Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rules are Meant to be Broken

Today my youngest sister told me she was reading a book called "The Rules".  I was only vaguely aware of this book before, but the more she described it, the more I did not like it.

From Wikipedia:

The book argues that in order to attract and marry the man of her dreams, a woman should be 'hard to get'. The underlying philosophy of which is that women should not aggressively pursue men, but rather ought to get the men to pursue them.

I'm very much against the games people feel like they have to play, this whole 'don't let him know you like him or he will value you less' mindset is ridiculous.  There have been several times where finding out a girl was interested in me actually made me look at her more favorably, even made her more attractive in return.

Basically the Rules play off of the bit of psychology that says men want what they can't have, so if you want to trick him into liking you, pretend you don't care for him.  Women aren't the only one to use this play.  Men do it too.  Its called 'Treat the girl like you're a total jerk and she'll end up wanting you more.'  We've all seen the a-hole guy with the girl that's totally into the neglect or occasional abuse he dishes out.  It works.  That doesn't mean its okay.

That's the defense I hear about "The Rules".  They work! Fine..they might.  But if you have to trick a guy into liking you, is that really the guy you should be dating?

To me, the whole story seems very familiar:

Luke: Is the Dark Side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no.  Quicker.  Easier.  More seductive...

It would be easier to get a girl's interest by mistreating her.  I've gone down that road before.  Its almost sad how easy it is.  But is that the kind of low self-esteem person I want to be with?  While easier, it leaves a hollow victory in the end.

Let's look at some of the infamous "Rules":

2. Don't talk to a man first.
3. Don't talk too much.
4. Don't meet him halfway
6. Don't accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday (even if you were planning on sitting at home complaining to your roommates that you're bored, you have to make him think you lead a glamorous life filled with dates and you can only just barely book him if he calls far ahead of you're the freaking Per Se)
12. Stop Dating Him if He Doesn't Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine's Day (make sure he pays the monetary transaction required for his end of the bargain...but you're not a prostitute, let's make that clear)
13. Don't See Him More Than Once or Twice a Week

Okay, so far so good.  Besides setting back women's rights by about three decades, they aren't completely weird.  Just a lot of "pretend you're someone you're not so he'll like you and if you're interested in him FOR HEAVENS' SAKE DO NOT LET HIM FIND OUT!!!".

But then the rules start to get really weird.

23. Don't Date a Married Man (Okay...good advice.  Kind of obvious but if you're reading self-help books maybe it bears repeating)
26. Even if You're Engaged or Married, You Still Need the Rules (Ie: Don't ever let him find out what you're really like, keep pretending to be disinterested or he might grow bored with you. Remember, men love a challenge!)
31.  Don't Discuss the Rules With Your Therapist

Wait....WHAT?!  Does that raise a red flag to anyone else?  There's a whole chapter devoted to not letting your trained licensed professional know that you're following life advice from an accountant and a freelance journalist? How long is this chapter?  Is this like the first rule of Fight Club?

First rule about "The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right":
Don't talk about "The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right".
39. Men Can Handle it if  You are Dating Other Men as Long as You are Still Available for Him (written like a woman who's never been in a relationship with a man before)

And the list of Rules goes on, explaining how you should not leave the house without makeup on, never answer the phone on the first ring, etc.

Here's my rules for dating, from a guy's point of view:

1. Be yourself.  Don't trick a guy into liking a glamorous phantasm you create for him.  Don't try to be what you think he will like.  If you do, that's a mask you're going to have to wear forever, because if you do end up getting married, he's going to eventually see the real you.  You deserve to be dating someone who likes you for who you are.

2. Be honest.  Laugh at his jokes if you find them funny, not because a Rules tells you to.  If you're excited to talk to him, its okay to let him know.  Its okay to beat him at a game you're better at than he is. Its okay to let him know you're smart, maybe even an equal partner to his own intellect, rather than a subservient food making sex machine.

