I receive so much mail that from women asking where all of the good men are that one might assume that we're all living on some man-free, Amazon island with Wonder Woman. Men, of course, are everywhere. The one place where you are guaranteed not to meet Mr. Right or even Mr. Maybe is in your living room while watching "Real Housewives." We put time, effort and study into the rest of our lives, don't our love lives deserve a bit of attention?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman must be in want of a dude and advice, right? At least that's what writer Anna David felt. The journalist and popular TV personality known for giving sex and dating advice on G4's "Attack of the Show" realized one day that her own love life was a hot buttered mess. Alas, she was in unfortunate love and lust with a much married man with children. David didn't act on the affair but instead turned to retro advice book "Sex and The Single Girl" by Helen Gurley Brown for a "new" approach to dating.
Helen Gurley Brown is the controversial former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine . She is largely credited with turning Cosmo into the "25 Ways To Satisfy Your Man" tome that it is today. We don't knock the whole baby or its questionable pink bubble bath water, though, because sometimes "25 Ways To Satisfy Your Man" is news that we can use. We do find some of her other antique advice like anorexia as a weight loss system problematic, though.
Anna David, who is in the rest of her life quite a sane and capable human being, decided to follow Gurley Brown's relationship advice guide practically to the letter. After all, she reasoned, her own best thinking had gotten her a great career but a fairly empty bed in an apartment filled with cats.
David tells the good, the bad and the hysterically funny about her adventures in her new memoir, "Falling for Me: How I Hung Curtains, Learned to Cook, Traveled to Seville, and Fell in Love." The smart beauty follows all of the optimistic tips that HGB lays out and is surprised to find that many of them are quite workable and still relevant. Brown regarded the single woman as "the newest glamour girl of our times."
Ultimately David discovers that the love of her life is herself. Think "Julie and Julia" meets "Sex and the City." She learns to cook, travels to Spain and ends up with a much richer life as a result of her Year of Living Helen.
Let's see what we can learn from David's lessons on meeting a man, 1960s style. We know that she didn't go fully Gurley, as Helen advises that single women keep married men around as pets. The "Party Girl" author also thankfully did not take the Cosmo girl's advice to physically bump into a man at a bar, thus saving her pride and a double dry cleaning bill.
Two ways to meet a man, courtesy of Anna David and Helen Gurley Brown:
1. Lie out on the beach on a towel with checkers.
"Sex and the Single Girl" recommended that single women buy a checkerboard beach towel with the hopes of attracting men. David found a real checkerboard printed towel on Kmart.com. It even came with its own checkers. She took it to the Hamptons and hit the beach, poised for action, but was largely ignored.
The modern version of this would be to have an interesting tattoo as a conversation piece. Clearly this doesn't include the kind someone only sees when you're already having sex. And it bears noting that getting permanently inked just to attract someone else is certainly not the wisest idea.
Alternate suggestion: Try speed dating.
David went to "a speed dating event for lapsed Jews." You can even read her event notes here. I am absolutely pro speed dating and have even thrown my own speed dating events. If your love life is stagnant, this is a good way to jump start your love energy.
When speed dating, try not to get there and make snap judgments. Have an open mind and don't spend the whole three minutes trotting out your entire life story. Instead of worrying about whether you're right for your speed date, ask questions, listen and enjoy the conversation.
2. Wear an attention-grabbing pin.
Gurley Brown advises that you wear an interesting pin as a conversation piece. David bought a pin modeled on the famous "Love" statue stamp. Unfortunately, this didn't really work, either.
Should you be dressing for dating success? Absolutely. Should this include a pin? Not unless that's really your "thing." Clothes don't make the woman, the woman makes the clothes. It's the attitude that you project that will make you stand out.
Bonus note: If you live in an urban center where everyone dresses in black, try wearing red. Studies show that men react to this color the most.
Alternate suggestion: Walk a dog.
David walked a friend's dog and volunteered to do community service. She figured that she might meet a guy with a wonderful value system. These are both great ideas if you actually enjoy pets and are the kind of person who usually gives back. You never want to bait and switch someone into liking you, right? Above all, to thine own self be totally true. When you're doing activities that you enjoy, you'll meet folks with common interests. Some of those folks will be men.
Brava Anna David and brava you. We applaud her for being proactive about her love life and advise you to do the same. Enjoy the journey, whether you take a 60s or millennial approach. The biggest love of your life, as David found, is you. Look for my video interview exclusive with Ms. David on "Kiss and Tell TV." Buy the humorous memoir "Falling For You " by Anna David wherever you buy books.
Ready, set? Date!
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