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Bolden Rules

book cover

Mr. Right

The Rules
By Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider
Warner Books, paperback; New York; 1995; 74 pp.

Reviewed by Kelly Luker

AS MY FRIEND in San Diego often asks jokingly, "If they can put a man on the moon, why can't they put one on me?" At last, this little jewel of a book may answer her lament. Although published last year, The Rules only recently blitzkrieged onto the scene, promising '90s women a Mr. Right for the new millennium, as long as they follow "the rules"--'50s style.

For example: Don't talk to a man first, don't make eye contact with men, don't talk too much and don't call them. The psychiatric term for this behavior is autism, but no matter--the authors swear it works.

Serving up a dark gumbo of equal parts trickery, manipulation, deceit, subjugation of self and black garter belts, all served on a heapin' platter of turgid prose, The Rules promises "secrets for capturing Mr. Right!" That is, of course, if Mr. Right warms to being treated like a combination paycheck/village idiot. On whether or not to "put out" (might as well stick with '50s metaphors), the authors are wisely philosophical: "We know it can be excruciating to put sex off ... but if you play your cards right, you can have sex with him every night for the rest of your life when you're married!" Or, "When he asks you out, silently count to five before saying yes. It will make him nervous, and that's good!"

The name of the game, say Mmes. Fein and Schneider, is to "be a creature unlike any other." I assume they mean something different than the Creatures Unlike Any Other that some of us have dated--the type that belong in a terrarium, if you get my drift.

That The Rules is shooting up the bestseller lists is no mystery. Like miracle diets and cancer cures, the "time-tested secrets for capturing Mr. Right," as it is subtitled, will always find perennial takers amongst the gullible and desperate.

But my San Diego friend also tells a cautionary tale. An acquaintance of hers, a wild woman known for threesomes including her canine buddy Fido, decided to clean up her act in order to attract a "nice guy." Sylvia, as we'll call her, cut out the four-letter words and started wearing a crucifix. In no time at all, she was walking down the aisle with some clean-cut rube. But within a year, he wanted a divorce. When I asked my friend what happened, she replied simply, "The real Sylvia started leaking out."

So, perhaps there's another bestseller here: Lies: Making Them Last Forever!

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From the November 21-27, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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