To be and not to be

WHY DO FOOLS fall in love? You have to be a fool to hand over your heart to another horribly flawed human being and allow that person to stomp all over it. "Yes, here you go, Sir, Madam, or Mademoiselle—you have my permission to eviscerate my soul and destroy my will to live whenever you so desire." In return, perhaps you get laid (perhaps not), perhaps you pick up a communicable disease, perhaps you fall madly in love and live happily ever after. Yes, and for our second act, monkeys will fly out of my ass.

So why is everybody so anxious to play the fool? As I sit here holding my own smarting heart, I can't imagine. But for those retaining a shred of optimism, here are a few hints that should help you, too, find someone to rip your heart out of its warm, wet cavity and use it for toilet paper.

HOW TO BE

Realistic: George Clooney or George Costanza? Courtney Cox or Courtney Love? Unless you're rich and/or famous and/or powerful, you're better off not attempting to date too far outside of your looks strata, especially if you're dating men. Men—both gay and straight—seem to be more looksist in their attitudes toward their potential sweeties. Can you think of a reverse version of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones? No, you can't. Because there aren't any.

Confident: Not to be confused with cockiness, confidence is an even bigger aphrodisiac than a fat wallet and abs you can bounce quarters off of. OK, not really. Even if the reflection staring out at you is less than perfect, I'm sure you possess one or two awesome qualities. Focus on them instead of whether your ass looks fat.

Flirtatious: You should practice flirting with everyone. Flirting should not be confused with letching—the difference is vast. Flirtatious behavior makes everyone feel peppy and happy. Lecherous behavior makes the recipient feel dirty. (Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but save it till after you figure out if they like you.)

Self-Sufficient: Unless you're under 21, if you live with your parents, you're probably not going to get laid. And always have enough food around so you can whip up at least one meal if you happen to get lucky. Thinking ahead in this positive vein will also increase your confidence.

Baggage-Free: Nothing's more cringe-inducing than total disclosure to someone you just met. Yes, of course, it's tragic that your uncle molested you and your entire Brownie troop, but that's a tale that you can save till your second date. Likewise, mentions of myriad exes and the wrongs they done you, details of any odd medical conditions, exhibits of unusual body hair, and flatulence should be avoided at all costs.

Open to Different Matchmaking Methods: Too many people I know won't use personal ads because they're "not that desperate." I've got news for you—if it's been over six months since you've had sex, you are that desperate. Also, ask your friends to fix you up. I fixed my sister up with an old friend and neither of them hate me as a result. I've been fixed up, and though the ensuing relationship turned out disastrously, I got to dine at a lot of schmancy restaurants I wouldn't have otherwise ever seen the insides of. My dad started a widow and widowers group at his church, and because men tend to kick off about a billion years earlier than women, the group was loaded with horny widows. And, wouldn't you know it, Dad married one of them!

Ignoring (Most) Conventional Wisdom: CW sez you shouldn't shit where you eat, which means you're to avoid office romance at all costs. However, I met my most long-term B.F. when we were forced to share an office. My pal Nance met her husband when he got hired on to direct one of her company's promotional videos. Falling in love with the girl in the next cubicle might not be the smartest thing to do, but love makes you stupid. If you're lucky enough to have a job, why not mine it for hotties?

Resilient: If the stud monkey you've been chatting up all night suddenly gives you the cold shoulder when you ask for his number, don't take it personally. He could already have a boyfriend, or be in the market for a girlfriend, and you, sir, don't fit the bill. Let it go and move on.

HOW NOT TO BE

Angry: Yeah, it sucks that your last five boyfriends cheated on you. Get over it before you date again.

Presumptuous: Do not get ahead of yourself. If you look at every girl you meet as the potential mother to your turkey-baster baby, nobody's gonna have a good time. Think of every date as practice for the next. As we know, practice makes perfect.

Desperate: The stink of desperation cannot be masked, no matter how expensive the cologne. You are not that old. You do not need to be married by your 30th birthday. That is not your biological clock ticking. Relax!

Cheap: Tip your waiter well, always offer to pay at least your half. If you can't afford to tip well, stay home.

Drunk: A certain amount of alcoholic lubrication can ease the tension, but pre-date drinking, beyond a very small shot of courage, is never a good idea and is a bit of a cheat. Jell-O shots and other novelty concoctions should be avoided by anyone of legal drinking age. Except for festive Polynesian drinks that arrive on fire. Those are always OK, and, in fact, encouraged.

Pretentious: It might seem tempting to tell your date that Jim Jarmusch is your first cousin and you lost your virginity to Evan Dando, but does it really matter? Name-droppers just come off like jackasses.

THERE YOU GO, my little lovebirds. If I could manage to find a man to put me through hell and then worm his way back into my heart (and underpants) just in time for him to buy me expensive Valentine's lingerie, there's hope for everyone. Isn't love funny? Now get out there and make your- selves miserable!

dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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