Feb 092010
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Spring is in the air. Well, it’s more smooshed along the ground from being turned into a pulp by the unexpected snows, but still. Some of that pulp is entering your lungs.

On that romantic note, it’s time to discuss relationships. I know some of you are single, and hate this holiday, as it is salt in the wound. Never fear, though, simply apply these basic rules of relationship etiquette to courtship and the early stages of dating. They’ll work just as well.

A relationship, as defined by society, is between one man and one woman. Or possibly between one woman and a mixed gender panel of reality show contestants all vying for her love. It’s complicated. But they all have one basic fundamental necessity: communication.

Two people can have everything in common but still have some pretty different ideas about what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship. You need to make sure that you and your partner sit down early on and establish some ground rules.

Since you know this is coming, you can set the stage. Try to guess what their requests will be, and be prepared with reasons your partner is unreasonable and arguments about why everything you want is utterly necessary.

Anything less and you might end up compromising, and then neither party would be perfectly happy. And if a relationship doesn’t make you froth with happiness at all times, what’s the point?

Keep in mind that communication is an active process; it doesn’t end once ground rules are set. You’ll find there are dozens of little things that you and your partner never considered, and your partner may not be shy about voicing their concerns.

You must squelch this as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is to have to be listening when you intend on speaking. After all, lots of stuff is going to annoy you, and you’ll need to devote 100 percent of your relationship time to your partner fixing what’s wrong with them.

Communication is also about more than words. You have to keep the relationship alive through signs of affection and attentiveness. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

Make certain your partner understands this. You don’t just need affection; you demand it. Dinners out, consistent attention, talking about whatever you want for as long as you want. If they spare any time for their own needs, they have stopped focusing on you and hence have stopped loving you. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself. They would in your position if they could get a word in edgewise.

Finally, and this one is just for the men, so ladies go tend to your washing basins while the men and I step out back to sample some fine cognac and discuss important things.

Women hate it when you belittle them. So try to take their opinions into consideration every now and then and make a big deal of it. Otherwise they might not notice.

Don’t just say, “Thanks for sharing that with me.” Say, “Your opinion is very important and just so precious. You’re a peach, dollface.” Remember, chicks dig ‘20s gangster slang.

To singles: this also makes a great pick up line.

You may have figured out by now that I’m trying to sabotage you. If you haven’t, please stop reading right now and go follow my advice to the letter.

OK, quick. Everyone write down the names of anyone you see reading my article then going on the prowl for young ladies and/or gentlemen. I’ve just flushed out all the weirdos and jerks for you. My gift to each of you.

Happy Valentine’s.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior computer science major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. His fiancée is amazing for putting up with him and he’s totally lucky to have a wonderful girl like her. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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