Summary: Not Your Mother’s Rules By Ellen Fein
Summary: Not Your Mother’s Rules By Ellen Fein

Summary: Not Your Mother’s Rules By Ellen Fein

Be a Creature Unlike Any Other

Being a Creature Unlike Any Other is not about being the prettiest or most popular girl, but about confidence and self-esteem no matter what else is going on in your life. It’s about dating with dignity and not being desperate. A CUAO is not anxious or jealous or negative or cynical. She believes in love, even after a bad breakup. She would never say that there’s no one good at a singles event or that only losers are on dating websites or that she’ll never meet anyone. Instead, she walks into a club like she owns the place and tells herself as she circles the room, “I’m beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to talk to me? There is someone out there for me.” Of course, she may not really feel this way or totally believe it, but she acts as if she does! If any of us had waited until we felt like dating after a bad breakup, we might still be waiting. How long should you wait to date again? One day is more than enough—the best way to get over a guy is just to meet another one! You can cry over your ex while Googling speed-dating events. You have no time to waste!

Being a CUAO is also about doing the best with what you have, not wishing you were someone else. It doesn’t matter if you were not popular in high school, if your family is dysfunctional, or if you are unemployed; you are optimistic and don’t complain (at least not on dates!). You still show up with a hot outfit and a smile on your face. You hold your head up high without staring at any man; you walk around the room repeating the mantra that you are beautiful and any man would be lucky to meet you!


Don’t Talk to or Text a Guy First

The intention behind talking to or texting a guy first falls into three basic categories. The first and worst is to create a relationship. The second and more subtle is to remind him that you exist, or even ask him out, if you don’t hear from him after a date. The third is to get closure because you haven’t heard from him in a while. All three are pretexts for making things happen or keeping a relationship going, and totally against The Rules.

Talking to or texting a guy first may make you feel cool, but essentially you’re just getting in the back door, creating a relationship that may never have happened otherwise. He may date you because he is flattered or bored or because you’re nice, but he probably isn’t truly crazy about you. You might get mixed messages from him—sometimes he acts interested, sometimes he forgets you exist—but that isn’t a Rules relationship. When a guy talks to you or texts you first, he is never ambivalent. He is always interested and always in touch. If you talk to or text a guy first and end up in a relationship with him, you might be confused when he eventually ends it, but trust us, it’s because you made the first move.

In a Rules relationship, a guy contacts you after a date to ask you out again. You never need to text him first at any point, because he is always texting you about the next date. So if you don’t hear from him again, the relationship is over and contacting him to keep it going (“Had a great time, thanks for dinner!” or “Haven’t heard from you, is everything okay?”) is a ruse that won’t work. Your tactics might extend the relationship briefly, but eventually he will end it by never texting you again. Save yourself time and heartache by not texting a guy first—ever.


Don’t Sit or Stand Next to a Guy First or Flirt with Him First

WHILE TALKING TO or texting a guy first is clearly aggressive behavior and not The Rules, you might be wondering if sitting next to a guy you like in class or standing next to a guy at a bar or party or flirting with him is okay. Isn’t “innocently” sitting or standing or walking over to his area or making flirtatious eye contact relatively benign? No! It shows much more interest than you think!

If you ask someone to switch seats with you on a train so you can sit next to a guy you think is cute, you are wasting your time. You will never know if he would have switched seats to sit next to you, and you may be initiating a relationship that was never meant to be. A guy knows within minutes or even seconds of boarding a train or walking into a party who he wants to sit next to or approach, and doesn’t need any help figuring it out. So even if you sit next to him or make eye contact from across the aisle, he will still track down the girl he thinks is pretty or is his type.

Women create situations in which they can subtly flirt. They reach for the same item at the grocery store, they wait next to him for a drink at a bar, they purposely brush up against him at a crowded party, or they take the elevator going down instead of up. You can stand next to him all day at the gym, pretending to be waiting for the elliptical machine, and you can put a force field around him, but he will eventually find the girl he likes and walk over to her, chat her up, grab her phone, and even call himself from it so he has her number for sure. Don’t even bother! If you see a guy you like, wait for him to walk over to you. That’s the only way it works with men!


TTYL: Always End Everything First—Get Out of There!

Some women feel rude or disingenuous about ending chats first, but it’s not a game. Doing so indicates that you have a full schedule and healthy boundaries. Are you with a friend, at a meeting, at the gym, in class, or with your book club? Guys who wonder where you’re off to are more likely to text again and ask you out, even if they claim that they are receptive to girls who chat openly and frequently.

If you are worried about being perceived as abrupt, remember that guys have no problem ending a conversation first. You could be in the middle of a great chat and then BAM, he says he has to go, the football game just started or his roommate walked in. Remember that guys can be your adversary. They have the power to turn it off in an instant, to never text again, or never to ask you out. You can protect yourself by ending every interaction first.

