Excerpts from The Rules

Rules, and he will not just marry you, but feel crazy about you, forever! What we’re promising you is “happily ever after.” A marriage truly made in heaven.   

If you follow The Rules, you can rest assured that your husband will treat you like a queen—even when he’s angry with you. Why? Because he spent so much time trying to get you. You have become so precious to him that he doesn’t take you for granted. On the contrary, he thinks of you constantly. He’s your best friend, your Rock of Gibraltar during bad times. He’s hurt if you don’t share your problems with him.   

Sure, a man might marry you if you don’t do The Rules, but we can’t guarantee that yours will be a good marriage.   

Keep thinking, “How would I behave if I weren’t that interested in him?” And then behave that way.   

Unlike other, prettier girls who ran after men or made themselves available every time a man called, Melanie acted indifferent—sometimes aloof, sometimes nice, but always happy and busy   

Rules-breakers stand too long in one place, look anxious, or talk too long to one man. They make it too easy for men to ask them out—and, as you will read in this book, that’s a big mistake.   

Diet and exercise and The Rules have a lot in common. Both require putting long-term goals before short-term gratification. You will have to experience a certain amount of discomfort when you can’t eat a cookie and you can’t call a man.   

Men like women who are neat and clean. They also make better mothers of their children—the kind who don’t lose their kids at the beach.   

Now a word about clothes. If you walk around in any old clothes on the theory that what counts is only what’s inside, not your outside, think again! Men like women who wear fashionable, sexy clothes in bright colors. Why not please them?   

Remember that you’re dressing for men, not other women, so always strive to look feminine.   

Don’t leave the house without wearing makeup. Put lipstick on even when you go jogging!   

If you have a bad nose, get a nose job; color gray hair; grow your hair long. Men prefer long hair, something to play with and caress.   

Men like women. Don’t act like a man, even if you are head of your own company. Let him open the door. Be feminine. Don’t tell sarcastic jokes. Don’t be a loud, knee-slapping, hysterically funny girl. This is okay when you’re alone with your girlfriends. But when you’re with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile.   

Don’t talk so much. Wear black sheer pantyhose and hike up your skirt to entice the opposite sex!   

On the contrary, act as if you were born happy.   

On a date, you never show that getting married is foremost on your mind. You’re cool. He may think you’ve turned down several marriage proposals. You sip—never slurp—your drink and let him find out all about you, instead of the other way around. Your answers are short, light, and flirtatious. Your gestures are soft and feminine. When your hair falls in front of your face, you tilt your head back and comb back your hair with your hand   

All your movements—the way you excuse yourself to use the ladies room or look at your watch to end the date—are fluid and sexy, not jerky or self-conscious.   

You’ve been on many dates before; you’re a pro. That’s because you take care of yourself. You didn’t lie in bed depressed, eating cookies before the date. You took a bubble bath, read this book, and built up your soul with positive slogans like, “I’m a beautiful woman. I am enough.”   

You don’t show that you’re nervous, even if you are. That’s the secret: you act as if everything’s great, even if you’re on the verge of flunking college or getting fired.   

Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance)   

We know how extreme such a rule must sound, not to mention snobbish, silly, and painful; but taken in the context of The Rules, it makes perfect sense. After all, the premise of The Rules is that we never make anything happen, that we trust in the natural order of things—namely, that man pursues woman. By talking to a man first, we interfere with whatever was supposed to happen or not happen, perhaps causing a conversation or a date to occur that was never meant to be and inevitably getting hurt in the process.   

Yet, we manage to rationalize this behavior by telling ourselves, “He’s shy” or “I’m just being friendly.” Are men really shy? We might as well tackle this question right now. Perhaps a therapist would say so, but we believe that most men are not shy, just not really, really interested if they don’t approach you.   

Our dentist friend Pam initiated a friendship with Robert when they met in dental school several years ago by asking him out to lunch. She spoke to him first. Although they later became lovers and even lived together, he never seemed really “in love” with her and her insecurity about the relationship never went away. Why would it? She spoke to him first. He recently broke up with her over something trivial. The truth is he never loved her.   

He’ll probably be flattered that you asked and dance with you just to be polite and he might even want to have sex with you that night, but he won’t be crazy about you.   

