The Rule of Twenty

This post is written in response to a post in the Onion from 2009 that recently made the rounds on people’s fb walls. Original post here —,11473/


Hey Onion Girl,

We’ve been best friends for 6 years right? 6 wonderful, memory-filled, drama-rich, gut-wrenching years….where we’ve grown up together, learned about life together, and not dated each other together.  You’ve given me so much less than I’ve given you. In these six years of trying to date anyone and anything else that has a heartbeat, I still can’t tear myself away from your sweet smile, beautiful long flowing hair, and…ewww…your icky breasts. It’s okay. I think I’ve only got another five years or so left of this. Because then you’ll have gained some weight, creased some wrinkles, and slept around enough to knock the wholesome girl next door right out of ya. That’s really my only hope for escaping your Machiavellian ways (btw — Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher, not the knight from Game of Thrones).

If it wasn’t for you though, I would have never come up with the Rule of Twenty which I now implement each day of my whiny life. I’m making a special exception to tell you about it because it’s a guy’s rule, but hey — you wrote me a letter instead of rejecting me to my face.

What Can I Do???????



You start counting as soon as your most recent relationship ends. So guys (and really, this Rule of Twenty is talking to us “Nice Guys”), when you’re ready to move on from that cold, icy bitch that broke our hearts, then the Rule of 20 starts.

From now on, you’ll look at girls differently. You’ll look at them with two buckets: “I’m Attracted To” bucket and “My Friends” bucket.


1. If you meet someone new at a cafe, library, church, or happy hour that you find attractive, it’s imperative that you go and say hi. It’s not only common sense, but it’s absolutely necessary for this rule.

2. Once you talk to them and find out you have some chemistry (doesn’t matter if it’s 95% your side and 5% theirs) move onto stage 2 below.

3. If, while talking to them, you feel bored, start thinking about Olivia Wilde, or start comparing them to your ex, then immediately look at your watch, make an excuse, and walk away. The hotter they are, the harder this is, the nicer you are, the harder this is, but again, this is absolutely necessary for this rule.

4. If you suddenly feel an attraction to someone you already know — be it a neighbor, a current “My Friends”, or anyone else in your life, move onto stage 2 below.


5. Any time you feel chemistry with someone new or with someone in your current or past life, you have to immediately do what I  call “The Proclamation”. A proclamation is something like:

Hi Ashley, it was great talking to you today. Can’t believe we just met and spent an hour waxing on about how much we hate hipsters. Listen, I hope I’m not being too forward, but I’d like to ask you out on a date this Friday night. Are you free?

6. This Proclamation HAS TO signify an intent to date. Ideally, it should include the actual word “date”. It SHOULD NOT include the words “hang out”, “swing by”, or “catch up”. This is crucial. First impressions in anything are important right? Well, this is the first impression of your new relationship.

7. As soon as The Proclamation is spoken, that girl becomes a number. With every breakup, you start from zero. So, if this Library Girl is the first girl you proclaim to after the breakup, then she’s #1. The next girl you meet and have chemistry with AND you proclaim to, she’s #2 and so on.

8. As soon as you make a Proclamation, you move on. As soon as you finish the words “…are you free?”, you (and your emotions) move on. If the current girl says yes to your offer, then you make the necessary plans and leave quickly after. If the current girl says no, you check your watch, make an excuse, and walk away. Again, this is very important. The goal here is to Make the Proclamation, NOT to get the answer yes.


9. Keep proclaiming to girls you find chemistry with (not girls you pick up at a bar and get their number). You need to have genuine interaction with a girl and feel some sort of connection. As soon as you do, Proclaim! Do not linger, do not hesitate, do not wait. It benefits you zero to make friends with a girl you are attracted to, go get coffee with her twice a week, watch movies together without holding hands, and then three months later see some douchebag ask her out and start dating her. Then you’re back to being best friends with Onion Girl.

10. It also benefits the girl absolutely ZERO when she doesn’t know for sure how you feel about her. Remember that in dating, it’s still guys chase girls. If you don’t do the chasing, if you’re only kinda doing the “running after”, then the girl cannot be sure if you really like her. And she can’t be SURE what kind of guy you’ll be while dating her. And when girls aren’t sure of something, they always prefer the status quo. Especially when in the status quo, they get you, your friendship, your companionship, and all the while still have the ability to accept others’ Proclamations. This is what’s commonly referred to as — having guys in her back pocket. Guys, not sure if you’ll believe me, but a majority of girls would prefer not to have guy-friendship drama. They would rather be presented with the option of dating or nothing over ambiguity. If you really like a girl, then admit it, ask her out, and let the chips fall where they may.

11. The Rule of Twenty states that you can date multiple girls at one time. This doesn’t mean go on multiple dates with multiple girls forever and ever, but it does mean go out with every girl that says yes to your proclamation. It’s good for you not to dwell on that one girl you met once at a coffeeshop but now can’t stop thinking about her. It’s good for you to occupy your time elsewhere. And, if asked, it’s good for you to mention (not in a negative way) to your Thursday night first date that you’re catching Mission Impossible Eight on Sunday with someone else.

12. While dating, as soon as you think you’ve found someone you really connect with (chemistry = proclamation / connecting = relationship), then you should stop dating everyone else and start your new relationship.

Congratulations. You’re now in a healthy, happy relationship with someone you like who likes you back.





13. Oh, you forgot that you had a female best friend who used to use you solely for her selfish ways without ever thinking about what would make you happy?


Onion Girl now goes into the “My Friends” bucket.

14. The “My Friends” bucket is occupied by the people in your life who are truly your friends. These are the girls that you’ve known forever who listened to your midnight phone calls about Onion GIrl and sat by you getting drunk when Onion Girl went home with another guy. These are your true friends who you’ll know forever but don’t need to call every day. After all, as we grow older and older, we have less time and room in our lives for “making friends”. So the My Friends bucket is filled with people you consider lifelong friends. People you should cherish and who cherish you back. So wait, sorry, Onion Girl doesn’t go here. She goes into the next bucket —–


15. Onion Girl goes straight into here. We’ve talked about the “Attracted To” bucket and the “My Friends” bucket. Every other girl you meet goes into the “Acquaintances” bucket. This isn’t as harsh as it sounds. Work friends go here. Casual friends go here. Friends of friends go here. Acquaintances are just people who come in your life for a while and probably will float out of your life at some point. They’re important because your life isn’t just about chasing girls and ever lasting friendships. You need other people to show you things, open new doors, share new experiences. But these people are part of each “time” of your life, they’re not part of your entire life. Onion Girl goes straight in here. She’s the part of your life before you figured out what you really wanted, what you really were looking for, and what will make you happy. And who knows, if you start treating Onion Girl as an acquaintance, maybe her narcissistic mind will actually make her want you….in the Let’s Have Passionate Sex Forever way.


Q: That’s only 15 rules! Why do you call it the Rule of Twenty?

A: Great question. So by now, you’ve committed to asking out girls who you have chemistry with, committed to not lingering or doting on someone for months on end without them even knowing if you like them, and committed to reversing the hated “Friends Ladder” by pro-actively taking away the “Friends Ladder” option for girls you meet. You keep doing this and you keep proclaiming and asking girls out, and you will NEVER get to the number twenty. That’s The RULE OF TWENTY. Somewhere along the line, you will date and enter a relationship with someone that you really like, that you’re attracted to, and that her first impression of you was someone who saw something in her and went for it. That’s the start of a great relationship, and that’s what the Rule of Twenty is about. So guys, remember this, YOU CONTROL how long it takes you to get to twenty. If you want to be in a relationship, go out and meet more people, talk to more girls, and start Proclaiming!