Tom and Katie fizzled out, Heidi and Seal fell apart... and when the dust cleared, all that remained of each blessed union was a crisp pre-nup to divvy up the belongings. Which got me thinking, Why rely on a legal document to fix the end of a relationship when I can use one to create the ideal relationship? So here it is; my contract for the perfect girlfriend. Laugh at it if you will, ladies, but you are about to get some startling insights onto the male mind.

I, [print your name here] (heretofore referred to as “The Lady”), being of sound mind, have entered into a relationship with [print guy’s name here] (heretofore referred to as “The Man”). By signing below, I hereby agree to abide by all the rules as set out within this contract in perpetuity.

Clause 1: Dates
A. The Lady will eat more than a side salad.

B. The Man will not be expected to plan every date. He will be chivalrous, but he will not be the cruise director of the relationship.
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C. If The Lady would like to attend an event that she knows The Man will despise, she is advised to do so with other people (See Clause 4: Extracurricular Activities). However, should she deem a night at the ballet, opera, or foreign movie house to be a necessity within the scope of the relationship, she should make plans (transportation, tickets, etc.) for this evening herself.
  1. By accepting this Lady-partisan date, The Man will be guaranteed one (1) date on which both parties participate in an activity of his choice — including, but not limited to: Attending an athletic event, watching a martial arts movie, or going out for a large BBQ dinner.
Clause 2: Dialogue
A. The Lady will never discuss an ex-boyfriend.
  1. Rule 2-A above may be broken if The Lady mentions a deep and abiding flaw in the ex-boyfriend, while also discussing ways in which The Man betters said ex.
B. If The Lady wants something or wants to know something, she will ask. There will be no hints or guessing games.

C. Any cute nicknames that The Lady has devised for The Man will never be spoken in public. See Clause 5, Section a, Subsection 3 for explanation.
  1. Furthermore, The Lady may not devise any nickname that includes a diminutive or that is spoken in baby-voiced tones (e.g., “Little John” or “Snuggle Bear”).
Clause 3: Family
A. The Lady will not ask The Man to meet her family until at least one month of dating has been completed.

B. Upon meeting The Man’s mother, The Lady will try to learn as many of Mother Man’s recipes as possible. And yes, The Man likes his chicken that dry.

Clause 4: Extracurricular Activities
A. The Man will be guaranteed at least one Guys’ Night per week, chosen at his discretion. He will also retain at least two extra “floating” Guys’ Nights per month in case of an important sporting event or should an impromptu post-work visit to the usual hangout location arise.

B. The Lady can never be angry with a man for attending Guys’ Night.

C. The Lady will not call The Man more than once per Guys’ Night.

D. The Lady is encouraged to go out with her own friends as a means for keeping her independence and sense of self. However, there are ground rules for these engagements:
  1. She will not ask The Man to attend any event on the day of a televised athletic match, any event that involves the phrase “pot luck,” or any event that celebrates the birth of a child, impending or otherwise.
  2. She will not expect The Man to attend a gathering solely because the boyfriend/husband of The Lady’s friend will also be in attendance. Misery does not make good company.
  3. No Ex-Boyfriends. Ever.
Clause 5: Love
A. Should the two parties remain together long enough to reach Relationship Level: Serious, The Man understands that he will, at some point, be called upon to vocally express his appreciation of The Lady in the strongest method possible. When the time comes, the following rules shall govern the use of Those Three Words Which Shall Not Yet Be Spoken.
  1. The Lady will be the first party to speak the phrase. She will do so clearly and while making eye contact so that The Man knows it is he who is being spoken to. The Lady will allow the man at least five (5) minutes to respond in kind. This reprieve does not mean he doesn’t feel the same way, only that he is apt to be flustered, frightened, and suddenly stricken with nerves.
  2. After the first time the Man arranges the words “I,” “you,” and “love” into a sentence, he will not be required to do so in response every time The Lady speaks the phrase. The Lady will also accept “Me, too,” “Ditto,” or a high-five in return.
  3. The Lady will never speak the three-worded phrase when The Man is in the presence of either friends or coworkers. This is done out of respect for the mockery that is sure to result should he be forced to reciprocate while within said company.
By signing below, you agree to all rules as laid out in this contract, effectively guaranteeing that you will make The Man a truly happy person for the rest of his life, or until you realize that he is a loser who requires his girlfriends to sign legally binding documents.

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Jon Wilde is an editor at Maxim magazine. He rarely reads the fine print.