Dating in the 21st century has become a digitally driven part-time affair. Women are shown interest through emoji responses, text messages and the illustrious (and sometimes laughable) unsolicited pics dropped in our DMs. What has dating come to for us tough girls? Especially for the women who are worried about getting catfished on the internet (the supposed great guy that posts sweet things about women but in person are total misogynists). Or, we tire of our friends and family setting us up with the “nice guy” they know. Spoiler alert: he’s usually a weirdo that lives with his two cats, a thoroughly used Xbox and cries after sex. Don’t judge me. We all have a past.
Women have grown a layer of thick skin in this new digital age. We carry the burden of dating with an air of pessimism and disinterest. Some of us even swear off dating men to *gasp* date “ourselves”. A year from now, those same women are usually buying themselves a promise ring, taking the space of an actual wedding ring…
Don’t be like Jane. Jane isn’t actually happy.
So how do we snag the man we’re interested in when we’re traditional — yet tough? Interested yet — yearn to be pursued? Try these steps.
Step 1: Be Open.
This doesn’t mean put the neon sign on your forehead that screams you’re open for any man but instead, be open to meeting new and different kinds of men. If you prefer tall guys, talk to the short guy that has a great sense of humor. If you tend to like musicians but end up with the hapless bad boy types, try changing the location or opening up to the violinist or the gospel singer. The point is…don’t get stuck on what you think you like. You’ll be surprised how you’re more interested in talent, ambition or how a person makes you feel rather than how you feel with their credentials or job.
Step 2: Travel More.
You may not meet your mate within the 100-mile radius of your favorite café, your house, your job or where you buy your groceries. Travel at least twice a year. You don’t have to break the bank. A state or two away could be fruitful (and international is even better). Just remember to keep Step 1 in your back pocket. You don’t have to date everyone you meet, but having friends around the globe gets you a higher caliber of “nice guy” referrals to choose from.
Step 3: Don’t Worry. Be Happy.
This isn’t just a famous song. It’s a way of life. Have you ever been around a person that could suck the energy out of a room because they’re so desperate to get attention? Or maybe they’re unhappy with life in general. Don’t be that girl. Instead, be the girl who is happy with the journey of dating and meeting new people. Dating isn’t intense and cutthroat. It’s an experience between two people who want to get to know each other better. Even if you don’t match, you should find something you like, admire or respect about the person.
Step 4: Be Proactive.
You’re out and about and you see a guy you think is handsome and/or interesting but you don’t know how to get his attention without being too forward. This is the tricky part for some of us. We want a man we find attractive to pursue us but not at the expense of being the pursuer. Here’s the big secret: when you see a guy you like, talk to him. That’s the game changer. It doesn’t have to be a long, in-depth conversation. Just ask about his interests, (see if they align with yours) and suggest that you both do something together you enjoy. Don’t ask him on a specific date but leave it hanging and allow him to pursue if he’s interested.
Be approachable. Women complain that men don’t take any initiative to chat them up. There are a few reasons why men keep their distance. The most obvious is inapproachability. If you are standing with a posture that says “leave me alone,” guess what? Men will leave you alone. If your face is tight with fear, hostility or desperation, your body language is telling others to stay away. So unfold those arms from your chest and make it a point to exude a relaxed, friendly posture and SMILE. Now I’m not asking you to stand around with a huge grin pasted on your face like Ms. America, but you can let a soft easy smile touch your lips and allow your body to relax.
Step 5: Lose the Outdated Rules.
Do you like speed limits? Do you follow the nutritional value chart on your food and eat only the 3 cookies out of the pack?
No one likes rules. We want cake, and we want to have a drink every once in a while. We want to wear a skimpy outfit, feel sexy and un-judged. If we know the glorious feeling of freedom, then we should expect that men want to feel the same way when dating us. Lose all the outdated rules and traditions and go with what feels right to you! Who cares if your best friend goes on a date every Saturday? Who cares if you see an Instagram model gush over a bouquet of roses? Figure out what makes you happy about dating because your happiness is really all that matters, right?
So tough girls, take this starter guide and go forth and flourish on your journey to ‘The One’. The mystery man awaits.