We know what you’re thinking: what am I supposed to do all night if no one asks me to dance? Unfortunately, the answer is to go to the bathroom five times if you have to, reapply your lipstick, powder your nose, order more water from the bar, think happy thoughts, walk around the room in circles until someone notices you, make phone   

…calls from the lobby to your married friends for encouragement—in short, anything but ask a man to dance.   

…at someone first is a dead giveaway of interest. Let him look at you! If he doesn’t notice you first, he’s probably not interested. Keep walking, someone else will notice you.   

When appropriate, show him that you keep up with current events and have interests.   

…love a challenge—that’s why they play sports, fight wars, and raid corporations.   

Another reason not to call men is so you don’t catch them in the middle of something—watching a football game, paying bills, entertaining a friend, or even sleeping—when they may not be in the mood to talk to you. Why take a chance?   

Remember, The Rules are also about not getting hurt or dumped. We never want you to go through unnecessary pain. Life has enough pain without our adding man pain to it.   

….call men (see Rule #5), except to occasionally return their calls. When a man calls you, don’t stay on the phone for more than ten minutes. Buy a timer if you have to. When the bell rings, you have to go!   

Remember, early on in a relationship, the man is the adversary (if he’s someone you really like). He has the power to hurt you by never calling again, by treating you badly, or by being around but indifferent.   

End the date first (see Rule #11), especially if you like him. Glance at your watch after two hours (for a drink date) or three or four hours (for a dinner date), simply sigh, and say, “Gee, this was really great, but I’ve got a really big day tomorrow.”   

At the end of the first date, you can accept a light peck on the cheek or lips even though you’re dying to do more.   

In summary, the first three dates should be like “being and nothingness.”   

Don’t tell him he’s the first man to treat you with respect. He’ll think you’re a loser or a tramp.   

Don’t overwhelm him with your career triumphs. Try to let him shine.   

It is our experience that men will want to see you a lot, sometimes every day in the beginning, and then grow very bored very quickly.   

First of all, it should be the man trying to prolong the date, not you. He should be suggesting dancing, drinks, or a café where the two of you can get dessert and cappuccino. If he didn’t suggest it, then it’s not supposed to happen.   

Therefore, The Rule is that if you don’t get jewelry or some other romantic gift on your birthday or other significant occasion, you might as well call it quits because he’s not in love with you and chances are you won’t get the most important gift of all: an engagement ring.   

Flowers, jewelry, poetry, and weekend trips to the country are the kinds of gifts given by men in love.   

…beautiful love poem to her in it. A Rules present if there ever was one! As most women know, the time a man spends on anything is virtually priceless.   

A man who is in love with you and hopes to marry you won’t be put off by the once-to-twice-a-week dating structure you set up in the beginning. We find that only men who are just with you for fun or sex are likely to get angry or impatient. Don’t be fooled if these men say the kinds of things that make you believe they want to marry you. It happens all the time. It’s called Standard Operating Procedure.   

…slept together, where is this relationship going?” or “What is the meaning of what we’ve just done?” While all these thoughts are whirling through your head and your desire to own this man is mounting from minute to minute, try to relax and think about nothing.   

The moral of the story: don’t play social director. If Joe didn’t want to spend weekends with Marcy, being asked to wasn’t going to change his mind. Men do what they want to do. If they can’t live without you, it’s very clear. If they can live without you, it’s also clear. Don’t be dense. Read the tea leaves and move on to the next man if necessary! If, after dating you for months, he has never introduced you to his parents or friends, that means he doesn’t want you to meet his parents or friends.   

Don’t push your interests on him either. If he loves steak, don’t preach the virtues of vegetarianism. You don’t own him. Don’t fix him. You will end up emasculating him and he will come to see you as a domineering shrew.   

You should meet his parents before he meets yours unless, of course, he picks you up at your parents’ house.   

The same rule applies to your friends. He should introduce you to his friends before you introduce him to yours.   

…is not therapy. There are many ways to kill a relationship. Getting heavy and examining everything is certainly one of them. Conditioned by therapy and self-help books to tell all, women tend to overdo it on first dates, bringing up past relationships, their hurts and fears, their alcohol or drug problem—all in an attempt to bond with this new man. This is deadly and boring.   

