The Rules II
By Sherrie Schneider Ellen Fein
Warner Books Copyright © 1997 Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider
All right reserved. ISBN: 0-446-60621-9
Chapter One Why The Rules Work
Why do The Rules work?
Because The Rules are based upon the basic truths of human nature! Everyone wishes we could be more open and honest with men in the early stages of dating or ask men out, but these wishes are pure fantasy. To think men and women should treat each other exactly alike, as platonic friends do-dutch treat, even steven, tit for tat-is unrealistic. In the romantic world, there's only one way that truly works. The man must be attracted to and then pursue the woman. It simply doesn't work any other way.
That doesn't mean we have to like it. Even we didn't want The Rules to be true. Who wants it to be true that a man's attraction to us doesn't grow? Who wants it to be true that a man might lose interest if we're too aggressive, too needy, or too predictable?
Everyone wishes certain things were different from what they are. Who wants war, crime, or bitter cold weather? Who wants to diet and exercise? Wouldn't it be great if we could eat whatever we wanted, whenever we felt like it and still be slim, fit, and have perfect thighs?
Rules girls are realists. They accept that men and women are different and act accordingly. They don't always like to do The Rules, but they do them anyway because they love the results.
Of course, as popular as The Rules has become, it has also been the subject of controversy-mostly by the media and the authors of other dating books, not by women who simply want advice about men. They just want to get married!
The Rules have been criticized for being old-fashioned and antifeminist, and for encouraging women to play games and get married at any cost ("get the ring"). We would like to examine these criticisms one by one and explain why they are unfounded.
Old-fashioned? Not really. While The Rules may sound like something your mother may have told you about, times and circumstances have completely changed. Women in the '90s need The Rules-not because pursuing men is morally wrong or scandalous, or any of the reasons your mother may have told you. No, The Rules tell us not to pursue men for one simple reason. It doesn't work!
Fifty years ago, women didn't call men or live with men before marriage because it was considered socially unacceptable. Fifty years ago, they didn't even need to think about "ending the date first." Their fathers ended it for them by requiring them to be home at a certain time, much like their great-grandfathers put an end to dates by holding up a shotgun on the front porch!
In addition, back then, women often had to get married in order to move out of their parents' house. Women were financially dependent on men, and once married they became full-time wives and mothers who, for the most part, did not pursue careers.
Compare that to '90s women. Many are financially self-sufficient. They can afford their own apartments, cars, vacations, wardrobes, and creature comforts. They can even have or adopt and support a child on their own. They no longer need men to get away from their parents or to have good or interesting lives. But the truth is they want men in their lives-as partners/friends, lovers, husbands/fathers. They can function without men, but they yearn for marriage and children and/or fulfilling relationships.
Their problem is how to get married or be in fulfilling relationships. The sexual revolution of the '60s proved to be filled with empty promises-sex and living together did not add up to commitment.
Who or what can women turn to for dating advice? They may or may not be able to relate to their mothers. Besides, some mothers, trying to be hip and modern or desperate for their daughters to get married and produce a grandchild, will give them bad advice and tell them to call men and pay their own way. ("Don't be so picky," they tell them.)
Their female friends, conditioned by the social mores of today and with well-meaning intentions, may say "Oh, call him if you like him! What have you got to lose?" If he turns them down, "So, what?" they say.
Well, we say:
(1) Maybe if you don't call him, he'll build up a real desire and call you!
(2) A man who is receptive to your advances (without making any of his own) may date or even marry you at your suggestion, but down the road he'll be bored and ambivalent toward you.
Women have turned to The Rules because it's the only advice they can count on that works. They're not retro, they're fabulous!
Antifeminist? No, as far as we are concerned, there is no conflict between The Rules and feminism. Rules girls can be feminists. We are feminists. We believe in and are grateful for the advances women have made in the last century. How else could we have become authors and formed a company? All women have different definitions of feminism, but to us, it is about getting equal pay for equal work. It's about women being authors, astronauts, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, or whatever they want to be-getting promoted, being treated the same and paid as much as men!
