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I'm regularly grateful to have been one of the last generations of teenagers who didn't have to worry about social media when it came to college crushes, but even I remember days spent staring at a mobile phone that refused to beep.I have never been a "Rules girl" (that's right, they're a tribe – Blake Lively and Beyoncé are both rumoured to have tried them, on Leonardo Di Caprio and Jay Z respectively).But the 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 unchartered dating territory."That territory includes texting, email, instant messaging, online dating, Facebook and Twitter.Before these, there was just the telephone, which you invariably watched until it rang. Well, I did, but I already told you I wasn't a Rules girl.Essentially, The New Rules deals with social media and our increased interconnectivity by ignoring it all and pretending humanity was at a comms high around the time Rapunzel was locked up in that tower Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider practice 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 that know what men want.
They're getting more texts and Facebook messages and no dates.""They're writing on guys' walls, friending their cousins and scaring them away," adds Fein.
"They're posting so many mundane status updates that they come across as the opposite of mysterious.
All told, it encouraged women to be a bit more cynical about their happily-ever- afters. 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 dos and don'ts for the digital generation, (£9.99, Piatkus) published this month, offers their signature sagacious take on the grey area where sex and cyberspace intersect.