I was sitting with a couple of smart women that I respect when the subject of dating came up, as it tends to do. “I read The Rules, and it changed my life,” one friend told me, in complete earnestness. “I swear by The Rules. They really work.”
I was taken aback, and for good reason. I’m a generation behind The Rules’ target demo. Twenty years ago, when this book was first published, I was in middle school, when “dating” meant writing about someone in your dream journal and holding hands. As my dating life developed, any mention of The Rules felt laughable, like an ancient relic from a never-seen “Sex And The City” episode, something the girls would discuss over cosmos at Buddakan.
“Aren’t they old-fashioned and sexist, and you know, stupid?” I asked. My other friend interjected. “Seriously, they’re great,” she said. “Trust me.” Keep reading »
For a period in 1995, women stopped calling men on the phone and approaching them in bars. The reason? The Rules, a bestselling dating advice book by Ellen Fein and Sherri Schneider. The book, which became a cultural flashpoint, encouraged women to adopt more old-fashioned rules about dating and relationships, like using an egg timer to limit phone calls to five minutes and never, ever sleeping with a guy on the first (or fifth) date. Though the book was popular enough to spawn several sequels, Fein and Schneider have mostly stayed out of the media in the new millennium. Until now. Their new book, Not Your Mother’s Rules, will be published in February 2013. Though the basic approach is still the same, they’ve updated their formula to include advice about texting, sexting, emailing, and (of course) online dating. Keep reading »
The love affair of Leonardo DiCaprio and Blake Lively has taken many twists and turns, but the strangest of all are reports that the “Gossip Girl” star reeled in the ladies’ man by following The Rules. Too young to remember The Rules? It’s a dating advice book published by two women in 1995 that prescribed 35 different “rules” for alluring, snagging, and domesticating the male species. The book advises a woman to never pay for herself on a date; never call him; rarely returns his calls; never accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday; end phone calls and dates first; and return one email for every four he sends. Some of the self-help wisdom contained therein is just obvious, such as reminding women that if you show a man your Pikachu on the first date he might not assume you’re looking for a serious relationship. But the rest of it is just a convoluted series of mind games with cult-like restrictions like “Don’t discuss the rules with your therapist” and “Do the rules, even if your friends and parents think it’s nuts.” The premise behind the book is that all men like “the chase,” so women need to make them work for it.
So, how did Blake use The Rules to supposedly snag her man? Keep reading »
I recently got a call from my best friend’s 18-year-old brother: “Uh hey, Leo, uh, so I like have this date with a girl, and it’s kind of my first date. And, my sister says you know the rules.” Oh no.
Did I know the rules? I wasn’t sure, but I did my best to answer his questions like could he kiss her (yes), and did he have to pay (yes).
I have certainly dated a lot over the past two years, and until recently thought I was fairly proficient in the subject. After recently coming out of a romance that left me devastated, I’ve reluctantly started dating again, but found my skills have suffered. Especially when last week, I was astonished to find myself on an excellent first rendez-vous. I wanted to contact him after, but felt “the rules” weighing over me that said I wasn’t allowed to. But this is the modern age! Women should do what they want. What if this one time is an exception? Maybe he’s expecting you to get in touch…
Keep reading »
If I had a dime for how many times I’ve heard another woman whine about how she “needs to find a man,” I’d have enough change in my purse to buy a pair of slouchy new Frye boots and a ticket to Barcelona for the holidays. (Seriously, doesn’t that sound like a nice place to spend Christmas day?) But I don’t have a dime for every whine, and since I’m getting kind of tired of listening to it all, I’m going to tell you exactly how to land a man, so we can finally talk about more important things, like whether I should cut my hair like Katie Holmes. Forget that monkey business about not ever calling a guy, and follow the real rules after the jump. Keep reading »