Health

Finding Mr/Ms Right | Psychology Today

Source: MaxPixels, Public Domain

The doctor said it almost in passing: “Yup, your biological clock’s ticking.” And while Jen had suppressed that reality because Mr. Right hadn’t come along, this shook her into action.

Before, Jen had felt, “If it’s meant to me, it’s meant to be. I want it to happen naturally, not force it.” Unfortunately for her, “naturally” meant long-shots like hoping some great guy would start up a conversation in a bar or supermarket. Worse, she had a thing for Bad Boys—She thought they were sexy and she liked that she might be able to reform him— but not too much because she didn’t want a boring guy.

But although she suppressed her desire to have kids, she had long felt a powerful desire to have at least one. So now, at 37, Jen was going to give it her best shot, indeed go all out.

So she went, with her bestie Linda and a platonic guy friend, Ken, to Macy’s for a makeover. Jen browsed the cosmeticians and picked someone who looked a little like her and who seemed to know what she was doing: confident and quick as she was working on the customer. As the cosmetician worked on Jen, Ken and Linda gave varying thumbs up and down and Jen got up happy. Before leaving, she decided to get herself a new dating outfit: She took seven things into the dressing room, got more votes from her team, and bought not one but three. Then Ken suggested she get some sexy nightgown “just in case.” She did.

The three of them went back to Jen’s place for a glass of wine and for Linda to take pix for Jen’s online profile. Jen had always thought that online dating was too studied an approach and that too many people lie about themselves—“They say they’re 40 when they’re 50 and use an old picture.” But Linda said, “Just keep your standards high and at the first sign of jerkdom—before you even get to that 1st meeting at Starbucks, like he doesn’t respond to your email within a day—dump the fool.” That solidified Jen’s openness to posting her profile.  Indeed, she said, “I should get a professional photographer for the pictures.” Ken responded sarcastically, “Yeah, you’ll be natural with a pro there. Let me take ‘em.” And with Jen’s phone, he kept making her laugh by saying sex words as he took pictures. She was able to be natural in front of her besties and picked one of the 16 pics she liked. She then changed into a different kind of outfit and 30 pics later, found another one she modestly claimed was “not bad” but actually loved. Then Ken said, “Change into the nightgown—Let’s get pictures of that!” “No!”

Jen had enough for one day but this time it was Linda’s time to exclaim, “No! Let’s write your profile and put it on a bunch of dating websites: OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagels, and Match, and some niche site. You like dogs so also do DigDates.com. And together, they came up with:

Stable yet fun, well-employed white woman 37 seeks male match for LTR, even (gulp) marriage and a baby or two. Intelligence, kindness, and responsibility are key. Nice but not crucial: You like doggies, dancing, and dinners. No-nos for me: not-self-supporting, substance abuse, temper, or extreme religiosity. Should we text?

Linda and Ken weren’t through yet. Linda said, “Let’s see your flirting behavior.  Make believe a cute guy like Ken is in the supermarket line. Flirt with him.”  After watching for a moment, Linda said, “Your posture sucks, you didn’t establish eye contact, and you stood too far away—2 1/2 feet  is about right. And it couldn’t hurt, at the right moment, to touch a guy’s forearm. And remember it’s 2019 not 1950: It’s okay for a woman to initiate conversation. Ask about whatever, like, “Is that hummus in your basket good?”

At that point, Jen kicked them out: “If I don’t, you’ll want me to sign up for a singles hike, cruise, and join some singles ministry.” Ken said, only half-joking. “That’s tomorrow. You said you’re serious about this. Let’s make it happen, girl!”

The next day, Jen actually did all three plus signed up for a dance class. She thought, “Yeah, it’s mainly women but a guy who likes to dance probably is someone who enjoys simple pleasures.” She also signed up for a financial planning course: “That’s something a responsible guy who has a few bucks might do. Besides, whether I meet someone or not, I’d like to learn more about how to deal with money.”

Would you bet on or against Jen finding Mr Right?

The takeaway

That story embeds at least eight tips for meeting a Mr/Ms Right (not just  Mr/Ms Right for Tonight):

  • Kismet. that is, random fate, mainly happens in movies: walking down the street, he inadvertently knocks into her, her packages drop, he picks them up, they look into each others’ eyes, and voila, magic! In reality, focused action puts the odds in your favor.
  • New clothes and/or a makeover can build not just attractiveness but the confidence to put yourself out there.
  • Those all-important pictures for dating profiles may be best taken not by a pro but by a trusted friend who can make you laugh. Pics taken on a phone can be fine, Just be sure there are no shadows on your face.
  • Despite the many dishonest profiles, dating sites are now the most popular way people meet romantic partners. 40 percent meet that way,and the percentage is increasing while getting set up is declining.
  • A dating profile must honestly say what you’re like and what you’re looking for. The game is not, “Who gets the most responses?” but “Who gets the best-fit responses?”
  • Flirting can be an acquired skill: posture, eye contact, physical proximity, touch, and initiating conversation. Even “Hi” can say a lot.  Don’t know what to say after “Hi?” Make an environmental comment, no not about climate change but about the store, the room, the weather, whatever. That sends the message: “I’d like to talk (or more.)”
  • Courses that meet multiple times are a good way to meet people. You get to know people slowly, unlike, for example, at a bar, where in addition, the music can make it impossible to have a conversation. Of course, choose a course you’re interested in and that you could envision your Mr./Ms Right taking. Dance and financial planning classes often work well.
  • Be picky. Trust your instincts rather than fantasize that you’ll reform a ne’er-do-well. Bad Boys/Girls may be okay for a fling but quickly dump the losers if you’re looking not for heartache and drama but for love.

Ready for love? Perhaps those tips will help.

I read this aloud on YouTube.

This is the third in a series on self-help tips provided within the context of a story. The first two were on procrastination and on time management.  The next will be on fixing a romantic relationship.


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