Your Dateability Quotient:
|You/Bette:||I can get plenty of men...keeping 'em's the hard part.|
|Sulu:||If you stop looking, he will appear.|
|Uhura:||There are plenty of fish in the sea.|
|Kirk:||Just be yourself.|
|Spock:||Hmmm. Sounds like tautological reasoning to me, Captain.|
|You:||Argggh! Beam me up, Scottie.|
Can't blame you for being frustrated: you have been given the unsolicited advise of the well-meaning, well-intended, but the variety of suggestions is so contradictory that you don't know whether to follow your heart, follow your head, go with your instincts, or go celibate and solo by going to a distant galaxy, far, far away.
But before you de- and re-molecularize your precious self, consider a few practical, manageable, do-able directions that have worked not for those scripted characters on a fantasy voyage but for real people in real time.
BE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE WITH.
In Living in the Light, Shakti Gawain describes the woman who is so feminine that she inevitably chooses ultra-masculine men who oppress (and abuse) her with their extreme and macho ways. Gawain's emphasis is not in blaming the man for being overly macho or blaming the woman for being too feminine--for the two are balancing their relationship dynamic quite naturally: where she lacks power, he makes up for it by bringing more power to the relationship; where he lacks softness, she brings more and more to make up for his lack. Instead of blaming either partner, however, Gawain teaches us to each have a balance of both masculine and feminine energies so that the gross lack of one energy is not overcompensated for by the person of the opposite sex who has too much of what we lack. There's the key, in other words: if you appreciate a masculine, assertive, aggressive type, take on some of those characteristics yourself. Learn to fix your own toilet; learn to make decisions and deliver reports in confident manner. Like wise, if you respect the sensitive, detail-oriented female characteristics you feel you don't have, learn to cook your own three-course meals; learn to take up a less aggressive stance on occasion. Learn, that is, to do what you see in others is the ideal.
"Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled," says the philosopher, Eric Hoffer, in his book, The Passionate State of Mind. If you believe you are a failure, that is, you will project this attitude, and those you meet will not be able to help but agree with you. Likewise, if you believe you will crash and burn or that you are ugly, useless, and unloveable, you will act accordingly. The mind is a magnificent tool that has the power to make real that which you think. For example, you are skiing down the slope, staring at the tree you do not want to smash into. You continue to stare at the tree, at the thing to be avoided, and guess what? Yep. You crash right smack into it. It was your only focus, so your body could not help but follow your head to the focal point. So, instead of using can't, won't, or any such negations, use can, will, and other positive thoughts to become the best you can become: look in the mirror and say, "What gorgeous eyes," and "I love this healthy body, these thick, beautiful thighs..." You will, from that moment on show the world sparkling eyes, graceful legs, a tall, proud, and upright stance." It really works. I know, because I weigh three-hundred pounds and have had many men approach me, date me, and live with me, all the while telling me things like, "You have so much energy," "You are so sexy," and You have such confidence." Yes. I faked that confidence until and to the point where I believed it myself and became it.
"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads, ?says Erica Jong, poet and author. Develop your gifts at all costs, even if it means being alone and lonely for a short period of time. For example, if you are studying a discipline--to become a nurse, a real estate agent, and engineer--take the risk of immersing yourself in that field, worrying about a relationship later. Then, when you graduate or become certified, have the courage to be selective, giving assent to only those worthy of your hard-earned talents. Does this sound stuffy? To the contrary. You should value yourself enough that you don't "settle" for someone who doesn't appreciate you, doesn't respect you, just because that person smiled or said "hello" or was so good looking you couldn't resist.
As inherently social creatures, we are all needful of others. To a degree. When we hook up with anyone who will have us because we need someone to pay our bills, need someone to make us feel smart, pretty, important, when we hook up because we need, need, need, we are not finding a quality relationship and the dynamics of that hook-up will be imbalanced, with us always beholden to the other and therefore more needy than ever. Make your own money. Attend a self-esteem seminar. Find a good therapist. Make love to yourself. Then you can want someone in your life rather than "need" someone desperately.
Scientists and anthropologists have spent years studying the appeal factor (or the DQ) in individuals, finding a pattern in courting behaviors that is based on a particular template. The template for a desirable mate includes bright teeth, a symmetrical face (eyes, nose, and mouth in correct proportions and in even proximities), and shiny hair. If you have an imbalanced eye set or a nose you feel is too big, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker, however (as many people have fetishes for small eyes or big noses, anyway). More important is that you have good hygiene, visit the dentist and the doctor, eat a balanced diet, and exercise. It's not about being a studly superhero or a Barbie replicant, though. It's about being healthy enough that others (who can't help it) unconsciously see you as good child-bearing or breadwinning material.
Of the many experiments done, those done to test what people find is interesting in others might surprise you. In one experiment, for example, the people who had a partner who was beforehand told to listen more than speak reported that these "listeners" were very interesting people--even though they said little. What is it about listening attentively which makes you engaging? You provide a service for the other person, for the potential mate who is wondering, "What's in this for me?" You have given the person something most valuable--your time and attention. Besides that, though, what makes you interesting, when, say, the other person prefers to do some listening for a change? Good question. Here's another good one: what makes you happy, excited, engaged...what gives your life meaning and fulfills you? If you can speak to at least one activity or involvement with animated interest, that may be the thing others find interesting. If you can't yet answer this, go do some volunteer work, rocking crack babies in the obstetrics ward, teaching poetry to prisoners, or feeding the homeless. Sign up for a sport, a class, or learn a hobby or alternative lifestyle activity. Something others might call a "water cooler" practice...one people can't stop talking about at the water cooler the next day at work, one your potential date can't stop thinking about the next day at work, too.
You may have values, attitudes, and beliefs that are specific to who you are and how you run your own life. That is a given, really. But when another person speaks of his or her passion, and it happens to go against yours, try to hear the person out before shutting down and dismissing this person as a dud. You may, at the same time, have a "type" of person you see yourself with--a tall, long-legged creature, for example--when a short, stocky date shows up. Stop. Before you show this person the door, scoffing "How dare he/she...?" look into his/her face and eyes, listen to his/her talking, before you shut out the possibility. For how far has your "type" taken you before? To the courtroom? To the poorhouse? To the lonely hearts club?So. Now you have advice from one more yahoo. Now you have even more material to confuse you. If you let it. What I have learned with the advice of hundreds and with the years of dating and relationships is that you can take what you need and leave the rest. And if taking what you need is remembering to learn from your mistakes, remembering that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results, then hopefully you found at least one thing here that you needed. If not, climb back on board the Starship Enterprise, and have a go. May the force be with you.
Her numerous articles offer valuable insight into the world of online dating.
©2004 Roxanne McDonald
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