Those are all the rules I can think of.  They probably don't work as fast or as easily as the "Rules", but I think you'll be happier with the end result.


  1. Ahh Take that book away from Laura! She is the last person in the world who needs to read that. I couldn't agree with you more David. Ladies- be yourself because once you're married he's going to see you for who you are whether you like it or not.

  2. Well David, for the next month I am being myself, and my suite mate is living the rules. We are waiting to see what happens. (so far 'myself' isn't doing too hot, I saw my friend ask for another girl's number tonight...but don't worry, today was only the first day!)
    -Ninja Drake! (I don't have a blog account :P)

  3. Remember, the rules will seem effective in the short term, like taking a gun to a knife fight. Just because it's faster does not make it better or honorable ;p

  4. I'm sorry David and Emily but i totally disagree with this entire post. The rules aren't about making you be someone youre not. You're still being yourself.
    The rules keep you from getting hurt. They're not meant to help you get lots of guys chasing you, they're meant to help you get a solid meaningful relationship.
    If a girl pursues a guy enough, she can make him think he likes her, but a lot of times, he only likes her because she likes him and its easy, which isn't going to lead to a healthy relationship down the line. If he didn't have to work some for the girls affection to begin with, why would he work for it down the line when they're in a relationship or married? Even when people are in a committed relationship the girl still wants the guy to pursue her somewhat instead of being a passive participant in the relationship. You even said that there have been times when you found out a girl liked you and it made you like her. I feel like you're liking her for the wrong reasons and it wont last or make for a healthy relationship long-term.
    Also, it's been proven that guys are happier when they're chasing the girl. You can attribute that back to caveman days. I guess guys haven't changed much since then. The sad truth is that most guys get bored if there's no chase involved.
    The not accepting dates after wednesday isn't quite as realistic in college, and I will admit that, but the basic idea behind it is to keep yourself from being the girl that he knows he can call to do something when he has no other plans on a friday night. No girl wants that. Again, it helps the girl not get hurt and not get used by guys.
    Have you even read it or is this all just going off what you've heard? The book explains it really well how it actually leads to happier and healthier relationships. I'm just sayin.
    Moral of the story, i think it helps girls keep from getting hurt and not making idiots of themselves by chasing after guys.
    Sorry if my reply seems harsh but I figured you could handle it haha.

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  6. As a happily married man for just over three years now with a second child on the way, I must say: David could not be more correct.

    The telling part of all of this, I think, is that my friends who told me to play by these rules when I was single were also single--still are single. My married friends did not play "the game." Those who did play the game and did get married ... well, let's just say I'm starting to see friends get divorced.

    And sadly, girls who play the game end up getting played, because those are the type of guys who play. Hate to break the news ladies, but as man who had numerous roommates back in college, I can tell you guys who play along aren't "working for a relationship." No, no ... their working for a piece of @$$. Yours, specifically. If you want your relationship to be about as deep as the one that guy has with a steak dinner, play the game. That's all he sees you as. You want a genuine guy--be genuine.

  7. I agree with what you said and I can also see where Rebecca is coming from. It's so hard to know what to do. I hate playing by any "rules" though and have decided to just be myself. It makes me more vulnerable but it's more honest. Plus, I'm exhausted of the games.

  8. Rules are lame. Then again, I'm alone and never getting married. ha

  9. David- I know very little about you BUT... you seem like a chip off the ol' Randall block. The way I see your Father treat your Mother makes me just take a deep breath and say ah....... Your words ring true, very true: "be yourself and be honest" those are great things to do. If you cannot be yourself in front of them during the "dating/courting" process- what in the world do you think marriage would be like if you didnt represent your true self? PURE HE** (pardon the language) but having caught my former spouse in a BOLD FACE LIE is much more hurtful than if you were in the beginning of a dating/courtship and break it off then. So that is GREAT advice just be yourself and be honest.