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Advice for the date-less
October 29, 2004 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I haven't had a date in five years. Advice?
posted by Pretty_Generic to Human Relations (69 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
already discussed.
posted by mosch at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2004


Chat the ladies up. They dig confidence.
posted by esch at 2:34 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


I suggest you exude sodding confidence.

Also, you stole my question (more or less; mutatis details).

I predict that, should anyone comment seriously, someone doing so will say that appearing to be desperate (and presumably actually being so) is unattractive. This is something of a feedback loop, no? So I will pre-emptively ask how to trick girls into not thinking one is/I am desperate, since that seems like more useful advice than "don't be desperate".
posted by kenko at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2004 [2 favorites]


i've always thought i would join a nightclass doing weaving or pottery if i were ever single again. guess you have to have a thing women (assumption) that do weaving and pottery (if that is an identifiable group in any way) for that to be useful...

...but when i've discussed this with female friends their plans are always car maintenance classes, on the assumption that men will be found there. maybe you need to find a place that teaches both weaving and car maintenance - glass fibre bodywork perhaps?

single ads also look kind of fun (small indie papers - i was in tucson last week and they have a free weekly paper with ads in).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2004


Pay close attention to your appearance. Even if you're not naturally that attractive, ladies dig a guy who takes good care of himself, specifically: good-smelling, freshly-shaven, clean ears, shiny teeth, recent haircut... these are all things that you can control. Of course there are some exceptions, but I can think of a few people I know who'd probably do a lot better with women if they showered, shaved, and got a haircut.

Also, get involved in interesting stuff, respect women, have the confidence to ask them out and show that you're interested, and the tact to back off when they say no. Good luck.
posted by bonheur at 2:45 PM on October 29, 2004


hey, you're a student! (i just checked your profile).
by definition you're therefore surrounded by hot babes (you will see that i am right in about 10 years time). i don't want to make you feel bad, but have you, you know, asked anyone out?!
posted by andrew cooke at 2:45 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


Ask someone out.

Seriously, that's my answer.

If you're having diffiiculty finding someone to ask out, try the personals. I recommend Nerve (which shares a datapool with Salon, The Onion, and dozens of other publications).

The only thing I suggest you not mention is that you haven't had a date in five years. Most people won't find that attractive. Again, I'm being serious.
posted by dobbs at 2:46 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


I would find it very difficult to ask someone out unless I'm certain they'd say yes. I wouldn't want to upset them. I do offer to buy women drinks; they say no.

I have personal ads here (weird) and here (boring).
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:54 PM on October 29, 2004


Besides the ones given above, take a trip...it’s easier asking one out when you're away from home. The location to go, any where you are the lesser: more of them than you.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:02 PM on October 29, 2004


Your pictures are ok, but not great. Perhaps try better ones? And the one where you're lighted by the computer looks a bit...disturbing.
posted by stoneegg21 at 3:02 PM on October 29, 2004


You're right; I should try and fool prospective dates about my appearance.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:05 PM on October 29, 2004


Swing and/or ballroom dancing classes. Provides motive, opportunity, and method. Sounds like a crime, doesn't it? I took a couple of classes so that I might better be prepared to dance at our wedding with my more graceful wife-to-be. I assumed that everyone there would already be a couple. Many were, but not all and I was shocked, SHOCKED, at how much polite fending off of, er, opportunities I had to do. And I'm no bouquet of flowers, looks or personality-wise. Males willing to dance are apparently thin on the ground. I recommend that sort of community-center dance class to any single person I meet looking for low-pressure, fun interaction with members of the opposite sex. Class is structured, opportunities to practice abound, and in the shared atmosphere of learning it is easy for friendships to develop, too.
posted by cairnish at 3:07 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


My method has always just been a willingness to fail, really.

I'm not a particularly attractive guy, I'm not the most fashionable guy. All my hobbies (except pub night) involve auto racing, golf, computers or poker. But I've managed to find dates just by occasionally being places where girls are, and being willing to try and fail and take it in stride.

I can't think of a single time where I set out to pick somebody and it worked for more than a few dates, the good ones were always accidental. Just people where I'm not even trying, and I realize I dig the girl and should take a shot and ask her to go to a hockey game or concert or whatever with me.

Also, remember that you kick ass. I actually thought you were trolling the AxMe, because hell... you clearly have some confidence being willing to just throw this shit out there.
posted by mosch at 3:11 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


I don't know how things work in England but here in the country of sin and evil... we don't date at the university level. I know there are exceptions, but I for one do not know anyone who's ever asked a girl out on a date.

