The Rules came out in 1996 but I didn’t read it until 2011. I would sometimes come across references to The Rules throughout the years, mostly negative. It wasn’t until friends independently starting reading it that I decided to pick up a copy for myself to see what all the fuss was about.
The book that set me on the path of anti-Rules prejudice was Melissa Bank’s A Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing. If I recall correctly, the protagonist details a failed relationship in each chapter and by the last one she decides to do The Rules. When she finally meets Mr Right, she almost screws it all up because he finds her off-putting and complains of feeling toyed with. So she stops doing The Rules and they end up together.
Indeed, the most common criticism of The Rules is that they are about manipulating men. Women who follow The Rules, so the narrative goes, are presenting a false version of themselves. These women are pathetic because they have to use sneaky tactics to get married.
I plan on presenting the main ideas of each chapter and discussing whether they are helpful or not in the women’s quest to get married.
Because a quest it is. The Rules are fairly obsessed with getting married. But even this is, on some level, refreshing. Marriage is the goal, not getting a long-term boyfriend who will leave you when he gets bored with you. The Rules are traditionalist to the core.