28 Days Of Dating Tips

28 Days Of Dating Tips
ESSENCE.COM Jan, 30, 2009

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Next time you’re looking for a way to step to an eligible brother, tell him you read a story in ESSENCE about dating that said men like to be approached by women. It takes nerve, but it’ll get the conversation flowing easily and tell you a lot about his dating preferences.

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How’s this: “Isn’t this merlot amazing? You know, there’s a wine tasting in my neighborhood next Wednesday night; we should check it out.” That didn’t sound too bad, did it? “There’s nothing wrong with showing your interest in moving beyond now,” says Morley-Ball, who is also the author of Seeds for the Harvest of a Lifetime (Author House). Why leave Date No. 2 to chance when you can clinch it there and then?

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Come on now—no one has your interests at heart quite like your mother. She may meet more single brothers in a day than you think, and she’s not too shy to approach them.

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Go hang out with a male friend and be each other’s dating ally. “When you notice a studly male, send your guy friend over to chat with him,” says Tosin Ola, aka Vixen, the woman behind The Bad Girls Guide blog (vixentales.blogspot.com). “A few minutes later, walk up and have your friend introduce you.” This is an oh-so-easy icebreaker.

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“Men get a bad rep for trying to race toward the bedroom, but women are just as guilty of trying to race down the aisle,” says Essence relationship columnist Finesse Mitchell. “As soon as you start dishing out questions guys don’t have the answer to (‘So where is this going?’), we start sweating.” The solution: Space the serious questions out over a number of dates and let the relationship evolve (or dissolve) at its own pace. “If a couple months of great dates, gifts and (maybe) sex don’t get you any closer to a strong monogamous relationship, let him know he has competition. Or start going out without him. A lot.”

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Get dressed up in your cutest outfit and go to a speed-dating event, like the ones hosted by hurrydate.com, 8minutedating.com or pre-dating.com. Sign up early—they fill up fast. With the number of guys you’ll meet in just one night, you’re bound to click with someone.

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Touch a postman’s shoulder when you thank him for directions, tell the bartender this is the best drink you’ve had in years, or mention to the 411 operator that you think he has a great voice. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll want to be adept at flirting when a handsome catch walks into your life.

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“Put out a dating SOS to your girls, telling them you’d like to be set up,” says Julie Taylor, coauthor of How to Be a Dominant Diva (Avalon Press). Since the root of each setup will be a trusted friend, chances are you’ll at least have a good time—or even five fun outings.

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Already got a date? Do the planning and take the pressure off him. (Design your perfect evening in the process.) He will be so happy he didn’t have to think about this that he’ll have a great time before the date even starts.

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“Unconsciously we’re driving men away because we’re in ‘get-it-done’ mode,” says D.C. radio personality Vikki Johnson, author of Addicted to Counterfeit Love (Kimani Press). Our to-do lists are miles long and our obligations are ocean-deep. But if you’re constantly busy, men will think you don’t have any time for them. One solution: Take a real hard look at yourself and figure out how you can create more free time to meet a partner.

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The pastor of your church or the head of your place of worship is an unusual but excellent dating resource. “He knows everyone in the church, including who’s single and looking,” says Tosin Ola, aka Vixen, the woman behind The Bad Girls Guide blog (vixentales.blogspot.com). Try talking to him about possible prospects.

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Whether its experts are teaching you how to flirt like a pro in Dallas or giving a makeup makeover in Chicago, MoxieintheCity.net offers courses nationwide to boost your dating quotient. At about $20 to $40 per event, even if the advice doesn’t get you a guy, you’re bound to have a blast meeting new people who might later introduce you to someone.

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Traveling on business? Hit a happy hour in a commercial district or a hotel bar that’s popular with locals. On a solo vacation? Dine at restaurants where you can eat at the bar or there’s open seating to up your chances of rubbing elbows with a single guy. “Embrace the fear you may feel about leaving your comfort zone, and you’ll be more receptive to the men you meet,” says Amy DuBois Barnett, author of Get Yours: How To Have Everything You Ever Dreamed Of And More! (Broadway Books).

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There’s nothing wrong with being forward to reel in a man you’re interested in. Brave tactics can impress a guy enough to win him over: “There was a woman in front of me at the checkout line,” begins Vincent, 30, a fashion designer. “When it was my turn to pay, the cashier gave me a note with the woman’s phone number and a request that I cook for her sometime,” “The following week, I invited her to dinner at my apartment.”

