Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jogging in Lipstick: The first 5 Rules

First and foremost, all block quoted text is by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. They own the material I'm about to analyze in a scholarly way. Ladies, I am sure you are good people who mean well. I am too.

Let's dig in shall we?!

There are a few introductory chapters in The Rules. You see, I bought All The Rules, which melds books I and II and I intend to go through it in order. So: introductory chapters! The authors attribute The Rules to their friend Melanie's grandmother. A couple of chapters later it seems that their friend Melanie is their "friend" Melanie, as they totally girlbash her looks. But I'm getting ahead of myself. You see, because The Rules were passed down by grandmothers they are old fashioned and THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. What are The Rules exactly?

The purpose of The Rules is to make Mr. Right obsessed with having you as his by making yourself seem unattainable. In plain language, we're talking about playing hard to get!

Well, I'm already in trouble. They go on to explain that when you follow their system, you won't be suspicious of the time your Mr. Right spends with "attractive" or "bosomy" women because he will think you are the "sexiest woman alive." Translation: Harlots who don't follow The Rules should always be suspicious of girls with bigger boobs. I've only read 50 pages so far, but there seems to be an awfully strong undercurrent of girl-on-girl hate in this book.

The authors have a strictly mean girl tone throughout. Oh, you can live your life how you like, they seem to say, but you'll never actually be happy. Don't you want to be happy, single women? Is your career really that fulfilling? Aren't you just fooling yourself?

One of the basic tenants of The Rules is the treat the man you want as if you don't want him; if he doesn't knock down your door to win you, he's not worth it. Here's my problem with this: I find it fulfilling to let people know that I care about them and appreciate them. Why is that bad? Because then you will never get a husband, the book seems to hiss in my ear. Moving on...

Remember Melanie? Here's the description of their friend:

If you had ever met Melanie, you wouldn't have thought she was extraordinarily pretty or smart or special, but you might have noticed that she had a way of behaving around men that put prom queens to shame.

Can you not just see the scene?
"Melanie! You're in our book!"
"Oh yay! Where?"
"Chapter 3!"

So after we meet Melanie and see how she makes the most out of her Thunder Road complex ("you ain't a beauty but hey you're all right," remember?) then we get to the last step before you can start The Rules: the complete makeover. Lose some weight, fattie! And wear a skirt! And makeup! And keep your hair long! And don't laugh! Seriously, guys. I wish I could just post this entire chapter for you to read. I repeatedly thundered down the steps of my place last night, mouth agape, brandishing the book at my roommate, shouting, "OH MY GOD! THIS BOOK IS EVIL!" A few tips from The Rules, regarding your appearance:

* Don't be a slob (men don't like slobs)
* Wear "sexy clothes in bright colors" (men like this)
* Remember that you are dressing for men, not women
* Always wear makeup, even when jogging (men like makeup)
* Don't cut your hair short (men like long hair)
* Exercise (men don't like wobbly bits)

Okay, they say one thing I can get behind: wear clothes that flatter you. Unfortunately, they word it in the mean girl way, clothes that "hide your hips." You guys know that I am a very huge believer in always wearing clothes that fit and flatter, no matter the number on the tag. Girls and boys! This is the most important part of dressing well! And you know what? Sometimes it's a good idea to ACCENTUATE your hips, you fabulous creature!

Ah, and then there's this:

Do everything you possibly can to put your best face forward. If you have a bad nose, get a nose job; color gray hair; grow your hair long.

GET A NOSE JOB!? What!? But wait, it's not just your appearance you should change. Your personality could use an overhaul, too.

Be feminine. Don't tell sarcastic jokes. Don't be a loud, knee-slapping, hysterically funny girl.

We can all agree I'm screwed, right?

This post is turning out to be much longer than I thought! Let's get into the first 5 Rules shall we?

Rule 1:
Be a "Creature Unlike Any Other"

Believe that you are worthy of love.
BS Meter:
Pretty sound advice. This is one of the only things in the book I can get behind.
Points of Interest:
Even if you don't feel good, never let on. Act like you feel good until you do feel good. Act like you are pretty, even if you're the ugliest of your friends. FEELINGS BAD. PRETENDING GOOD.