The typical sequence of events is getting to know her at a party, then getting on her, then seeing where things go from there. I think if I asked a girl that I kind of knew but not well out to dinner or something similar, she'd look at me crazy. I'm not being sarcastic. Is this the experience of everyone else?
posted by geoff. at 3:20 PM on October 29, 2004


Nerve (which shares a datapool with Salon, The Onion, and dozens of other publications).

I agree that they share the Spring Street Networks system,
but I think every franchise maintains it's own database of members.
(i.e you would have to register at each one separately)

on-line dating is a good way to get out there and meet people, it's less confrontational and random than chatting someone up at a bar, and you can usually find someone with at least something in common, even if they turn out not to be the love of your life, and with the practice you will be ready when that person comes along.
posted by milovoo at 3:29 PM on October 29, 2004


I've only ever received positive responses from people on other continents.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:31 PM on October 29, 2004


Take the pictures into photoshop and play with the manual settings for brightess/contrast and color balance. (And for god's sake, don't compress them horizontally like the one on your second profile.) Having good color and lighting will make you look more like you do in person, epecially if you're not photogenic, not less.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:31 PM on October 29, 2004


Tlogmer: the site just does that automatically. All dating sites I've seen are badly designed, but none so much as match.com, where by giving people a link to my profile, I accidentally allowed them to log in as me.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:37 PM on October 29, 2004


I agree that they share the Spring Street Networks system,
but I think every franchise maintains it's own database of members.


Not so. I'm on Nerve and have dated people from many of the other publications. On some of them, people have the option to display their ad only in the publications they're using. Also, you can only log into your account from your publication, even though your ad may be visible on another.

And as for all dating sites being badly designed, you're mostly correct. I don't mind Nerve's interface though, and they don't resize your picture. Most of these sites will have a preferred dimension to the picture (or aspect ratio), and you should try to resize to meet that if you can.

***


mosch is right. Willingness to fail is key. Why?

1. You could be surprised by their answer.
2. It means you'll not be all super nervous. I mean, if you think there's a chance she'll say no, you'll come across as laid back.
3. Only asking out girls that you know will say yes ain't the sign of a confident man. Aim for out of your league. (You think those cool/hot women hanging around with those jerks/ugly guys is a fluke, right? You're wrong. They're jerks to you or ugly to you but they had the balls to ask her out in the first place.)

As for buying women drinks, well, that just blows. It's not 1960 and NO ONE does this anymore. (Okay, I exagerate, lots of people do it but it's lame.) Also, I meant that you should ask out someone you know--not hit on someone at a bar. I'm 36 and have never hit on a stranger in my life (at least, not in the walking up to someone in a bar sense) and I've dated, um, a lot of people.

As for your personal ad... um, it's about you, dude. You're giving the impression that it's all about you. What about her?

Here's how I'd do it and have done it:

I:

* make a mean omlette, write a kickass love letter, own a wicked cd collection, have patience to spare, and know all the lyrics to 'My Funny Valentine'.
* know the difference that can be made by an extra mile and an extra inch.
* am funny, confident, and employed.
* cry at sappy movies so you don't have to.
* will make you famous.

She (you?):

* is comfortable with her own body and has a keen interest in her own life.
* prefers Polaroids to 35mm and has at least one poem memorized.
* expects good manners and punctuality.
* likes a dark sense of humour.
* knows which words she consistently spells wrong and has given up ever trying to get them right.
* can flirt with the best of them.
* can either kick my butt physically, emotionally, or intellectually. But not all three.
* wears good shoes.
* is sexy vulnerable.
* likes to be written about.
* is confident, mature (except maybe when it comes to sense of humour), and intelligent.

****

I get LOTS of email for that ad though here on ASK it looks like shit. Remember, they're comparing your ad to the other ads on the site and MOST of those ads are bloody awful. Cruise your competition and see what they're doing. Then do the opposite.

The goal should be to make her want to meet you because she knows she'll be a better/cooler/calmer/happier/prettier person around you. Don't try to sound cool, just BE cool.

And if you don't think hanging around with you will make her better/cooler/prettier/calmer/happier... change. 'Cause that's the kind of person that everyone wants to hang with. Trust me.
posted by dobbs at 3:47 PM on October 29, 2004 [5 favorites]


If I say what I'm looking for in a woman, wouldn't that give the impression I have standards? I don't want to diminish my target demographic.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:55 PM on October 29, 2004


I agree that they share the Spring Street Networks system,
but I think every franchise maintains it's own database of members.

