You've read about them in Cosmo and seen them on Oprah.
The Rules -- the revolutionary retro dating manual that
instructs girls to play hard to get -- hit No. 1 on every major
best-seller list across the country. A runaway success, The
Rules has spawned a hotline, website, newsletter, support
groups, sequel and an upcoming motion picture. And don't think the
book simply offers tips on how to catch a husband. According to
co-author Ellen Fein, "We're saving people's lives here." Well, so
is POZ. To hell with your serostatus, what's your marital
Don't blurt out the news of your seropositivity
right after the first kiss, unless this is a revenge date, in which
case you might want to add that you also have thrush. If you haven't
told him before the first date -- and remember, your diagnosis
should be disclosed amid light and casual chit-chat, since
Rules PWAs are always entertaining and never maudlin -- then
wait until predinner drinks on the second date and, extending your
pills in his direction, say: "I always take my HIV cocktail
with a cocktail. Have an AZT, darling?"
Don't expect HIV to self-actualize you. If you
couldn't get a date before you tested positive, don't expect that to
change. Change must come aside and apart from your health status as
you develop that fabulous Rules creature deep inside each and
every one of us.
Do accept a date for Friday, as long as he calls
before Wednesday, even if your diarrhea is keeping you on the pot 45
minutes out of every hour. Before you say "I could never ...,"
consider this: If the Imodium hasn't kicked in by Friday at noon
and you still feel convinced that you're walking around with Ebola,
sweetly say you just don't feel up to it tonight. Remember that when
you cancel plans he made, you are back in the position of being
desired and, thus, in power.
Don't talk about your health more than twice a
week. Rules PWAs are not dull. Remember, your date is not a
friend -- he's a potential beau -- and discussing aches and pains is
tiresome, unless it's an opportunity for you to display your
intellectual prowess regarding recent treatment options or your
political savvy. (DON'T say, "My tummy hurts." DO say, "Can you
believe that Shalala woman?")
Resist the temptation to date a member of your
support group, as it not only destroys the integrity of the initial
relationship but guarantees major weirdness in the affair.
Rules PWAs always maintain mystery in the dating arena as
this keeps him coming back for more, and if you have already shared
information on damage sustained in your youth, you might as well be
dating your therapist. It might have worked for Nick Nolte in The
Prince of Tides, but then again, he's no PWA.
Do accentuate the positive in personal ads. If
you take the plunge via the classifieds or cyberspace, be candid
about your status and endowment. If you must reduce yourself to a
35-word count in newsprint, including the attractive graphic "HIV+"
separates the men from the boys among your respondents.
Don't expect a man to change. If you're HIV
positive, you know that some things last forever, and this is
particularly true of ingrained behavior in the male of the species.
If he is chronically neat, habitually tardy, hates French food (your
favorite) and disco (you cha-cha every night), but loves you to
death, consider yourself lucky. He may be unusual, but view that as
a bonus in this age of cookie-cutter nipple-ponies. On the other
hand, if he flirts with others in front of you, exhibits violent
behavior and is even a bigger slut than you are, then you're
obviously embroiled with a typical alpha male who will only bring
tears and destruction to your life, and unless you are seriously
codependent you will dump him pronto.
Don't get sloppy about your looks -- activist
chic is so '87. Sure, you might feel that there are more important
things in life than a weekly manicure, but don't forget how pretty
it makes you feel. And remember, KS is such a good excuse for
finally trying that heavier foundation. But the reverse can be
tiresome too: Don't go berserk at the gym with steroids and all. Not
only do they give you horrendous back acne and interact wretchedly
in your liver with all your other pills, but the gym bunny is so
ubiquitous that any Rules PWA with charm will seek out other
avenues of attractiveness.
When he asks you out, silently count to 10
before saying yes. It has the potential to make him worry that
dementia might have set in, but Rules PWAs are never
desperate, even if we feel like death warmed over.
Remember that No. 1 in your life is you. You
will always be attractive and the most desirable PWA in the room if
you love yourself and take pride in who you are. So no matter where
you are on this road, be fabulously positive about everything
(including your bitchy side) and the men will come crawling to you.
Last but not least, one more hint ...
When in doubt,
break all rules, take a real risk and love living the single life.