New set of dating rules for the digital age
ELLEN Fein and Sherrie Schneider practise what they preach.
As authors of the dating guide that became a phenomenon - referenced in Sex and the City, and updated this year to include advice on how to date in the digital age - they achieved global fame for being women who know what men want.
The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr Right appeared in 1995 and advocated doing much of what your mother told you: play hard to get; keep a bit in reserve; remain mysterious.
All told, it encouraged women to be a bit more cynical about their happy-ever-afters. And it seemed to get results.
When I ring them for our interview, both Fein and Schneider's phones refuse to accept my call because my number comes up as blocked.
As the gurus who invented call screening, curtailing any contact that isn't face-to-face as quickly as possible, and good old-fashioned ignoring, this strikes me as particularly apt.
The New Rules: The Dating Do's And Don'ts for the Digital Generation, published this month, offers their signature sagacious take on the grey area where sex and cyberspace intersect.
And it's an important subject to address, given the de-mystification of internet dating and the rise of outlandish digital phenomena such as "sexting".
Their dictates are famous: never approach a man, let him come to you; never suggest a date; don't be the one to initiate or perpetuate conversation or contact; and never, ever agree to a date that is less than 24 hours away.
"It's more complicated and confusing now," says Fein, "and women need a new book to navigate the uncharted dating territory."
That territory includes texting, email, instant messaging, online dating, Facebook and Twitter. Before these, there was just the telephone.
Fein and Schneider have even enlisted the help of their teenage daughters to add their own takes on romance in an over-connected era.
"These days, it doesn't matter whether a guy calls, texts or emails to ask you out," goes one of their hymeneal homilies, "as long as he asks you right."
"Technology is great," continues Schneider. "We love it. But it's the overuse of technology that is the problem.
"Women are over-texting.
"They're addicted to answering guys back in nanoseconds and they're not getting dates."