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Getting Out of the Dating Desert

Dear Philippa:

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been since I had a real date, not to mention any romance. I work mainly with women. My girlfriends date a bit---no one special though. I've thought of dating online, but I prefer to find someone I can see before I meet them. I'm told that I'm cute but I feel like I might as well join the convent.

�Hilary, Raleigh, West Virginia


Dear Hilary,

Don't go shopping for a black and white outfit quite yet. I know it can be hard meeting guys when you work with only women. I used to work in an all female office and when the UPS guy arrived in his shorts, well, heads started popping out of office doors and everyone suddenly had to head for the coffee machine.

If online dating and blind dates aren't your cup of tea, here's an idea for you and other single women and men in the same "how long is it since I had a decent date" situation.

You need at least three friends and be willing to host a party. The idea is that you and each of your friends invite a friend of the opposite sex or someone they used to date to your party. Each of the people you invite has to in turn invite at least two of their ex girl or guy friends, and so it goes until you hit your ideal number and mix of people.

The purpose of the party must be made clear and the rules are that people only invite others they like, but are no longer romantically attached to. On party night, as the host, you have a sign-in book listing who invited who. As the host you also maintain a separate, private, log listing contact phone numbers. When someone decides they're interested in someone at the party they can ask that person out directly.

If you are shy or unsure, you can look at the log and find out who invited that special person and get them to introduce you during the party. You can also find out the phone number of the inviter and find out later if their friend is interested in you.

Hillary, as a host of the party you are in the proverbial catbird seat, you have information about everyone, and because you have a specific role and you're not just there, waiting to meet someone, you can feel and act more confident.

You already mention people think you're cute so don't obsess about how you need to look at this party. The secret of being popular is behaving like you already have a hunk in your life and you're at the party just to have good time. Have you ever noticed that when you're dating someone, others show more interest in you? It's human nature. Just remember everyone at that party is in the same boat you are---they want to meet more people. Many of them are in a dating desert too. Your dry spell, dear Hillary, is about to end. Remember, if you believe it, you can achieve it.



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