Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The D.E.A.N.D.R.A. System

A few weeks ago, one of our loyal readers wrote in to ask us what we thought of the D.E.N.N.I.S system outlined in a recent episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

We’re not huge fans of the show, but we did think this episode had some interesting points.

Here’s a recap for the uninitiated:

One of the show’s 20-something protagonists, Dennis, has come up with a system for wooing women. He calls it the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, and it works like this:

1. Demonstrate value
2. Engage physically
3. Nurturing dependability
4. Neglect emotionally
5. Inspire hope
6. Separate entirely

The actions above are meant to be performed in sequential order. So you start by (1) seducing a girl by showing her that you’re better than other guys. Then you (2) trick her into having sex really early on. Dennis does this by inviting a girl to dinner at a restaurant that he knows won’t be open, and then, when they get there and see that it’s closed, inviting her back to his place instead. And once she’s in his bed, mission accomplished. Then he (3) comes on really strong and shows her that he can be there for her. But before she can get sick of him he (4) starts ignoring her completely. She leaves him hundreds of messages and goes weeks without hearing from him. But then he (5) shows up at her door and apologizes for not being there. He tells her that he felt himself falling in love with her, and was worried about getting hurt. This, of course, sends her over the moon, because while he was away she was building him up in her mind and obsessing about him. She drops her pants on the spot. After the booty call, Dennis sneaks out and (6) stops calling her again. Now she’s completely obsessed with him, which means, he brags, that she’ll be DTF whenever.

In response to this, we’ve come up with the female version of the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, named after his sister, Deandra. But unlike the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, the D.E.A.N.D.R.A. system isn’t about turning a guy into a fuck buddy. It’s about turning a potential fuck buddy into a boyfriend.

1. Dress to impress
2. Expect a date
3. Avoid getting physical
4. No “serious” talks
5. Drop off the face of the earth
6. Respond selectively
7. Act like you’re not his girlfriend

It works like this: While Dennis tries to get a girl’s attention by demonstrating his value, you’re more likely to catch his eye with (1) your physical appearance. That doesn’t mean you should wear booty shorts and a bandeau top to the bar—in fact, you should dress in a way that leaves more to the imagination. If you’re going to your friend’s cute coworker’s party, put on makeup, straighten your hair, and wear something that’s sexy, but subtle. Your witty banter might spark his interest, but don’t trick yourself into believing that, with the right guy, appearances won’t matter.

After he has initiated flirtation, (2) wait for a date. If he gets your number and texts you asking to “hang out,” tell him you’re busy. If he calls you at 10 p.m., say something like, “Well, it’s too late for dinner—let’s try going out another night.”

When he does ask you out, (3) don’t sleep with him on the first date. Or the second. Or the third. Make out on the sidewalk as much as you want. But if you want him to keep calling, don’t rush to invite him upstairs. We understand that you have needs. But because most guys see sex as the ultimate goal of dating (and, biologically, that’s how we’re wired to see it), if he reaches that final destination too quickly, he might want to go seek out other conquests.

But (4) don’t try to bargain sex for a relationship. Don’t have conversations about how you have to wait until you’re in love to sleep with someone. The more you explain that you’re looking for something serious and want to take things slowly, the more sleeping with you becomes do x to get y. It’s all the work that goes into seduction, without the fun and excitement of the unknown. We lose interest in predictable games with set rules at a young age and become more captivated by challenges in which the strategy changes every time. That’s why newspapers carry Sodoku and crossword puzzles, not word searches. And if you tell him, “I’m really looking for a relationship,” he’ll be more likely to feel like he’s being forced into something. If you don’t try to have any of those conversations with him, he’ll be free to think dating you was his idea. And, as anyone with a 9-to-5 job knows, people are more likely to do things when they think it was their idea.

Make sure he knows that you’re not wasting time “talking about your relationship” because you (5) actually have a life. You don’t literally have to drop off the face of the earth, but don’t clear your schedule every time he calls. Planning to go to a yoga class the night he asks you to dinner? Tell him. He’s not going to think you’re not interested and give up. And if you don’t believe us, think about the times you rejected invitations from guys you legitimately didn’t like. Maybe that awkward, but really sweet, guy who lives downstairs asked you to dinner on a night that you didn’t have plans. You said something like, “Oh, I’d love to, but I have a Tupperware party that night.” We’ll bet he didn’t give up after that—if anything, he probably started calling you more. When a guy knows that you have a busy and fulfilling life, it makes you look more attractive, not less. Remember the Stage-5 Clinger from Wedding Crashers? Those guys weren’t turned on by women who dropped everything to follow them around. When you turn a guy down for your book club, you look confident and secure. You look like the kind of girl who won’t make time for just anyone. And everyone—guys and girls—want to be around people who seem “cooler” or more popular than them.

But make sure you that you (6) respond selectively. When he engages in boyfriendly behavior, reward him. When he texts you at 3 a.m., don’t respond. But when he makes reservations at a trendy new bar, go with him. Don’t say yes every time he asks you out to dinner, but don’t blow him off completely either.

And finally, (7) don’t bring up the “g” word. Don’t introduce him to your friends as your boyfriend. If he tries to call you his girlfriend, act like you’re uncomfortable. Don’t keep this up forever, but you’ll do more harm than good if you try to force the girlfriend title on him. We’ve said this a million times: people want what they can’t have. And if he thinks you’re not so sure you want to date him, he’ll be ten times more certain that you’re the one for him.


  1. I'm sorry but these systems might work, but they aren't going to attract the right people. DENNIS will get you a hot girl who was slutty and gonna put out anyways, and DEANDRA is gonna get you some egotistical prick who will probably cheat on you and leave you.

    Playing games isn't how you get real, attractive, worthwhile partners. People with all these rules and games and hidden agendas are usually immature and insecure!

  2. The D.E.N.N.I.S system is better. When you are looking to just have fun, look no further. But when you are ready for a relationship that's another story. After 3 dates and no sex, it's time to move on, there's probably no chemistry.