…be the recipient of a therapy session upon first meeting you. [nora]

Before he comes to your apartment, tuck this book away in your top drawer and make sure any self-help books are out of sight. Have interesting or popular novels or nonfiction books in full view. Hide in the closet any grungy bathrobes or something you don’t want him to see, such as a bottle of Prozac.   

Don’t lie. It’s a law of the universe.   

Don’t say things like, “I’m not into makeup or superficiality”   

Many ads are a turnoff because they look for sympathy. The writers hope to hook you in by telling you that they are human and damaged. For example, “Ex-wife of alcoholic seeks nonabusive soul mate.” It’s honest but a bit depressing, don’t you think?   

A word of caution: dating via personal ads involves taking risks that usually dating by introduction doesn’t. [phrase]

…live together or not to live together? Is that a question you’re grappling with now? Your friends (not knowing The Rules) might say, “Do it.” Your parents (being conservative) will no doubt say, “No.” The Rules answer is: “Move in only if you’ve set a wedding date.” In other words, the only reason to live with someone is if you’re planning the wedding and you don’t want to pay two rents. Contrary to popular belief, living together is not a trial period for him to see how he feels about you. He either loves you or he doesn’t, and playing house and cooking him a lot of breakfasts won’t change a thing.   

…married (or unavailable) men is not only an obvious waste of time, but also it’s dishonest and stupid. So why do so many women do it? Some feel it’s better than dating no one, some find the very wrongness and danger of it (the secret hotel rendezvous) fun and exciting, and some hang on to the hope that one day the men will leave their wives for them. All these women suffer from low self-esteem, or why would they settle for so little? We are not big advocates of therapy, but we believe it would be worth $125 an hour to find out why you would do this to yourself.   

Once you’re truly convinced you need The Rules, you should read this book over and over again until you’ve practically memorized it…

neighbor only comes by to borrow milk or when he’s bored. You wish he would invite you to dinner. He doesn’t. So you suggest dinner. He makes excuses. You’re hurt. Again, situations of our own making! If someone is not asking you out, then they don’t want to be with you. Go about your business and trust you will meet other people who genuinely like you and want to be with you. You might feel lonely and hurt for a while, but better that than being rejected.   

Abuse doesn’t happen in a Rules relationship because when you play hard to get and he works like hell to get you, he thinks you’re the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world, even if you’re not. He treats you like a precious jewel.   

Notice what kinds of clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, and hairstyles the most popular kids in high school are wearing. Don’t try to be too different or frugal in this area. You’ll feel lousy, so it’s not worth it.   

It’s hard enough to do The Rules when you believe in them, it’s even harder when you talk to people who are downright against them. You should also not read any books that go counter to this philosophy or preach another method,   

We know one Rule breaker who is always initiating intimacy with her husband. He says he loves her, but he never pinches her bottom in the kitchen and would rather watch the 11 o’clock news alone in his reclining chair than cuddle in bed with his wife.   

…wrote mushy cards, and told their friends and parents about you long before you said anything to your friends and parents, you now find attractive and desirable. Of course, we don’t mean to suggest that you love someone simply because he loves you. No, you love whom you love. But when a man you are interested in is crazy about you, you are happy about it. You are not bored or turned off. You don’t think, “Gee, this is too easy.” Love should be easy! As a result of doing The Rules, you have a new attitude. You love being loved. You think that anyone who thinks you’re great is great, not a jerk. You have no desire to chase someone who hasn’t noticed you, sought you out, or dialed your number and asked you out. Love is finally simple and sweet, not heart-wrenching and hard.   

Let’s say you’ve cooked him his favorite dinner, but he calls at the last minute to say he’s working late and that you should eat without him. You’re mad and want to scream into the phone, “But I cooked a special meal just for you!” Instead, take a deep breath and say something sweet like, “You’ve really been working hard lately. I’m so proud of you.” Promise him a back rub when he gets home. Then get busy—read a book or clean the house. Don’t tell him how disappointed you are and turn into a nag. Remember, he’s working long hours for the both of you!