Ever since the discovery of romantic relationships, there have been people who have felt compelled to give advice about finding them, keeping them, repairing them, ending them, in fact, pretty much anything you might want to do with them.
So it's only natural for Mrs. Linklater to finally jump on the bandwagon with the Mars and Venus crowd and offer up her own take on things.
Kind of like that new guru Oprah loves, who wrote "He's Just Not That Into You." Is that bleached blond, spiky-haired oracle the next Dr. Phil?
Shouting "Who cares!!!" Mrs. Linklater takes the plunge and throws the Rutabaga Rules into the abyss of public opinion.
The rules according to the rutabaga are a very short guide to understanding how far up you are on the romantic food chain. Any resemblance to an actual relationship is coincidental.
R -- RUN, do not walk away from any guy over the age of twenty-one who still lives at home with his parents. Run faster and farther if he still lives at home with his mother.
U -- UNDERSTAND that if you're divorced, a guy always wants to know how soon you will be having sex. He will want to know even sooner if you are divorced with kids. You might as well be wearing a sign that says, "Just Do Me." If you are a widow, he doesn't want sex, he wants your money.
T -- TRUST me, any guy who didn't finish high school, has trouble spelling and spent time in a correctional facility is not a catch. No matter how good his tattoos are. There are two exceptions to this rule: Slim and none.
A -- AUDITIONS. Don't do them. If he wants to have sex, ask him if this is an audition or do you have the job. It's always an audition if you have sex before you know his last name. If he takes you to meet his parents on the third date, that's just a trick to get you to audition.
B -- BREAK up with any Bozo who criticizes your body, your hair, your clothes, your job, house, children, friends, family, furniture, food, car, or anything else that matters to you. By the way contructive criticism is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. Criticism should not be confused with feedback. Feedback is friendly. Criticism is crushing.
A -- A man isn't kidding when he says things like he doesn't want children and he doesn't want to get married. He means TO YOU. How many women have wasted years trying to get them to change their minds. And watch him marry someone else as soon as they break up. Hey, that was stupid.
G -- GET good at stuff guys like. Start with sex and food. Enjoy the practice sessions. Guys love to help you with your homework. For anyone who thinks this rule contradicts any previous rule, give it a rest.
A -- ANY woman who can't spend a Saturday night alone, by herself, without stalking old boyfriends online, or eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's isn't ready for a guy.
Okay, those are Mrs. Linklater's Basic Rutabaga Rules. Your romantic life may not get better if you follow them. But they can't possibly get any worse. These rules, as good as they are will change from time to time depending on Mrs. Linklater's mood. You have to stay fresh in this business.
Oh, yes, Mrs. L is sure there is someone who wants to know why they are called the Rutabaga Rules. Long story short:
Once upon a time Mrs. Linklater fell in love. Yeah, who knew. Unfortunately she picked someone a whole lot younger so her chances of having a future with this guy weren't good. Especially since she could no longer be considered for breeding purposes. Let's just say Monica Lewinksy had a better chance of becoming First Lady.
So the time came for him to break up with her and she suffered like all women do. Tears, bags of chocolate, you know the drill. Mrs. Linklater may have a tough shell, but she's made of Marshmallow Fluff inside. Anyway, shortly after everything was finished, over, and they were never going to speak again, ever, he sent her an email. In the email was a request for a recipe for how to prepare rutabagas. And the fire got stoked again, albeit it temporarily.
The experience taught Mrs. Linklater her first relationship lesson of the new millennium [with a nod to Yogi Berra]:
Just because it's over doesn't mean it's over.
[Note to anyone clever with crafts: The Rutabaga Rules are suitable for framing if you want to serve them up as a gift to someone.]
The link to Judithheartsong's May artsy essay contest: http://journals.aol.com/judithheartsong/newbeginning/entries/1440
[See previous entry to find out why ORACLE, RUTABAGA, AND ABYSS ARE TYPED IN RED]