Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why can’t I just say “Hi”?

Ah. My favorite question. So many people think this is the optimal way of initiating conversation with that hot someone you've had your eye on. I disagree. Here's why:

Saying “Hi” forces a split second decision from the guy about whether he wants to continue the conversation, and ultimately, whether or not he wants to date you. This is because saying “Hi” is what we say when what we really mean is “You’re hot and I want to date you”. It's uncomfortable for the person being hit on, and it doesn’t work very often (and believe me, I’ve tried).

Why?

Because I have given those guys two seconds to decide how they are going to respond—and most guys make their decision about a girl in the first ½ second when she makes it obvious she likes him. Since my value was already decreased because I had “hit on him”, my odds sucked for success. He knows I like him (which is boring and makes me a whole lot less interesting) and he's uncomfortable (from having to judge me). It may work sometimes, but it’s not a reliable way to open a communication channel with someone.

Yours in reliability,
S

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What do I do if I can tell he’s not into me?

If you sense that the conversation isn't going well, you can bail at any point. You can keep your dignity intact by just saying “Thanks for your input—that’s really helped me out.” If at any point the guy thought that you might have been hitting on him, this will completely negate that conclusion. You just left the conversation, and you wouldn't have done that if you were into him.

Yours in ego-safety,
S

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What do I do if it doesn’t work?

Sometimes it won’t work. You're learning, and mistakes will be made. The more you practice, the better you'll get. Initiating conversation will come very easily to some, and will take a lot of practice for others. In 99% of cases, it's definitely not something you can expect to just go out and do and have it flow flawlessly. So give yourself a break and try again. I can't even tell you how many times I bombed a conversation when I was figuring this out.

Also, remember that dating is a numbers game. And now that you have the power to talk to anyone you want, if one opener gets screwed up, it doesn't matter in the slightest. There are hundreds more where he came from. If you mess up an opener, rather than getting bummed out, think about it like you've just gained some knowledge about where your potential hang-ups are.

Yours in fishing,
S

Friday, October 23, 2009

The thought of initiating conversation makes me feel like I'm going to puke. How do I get over this?

I hear you. The good news is that the more you do this, the less nervous you'll become and the better you'll get at it. For me, opening a Hot Guy is a very similar experience to public speaking. I get nervous and I get butterflies. I sometimes even do that nervous slight sweat thing, but once I’m in, I’m totally fine. I’ve gotten to the point now where I love the nerves—they keep me sharp and the rush is great. Practice is the key - it makes a huge difference in your comfort level, especially if you're a bit shy and aren't used to initiating conversation with people.

Also, if you think about how these openers are staged, it would be natural for you to be a bit nervous—you are asking a random stranger for advice, after all. So if you feel nervous, let it show a little bit. I find it works best when I don’t stare at the guy the whole time. I also look up or down when I’m “thinking” about something, like their response. You want to make this as realistic as possible. If you’re starting to talk too fast for them to understand you, or you’re stuttering or fidgeting or otherwise conveying that you are freaked out, you may want to practice a bit more. Otherwise he’ll wonder what’s up.

Yours in not puking,
S

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best and Worst Cities for Dating (according to The Daily Beast)


It's something every single has pondered: Are you shooting yourself in the foot by living in a particular city? Or was your choice to live in your current city a great one because of the multitudes of Hot Single Guys running around?

The Daily Beast has taken it upon themselves to rank the US cities on their man-magnetness based a number of attributes - city size, education, income and gym availability (the latter to serve as a proxy for how easy it is to meet said Hot Guys, and how fit they might be). Most lists I've seen like this in the past have been based purely on U.S. Census Bureau statistics, so I applaud The Daily Beast for adding in a few more ways to judge. Here's the article:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-18/the-best-cities-to-meet-men/?cid=hp:beastoriginalsR1

I'm pleased to see that Seattle ranks near the top (#3). I've had the distinct impression upon moving here 4 months ago that this city is a great place to meet Hot Guys, despite what I had heard. They're everywhere - running on the waterfront, in the ubiquitous coffee shops, in the bars, in the museums, at the shows, on the street... As I see it, Seattle is urban enough to dispel those persistent rumors that every guy that lives here is a grundgy hippie. Not that I have anything against hippiness (I'm a two year veteran of Burning Man), but as I understand it, the word on the street about Seattle and the Northwest in general was that if you wanted someone who showered, this wasn't the place to go. After careful observation, I stand by the statement that this isn't true. There are lots of Hot Guys in Seattle. I'm glad to hear someone is backing me up on that.

