I started to feel like I was living two different lives: One as the committed mom and one as the jet-setting photographer, all the while seriously doubting I was doing either well.
It’s January which means self-help books are a-plenty and all the ‘New Year New You’ shit is floating around, if you’ll excuse that gross-and-unintentional pun.
Prominent in this oeuvre of self harm/self sabotage/[insert own self-xxx here] is Not Your Mother’s Rules – The New Secrets For Dating, released today. Get it now folks!
It’s the latest in the (too) long line of misery-inducing books from Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, the women who devised The Rules way back in the dark ages of ’95 when we were wearing boot cut jeans. It was the book that sold £1.6 million copies, was a New York Times bestseller and more potent than the Second World War propagandist campaigns.
Fast forward to their latest tome and - Spoiler Alert! - despite the authors’ protestations to the contrary, nothing has changed. Back in the ‘90s the advice basically amounted to ignoring men to the point of having them wonder if you might actually have died and constantly keeping your gob shut (this applies to talking and blow jobs). Oh and be passive at all times.
The ‘updated’ version aimed at ‘the online generation’ is exactly the same except whereas before you were ignoring his calls or not calling him, this time you’re ignoring his texts/ichat messages/tweets, not texting him back. Gerrit?
To give it you straight from the mule’s mouth, here is some pithy advice on internet dating dispensed by the love ‘gurus’ in an interview with Avi Roseman on Jdate, note my comments/questions IN CAPITAL LETTERS below each point, for added clarity…
“Don’t answer a guy’s ad, and post a light and breezy ad talking about interests, hobbies, favorite foods, books, movies, etc.” DEAR MAN OF MY DREAMS, I LOVE PINK AND PONIES AND BAKING CUPCAKES. I’M BREEZY!
“Don’t mention anything about dreams and regrets and include a couple of sexy photos.” OH GOD DOES THIS MEAN THAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE SENT A PICTURE OF MY VEST-CLOAKED BREASTS TO A SUITOR WITH THE WITTY CAPTION ‘MY TITS ARE BORED?’ HAVE I FUCKED IT UP NOW?
“If a guy doesn’t ask you out within 4 emails, next! Rules girls are looking for dates, not pen pals.” *SCRATCHES HEAD…WHAT IF HE SENDS YOU FOUR EMAILS IN ONE DAY AS PART OF A WITTY BACK AND FORTH EXCHANGE? DOES THAT COUNT AS ONE OR FOUR? HELP! I’M CONFUSED!
“Wait as long as you can” before having sex. We are not prudish, just careful!” DOES WAITING TILL WE GET HOME COUNT?
“A woman cannot email, or even wink at a guy's profile, without becoming the aggressor and possibly getting hurt down the line when the guy dumps her for the woman whose profile he really likes. The only way to be sure that a guy is interested is to let him make the first move.” IN OTHER WORDS, WAIT UNTIL HELL ITSELF FREEZES OVER BEFORE EVER ACTUALLY GOING ON A DATE.
Okay, so I jest but the central premise, this idea that women should never do anything proactive to pursue a man is such bullshit, and, crucially, counter productive. If I never got in touch with a guy, texted him first, asked him out, whatever, I’d never see a guy. Like ever. Because it just doesn’t work like that anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a guy to call me up using his actual voice and invite me for dinner at a specific place on a specific day at a specific time (Shit. A. Brick) but there’s every chance that won’t happen. I repeat, dating just doesn’t work in that traditional way anymore.
A friend, who I was emailing recently about – guess what? – ambiguously positioned boys in our lives, goes as far to say that our roles have completely reversed. It is us women doing the pursuing now. Go us! Sisters doing it for themselves etc!
I know that’s true for me, because if I want to see if a guy would like to test out this new burrito spot then I’ll – doh! - ask him. It’s the logical next step. You know, rather than sitting at home as your chastity belt is moth-eaten around you.
The point is, there are no rules, which is what makes The Rules and other dating books complete bollocks. The End.
Ps. If you want to really scare yourself/have a right good LOL, check out the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ bit. Or marvel here at a selection of their titles: Why Men Marry Bitches; How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You In 90 Minutes; Catch Him And Keep Him…and so it goes on.