Not so. I'm on Nerve and have dated people from many of the other publications. On some of them, people have the option to display their ad only in the publications they're using. Also, you can only log into your account from your publication, even though your ad may be visible on another.


Interesting and useful to know - thanks!
posted by milovoo at 3:58 PM on October 29, 2004


I sort of support the "ask someone out" advice. Aside from that, some single friends have had great luck with co-ed sports teams. Also useful - chatting at small club shows. I've met tons of people while aimlessly standing around waiting for the band to come on. Actually, any small semi-social gathering that forces everyone to stand around and/or wait (galleries, indie movies, etc.) are great. Plus, there's automatically something to talk about.

one more thing - you look pretty cute in the picture. But even in jest, don't say you're "slightly hairy". Seriously. There's no way for those words to create a positive image.
posted by synapse at 4:00 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


If I say what I'm looking for in a woman, wouldn't that give the impression I have standards? I don't want to diminish my target demographic.

Sorry, P_G, I assumed your initial question was sincere.

*buggers off*
posted by dobbs at 4:03 PM on October 29, 2004


It was and I'm grateful for your advice. I'm just saying, I don't want to miss my chance with anyone by pretending they're not my type.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:07 PM on October 29, 2004


slightly off-topic, but the springstreet folks have been begging me for years to do a mefi personals, but I've never really given it a go due to the large ads required.
posted by mathowie at 4:23 PM on October 29, 2004


Get your friends to set you up. Let them know you're looking to date someone, and let them network away to get you a date. All the best relationships I've had have been set up for me by people who know people I know.

Also, when you do go out, try to make it a double date - like if you have a buddy, and he or his girlfriend have set you up, go out with them. That way they can give you feedback afterwards. Seriously - I set a friend of mine up, and the couple met at our house for dinner. And I had never known how incredibly shy my friend was - it gave me something to talk about with her, and I could give her some pointers, because she was so shy, the guy we were trying to set her up with couldn't get a good sense of her.
posted by jasper411 at 4:26 PM on October 29, 2004


I haven't been single since the stone age so you can take this with a grain of salt, but my advice would be to take down the ads, forget about women for a while (as much as possible, anyway), and concentrate on filling your days and nights in other ways. Once you get a life together that you enjoy, you'll naturally become more attractive to other people.
posted by timeistight at 4:30 PM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


My friends are generally timid hermit-like people, no more romantically successful than me. I'm more tolerated than liked.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:32 PM on October 29, 2004


If I say what I'm looking for in a woman, wouldn't that give the impression I have standards? I don't want to diminish my target demographic.

Perhaps outline very general things you've found attractive in the past, and make it clear that it's not a requirements checklist? Or better yet, make a list of what you don't care about (a "you don't have to be..." list). And you DO have standards, I'm sure you've met people you weren't attracted to for one reason or another, there's a difference between a psycho-nutcase list of requirements and standards.

And I didn't think your pictures were bad at all, you look cute and unusual and not like an axe murderer, all of which are good things (although I've got to say that the squished one isn't doing much for you).

My suggestions (for what they're worth): find a cool and somewhat social hobby or take an unusual night school course (not necessarily to meet people, but to open up your social circle and give yourself more conversation topics, get your self-confidence in order, get a life together where you're happy in yourself and be open to opportunity. When it arrives, just ask, some women will say no (in which case, you don't want to go out with them anyway, so no big deal), but some will say yes. Good luck.
posted by biscotti at 4:44 PM on October 29, 2004


I'm sure you've met people you weren't attracted to

Sure, like my ex. I did get to have sex though, so it was a good thing.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:51 PM on October 29, 2004


Are you always this much fun P_G? It's amazing women aren't beating down your door.
posted by timeistight at 4:57 PM on October 29, 2004


Don't bother starting a rock band, that one didn't pan out for me.

Other than that, I've had decent luck with Internet personals.

And, for practice talking to girls, go to the strip club. Seriously, these women are professionals who engage in flirtatious banter for a living. So haul yourself to your local nudie bar (they do have them in England, right?), buy a dancer a "drink," which in the US is a euphemism for "Pay the girl $20 and she'll sit around and flirt with you for a while," and get over talking to girls. It helps, seriously. In actual dating situations, your date will rarely attempt to sell you a lap dance.

