Mastering My Manfunnel

I am smart, funny, beautiful, and interesting. Saying this makes me seem narcissistic, but I’m trying to make a point: On the dating market, I’m a catch! 

Despite these qualities, flirting and dating have never come naturally to me. When talking to guys, I tend to come on either too strong or as completely disinterested. I occasionally get asked out on a first date but rarely a second.

After each minor heartbreak, I am consoled by friends. The most common solace is  “He’s just intimidated by you”. The message is clear: It wasn’t me, it was him. And him. And him. And, well, that guy too. The once comforting advice soon made my stomach turn. I would see friends in relationships and think “why not me?”

For them, dating came naturally. They knew what to say and how to act. I realized there were a series of unspoken dating ‘rules’ and norms that I was completely oblivious to. After a questionable one-night stand and a completely unexpected declaration of love, I realized it was time to take action. Mock me all you want, but I began to study the art of dating. 

I am a firm believer that anything can be learned. I unapologetically google everything. I am intimately familiar with all of WikiHow’s advice. But it was time to reach out to friends. 

These well-intentioned friends would often give generic (read: useless) dating advice like “Just be yourself” or “You’ll find someone when you stop looking”. So far, that advice hasn’t helped. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to change who I am to impress some guy but none of my successes in any area of my life have materialized without hard work. Why should a romantic relationship be any different? 

People often believe that dating is not something that can (or should) be taught. Dating advice is associated with pick-up artists not loving relationships. Yet, I realized the people who were ‘good’ at dating intuitively knew and implemented the advice from celebrated dating coaches. They simply didn’t realize it. So, it was time to turn to the experts.

I read several dating books, my favourites being “The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible” by Ali Binazir and “Get the Guy” by Matthew Hussey. Both books focus on changing your mindset, not your personality. One of the biggest things that can hold us back in dating is a scarcity mindset. We wrongly believe that all good men (or women) are taken and that we must settle for whoever appears remotely interested. Instead, we should see ourselves as a prize to be won. The next time someone attractive hits on you, approach it with curiosity. Give them the opportunity to prove that their personality matches their initial attractiveness. 

There are so many arbitrary dating rules. Wait an hour before texting back. Never initiate twice in a row. Wait until the third date before having sex. It’s all nonsense. Playing these “hard to get” games never work. Instead, you should be hard to get. This means having an interesting and exciting life and knowing your worth. You’ll no longer need to strategize about how long to wait before replying to a text. If you’re out with friends, simply don’t answer that text until you’re free. We should ask: “Would I want to date myself?” If the answers no, pick up some hobbies, spend more time with friends and perhaps buy a few self-help books. 

As you invest in yourself, I guarantee you will find love. Instead of thinking of love as something absent from your life, think of it as a paycheck you’ve already worked for, that’s in the mail. You know it’s coming but you’re not sure exactly when it will arrive.  

Now, you’ve changed your perspective but you’re wondering: where are all these interested people? Getting out of the house and out of your comfort zone significantly increases your odds of meeting someone special. Think about what qualities you’re looking for and where those types of people would hang out. Think of the 3 Cs: Conversation-friendliness, community, and continuity. While Stages is a great place for a steamy hook-up, you’re not going to be able to have a conversation. Though controversial, the ARC meets these criteria. There’s a sense of community so it’s not weird to start up a conversation and there’s continuity because people usually stick to a regular workout schedule. 

People who are good at dating are usually great at starting conversations. They chat with people while waiting in line, they ask for help and they smile. If you make it your goal to talk to one person every day, you’re bound to find someone who interests you. If you’re nervous about striking up a conversation, you can always employ what Matthew Hussey calls the “Handkerchief Method” (Look it up!) 

No matter how much you practice, you’re likely going to face some rejection. But rejection is a mindset. Let’s say I go on a date and the guy doesn’t call. It could be because a) he didn’t like me (negative), b) his phone broke (neutral) or c) he was intimidated by my charming personality and thought I was way out of his league (positive). Because his response (or lack thereof) is so open to interpretation, how can I determine if I was rejected? Instead, we can create our own terms of rejection. For example, I am only rejected when I act maliciously towards someone else. With that definition, I’m almost never rejected. With that in mind, go forth and date. 

One of the most controversial yet wildly recommended pieces of dating advice is to see multiple people at the same time. I took a course called “Master Your Man Funnel”. Let me begin by saying, it was a very surreal experience to join this Facebook group with hundreds of women in their late 40s who had never found love. It was terrifying that I was a part of this group, but boy, did I learn a lot. To spare you, I’ll give you the SparkNotes version of this course. 

With the typical linear dating, we spend time looking for a partner, testing the waters and then committing. When we break up, there’s a grieving period and it starts all over again. The average relationship lasts for 3 months. You could reasonably spend 6 to 12 months chasing, dating and crying over one person. With non-linear dating, we extend the initial dating phase but shorten the amount of time we spend looking for romantic relationships because we can quickly filter out people who aren’t suitable. 

If you date two to three people at once, you avoid many of the common pitfalls of early relationships. You’re less likely to be clingy because your attention is spread across many people. You’re also going to be pickier about your potential match because you still have other options. This course recommended that you date 2 to 3 people for 6 months. As you eliminate potential partners, you should bring in new people to fill their spots. It’s a counterintuitive but effective way to find someone compatible. However, let it be known that the course recommends abstinence during this trial period to avoid drama. Do what you want with this information.

While you’re testing the waters, you should evaluate how the person treats you rather than the idea of them as a partner. They can be a great person and also a horrible partner. Your evaluation should be based on how much they invest in you and your relationship. To avoid coming on too strong, simply reciprocate this level of investment. If I was asked out on a date, it’s totally cool if I ask them out for a second. However, if I suggest meeting their parents, I’m investing way more into the relationship than they are and it’s going to blow up in my face. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. But if you’re looking to dive deep, I recommend watching Matthew Hussey and Mark Rosenfeld’s advice on YouTube. If you want a happy and healthy relationship, you should make a move and make it happen. You’re a catch. All you need to do is let the world know. Oh, and yes, this advice works!

Written by Taylor Ball for Issue XX, find it here

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