The other ranking that jumped out at me was San Francisco being ranked #4 - as in the 4th best city to live in to meet guys. I'm a native Northern-Californian, and one of the major complaints I've heard about SF is that it's an impossible city to be in if you're a single girl looking for a date. The guys are either "taken or gay", to quote my friend Kate. Now, as a proponent of girls taking the lead in initiating conversation, I'm not sure I can wholeheartedly agree with this city-wide judgment (largely because I'm not sure Kate has seen the light with initiating conversation).

Are there lots of Hot Guys in SF? Certainly. As for the "taken or gay" standpoint, methinks this may be a case of the 10/20/70 ratio at work. As in - on any given night, the guys out on the town will break down (roughly) into the following groups:

10%: These are the douchebags that hit on you. Their egos are huge and they throw cheesy pick up lines at you in the hopes that you'll become another notch on their bedpost.

20%: These are the socially mal-adjusted guys. They're undateable for one reason or another: loose relationship with the shower, line items on their criminal records, etc.

70%: These are those best-guy-friends/brothers/co-workers all your friends keep talking about that are so amazing, funny, hot, cool and nice. They don't hit on you because they've been burned one too many times by hitting on other girls - either by being laughed at, having a drink thrown in their face, or receiving a fake phone number. There's nothing wrong with them, they just don't try anymore because every time they do, it backfires.

The perceived "taken" is most likely based solely on the sub-set of guys that actually initiate conversation, which probably hovers at around 15% of the total single guy population. My friend Kate doesn't talk to the other 85% (which includes that golden 70% mentioned above), because they don't approach her, leaving her no choice but to judge the entire group based on dudes with egos the size of elephants. As for the complaint about some of the hot guys being gay? SF is a west-coast, liberal, gay-friendly city. Enjoy it!

So, how does one meet the Golden 70%? Unless you're content with destiny bringing you Brad Pitt as your pizza man, you take matters into your own hands and you initiate conversation. That 70% is out there and waiting for the sassy girls of the world to take the reigns.

Thanks to The Daily Beast for putting together the best "Where to Find the Hot Guys" list I've seen in a long time.

Yours in sassy optimism,
S

JDate.com

Check out my first article on JDate.com! This is my first published article, and it feels like a major milestone in my journey as a writer. I'm very excited!

http://www.jdate.com/jmag/2009/10/getting-a-reply-the-golden-goal-of-online-dating/

Yours in published giddiness,
S

I don’t get this whole “making up openers” thing. What advice can you give me?

When you're thinking up your own openers, remember that whatever you ask the guy needs to be something that he'll know the answer to. You cannot, for example, expect the average guy to know how awesome the new Christian Louboutin's are, or why so-and-so was on the cover AGAIN of that magazine. There are millions of things that are sex-neutral that you can bring up: dating, good local restaurants, movie opinions and current news are all good bets for opening questions.

On that same note, asking a guy something that he can be knowledgeable about plays up the damsel in distress scenario. Guys (yes, I'm generalizing) like feeling like they know more than you. It makes them feel powerful. And though I am definitely not advocating dumbing yourself down to get a guy, it doesn't really matter if you know the answer to the question or not, in the end. Guys like to help girls—it makes them feel macho.

Also, actively avoid yes or no questions - these are conversation killers. Opinion questions invite further conversation and have the added benefit of the guy feeling like he's doing the conversational running and cleverly coming up with conversation on the basis of what you're saying. He'll feel like he's hitting on you rather than vice versa.

Yours in neutral openers,
S

I made up a poker opener: “My friends and I were arguing: does a flush beat a straight or is it the other way around?” but I can’t get it to work. What am I doing wrong?

This is maybe salvageable as an opening question, as long as you have something strong that you can lead into afterwards to continue the conversation. I'm guessing this is not happening by your comment that it's currently not working. The way it stands right now, the guy is just going to say “A flush beats a straight” or “I don’t know” and then that’s the end of your conversation.

