Anyway, thinking about this stuff made me realize that there were separate rules for Booty and for Dating, and that, in fact, I - and most men - have two ladders, not one: the Booty Ladder, and the Dating Ladder.
The Dating Rules
- You must be reasonably attractive. You don't have to be any particular "type" (voluptuous/skinny/athletic/etc), but you do at a bare minimum need to be girl-shaped.
- You must be interesting to talk to. This means you need to be able to carry on extended conversations about things OTHER than your or my sexual history and/or the random gossip of the day. (Those are certainly valid topics, but they shouldn't be EXCLUSIVE.)
- You must be self-confident enough to accept compliments, be okay with disagreeing with me about things, and enjoy arguing companionably about the things we don't agree on.
- You must, must, MUST not be flaky - if you say you're going to do something, you need to either do it or call me ahead of time, as soon as possible, without prompting, to let me know that you're not. Failures on this count will exile you to the Booty Ladder, and will do so FAST.
- You must, must, MUST be reasonably sane. No suicide attempts. Occasional crying jags for no reason are allowed, but ONLY if you are firmly aware that they are for no reason, and can actually operate on that basis reasonably well.
- You must, must, MUST be perfectly okay with the fact that I specifically disbelieve Yahweh as described in any of the religions centered upon him. (Serious bonus points if your first response to that statement was "oooh, then he gets +5 to his save vs illusion," but this is not an absolute requirement.) You must feel no need to change my mind on the topic of Yahweh's existence and/or publicly/secretly mourn that I shall forever burn in hell for it. You must also be okay with the fact that I casually fail to Believe in ANY particular deity / deities / omnibenevolent spiritual thingamabob. Wanting to discuss these things is acceptable, if you're eloquent. Wanting to convince me that I am evil if I don't believe what you do is not. Neither is wanting to convince me that I'm wrong on any purely a priori basis.
- You must be over any given ex-boyfriend. This precludes daily posts in online journals about how you were supposed to be forever, how much you miss him, or even how much you hate him. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis if up-front statements of the "I've got to warn you, I'm not totally over Guy X yet" nature are made preemptively.
- You must be genuinely interested in me and willing to show it. If you don't like to initiate date-plans/phone-calls/hugs/kisses/sex approximately as often as they're initiated towards you, you're headed for exile to the Booty Ladder FAST.
- You. Must. Be. Honest. Enough said.
- You must be able to recognize me as sexually interesting without the need for me to resort to Asshole Theory to get your sexual attention.
- There must be no immediately obvious reason why Forever wouldn't work. This isn't to say that you're looking for forever, or that I'm looking for forever... just that, if the topic were to come up, impartial observers wouldn't begin laughing hysterically.
- Failures on any of the above counts will move you to the Booty Ladder or to Limbo as appropriate.
which brings us to the simpler side of life...
The Booty Rules
- I must want you badly enough to be willing to put up with your shit and/or the shit I'm going to have to engage in to get in your pants. Positive and negative characteristics all get lumped willy-nilly into a bigass kettle, stirred vigorously, and evaluated. If the result is positive, it gets compared with the general shittiness of whatever's required to close the deal: indulging in Asshole Theory, chasing you like a game animal, ignoring your flakiness, etc. If THAT comparison comes up positive - welcome to the Booty Ladder.
- It's a lot easier to get moved from the Dating Ladder to the Booty Ladder than vice versa, but traffic can flow both ways.
... aaaaaaand that about covers it. Finally. Long-winded bastard, aren't I?