KEEP your hair long, don’t answer back and, most important of all, never gain weight.
That was the advice offered in controversial Nineties dating guide The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing The Heart Of Mr Right, which became a global phenomenon when released in 1995.
Controversial Nineties dating guide The Rules became a global phenomenonCredit: Getty
Sherrie Schneider says: ‘Kate didn’t cling to William. When he wouldn’t commit she did that famous fashion walk…and the rest is history’Credit: The Mega Agency
Beyonce, who is married to rapper Jay-Z, said The Rules ‘worked for me’Credit: INSTAGRAM/BEYONCE
Written by New York duo Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein, before the release of Sex And The City, it advises women to play hard to get while looking cute.
“We noticed that women who were chasing men were getting dumped, while those that played hard to get got husbands,” says Sherrie, who claims making the first move is the “beginning of the end”.
The Rules has sold four million copies and racked up some high-profile celebrity endorsements, including Beyonce, who is married to rapper Jay-Z and said: “It worked for me.”
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones revealed her mother taught her “not to give it all away” — advice which helped tame her future husband, Hollywood star Michael Douglas.
Meghan Markle is rumoured to have used The Rules on Prince Harry, telling him she didn’t know anything about the Royal Family when they met for the first time.
And Sherrie believes the Princess of Wales used the same tactics on Prince William.
“Kate didn’t cling to him,” she says.
“When he wouldn’t commit, she did that famous fashion walk in that skimpy dress — and the rest is history.”
What about David and Victoria Beckham?
“They’re completely The Rules,” says Sherrie.
“He picked her out before they even met and said she’s ‘the one’. And they’ve had a great marriage for 20-something years.”
So what does it entail to become a “Rules girl”?
Dating advice includes not talking too much, never calling a man, and never, ever splitting the bill.
“If he doesn’t pay, he doesn’t like you!” Sherrie exclaims.
‘Men love a challenge’
When it comes to texting, she reckons you should wait at least four hours to answer his first message, and a minimum of 30 minutes thereafter.
Never accept a date on a Saturday if the invite comes after Wednesday, either — even if it means spending the night alone.
“If he’s last minute about dating you, he’ll be last minute in other ways,” she insists.
If Sherrie’s advice sounds antiquated, there’s worse to come.
The book says: “[Men] do not want to go out with an overweight girl. Call it sexist, unfair, or shallow, but it’s the truth.”
Make-up is compulsory, too.
“Put lipstick on even when you go jogging,” the book advocates.
It also claims men prefer long hair, “something to play with and caress”.
And, of course, skirts should be short. “Remember you’re dressing for men, not other women . . . we don’t want to look like boys,” she writes.
Surprisingly, Sherrie still stands by her decades-old advice, including “if you have a bad nose, get a nose job”.
“Any clients that we’ve ever suggested getting a nose job had really bad noses,” she says. “I’m not going to apologise for that.
“Your nose is in the middle of your face, it’s not like an ear. If you have a bad nose — I’m only talking if it’s really unpleasant to look at — then get a nose job.”
So is Sherrie saying we need to look like Barbie to bag a bloke?
“If you dress in a very masculine way, it’s not attractive to men,” she says bluntly.
Unsurprisingly, The Rules has been slammed as “outdated” by feminists.
“We believe in feminism, but it has nothing to do with dating,” Sherrie argues.
“Men love a challenge. That’s why they need to pursue you.”
An original “Rules girl” herself, Sherrie insists she practises what she preaches.
“When I was writing the book in 1994 [she was 35 at the time and is now 64] I met my husband at a party. He came up to me and asked me out,” she says.
“I never called him — I always ended dates first. At the end of nine months, he proposed on my birthday. It was classic Rules.
“How I behaved at the start set the tone for the rest of our relationship.”
Since the original Rules came out, there have been several spin-offs. The latest version is a refresher of all the Rules put together, called The Rules Handbook: A Guide To Creating Loving and Lasting Relationships.
