Let’s Remake the Rules

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series My Adventures So Far

Looking for instructions on how to date in this 21st Century world of on-line singles sites, social media, and the three-date rule, I booted up my computer to search Google for answers. Someone had to have directions.

When I downloaded a book called Not Your Mother’s Rules, the sequel to All the Rules, I was ready to give it my best shot. After all, who better to take direction from than the gurus of successful date-to-mate methodology? These authors won a world tour, spots on Oprah and the Today Show, built a $400 per hour consulting business, were translated into eighteen different languages, and raised the hackles of feminists everywhere.

The Rules authors preached how to be not only feminine, but how to lure, bait and hook a man into marriage. They warned, damned near threatened, that if I didn’t listen up and follow their rules, I’d end up alone on Saturday night with takeout Chinese, while women who played by their rules were out on the town.

In the aftermath of over forty years in a dysfunctional marriage, still bruised, and alone for the first time in my life, I was vulnerable to their propaganda. Inundated with how to slink an off-shoulder sweater, wear short skirts, high heels, a chunky-gold watch because it works, or flash a little cleavage to attract a man, I tried it, and I won’t deny that it was a little intoxicating to attract attention. I won’t deny that it worked, either.

But it was the next step, after he’s taken the bait, that shocked me. Once he made a move, showed an interest, we are supposed to ‘play hard to get’ to keep him in the chase, without pause, until we walk down the aisle as husband and wife. As I read on, it became almost absurd. I don’t doubt their methods work, but they were fishing for sharks. I wanted a dolphin.

Everything from grouped-by-age, number of hours to wait before returning his call or text, to demands that keep him hungry for your attention, battered my pride and sense of integrity. It was a game plan, not a relationship guide. We’re to dole attention out methodically or he’ll get bored. Won’t value the conquest…which is us, by the way. But then I wondered where in the world this manipulative relationship went once you did walk down the aisle. How does a wife play hard to get with the man she loves and is married to? What happens to the dynamic used to reel him in once you’re in the boat together, building a family or melding one?

They had an answer for that to. Another book and possibly another tour. I’ll curl up tonight in my robe and slippers to read it, but fear I’m jaded already. I can’t help but wonder, what about those of us who want a centered, balanced relationship, neither a swallow-our-pride-bend-over-and-grab-our-ankles, nor a combative one? Not a fishing contest. There are those of us that like men, want a friend, a lover, and partner. Is that too much to hope for?

 

Series Navigation<< Dating After Divorce ~ The Seduction Conundrum…Let’s Stop It! Just Stop! Get Real! >>

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