Category Archives: Book Reviews

Rules debate

Hi everyone,

I have turned off the comments for the post “Rule #5 Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls“. I think a bunch of good points have been brought up, both about this particular rule and The Rules in general, and I don’t think any more hashing out needs to happen.

In fact one of the reasons I quit updating this blog was because I got tired of The Rules project, because The Rules themselves are tiresome. I mainly see them as somewhat helpful guidelines for clueless women, with much silliness thrown in.

Apparently, a new edition is coming out in a couple of months. At some point I will read it and report on it. In the meantime, I’d like to know if you get anything out of this blog and want you’d like to read on. Book reviews? Specific topics? Dating? Singleness?



Filed under Personal, The Rules

Dating Insights from Carolyn Hax

Reading Carolyn Hax is like a sitting down with a hip, worldly older friend. Her advice may be coming from a secular point of view, but at least it contains much sense and even a bit of refreshing prudishness.

Recently I read her book, “Tell me about it: lying, sulking, and getting fat and 56 other things not to do while looking for love” and I would recommend it to any single looking for advice on things to watch out for while dating (or who is in a dating funk). Excerpts follow.

What not to do when dating:

2. Get fat.

The person who gets fat, who gets big as an adult from eating too much – as opposed to being lifelong big […] – does himself the grave disservice of making his “issues” immediately visible.

15. Have sex before you mean it.

There is, in fact, no way to make this point without sounding like a prig. So if I’m going to be the prig here, I’m going to be the prig with gusto: Stop having sex with people before you develop an exclusive emotional bond with them, you slut.

22. Pine silently for your “friend”.

Just tell the person your feelings have changed and deal with the consequences. In fact, if you are a man, confess as soon as you feel them change. Otherwise, the object of your affection will pick up on your unexpressed feelings (instantaneously – trust me on this) and will, consciously or not, read your silence as a sign of weakness. Not a great moment for your masculinity. Call it sexist, but I call it true: Women can get away with hesitation, men can’t.

23. Be indecisive.

This much I know: Indecision in men is a deal breaker. [..] A decisive man, on the other hand, is a magnet, for reasons that are hard to describe. […] Whatever the reason is, it’s gone, pft, the moment a woman sees she has to run the whole show.

47. Listen to your family and friends and ignore your family and friends.

On one subject, though, friends and families almost universally excel. […] They can tell if you’re happy. If one of them sits you down and says, “I’m worried about you,” listen.

49. Expect marriage to fix a problem.

If you’re considering marriage, don’t look deep into her pretty green eyes and ask if you can imagine life without them. Look deep into your problems with her and ask, “Am I ready to make these permanent?”.

56. Be a single parent and have screwed-up priorities.

Don’t fear being alone. Fear him. Fear the weakness in you that makes you so deeply crave the presence of someone in your life that you’ll let anyone into your life, regardless of how toxic.

58. Rule out the possibility that you might always be single.

Marriage has rewards I won’t torture you by listing here […] and still, anyone who shares a life with someone is lying if she says there’s nothing about single life she misses (or she’s choosing to forget what she misses about it). […] Having been both, I’d rate the quality of these common life configurations as follows:

1. Happily coupled
2. Happily single
3. Unhappily single
1,074 Unhappily coupled

Here are some things single people should never take for granted: making your own decisions – great stuff, I could stop the list there. But then I’d leave out the surface perks – viewing habits, eating habits, reading-in-bed habits […] and the profound ones – where you live and what house you live in and how you live within it. Eight hours of undisturbed sleep, bliss bliss bliss. If there’s a mess, it’s your mess. Ice cream for dinner! Cool! No section off holidays to appease the needy in-laws! Cooler. No compromising on the future you see for yourself. Coolest.


It’s only when you’ve made some sort of peace with yourself that your judgment becomes reliable. Then you can look at your already happy life and decide, does this person add enough to justify the compromises?

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Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Single

OSC vs The Rules vs The Game

One of my favorite writers is Orson Scott Card. Hopefully you have read Ender’s Game, but if you have not, then you should run out immediately and buy it. Besides having written many wonderful books, for the last 12 years he has written a column about… everything. I started reading along at a tender age right when it first got going, so OSC is one of my greatest influences, in ways both small and great.

I’ve linked to his stuff on occasion, most recently his entertaining smack-down of the movie Think Like a Man. OSC did not like that the movie employed the tiresome trope about men always being in the wrong and women always being in the right. This movie is based on a popular self-help book by Steve Harvey that OSC mentions is not very good. OSC much prefers He’s Just Not That Into You, which is also a favorite here at Datingwise. In the essay OSC also gives a thumb down to The Rules, mentioning that it is based on “manipulation instead of candid conversation”.

