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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday night relationship varia: Part the Second: The Rules

Part the Second: The Rules

UltraC also posted recently on The Rules, a book of advice for single women looking to get married. His perspective is good, especially where he brings in Catholic beliefs to counter assumptions made in the book. One of his commenters asked him to write his own set of rules for dating and marriage and he demurred for the time being.

My thoughts on the rules (Like UC, I never read the book, having been married 22 years when it came out) from the Top 10 posted on the author's website (words in bold or "quotes" are authors'; italics are my paraphrase of other advice on the page):

1. Be a creature like no other. Be radiant, stand slowly but walk briskly, listen, don't babble, etc.

Sure, why not? Just be aware that all the other girls are trying to be the same creature. Focusing some attention on how you come across is good (lesson my mother is still trying to teach me), but you've got to be who you really are, as well.
2. Show up to parties, dances and social events even if you do not feel like it. And get that manicure...

How about being comfortable with yourself? Offering to babysit, take nursery duty? UC reminds women to show up at church - I'm not sure how easy it would be to meet a guy amongst the crowd arriving late and streaming out to cars immediately afterwards. So, volunteer, get involved in Bible Study (Izzy & I met on the way to Bible Study, and did our share of shifts int he Church nursery early on...), etc.

3. It's a fantasy relationship unless a man asks you out. "If he's never asked you out, he's not interested."

I wonder about this one, in a culture that is telling men that women are also supposed to be able to ask guys out. Are the guys getting copies of these rules and are they aware that they are once again supposed to make all the first moves? Maybe they'll be drawn to the brisk walk and manicure and offer evenings of Italian food...
4. In an office romance, do not email him back every time he emails you unless it is business related.

I'll echo UC's and many others' advice here: if you think you can still work with this person after the relationship ends, then risk and office romance. Just remember that your office personality is not who you may really be at home.
5. If you are in a long-distance relationship, he must visit you at least three times before you visit him. "Remember, the first three visits are really nothing more than three dates... and on the first three dates we don't have sex with a man or have him stay at our place overnight."

Well, duh, on the last part. However, it implies sex on the 4th visit, for those keeping (or hoping to) score.

Izzy and I began dating during his senior year of high school (I was a college sophomore.) I made lots of weekend trips to Dallas; he made three trips to Tulsa. Worked out OK for us. There were also the $300/month MCI bills.

6. When considering whether to use personal ads or other dating services, you should place the ad and let men respond to you.

Izzy would suggest you use the older friends and relatives fixing-up service - AKA arranged marriage. But, neither of us had the benefit of access to Gashwin's Aunties & Uncles, so had to find our own way.

As for personal ads, (I know some have heard this story), we once sat in a terribly hip part of Dallas, eating beignets, drinking cafe' au laits, while reading the local alternative paper's Relationships Wanted section. We started with Men seeking Women, and Women seeking Men, and then the section called "Various." (Nowadays, that section has many, many permutations, but you can guess the general content.)

We looked for words and phrases that described each of us, from physical characteristics to education to hobbies/avocations, and even faith issues. I was being sought by 50-year-old white men who wanted a nice Christian woman to raise their children. Izzy was being sought by 50-year-old white men ...
8. Close the deal - Rules women do not date men for more than two years.

Once we determined we were in love, etc., which was two years after we'd met, we began looking at whether & when to get married. We decided that we were not yet ready to get married, needing to do a bit more growing up, and to seek the blessing of the set of Christian parents.

We heard from one woman (I was living at their home, so she'd watched us quite closely), who assumed that we must really just be waiting to accumulate more money. Her comment: "I'd rather have a warm body than cold cash." Not bad advice, but we opted to wait until neither of use was still a teenager.

So, there were two years, three months and 6 days from 1st real date to wedding. Much longer from 1st spark...
9. Buyer beware -- observe his behavior so you do not end up with Mr. Wrong.

Wouldn't that speak in favor of longer periods of dating? How else can you see him in many moods, interacting with family, growing in his faith, sticking with and completing things, etc. It takes a while (or a village) to assess character.

Izzy and I were also lucky to have had such an intense friendship before we first fell in love. I knew who he was, I'd seen him around his mother & brothers, we'd been part of double dates, and we'd spent time in prayer and Bible study together. Those qualities I admired then, I couldn't have enumerated like I can now. I just knew I liked him (ewww, at first) and later that I loved him.
10. Keep doing the RULES even when things are slow. Go to parties, take a bubble bath, say nice things to yourself.

Sure, but have some reason for doing all of these things, even that manicure, besides trying to become a pursued woman.

I've watched my Mom maintain her appearance in the years since Dad died, but also invest her energy in people & places that couldn't have possibly yielded a husband. She cooks and serves meals at a half-way house. She takes an elderly neighbor to appointments. She writes letters for and provides personal care to a woman bed-ridden with MS. She takes grands to Cici's and Sandy's and the zoo. She emails & calls her mother. She babysits at the drop of a hat. She spends hours in prayer and in preparation for Bible Study and Sunday School. God brought a man into her life - long-distance even, who loves her without the need for manicures & bubble baths, etc.

What people see is the spark of the love of God in her life. That's what makes her a "creature like no other."

No rules, just right.

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