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.