The Rules

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, when I read a book about marrying a man for his money, Alissa suggested that I read The Rules. I agreed, with the understanding that I would only be reading the book and not taking any of the suggestions - which was basically a moot point since I don't even have the capability of following most of the those rules anyway.

So, I decided to read today's book - largely because it reminded me of the Manhunt episode of Designing Women - where Suzanne becomes Mary Jo's dating coach and spends a weekend helping her trap a man, using an advice book - so I pushed aside all sense of shame and went to the library to check the book out (I refuse, on principal, to contribute to the snake oil salespeople, I mean authors, getting any richer off this book.)

And, because one day of ridiculous books isn't enough, I've decided to make a weekend event of it (and no, I won't be reading The Rules 2 tomorrow - although I will be making fun of that book with my sister then.)

Just in case you're lucky enough to have never heard of this totally demented book before now: Today's book, "An unexpected bestseller, this self-help book for women who want to hook a man seems to have struck a chord with desperate American women. Fein and Schneider, whose main credentials seem to be that they are married, lay out the rules to be followed for successfully snagging a dream hunk. And these rules are hard as cast-iron--Rule Five: Don't Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls. The idea is to return to pre-feminist mind games, exploiting the male hunting urge by playing hard to get."

Shallow thoughts (and what other kind could I possibly have about a book like this):

  • I hadn't even opened today's book when I already started having a problem with it. Before you start to think a feminist rant is coming, let me assure you dear readers that there will be no ranting in this blog entry because I don't take today's book seriously enough to work up to a rant about it. My problem with the book is the hideous, and incredibly small, engagement ring on the cover of the book. I'm personally not a big fan of engagement rings of any kind - but, I do know an ugly one when I see it - and I think that if you're going to treat a man like prey and trap him into marrying you, then you should at least get a decent engagement ring out of the deal. Basically, what I've gathered from reading this book, and looking at the awful cover, is that the authors were hoping that women everywhere would flock to this book in the store, think to themselves I want to toss aside my dignity, and all so I can end up with a man who is too stupid to know I'm trapping him, who will give me a tiny, hideous engagement ring. I certainly don't advocate tossing aside your dignity dear readers, but if you are inclined to go that route then for goodness sake, get a decent engagement ring out of the deal. . . and a vacation house in the South of France.

  • Then the book hit a few more snags, because it was written in 1995, and therefore only gave instructions for rules on how to approach telephone conversations with men (make them call you, never call them and rarely return their calls) - leaving me wondering What do the desperate women who use this book today do about e-mails and text messages. I would assume that the telephone rules apply, but how can I be sure? I think the authors need to write another book on the subject called "Still Desperate? We Can Help." In the meantime, the women of America will just have to stick to trapping themselves husbands the old-fashioned way.

  • And now we come to the most important rule of all: Don't talk to a man first. Apparently, if you are the first one to approach a man, he will get bored because there is no thrill-of-the-chase aspect to the encounter, and you will end up alone and living in a shack on the edge of town with 100 cats and a Precious Moments collection (I might have added that end part.) So now I have a question for all of my married readers: Which one of you was the first to speak to the other? This has become my new favorite question, which I will spend the next six months asking every married person I know.

Favorite lines/passages from the book (favorite of course because of how completely, ridiculously absurd they are):

  • ". . . we mistakenly tried to be "friends" with men rather than elusive butterflies. . . " - What wonderful advice, now if only I could figure out how an elusive butterfly would act. I guess I should stand around all day long thinking Angie wait a minute - what would an elusive butterfly do in this situation?

  • "When you go to singles dances or parties, you pump yourself up. You pretend you're a movie star. You hold your head high and walk in as if you just flew in from Paris on the Concorde." - While I do enjoy the advice to pretend to be a movie star, an activity I've spent ridiculous amounts of time on anyway (although I only pretend to be a movie star from the 40s, I'm not like those freaks who pretend to be a movie star from the present day, that would be absurd), I have yet to get a reaction to that little routine that was anything other than laughter of outright annoyance. Shockingly enough dear readers, pretending to be a movie star does not result in multiple proposals.

  • "Men aren't interested in women who are witty in a negative way." - There was also a line later in the book that said to never make sarcastic jokes. So basically, what I'm gathering from those two sentences is that I should pack my bags for the convent now because there's no hope - trying to stop the sarcasm would be like cutting off my oxygen supply.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book dear readers - but only if you're going to read it with a sarcastic friend or relative - make some popcorn, gather round the hearth, read the book out loud, and make fun of the book until you get tired. . . then take a short break and rest up so you can make fun of it some more.