The Rules: Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr.
Right appeared in 1995 and advocated doing pretty much what your mother told you: play hard to get; keep a bit in reserve; remain mysterious.
"Your gaggle is the group of guys who you might not be 'dating' or in a defined relationship with, but who fulfill some sort of need in your life," Massa explains.
"They are helping you figure out who you are, what you want, and what type of man you ultimately desire." These dudes can include The Hot Sex Prospect, The Career Booster, and The Ex-Boyfriend Who's Still Around.
As authors of the dating guide that became a phenomenon – referenced in Sex and the City, and updated this year to include advice on how to date in the digital age – they achieved global fame for being women that know what men want.
Let this be your new mantra: Everything and nothing is a date.
"You'll be missing out on all sorts of opportunities to connect with guys if you're simply waiting for them to ask you out," Massa says.
The book prompted a screaming match on Oprah's show; she devoted a whole episode to the topic of "do The Rules work or don't they? But the overall theme, presented to you as lovingly as your captor might tuck you in at night, is: adjust to men's needs. I was certain, at the age of 26, that my failure to secure a boyfriend meant I was doing something wrong.
" The authors, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, built a business offering phone consultations and in-person seminars, spreading the gospel of steely passivity to lovelorn women. I recently told a friend that it was the 20th anniversary of The Rules, and she whispered, "The crazy thing is, most of that book was right." The Rules is a rather incoherent mashup of good, practical advice (don't waste your energy on someone who's not interested), retro gender essentialisms (men don't like funny women), and bizarre anecdotes (Bruce and Jill went bed shopping together for her apartment, and to prove she wasn't angling for marriage, Jill bought a single bed instead of the queen-size bed, which worked, because then they got married, and then they had to buy a queen-size bed, hah-hah-hah. I was an only child, raised by an eccentric single mother who longed for a more conventional family. " he screamed, as the comic lifted his eyebrows and I shrank in my seat. "Refrigerator it is," said the comic, and the show started. The next week, I again waited for him to call (Rule No. 9: "Be Sweet and Light." "I got to AA every day," he said.
"In fact, he described what he'd do in very graphic detail.