The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, Part 1

The Rules

Let’s get this off the bat: I will actively discourage every female in the world (except those I really hate, of which there are next to none) from reading The Rules. My new rule is that if I find a female with a copy of this book, either physical or electronic, I will immediately distance myself from her.

The biggest problem is it encourages girls to be aloof. I’m a guy, and I’ve tried being aloof. It doesn’t work. Being aloof makes you the loneliest person in the world. If it doesn’t work for a guy, who’s the one doing the chasing, how can it possibly work for a girl? If a girl is supposed to keep her distance from the guy she’s interested in, how is she supposed to behave to the guys she’s NOT interested in? Such questions are never addressed by the book, even though it repeatedly stresses that men are supposed to do the chasing, and women are supposed to sit back and act passive.

OK let’s get with Rule #1 – Be a “creature unlike any other”

On a date, you never show that getting married is foremost on your mind

That’s because if getting married is the foremost thing on your mind, you’re doing it wrong. Do you know why the M word scares men away? Not because we’re afraid of being committed to a woman we love (does that even make sense!?). Because such a woman is desperate. Either she’s desperate for sex (which means she’s also a prude that doesn’t believe in sex before marriage), or she’s desperate for somebody to “complete her life” (the only explanation for which being “she’s broken”) or she’s desperate for kids… puuuuuke.

Compare this with PUA advice for men. Desperate women want marriage… desperate men want pussy. On both genders, desperation kills attraction. But I have never heard of a PUA book going “We know all you want is her pussy, but don’t show it on your mind”. Yet this Rules book goes on and on about marriage, like it’s all a woman wants from a man.

Most women hang around men all night waiting to be asked to dance. But you do The Rules. If he wants to be with you or get your phone number, he’ll search the crowded room until he finds you. You don’t offer him your pen or business card. You dono’t make it easy for him. Don’t even carry them with you or you may be tempted to “help him out.” The reason is that he has to do all the work. As he scrambles around begging the coat-check girl for a pen, you stand by quietly. You think to yourself, “The Rules have begun!”

If I ask a girl for her number and she asks this, you can be pretty sure I’ll be asking the coat-check girl for her number instead. The incredibly obvious reason being you aren’t interested. I mean, it makes sense, right? I go out on a limb and ask you for your number, and all you can do is stand and watch sadistically as I somehow scramble to “do all the work” for you? PUAs will condemn any chump acting like this with good reason – it degrades the man, and he’s obviously wasting his time on a girl who isn’t interested anyway. In fact, such females are called “bitches”.

It’s that simple. You do The Rules and trust that one day a prince will notice that you’re different from all other women he’s known, and ask for your hand!

What prince would put himself in such a humiliating position?

Rule #2 – Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance)

We know what you’re thinking. We know how extreme such a rule must sound, not to mention snobbish, silly, and painful; but taken in the context of The Rules, it makes perfect sense. After all, the premise of The Rules is that we never make anything happen, that we trust in the natural order of things – namely, that man pursues woman.
By talking to a man first, we interfere with whatever was supposed to happen or not happen, perhaps causing a conversation or a date to occur that was never meant to be and inevitably getting hurt in the process. Eventually, he’ll talk to the girl he really wants and drop you.
…perhaps a therapist would say so, but we believe that most men are not shy, just not really, really interested if they don’t approach you…

The forums at are full of men trying to get over their fear of talking to women. Full of them. As such, this belief is completely wrong.

Some of the smartest women try to make things happen under the guise of business. They think they are too educated or talented to be passive, play games, or do The Rules. They feel their diplomas and paychecks entitle them to do more in life than wait for the phone to ring. These women, we assure you, always end up heartbroken when their forwardness is rebuffed. But why shouldn’t it be? Men know what they want. No one has to ask them to lunch.

Uh, wow. Where do we start? With the implication that women aren’t entitled to do more in life than wait for the phone to ring? Or perhaps the not so subtle undercurrent of, shall we say, jealousy or bitterness?

By not accepting the concept that the man must pursue the woman, women put themselves in jeopardy of being rejected or ignored…

That’s ridiculous. So we as men are supposed to be the only ones shouldering rejection? I never really pointed it out before but the last few quotes always seem to be about how not to get your heart broken by a man again. Seriously, if you don’t want heartbreak why are you even in the market?

This one in particular is a gem:

Our dentist friend Pam initiated a friendship with Robert when they met in dental school several years ago by asking him out to lunch. She spoke to him first. Although they later became lovers and even lived together, he never seemed really “in love” with her and her insecurity about the relationship never went away. Why would it? She spoke to him first. He recently broke up with her over something trivial. The truth is he never loved her. Had Pam followed The Rules…

The whole thing reeks of a made up story, made specifically to cater to this particular rule. There is nothing in the story that provides a hard link between the breakup and her speaking to him first. What we have here is pure conjecture, masked by the fact that “She spoke to him first” was repeated twice and emphasized in italics. And how is this relationship a failure? Because it didn’t finish with marriage and “they lived happily ever after”?

We know what you’re thinking: what am I supposed to do all night if no one asks me to dance? Unfortunately, the answer is to go to the bathroom five times if you have to, reapply your lipstick, powder your nose, order more water from the bar, think ahppy thoughts, walk around the room in circles until someone notices you, make phone cals from the lobby to your married friends for encouragement… in short, anything but ask a man to dance. Dances are not necessarily fun for us. They may be fun for other women who just want to go out and have a good time. But you’re looking for love and marriage so you can’t always do what you feel like. You have to do The Rules!

That’s a psycho if I’ve ever read about one. Thank lord German girls don’t behave in this reproachful manner. The paragraph even sounds like something a cult member would say.

If this sounds boring, remember the alternative is worse. Our good friend Sally got so resentful of having to dance with all the “losers” at a particular party that she finally decided to defy The Rules she knew only too well and asked the best looking man in the room to dance. Not only was he flattered, but they danced for hours and he asked her out for the next three nights. “Maybe there are exceptions to The Rules,” she thought triumphantly. She found out otherwise, of course. It seems Mr. Right was in town for just a few days on business and had a girlfriend on the West Coast. No wonder he hadn’t asked anyone to dance that night. He probably just went to the party to have fun, not to find his future wife.


If you find all of this much too hard to do, then don’t go to the dance. Stay home, do situps, watch Seinfeld, and reread The Rules. It’s better to stay home and read The Rules than go out and break them.

We are finally done with this horrible Rule. Typing all my reactions out has certainly prevented a second nauseating headache that manifested during my first read-through of this book…

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