20 October 2011

The Rules.

There is a book unlike any other out there. It holds the key to finding true happiness in a relationship as well as in your life. Very few people know I subscribe to its beliefs. I am a self-proclaimed feminist, I have been involved in subversive productions like "The Vagina Monologues," and I am not religious. I have been reluctant to share my belief in this tome, as it's a little... well, traditional.

It's called "The Rules."

Last year I was having severe personal troubles. I was living with my parents, had just started waitressing, and was unsuccessfully dating all of Missy's fiancee's friends. I was in a desperate spot and crying into a bag of tortilla chips nearly everyday.

My mom suggested I buy "The Rules." She apologized for never having given me the tools to understanding dating. Of course I'd been dating since high school, but I was never really in the game. I had always gone out with guys in my class and friend group; never had I been on dates with men with whom I had no relationship. It's a quick transition after school-- whether senior year or college-- to go into the worldwide dating pool. Unlike me, my mom is a woman with the ability to will men to carry her groceries to her car without even blinking a lash. I assumed this was a genealogical trait that had passed over me just like her wavy hair and slim legs. However, I was wiling to listen to the woman who promised me I could cultivate the same power within myself.

I bought it. I read it. I beat myself up. I laughed. I reread. I sighed. I became empowered.

The Rules summarizes all the wives tales and nuggets of wisdom you've ever heard. It's a straightforward code of conduct for dating and ultimately marriage. It's broken down into chapters that synthesize all its points, allowing the reader to go back and reference it at any point she's struggling.

What I love most about this book is how it reinforces all the qualities I love about being a woman. It's truly difficult to have grown up being told I am just as good as the boys, I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to, and that I have the ability to be totally independent. That's great and all, but suddenly I got to a point where being the smart go-getter was my downfall. If I was interested in someone, I would chat him up, ask what he was doing on Friday night, take his number, and become text-obsessed. Then I'd get asked to an intimate evening at his apartment, then sadly realize it was a mass invite to all the eligible ladies in his phone. It wasn't just me; all my girlfriends were in the same boat. We were all educated and had great personalities but we were always in dysfunctional, confusing relationships with men. We'd spend hours questioning their motives. He came over to watch a movie, but he spent the night on the couch. He asked me to brunch, but his roommate was there too. We'd been going out for several weeks, but he had never gone so far as to hold my hand. What the hell is going on?!

This book took all those hours of questioning and translated them into common sense: If he's not calling, not reciprocating, not initiating, then he's NOT INTERESTED. Full stop. Dating is a game that some people are great at only because they follow the rules (whether or not their aware of it.) Ladies, we can be equal in so many other ways to our male counterparts, but when it comes to romance we need to realize and relish the differences in our sexes. (I can't speak for my homosexual brothers and sisters, as I have no first-hand experience in the matter. Guest blogger?)

Those are the basic tenets, but "The Rules" also outlines other feminine qualities that require a refresher course. My favorite is Rule #1: Be a Creature Unlike Any Other. Yes, dammit, I am a great addition to this planet! No one else is me, nor can I be anyone else. Being my personal best is a much more tangible goal than being as smart, as thin, or as anything as another woman.

As soon as I started applying the Rules I noticed a difference almost immediately. It required an attitude adjustment, which I was very much willing to give considering my low success rate. Whether my outlook changed how people responded to me, or vice versa doesn't matter much. The point is that I saw a positive change in my personal life and I'll never go back to the Desperado Days of late. It was only after I had followed the rules that I met my ex. Make no mistake, he was absolutely wonderful until he let his freak flag fly. For that, I'm sorry to say, there are no rule books. However, that's where my personal fabulousness became most important: cultivating the strength to get over being hurt, and finding the next man worthy of being Mr. Me.

As the Rules instructs, onto the next!

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