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“The Rules”: An Answer to the Hookup Culture or Revisited Hype?

“The Rules”: An Answer to the Hookup Culture or Revisited Hype?
MBL Editors

“The Rules”: An Answer to the Current Hookup Culture or Revisited Hype?

By E. Wilson

In 1995, dating consultants Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider released of book of secrets for single women to attract and instigate courtship with quality men.  Following a traditionalist approach to dating, this book known as The Rules was a mainstream success in the 90s, and popularized playing hard to get as a feminine form of power.  After releasing two similar themed books on marriage and online dating, the authors made a comeback in 2013 with their latest release Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating.  NYMR revamps the original by including new rules on texting, skyping, and social media in gearing towards a younger audience of 18-23 year olds.

Fein and Schneider clearly knew their target audience well. NYMR became a New York Times Bestseller and remains a popular staple for discussion among many relationship sites online. A basic Google search of “The Rules” leads one to blogs, certified-“Rules” dating coaches, events for singles, and profiles of fans of the book who loyally identify under the hashtag #RulesGirls.  In the hookup culture where it seems like men are looking for anything but commitment, it’s reasonable for marriage-minded women to have a game strategy for weeding out scrubs to get what the kind of men they want.

However, some of the foundational dating rules such as not sitting or standing next to a guy first (Rule 5), or not talking too much in the first few weeks (Rule 13) may lead one to question what type of mate would put up with this kind of behavior.  Even without jumping on the bandwagon 100%, many women find value in following the book as The Rules play a dual role.  The Rules provide basic precepts in every stage of a relationship and assists women in protecting themselves against men who are just looking to hook-up.  While there are rules listed that seem outright ridiculous (waiting 4 hours to return a call?…sheesh), others function as a primer on vetting of a man’s character when used properly.

For example, here are a few of the rules Fein and Schneider list that are common sense but often ignored.

Rule 1: Be a creature like no other.

Rule 16: Don’t lose your friends because you’re so obsessed with a guy.

Rule 20: Don’t choose a college or job or relocate because of a guy.

Rule 23: Don’t be self-destructive by dating married, unavailable, and other mix-messages guys.

Rule 30: Don’t date indefinitely without a commitment.

These five alone should be no-brainers for grown, intelligent women in navigating the dating game.  Sure, the premise of playing hard to get is not new, and as The Rules continue to be promoted, men who intend to have the upper hand will come up with their own set of standards in countersuit.  But the point being is this: women of quality are worth pursuing, and should not have to succumb to random hook-ups nor tolerate behavior that only leads to heartache.