And don’t wait for that perfect moment or lull in the conversation to end the texting. Who knows when that will be? Just keep track of time and end the chat first—“G2GO!” Don’t run the risk of his shutting it down first. You will be the one wondering why he had to go and you will start spinning it into something bad in your head! If he ends the conversation first, you might feel so insecure about the relationship that you text him again later to make sure everything is okay, and wind up breaking another Rule! It’s like fairy dust: when you don’t let him end interactions first, you somehow cast a spell on him and he always wants you more.


Stay Away from His Facebook Profile

We understand that when you like a guy, you want to know everything about him. You want to walk by his frat house or office, you want to see what his ex-girlfriend looks like, you want to read his LinkedIn profile, his Twitter stream, or anything else for clues and insights into his personality. You want to study his Facebook profile like a religion. You want to see anything he’s ever posted or was posted about him online. You want to spy on him!

But in doing so, you might notice things that irk you, like girls writing on his wall or tagging him in photos. You might find out about a party that you weren’t invited to or see what he did Friday night that he didn’t tell you about. What was that about the hot tub at the snowboarding event? Why is his arm around that girl? We understand it’s upsetting to read or see these kinds of things, but that does not mean he is cheating or that you have anything to worry about. There are non-Rules Girls who will hug guys for the camera or try to make it seem like more is going on than there is. They have no life and want to find their fifteen minutes of fame on Facebook—don’t give it to them! Don’t believe everything you see or read. Sometimes a mean girl will post a photo of your crush with her just to stir things up. But don’t freak out. Half the time it’s not what you think!

Pretend you were born in another era when all you knew about a guy was how he treated you, not what you might see on Facebook. You wouldn’t write on his wall, much less be addicted to reading it. We know you’re going to look at his profile, but here’s the key: make sure you do not quote it when you are with him. Never even bring up his Facebook page, much less say, “I see Chelsea friended you” or “I guess you had a really busy day skiing.” You will sound like a stalker.


Don’t Introduce a Guy to Anyone First, Invite Him Anywhere First, or Friend His Friends First

THESE DAYS, NO one is separated by more than six degrees. The world may have more people in it, but it’s definitely getting smaller; everyone is a friend of a friend—of a friend. With all this connecting and reconnecting, you can suddenly be linked to nine hundred people and not even think twice about it!

But some women are using and abusing social networking sites to “meet” a guy’s friends or family before he has made an official introduction. They feel that getting friendly with his people will bring them closer to him or help seal the deal. We understand the temptation to put his buddies, coworkers, mother, sister, or cousin on your radar, but it’s a big mistake to make the first move into his world without his say-so. His friends and family might find it aggressive or even weird and creepy for you to invade their cyberspace—and it could backfire if they tell him that.

What’s so bad about sending his mom a Facebook message to ask about her chicken soup recipe? Where’s the harm in posting on his frat brother’s wall how awesome their party was last weekend? Much like writing on his wall, in such situations you’re pursuing his people, which is totally against The Rules. It can be interpreted as borderline stalker-ish and might scare him away. It will make a guy, even one who initially pursued you, feel suffocated. You appear too involved in his business when you should barely notice who his friends are! It’s like ringing his best friend’s doorbell when you happen to be walking by instead of waiting for the guy you are dating to introduce you. It has pushy and eager written all over it! You want the guy you are dating to introduce you when he is ready, and accept their friend requests when they are ready to make them. That way he is more likely to preface his introduction with “This is the girl I’ve been telling you so much about,” as opposed to “This is the girl who friended you and has been begging to meet you.”


Don’t Pay for Dinner or Buy His Love in Any Way

When you give too much in the beginning of a relationship, a guy will sense it and lose interest. It is another way in which you become the pursuer and it becomes obvious that you like him. In addition, guys have pride and don’t want to be supported, even if they initially go along with a woman’s generosity. Brenda, a thirty-five-year-old CEO, was dating her yoga instructor. She let him stay at her city apartment on nights that he worked late, hoping that would lead to exclusivity. After some time passed, she suggested he move in so he wouldn’t have to commute to the suburbs (and really so that they could be together more often). A few weeks after they started living together, Brenda found text messages to other women on his phone. When she confronted him, he claimed, “I never said we were exclusive. It was your idea that I live here, not mine.” He wasn’t even grateful for his rent-free accommodations! Brenda was crying because she had thought he could be The One. The authors told her to have him pack his bags right away. More importantly they told her not to try to lure or trap a guy with her money, possessions, or perks, especially not to keep a relationship going. It never works!

If you are a generous person, then help your friends or find a charity and do volunteer work. But don’t use your positive quality as an excuse to do or buy things for a guy you are dating, because you will be putting yourself in a position to be used or hurt. Whether you’re giving him money for a car tune-up, cleaning his apartment for him, or getting him an interview at your law firm—it’s too much. You should not have to work that hard to get a guy’s interest. A Rules Girl doesn’t have to buy a guy’s love or attention. If you are doing more than going on dates and being a CUAO, then you are doing too much!