As part of my research on dating, sex and relationships, I decided to read “The Rules” for the very first time. The controversial publishing and cultural phenomenon that got women thinking, Oh this is what have I been doing wrong! I went into it assuming I’d despise the entire premise with its archaic philosophies and recognize that surely I break every rule….regularly.
Keep in mind the book was published in the mid 90’s, before internet dating and Facebook became part of the norm. I’m surprised they haven’ t re-written a version just to accommodate all the new ways in which we can screw up; both more efficiently and with more people….all from the comfort of our own plush sofas.
Some of the rules such as “Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls”
“Always End The Call First” “Always End the Date First” and “Don’t See Him More Than Once a Week” seem a bit rigid and game-like. The admitted underlying theme is simple — men are born to respond to challenge. Take away the challenge, and their interest wanes. Who am I to say if men are that simple and shallow, I’m the first to admit the more I date, the less I know.
I was most surprised to learn the goal of the book was not to promote passivity or subservience, but actually female empowerment, pride and confidence.
“Don’t chase after anyone, you are special and unique”
“Look, dress, feel and act the best you can”
“Don’t pine for a lost man or relationship, pick yourself up and move on”
and most importantly…..
“Don’t fall for a man who doesn’t want you, you deserve to be with someone who is dying to be with you!”
Other rules regarding how much information and sharing you do, letting him take the lead and never telling a man what to do, seem somewhat obvious. Although I’m sure I occasionally fucked those up as well. I suppose if anything, it’s manipulative behavior, and certainly not putting the two genders on equal footing. The Rules also require extreme willpower (basically from talking and fucking) and great acting ability (you are always busy, dating other men, going out,etc.). My personal motto of being open, honest and needing to share and know the truth would likely horrify the writers.
So, what’s one to do when you’re exhausted by playing games and looking for your equal partner? Oh, wait, I know…..you become a lesbian! Seriously though, I’m not sure which sex is more demeaned by this simplistic view of courting. In a modern world why do we want to be treated like a prize that men receive after we successfully follow the rules? Not to mention, if all of this behavior and engineering of a master plan simply leads to marriage… what comes after that? He’s trapped and not going anywhere? I think not.Why don’t they mention the real challenge is just about to begin?
With all the regulations and forbidden behavior, I’m amazed how men and women ever get together to begin with. I would have loved to hear the men’s version of The Rules, I wonder if their’s is also based on us being the smarter sex. Actually, I just remembered the book “Why Men Love Bitches”…..no need to answer.