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Reaction to Chrissy Teigen's 'first-date revelation' proves certain rules cast long shadows

‘Most women will not admit it.’

IF THERE WAS one hard and fast rule I internalised following decades of exposure to TV programmes and films, it was the ‘third-date’ rule.

rules Source: Giphy

I was introduced to the concept as an adolescent, and quickly understood that failing to adhere to it was akin to social suicide, or at the very least, not the best way to go about securing yourself a husband.

From Friends and Sex and the City (ironically, one of the most progressive television shows created around female sexuality) to countless teen movies, the concept of the third-date rule and the narrative that surrounds it reared its head multiple times.

Handed down from generation to generation, the cautionary tale, directed primarily at young women, tells the story of the gal who gave it up too quick and resigned herself to a life of loneliness.

And as that particular story gained momentum, found its footing in social discourse and made its way into mainstream media, young men were often encouraged to go out and sow their wild oats with the very women discouraged from engaging in sex ‘too soon’.

Handy how that works.

Of course, the narrative has been diluted somewhat over the course of recent decades, but it certainly hasn’t disappeared completely.

In fact, the idea that two people – in this instance Chrissy Teigen and John Legend -  would have sex on a first date still manages to make international headlines.

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Why has this made headlines if not for the fact that the ‘third-date’ rule has cast a longer shadow than any one of us think?

While yes, the vast majority of us consider the notion outdated, its longevity within cultural consciousness cannot be ignored.

The very fact that it made headlines implies that they did something wrong, crossed a boundary and flouted a rule countless young women have been made to internalise over and over again.

At a time when rape culture is ever prevalent, victim-blaming all too prolific and instances of sexual violence worryingly common, the idea that acts of consensual sex can make international headlines, ignite debate and warrant discussion, seems redundant.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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