For years the rad-fems have been denigrating the idea of “The Rules (TM)”: the idea that in our liberated day and age, the gal ought to hold out and wait for the guy to call her. What’s wrong with the other way around? Maybe the guy’s a commitment-phobe. Maybe he’s just getting out of a relationship. Maybe he’s shy. Maybe–his cell-phone broke! Uh-huh.

Maybe he’s not that into you. That’s the title (Maybe He’s Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys) of a new book by former “Sex in the City” writers/consultants Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo that strikes me, a veteran of 25 solid years of dismal dates before I met my dream man,  as right on the money. The Behrendt-Tuccillo watchword: If he’s that into you, he’ll call. Believe us. And if he doesn’t, you don’t have to waste your time thinking about him much less leaving those pathetic messages on his machine (and believe me–I’ve made my shaming share to the phones of men I danced up a storm with at parties, then waited and waited and waited). The Rules work. Don’t do it. Hold out for the guy who thinks you’re so great that he chases you. Because if that’s the way he’s thinking about you, he’s thinking about you day and night.

I got my introduction to “Maybe He’s Not That Into You” from an interview with Behrendt by my fave Washington Post feature writer Roxanne Roberts. Roberts quotes Beherendt:

“‘The biggest lie of all is “It’s not you” — because you are the person I’m in the relationship with. The truth is, “It is you, and I’m not into you,”‘ says Behrendt, 41, now a happily married father of a 2-year-old daughter.”

For years, Roberts reports, Behrendt was saying, “It’s not you, it’s me,” to a lot of women. Then, six years ago, he met Amiira, the woman who would become his wife, and Behrendt knew from the beginning that this was different: He was into her:

“‘It was like being brought up from the minors to the majors,’ he says. ‘She was just “it.” I was able to envision a future with her almost immediately.’ He says he worked hard to make Amiira part of his life: She operated at a certain level, and he had to step up to that level. ‘I really had to be a better man, all the way around, to be with her,’ he says. ‘Other women in other relationships would suggest changes that I wasn’t willing to make.’

“When a guy is truly interested in a woman, he pursues her. That’s the way it’s always been, he says, and equality hasn’t changed it. And so Behrendt strips away the excuses:

“If a man is into you, he’ll ask you out. (In fact, Behrendt believes no woman should ask out a man who hasn’t asked her out first.) He will call, no matter now busy, because you’ll be a bright spot in his day. He will want to have sex with you, and will stop having sex with other women. He will want to be with you when he’s sober, not just to party. If he’s really, really into you he’ll want to marry you….

“There are exceptions to every rule, he says, but he really wants you to ignore them. You might be wonderful, but many wonderful women are in relationships with men who don’t call, don’t bother, don’t care. It’s wiser, he says, to assume the worst: You’re the rule. He’s not that into you, so get out and find someone who is.

“‘I’m hoping this starts a revolution that gets everyone to step up and behave better,’ he says. ‘I want women to honor themselves, and I want men to honor women.'”

Just to test Behrendt’s theory, I explained it to my husband.

“‘It’s not you–it’s me’? Why I thought I invented that line!” was my husband’s comment.

See–the Rules work! Take it from the guys.