Rules exhaustion begins to set in

Following The Rules is starting to fill me with intense feelings of guilt and self-loathing.

Kiwi emailed yesterday asking me out for Thursday. I declined (because I’m meant to wait more than a week). He then suggested Friday. Again, I declined (because I’m genuinely busy that night). And while I was very polite in my declining, I couldn’t do what I would normally do: suggest another time. According to The Rules, you can only say “I wish I could, but I already have plans.” You can’t say what those plans are and you can’t say, “How about Tuesday instead?” The whole thing turns into a ridiculous guessing game and it makes me feel unnecessarily troublesome and coy. I am soldiering on and won’t contact him again until he suggests another date (that is, if he suggests another date. Which I doubt he will.)

Also, Triathlete has been texting quite a lot and I can’t quite wrap my brain around how to respond Rules-style (the book was written pre-texting so doesn’t cover it). So while one of the major Rules is never call him and to rarely return his calls, it’s slightly trickier with texts because it’s like having one long, drawn out phone conversation. So far I’ve adopted a respond-to-every-other-text-after-a-long-pause approach but it’s filling me with an absurd amount of anxiety about coming across as a giant bitch.

I didn’t bank on it being so difficult for me to break old habits and adopt this new pattern of behavior. Even waiting a few hours to respond to a text message makes me feel nervous and itchy and I was actually awoken by a pang of guilt about poor Kiwi last night. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not exactly Mother Theresa when it comes to men. I’ve been cruel and callous, I’ve used them for sex, I’ve screened calls and I’ve ignored past flings on the street. But that always stemmed from my idea of myself as this sexually-empowered, independent woman and it all seemed relatively harmless. But with The Rules, I feel strangely Machiavellian. It feels like emotional politics rather than sexual politics and as a result it seems far more serious.

It’s also interesting to see how The Rules are affecting these two men differently. I haven’t heard from Kiwi at all since his spate of date-suggestions, but Triathlete seems strangely spurred on by my distant behavior. He texted me this morning to ask when he could see me next and I waited until the end of the day to suggest next Tuesday (which was really quite painful for me because he really is very fit and I’d like to gaze admiringly at him sooner than that). He responded immediately agreeing to Tuesday and then sent a follow up moments later: “Although sooner than Tuesday would be nice but you’re obviously a busy lady…”

I am officially a bit suspicious of him. Seriously guys, either he knows I’m up to something or he’s currently drawing up a diagram for the best way to disembowel me because he is too good to be true.

Date tonight with a former actor who is far too good-looking for me. Bloody exhausting.

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  • Mills says:

    so up for detailed analysis of the rules so far tomorrow. I think this is important sociological research rivaling the entire output of Allen Lane.

  • Meows says:

    Where do you find all of these good-looking men? Maybe you should offer some tips on that… Though I will say I think it’s a lot easier to practice the Rules on the unattractive ones.
    Anyhow, I have a date tonight with someone who may or may not be attractive, but I will strive to be a Rules girl either way and share the results so they can be included in the study. I’m already anxious about the whole not-even-going-to-offer-to-pay-for-half bit, but maybe I’ll just have to excuse myself to go to the bathroom or something???

    • Love by the Book says:

      Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. In terms of paying, I’m not going to lie – it is VERY awkward. I’ve been making a sort of delayed and half-hearted gesture towards my bag coupled with an expectant look towards the guy and that seems to be working pretty well.
      In terms of the good-looking men… I have no idea how that’s happening. Online dating has thrown up a lot more attractive possibilities than I thought it would. Also, for me men have always been like buses – you stand around for ages waiting for one to arrive and then three come at once. (and then, in my case, all three are labeled “not in service.”

  • Frances says:

    I’m sure it’s occured to you, but your behavior when following the rules is EXACTLY opposite of your behavior with B.

    Secondly, enough with the “too attractive for me” nonsense, since I know what you look like. Though, for clarity’s sake, maybe you could explain the attractiveness ladder to the crowd playing along at home.

    x, F.

    • Love by the Book says:

      I KNOW! It’s uncanny – literally everything I did with B I’m not doing with these guys and… well, the results are fairly damning.
      Yes, I’ll discuss the attractiveness ladder next. xx

  • alice says:

    so – what’s the thing on friday that you’re doing…?

  • glad to be one of several visitors on this amazing site : D.


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