1. Pretending like that fart wasn't me. Yes, I did it, and I meant it. Did you think that Chipotle burrito was going to digest itself? Besides, if you can't deal with my farts, growing old together is pretty much out of the question. Did you see Amour? You might have to smother me with a pillow someday and keep pigeons from pooping on my decaying body. My stinky butt is so the least of your problems.
2. Being SOO "jealous" when you check someone out. Look, you're human and have eyes. I know you want me to "perform" jealousy and be all "cute jealous," but I really don't care. This isn't Othello. Also, I just checked someone out like three seconds ago. Next time, let's just check out the hot guys together. This, my friend, is what true love is: the glory of shared objectification.
3. Pretending to be "normal." I'm not "quirky" like Zooey Deschanel. I'm flat-out, motherfucking weird, and I'm surrounded by weird people. My friends are weird. My family is weird. My mother danced on a table at a gay bar during my graduation. In high school, she went through a goth phase. My dad's partner is a sort-of mail-order bride, my uncle has a past-life counselor and my Nana believes I'm being haunted by the ghost of an Indian man. Does that sound like a lot? Good, because it's not even the half of it. There's so much more weird where this came from. Future partners: If it's any consolation, I'll never run out of things to talk about.
4. Tricking you into thinking I don't like you that much. Note to the next person I date and don't hate: I'm going to text you. Right after the date. I'm not going to be weird about it. I'm just going to tell you that I had a good time and I look forward to seeing you again and you're going to respond, "Great, I'll call you on Tuesday" and actually call me on Tuesday.
5. Telling you that all my exes were amazing. I'm not Ryan Gosling. I've had some great, wonderful exes who changed me and taught me what it was to love, and then I had the guy who dumped me because he "didn't want to date right now" and then got himself partnered a slim two months later. (Bullet dodged, IMO.) I'm not going to say nice things about everyone, and I might not say nice things about you, if you deserve it. I don't owe you my politeness. I owe you my honesty. As a Pinterest board once wisely told me, if you can't deal with my past, you'll never be my future.
6. Not eating in front of you. I eat a lot and very sloppily. I have a crazy high metabolism which means I'm always starving, so when I eat a sandwich, it looks like I'm attacking it. (I swear I can hear it screaming for help, like it's trapped in the kitchen during a family party with Great Aunt Gilda, who wants to talk about her bunyons.) Sure, you can't take me anywhere, but when you're doing it right, you won't need to.
7. Telling you I liked Inception. I didn't. I hated it, and it doesn't make me an idiot. It just makes me someone who likes to watch one movie instead of four. We're allowed to like different things. For godsakes, I loved The Paperboy, aka that movie where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron. (Seriously, google it.) I do not expect most of humanity to agree with me, and I don't need them to. You don't have to be wrong for me to be right.
8. Playing dumb. Awhile ago I was in a self-loathing rut and I asked a friend what I'm doing wrong. (Answer: Asking questions like these.) He told me that guys are often intimidated by how intelligent I am. They can't keep up, and nobody wants to be on their A-game all the time. I don't think of myself as smart, so I asked other people I do think are smart. They've all been told the same thing, but the ones who are in a relationship found someone who loved them because of their brain, not despite it. If a guy isn't turned on by your throbbing, nine-inch brain, you didn't want him anyway. When it comes to intelligence, be a size queen.
9. Worrying about when is the "right time" to have sex. It's sex, not a space shuttle launch. It's the right time whenever you both feel it, not when he says or your mom says or Emily Post says or Dr. Ruth says. If you're feeling it, go for it. YOLO the fuck out of him. Get a little sleep deprived. Otherwise there is always cuddling, which is the best consolation prize ever invented.
10. Trying to figure out if the subtext in your text message or OKCupid communication indicates that you're "so" into me or "not that" into me. You know what I'm into? Not driving myself crazy for no reason. If you like someone, don't send them mixed signals. Send them flare signals. Write that shit in the sky via airplane. Life's too short to be coy, and while you figure out whether you're into me, I'm going out. I got new jeans and they need to be seen.
11. Going to the gym before the date. This needs to stop. I feel like I'm tricking you into thinking my butt is better than it is. It's a great butt, and it might be having a perfectly lovely day today, but it is not the rock solid mass you see after ten miles on the bike. That butt is a lie. There are some Cheetos in there, too. Trust me. They are just as sexy.
12. Caring about "The One." I'm sorry. I just don't give a shit anymore. When I was eighteen, I was the type who was always ready to meet him, obsessing over whether the guy across from me on the train was "The One" or that dude who smiled at me on the train was it. Is this love at first sight? No, it's called social politeness. Not everyone you see needs to want to fuck you or grow old with you for you to feel validated. At this point, I'm not even looking for that. Sorry Katherine Heigl, I don't need a husband. I just want someone to watch Mean Girls with.
Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on Thought Catalog.