1. FULL DISCLOSURE: At the commencement of said relationship(colloquially referred to as the "first date"), each party agrees to fully disclose any current girl/boyfriends, dependent children, bizarre religious beliefs, phobias, fears, social diseases, strange political affiliations, or currently active relationships with anyone else that have not yet been terminated. Further, each party agrees to make known any deep-seated complexes and/or fanatical obsessions with pets, careers, and/or organized sports. Failure to make these disclosures will result in the immediate termination of said relationship before it has a chance to get anywhere.
2. INDEMNIFICATION OF FRIENDS: Both parties agree to hold the person who arranged the liaison (colloquially referred to as the "matchmaker") blameless in the event that the "fix-up" turns out to be a "real loser" or "psycho bitch". (For definition of "real loser", see "John DeLorean: My Story", available at most bookstores, or any picture of Bob Guccione in "Penthouse". For definition of "psycho bitch," see Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" or Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction.")
3. DEFINITION OF RELATIONSHIP: Should said relationship proceed past the first date, both parties mutually agree to use the following terminology in describing their said "dating": For the first thirty (30) days, both parties consent to say they are "going out". (This neither implies nor states any guarantee of exclusivity.) Following the first thirty (30) days, both parties may say they are "seeing somebody" and may be referred to by third parties as "an item". Sixty (60) days following the commencement of the first date, either member may elect to use the terms "girl/boyfriend" or "lover" and their mutual acquaintances may refer to them as "a couple". Under no circumstances are the phrases "my better half," "the little woman," "the old ball and chain," or "my old man/lady" acceptable. Furthermore, if both members consent, this timetable may be sped up; however, if either party "gets too serious" and disregards this schedule, the other party may dissolve the relationship on the grounds of "moving too fast" and may once again be said to be "on the market."
4. TERMS OF EXCLUSIVITY: For the first thirty (30) days, both parties agree not to ask questions about the other's whereabouts on weekends, weeknights, or over long holiday periods. No unreasonable demands or expectations will be made; "rights" or "holds" on the other's time. Following the first six weeks or forty-five (45) days, if one party continues to be "missing in action" the "wounded party" agrees to "give up".
5. DATING ETIQUETTE: For the first thirty (30) days, both members of the couple agree to be overly considerate of the other's work pressures, schedules, and business ambitions. All dates will be made at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance; there will be no "running off in the middle of the night to console an old girl/boyfriend", and both parties agree to strike the phrase "but he/she needs me" from their vocabularies. Further, during the first six (6) weeks each member of said relationship agrees to attempt one spontaneous home-cooked meal or to arrange the delivery of at least one unexpected bouquet of flowers. Following the first forty-five (45) days, both parties will return to their normal personalities.
6. TERMS OF PAYMENT: It is agreed that -- respective gross income aside "he" will pick up the tab at all dinners, clubs, theaters, and breakfasts until: He considers her suitably impressed, He is broke, or He says, "this is ridiculous, you pay!" Not included in this agreement are meals ordered from the bedroom, which are subject to the availability of discretionary funds on hand at the time.
7. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (occasionally known as the "Why do I bother to keep my own apartment?" codicil): Should said relationship progress to the point where the couple spends more than four nights a week together, every effort shall be made to split the time between their respective apartments. Further, it is agreed that both sides will attempt to silence the lewd remarks of landlords, or roommates. Both will avoid having their mothers call at 7:30 in the morning. He agrees to "pick up after himself" while in residence at her apartment, including washing his whiskers out of the sink, and assisting with household duties. By the same token, she agrees to respect his right to keep his apartment "a mess".
8. THE 90-DAY GRACE PERIOD: For the first three months, each member of the couple agrees to hold the other blameless in the euphoric use of phrases like "Let's move in together," "Why don't we start a family?" and -- using archaic terminology -- "Let's get married."
9. THE "L" WORD: For the first sixty (60) days, both parties agree not to use the phrase "I love you." They may love plants, dogs, cats, cars, concerts, or the way a particular pair of jeans fits, but not each other. Failure by one party to abide by this rule will result in the other party using the "G" word ... "Gone."
10. GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION: Any of the following will be grounds for immediate termination and final dissolution of said relationship:
- Infidelity: Running off at any time to console an ex-girl/boyfriend,
- Ending any argument with the sentence "My ex used to do that same exact thing."