Revisiting The Rules: is the dating bible still relevant today?

Don’t talk to a man first. Never accept a date for a Saturday night if he asks after Wednesday. Don’t call him, and rarely return his calls.

Sound familiar? It’s all advice from the bestselling dating bible The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr Right. The book was a dating guide with the premise that women who play hard to get, get their man, while women who showed too much interest did not In a nutshell, boy pursues girl and women play it extremely cool. The book was co-authored by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider and offered a set of dating rules which, although sparking plenty of controversy, have endured until this day. 

There have been plenty of updates to The Rules, given a lot has changed since it was released in 1995. A new book offered insight on how to handle social media, texting, and online dating when it comes to dating with The Rules in mind. There are also insights into the co-authors’ daughters’ experience with dating to further update the advice with a modern makeover. There are even phone consultations and in-person courses on offer with the pair if you are looking for more tailored advice.

The original book advocated playing very hard to get, by being a bit distant and difficult. Women who play by the rules – aka Rules girls – always end phone calls first and only engage in casual kissing on the first and second dates. Oh, and the book sees grooming as extremely important by advising women to “be a creature unlike any other”. The central message is if a man likes you, he will approach you. So never approach a man, state The Rules, don’t suggest a date, instead let him come to you.

What do people make of The Rules?

As you would expect, there are plenty of opinions about The Rules, which is partly the reason it’s become such a cultural phenomenon. You may initially find the premise of The Rules surprising given how dating has seemingly evolved since the book was released, but it’s had a big influence within the dating world.

As Refinery29 points out, the book feeds into a nostalgia around romance and relies on a very traditional sense of what love and courtship are. Author Samhita Mukhopadhyay, interviewed in the piece, said the advice can sometimes work given that men are fed antiquated notions of what dating should look like, so see a woman acting forward as a signal she is in fact desperate because it’s breaking the mould of how they view traditional dating.

The authors say the rules are not about manipulation – they are there to prevent women from making avoidable dating mistakes and getting hurt because of them. Offering another perspective, Rules Coach Vanessa Taylor says it boils down to creating healthy boundaries and establishing your own power in the relationship from the start. 

Others argue that given there has been more than two decades since The Rules were launched, dating norms have not actually changed that much. An article on Vox cited studies which looked at the heterosexual dating rituals of young men and women. These found that although the respondents identified as progressive and even feminist, they stuck to traditional scripts when dating when their goal was marriage and children. The women believed men naturally want to be the pursuers – as The Rules points out – and worry that if they pursue the object of their affection, it makes them come across as desperate. As a result they didn’t ask men out, or pay for dates. While interestingly, most of the men surveyed claimed they didn’t like these sort of gender rules in dating. They wanted women to ask them out or to pick up the bill when they met up for a date. However, the female subjects of the study said their experiments in being forward didn’t work as they did not get the outcome they wanted.

Is it dating itself which dictates behaviour?

Despite its critics, many devotees have been won over by the boundaries and confidence that having a set of dating rules bring. Sherrie Schneider pointed out to The Independent: “The Rules are about boundaries and self-esteem. That is not repressive: that is called self-control and smart, effective behaviour.” In other words, it’s coping strategies for the confusing and sometimes intimidating world of dating. And as the Vox piece points out, the courtship expectations of The Rules are still here to be navigated, whether you like it or not.

Others are sympathetic to the goals of The Rules, seeing it as a response to the innate issue with dating that there is always a power imbalance. In the New York Times writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner argued that The Rules recognised there was no changing the system, so the only thing to do was to work smarter within it.

It’s fascinating that the book – and its subsequent sequels – continue to have such an influence. Whether you agree with its premise or not, it does show how common it is for dating to follow a tried-and-tested formula which is dictated in a large part by societal expectations. We’d love to hear your views on The Rules – are you a convert? Have you tried any of its advice and would you put your relationship success down to these efforts? Share your views and experiences via Facebook and Instagram!

If you are looking for support and advice on your dating journey, why not consider working with a matchmaker? We work closely with you to truly understand who you are looking for and we use our extensive experience and exclusive private network to find you people you’ll really share a connection with. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you find true love!


