This chapter irritates more men I know than women. In fact, a lot of the women I talk to about it breathe a sigh of relief when I tell them to stop doing all the work. Rule # 4: Don’t Meet Him Half Way or Go Dutch on a Date is about much more than simply the meeting place and the money. It is symbolic of handing our men back their balls.
But before we get to that, I want to preface this post by saying that there are at least three important reasons to follow this rule.
Reason One: Not your balls
Let me begin by explaining why I think men get angsty when they read this rule. It isn’t because they are lazy and cheap; it is because they wish we’d make up our freaking minds. Before, it was all them: they had to approach us, open doors and pull out chairs. They had to initiate courtship. They had to ask for our hand in marriage (from our fathers no less!). The rules were more or less clear, if not set in stone. Then, there was an uprising. Women wanted to be as independent as men – express themselves and their abilities and be treated as equals. Going dutch becomes possible, women initiating courtship became allowed and we gained the freedom to see men When and where we wanted. Basically, as I alluded to in Rule #2, we gained the right to fully express both the masculine and the feminine.
Likewise, Ellen and Sherrie mention in this chapter that ‘It’s not that women aren’t capable of taking subways and paying for themselves. It’s just chivalrous, hence The Rules, for men to pick up their dates and pick up the cheques. Equality and Dutch treat are fine in the workplace, but not in the romantic playing field.’ p. 38
And at the end of this quote, they recognize that something has happened too. The masculine and feminine essences started to become less clear in intimate relationship somewhere in all of this revolution, and now we have masculine men who err on the side of waiting for our go ahead before they take a step. I have clients ask me all the time: am I going to insult her by pulling out a chair? opening the door? grabbing the cheque? Do I look like some sort of stalker if I insist on picking her up at home or work? No wonder they hate this rule.
Why should I follow this rule if men hate it?
Funny I should put those words in your mouth! The interesting thing is that once they’ve tried it, they LOVE picking up their woman somewhere convenient for her and paying the whole bill! They finally get a sense of how masculine it feels to care for things. This isn’t male-ego bullshit ladies; it is the masculine doing what he feels is right; caring for the feminine. He is in integrity with himself and feels the freedom of trusting his instincts. Before they know it, these men begin to realize that not all women are the same – there are women out there who want them to fully embody their masculine – and they will attract those women if they trust themselves.
The reason you should follow this rule is because it is the beginning of recognizing the difference between exerting our ‘rights’ as modern women, and relaxing into this underlying law of nature – the masculine pursues the feminine. I recommend you experiment with it. Imagine that whoever is caring for the other is the masculine in the relationship, and then see what happens when you care for him in ways he doesn’t ask for. Feel what happens, for example, the next time you swoop in and make lunch for your man when he’s rushing around, late for work. Make note of the discomfort that lies behind his gratitude – that is him feeling feminine because you have usurped the masculine.
WTF. Are you some kind of mysoginist?
No. Not even a little. Though, on the surface, it sure looks that way. Kind of like The Rules, right? ‘Just sit back and let him do it all. Act like the weak, pathetic woman you were always meant to be.’ No.
It’s deeper than that. What I’m getting at here, and what I think Sherrie & Ellen are trying to say, is that the most important aspect in the relationship between lovers is the strength of the masculine/feminine polarity dynamic. This is why they keep emphasizing that you aren’t his best friend, his buddy, one of the guys, his colleague, or even his partner. This dynamic is what the rules are all about. Rule number 4 is about how it is the role of the masculine in the relationship to care for the feminine specifically by making the effort to come and get you, and paying for the bill. So, if you are the feminine, your role is to relax into being cared for and deeply connect with what that relaxation brings up in you (we’ll talk more about that in future rules), which strengthens your pull on the masculine. So sit back and receive – not because you aren’t able to do anything else, but because that’s how the relationship you want so badly, works.
The benefits we have reaped from the women’s rights movement are countless, however it is becoming more and more obvious that they did not come without a price. If we keep holding tightly to the balls of our men, changing the rules to suit our own desires, we will never be fulfilled in our relationships. The dynamic between lovers, the tension of the polarity between the masculine and feminine lies on a deeper level that mere equal rights. It’s gritty, and scary, but sister, if you want a relationship that blows your mind, and sex to match… let those balls role back to his side of the court and dig for your worth. You’re nothing to him without it.
Reason 2: Avoiding Our Kryptonite
Secondary to the strengthening of the masculine/feminine polarity, this rule gives us another awesome benefit: you won’t be feeling insecure. I haven’t explicitly touched on this yet, but women are naturally much more aware of the subtle shifts in anothers body language than men. Which means that we tend to think that ‘nothing’ must mean ‘something’. When we get into this frame of mind, we start to believe that we aren’t loveable and all sorts of other weird shit, so we need to set ourselves up to be reassured of our security in a relationship. Thankfully, every rule has it’s own way of helping us stave off this state of insecurity and the need for reassurance.
Let’s look at a couple of examples, shall we? If in rule number 2, he approaches you and asks for your number, you will feel less insecure when he doesn’t call for a couple of days than if you approach him and give him your number, correct? The same thing happens he comes to pick you up, and when he pays the bill. His constant willingness to work for you are subliminal ways that he reassures you that he wants to be with you. It’s pure awesome.
Begin as You Mean To Go On
I’m pretty sure that most of us have the ‘no expectations’ game face on in the beginning of the relationship. Whether you wear it because you’re feeling desperate to have a boyfriend, or because you think that your expectations of people are too high, or both, most of us let quite a bit slide, thinking that once we get settled into coupledom, he’ll start to meet our expectations naturally. I’m here to tell you that is false logic.
The reality is that how he is at the beginning of the relationship, is more or less how he will stay, and it is even more likely that his initiative will decline a little bit after he gets comfortable in the relationship. Funny how our expectations go up when we get comfortable, while theirs decline… hmmm. Anyway, by having the expectation that he will make the effort at the beginning of the relationship, you avoid being disappointed later.
Sherrie & Ellen are spot on when they say that ‘Invariably, we find that men who insist that their dates meet them halfway or (worse) on their own turf, turn out to be turds – inconsiderate, uncompromising, and even miserly.’ (p. 37) Whether you have had the experience directly or not, this is important: Ellen & Sherrie aren’t kidding, I have seen the same qualities in the men I have work with who are unwilling to make extra effort the ways this rule describes. Not only that, but these same men are also typically out of touch with their masculine and their past relationships generally ended because of a weak polarity between the masculine & feminine. Basically, if you don’t set your standards high enough at the beginning, you won’t end up with the relationship you’re looking for. It just doesn’t work that way.
The Bottom Line
Have you heard the quote that ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’? The Rules are hard work. Embodying your feminine in a world that favors the masculine is hard. Believing that you are worth the work is hard. And harder still is believing that you are worth the work you are asking him to do. But no relationship, no man and no woman worth having come easily. Thankfully, us Rules Girls are in this together!
Return to The Rules Deconstructed