Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why my dating life is reduced to a sitcom punchline

Internet, I had an epiphany the other day. It was the kind of earth-shaking realization whose indisputable truth rocks you to the very core. You may be surprised when I tell you that at the time of this life-changing event, I was slumped on my couch in front of an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show that I love and hate mostly in equal measure. I was certainly not prepared for my entire perception of reality to be changed, but suddenly, there it was, and it was called: the D.E.N.N.I.S. system. And here I must ask, nay, insist that you watch this clip from the show that forever changed my life:

If you did, in fact, watch the clip, then you probably have some idea of where I'm going with this. If you didn't (and seriously, what's your problem?), let me summarize for you: 

Dennis (a bit of a cad, let's say) presents his fool-proof system for getting a woman to love him forever, in the form of a convenient acronym. And here is where my jaw began to drop. Because, though I never knew it had a name before, I've been D.E.N.N.I.S.ed! I've been D.E.N.N.I.S.ed over and over again! The first step of the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, you see, is for the man to:

Demonstrate value 
Tall man cooking me dinner? Boom. Value demonstrated. Next is:

Engage physically
Ummm, guilty. Then comes:

Nurturing dependence
Dennis recommends slashing her tires so that she has to depend on him for rides. It never came to vandalism in my case, although if we're talking emotional dependence, I was, of course, totally guilty. Which leads us to the next step:

Neglect emotionally
Dun dun dunnnnn... Been there. Have the blog post to prove it. But! It's not over yet folks, because first, he will definitely:

Inspire hope
Hope! Glorious, life-giving, oh sweet, sweet hope! Yes, perhaps things are not over after all! Perhaps there is still a chance for a happily ever after! Maybe he was just scared! I knew it! Is it over? Is it not? Who knows, because we're in purgatory here and you just can't kill that teeny, weeny last kernel of hope! But of course it is over, because the last and final step of the D.E.N.N.I.S. system is, obviously:

Separate entirely
Pretty self-explanatory. At this moment it finally becomes clear that things are never, ever going to change. Either she stops taking his calls or he stops taking hers, but either way, it is, without a doubt, totally and completely over...

...Or is it???? 

Because, as Dennis says, if you have performed steps 1-6 above properly, you can get her back at any time. At any time! Scoff! As if, ladies, amiright? Except...

...Oh. Yeah. Actually, he can. And just when you think you are immune to disappointment (after all, surely he "learned his lesson" the first time around!), he will cycle through the whole thing again, probably even faster this time, only for you to end up at exactly the same place as before, and this time you will feel even more like an idiot for letting it all happen again.

Episode over. Mind blown. Guys are dicks. The end.           


  1. whoa, whoa, whoa. I would agree, some guys are complete and total douches. But some of the things some girls do when she starts dating someone actually scare some guys off. Emotional dependence on the guy etc..sometimes this scares a guy off. I was at that same point after Christmas where after without even being intimate and going out on a handful of dates she told me she was desperately in love with me. It freaked me the fuck out.

    So I more or less did what happened to you but that really isn't my style at all. And I'm far from a dick. I'm probably too nice to people if anything.

    Buuuut there is a guy out there that has a system out that helps girls develop lasting relationships with guys. I heard about it on John Tesch radio show..I think its called Catch Him and Keep Him or something like that.

    1. Naturally a dude would chime in to refute this. It's all true, what she says. You marry a guy and it's still basically the same except for Separate Entirely, you can replace Sleep Facing opposite walls and wake up acting like nothing every happened. True story.

  2. Just as a blog reader who doesn't know you, I was watching the video and nodding my head, remembering certain things you wrote about each of those things except for nurturing dependence.

    I don't really think this is a real process that men do, but it can only be a good thing that you are seeing some of these things. Hopefully you can figure out how to change some of them along the way. I mean that in a totally non-judgmental, not telling you what you should do kind of way. More in a yeah, go Rachel way!

  3. I wish I could edit process that men do.

  4. as a woman, i can only lol at the idea that 'guys are dicks'. yes, they are. and so are women! all those steps you describe aren't the man acting singularly - they also feature a woman as the second player.

    you seem like such a great person in every other respect but the whole pass-agg/woe-is-me-i'm-such-a-loser-but-men-are-awful, is just so... arrrggghhh.

  5. My first boyfriend was a dennis - I was wary of them every since that! There are Non-dennis's out there...somewhere.

  6. This, right here, is why women start to see the appeal of The Rules. Not because all (or even a majority) of men are like this, but because the ones who are mind f**k some women over so royally that those women turn, in desperation, toward any system that promises to make the dennises of the world see them as people, not as objects.

    *disclosure: I may have dated a dennis or two.

  7. That was awesome, for the record i love that show when i get to see it and now i have a name for what i've been doing my whole life, fucking brilliant, i was watching and nodding my head going, yep and yep and yes and hell yeah and yes motherfucker yes... thank you from the bottom of my cruel and devious heart.

  8. Further proof that "It's Always Sunny..." is a guy's show.

    My husband loves it.
    Me? Two or three of their voices -- especially the girl's -- give me migraines and/or seizures and/or facial tics.

    Stop watching that show, Rachel. It clearly only hurts us.

    1. I know! When Charlie and Dee start shrieking it's like nails on a chalkboard. Ugh.

  9. So, um, what's your problem here? You want three dates? FOUR? More? A...a commitment? Sigh.


    (Just kidding. Actually this is a classic example of the Don Juan complex and is not at all typical.)

  10. Sexist guys who see females as 'other'- not a human being the same as males - are the root of the problem, maybe. Examples on website

  11. That's why I've succumbed to meaningless sex and departure.

    Oh, wait...

  12. I hate dating, if there was a way I could just stay in the good part forever, I would.

    HELL, If I could get hypnotized to not want a commitment , I would be golden.

  13. This is the horrible beauty of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." They are real life humans with no redeeming values, but we find a piece of ourselves in every episode. I never DENNIS'ed a girl on purpose, but once I was old enough to become self-aware (about 45), I realized that as a young man I had a terrible habit of keeping most women at a comfortable distance. Shut off until they backed away, and then work to get them back. And they almost always came back. As I said, never intentional, but no less frustrating for them, I'm sure.