FULL DISCLOSURE At the commencement of said relationship (colloquially referred to as the first date or match up), 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 makeknown any deep-seated mother/father/brother/sister complexes and fanatical obsessions with pets, careers, 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.
INDEMNIFICATION OF FRIENDS Both parties agree to hold the person who arranged the liaison (colloquially referred to as the "matchmaker") blameless in the event 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; George Hamilton at one of Imelda Marcos' parties; 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.")
DEFINITION OF RELATIONSHIP Should said relationship proceed past the first "fix-up" 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 said 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. Further, if both members of the party consent, this timetable may be speeded 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."
TERMS OF EXCLUSIVITY For the first thirty (30) days both parties agree not to ask questions about the others whereabouts on weekends, weeknights, or over long holiday periods. No unreasonable demands or expectations will be made; both parties agree they have no "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" without explanation, the "wounded party" agrees to "give up".
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. A minimum of three (3) phone calls will be made between the two parties during the working day, and each party will attempt - with best efforts - to originate 50% of the phone calls. Additionally, for the first two weeks 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 vocabulary. Further, during the first six (6) weeks each member of said relationship agrees to attempt at least one spontaneous "home cooked meal" and will 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.
TERMS OF PAYMENT It is agreed that - respective gross income aside - "we" will pick up the tab at all dinners, clubs, theaters, and breakfasts until: (a) He considers her suitably impressed, (b) we are broke, or (c) 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.
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 then five 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. Additionally, both will avoid having their mother call at 7:30 in the morning, and both agree to "pick up after himself" while in residence at the 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".)
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." Additionally, each party agrees to love, cherish, honor, and defend the other party's right not to meet his parents.
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."
GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION Any of the following will be grounds for immediate termination and final dissolution of said relationship: (a) Excessive use of chatty French phrases; (b) Ending any argument with the sentence "My ex- used to do that same thing"; (c) Suggesting - no matter how kindly - that the other member should seek "help"; (d) ending any argument with the phrase "My analyst thinks you are..."; and (e) complaining more than twice about the contents of the other party's refrigerator. (or lack thereof) .
DECLARATION OF STRENGTH At the time of breakup each party reserves the right to make the other feel guilty by using one or all of the following phrases: (a) "You'll never find anybody better"; (b) "Nobody could ever make you happy"; (c) "I'll find somebody who can really appreciate me"; and (d) "My analyst thinks you are...". (Psychosis to be filled in at the proper time.)
MISCELLANEOUS: (a) Each party agrees to give the other at least five minutes' notice before terminating said relationship; (b) both parties agree to remain exclusive until such time as the relationship appear to be "on the rocks"; (c) at the termination of said affair: (1)both parties agree to be mature and return compiled socks, sweatshirts, books, record albums, door keys, personal undergarments with all due haste through impartial intermediary; (2)each party agrees to wait at least seventy-two (72) hours before engaging in sex with any of the other's friends; (3)both parties agree to refrain from slandering the other for a period of at least seven days (bedroom performance included), and further consent to use one of the following nebulous terms in the description of the breakup: "The timing wasn't right"; "He/She wanted more than I could give"; "He/She was too involved in his/her career"; "He/She decided to go back with his/her (a) girl/boyfriend; (b) last lover; (c) hometown; (d) therapist".
ADDENDUM After the initial breakup - no matter what - both parties agree to give the relationship "one more shot".