Sex and the city rules for dating
Do you understand how many women have tanked a deal in the making by appearing to want love too badly? “Men like women who are neat and clean.” It advised, “If you have a bad nose, get a nose job; color your gray; grow your hair long.” This was your training montage.
You were going to The instructions were simple: We could go to a dance (I guess there were dances) but we could not ask a man to dance.
There were “Rules” facilitators who were trained by programs run by the authors.
There was a dating journal (“Record your progress from first date to wedding date! “The Rules” took our two favorite vocations — our competitiveness and our common desire for a traditional home — and gave them room to intersect, as if they hadn’t already. Or even take the book’s authors’ somewhat squishy theories on feminism — which was what is more feministical than deciding who you want to marry and when and then being able to wrangle him with your wiles? But there were certain truths about men and women and no political movement, no matter how many waves, was going to change those things.
There were women on talk shows shouting with relief about how happy they were to understand what they’d been doing wrong this whole time. Men, on the other hand, didn’t want to understand us; they had spent millenniums gaming us and the game had been won a long time ago. Don’t say yes to anything except a marriage request. We agreed on that, but her version of the art was about batting her eyelashes and looking away; mine was jumping into a man’s lap and licking his face and begging him to love me. The problem is that if you are someone who needs them, you are probably also someone incapable of following them. I read “The Rules.” I couldn’t figure out a way to put any of them into action.
In “The Rules,” the husband isn’t a real person — he can’t be because we never get to know him well enough. “The Rules” was supposed to be the cure for all of that; “The Rules” was supposed to be a cure for who we actually were. She didn’t know how I’d ever get a husband if I was so open and eager to share. She excelled at an expression that told her thousands of admirers that she wished were anywhere else. One day, she was preparing for a date with a man named Jerry with the help of her best friend. At exactly five minutes after six, the doorbell rang. I couldn’t figure out how to not look meaningfully into someone’s eyes. Lately I’ve been thinking about “The Rules.” I wrote a novel called “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” which will be published next month.
One by one, they came to me and told me about their new dating lives. I became obsessed to the point of unhinged about their new dating lives, in which all sex is plentiful, on-demand, available, and when it comes to romance, all the rules are off and also all “The Rules” are off.
They told me how different and strange it was to be meeting someone on a phone. While I was doing research, I signed up for some dating apps. I’m 43 and I’ve been married for 13 years, so please pardon what will look like naïveté while I break the news, because there are some people who do not know this yet: These days, a man will send you a series of eggplant emojis and say something to you that is unprintable in this family newspaper.
We will make Before long, there were “Rules” support groups, women sitting in circles, smoking our Virginia Slims and drinking our Zimas, hard-knuckling our desire to call a man back on the actual telephone — there was no texting then and it was terrible and great — or even to talk on a date, or to allow ourselves the pleasure of openly enjoying ourselves with a man.Many of them opened up conversations with the male me asking if I, their suitor, would be open to slapping them or choking them or pulling their hair hard, and let’s just say Rule 36, had the innocent authors of “The Rules” anticipated that a time like this was to come, would probably be not to do that. I leave room for women wanting this level of interaction with a man; of course some women want this.But I also leave room for this being a new tactic in the same old game.The book’s authors, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, promised a generation of women who were at war with themselves (not all of us, but enough of us) that we could find the husbands we dreamed of if only we could control ourselves for a few months (a year tops), sublimate our desires and follow 35 simple rules for attracting and securing a man. Don’t worry: Even if you are a mieskeit, if you put yourself together enough, if you act mysterious enough, you will ignite the heart of a man who is so consumed by the chase that he’ll never really notice that you are incompatible or you are desperately needy or you have untreated clubfoot or your eyes are too close together or you get poppy seeds stuck in your teeth or you have irregular periods or your bikini line is unwieldy or you are a child-hater or your slight but apparent case of untreated scoliosis or you are ambivalent about your religion or you don’t know who you will vote for yet or you do not know how to cook or you have seasonal allergies or you sometimes feel a dark yearning about what you are supposed to be doing on this earth or are similarly vile. We were to prepare ourselves for our new husband-forward philosophy — to become a “Rules girl,” in their vernacular — by getting in shape and learning how to like ourselves, even when the reality of our own countenances made that impossible.
It is not efficient to list all the rules of “The Rules” here, but they came down to: Don’t chase men. Make them want you; you are doing them a favor when you are withholding. The key was to not appear as though you needed love; that was the only way to get it. “So try to change bad habits like slovenliness,” the book beseeched us.
We are sincerely answering the question about eye contact while fellating with an affirmative (instead of, say, just wholesale vomiting onto our screens). But it seems like we’re still conforming to the expectation of the modern male, fueled by his sexual education via many uninterrupted hours of internet porn.