So, there's a thread about how much Valentine's Day sucks and how people are depressed about the fact that they're single and don't have a guy/girl with whom to spend this day. Before I begin, I want to state that, on the subject of Valentine's Day itself, I am in agreement with most poeple - it's a Hallmark Holiday created for the purpose of marketing lovey-dovey cards to the lovey-dovey lovestruck, blanketed under the cutlrual obligation that you should either be in love, or, if you are in love, you should spend money to show that you love. That's a buncha bullshit, if you ask me - if you love somebody, you love them 24/7, 365 days a year. ...but that is not the purpose of this thread. The purpose of this thread is to share what I think are the 4 fundamental tenets of marketing yourself to the opposite sex and trying to attract somebody to whom you are also attracted. So, without further ado... How to pick up a hot broad/classy fella Note: All of this is subjective and based on my own personal experience. However, I think a lot of the advice below is relatively solid stuff and will help the single depressed guy/girl out in at least some way. Discard or add the advice to your life as necessary. Your individual mileage may vary, of course. 1. IMAGE IS IMPORTANT. The way you present yourself in public contributes heavily to people's first opinions about you. Grooming, haircut, skin care and a body shape that approximately fit within our culturally defined "standards of beauty" are easy ways for potential mates to scale their interest in you. I recognize that this sounds absolutely shallow, but it's a personal observation based on years of people-watching - people are attracted to a standard. Now, that standard may be different based on which culture (or subculture) you observe, but within virtually all cultures and subcultures, there is some sort of presentation standard. Punk chicks like mohawked guys. The Weezer crowd likes the Lisa Loeb crowd. Football players date cheerleaders. The list goes on. Although you may want to dismiss these pairings as inevitable products of that culture/subculture, the truth (so far as I see it) is this - that guy put together a visual ensemble to attract that girl, or vice versa. The best metaphor for this is also one of the most classic ones - which would you rather buy: A piece of old & busted junk merchandise, or a piece of new hotness merchandise with appealing marketing? 2. LEARN TO TALK GOOD. I'm going to say this right now: TALKING TO GIRLS/GUYS IS NOT AS DIFFICULT AS YOU'RE MAKING IT OUT TO BE. Seriously. It isn't. There are a variety of ways to attract someone via communication, but I've found that one of the easiest ways to do this is through stating the obvious - make an flattering observation about the person to whom you're attracted and then build on it. Tell them their dress is pretty, and proceed to ask them where they got it, why they liked it, what brand name it's from, etc. (obviously, you'll have to curtail these type of questions to match the right subculture, but I hope you get the idea.) Another standby which you can add to the way you communicate is to adopt the way you talk with your grandparents/old relatives when you're talking with a potential mate (y'know, so long as your old relatives aren't senile.) Don't cuss, flatter discretely and feign interest. At some point, the person with whom you're communicating will strike a common interest and you can build on that - with care. Remember, if that person mentions that they like Transformers, tell them about your interest in Transformers the way you'd tell a distant relative - a brief description without embellishment is fine. A rare exception to this is the geek girl/guy, where a common interest in a certain subject may end up helping you out. However, even this can backfire on you, because, when it all comes down to it, a nerdchic girl/guy is still feeling you out to see if she thinks that you're trustworthy, stable, attractive, etc. I should note that Tenet #1 will help you out here A LOT, as I've seen plenty of couples where the guy was absolutely obsessed with (insert subject here) but, because they guy was hot, the attractive girlfriend/fiance/wife was perfectly fine with his obsession. 3. STUDYING ROMANCE HELPS. If you think you’re completely inept on how to slip romantic subleties into a relationship, it may be time to do a little research. Again, you’ve got to choose your research source based on your subculture – a RenFair girl will probably appreciate a soliloqouy from Shakespeare more than she would the ring in the drive-through from Clerks 2. Still, a nice smattering of everything –a few romantic comedies from Blockbuster, one or two “how to be romantic” books and maybe some romance literature will help you get a feel for how guys & girls have wooed each other over the past few years/centuries. It’s important to note that you’re not supposed to memorize the way a person in a relationship acts, but to recognize how the person acts – how they integrate sweet gestures, flirts, etc. into the way they act. The irony of the old standby “be yourself” is that we aren’t normally romantic sweeties – be yourself after digesting some loveydovey research material and let your kindness, your flirts, etc. flow freely as you encounter them. (However, again, you’ve got to decide whether to be discrete or not, like I mentioned above. This is no easy game!) 4. KNOW WHEN TO TOLERATE AND WHEN TO FORGIVE. There have been dozens of relationship threads in General Discussion where so-and-so poster will describe how they bent over backwards for a member of the opposite sex that ended up betraying them, not helping them out of generally being unaware of the trouble that person has gone through (AND NO, I AM NOT REFERRING TO ANY SINGLE PERSON HERE.) Similarly, there are plenty of posts about how so-and-so poster is so fed up with his/her partner because that partner likes another subject or another person. These posts can be easily avoided when a person sets personal boundaries...and sticks by them. Personal boundaries of tolerance and forgiveness are some of the easiest boundaries to form if you, the boyfriend/girlfriend, use your own common sense - not the rose-hued glasses of common sense you develop when you're close to your mate - to figure out just how much you can take. Quite honestly, if you're two or three dates into a relationship and the person you're interested in won't shut up about how much they like threesomes - and you're getting uncomfortable - then GET DA FUCK OUT. That's sort of an extreme example, but it gets the point across. Now, on the other hand, if the girl/guy can’t stop talking about how much they love Law and Order…and yet you still enjoy taking long walks on the beach and getting ice cream cones together, wellll…maybe that Law and Order obsession is worth taking as part of the whole (see above.) Some folks may set harsh standards for their level of tolerance, others may set very lenient standards for their level of forgiveness. The key is to find a gray area in the middle that keeps you relatively stress-free and enjoying your relationship. * * * That’s all I got. Married guys, fiancés and mack’em’alls (paging Dr. Jiggles) feel free to add more. Again, I need to note that the above advice is based on my personal experience. It’s not a flat standard for all relationships. Follow the advice at your discretion.