L'Chaim

Jewish World Review April 27, 2001/ 5 Iyar 5761

Forever a "Rules Girl"?


By Jill R. Jacobs


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- MY friends and family were well aware of the news, but decided not to tell me.

Their decision to keep me uninformed was not for my benefit but for theirs, because they were afraid of my reaction. Now I know because I saw it on the news, and I'm not happy. Not one bit.

I used to look up to Ellen Fein, co-author of the popular dating books, "The Rules" and " The Rules II," and soon to be released "The Rules III for Marriages," subtitled, "Time Tested Secrets for Making Your Marriage Work" --- but now she has filed for divorce from husband, Paul Feingertz, citing abandonment.

She's not the only one feeling abandoned.

I've invested a lot of time and money into this whole dating business and taken it very seriously. I've approached dating with the same fervor and commitment I've used when seeking a job, with preparation and perseverance.

I've read "The Rules" and "The Rules II," and even bought Laura Doyle's controversial ultra conservative feminist book, "The Surrendered Wife," in preparation for my upcoming marriage.

...Well, OK, I wrote upcoming, as in I hope it's upcoming. I'm not engaged, but I believed that if I followed The Rules, I, too, could find "Mr.Unsuspecting Right" and become "Mrs. Somebody."

I became the ultimate Rules Girl. I wore lipstick when I jogged, I never talked to the guy first, didn't call him and rarely returned his calls. I ended the date first and let him pay for everything for the first three months. I let him take the lead and didn't try to change him. I was indifferent, but mysterious and if he called after Wednesday for a Saturday night date, I pretended I was busy, because Rule Girls know how to snare a man by making him do the chasing.

On a positive note, I've lost almost all of the 15 pounds I gained as a result of spending all those Saturday nights alone, eating Ben 'N Jerry's ice cream out of sheer boredom.

I'm naturally gregarious, but I pretended to be demure because the book said to be.

Seemed a small price to pay for what I believed would be a big payoff: a bridal registry a Bloomies, a trip to the altar, Married Filing Jointly and wedded bliss.

So what went wrong? Did Ms. Fein forget to feign indifference? Didn't let him take the lead? Wasn't she mysterious enough? Did her husband watch "The Stepford Wives" and get scared?

Taking advice on how to have a successful marriage from a soon to be divorcee author, makes about as much sense as asking Bill Clinton for advice on fidelity, taking English lessons from George W. Bush or asking Joan Rivers to reveal her secrets on aging gracefully. Not a good idea.

I feel duped. Is there no justice? Can I sue Ellen Fein? Can I sue anyone for the news of Ms. Fein's marital break-up and the emotional damage I've suffered?

Can I at least have the $69.95, plus shipping and handling back for the books I purchased and maybe even a few bucks for the extra therapy sessions I will be attending as a result of this latest crisis that's rocked my fragile dating world?

Fein being the quintessential Rule Girl, I'm confident that in typical Rule Girl fashion, she will pick herself up by the bootstraps, dust herself off and chart a new course toward securing "Mr. Right II."

I'll be all right as well. If there is one positive thing that came out of this experience, it's that I have become reacquainted with the honest, confident, intelligent, articulate, modern woman I used to be before I became obsessed with snagging "Mr. Right." I have regained my focus, my self-respect and self-esteem and will no longer spend all my time trying to manipulate someone to marry me. I'll just be myself and leave this one in the hands of fate. As cliched as it sounds, if something is meant to be, it will be.

But in the off chance that things don't take their natural course and that fickle finger of fate forgets me, and I don't end up meeting "Mr. Right," anyone got the dirt on Ellen Fein's ex, Paul? Remember, I got dibs.


Jill Rachel Jacobs is a Manhattan-based writer and singer. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2001, Jill Rachel Jacobs