The real problem is that your question is not really a matter of opinion, it is just a factual question that the guy either knows the answer to or he doesn’t. It works much better to have questions that require opinions as responses. It makes the conversation more interesting and they'll talk for longer than if they were just settling a fact for you.

Yours in pocket aces,
S

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What if I don’t like the guy I opened?

This happens. You get close enough to him to really see his true colors and he's not as cute as you thought. Or he says something that makes you internally wince and you figure out he's definitely not the guy for you.

If this happens, bail on the interaction ASAP. Just say brightly “Thanks for your help on my dilemma”, (or whatever it was that you opened him with), “It was nice meeting you—bye!” and bail. Think no more about it. Not every guy you meet is going to be right for you.

Mistakenly yours,
S

Friday, October 9, 2009

I made up an opener, but it didn’t work. I said “Hey - can I get your opinion on something? What do you think of Lady Gaga?”

This is nearly a good opener, but the problem is the sub-communication.

Why do you care what he thinks of Lady Gaga?

The sub-communication you are making here is “You look like someone I’d like to know. I’d like to know what you think of Lady Gaga”. Asking someone’s opinion is not by itself neutral. It becomes neutral when you give them a reason for wanting their opinion that has nothing to do with them.

You could turn this into a workable opener by saying “Hey—can I get your opinion on something? My friends and I are arguing about Lady Gaga. One of my friends says that guys don’t like her music. But that’s BS, right? Can you help me talk some sense into her?” From his perspective, you’re not asking because he's hot and you want to get to know him, you want his opinion to help you with an argument. This is a subtle difference, but it will make all the difference.

Yours in Fame,
S

Monday, October 5, 2009

The German Copy of Screw Cupid!

Gro├čartig!


The German copies of Screw Cupid (from publisher the Egmont) arrived in the mail today. I love the cover and I'm so excited to see Screw Cupid in a different language!


Now I just need to find someone who is fluent in German and can translate for me since the only thing I currently know how to say in German is "Both windows are closed."Not very useful for everyday conversation, or for translating a dating book.


Yours in Deutsch bliss,
S

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Signing at Book Soup in LA

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came to my signing at Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. in LA this weekend, and especially my many friends and the UCLA Chi Omega girls who made me a sign. I had an absolutely wonderful time, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that talking about Screw Cupid in front of people for 30 minutes is not the terror-fest I thought it was going to be. It was so fun to be there, and to get to share Screw Cupid with new people.

Thank you also to Tyson and the amazing crew at Book Soup. I'm so glad to have met you all - you were a pleasure to work with. By the way - if you haven't gone in to Book Soup
(www.booksoup.com), do so as soon as possible. It's an amazing bookstore with a fantastic vibe.

Yours in reading and signing contentment,
S


Saturday, October 3, 2009

I have a crush on my co-worker’s friend. We’ve been introduced a couple times, but he seemed kind of quiet. Since I already know him, as an acquaintance, how do I start a conversation with him? Your advice is based purely on how to approach someone you don’t know at all.

This is not nearly as tricky as it might seem. I know what you mean about some of the openers assuming no knowledge about the Hot Guy and therefore not being the best choices for someone you’re acquainted with. However, some of the other more “I desperately have a question I need answered” based openers will work just fine. Let me show you:

YOU: Hi! I think we’ve met a couple times—you’re [insert co-worker’s name here]’s friend right?
HIM: Yeah. You’re [insert your name], right?
YOU: Yep, that’s me! Can I ask you a question? I just got off the phone with my girl friend, and we’re utterly perplexed. She went on a date last week with this dude, and it went well. He called today and left her a voicemail that said “Had fun, see you around”. What does that mean, in guy speak? Should she call him back?
HIM: I’d say he’s playing it cool. If he was desperate to see her again, he would have asked her out again. 

YOU: Huh. Do you think she should call him?
HIM: If she wants to—as long as she realizes that it’s possible he’s not that into it. You sound dubious—do you think she should call him?

Now they’ve got a conversation going and it should be relatively easy to segueway into another topic—movies, thoughts on good restaurants (starting with the one the friend went to on her date, perhaps?), travel, etc.

Yours in co-worker crushing,
S