a miracle Daisy never had a restraining order put out on Gatsby.

“Rabies will improve your relationship. No doubt about it.” – Tea Cake (Their Eyes Were Watching God)

Janie Crawford is a great girl with a difficult past. Tea Cake is a great dude who loves her for who she is. Then, as it tends to do, rabies goes and messes up something nice. Tea Cake didn’t mean to get rabies, but I’d imagine that saying, “Hey honey! I’m home…and I’ve got rabies!” would have a way of putting a wet blanket on a relationship.

“If your girlfriend is pregnant, throw her over a boat. No one will ever know!” –Clyde Griffiths (An American Tragedy)

Clyde murders his poor pregnant girlfriend, after promising to marry her, in order to pursue the rich girl in town. He tosses her over a boat. Classy guy. No truth to the rumor that the Clyde Griffiths’ story was inspired by the real-life story of an NFL running back.

“Ignore your hot wife and have sex with a mobster’s girlfriend in a club parking lot.” — Julian English (Appointment in Samarra)

Even Julian knows he’s toast after making the above mistake. “I’m in for it,” he basically says. Look, Julian, you’ve already got a hot wife, so let me get this straight: You’re going to cheat on your hot wife with a mob boss’s skanky mistress in full view of everyone, including said hot wife, at a local bar? There simply aren’t enough ways to call this stupid.

“Change your name to Fitzwilliam Darcy. My name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and women don’t choose me. I choose them.” Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

His name is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Say that out loud: Fitzwilliam Darcy. If you name your son Fitzwilliam, one of two things will happen throughout his life. He’ll get the ever-loving crap kicked out of him from now until he goes on a murdering spree. Or, women will flock inside his gravitational pull like planets orbiting a supernova. His name is Fitzwilliam.

“When you really like a girl, send her a love note. Oh, and don’t forget to use the C word in reference to her genitalia.” –Robbie Turner (Atonement)

Yeah, it was a mistake. He sent her the wrong note. But c’mon brother. You know the old saying about love notes: When you’re writing two love notes to your crush, make sure you give her the one WITHOUT the C word in it. So much wisdom there. I’m not sure how Robbie missed it.

Bad dating advice is scattered all across literature—because, really, one of the greatest ways to capture the depravity of the human condition is through a crappy boyfriend. I think Fitzgerald could’ve wrote an amazing novel about an awful relationship that ends on a Friday night at Olive Garden.

So if you’re out there and you’re single and dating, good luck on your dating adventures. I sincerely hope your experiences are much better than the ones above.

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47 Comments Post a comment
  1. Holy Shit are you Smart!!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  2. The Darcy one had me cracking up. Just what I needed this afternoon, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
  3. “unspoken” rules? “girls play games” ?? Really?

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  4. I always had dreams of moving to live in a monastery in Guam or some other ridiculously remote seeming place.

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
  5. I’m going to take all of the above on board… if I want to scare away people. Maybe I can roll them all into one 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  6. Clever, clever riff. Alas, your post is a shade too adult in its entirety for me to share with ALL of my Facebook friends, but I may have to share some excerpts, especially .Gatsby, Darcy, and Clyde

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
    • Okay, I had to share it with my sister in a private message. Still chuckling.

      Like

      September 26, 2014
  7. Thank you for giving me a good laugh to start my morning! I can see why you think Scarlett’s the worst… But as a woman I admire her gumption 🙂 she was like the wife of Bath in just wanting to be in control. And honestly, She didn’t actually love Ashley – she loved the idea of Ashley.

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
    • Yes, I always admired her sense of perseverance. But she would’ve been hell to date.

      Like

      September 26, 2014
  8. 1banjo #

    Funny you should mention Olive Gardens Its board is being shaken up by investors who say too many bread sticks are set out on the tables. This is a true story.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
    • That’s hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 26, 2014
    • Next you’ll be hearing, “Miss Scarlet, Miss Scarlet, I don’t know how to cook no breadsticks.”

