The other day, I found myself in Hodges Figgis with a friend of mine, who was looking for “a book about anxiety; but none of that self-help shit”. He was milling around the psychology section, attempting to find something that didn’t have a punchy subtitle, in the vein of “think yourself calm!” Needless to say, he was grossly disappointed, and ended up feeling slightly more anxious, thanks, in no small part, to my reading out excerpts from the hilarious self-help books I was finding. “Feel the fear!” I shouted to his retreating back. “And do it anyway!” (He kept telling me to whisper, to which I will respond: it’s a bookshop, not a library.)
The point, of course, is that he found a book –Going Mad – and, while he was attempting to find the diamond in the rough of self-help, I was attempting to find the rough. I decided, in those 15 minutes, that I would read both The Rules and The Game, in an attempt to discover the following:
a) Why did a man I went on a date with recently tell me I was damaged, and still expect that I would be interested?
b) Why does a friend of mine insist that I shouldn’t text or call any man first? She would practically extend this to the
plumber, were it not for the urgency of that call, because she claims that “you just don’t know when you might meet the one”.
c) Why do so many of my friends insist on “playing the game”, rather than just living their lives?
I decided that the answer to these questions (and so many more!) would lie within The Rules and, to a certain extent, The Game – although now that I have started the former, I wonder if reading the latter will just confuse my brain to the point that I will then be more determined than I am now to live alone with dozens of cats and my collection of Penguin classics.
Lest I ruin the entire book by writing an epic, scathing blog post about it, this is merely an introduction, which I will give by way of the following quote (paraphrased):
It goes against nature if a woman chases a man, or sleeps with him too soon, or begs him to marry her. He may end up mistreating her [women! Have you been mistreated? Well, you know who to blame now!]. He may resent her for trapping him and will treat her badly.
There are 52 rules, all of which I’m not going to get into because wikipedia can help you more than I care to, but I will say this: Don’t read The Rules. Take that couple of hours (which you will surely never get back) and make a delicious sandwich. Go to the museum. Go for a swim. Hell, go to the dentist, which would be more enjoyable and, without a doubt, more beneficial.
If you’re still skeptical about this hodge-podge analysis, watch this space. Coming up: why you should get a nose job, why you should never admit what you’re feeling, and how you hook a man (namely, by hiding every shred of yourself until there’s little more left than a slight resemblance to a Stepford Wife and some careful hair-tossing).