Do not, however, mention this on dates. It *will* go poorly.
posted by stet at 5:00 PM on October 29, 2004


If I say what I'm looking for in a woman, wouldn't that give the impression I have standards? I don't want to diminish my target demographic.

nope. not if the qualities you're looking for in a woman are less about hair color or shoe size and more about common interests or things you value in a partner (kindness, intelligence, etc.)

and i second the "ask out" thing. an afternoon coffee is a pretty low-risk venture that allows both you and the person you're asking out to see if there's some potential for more interaction and emotional connection.
posted by judith at 5:07 PM on October 29, 2004


Pretty_Generic, speaking as a woman, you look pretty cute in the pictures in your profiles. personality issues aside, I would totally not have issues with being seen in public with a guy like you. I dig the beard, and you have a cute nose. Get a friend to take some pictures of you outside in natural light., it will definately help you get more responses.

But...

Reading the comments in this thread, I just want to take an industrial staple gun and staple your hand to your forehead. Really. "I'm more tolerated than liked" implies to me that you don't think very highly of yourself, and women don't like men who don't like themselves. Enough with the melodrama. You are not an ogre.

Your first ad, the "weird one" comes across like someone playing the confident asshole. It sounds stupid, and although a little bit of silly is good, that ad won't get you any serious offers. It reads like a joke.

Your second ad is better, but it's just babling. It reads like you put no effort at all into it. Not that you should get all compulsive about it, but if you're not willing to try to make a good impression, why should a woman be willing to try and have a good impression of you?

First of all, you need to get over this whole fear of rejection thing. You're going to be turned down. However, that turning down will be something like "No thanks, but it was nice of you to ask", not her laughing out loud, point at you and yelling her rejection loud enough for the whole room to hear. And honestly, as a woman, even though I'm not available, I am certainly flattered when a guy asks me out, or expresses his attraction to me, and it puts me in a mood to be nice to him, even if I won't go out with him.

You don't have to become mr fratboy, but being a hermit won't get you a date. You're a student, go to some on-campus clubs, co-ed ones. Something like a political or social issues club, or take a photography class. Instead of going to the club as some kind of meat market, go and actually get to know the women there. Learn to have a conversation with a woman without panicking. Then, maybe you'l become close friends with a woman, and a relationship may blossom out of that, or maybe that won't happen.

The key is, you need to get to the point where you can have a conversation with a woman where you come off as interesting, inteligent and respectful. If you have enough conversations like that, with enough women, eventually you will either recognize a mutual attraction and ask her out, or you will find a more forward woman who will get tired of waiting and ask *you* out.

Sitting alone in your room will get you absolutely no action, though.
posted by antimony at 5:14 PM on October 29, 2004


Antimony said most of what I would have said. (Especially the part about rejection. Nice women are flattered and perhaps a little disappointed when they turn down dates; they don't get off on humiliating guys. I promise.)

You look like a perfectly attractive man, but those pictures are damned unflattering. Most people put a carefully-chosen picture of themselves looking good (not retouched, though I know some people do that, but just a picture of themselves they actually put some thought into selecting) on their personals ads. Put a picture of yourself smiling and having fun up there.

And what antimony said about your ads. They suck. I know you here as an intelligent, witty guy; your ads sound like a cocky/loser combination of Comic Book Guy from the "Simpsons" and Mike from "The Young Ones". Write something more thoughtful.

Finally, HERE IS MY ADVICE TO ALL HETEROSEXUAL MALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WHO WANT TO MEET COOL, INTERESTING WOMEN WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THEM: join the Drama Society and work as a set-builder, lighting guy, etc. University Drama Societies are hotbeds of heterosexual women and homosexual men, so your odds are already good. Also, drunken cast parties are wonderful places to hook up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:28 PM on October 29, 2004


You're right; I should try and fool prospective dates about my appearance.

Those are just crappy pictures. The lighting and horizontal squishing is very unflattering, and you can fix both. Best to retake the photos, but you can adjust lighting in Photoshop (I always use Curves for color images, but Levels is probably easier to get the hang of) and for the squishing you just need to crop the picture so that it is square like they seem to want.

But if you really believe you look like that in real life, you have some self-image problems that you should work on. If you do, you will find it a lot easier to get a date.
posted by grouse at 3:26 AM on October 30, 2004


Things You Don't Have To Be to Be My Girl and/or Rule My World:

1) Rich
2) Cool
3) Any particular type I'm more compatible with

I Just Need Your:

1) Extra time
2a) [guitar lick]
2b) KISS
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:47 AM on October 30, 2004


There's an awesome version of that song on Richard Thompson's 1,000 Years of Popular Music (between "Tempted" and a surprisingly good performance of "Oops, I Did It Again").
posted by kenko at 7:42 AM on October 30, 2004


wouldn't that give the impression I have standards?

