This story might be one to add to the realm of urban legend: a friend of a friend was a little down on her luck with love and money. In an effort to troubleshoot the easiest issue first, my friend suggested, “Maybe you can get a job as a nanny,” to which Debbie Downer responded, “I don’t want to be a nanny; I want to have a nanny!” Subsequently, she purchased a relationship book called The Rules and followed the book’s dating advice to the T. Six months later, she was engaged to the handsome wealthy man of her dreams. She’s now (presumably) happily married with two kids… and a nanny.
It’s taken me a while to face the fact that there are rules of engagement one must follow to properly attract and trap — I mean keep — a partner. For a long time, I acknowledged them but met them with resistance. I’d hear the usual, “Don’t kiss on the first date,” “Wait at least two days to return his call,” “Don’t give it up too easily.” When I was younger, I would adhere to some of these guidelines, but always netted out feeling, “It’s all too much. I don’t want to play games. I want to be honest about how I feel and let a relationship unfold naturally.” So, years later, when I finally read Not your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating, a follow-up to The Rules, I was ready to roll my eyes before even cracking open its digital cover.
The book was immediately hard to take seriously because the writing and structure was a little elementary and repetitive (but I guess dating advice has to be drilled into the receiver’s head). It was a little salesy — the writers seemed to be selling their consulting services. And the book seemed to imply that most women were lowly, desperate creatures. This particular version is about dating in the digital age, so it covers things like how to handle online dating, Facebooking, Tweeting and texting; they even included a handy little “Text-Back Times” table, which outlines how long you should wait before responding to a text, depending on how old you are. For example, if you are in the 18-22 age range, you should wait 30 min to an hour to respond to a guy’s text. If you’re older than 31, you should wait at least three hours! My thought: these chicks are cray. And it doesn’t stop there.