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How the ‘Code of the West’ Can Save Modern Dating

As any single would know, our modern dating scene lacks refinement. Watching the valiant pursuits of generations past leave us severely wanting as we, time and time again, watch chivalry suffer a slow, gruesome death. Poking on Facebook, swiping right on Tinder and promiscuous Snapchats rule our romances.

The cure? A good dose of cowboy ethics, via The Code of the West. Western novelist, Zane Grey, immortalized this previously unwritten code in his 1934 novel. Let’s see how the sacred code could rectify a dating culture gone wrong.

Goodbye Tinder, hello tactful courting.

10. “Don’t inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.”

Quit Facebook stalking every man or woman you meet. From the risk of ruining a good thing before it even starts to psyching yourself out, no good comes from our tendency to research each potential mate. Stop searching for 2006 Spring Break photos, and maybe he went through a weird Vampire FanFiction phase.

How about, over a nice meal, you give the man or woman who caught your eye the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to introduce you to his or her non-digital self.

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9. “Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life.”

Popular lines such as, “Just because there’s a goalie doesn’t mean you can’t score,” and “It’s not solid unless there’s a rock on it,” evidence our respect for commitment as disgustingly low.

Whether married, engaged or dating: next time you try to “get at” a taken man or woman, imagine a double barrel derringer pointed at your face as a natural consequence.

8. “No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse’s needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.”

Hanger is real. 99 percent, or close to, of all discord is caused by an empty stomach. She’s probably crying over your decision to say “You look nice,” instead of “You look beautiful,” because she hasn’t eaten all day. In turn, he isn’t listening to your story because he is thinking about hamburgers and pizza.

Before ending a relationship over a small spat, have some ice-cream first. Before concluding the date went horribly, hit the local diner or perhaps an impromptu picnic.

7. “Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.”

If you’ve got a foul mouth or an inclination toward sexual expletives, consider your audience. Cussing is heavily associated with lacking social graces, ignorance and insensitivity. Vulgar language is, frankly, a huge turn-off. For at least the first few dates, tone down the trash talk to allow for a more classy, tactful courtship. 

6. “Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.”

If your mother has taught you one thing, it’s that you like what’s on your plate or you don’t eat. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Unless you look forward to a lifetime of TV dinners, keep eating. Remember, there are three meals a day, everyday, so don’t blow it.

5. “A cowboy is pleasant, even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.”

Complain about your boss, the weather and your strained groin in your diary, not on a first date. Instead of dwelling on the negatives in your life, direct the conversation toward getting to know the person across the table.

You already know you. Spend this $40 investment on dinner in getting to know your date. If your favorite sports team is losing and you need a new transmission, keep it to yourself and get lost in those baby blues across the table. 

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4. “Always be courageous. Cowards aren’t tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.”

Tinder is not courageous. Facebook messages aren’t revolutionary. Liking an Instagram photo is, also, not worth its salt. If you want to enact a courageous pursuit, consider grand gestures. Making yourself vulnerable to a man or woman through gallant acts is so rare today that it’s almost certain success.

Flying across the country for an old grade-school crush, mailing romantic, heartfelt letters and slipping a rose to that pretty girl in the coffee shop all require bravery and valor scarcely experienced today. The bold suitor is an endangered species. Change that.

3. “Real cowboys are modest. A braggart who is ‘all gurgle and no guts’ is not tolerated.”

Even if you were the varsity high school football star who took the team to state, save that for your mom to bring up over Thanksgiving dinner. Let your friend inform this new flame of your Ph.D. in Astrophysics, it sounds better coming from someone else.

Invest in discovering shared interests, creating memorable experiences and let the accolades of your past slip in naturally. A big ego rarely seals the deal.

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2. “Honesty is absolute – your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.”

Be a person of your word. If you say you’ll be there at eight, be there at eight. If you promise to quit smoking, quit smoking. A lover capable of lying will be capable of lying, always. This could be the most important cowboy code. Be who you say you are.

1. “Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.”

The dining table is just no place for weapons. Or cell phones. Leave them both in the wagon.

Next: 11 Things I Learned From Country Music About Dating Girls 

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How the ‘Code of the West’ Can Save Modern Dating