PG, let me speak as someone who has come from a very similar spot as you.

1: WTF, just give it a try. You've had a comeback for every suggestion offered in this thread. We could argue about this all day. I know that this all seems like game playing and that the true cause of our troubles is a fundamental unfairness in the world, but really, who cares? The question was "how can I get a date", and I swear to Jeebus that if you just shut your piehole and take what has been said in this thread to heart, you will get dates.

2: You feel down on yourself because you're not dating. People shy away from dating you because you feel down on yourself. Something has to give, and since you only have control over you, I'd suggest doing whatever you can to cheat, steal, or fake some self-confidence. I understand this is easier said than done, but it is THE ONLY WAY, so best to stop worrying about listing all the reasons why it's hard and get cracking.
posted by 4easypayments at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2004


You're right of course. But I do believe those comebacks, if it makes any difference.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:03 AM on October 30, 2004


it doesn't. shut up and get out there.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:09 AM on October 30, 2004


Mate, go up to any girl you like and say:

Things You Don't Have To Be to Be My Girl and/or Rule My World:

1) Rich
2) Cool
3) Any particular type I'm more compatible with

I Just Need Your:

1) Extra time
2a) [guitar lick]
2b) KISS


I seriously can't imagine that would fail. Do a sort of Bill and Ted gesture for 2a.
posted by ed\26h at 8:25 AM on October 30, 2004


wouldn't that give the impression I have standards?

You want to give the impression you have standards. Think about it: if you were a woman, would you be attracted to a guy who says "I'll take anybody -- hell, I'll even take you"? You're way too worried about being "honest," which to you seems to mean presenting yourself as unlovable; you need to look at this as advertising, not confession. I don't mean present yourself as Superman, just be your most attractive self. Don't write as if for a job application where you might get sued for misrepresentiation; write as if for an ideal reader, someone who understands you and takes normal human failings into account without having to be told about them. The gals don't expect you to be God's Gift to Womankind; they're just hoping you'll be better than that bastard who treated them like shit and then went off with their best friend.

And think about this: if and when you do get together with someone on a lasting basis, she's not going to see you the way you see yourself anyway. When you hear her describe you to someone else, you're going to shake your head in wonderment and think "Where did she come up with that?" There's no such thing as "the real you" -- there are an infinite number of versions of you, some dependent on your mood and others on who's looking at you. When I first put up a personal ad, it was a boring cookie-cutter "I like movies and laughter" piece of crap, and the responses I got were from women who were not good matches. One day I got fed up (I'd had a couple of drinks) and took it down and put up a this-is-me, deal-with-it ad, using forbidden words like "surly," "anarchist," and "beard." Not putting myself down, mind you, just letting it all hang out. I got a much better class of responses. First get yourself in a frame of mind where you're not down on yourself, then write from that frame of mind, then take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and post it.

And don't worry about being turned down! Getting turned down is just part of the process. Are you afraid to apply for jobs because you might not get them? Well then.

And good luck!
posted by languagehat at 8:45 AM on October 30, 2004


Are you afraid to apply for jobs because you might not get them?

Yes. I suck. I'm working on it though.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:17 AM on October 30, 2004


try the net - Craigslist?
posted by scarabic at 9:26 AM on October 30, 2004


Everybody has been, or has known someone who has been, in your situation. The situation is: your downbeat, defeatist attitude is not getting you dates--but your attitude is encouraged because you're not getting dates. It is a big crazy vicious circle. I'm sure you can see this just from the way this thread is panning out.

My advice: go to the gym, and see a counselor. Going to the gym will make you feel like an attractive mofo, and going to see a counsellor will help you work out your self-esteem issues, which are getting in your way big-time. Self-esteem is a _thing_--it has, hard as it is to believe, nothing to do with _you._ You should just go get it looked at, as though it were a broken toe.

Results will follow.
posted by josh at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2004


I second the uplink thought about standards.

To me it sounds like you really DON"T know what you find attractive, or that you are just looking for a girl, any girl. No girl wants to be "just any girl."

I recommend that you do spend some time -whether in counseling or in other ways-to figure out who you are and what YOU like. Till then girl shopping is kinda a waste. Why settle, when instead you could find a girl who would be right for YOU. And for that you need to know what that actually is.

