The Rules: The Worst Dating Book of All Time


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen just how much the world of dating has changed. While we were once limited to the city limits of our hometown and the heteronormative stigmas of finding partners and abhorrence of casual sex – we find ourselves in a new era.

An era of dating apps, acceptance of all kinds of love (although we have a long way to go), and finally breaking away from the bounds of monogamy.

However, not everyone is so keen. Some still cling to the old ways, thinking women have to entice men, men have to woo the women playing hard to get, and that the sexual orientations in between have to somehow follow suit in one fashion or another.

Yes, there is still progress to be made – but there are some reminders of how far we’ve come.

I’m talking about “The Rules.”

A book from the ‘90s that heterosexual women actually read, lived by, and used to “ensure” they marry the man of their dreams. I was intrigued to say the least by the title, and decided to give it a read – just to see what it was all about.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I laughed, I scoffed, I almost threw up a couple times, and I definitely wanted to track down every last copy and burn it. The thing is, there are still people out there who believe this crap. That is what worries me.

The One “Good” Takeaway:

I mean, it’s mostly terrible. There was one concept, though, that the writers were trying to get across that I do agree with – confidence. Confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear – it’s just so damn attractive.

They were definitely trying to get women to feel confident in their skin and in themselves, but in a altered, hidden, and honestly cocky way. So good intention, but so poorly executed.

What is Says to Women:

For one, this book was obviously written for women who want to get married to men. It makes it seem like though, these women will accept almost any man they deem “marriage-worthy” and not someone who they actually really love.

It sides with very antiquated gender roles, telling you not to “talk too much” or ask anyone to dance when you’re out. As if marriage is the only thing that will make your life whole and worth living.

Of course, this book was written well before social media, iPhones, and even Google searches, so not only is its feel outdated, but the technology as well. I would hate to see what “rules” they would have now – I’m sure it would include double texting and DMs.

Very Stereotypical:

According to a new study, playing hard to get actually doesn’t make you more attractive to someone else. The only thing this book teaches. That you must be aloof, mysterious, and in high demand. That the only partner worthy of your time is the one who is obsessed with you because you just don’t seem to have a care in the world.

Reflecting a bit more on this atrocity, I think this is what started the “it’s not cool to care” trope. Which is why there are so many more “situationships” than actual relationships.

Keeps Women Down:

This book let’s men be men. That they should make decisions, they should pay for dinner, they should dictate all the steps of your relationship – and that it’s the women who need to change to make sure the man stays around. Because, why would a man really like a woman for who she is in the beginning, instead of seeing her true colors 5 months in? (Cues puking sounds).

When it comes to sex, this book definitely says to wait it out so a man will not view you as “easy.” Which just goes to show you that women judge other women just as much – if not more – than men judge women.

Even worse, when it came time to having sex, the book indicates that the man will know your body and that dictating what he should do is a turn off. Oh, and that you should never initiate sex, even if you want to. Umm. What.

Personal Ads:

I guess this was the ‘90s version of dating apps. Can you say catfish?

Starts too Young:

They even have versions of “the rules” for high school and college girls! While it promotes safe sex and not doing drugs, it also is telling young girls not to eat too much and to spend their extra money on manicures and nice clothes. Can we just let girls have fun?!

Full of Bias:

The authors already know that the book is crazy. Why? Because they know your friend and family will say that it’s nonsense and not to tell your therapist about it. Basically, everyone is wrong except them.

Plus, they give “examples” of women who did not follow the rules or started them and broke them, and ended up with heartache. For one, who know if those are real stories. Secondly, when the women broke the so-called rules, they did something very obviously off putting and extreme.

What it Tells Men:

Most heterosexual men – well any man – probably has not looked at this book. If they had, there might be a few out there that think this behavior is acceptable.

Now, I’ve definitely met people who fit these roles. However, they are not people I want to date. Or have sex with, for that matter.

This book says that men can look at women in any way that they want, dictate all the rules in a relationship, and take complete charge. That men, overall, don’t want to hear about the lives, feelings, and careers of the women they date until many months in.

It also strokes their egos entirely too much (don’t they get enough of that already?). But it also keeps men in the box of toxic masculinity. That they don’t have feelings or always have to be the ones to initiate sex.

The way the authors describe male behavior in this book makes it seem like they like the “idea” of women and not the actual person. And then we’re supposed to win them over?


Thankfully, most people know that a book like this is a load of steaming bullshit. If you’ve read this book, or know someone who acts like this, please set them straight. Just know that you don’t need a relationship to complete you, you don’t have to be monogamous, and you definitely should be yourself. Otherwise, who are these people really falling in love with?

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