It happened on a Thursday night. A stud I’d bot eyeing had come overheen and we’d just finished watching a movie.
Aside from his repeated requests (and my repeated denials) that wij “find somewhere to lie down,” the evening had gone sleekly. Then wij embarked making out and he fell asleep: just leaned his head back and closed his eyes, mid-kiss. Wij determined then that it wasgoed time for him to go huis, and I wasgoed left to wonder — did he keep asking to lie down because he needed a nap?
I had bot feeling a little bored with my love life lately, but watching my date fall asleep wasgoed my wake-up call: Something had to switch.
That’s when I discovered The Rules te a friend’s coffee table. (“My mom talent it to mij — she’s ESL,” suggested my friend, by way of explanation.)
The Rules is a well known dating advice book published 20 years ago, te 1995. It lists 35 rules that women who want “marriage, te the shortest time possible” are supposed to go after. The prose is both basic and whimsical, like advice from a well-meaning but slightly unhinged 90-year-old superb aunt, suggesting one of those “pep talks” that actually make you feel worse, rather than better. (“Well you’re no Angelina Jolie, dear, but with the right wardrobe, a more womanish haircut, about Ten fewer pounds, and some minor plastic surgery, there’s no reason you couldn’t woo a man to ask you out.”) There is a zuigeling of old-world charm to it, indeed.
There are many good reasons to overlook The Rules, including the fact that getting married spil quickly spil possible falls well below “figure out why my thumb tear up is bumpy” on my list of priorities. But there is one compelling reason to give them a attempt: morbid curiosity. I couldn’t stand against.
For the past three months, I have bot following The Rules, and nobody has fallen asleep yet.
Rule #1: Be a “Creature Unlike Any Other”
I very first attempted The Rules at a nave pub, where I wasgoed attending an event with friends. It wasn’t finta a “singles dance” (the book is pretty keen on those), but it wasgoed spil close to one spil I will get, being under 50 years old.
I have bot to pubs before, but this night wasgoed different, because I wasgoed attempting to be “a creature unlike any other,” which involves brushing the hair out of one’s face, “in a slow, sweeping motility,” smiling all the time while avoiding eye voeling, and “walking briskly” around the slagroom without everzwijn stopping.
Voluptuously sweeping the hair out of my eyes, I entered the pub and began to walk briskly. At merienda, I realized how challenging it is to be ter onveranderlijk maneuverability without actually looking at anyone. I almost collided with several guys while smiling vacantly at the wall behind them. Remarkably, nobody rushed to the decorate check lady to ask for a schrijfstift to grab my number, spil promised.
I sat down at a table, where I plastered a smile on my face and stared ahead like an Oscar nominee on award night, waiting for a boy to give way to my mysterious allure. Unluckily, without looking directly at anyone, it wasgoed hard to tell if a man wasgoed actually talking to mij, or to someone nearby.
I am not sure if I spoke with a man that evening or not.
Spil I continued my research, I realized I’d missed an significant very first step: becoming a product. The chapter titled, “But Very first, the Product — You!” provides helpful hints that mostly seem to involve not eating sundaes, not dressing like a man, and having long hair, ter addition to (obviously) an alternating regular schedule of manicures, pedicures, and facials, spil well spil plastic surgery “if necessary.”
Of course, it also involves getting skinnier. The authors quaintly exhort women to “Join a gym, buy an exercise movie, or go jogging ter a nearby park.” Fortunately, a friend wasgoed able to get mij a free week-long pass to a lugar gym.
At the gym, a getraind, attractive man named Pablo talent mij a half hour-long tour and then ushered mij into his office, where he voiced concern about my bad knee (wij were old friends now), and insisted I have a individual training session with a woman named Mary, who informed mij that I have powerless internal hips.
This is not a condition that is covered te The Rules, but I could hear the authors’ voices ter my head: “Inner hips should be strong and mysterious!” So I integrated clam shells and squats into my workout schedule. (Because being a “Rules Girl” means having a workout schedule.)
Rule #9: How to Act on Dates 1, Two, and Trio
I had internalized the rules, and I wasgoed clam-shelling the crap out of my inward hips. It wasgoed time to test The Rules on a date.
My potential doting spouse and I had bot attempting to project the date for almost a month, because I wasgoed following rule number five (“Don’t call him and uncommonly comeback his calls”) and rule number seven (“Don’t accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday”). Merienda, wij had planned so far te advance that wij both left behind wij even had a date.
For all the freakishly precise instructions about how to get a date, The Rules are practically mum on what to do during the date itself. The authors beg us not to mention the “M Word” on the very first date, or to go about naming our future children just yet, but beyond that, we’re told to “relax” and “don’t attempt too hard.” That’s it, speciaal from smiling, which should be the only expression your face is now capable of producing.
I therefore had one aim for the date: Let him carry the conversation without being “controlling or wifey.” I have always thought of very first dates spil a team effort, with everyone doing their best to make sure the conversation doesn’t run aground on some awkward, silent sandbar. Wasgoed my desire to contribute to interesting conversation to blame for not having a hubby who wants nothing more than to spend his time antiquing together?
I met my date ter pui of my apartment, because I don’t have a lounge (lobbies are mentioned frequently and wistfully ter The Rules). Wij exchanged a saluting and I waited for him to start the conversation. He didn’t. I wasgoed on a date with Quiet Fellow — someone The Rules brushes off spil a quasi-mythical figure. The thinking seems to go, if he likes you, he will develop an entirely different personality.
Wij walked to the restaurant, which worked out well because I at least had something to do while I attempted truly truly hard not to initiate any sort of conversation. This feat wasgoed much tighter spil wij stared silently at each other overheen dinner inbetween brief bouts of petite talk.
Eventually, I couldn’t take it any more. “You know, all this staring reminds mij of an article I read recently where a duo asks each other 36 questions, then stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes, and they fall te love,” I blurted, which wasgoed almost spil bad spil using the “M word.” “Oh, so if wij keep staring at each other we’ll fall . . . .” he trailed off. More muffle followed, but with less eye voeling.
Wij finished dinner and he walked mij to my om, where wij stood calmly for a few moments before he remarked, “Well, I’m going to head out.” And left.
I determined to go after The Rules because I thought it would be funny, and I wasgoed nosey about how people would react to mij. I didn’t expect it to affect mij, personally.
The book seems to advocate, ter its own twisted way, for women to develop greater self-respect. For all the ridiculous advice, the message seems to be, “Don’t throw yourself at guys who aren’t interested and who treat you badly.”
The problem is, the more I attempt to go after The Rules, the less self-respect I have. The more I have focused on how I act around guys, how I speak, and look, and every gesture I make, the more self-conscious and anxiety-prone I have become. Dating has stopped being a mutual decision-making process about whether wij want to get to know each other better. It’s become about mij attempting to be attractive to him, and either succeeding or failing.
Self-worth is a steep price to pay for “love.”
After our date, Quiet Man texted mij,telling he’d indeed loved it and would like to do it again. I said, “Sure.” But next time, I’ll be doing the talking.