At 17 I didn’t have a clue about men. I was at college surrounded by couples in the first flush of love but being fat and grieving for my recently departed Mother meant that I had issues. Massive ‘propelling me towards a breakdown and The Priory before I turned twenty one’ type issues.
My one goal at college was to find a man, foolishly believing that to ensconce myself in a relationship would be the one way to retain a sense of normality in my otherwise pretty screwed up existence. My salvation (or so I thought) came in the form of a copy of ‘The Rules: How to Capture the Heart of Mr Right’ brought back from America for me by a wise cracking sassy friend who hilariously coupled it with ‘101 Reasons Why He Didn’t Call You Back’. I’ll let you guess which book was more dogeared by the end of my A-Levels….
The Rules (see below) set out in plain type all the things you need to do to keep a man interested – basically show no interest in him, play games with his mind and generally ignore him. Then if after a year he STILL hasn’t proposed, apparently this is when you should start thinking about dating other people as Rules girls don’t wait more than two years to ‘put a ring on it’. Needless to say my 17 year old self read it and dismissed it almost instantly, I mean, I was having a hard enough time getting a guy to show interest in me let alone worrying about how to maintain it.
Something obviously stuck though as I find myself harking back to these commandments now that I have a grown up man interested in having a grown up dinner date with me. I don’t get taken out for dinner by eligible bachelors, it just doesn’t happen, and so I find myself in a tailspin of sizeable proportions now that I am going to be eating Italian food with such a chap in approximately 100 hours time (at time of writing). I practically vomited from nerves just calling to book the table but of course that may have been from a sense of impending doom at having so blatantly ignored the rules and done the legwork to make the date happen. I think moving forward I’m going to utilise a mixture of Rules behaviour and ME behaviour, for example anyone who knows me will know I talk a lot – perhaps rule #2 is one for me to bear in mind?
1995 was a long time ago and I know the dating world has moved on considerably since then, so does that mean ‘The Rules’ are outdated and just plain odd now? Or do you think a bit of old fashioned interaction is just what we need in this fast-paced society. What are your experiences with ‘The Rules’? Is it a crock of psycho-babble bulldust or do you think there is some basis in it? Would you feel cheated if you found out someone was playing games with you?
Don’t talk to a man first.
Don’t stare at a man or talk too much.
Don’t go Dutch on a date or meet him anywhere. Have him pick you up.
Don’t call him. Rarely return his calls.
Always end phone calls first.
Don’t accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday.
Always end the date first.
Stop dating him if he doesn’t buy you a romantic birthday or Valentine’s gift.
Don’t see him more than once or twice a week.
Be honest but mysterious.
Don’t tell him what to do.
Let him take the lead.
Don’t live with a man or leave things at his apartment.
Don’t do anything else but casual kissing on the first date.
Don’t rush into sex.
Don’t discuss “The Rules” with your therapist.