The 1995 book 'The Rules' was full of questionable advice for women in relationships. Katy Guest devises 20 up-to-date tips to get him under the mistletoe
1. Don't rush into a relationship – it's not obligatory
In a recent survey, more than half of the women questioned said that they enjoy being single and appreciate spending time and money however they like. Fewer than a third disliked being alone, compared with 70 per cent of men. Not surprising: the health and longevity benefits of getting married are significantly higher for men than for women. So be choosy: he needs you more than you need him.
2. Technology is our friend
Everyone's doing it these days – even girls on train platforms – so, on the basis that his photo and his info are probably fake and he might be married, take the "supermarket sweep" approach: pile 'em high, date 'em cheap. By the way, sales of ukuleles have apparently plummeted since that annoying advert came on TV.
3. Go Dutch – always
If I had a pound for every excuse I've heard from women who'd rather chew off their arms than pay for their own tea, I could take you all out for chips and still have change for the bus fare home. "He ought to pay for the pleasure of my company," they say. If you only go out with boring men, maybe, but then you're obviously choosing the wrong guys. "But I paid for these ginormous heels to wear on our date." He didn't ask you to, and he won't notice. "He asked me out, so he should pay." So, he who pays the piper calls the tune? Then fine, start as you mean to go on, but don't come crying when you realise that there's a name for women like that. And finally: "The gender pay gap is still massive." And this is exactly why you must split the bill. You don't solve inequality by pandering to it. Now get your wallet out.
4. Don't wait for him to call
5. Fit romance in where you can
Rule seven in the 1995 dating handbook The Rules says: "Don't accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday." If you're not busy having a life, and you've met a man who is not busy having one either, then by all means follow The Rules. If you do, and he does, unfortunately you will never have time to see each other if you both stick to guidelines like these.
6. Safety is fun, too
The walk of shame has become the stride of pride. But remember, Charley says, always tell your flatmate where you are going.
7. Be suspicious of the expression "friends with benefits"
Quotation marks are probably required around "friends" and "benefits"...
Have a toolkit and know how to use it. Sisters who do it for themselves can afford to be more discerning. And by "tools", we mean hammers and nails.
9. Don't expect too much
Those of us who read modern literature and watch a lot of movies may have formed the impression that men should be able to express their emotions. In fact, this generally only happens in fiction. Read High Fidelity and watch Swingers for a handy guide to how to speak man, and, otherwise, don't expect too much.
10.Don't get the wrong idea about "romance"
No matter how many times it appears in anthologies of The Most Romantic Poems of All Time, Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" is not a romantic poem. To précis it, the poem says that if you don't have sex with him now you will inevitably die a withered old virgin and be violated in your grave by worms.
11. Mates before men
The Spice Girls had one thing right: you don't blow your mates out for a bloke. Not ever. If he doesn't understand, show him the door.
12.Share the good things in life
Who gets the remote? Whoever doesn't get their side of the bed.
13. Really share them, that is
And who gets their favourite side of the bed? See above.
14. Make firm boundaries
Never ask a man to carry your bags, share your curry or finish your pint. Make sure that he never expects the same of you.
15.Be realistic about moving in together
Be prepared to hear some very strong opinions about cushions. Really. You think he's a fairlylaid-back guy? He's not. Not when it comes to soft furnishings.
16. Don't sweat the small stuff
Yes, in a truly equal society men would pick up their socks, share the washing up and care about the subtle differences between English Mist, Apple Green and Molton Brown. Also, they wouldn't empty out their pockets and leave loose change, golf tees, bits of string and business cards sitting on furniture for you to pick up, only for them to come back the next day and empty out an equally random collection of objects on to a different surface, thwarting your Sisyphean attempt to put them all away. No, it is not feminist to tidy up after him. But neither is it a good use of your time and energy to try and change him. Women have more and better cone cells than men, that's why we notice these things. For an easy life, give it up.
Get a whiteboard. If it isn't written down, it isn't a job. Likewise, get a calendar. If it ain't written down, it ain't happening.
18. Be grown-up about financial responsibilities
Three-quarters of Britons agree that couples in a lasting relationship should have joint finances, while 26 per cent of men and only 13 per cent of woman want to take control of the combined budget. So, who should be in charge of the joint-account debit card? Well, whichever one can be bothered to open the post and remember the PIN, of course.
19.Don't fall for old customs
Of course he should not ask your dad for your hand in marriage. Not unless you and his mum get to arrange his stag do.
20. Be realistic about engagement-ring expectations...
Sorry, but the month's salary rule is only as traditional as the 1930s De Beers marketing campaign that first mentioned it. It's more sensible, and no less romantic, to pay as much for a piece of jewellery as your insurance policy covers for loss and accidental damage to items outside of the home. Especially if you are either clumsy or forgetful.