Feminism is also about women believing in their own importance. It is about being fulfilled by our jobs, our hobbies, our friendships. It is knowing that the women in our lives are as important as the Men-and treating our friends with respect and consideration to prove it!
But with all due respect, feminism has nor changed men or the nature of romantic relationships. Like it or not, men are emotionally and romantically different from women. Men are biologically the aggressor. They thrive on challenge-whether it's the stock market, basketball, or football-while women crave security and bonding. This has been true since civilization began!
Men who respond to The Rules are not sick or stupid, but quite normal and healthy. Your average guy. What would be sick is if a man chased and chased a woman who clearly didn't want him, who repeatedly said "no" when he asked her out as early as Monday for Saturday night. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a woman who says "yes" to dates when asked a few days in advance and is nice to men on dates. She's simply not too eager and doesn't drop everything to see him at a moment's notice. That way he respects her and wants to be with her and marry her.
Why men are naturally driven by challenge is not important. The point is to do what works to have a successful relationship, which is to let men do the pursuing ... in other words, to follow The Rules.
After twenty to thirty years of do-what-you-feel and haphazard dating, most women we know are actually relieved to have rules and boundaries to live by. These women are happy that feminism has helped them get ahead in business and given them financial independence, but they agree that trying to be as aggressive in relationships with men as they are in their careers doesn't work.
Are we telling women to play games? Some people like to focus on the most superficial aspects in The Rules-the ones most likely to promote controversy-but the book is really about self-esteem, about setting boundaries. Yes, in some ways, you're playing a game. The game is called liking yourself! The game is not accepting just any treatment from a man. The game is being true to your heart. Everyone knows in their hearts that The Rules work, that this is the way it really is. But some people have to read the book a few times before they get the message that it's not just about egg timers, lipstick, and not returning calls.
The Rules is not an etiquette book-it's not about how to order wine on a date or which fork to use. While these niceties are important, they're not what The Rules focus on. The Rules are about saving women and men, for that matter-heartache. There are many disastrous relationships out there because women either initiated relationships with men or kept them going long after they should have been over. A failed relationship is depressing, confidence-shaking, and altogether unpleasant. By following The Rules, you avoid these disastrous results-and these painful emotions.
We had to write The Rules strictly, like a strict diet book, because we knew women would break them. You always sneak in your favorite high-fat meal or a piece of chocolate cake on Saturday night. With such strict rules, even if women broke the occasional rule, they could still reap the benefits of doing the rest.
Even therapists, whom we were sure would find the "be mysterious" part of The Rules objectionable, are actually recommending the book to their clients. They agree that the openness and honesty so necessary in therapy do not work in the initial stages of dating.
Are The Rules too marriage-minded? No, just realistic. Many women want to gee married, and why not? It's great to have a wonderful man to share your life with-end of story. We're not telling women they're nothing without a man. It's just that many women feel that if they don't marry a nice guy, they're missing something. It's a fact. This is how they really feel. It's not a moral issue. Can they be happy without a husband? Sure. Can you be happy without taking vacations? Sure, but why would you want to?
We are not advocating marriage at any cost. On the contrary, "Buyer Beware," we explain how to determine if he's Mr. Right. This is a thinking woman's guide to marriage. This is not about being a Stepford wife.
Indeed, The Rules represents a change in attitude about dating, a new spirituality that is sorely needed today. It's going against nature when you chase a man, sleep with him too soon, or beg him to marry you. He may end up mistreating you, even if he marries you. He may never forgive you for trapping him and treat you badly.
Conversely, when you do The Rules on a man who initially showed interest, he gets to fall in love with you and value you. He does not take you for granted. Every phone call and date is precious. He never feels trapped or that you pressured him to marry you because he did the calling, the pursuing, the proposing.
Rules marriages are happy marriages. Rules husbands make wonderful partners for life. They are attentive and involved husbands and fathers. They change diapers, help the kids with their homework, and plan family vacations.
The Rules work. They really do. That's why women who want to be happily married-or at the very least, in a loving relationship-are living by The Rules-and loving the results!
Excerpted from The Rules II by Sherrie Schneider Ellen Fein Copyright © 1997 by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. Excerpted by permission.
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