Rules Are Made to Be Broken


by guest blogger Renee James, essayist and blogger

A few years ago, we were all buzzing about books that offered the “rules” for women, the “rules” for online dating, and the “rules” for women who wanted to find lasting love. Not surprisingly, they were followed up with a Men’s Rules for Women list that circulated on the Internet, and a version of that list just showed up on Facebook.

After reading it, I couldn’t help but follow up my most recent post with this one. Without further ado—and with great affection for the many wonderful men I know and love—here’s one person’s perspective on why men and women might not ever quite sync up.

And why that’s mostly funny.

Men’s Rules for Women (with a few added thoughts from yours truly):

Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

That’s because you’d be pretty uncomfortable trying to…oh, never mind.

Sometimes we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

That makes sense. But I guess most of us would like to believe you’d be thinking about us at least twice a year, say, on our birthday or anniversary, without us hitting you over the head? See below regarding dates.

We don’t remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on the calendar. Remind us frequently beforehand.

Okay, we’ll add those two things for you. We’ll also add the piano-tuning appointment, your dentist appointment, when the cable guy is supposed to come, the water softener refill date, when the field trip money is due, when the lawn is getting fertilized, and the next vet appointment. No need to remind us.

Sunday = sports. It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

Fine by me. What day of the week is our day? 

If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

But not on Sunday, right?

Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

Except when we’re shopping for electronics.

Most guys own three pairs of shoes. What makes you think we’d be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?

Just trying to please the one we love.

When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really, you look fine!!

Change “fine” to “beautiful” and it’s a deal.

Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question. Please pick one.
Got it. 

Please see the next question about being fat. Pick NO. 

If you think you’re fat, you probably are. Don’t ask us. We refuse to answer, but still love you.

See above re: Yes and No questions.

If you won’t dress like the Victoria’s Secret girls, don’t expect us act like soap opera guys.

We might…if we got the right answer to the previous question.

Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

And apparently, they’re also to help us find something to do on Sundays.

Our relationship is never going to be like it was the first two months we were going out. Get over it. And quit whining to your girlfriends.

You don’t have to tell me! I live here, remember? And didn’t you just tell me that’s what my girlfriends…forget it.

A headache that lasts for seventeen months is a problem. See a doctor.

A cold is not necessarily life threatening. Take a Tylenol.

Let us know about that funny noise in your car engine as soon as you hear it.

And put that new roll on as soon as the old one is empty.

Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after seven days.

Except the wedding vows, right?????

If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

We did, too.

Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

Sure. It would be something like: I’m leaving to go buy some shoes with my girlfriends, talk about our relationship, get some sympathy, and celebrate my birthday. By the way, the car squeals a little bit every time I hit the brakes and your mom’s birthday is on Tuesday.

Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

But he was on his way to India, for God’s sake! He ended up somewhere else, as I recall.

We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

How come you know what Ryne Sandberg is thinking?

NASCAR is as exciting for us as handbags are for you.

Handbags? Try SHOES.

Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it! We’ll get it for you, but just LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!

We want men who ignore these rules.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know we really don’t mind that?  It’s like camping.

We don’t really mind, either. We get to hold something special in bed tonight: the remote. XO

Renee JamesRenee A. James works at Rodale Inc. and also wrote an award-winning op-ed column for The Morning Call, the Allentown, PA, newspaper, for almost 10 years. Her essays were included in the humor anthology, 101 Damnations: A Humorists’ Tour of Personal Hells (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), and are also found online at Jewish World Review and The Daily Caller. She invites you to Like her Facebook page, where she celebrates—and broods about—life on a regular basis, mostly as a voice in the crowd that shouts, “Really? You’re kidding me, right?” (Or wants to, anyway), and welcomes your suggestions, comments, and feedback to the mix.


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9 Responses to Rules Are Made to Be Broken

  1. Valerie March 14, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Love this Renee. I can’t believe how more annoying these rules seem with your comments. The Columbus one is priceless.

  2. Valerie March 14, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Not that your comments are annoying! The rules are more annoying – just clarifying.

  3. Maria Luci March 14, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    “A cold is not necessarily life threatening. Take a Tylenol.”
    And this:
    “But he was on his way to India, for God’s sake! He ended up somewhere else, as I recall.”

    Perfect 😉

  4. Donna in Delaware March 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    LMAO Renee! This is good! Keep up the good work. I’m certain that there is more to say!

  5. Renee March 15, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks so much – I hoped I’d find some sisterhood here. I actually had some fun writing this one. And Donna, you’re right. I love men but they can be confounding, right?

  6. Donna in Delaware March 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm #


  7. Donnie March 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Men don’t pay attention, and they can’t remember diddly-squat. They just won’t admit it. We must try to be patient with them, because they can’t help it because they are idiots.

  8. Jo Huskey Chanin March 27, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is in search of the perfect pair of shoes.

  9. Renee March 28, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    The perfect pair of shoes, not unlike the perfect pair of black pants, is out there, somewhere. It’s incumbent upon each of us to keep looking. It’s the right thing to do.

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