With 50 per cent of marriages in the UK ending in divorce, Sherrie claims to know why they might crumble.
Meghan Markle is thought to have used The Rules on Prince Harry, saying she knew nothing about the Royal FamilyCredit: Getty – Contributor
Catherine Zeta Jones’ mother taught her ‘not to give it all away’, helping her to ‘tame’ Michael DouglasCredit: Getty
“One of the reasons marriages fail is because women can be very difficult and demanding. It just doesn’t work with a man,” she says.
“If a husband says something unkind, a lot of women say something worse back. We say it’s better to be silent until you’re ready to calmly discuss it.”
She also encourages women to put their husband first, branding those who don’t as “selfish”.
She says: “If you want a happy marriage, think about your husband’s needs. Too many women are all about themselves, thinking about Botox and designer handbags. It’s not about that.
“It’s about making your husband happy and, in turn, he will be kind to you.”
The Rules even state you should prioritise your fella’s sexual urges, “even if sex is the last thing on your mind” — and always glam up, as “no man wants to come home to a woman in sweatpants”.
Asked if she thinks The Rules still work in 2023, Sherrie says the only thing that has changed is technology.
For those on dating apps, she advises never liking a man’s profile first.
“The Rules work,” Sherrie says. “Get busy, ignore him — and see what happens.”
‘They’re to be broken’
WRITER and mum-of-two Karen Pasquali Jones, 52, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, has been married to chef Alexio Pasquali, 48, for 23 years.
“FORGET everything written by Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein. When it comes to romance, there’s one rule: do whatever it takes to get your man.
In fact, I broke every one of their “rules” when I spotted the man I instantly decided I wanted to marry.
It was 1997 and I’d joined my friends for a night at Charlie’s nightclub in London’s East End.
We’d downed a few tequila shots when a man in a white shirt walked in – and everything froze.
He was unlike any other man I’d ever seen. He was an Adonis. Tall. Handsome. Chiselled.
“I’m going to talk to him!” I blurted out.
When I heard him speak, I swooned. Alexio was Italian, with a sexy accent to match his gorgeous face.
“Can I buy you a drink?” I asked. I didn’t give him a chance to “hunt” me. I was all over him like the proverbial rash. At the end of the evening, I scribbled down my number.
“I’ll make you spaghetti,” he promised. I waited by the phone for the next 24 hours, but no call came. “We have to go to his house,” I told my best friend. “He’s the man I’m going to marry.”
She couldn’t stop laughing, but I was deadly serious. He’d told me where he was staying and I found it easily, pushing a note through his door, asking him to ring me. Subtle, it wasn’t.
But it worked. Within an hour he was on the phone, apologising. In my haste – and not helped by those tequilas – I’d written down a wrong digit.
He came round to make me spaghetti and I didn’t just stare at him – I gawped. And I saw him every night for the rest of that week – and the next.
Alexio moved in three months later and proposed the following year.
In 2000 we married in his home city of Rome and now have two beautiful children aged 20 and 15.
I’m horrified to hear that a new edition of The Rules is being published with even more edicts added. Co-author Sherrie says the secret to catching Mr Right is “being mysterious and playing hard to get”. Rubbish.
As my very happy marriage proves, The Rules are made to 7 be broken.
lThe Rules Handbook by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider (DeVoss Publications) is out on Thursday, price £9.99.
THE co-author of controversial 90s dating handbook The Rules says her advice on snaring a husband is just as relevant nearly 30 years on.
Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein gave advice which many now think is sexist.
Authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein gave advice which many now think is sexist
The controversial 90s dating handbook The RulesCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
With Sherrie’s updated guide out later this week, we ask if it’s time to rip up The Rules.
Sherrie Schneider says: ‘They’re completely The Rules. He picked her out and they’ve had a great marriage’Credit: victoriabeckham/Instagram