Let me tell you a secret. Although most of us women would rather our men be easy on the eyes, personality is actually of make-or-break importance. In my single days there were plenty of hot guys that would bore me silly. I preferred the quirky cute looking ones with personalities. And from your pics I would say that you are cute enough not to worry about the looks department.
posted by konolia at 10:51 AM on October 30, 2004


mefi personals

1) front page post about (something interesting)
2) "I happen to be an expert in the field of (something interesting), (insert fascinating post about hands-on experience with (something interesting))"
3) "YOU JERK!! WHY DID YOU NEVER CALL ME BACK!!!?!?! (and by the way, you might want to see your doctor)
(add mandatory "4) ???" and "5) PROFIT!")
posted by biscotti at 12:12 PM on October 30, 2004


note: Ask MetaFilter is as useful as you make it. Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer. Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 12:33 PM on October 30, 2004


Wow. PG, you sound just like I was when I was a student. Even though I'm married, I don't think I'm qualified to offer advice, since I've never asked a girl out in my life - it's sort of just happened, if you know what I mean. You do have self-esteem issues, which will always be a hindrance. I'd also say that you have to treat dating like a job interview. I wouldn't take any job out there, but I'd always make sure I'd put my best side forward when submitting a CV.

My best advice - take night classes, join student clubs, away from your normal group of friends. Not to necessarily meet women, but to widen your normal circle of friends and to give yourself more to talk about when you do end up talking to people. From there, opportunities to meet women will be much improved.

Good luck. As someone else in this thread said, sitting in your room moping about it will get you nowhere. Get out and meet interesting people, and it will happen sooner or later, most likely when you're not expecting it.

As a European I hope you'll be joining us in Viewropa from tomorrow?
posted by salmacis at 1:07 PM on October 30, 2004


Love it sal. Keep sprinkling, keep sprinkling!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:28 PM on October 30, 2004


As for the confidence thing, just FYI I think your pictures are cute and I would date you if you weren't, you know, still a baby.

Jeez is anyone 21 anymore?

The appearance thing is the most difficult thing and you have that squared away. Take confidence in that.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:58 PM on October 30, 2004


I think most of the advice above, while not exactly bad, is misleading. The first thing you must do, in my experience, is sit down and figure out why you want a date. Is it just the "social pressure" that makes you feel like you must be dating to be alive? That's stupid, and if you're half as intelligent as you seem here then you're above giving in to that. But maybe it's not that: maybe you just want to "hook up" with someone for a night? Or maybe you're looking for a lasting, meaningful relationship?

It makes a difference. For those two goals, you go to two different types of places, and you probably look for two different types of women. Which leads to the next question: who are you looking for, ideally? No one is going to be ideal, but if someone like that was out there, what would she be like? Write it down. Would she want someone like you, as you are now? What would you have to do to become the sort of person that she'd chase after, that she'd kill to have? If she was looking for someone like you, where would she likely go to find him, and how would she want to be approached?

I've been single for a little over three years now, but I've been happily single, because I know what I'm looking for and I know what I'm doing, every day, to help me find that person. I also know that randomly dating, or putting myself in a position to "hook up" with someone, wouldn't be satisfying and would probably leave me pretty empty at the end of the day. Your answers may be different, but the first thing you need to do is get clear on what you want and why. Then make a plan to get it, and do something - anything - to move closer to your goal every day. Sooner or later, you'll find what you're looking for.
posted by gd779 at 4:01 PM on October 30, 2004 [2 favorites]


gd779's advice is the best so far in this thread, listen up :)
posted by wackybrit at 5:16 PM on October 30, 2004


Yeah, listen to gd779 and ignore all the rest of this thread — it's pretty clear to me that few if any of them have been where you are.

And stop asking people how to get a date. You will just get stupid asinine advice from people who have never had any problems getting a date and consequently take it for granted and don't know what the hell they're talking about, and it will annoy you and make you feel worse. It's like asking Paris Hilton for tips on making money.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:29 PM on October 30, 2004


PG, you are funny and pretty cute. If I made one suggestion, as a woman, about your ads and your attitude here, it would be to stop suggesting that your standards are so low that you'd go out with anyone. Even if it's true right now because of the long dry spell (though I doubt it, really). You may just need to get a few dates in you to get your confidence back, but it's true that a girl won't really want to go with a guy who would date anyone; she wants to feel special. I thought the first ad was funny and silly, but if it's not working for you then try keeping the humor but deemphasizing the "I will date anyone" point.

