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Dating for dummies

BACK in my halcyon student days, a friend claimed to have found a revolutionary dating book to change our lives.

The Rules, written by US authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, advocated that a woman should play hard to get, never split the bill and that sex on the first date is verboten, akin to romantic suicide.

Among the book's many gems: "Be feminine. Don't tell sarcastic jokes - be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile. Don't talk so much.

"You may feel offended by these suggestions and argue that this will suppress your intelligence - but men will love it."

In short, it was belittling, insulting, sexist tripe. "To heck with that," we declared, before punting the book into the nearest bin. Now, some two decades on, Fein and Schneider have published an updated version, providing a lofty set of teeth-grating ideals aimed at the digital generation.

Apparently, in this romantically challenging social media age, we ladies should be a "CCUAO" which, rather than being an acronym for a deathly dull quango, actually stands for "Cyberspace Creature Unlike Any Other".

Pearls of wisdom include waiting "at least four hours to answer a guy's first text and a minimum of 30 minutes thereafter". Weekends, meanwhile, "from Friday, 6pm to Sunday, 6pm" is a "blackout period", which sounds less like stoking the flames of amore than navigating a hotel booking system.

There is complex mathematics involved: a first date (coffee) should last no longer than one to two hours; a third date (dinner and a movie), a maximum of six. It also decrees: "Don't Answer Texts or Anything Else after Midnight" (a blatant rip-off of the plot of Gremlins).

But here's the deal-breaker: The Rules 2 insists "heavy drinking and dating do not mix". Effectively rendering it useless for 99.2% of the general Scottish population.

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