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Deciphering Dating, Part Four - the New Rules: The Dating Dos and Don'ts for the Digital Generation

11/02/2014 12:13 GMT | Updated 13/04/2014 10:59 BST

2014 might be the year you have decided to find a partner. Physically find one, grab them and not let go. So to save you some time I have recently been immersing myself in the world of self-help and dating manuals, (let's say it was for "research") to decipher their key points, their plan of action. If you were considering buying one to help you in your search for Mr or Mrs Right let me help you out by examining some of the most popular.

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider writers of The Rules haven't given up hope on you, even if you did their dating manual. No, they have emerged from the aftershock of 1995's The Rules with The New Rules: The Dating Dos and Don'ts for the Digital Generation. Presumably in getting with the modern age they have overthrown the antiquated advice that dominated the original Rules. Not really.

'Rule: Don't Talk to or Text a Guy First.'

God forbid you say something stupid. A recurring theme from the original Rules, women should never open their mouths uninvited, even then probably best to say nothing at all. Maintain an air of knowing silence, or look weird, it's up to you. Presumably when it comes to texting you have swapped numbers, perhaps you let it slip by accident, don't do it again! And certainly don't engage in texting, lest you be marked as a hussy!

'Rule: Don't Ask Guys Out by Text, Social Networking, Instant Messenger, or Any Other Way'.

Obviously the concept that the 'Digital Generation' consists of social media (the clue's in the name) has been forgotten before you've even got into the book. You should only ask someone out face-to-face so you can witness there horrified screams of 'No! Noooooo!' Social media is only for swapping gifs of cats, come on, you knew that.

'Rule: Wait at Least Four Hours to Answer a Guy's First Text and a Minimum of 30 Minutes Thereafter'
Even if the text says 'Send help bear eat aaarrgh....' After four hours he will have judged you as worthy of his electronic messages. Similarly 'Don't Answer Texts or Anything after Midnight' the door, a call from God. Nothing. If you're still awake after midnight you're doing being a woman wrong, you should be getting your beauty sleep in full bed jacket and unattractive face cream. You've got an early start in the morning applying full make-up and styling hair before the postman appears.

'Rule: Rarely Write on His Wall'.

His Facebook wall of course, not his actual wall, otherwise your relationship is doomed from the start as he witnesses you dragged away by the police, Sharpie in hand. If he's a nice boy it is unlikely he'll be at home obsessively counting the number of likes you've added to his comments. However, if from scanning his Facebook you notice a penchant for anti-semitic virals or homophobic memes definitely write on his wall. Keep writing on it. Make sure he knows he's a dick.

Much like the rules regarding texting,

'Don't Email a Guy First, and Keep It Brief'
perhaps go for the old Windows Messenger fail-safe 'asl?'. That's brief isn't it and not at all making you sound like a sexual deviant. Again 'Don't Write to Guys First, Ignore Winks'. To be honest I think the writers were struggling at this point and it all gets a bit repetitive, summarised by;

'Rule: Don't Talk Too Much in the First few Weeks.'

(Let me just take a moment to arrggghhhh!!!!)

Sorry. Obviously don't text him, tweet him or talk to him. Just shut up will you! You don't want him to realise your stupid do you? Or have fiery feminist politics, then he'll surely run for the hills. If you keep quiet he will appreciate you for the obedient little woman you are, if he's a spanner. Or he'll think you have overwhelming social anxiety and probably go and talk to someone that will actually respond with more than a fixed forward stare as if a combination of Botox and dentistry has left you paralysed.

The only rule I can get on board with is

'Don't Sext or Send a Guy Anything You Wouldn't Want Him to Have If You Break Up'
not because I am in anyway against the liberation and empowerment of recognising your own beauty and sending a lovely picture of it to your other half. Generally people only tend to do this when they're in a stable relationship anyway and aren't afraid their other half will faint at the sight of their imperfect wobbly bits. But don't send him half your CD collection to recover things when they're getting a bit rocky, you won't get them back. Silly me of course though, this is the digital generation, send him as many mp3s and Youtube videos as you like. Particularly ones about cats, everyone loves cats.

'Rule: Wait for a Guy to Follow You on Twitter First and Rarely Return Tweets
'. Again with the waiting, jeez I've got things to do without having to consciously time my tweets. Social media is meant to be 'live', of the minute, and if I have a really good cat video to share I want to share it now! That's the main problem with The Rules and The New Rules, not much of a grip on reality. Unfortunately I fear the writers ave long been lost in an antiquated land of chaperones and courting.

If you break up, The New Rules answer is obviously to un-friend him, nothing says I'm so completely not bothered, better than you and a paragon of female power, than not being Facebook friends anymore. How about don't bother, who cares, it's Facebook. Go outside and meet someone else, don't read dating manuals is the only rule you need.