If you’re wondering what in the world prompted me to read this book, it’s because I have a newly single friend who hasn’t dated in a really long time and who can be a little...impulsive, and I wanted to get her to read it with me. I actually don’t have a huge problem with the book or its premise. If what you want is to get married, then this book might really help. Is it the height of feminist (not to mention queer or polyamorous) enlightenment to put so much importance on getting hitched? Not necessarily, but I do understand the desire to have a partner and be in a committed relationship. I’ll freely admit that that desire is strong in me.
All the Rules is comprised of the original Rules and its sequel, The Rules II. I found the first Rules a lot more compelling and only skimmed the second part, paying attention mostly to chapters like these:
25 Reasons Why Women Want to Call Men but Shouldn’t
Don’t Tell the Media About Your Love Life and Other Rules for Celebrities
Rules for Same-Sex Relationships
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About The Rules
The FAQ does a good job of handling and refuting the things one might take issue with. The first one is “If I do The Rules, how will he know the real me?” That’s a big one, since although Rule #1 is to be “a Creature Unlike Any Other,” I do feel like the books don’t make enough allowances for people in subculture groups. For example, advising a punk girl to take make-up tips from Seventeen isn’t necessarily going to help her snag the emo boy of her dreams.
To boil it down for you, the premise is that playing hard-to-get will make a guy (and specifically guys because men and women are different, and men want to be the aggressor) want to get you, and that you don’t want a guy who isn’t willing to jump through some hoops to get you.
I’m sure there are arguments against the basic concept of sex and gender differences, but I do think that being hard-to-get does often make a person more attractive. For me the important message is about being worth waiting for. If you need to play dating games to teach yourself that lesson, then that’s what you should do.
CATS: I don’t recall any cat references, but I get the feeling that the authors would be wary of women appearing to dote too much on animals.
PS Don’t you love that I managed to buy the book for Barnard? Whether our readers choose to use it as a primary or a secondary source is up to them.