My other advice would just be to get out there more, get more involved in stuff you like doing that could involve meeting other people, and mix things up a bit and take chances. Also, do you have any friends that are girls? They can give you good advice if you are dressing or acting funny, and alot of relationships develop out of friendship first anyway. And being friends with girls will help you in relationships, too.

And good god, man, go to your local MeFi meetups!!! Do we have no cute London girl MeFite userbase? Check him out, ladies!
posted by onlyconnect at 5:59 PM on October 30, 2004


ok, ishmael is right. i admit it. i'm a sex machine. never had a time when women didn't fall at my feet.

what you really want to do (being a delicate soul that cannot face rejection, unlike yours truly - andrew "lightning hips, luscious lips" cooke (although i have never, of course, faced rejection myself)) is make lists. that's the key - ab-so-lutely essential. i mean, those flesh-and-blood things aren't confused and insecure like you, just waiting for someone to make things clear. no sir. they're actually 99% aliens that will suck your blood.

lists will avoid this (indeed, in my experience, making lists will avoid just about anything).

and i didn't find the wonderful woman i've spent the last 10 years with because of a mis-understanding over a bag of chocolates (and they certainly weren't cherry liquers, and i most definitely wasn't half way round the world from where i expected to be). i actually wrote a 236,634 line (not including copious comments and test scripts) program that optimised all the appropriate parameters, scanned the internet and then printed out her phone number (of course, when she answered we couldn't understand each other, speaking different languages and all).

me 'n paris are hot, baby. you are not. so you need lists. QED. still, look on the bright side - it will at least mean sharpening your pencil.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:06 PM on October 30, 2004


Hmm. Why do I suddenly want to kill everyone?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:27 PM on October 30, 2004


P_G -- Exposure to AndrewCookite has been known to cause that symptom. Seek advice from your nearest mental poison control centre immediately.

Oh, and dobbs, thanks... I completely and shamelessly cribbed most of your ad, because it's just another form of what I would've said. I got a lot of responses from, "Ten things you'll hate about me", so you can try that one in return if you'd like. ;)
posted by SpecialK at 11:38 PM on October 30, 2004


Oh, and gd's advice is the best in the thread ... AxMe gold.

I'm single right now. I've been single for about a year. I kind of like dating a variety of people, and I'm not having a dry spell in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. I date for fun, and for the bursts of emotions that getting to know someone on many different levels creates. I meet people through hanging out in coffee shops (now that I'm an independent again, I spend a lot of time in them pecking away at my laptop), the occasional personal from craigslist because it's fun and you meet some weird people that way, and through friends ... although the friends angle has slacked off a lot recently because I'm the last single guy out of my extended network of friends.
posted by SpecialK at 11:45 PM on October 30, 2004


You live in London? One word: Wales. After Serbia, it is the most promiscuous place on Earth.

Seriously, though, as a Yank living in Europe for 16 years, I am always amazed at how quickly and easily the English will blurt out "but I have no self confidence!" My advice is always "Fine. Just don't tell anyone. No one cares about that." You will never hear that line from anyone living east of Dover.

And you know what? Making believe you are Clint Eastwood when you chat up a girl works. I have used my "Swaggering Yank" persona to great effect on even the most cynical "I'm just taking the Piss out of ya" women from Yorkshire.

This isn't a fake persona. It is simply losing the "self confidence" stigma.
posted by zaelic at 2:35 AM on October 31, 2004


You might want to look at Seligman's _Learned Optimism_. He's the real mccoy, and the book is research-driven, not cheesy. Because you talk like someone who is off the pessimism charts, but that can change.

And based on the feedback in this thread, the easiest place on earth to hook up would be as a set designer in a drama department in Wales. If you're confident and have good shoes.
posted by mecran01 at 6:27 AM on October 31, 2004


Stop sitting on IRC complaining about it and go to the bar.
posted by angry modem at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2004


elwood's failproof social system:
1)Get drunk
2)Stay that way
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:37 PM on October 31, 2004


>Why do I suddenly want to kill everyone?

Because a lot of this advice is terrible. Kudos to the "ask yourself what you want post" but most of the advice is idealized.

PG: " I don't want to miss my chance with anyone by pretending they're not my type."

Stop thinking of 'chances.' That's a fiction. You have to create your chances by getting the habit of asking women out about five times a week. Get ready for rejection.

PG "I would find it very difficult to ask someone out unless I'm certain they'd say yes."