How to let the real you shine through in your dating profile pictures

A set of standout dating photos don’t just show people what you look like, it gives them a clear insight into who you are, what you’re into and what you’re all about.

We live in a highly visual world. The majority of people are curating and sharing good quality photos of themselves and their lives on social media as part of their weekly routine. So, when it comes to our dating lives, people now have higher expectations about the profile photos they are viewing, much more than they would have done even a couple of years ago. The challenging aspect of this is that we need to make a much bigger effort with our dating profile pictures in order to have a strong impact and to stand out from the crowd.

I’ve shared my top tips for achieving a set of dating photos which will really show who you are and what you’re all about.

Only use good quality photos

We all have higher expectations now when it comes to looking at other people’s profile photos, but we need to make sure our own profile pictures measure up to those same expectations.

It’s well known that using low quality images gives people the impression that you don’t value the dating experience and more crucially, that you don’t value yourself or have something to hide. If you’re here reading this blog, chances are you’re the kind of person who is serious about finding a life partner and that you’re the kind of person who values themselves highly. With this in mind, make sure all your photos are clear and good quality. Good quality pictures attract good quality dates, while low quality photos will attract hook-ups.

The four photos every profile needs

The happy headshot

Your primary headshot has the most work to do out of all your photos as it will be the first one they see. Its main role is to make you look super attractive, warm, approachable and to also ensure you come across as someone people enjoy spending time with. It also needs to be visually eye-catching so that it makes you stand out in the busy online space. The easiest way to be visually interesting in the primary headshot is to wear an eye-catching colour, like red, orange or yellow. You could also include a bold colour in the background, if you prefer not to wear these sorts of colours.

The fierce full body shot

People want to see the ‘full package’ before deciding whether to go on a date with someone, so it’s essential to include one, up-to-date, full-body shot. People sadly are wary of to being deceived on dating apps, so this is the kind of shot they will look for to check you are who you say you are. You only need one, as the rest of the photos need to focus more on showing off your face and elements of your personality well.

The playful personality shot

Including a personality photo is a secret superpower. If you can showcase elements of your lifestyle and your personality, it’s such a powerful way to help you connect with like-minded people.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as being pictured reading your favourite book. Perhaps they LOVE that book. Or maybe you’re pictured hugging your dog. Perhaps you enjoy painting with watercolours or you play the guitar. If you’re into any kind of sport or movement activity, include a photo of yourself engaged in that. Recent research suggests that a sporty or activity-based photos attracts 75% more attention on dating apps than any other photo. People are attracted to healthy people who look after themselves, so this makes sense. If you’re into yoga, carry your yoga mat or, even better, get photographed as you go through some yoga poses. When you’re captured in ‘flow’, meaning doing something you love in your photos, it shines through and creates very attractive pictures.

Anything that emphasises the unique, interesting you – be sure to include that!

The intriguing talking point photo

Create a photo which aims to intrigue, surprise or delight people. You’ll capture their interest and make it easy for them to message you with a question or comment. If you’re stuck, perhaps remind yourself what your party trick is. Can you stand on your head? Or do you have an unusual interest? At Hey Saturday we’ve had clients playing the banjo, skateboarding, doing martial arts with a wooden stick, dancing in the street and many other fun and eye-catching ideas.

Or, if you’re still stuck for inspiration, think about what you love that others might love. Have you been known to enjoy eating a delicious but ridiculously large ice cream sundae the size of your head? That photo might appeal to rather a lot of people.

You only have a total of five or six photos with which to make a powerful impact. That’s not a huge number of photos to work with, so make sure you’re the star of every single one – no group shots – and that each photo has a clear role and is working hard for you. A killer profile photo doesn’t just show people what you look like, it tells them what you’re made of. 

Saskia Nelson is the founder of Hey Saturday, a dating photography agency that specialises in creating show-stopping dating app and matchmaking profile photos, equipping clients to take their online impact to the next level.

If you are looking for help and support for a dating journey you’ll truly enjoy, why not turn to the experts? Our matchmakers really get to know you to understand who you’ll share a connection with, introducing you to some truly amazing people who share your goal of a long-term, committed relationship. We take away all the hard work that can come with dating, by arranging a professional photoshoot and hand-selecting individuals you’ll really enjoy meeting with. Give us a call today to find out how to start you search for true love!