Loyal readers hopefully know that here at Datingwise, I endorse The Rules, tho with reservations. I have never, ever found a man that will agree with them, and I don’t expect to. So I would advise ladies who follow them to avoid mentioning that to men.

Instead of manipulative, I prefer to view The Rules as an effort to regain a lost script for courtship.

As the writers of The Rules point out, men may say that they hate them but once you start following them, they work. Indeed, in another column, OSC mentions how his wife came to be Mrs Card.

 I had my years as a jerk of a single guy, who called — or didn’t — without any relationship to what I said I would do. But then I grew up. Suddenly, at the ripe old age of 24, I realized that I didn’t like the dating game. I didn’t like pursuing women till I got them and then wondering what in the world to do with them. I was ready to be a grownup.

So I went over to see the smartest, most independent, and — for me, at least — best woman I ever dated, whom I had broken up with about six months before, and I …

Proposed to her.

Yep. Because I knew that she would have to have some kind of proof that I had changed, and this time I was serious. She made me wait four-and-a-half months for an answer. And during the interim, she didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for me. All was not instantly forgiven.

Gee… that sounds familiar. What his wife did is right out of The Rules: OSC was attracted to the independent woman who didn’t make it easy for him… And by doing so, the suddenly serious OSC stuck around.

Was she manipulating him? It doesn’t sound like OSC thinks so! No, she did the right thing, letting him prove his worth to her.

I suppose there are women who could employ The Rules in order to get married and who don’t really care about who will play the role of husband. And I do think that if you blindly do The Rules, you could end up with someone you don’t really care about because he’s some sort of über hunter Alpha Male who does enjoy the chase and you have enjoyed being chased. But for the most part, that’s not what they are about. They contain some insight into male psychology that many post-feminism women have no clue about.

Let’s contrast that to The Game/Roissy, which is the opposite of The Rules. Never tell a decent woman you have read The Game or Roissy. She will get pissed or be horrified, because you wanna talk about manipulation? It’s here in spades.

Roissy has a famous post about how to treat attractive women:

What part of those rules has anything to do with friendship or love or affection? They are extremely condescending and misogynistic. Make her jealous. Date around in order not to be “too in” to her. Don’t be generous with her. Don’t be afraid to lose her.

If you don’t have a problem with these “commandments”, imagine that they are about your daughter, sister, niece, or any female you have affection for.

Those commandments are not a recipe for a good relationship or marriage. If you want a relationship based on psychodrama, be my guest.

You might point out that The Games isn’t about long-term relationships. But, I know guys who are good at getting women into bed but who look at their happily married friends with sadness and envy at what they have, and do not understand why that doesn’t happen to them. They don’t realize that treating women as sexual outlets is not how you treat women when you want to court them.

Now, just like The Rules, The Game has insight into female psychology. I can think of quite a few men who could use some pointers on how to flirt with women, quit putting them on a pedestal, and stop being doormats.  But the end game of The Game is to get a woman into bed; to exploit them. And in our promiscuous times, I think that happens much, much more often than women “manipulating” men into marrying them.

OSC understandably is against any advice that causes people to be deceitful with each other. I view the PUA advice as more destructive than The Rules.

What people ultimately want is to be with some they love and admire and who is with them for the same reasons. I hope that if women employ some of the tips in The Rules they can weed out the men who are in it for a fling.

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Filed under Dating, Female dignity, Men, Relationships, The Rules

Rule #5 Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls

This rule falls squarely under the “don’t chase men” premise. If he’s not calling you, he’s not that interested. Don’t call him to talk or to ask him out.

If you make things really easy for a guy, you’re never going to know if you’re with someone who really cares about you, or if he’s with you because he’s too lazy or apathetic to seek a mate. Better to be alone than in a relationship like that.

He has to learn that if he doesn’t ask you out when he sees you he might not reach you on the phone so soon and not see you for a week or two. It’s not that you’re impossible to get, you’re just hard to get. Remember, you’re very busy with activities and other dates and you make plans ahead of time. But don’t reprimand him for not calling sooner by saying, “If you had called earlier…” Just say, “Really, I’d love to, but I can’t”.

(He’ll figure out he’ll have to call sooner.)

You’re not supposed to call men after dates that went well, either. Don’t call “just to see how he’s doing” or with some other silly excuse. If he likes you, he’ll call again for a date. If not, his loss.

Edited: I’m getting a lot of the same comments complaining about the manipulative aspect of this advice, with which I concur. Check the comments section before posting. Thanks!


Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules

Rule #4 – Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date

Who pays for the date gets to the core of the loss of the script and can elicit uncomfortable feelings. Some men get offended when women offer to pay for their meal, others are offended when they don’t. What’s a girl to do?

The Rules say that women should not pay for anything on the first three dates. The Rules would definitely disagree, but 0n the first date I reach for my purse when the bill arrives. If he is OK with spliting, I loose any interest in seeing him again (tho typically I’ve already come to that conclusion anyway). It’s not a matter of entitlement or punishment, it’s just a natural reaction that means “this guy is lame”.

Men, if you’re wondering why you should pay for dates, here’s why:

1. It shows that you have financial resources and that you are willing to share those with a lady.

2. It makes the woman feel special and taken care of.

3. Friends split the bill. If you’re interested in being something more, going dutch sends the wrong signal.

4. If you feel resentful of the money you spend on dates, that shows that you’re probably Just Not That Into Her.

5. If she doesn’t express appreciation, that’s a good indication of her character; that she feels entitled.

Consider also that to prep for dates, women will spend money on makeup, manicures, pedicures, dresses, skirts, hair removal, and the salon. Women spend money on one or more of these things because if they are into you, they want you to be attracted to her. (Doing these things also make women feel better about themselves which will help their confidence during the date.)

If women spend money to impress men by the way they look, then it’s really not fair to expect women to pay for their meal or ticket to a show. That means that they ends up spending more money than the guy for dates.

Once the relationship is established, it’s OK for women to pay for coffee, or pay for the meal or cook on special occasions. But whereas women feel special and taken care of when a man pays, when women take upon the role of spending money on men, it doesn’t make them feel the same way. When men are really into you, they’re going to enjoy making you happy by taking you out. And when women have to play the role of treating men they become resentful of having to chase men and spending their finances to court him.

A lot of women make more money than men, especially in their 20s. What to do about this imbalance? I think it depends. If the guy is poorer because he’s in a low-paying job that he loves or he’s in school, the fact that she makes more shouldn’t necessarily make her pause, but she shouldn’t expect fancy dates very often. If he’s poorer because of lack of ambition, that’s a red flag.


Tucked into this chapter are a few paragraphs telling women that men will go out of their way to see them if they are in to you. This has very much been my experience. Even if you live in an inconvenient part of town, he will come pick you up. If he doesn’t or he complains, He Just Not That Into You.


P.S. If you’re dating a woman and she doesn’t make an effort to doll herself up, she’s Just Not That Into You.


Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules

Rule #3 Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much

(Part of a series discussing The Rules.)

Some women talk a lot. They open their mouths and a never-ending torrent comes out. This can be amusing around other women, but not so wonderful for enchanting men on a date.

The reason this rule exists is for the following reasons:

1. Many men find it tiresome to be with a woman who won’t shut up.

2. You may say things that are best said in later dates or never at all.

3. It keeps men from shining and trying to impress you.

4. You won’t be able to learn as much about him. For example, had you been relatively quiet and demure, would he had asked you about yourself, your work, and your interests? Or would he have blathered on about himself?

Good reminder:

Don’t feel you have to be entertaining or have interesting conversation all the time. He will think that you’re trying too hard. Just be there. […] If anything, men should be the ones scrambling their brains to come up with clever lines, asking you a lot of questions, and wondering or not they’re keeping you interested.




Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules

Rule #2 – Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance)

This is a rule with exceptions. It’s a rule with exceptions because not all women live their lives obsessed with getting married. Some women, for example, believe that politeness and hospitality are more important than avoiding greeting a strange man and risking “interfering with whatever was supposed to happen or not happen, perhaps causing a conversation to occur that was never meant to be”.

Also, no one goes to dances in this day and age. Those social events went the way of the dodo and the cocktail party. The only people who dance any more are people involve in tango or swing dance communities. At least in swing, it’s OK to ask guys to dance because you’re not typically there to find a boyfriend.

However. Where I do agree with The Rules is rationalizing that a guy isn’t talking to you because “he’s shy” or some such. If he really is too shy to talk to you, he’s not marriage material.

I’ve heard guys say that they wish women would talk to them first or hit on them instead of the other way around. They say that they are flattered when it happens. But what does that really mean? Being flattered means you’re primping someone’s ego. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to fall in love with you. Men are going to fall in love with whoever they fall in love with. No amount of “helping the situation” on the part of the woman is going to make him do so, and in fact may be a turn off.

So, talking to a hottie first, trying to make a date happen, bad idea. Generally if you see or meet a guy that you could see yourself being interested in, it really is best to shut up and let him ask you, even if it’s further down the road than you’d prefer.


Filed under Book Reviews, Dating, Female dignity, Men, The Rules