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“It doesn’t matter if your baggage is Louis Vuitton or that five-piece set from the L.A. Swap Meet-do not take it on your date,” says Essence relationship columnist Finesse Mitchell. “No dude you just met wants to hear about how your ex cheated on you in you own house or your worthless baby daddy never stepped up to the plate. Most men date with the hopes of getting to know you. That’s very hard to do if you keep talking about your worst experience with the previous guy. It makes your date think, ‘Why should I pay for the last guy’s mistakes?’”

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“The last six weddings I officiated at, the brides and grooms all met online,” reveals Brenda Wade, a San Francisco–based relationship therapist and coauthor of Love Lessons: A Guide to Transforming Relationships (Amistad). “People go online to get jobs, find lost classmates, buy furniture, whatever. If you’re not willing to go online for love—which is the simplest, most expedient way to meet someone—you’re not serious about having a relationship.”

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“It’s a great way to meet men,” advises Toria Wyrick, author of Want a Man? Lets Talk (Author-House). Since men are often drawn to competition and sports, host a Texas Hold ’Em poker night or a fight party to make sure plenty of guys show up. Ask your friends to bring one person of the opposite sex to ensure the numbers stay even.

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Though clubs and bars might be packed with attractive men, they’re not the places to search for a guy who’s ready to settle down. “A man looking for a wife isn’t really into the party scene,” says Alan Roger Currie, an Internet radio host and author of Mode One: Let the Women Know What You’re Really Thinking (Booklocker.com). Mr. Right is more likely to be found hanging out with his niece or nephew at the park, or sitting in a church pew.

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If a man looks interesting to you, say something—anything—and you could be halfway to a date. Hint: “Hi” works wonders. Men consider the most innocuous encounters to hold the possibility of romance. According to researchers at Elon University in North Carolina, when men and women meet for the first time, men are more likely than women to consider even brief interactions to contain sexual undertones.

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“Black men feel they have to have a hard exterior, either because that’s how they were raised or because that’s what they think women want,” explains Essence relationship columnist Finesse Mitchell. “So the last thing you’ll hear your man say is, ‘You used to buy me flowers, Uneeka. Why don’t you romance me anymore?’ Instead, we don’t say anything. Or we give weak hints like, ‘Oh, look, is that my toe hanging out of my sock again?’” Indulge your man in some sweetness and he’ll be ever grateful.

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Why save it for the night you know you’re going to get some, especially if it’s just sitting around collecting dust in your drawer? Having sensuous, expensive underthings on when you go out makes you think sexy—and act sexy—without even trying.

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One great way to clinch a second date is to get very close—but not quite—to a good-night kiss on the first one. It can be hard not to give in to temptation when sparks are flying, but remember, men want what they cannot immediately have. So display enough attraction and desire to let him know that you are quite certainly, most definitely, open to the possibility of kissing him, but that the matter is still under consideration.

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You’re guaranteed to meet many eligible men at these events, at which every woman gets a locket and every guy gets a key. Mingling is inevitable because the goal of the gathering is to discover whose key fits into your lock. Find a party in your area at lockandkeyevents.com. “For just $15 to $45 you get a party experience with music, food, drinks and really cute guys,” says Tosin Ola, aka Vixen, the woman behind The Bad Girls Guide blog (vixentales.blogspot.com)

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“As adults we set up daily routines to improve our efficiency, but those routines can block us from meeting new people,” says Alex B. Wright, relationship coach and author of How to Get and Keep a Good Man: From Successfully Single to Happily Married (iUniverse). So instead of taking the same route to work every day, switch it up next week. You might catch the glance of a handsome stranger on the train. Always wear sweats to the supermarket on Saturdays? Try rocking a skirt and some heels.

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Instead of asking a man how he makes a paycheck, ask him what his passion is. Instead of asking him where he’s from, ask him about the best place he ever lived. Being nosy is intrusive, but being inquisitive shows that you’re interested and interesting.

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“Overtly suggest how he can ask you out,” says Joyce Morley-Ball, a psycho-therapist and relationship expert in Decatur, Georgia. Mention activities you would enjoy with him, and tip him off to when you’re free. Men fear rejection, big time. But this way, you’re assuring him there’s nothing to worry about.

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Whenever you go out, wear a conversation piece, like a colorful scarf, an antique bracelet or the Singelringen—a trendy turquoise band that’s used to signal your solo status (singelringen.com). “It’s one of the most daring ways I’ve come upon to help single people identify one another,” says Tosin Ola, aka Vixen, the woman behind The Bad Girls Guide blog (vixentales.blogspot.com). It gives a guy an entry point for approaching you.

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“Date like a man,” says Amy DuBois Barnett, author of Get Yours: How to Have Everything You Ever Dreamed Of And More! (Broadway Books). “See more than one guy at the same time. Take a day or two to call him back, and be the first one to end a conversation.” Wouldn’t you like to be in the driver’s seat for a minute?