Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein dominated the self-help and dating markets with their popular book, "The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right" in 1999. Seventeen years ago, their advice was read and internalized by thousands of women. But how much of their romantic instruction is still valid today? Let's go through a few of their rules to see how they've stood the test of time.
Be a Creature Unlike Any Other
In short, this rule was about being yourself and not attempting to copy those around you. Women were advised to focus on what they had to offer that was special and unique, and not to try to imitate those around them. This advice still holds true in today's dating world as men want to date a real woman, not an idealized fantasy. Don't worry about being super skinny, cooking the perfect meal or being supermom. Just focus on being you, and let that be enough.
Show Up at Parties and Events Even if You Don't Feel Like It
Before online dating revolutionized the dating process, it was absolutely necessary to make the time to leave the house and meet people on a regular basis if you were attempting to find Mr. Right. Sometimes, this meant putting on your game face and venturing out for drinks, even if you weren't feeling very social.
While today you can interact solely from the comfort of your couch via your tablet, it's still a wise idea to spend some time getting dressed up, going out and socializing. Whether you're looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, your social life and your mental health will both get a boost out of making time for regular fun.
In an Office Romance, Do Not Email Him Every Time He Emails You Unless It's Business Related
We'd like to heartily advise against emailing him AT ALL from work unless it's business related. In today's job market, with so many at-will employment states, it's best to keep your business and personal life as far apart as possible. If you're dating someone at the office, keep in mind that many employers have fraternization policies, and still more keep careful tabs on every email their employees send. Stick to a personal email or text instead. It's much safer.
It's a Fantasy Relationship Unless a Man Asks You Out
When it was written, this rule was to remind women that fantasizing about the man of their dreams did them no good, and that it was silly to waste this time unless the man had actually asked them out. We're moving into 2013 now, however, and this rule seems pretty archaic. If you're interested in a man, it's perfectly acceptable to ask him out for a drink or a meal. Don't spend your time waiting around for him to ask you, when you could be making the first move!
Close the Deal
This is another rule that's outlived its usefulness, stating that if he hasn't proposed by the time the relationship hits the two year mark, he's not going to and you should move on. Statistically, however, more and more couples are opting for long term partnership and cohabitation instead of marriage. For some women, marriage may still be the goal, but for others who have lived with their partner for many years, a two year cutoff seems rather silly.
While "The Rules" was an excellent self help book when it came out in the late '90s, only some parts of this book have stood the test of time. Women looking for more modern relationship advice, who are in a nontraditional relationship or who don't have marriage as a goal would be wise to seek help elsewhere.
Photo credit: Boston Public Library
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