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Leader of the Lonely Hearts Club

What better way to find out what men think than to call them to a meeting of the minds?

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.  If the holiday itself remained true to its Roman origins, I’d consider February 14th more interesting, but with the focus shifting from animal-skin whippings to consumer clichés, I remain unimpressed. 

Now, I’m not saying I hate Valentine’s Day. Do I love the bitter humor in “Single’s Awareness Day” versions of candy hearts? Absolutely! Have I cut construction paper into homemade valentines that say things like, “Happy Valentine’s Day, you *explicative*” and “Next time you go breaking hearts, show some class and tell the truth.” You betcha! Did I even go as far as to write a blog post disestablishing Valentine’s Day’s status as a national holiday? What can I say; it was a rough year.

Even so, my feelings about Valentine’s Day trend towards neutral, which is why this year’s “holiday” was such a pleasant surprise. I loved it!

As a dating columnist, I couldn’t spend the most romantic day of the year alone, so several months ago, I asked my dear friend Ben from Boston to be my valentine. Then, on February 11th, my friend Jeff from Jersey asked me if I would be his valentine and suggested dinner in New York City. When my friend John asked me what my plans were for Valentine’s Day at work on Monday, I decided I couldn’t have just one valentine this year, so I said yes to all three.

I asked Jeff for a rain check; I hated to fight for reservations and pander to an over-priced pre-fix menu. I knew I’d just end up sneering at the other couples as they got engaged over chocolate lava cake and champagne and drowning my sorrows in some pink frothy martini. Cliché.

So, instead of expose ourselves to the millions of people proposing somewhere between cocktails and dessert, Ben and I cooked dinner at my house. John doesn’t cook, but he contributed to dinner by bringing me flowers – the last bouquet available at Big Y. Apparently, he had to fight for them. There were two other men trying to purchase flowers, but John called “dibs” and was unyielding.

After dinner, I interviewed Ben and John about the dating scene from a single man’s perspective. The interviews went so well that I decided to ask all of the single guys I know for their input. The response was overwhelming!

I asked ten bachelors ten questions:

1. Why are you single? 
2. Where do you go to meet women?
3. Do you approach women or do you make them approach you?
4. What initially attracts you to someone?
5. What are your thoughts on online dating? Have you done it? Would you do it?
6. What's your best pickup line?
7. What do you think about Valentine's Day?
8. What signs/signals let you know a girl is into you?
9. What's the biggest turnoff when you are first meeting an attractive woman?
10. Would you ever consider dating a dating columnist? Why or Why Not? 

The Mind of a Gentlman Bachelor

From the first question, I knew I was gaining valuable insight into the single man’s mind. For starters, the Gentlemen Bachelors were single for various positive reasons. They didn’t have time to go out and meet people because of successful careers, they were taking some “me” time after a particularly painful break-up, too busy for a girlfriend because they were on a bicycle tour of the world, or they were simply picky. Only one admitted to being shy and a little insecure. In less official polls of my single girl friends, the reasons I hear trend towards self-depreciating. Girls usually say things like, “I’m single because I’m freaking crazy” or “maybe if I lost 20 pounds, I’d get a boyfriend.” Yet, there are a few of us young women who are single because we are busy at work, picky as all hell and, well maybe a little bit crazy.

Where They Stalk Their Prey

I expected all of the Gentlemen Bachelors to answer Question 2 with “bars,” and several did, but most of them admitted to looking “everywhere” and “nowhere in particular” for single women.  I agree; true love could be lurking behind any dark corner.

Most of the Gentlemen Bachelors feel comfortable approaching women, however, they also are appreciative of a woman who comes up to them. One admits to employing an interesting tactic: “I offend them first, then counteract it with a redeeming nice comment. This has not been very effective…yet.”

No Surprises Here; Men Buy With their Eyes

I’m not quite sure why I even asked Question 4 – the answer was unanimously physical appearance. However, “confidence,” “nice eyes” and “cute shoes” also made an appearance on that train of thought.

Match.no

Even though studies show that online dating is continuing to increase in popularity, almost all the Gentlemen Bachelors said they would only consider it as a last resort. One bachelor even said, “It seems so desperate, you can’t actually go out and meet someone? You have to hide behind a computer screen?”

Pick-up Lines are Out

Only one Gentlemen Bachelor admitted to using a pick up line: “If I were an enzyme, I would be DNA Helicase, so I could unzip your jeans.” I guess it worked like a charm when he was in college. Most said “no” to lines. Our “offend and compliment” tactic bachelor said his standard line was: “You're a terrible dancer.” In theory, the woman will challenge him to dance with them, allowing him the opportunity to redact his earlier statement or they will get completely offended and leave. I don’t think this has worked for him….yet.

Gentlemen Bachelor, the Observator

Most of the Gentlemen Bachelors had no clue how to tell if a woman was into them. One, however, made me laugh with his observation that a woman may be interested in him if, “She doesn't seem eager to get away.”

I also found it interesting that, while the initial “turn-ons” for the Gentlemen Bachelors were mostly physical characteristics, the large majority of “turnoffs” were character flaws and actions, such as: flirting with other guys, playing hard to get, arrogance, idiocy, and being mean. Most of the Gentlemen Bachelors also listed “smoking” as a turnoff. I guess a pretty face will get the initial hello, but you have to have something else to maintain any real level of interest.

Some Career Choices are Turn Offs

Almost all of the Gentlemen Bachelors would be open to the possibility of dating a dating columnist, which contradicts my theory that no one wants to date the dating column girl. One added the caveat that they would want to make sure the image the dating columnist portrayed was not one of “a weirdo or desperate chick,” one expressed his respect and appreciation for artists and people who write and one said he would like to date my sister.

I’d like to thank all the Gentlemen Bachelors who played along and made Valentine’s Day 2012 the best one yet. Even though I’ve kissed so many frogs, you guys give me hope that the dating pool hasn’t been sucked completely dry of princes!  xoxoxoxo

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