I took a little trip to the bookstore today. After I grabbed my coffee, I began to make the rounds. I eventually ended up in the Self-Help/Romance/Sexuality section. The Self-Help/Romance selection had grown by a shelf or two, while the Sexuality section had sadly shrunk down to just a few rows, when it had been robust and healthy. I began to peruse the shelves to what the latest my Midwest town had available to them.
The first books that caught my eye were the brightly colored Cosmo Kama Sutra volumes, which I find to be boring. They feature the same information publication after publication. The same positions and tricks that wowed me as an inexperienced kid are used over and over, just given different catchy names. So why are they still selling? Because women have been trained that Cosmopolitan Magazine, and it's other publications, are the be all and end all of sexual education and advice. They put a little twist on the same, tired information and charge us another 3.99.
My eyes then focused on the lacy, girly, sweet cover of a book I thought to be long gone...The Rules. And what a deal...now volumes one AND two bound together in a single edition! I was nauseated by the simpering language and advice when I saw this book in high school, and even more so now, as it does not seem to have been updated to reflect the modern times. And not only do we have The Rules. There is also The New Rules, The Real Rules, The Only Rules...and on and on. So, who are we supposed to listen to? Which set of rules is right?
On top of all the rules to follow and choose from, we are supposed to learn to "think like a man", as another book states. We must learn to figure out what his subtext might be or what that little eye blink could mean or how the way he holds our hand will determine our future. These guides tells us how to behave to attract attention, how to get guys to fall for us and how to 'know' exactly what a guy is thinking. In a sense, they are teaching readers to not be themselves, and to constantly be concerned with what their date might mean by his gestures and inflection.
So, why have we become less dependent on our natural instincts in matters of the heart? These books and magazines tell us that we should play it safe, to not come on to strong, to push back that impulse to kiss to soon. But think about it...if a guy is offended because you kissed him first or slept with him on the first date or you didn't wait three days before calling, then he is probably not the man for you. All of these rules make it easy to make excuses and put up barriers. It makes it easier for us to make excuses for going against what feels natural.
I say, let's throw The Rules to the curb. Life is too short to let a book dictate it for you. What's the worst that could happen? You have fun. You find out sooner a person is not for you. You find your soul mate or mates. Let's break away from what society dictates is right and proper in a relationship, and instead as ourselves these questions: Am I safe? Am I having fun? Am I growing and learning? Am I helping someone else grow and learn? Answer YES to them all? Then those are all the rules you need!