A friend once recommended I check out ‘The Rules’. Presumably she thought it would help me better understand women. I didn’t think any book reflecting the male’s perspective could be as objectionable as ‘The Rules’ until I recently discovered the ‘The Professional Bachelor’.
The full title is: ‘The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right’ (click here to read excerpts). A more apt title would be: ‘The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Manipulating Brain-Dead, Money-Pot, Neanderthals into Marriage’.
I read it back in 2001, standing in a bookstore while waiting for a long delayed connecting flight. I was appalled. It depicted dating much the way dating is portrayed in ‘Sex & the City’ – with a world full of shallow, self-cantered individuals, intentionally manipulating members of the opposite sex to gain twisted advantage. Do these people really exist en masse? I rarely meet them.
At the time, I wrote a rather long email to my friend expressing how revolted I was. The book assumes that all men are self-centred, disgusting beasts needing to be captured and saved from themselves. I also remember thinking that: (i) only the stupidest of men could be duped into marriage by women using these tactics; and (ii) if any woman used these techniques on me, I’d be out the nearest exit pretty quickly. Perhaps I’m not the kind of guy that readers of The Rules are after. And its just as well.
The Professional Bachelor
A few weeks ago, an ad for ‘The Professional Bachelor’ (click here to read excerpts), caught my attention – ironically within the Amazon.com ads on this site. This review by Lindsay McConnell, a psychology professor, caught my attention:
When you take away the chest pounding and witty shock value, this book is about creating opportunities with the right women, and avoiding the nightmares of dating the wrong ones. The author obviously has a background in psychology, and provides very introspective and effective Alpha male self-improvement advice. This isn’t a nightclub pickup artist book for frat boys.
Having recently dipped my toes back into the world of dating, I purchased the book – perhaps for some tips, but mostly for amusement. (I wonder if Amazon will pay a commission on my purchase – ha! )
After reading through a few chapters, it occurred to me that the women who wrote ‘The Rules’ must have been dating men inspired by books like ‘The Professional Bachelor’. I’m rather revolted by most of the advice in this book and more disgusted by the way women are depicted.
But something happened along the way. The ‘The Professional Bachelor’ is simultaneously off-putting and ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny. And, as the psychology teacher suggested, a few nuggets of truth are buried here and there.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hard on ‘The Rules’. I’m gathering its huge sales reflects a reality that a large number of women that been hurt by such men. It probably resonates with women in a way that is inverse to how/why The Professional Bachelor resonates a bit with me.
I will leave my copy lying around to see what kind of reaction I get from my friends.
Clearly, I’m not a sophisticated dater because I’ll still believe that the best dating advice is to be honest, learn to communicate well, be upbeat, empathize and present the best person that you truly are. That and always brush your teeth!