Meg's Alternate Rule:
Actually, this one is okay. Even if you are just existing, you are worthy of love. I believe that about everyone. Especially myself.

Rule 2:
Don't Talk to a Man First (and Don't Ask Him to Dance)

You'll ruin the natural order of nature! Men are supposed to pursue women!
BS Meter:
You have got to be kidding me. Also, these authors are obsessed with going to dances. They're always like "just wait around till someone asks you to dance." Who goes to dances? Other than my one friend who does swing dancing once a week?
Points of Interest:
Oh ho ho. You get tons of examples of Those Who Did Not Believe and they all end up MISERABLE.
Had Pam followed The Rules, she would never have spoken to Robert or initiated anything in the first place. [...]she might have met someone else who truly wanted her. She would not have wasted her time. Rules girls don't waste time.

And none for Gretchen Wieners, bye.

Meg's Alternate Rule:
Engage in conversation with people. You don't have to have a motive behind it like friendship or Forever Love. Just talk to people.

Rule 3:
Don't Stare at Men or Talk Too Much

Let him do the talking and only look coyly at him from time to time. If you stare, he'll know you wanna have lots of sex and babies.
BS Meter:
Points of Interest:
He'll think you're interesting and mysterious, unlike many of the women he's dated. Don't you want him to think about you like that?

And everything else you've ever done makes you seem like a boring tramp.

Meg's Alternate Rule:
If you think someone is attractive, you should have a conversation with them to see if you share any interests or values. Also, making eye contact is a good way to let someone know you are interested.

Rule 4:
Don't Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date

The Man should go out of his way to see The Woman and The Man should always pay for dates.
BS Meter:
Seriously annoying.
Points of Interest:
Love is easy when the man pursues the woman and pays for the woman most of the time.

Love is easy when it feels like an escort service.

Meg's Alternate Rule:
Whomever does the asking does the paying. Find something fun to do on a date - if it's equidistant from your respective homes, even better!

Rule 5:
Don't Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls

He might be busy and you would be interrupting him. Better to wait for him to call so he's not mad at you. And if you make him wait to hear your voice, he'll like you more!
BS Meter:
Over the moon. Seriously? Don't call and rarely return phonecalls? Maybe this worked better in the mid-90s, before everyone was instantly accessible.
Points of Interest:
Life has enough pain without our adding man pain to it. We can't control cancer or drunk drivers, but we can restrain ourselves from dialing his number.

You don't want to give yourself telephone cancer, do you?

Meg's Alternate Rule:
Oh my god, pick up the phone. Just don't get obsessive about it.


  1. i will not fear telephone cancer!

  2. My mother would be ashamed of me if I followed these rules. And my grandmother would come back from the dead just to smack me upside the head. But I am a glass-half-full kind of girl, so let's be grateful for the fact that this shit is going to get my heart rate up from my all-consuming rage and hatred that evil misogynists like these assholes are spreading this hateful, destructive drivel around. And that raised heart rate is good for my cardiovascular health. And for helping me lose 20 lbs since apparently I need to do that if I'm ever to catch a man. What with my grey hair and all.

  3. This feels like how to strip yourself of all interesting bits and become a Stepford 101. I would not take this class. If I were forced to, I would clearly fail.

  4. Wearing makeup when you work-out is assinine. I see women at races who are fully made-up all the time and I just want to smack them. You are about to sweat! And that is the same thing that any reasonable man is thinking. These rules aren't about finding a husband, they're about attracting a douche bag.

  5. Heehee ... that's exactly it. This book should be subtitled, "How to Attract a Douche."

  6. I'm with Amy - I always laugh at the women who are all made up before a *triathlon*.

    I didn't even know this book existed, and I'm none too pleased that I do now. Thanks, Wow.

  7. "Don't be a loud knee slapping hysterically funny girl" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Honestly, I need to see a photo of these writers or hear a sound byte or something. Who thinks being a piece-of-toast robot is better than hysterically funny?

  8. I like the part about not calling him, "so he doesn't get mad." What guy will get mad if a woman calls him? As if he will be so irritated at you for daring to contact him. "tuh! Meg! Why would you call me to see if I want to get ice cream? I'm obviously very busy right now, which is why I answered the phone! God, you've made me so mad."