Cost of living crisis: why low-cost date ideas are rising in popularity

It’s a scenario we are all very familiar with at the moment. You open a menu and can’t quite believe how much the prices have increased since the last time you went out. When you ask for your bill after a night of wining and dining you are surprised at the total you’ve managed to accumulate. The cost of living has skyrocketed in recent months, making it seem expensive to eat and drink at even the more modest of establishments.

The current financial squeeze is being felt in the dating world as the more traditional date ideas suddenly feel like a splurge too far given the impact of rising costs. If you are used to filling your week with a variety of evenings out meeting potential matches, it can start to feel a bit extravagant flitting from bar-to-bar forking out for a drink or three. And let’s face it, if you’ve realised there’s very little chemistry between you just minutes into a seven-course tasting menu, it’s pretty disappointing at the best of times but even worse when you know it’s going to be a costly evening as well.

Recent research showed that single people are being a lot more careful about the date ideas they suggest in order to avoid living above their means. More than 40% of single people recently surveyed say they are more likely to pick a more modest date venue to avoid racking up big bills. Free activities are even more popular given the increased cost of going out, with 34% of respondents saying they would suggest doing something with no cost attached.

Low-key dating had already been rising in popularity before prices increased, largely driven by the trend for dawn dating and intentional dating. These days it’s not unusual to be invited for a casual stroll or to split a bottle of wine on a picnic blanket as daters turn their back on the traditional dinner and drinks formula. Given the fact that prices are still rising, driven by inflation at a new 40-year high, it seems these trends are firmly here to stay – which is good news if you’ve been considering scaling back on your search for love because of fears about splitting expensive bills and being invited to venues you just can’t splash out on. A separate study found the rising cost of living is causing 41% of single people surveyed to go on fewer dates than they used to, which demonstrates why it’s well worth considering the low-cost and free options at your disposal.

Take dawn dating. It describes meeting a potential partner when the day is young, with no expectation that a lavish meal or rounds of drinks will be involved. Meeting in the morning lends itself to low-cost options, such as enjoying a coffee and croissant at a pavement café or a brisk dog walk before you start the working day. Not only do you save money, but you also benefit from being clear-headed without alcohol clouding your judgement. A short date with a defined end point can make it much easier to peel away if you discover this person isn’t really for you anyway. 

The pandemic meant many of us got used to low key dates, finding plenty of fun to be had with socially distanced picnics, watching the sunset together and going for a bike ride. It also meant daters got used to meeting up virtually with a Zoom or Face Time date, which still plays a big part of the intentional dating approach. This trend can involve taking it slow with somebody new, often getting to know each other over a series of phone calls, video dates and low-stake pre-dates before committing to more formal evenings out. The benefit of a video call? It’s free and a great way to judge whether there’s romance potential with someone before you meet in person.

So, if you’ve been off dating lately due to the cost of a night out, why not consider inviting somebody out for a relaxed free date? You’ll probably find they’ll be just as grateful to mix it up a bit by enjoying the free fun that can be had on your doorstep. If you’ve been seeing somebody for a little while, don’t overlook the joy of a night in – a bottle of wine snuggled up on the sofa can be just as enjoyable as a fancy night out and you can then enjoyable the occasional splurge even more. Whatever your financial situation, it can really pay to slow things down and suss out whether you like somebody over a chilled coffee – there’s plenty of time for treating yourselves later when you’re sure they are worth getting to know better.

Teaming up with a matchmaker can be a great way to start a successful dating journey that really works for you. Matchmakers are experts at understanding who you’ll share a connection with, cutting out the dates that go nowhere with people who were never going to be for you. We offer a hands-on personalised service which means the dates you go on will be fewer, but of a higher quality and more aligned to the type of person you want to meet. Give us a call today to find out how we can help with a fun and stress-free search for that long-term, committed relationship you’ve been searching for. 


Tips for dating as a high net worth individual

Let’s face it, dating is tricky at the best of times. While the prospect of meeting somebody new is incredibly exciting, it can be tricky to navigate the ups and down of everything from where to look for somebody new and nerve-wracking first dates to when to call and how to tell if the other person is into you. Then you may be struggling with other factors which further complicate the situation, such as dating after divorce or having had your fingers burned by somebody who broke your heart in a previous relationship.

