Next, it was time for step two, the outer self. On the subject of hair, Patti advises point-blank, "short, pixie cuts are considered mannish or over the hill," and "men don't want to get their fingers snagged in scraggly, pubic-looking bird's nests." Ouch. But what good is a yenta who sugar coats the truth? Luckily, I've grown out my man-do and located the appropriate frizz-taming product for my curls. I also met her criteria in the categories of teeth (straight and white), lips (not so big they are the first thing people notice about my face), makeup (not much) and skin care (thank you, Dr. Perricone and ClariSonic vibrating face brush).
Yes, these fixes are cosmetic and shallow. But the cold truth is, as Patti states: "The penis does the picking." The first thing guys notice is how you look. And it's not just for them. As a woman who spent the majority of her twenties in short hair, jeans and some kind of vest, I can personally attest: longer tresses, occasional dresses and "Bing-O-Cherry" painted nails make me feel good. And not just because of the reactions I receive when I'm primped and looking my best (though those are great, too). As a former tomboy and athlete who hated being "too girly," the new look represents a maturation—out of juvenile resistance to certain beauty ideals and into a more comfortable embrace of my femininity. What Guys (Secretly) Think About What You Wear
When my exterior was ship shape, per Patti's advice, I listed the top five assets and five worst qualities of my most recent "boyfriends" (anyone who passed the six-week mark). I crafted my ten "must haves" before halving them to five non-negotiables, but stopped short of laminating and carrying them on me at all times (I also ix-nayed the "Bio Card" with "stunning photo" she recommends having ready to hand out to strangers).
Then, I went out—by myself—because "those in packs do not attract." After work one night I went to The Modern, a swanky New York City restaurant. I sat at the bar and put on my best "I'm friendly and approachable but not here for casual sex" smile while hiding the Asics on my feet under my coat (Patti would not have approved). I didn't have a "gender-neutral" bestseller/conversation starter book on me, so I whipped out my West Elm catalog and began faux-concentrating on patio furniture.
"Work never ends, huh?" the bartender asked.
"Oh, but it's fun work," I smiled, liking his assumption I was engaged in some important decorating.
I finished my glass of Cava sparkling wine in silence, failing to garner attention from two suited guys on my left. Did I look too engrossed in my fake home design task? Maybe it was my failure to hold either's gaze for five full seconds while giving them a "radiant" smile (I'm not sure anyone but Heidi Klum can do this). I left before getting a rep among waitstaff as "that chick who sat alone, ordered the cheapest drink and scarfed all the truffle popcorn."
Then I met a boy. Patti claims there are approximately 185,000 more single women than men in the New York, northern-New Jersey area and suggests we single women move if at all possible. It's true: our odds stink. But whatever the disproportion, New York is a flirty city. I met Jay, a tall, handsome Indian at a networking event and we set up a Sunday afternoon rendezvous. First Date Dos and Don'ts
Patti proffers several pre-date "maximize your sexiness" warm-up techniques. Though I didn't have any removable tattoos available for my inner thigh, nor pearls to wear while beholding myself naked in the mirror, I managed to satisfy the "have a glass of champagne" tip with two mimosas at brunch.
Jay and I sat in a sunny alcove of a café and chatted easily about salsa dancing and travel. I avoided conversational no-no's like my ex, money, religion, politics, celebrities and "negative subjects that depress you" (unless texting counts). Though I did mention one off-limits subject: my children. Thing is, they're not born yet, but I let slip that I was worried for them. As we both lamented the simpler days of our youths, spent climbing trees before email, cell phones and the Wii, I exclaimed, "I'm afraid for my kids!"
Oops. Was that bad?
Jay hasn't called for a second date. Maybe it's time to work "licious" into my online dating screen name.
Would I recommend Patti's book to other singletons? Sure, provided they took it with a hunk of salt. While a majority of content is designed to attract men regardless of their tax brackets, she is after all, the millionaire matchmaker. Some suggestions, like cozying up to Mercedes dealers (and offering to send them referrals in exchange for matches) and disregarding a man in Starbucks with his computer because he may be "unemployed or poor" are downright gross. But if you can overlook spurts of extreme ridiculousness, it's an entertaining read with some decent tips.
Overall ratings, on a scale of 1 - 10:
Actionable Advice: 8
Potential Humiliation Factor in Following Advice: 7
Focus on Inner Self: 3
Focus on Appearance: 8
Guru Sass: 9
Touchy Feely Self-Helpiness: 1