      Liked by 3 people

      September 26, 2014
    • Susan #

      Scarlet NEEDS those breadsticks, so she can look dainty by not eating dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 26, 2014
  9. Reblogged this on word nerd and commented:
    This is excellent on so many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  10. I think Hemingway had the best dating advice: “Date drunk, marry sober.”

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
  11. very funny! pleased to have never received a love note with the c work in there…. yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  12. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    “If you stalk her enough, she’ll eventually love you.” –Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) — that’s about the worst advice one man can give to another! If anyone stalked me, he’d probably soon be singing in the choir…thanks for a hilarious post, Robert – you really know how to pick cool topics!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  13. chapteronereviews #

    You have hit the nail on the head here – good relationships and good literature do NOT go hand in hand!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
    • What about the relationship between Anne Eliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth in Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”? Wentworth’s aunt and uncle also have an excellent relationship. Some of the couples in “Persuasion” do not have mutual support and esteem as a basis for their relationships (think, Anne’s sister Mary and her husband), but they make a good foil for the relationships that do work. “Persuasion” is not as widely read as some of Austen’s other works, so I won’t go into more detail about the ups and downs of the primary romance in this novel.

      Like

      September 30, 2014
  14. Spot on about the crappy ideas about dating found in literature. That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to agree that good literature and dating don’t go together at all. Novels like “Middlemarch” and “Howards End” present some much more nuanced portrayals of relationships, giving not only what you shouldn’t do in a relationship, but in such detail that the reader should be able to infer some particular should’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
  15. I hate Gone with the Wind for exactly that reason. Rhett is the real romantic hero of the story – Scarlett goes on and on throughout the story about Ashley. Seriously?!? A man named Ashley?

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  16. So funny! Scarlett would be my least favourite type of woman for many reasons, this among them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 26, 2014
  17. I got a good laugh out of the Gatsby one. That’s so true yet many readers are critical of Daisy–and when you analyze in this context–it makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    September 26, 2014
  18. Reblogged this on Charlotte Gerber and commented:
    If anyone knows, it is Scarlet O’Hara…

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2014
  19. I love it. Greetings from Perú.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2014
  20. Hey it worked out for Robbie and Cecilia! Until he went to prison and then they died. But there were some nice times in there, too. Be bold is what I’m saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2014
  21. Jessica F. #

    This had me laughing out loud, exactly what I needed tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2014
  22. “It’s a miracle Daisy never had a restraining order put out on Gatsby.” – brilliant, this had me absolutely howling!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2014
  23. I used to be recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m no longer sure whether or not this post is written by
    way of him as nobody else understand such targeted about my problem.

    You’re amazing! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2014
  24. I have used the C word, but not in a love letter….

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2014
  25. Kaylala #

    This is fantastic 🙂 I love your writing style :{D

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2014
  26. Reblogged this on The 21st Gen. and commented:
    #true

    Liked by 1 person

    September 29, 2014
  27. This is hysterical!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 29, 2014
  28. Creative work. Keep up the good work.

    Like

    September 30, 2014
  29. Gatsby’s stalker tendencies never occurred to me until I read this post. Some of the numbers literally made me LOL.

    Like

    October 1, 2014
  30. Laura #

    Love this! How about all of the incest in 100 Years of Solitude? And why go for women your own age when you could obsess over your neighbor’s kid? Or steal your sister’s fiance only to dump him once he loves you and die as a bitter old woman? I don’t even know where to start with that novel…

    Like

    October 1, 2014
  31. This is so funny and true! I read my fair share of famous love novels and I wouldn’t follow any of their tips 😀 Good article, love it!

    Like

    October 3, 2014
  32. Reblogged this on Silly Goose and commented:
    As a literature student, reading is one of my favourite things and this blog post just made me giggle. Especially number one- Gone with the Wind being one of my favourite books and my mother’s all time favourite film.

    Like

    October 4, 2014
  33. This is hilarious, and dead on. If I ever need to be sure that my characters in my online novels have solid “game,” I’ll be sure to re-consult this blog. Thanks for posting!

    Like

    October 6, 2014
  34. Ha, you are so right about Gone with the Wind. I never understood Scarlett’s obsession with Ashley. He was such a doormat! What woman wants that??

    Like

    November 23, 2014

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