Do you remember a controversial 90s self-help book called The Rules? The one that taught women how to ensnare a man, marry him, and never be single ever again? It was a New York Times Bestseller and got a sassy thumbs up from Oprah, even. ("The Rules isn't just a book, it's a movement, honey.")

Here's a 15-second recap:

All the unmarried ladies! YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. Here's how to get a ring on it, stat: don't accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday. Only answer one email to his every four. Don't live with a man. Don't call him, and rarely return his calls. Never show a man you're interested. Look demure. DON'T STARE AT HIM. If he hasn't proposed after a year, see other people. If he hasn't proposed after two years, drop him immediately.

The book's chapters included; How to Act on Dates 1, 2, and 3; How to Act on Date 4 through [to] Commitment Time; Don't See Him More than Once or Twice a Week, and - my personal favourite - Don't Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.


"To call [men] is to pursue them, which is totally against the rules," advised authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein (from hereon in, 'Schnein'). "They will immediately know that you like them and probably lose interest!"

Also, "When a man calls, don't stay on more than ten minutes. Buy a timer if you have to. When the bell rings, time to go!"

The Rules sold more than 1.6 million copies, got translated into 26 languages, was endorsed by celebrities (Oh Beyonce, how could you?), written about in every publication known to woman, and debated on every TV talk show. The Rules support groups cropped up all over the US. It was enlightening times.

Except, it wasn't over. And it's still not.

In the subsequent years, Schnein followed it up with The Rules II, The Rules for Marriage, The Rules for Online Dating, and All the Rules. (Wait, they didn't put ALL the rules into the first Rules?)

And now, news has broken of the authors' fifth installment, Not Your Mother's Rules: Dating Secrets for Texting, Facebook, Booty Calls, and Everything Else!

The new book will squeeze dollars from yearning hearts by helping navigate romantic realms your mum never dealt with, like internet dating and mobile phones. "New technology has made it harder to be mysterious, so we had to rewrite the first book for the new generation," Schnein said.

Young people are in for some revelations. Like, "Wait four hours to return a text message and at least 30 minutes thereafter", "Don't email anything you wouldn't want a guy to have if you break up" (actually, that one's not bad), and "Rarely write on his wall".


Also, because there is nothing like evidence of brain activity to strike fear into the heart of a man, "Don't mention anything about dreams and regrets and include a couple of sexy photos."

You can probably expect some pretty stringent boundaries concerning the use of emoticons and 'X's, too. Actually, if you're already using them in your communications, stop now. You could be adding years more singleness onto your life with each :-)

Which is so :-(

Not Your Mother's Rules comes out next year. In the meantime, you can peruse the The Rules' somewhat frenetic online headquarters. As you'll see, personalised consultations with Schnein are a bargain at US$350 per hour, or $1500 for a package of six. Alternatively, you can send a "quick question" via email for $150.

Other options: attend a seminar, hire Schnein to give a talk, buy a CD or DVD, speak with a Dating Coach trained by Schnein, or become a Dating Coach yourself with a 12-week course.

If that all feels a bit overwhelming and expensive, just chill for now, and take advantage of the site's free "INSPIRATIONAL RAP SONG" download: Just Do The Rules. Yes. You're welcome.


Follow Rebecca Kamm on Twitter.