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“The Rules”: skimming

“The Rules”: skimming published on No Comments on “The Rules”: skimming

Page 66: "The Rules are about opening up slowly so that men aren’t overwhelmed by us. It’s rather selfish and inconsiderate to burden people with our whole lives on a three-hour date, don’t you think? Remember, the Rules are innately unselfish."

They are not! Technically, they’re a manual about self-abnegation practices that supposedly further one’s goals, assuming that one’s goals involve het marriage to an emotionally clueless jerk.

Page 70-71: "Rule #12: Stop dating him if he doesn’t buy you a romantic gift for your birthday or Valentine’s Day. … Flowers, jewelry, poetry and weekend trips are the kinds of gifts given by men in love. Sweat suits, books, briefcases, toasters and other practical gifts are the kinds of things men give you when they like you … but don’t really want to marry you."

The rigid expectations of the Rules do neither the women who are supposedly reading them and the men they are supposedly dating any service. The Rules assume that there is only one right way to perform marriageable het masculinity — by coughing up flowers and chocolates on designated occasions — and only a single way to perform appropriately responsive het femininity — by accepting only flowers, chocolates and jewelry as sufficient tokens of romantic love.

In the Rules world, it is truly impossible for a briefcase to signify romantic love, even if the giver and the receiver’s shared private connotations of briefcases make them giddy with lustful, infatuated, affectionate glee. Anyone who gives their dating partner a briefcase, no matter how thrilled they know this will make the recipient [beyond flowers, beyond chocolates, beyond precious metals!], is a Horrible Failure Who Should Be Dumped Pronto.

Page 82: "You have to trust that, if you relax and let him explore your body like unchartered [sic] territory, you will have fun and be satisfied."

Fact #1: Men always know what they’re doing in bed.

Fact #2: Communication kills boners.

Page 91: "Of course, a playboy type who falls in love with you because you did the Rules will automatically mend his ways."

I don’t think that’s how it works….

Page 100: "Before he comes to your apartment, tuck this book away in your top drawer… Hide in the closet any grungy bathrobes or something you don’t want him to see, such as a bottle of Prozac."

Censor! CENSOR!!

Page 115: "When you meet a man at a dance or social situation, it really isn’t necessary to mention your children at all. …[W]ait until he calls …to gently weave it into the conversation … Just casually say, "Oh, that’s my son playing the piano," or something like that…"

This one in particular blows my mind. Kids are huge parts of parents’ lives, especially when their children are dependents. Most parents identify strongly with their role as parents and do feel it necessary to talk about their kids because their kids are important to them. To ask a parent not to talk about their kids is, in effect, asking someone to be something they’re not. How does this deception promote trust and love in a dating relationship?

Furthermore, as a child-free person, let me just say that kids are a serious subject, even if one doesn’t have them. Maybe one’s dating partner doesn’t want any extant or future children. Being truthful about one’s important roles, relationships and values when one is dating [e.g., "I am a parent; I love my kids and spend lots of time with them, not to mention thinking and talking about them a lot!"] bespeaks consideration and respect for one’s dating partner.

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