AFTER 30 years of feminism, it turns out that the bestseller among western women today, is a book that teaches women how to play hard to get to hook the man they want. The Rules, is the new controversial Bible for the woman looking for a husband, with time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr Right.
No, this is not agony aunt stuff for the 14-year-old looking for her first date. It is the most talked about book among modern career women in the US, where the rules are almost a cult movement, with Europe following suit.
The Rules, (there are 35), has become more than a book. It has $150-an-hour helplines and even Rules-Watchers (just as you have Weight-Watchers).
The feminists are hopping mad, but its two authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, both in their 30s and married to their respective Mr Rights, think that feminism has missed out on the heart of the matter. There have been how to books on dating. New York has institutes running dating courses and seminars on subjects like How to steal the man you want from the arms of another woman. But it is The Rules, that has snared the unmodern dreams of the modern woman, with its outrageous simplicity, unapologetic celebration of feminine guile and insolent ignorance of a generation of feminism.
We dont want to give up our liberation, but neither do we want to come home to empty apartments, say women, who are now happily married. The truth of the matter is that deep inside, we really wanted to get marriedthe romance, the gown, the flowers, the presents, the honeymoonthe whole package. The books purpose is to make Mr Right obsessed with having you as his. In our grandmothers days, they called it playing hard to get. Whatever you call it she had more marriage proposals than shoes. If you follow the tenets of the firmly declare, always get their man. And if youre not Melanie, The Rules can make you a born-again Melanie.
And so, Rule 1: Be a creature unlike any other. Pause between sentences, look demurely, never stare, breathe slowly, stand straight, keep moving for they have to catch you in motion. Rule 2: Dont talk to a man first. Treat the man you are really crazy about like the man youre not interested in at all. When he asks you out, silently count to five before saying yes. It will make him nervous and thats good. If he proposes a cheap date, say Sure. Because remember, Youre Hard To Get But Easy To Be With. Other tips: When walking down the street, drop his hand first, ever so slightly. Call him once for every five times he calls you. Women who let men know how much they need to be with someone invite bad behaviour.
Men like women who wear fashionable, sexy clothes in bright colours. So why not please them? Remember that you dress for men, not other women, so always strive to look feminine. Men like women. So dont act like a man. Be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile. And so, The Rules proceeds. When you sometimes do call backand it must be sometimes, and remember only call backmake sure to end the phone call first. Never talk for more than 10 minutes. Use a timer. When the timer goes, you go too.
Some donts on a date: Dont tell him what a mess you were before you met him, or give him the third degree about his past relationships, and dont say Weve got to talk, in that serious tone or hell bolt from the bar stool. And like calls, always end the date first.
Dont rush into sex. Its not okay if a woman sleeps with a man and he doesnt call. In bed, stay emotionally cool no matter how hot the sex gets. Most women turn men off because they try to exploit the physical closeness of sex to gain emotional closeness, security and assurances about the future. Forget Masters and Johnson, now divorced. Dont cling. Be casual and unmoved and with that attitude, chances are that he will be the one hanging on.
Dont tell a man what to do, dont expect him to change or even attempt to change him, dont live with a man or leave your things in his apartment, dont date a married man and above all, remember these golden rules and practice, practice, practice! The 35 rules are meant to be learnt by rote. For the Americans, being a tease, can be codified into a program, and that is what The Rules does. Feminist strides, some thought, had left teasing tactics behind. But feminism is more likely to be forgotten than the feminine way.
The success of the book has surprised its publishers. HarperCollins isnt talking figures but this book is a bestseller many times over. The book is not a revelation but a restatement. Many, some would say too many, women now want to hear that after years, when feminine had become a bad word.