Friday, March 30, 2012

The Purpose of The Rules

The Rules are very simple. The most serious obstacle for a Rules girl tends to be her friends and family. These are the people in who think they know what’s best, who want you to be happy and who have never, ever read The Rules. The Rules are not just a code for dating but a code for being in all situations. It’s the finishing school you never went to, the lesson in protocol and etiquette you never took. The purpose of doing The Rules is to have a Rules marriage, where your values are not compromised, where there is no unnecessary heartache, where you are secure in the belief that he really likes you (much less loves you) and where you really know exactly who you are marrying.

When friends hear that you are doing Online Dating, they often frown and take pity, “OOoooh,” they coo. “Do you really have to do that? Here let me set you up with my friend Random X”. They rush over to an old-fashioned telephone book, blow off the dust, search for the number and proudly give it to you on a scrap of paper. “Here, call him; I’m sure he will go out with you”. You take it home only to realize the number is now unlisted. Ultra-depressing.

Or they invite you to the movies, the park, the cottage and there is a mysterious sixth person - a single man with deep-seated emotional problems (usually against his mother) – skulking around in the shadows. Luckily someone has told him (but not you!) about the set up and he has been sure to pack all of his anxiety and insecurity in his backpack today. He will be the friend/brother/co-worker of someone that your friends are trying to impress by “hooking” up. This is a huge drag.

Being single is fine. Realizing that your “friends” think something is wrong with you because you are single is really depressing. The number one way to insult me as a friend is to assume that you were listening when I said what I was looking for. Or to not have asked in the first place.

If you try and set me up with someone who is not my race or religion then you have wasted the time of two people, not just one. If you tell a man that I am a “burlesque girl”, when I am not, them you have misled him. If he then calls me, he is only calling because he thinks I am an exotic sex bomb. Not exactly Rules material, amirite?

The funny thing is, the man often already has a girlfriend (or boyfriend). Well-meaning friends who are oblivious to who you are, are often equally oblivious about the man they set you up with. I was once set up with a small, smelly, socially-awkward man who was deeply involved with a beautiful New York actress who found him "adorable". (They are married and expecting their first child.) My point is, well-meaning yet oblivious friends are not doing anyone any favours, and Rules Girls need to be smart about their boundaries with women as much as with men.

The purpose of The Rules is to form a relationship that is stable enough to be a Rules marriage. Not every fool who is married is an expert on marriage. Very few women in my peer group who have wedding rings actually know the difference between independence and co-dependence. Or what they want out of a relationship other than material possessions. I once had a girlfriend describe her current crush of the moment to me. She said that he was perfect for her because they both wanted a Murano. I paused and asked, “What is a Murano?” expecting it to be a rare but completely bliss-inducing eastern spiritual rite of passage. She explained that it was an SUV made by Nissan.

It is not easy to maintain respect for a woman that defines her most important relationship by physical possessions. And yet it is the standard we all use…

It is the Hollywood norm to stay married for no longer than 18 months, and these are the people we worship and spend money on. These are the people who are held as the societal ideal, who have every opportunity available to them. And these are the people who can’t get it right in a most spectacular way. It is not so surprising that the average person does exactly the same thing. We are copycat creatures of habit and adaptability. Being a train wreck is really good publicity, and publicity is the equivalent of fame.

The first thing that a Rules girl learns is that she should not talk about her relationships with her girlfriends. Then this is my manifesto: I intend my future relationship to be a sacred space. I won’t share what goes on. I will not bring outside nonsense in to my most important relationship. I will not speak candidly about something that is so precious.

And when it is over, I will blog the hell out of it.

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