That is why you are misrable. There's this uber-liberal/feminist myth that its wrong for men to go out on a limb as make fake small talk or produce situtations to make smalltalk which will lead to friendly banter and a very good opportunity to ask the girl out. I never wear a watch, so when I want to chat up a girl I ask her the time and then go "wow, already? I've had this long day" then I insert a joke and ask her name, etc. You know what? I have like 8 clocks on me at the same time. My mp3 player, my pda, my phone, etc. Just today I chatted up a girl on the train by acting stupid and asking her if today was daylight savings time.

You really need to create your own chances. You need to fabricate your in's. And you need to get used to getting rejected a lot. The rejection might be after the first date, but at least you're trying. It also helps to preface your asking out with "Well, I don't usually do this but...." then insert "have a drink," "get coffee" etc.

And frankly women dont even mind. I think the last girl I dated I met under fraudulent circumstances. When I told her later on she laugh and said "so what? I'm glad you asked me out."

I mean, lets face it, this is America. Its a melting pot of people who dont communicate too well. We dont have those traditional ethnic ties or traditional courting rites anymore. Now its the job of the male to create excuses to meet girls.

Yeah, its unfair and depressing, but its either that or be lonely. About ten years ago I was in your position, afraid to ask women out because of rejection issues, because of feminist guilt, because 'nice guys' dont just make up excuses to talk to girls, because its all magical and beautiful and happens naturally, etc. Hey man, I grew up in Chicago and had all this liberal feminist crap shoved into me from a young age. The reality of the situation is that women won't and dont have to ask men out. We do. We have to do the dirty work. Harden your skin and get ready for rejection. After all the BS and hard work you'll find someone (or two) who you will like and she'll like you and you'll forget all about the shitty dates and rejection you had to put up with.
posted by skallas at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2004 [2 favorites]


Despite having grown up there as well, I confess I'm unfamiliar with a strain of feminist thought in Chicago under which it's wrong for men to talk to women they're interested in. As a woman, I say the flimsier the pretense, the better.
posted by transona5 at 8:26 PM on October 31, 2004 [1 favorite]


skallas, apart from the anti-feminist bullshit, you're giving pretty much the same advice everyone else did. What exactly do you mean by "a lot of this advice is terrible"?
posted by languagehat at 7:46 AM on November 1, 2004 [1 favorite]


Yeah, just to chime in, PG, let me just lay out the same basic insight I found for myself, and that's been true for _many_ people I know...the day you find a great relationship is usually about a week after you stop trying.

Or maybe more precisely, about a week after you stop worrying about it. It may seem paradoxical, but I'm not even trying to contradict skallas' points...my basic premise is that people can tell when you're making an effort, as opposed to when you're just focusing on what interests you.

I think the basic point people are making is that you need to find an environment that fills two basic criteria: 1) you feel comfortable and confident in it; and 2) there's a reasonable number of attractive, single women involved.

For some folks, the online dating scene is exactly that, but to be honest, from what you've said, that doesn't seem to be true for you. The basic approach of looking at what you like to do, and finding ways to socialize through that, is definitely the best approach. Could be a reading club, could be a running club, could be a cooking class, doesn't matter. The more comfortable and confident you are, the more attractive you'll be.
posted by LairBob at 5:13 PM on November 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


First, you're cute. Most online ad pics suck, yours aren't so bad; don't worry about them.

Given your age, unless you're trying to meet women that you would not normally encounter (older, different race, etc), skip the online dating. You don't need it.

Your are 21 years old for fuck sake. Parties and work are the best places for you to meet people. Don't your friends have parties? No? Then you throw a party. Spread the word. Tell people to bring someone (anyone). Tell girls to bring their friends. As the host you'll have a reason to talk to every woman who shows up.

When you talk to women (well, really anyone) look them in the eye. Which brings me to my next point - eye contact. It works. If you see a girl that you maybe interested in, make eye contact with her. If she returns the look and holds it for several seconds, you know she's interested. Then go over to her with a smile and say "Hi. My name's PG" and before you know it you'll be in a conversation.

Don't you work? If not, get a part time job in a trendy restaurant or bar (pub). There are always lots of 20-somethings working at those places. Service industry people tend to hang out together at the end of the night. That will help you meet new people and will probably get you invited to a few parties (see above).

I think you're apparent lack of confidence is just a put on. If you weren't confident, you wouldn't have posted on askme or linked your ads.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:10 PM on November 4, 2004 [1 favorite]


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