Dating can also be a whole different ballgame if you are a high net worth individual. Of course, when money is no object, it adds a lovely element of luxury to those early dates to being able to treat a potential partner to something truly special and unique. Yes, millionaires really are at liberty to whisk a love interest away on a private jet for a lavish date to remember, with pricey date nights jetting off for dinner in Paris a popular choice. However, the topic of money will inevitably start to become a factor as the first few dates turn into a budding romance, especially if you are not matched in financial clout. There will be worries that a person’s intentions are not truly based around a love connection but rather are more motivated by the fact you are wealthy. However, it’s perfectly possible to find the perfect match if you are dating as a high net worth individual – it’s just worth bearing a few key pointers in mind to ensure you are protecting yourself and considering your security and privacy as well.

Watch out for reg flags: While it’s fine to offer a great lifestyle to somebody, it’s a different thing all together if somebody is pushing for it. It can be a red flag if a person you are seeing is insistent on being bought extravagant gifts and treated to expensive days out and trips abroad without ever offering to pay for anything themselves. While it is disappointing to have to consider whether money is the motive behind their interest in you, it’s worth bearing it in mind if you are starting to feel they are in it for something else entirely. Another red flag is bringing up your career and financial status from day one, making it seems like it is the most important aspect on their radar.

But be ready to have the money chat: While it is common to split the bill on the first date, it’s not usually appropriate to chat about more involved financial scenarios until much further down the line. When it looks like the relationship is progressing, then this is a common time to bring up the money talk. You’ll have a much better idea of the individual’s character, priorities and lifestyle, and whether you do have wildly different incomes. A disparity between financial situations is not uncommon, so its key to find a way to approach spending in a relationship that you’re both comfortable with. It may be one partner pays for a trip abroad, while the other sort out the logistics and pays for the activities you’ll do when you get there.

Many find, regardless of who is the breadwinner, it is essential that each of you contribute in some way. This way one side of the pairing doesn’t feel they are being taken advantage of while the other does not risk feeling like they are losing their independence. You may work it out by a proportion of both your earnings or be able to split everything equally. The key is to make sure you’re both happy with what you bring to the table, even if you don’t have parity on your finances. That takes good communication and honesty as the relationship evolves, otherwise you risk resentment setting in.  

Work with a matchmaker: It’s so important to realise you’re not alone in your search for love. Working with the experts saves you valuable time and provides you with personalised introductions to likeminded individuals, saving wasted time on dates which were never going to work out. Here at Ignite Dating we understand you may prefer discretion in your search for love and we put your security and privacy centre stage. We ask for photo ID to make sure every individual we introduce you to is legitimate and is who they say they are. We make sure the people you are introduced to will match your values, aspirations and outlooks on life and share your goal of a committed long-term relationship. We have an extensive private network at our disposal to match you with successful people from all walks of life. You may want to meet somebody who is a financial equal to you, or you may prefer to find someone with a less demanding schedule who is open to enjoying a range of experiences together. A matchmaker does all the hard work for you, which can be the perfect scenario when you’re caught up in a busy work schedule, leaving you free to enjoy a safe and enjoyable dating journey.

Worries about fraud: Romance fraud is a big worry for anybody who is dating, but it can feel particularly pertinent when your career or elements of your lifestyle suggest you are particularly wealthy. Fraudsters spend lots of time gaining someone’s trust before creating plausible situations where they need large amounts of money. It pays to be mindful of the common signs of romance fraud and be aware of the top tips for protecting yourself, such as never sending money to somebody you’ve met online and trusting your instincts. Again, it pays to work with the experts as an Ignite Dating matchmaker will work hard on your behalf to make sure the people we are introducing you to are genuine, vetting everybody we work with and checking they are the real deal.

If you’d like to find out more about award-winning dedicated matchmaking service, why not give us a call today? We work closely with you to establish the values and characteristics that are important to you and make personalised introductions from our extensive database and private network. We enjoy working with enthusiastic clients who are committed to finding a life partner with similar family values and outlooks on life and we pride ourselves on providing a dating journey that’ll leave you feeling energised, confident and safe.