I'm from West Virginia: show me a sweaty man with a dangerously overloaded truck, and I'm immediately smitten.
"Oh, just, you know, beat," I said, and dialed a taxi service.
"One minute," the dispatcher barked, and I grabbed my coat. "Look, if you leave now," he said, grabbing my arm again, "it's over." He pushed his face into mine as we stepped sideways into the elevator.
Brian called on Friday to ask me out for the next day, which I declined, and so I spent an irritable, lonely Saturday night eating Thai takeout and watching a Blockbuster movie. We went to an improv comedy show, the Upright Citizens Brigade. I petted his dog in the dark house and listened to him smash and grunt.
(It dimly occurred to me that I had deliberately deprived myself of a potentially fun evening in favor of solitary moping, but I pushed that thought aside.) The Rules, if followed correctly, sometimes meant you spent a Saturday night alone, losing the battle to win the war, so to speak. "I need a word from the audience," said one of the comics. I debated going out to talk to him, but decided against it. 3: "Most men find chatty women annoying.") After an hour, I pulled down the tiny arm of my first cellphone and called my mother. 6, "Always End Phone Calls First") and listened to my beau weep in the backyard. (Evan Kafka/Getty Images) Just as we walked in the door, he said, "I don't do latex." We stood in silence for a moment.
Rules support groups for women sprang up around the country. To wit: In bed, "don't be a drill sergeant, demanding that he do this or that. Remember, those are your needs you're concerned about filling, and The Rules are a selfless way of living and handling a relationship." The reader is left wondering when she could finally let her — long! — hair down and be her pushy, needy, authentic self. A subsequent book was The Rules for Marriage.) But what The Rules offered, more than anything, was a strategy.