On my quest for a date, I’ve chosen my first source of advice. The dating book that I literally purchased a year and a half ago when I thought I was ready to date (turns out I wasn’t). This go-round I’ve decided to read it instead of skimming and getting nauseous.
The book? Patti Stanger’s Become Your Own Matchmaker: Eight Easy Steps For Attracting Your Perfect Mate. For those who don’t know, Patti Stanger is Bravo TV’s “millionaire matchmaker” and according to her forward in her book, she is a third generation matchmaker at that. I’m on the fence about Patti and the show, I suppose you could say. On the one hand, she is funny and uses phrases I think I would be apt to use and understand (“the penis does the picking!”). However, it offends me to watch the show and hear her say to girls, within moments of meeting them “You’re too fat, you’re cut” and “Can you wear something sexier and show up at 6pm?” I am smart enough to know that there is an option for every person, and that somewhere out there, someone will love you at any shape or size. However, I guess she’s just helping you out by weeding through the people who won’t appreciate you. But still, I think there are more important things than money and cars and dress size. And I’m not sure how she evaluates these intangibles.
At first glance, Patti’s book is full of twisted advice. It’s full of it at second glance, too, but I digress. Patti’s book appeals to me because it has actual scenarios and tips on where and how to meet men. It’s a veritable goldmine of possibilities. Grocery stores, bars, restaurants. With instructions! Now I’m excited.
But wait, what’s this? How many chapters before she tells me where to go to meet someone? I was severely tempted to flip to the later chapters and just dive in. I decided to quiet the impulse and actually read the book in order, and follow her steps, to the best of my abilities. How else can I decide if it worked or not, unless I give all eight steps a chance? Alcoholics don’t jump to step 6, do they? Chronic singletons like me shouldn’t skip, either. So let us begin, dear readers, at the beginning.
The first chapter in the book is all about “dating detox”, and Patti encourages you to find the best “you” that you’re capable of by…losing weight! Exercising, losing weight, changing your make up and hairstyle, and buying girdles. Yes, this among other things. Patti wants you to decide that you’ll remain dateless for a specific period of time while you figure out what went wrong in your previous relationships and what you can do to improve yourself in a lot of different ways, appearance and emotions included.
I’ll admit it. I was pissed. I’ve come all this way, purchased this book, and you’re gonna tell me I have to spend my first 90 days changing how I look? I’m not cute enough as I am? THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MY ISSUE IS WITH DATING ADVICE…..but I’m here to learn, so let’s go with it. Let’s keep reading…
I read the detox chapter about three times. And I let it all sink in. And I have some sort of change of heart about what she’s saying. Maybe I’m just hoping her intentions are pure…but here’s what I’ve finally concluded:
I guess what I’ve discerned from Patti’s dating detox rules is not that you should need to change your appearance to attract more men, but that you should feel confident enough in yourself to attract men–and how better to do that than by losing that last 15 pounds and pouring yourself into shapewear? Sorry–SORRY! Ignore that last bit. In all seriousness, you have to be comfortable with yourself.
I’ve been pretty blessed in the past two years to be alone. Yes, I said blessed to be alone. I’ve been blessed to be able to concentrate on myself. In my past relationships, I didn’t feel pretty, despite what anyone told me. I was significantly overweight and had body image issues. These issues spilled over from me to my partners and made forging a trusting and lasting relationship difficult. If I can’t trust that someone thinks I’m attractive, how can I trust anything they say at all? After all, according to Patti the “penis does the picking” and if I’m already behind the curve from the first 15 minutes of the game….you get the picture, right? My point is I didn’t like who I was. So how could I have ever expected to have someone else like me? I am here with a revelation: My past relationships didn’t work out because of flaws in my character and self esteem. Yes, very petty fights and people not taking out the garbage and a whole list of other things are good outside reasons for why my relationship of 6 years ended, but ultimately I didn’t love myself, and I was trying to love someone else first. Two years later I see that never would have worked.
The lesson here, at least I think this is the lesson, is that you should be confident with yourself. I will never attract a mate if I don’t have the confidence that I am looking better than ever as well as feeling on top of my game. I am happy to report that I am already to this place, but I am making the commitment right now that I will remain on this train of self awareness and physical self improvement no matter what derailments I may have in this dating experiment I am running. I promise myself that I will never again lose me. I won’t stop loving me, I won’t let me get out of control again. I am going to make me so happy I almost can’t stand it. Every. Single. Day. Because I can promise you this, men come and go. But I’m always going to have me.
So maybe this dating advice stuff really does make a tiny bit of sense. Maybe.