If your college years were anything like mine, it was all nights spent dancing on bars and days spent figuring out one more job you could squeeze onto you résumé.
Dating was not even on your radar.
Then, all of a sudden, you've got a diploma in hand, a new job, a grad school acceptance letter, a (tiny) apartment and you've even got this fancy 401(k). Then, you realize, "Oh sh*t. I was supposed to date in college."
This was my situation. At 21, I realized I'd been on two "proper" dates in my life, and one involved PF Chang's.
I decided I had some catching up to do, and boy, did I.
Through the magic of the Internet and being a shameless flirt, I spent the next two years going on hundreds of dates with guys, from painters to investment bankers.
So, if you have more job interviews than you've been on dates; if having a serious relationship at 18 never appealed to you; if you didn't meet your entire wedding party and spouse in college, these lessons are for you.
“Attention, world, I’m ready for a boyfriend!” will not yield results immediately.
Literally, no one cares you’re “ready” for a boyfriend, except your mother. I love rom-coms as much as the next girl, but somewhere around the dozenth guy, I realized this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
I thought I'd kiss a few frogs, then my Prince Charming would come along. I'd deactivate all my dating profiles within a matter of weeks, and this "dating phase" would be a thing we'd joke about while listening to "This American Life."
Silly me. No matter how Type A you are, the world doesn’t fit into your carefully-calculated plans.
Eventually, people turn into statistics.
I started to have ratios constantly in my head. In a typical week, I'd send 25 messages knowing my response rate was about one in three.
From there, I'd end up with six dates planned, knowing one in two would cancel. Of those three, I'd like two out of the three. Of those two, if the odds were in my favor that week, one would also like me.
Out of the 25 guys I started with, at the end of the week, I'd have one second date planned, knowing, statistically speaking, he was likely to cancel.
If you thought about it too hard, it was kind of depressing.
Time is precious; get offline as soon as possible.
Four times out of five, this line worked. (There I go with ratios again.) If I was going to hit my self-imposed quota, I didn't have time to chit chat.
I discovered early on that long messages back and forth built things up way too much and left you with not much to talk about.
For this reason, if you're planning a trip longer than a week, don't plan dates. By the time you get back, they've moved on.
Online dating isn’t the only way to meet people.
I spent time crafting messages, but I also talked to guys at bars, talked to guys on the bus, talked to guys at concerts and talked to guys at museums.
Are you sensing a pattern? Always be closing.
By far, the easiest "pick-up line" is "Hey, I'm Christine," or if you're a shameless flirt, like me, you can go with, "Hi, I'm Christine and you have the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen."
People who met their husbands at 19 will be annoying about your search.
Most people have that one friend who has basically been married since birth.
I love mine, but every time I had a canceled date I’d hear, “Oh, I don’t know how you do it, I could never date!” as if I was so brave to be going through such a terrible struggle.
Avoid talking to these people about dating; it will only frustrate you.
Loop them in around date number four or five when they're talking about a territory they're more familiar with.
Staying organized is the key to your binge-dating survival.
Mike, Josh, Travis, Mark, Shawn, Sean, Shaun… When you’re going on three to five dates a week, no way you’ll remember which is which.
I always had my calendar up-to-date with the name of the dude, where we’re going and a picture, if possible.
Not only does this keep you organized, it can be sent as a calendar invite to a friend, so someone knows where you are.
If you want to be a pro-level dater, include a little note like, "has new puppy" so you can start the day with, "How's your puppy? He's brand new, right!?" instead of, "How was traffic?"
You have to get accustomed to accepting rejection.
It’s all fun and games (and numbers on the proverbial spreadsheet) until a guy you thought you vibed with doesn’t return your “I had a really good time” text.
If you’re in the wrong state of mind, it might be due to a big black hole of, “Oh my god, what’s wrong with me?!”
When you start feeling this way, call your mother or anyone else in the world who will tell you they're proud of you, they love you and anyone would be lucky to have you. It's okay to need reassurance sometimes.
You’re allowed to ask for feedback.
Wait a few days and send a follow-up text to someone you thought you hit it off with.
Once they’ve ghosted you, you have nothing to lose. Who cares if you look a little crazy? Miraculously, I received a response 100 percent of the time.
I discovered a lot of dudes weren’t over their exes; I could stand to lose a few pounds (whatever), and some of the more free-spirited (re: starving artists) aren’t into girls in business school.
You don't necessarily have to do anything with this information, but it's nice to have closure, even if it's in the form of a poorly-worded text from a dude you got burritos with that one time.
Dating sucks a lot less when you go on exciting dates.
When you’re on your fourth dinner date of the week, you’ll be desperately craving some variety in your life.
I tried to make it a point not to plan a date to anywhere I wouldn't go if I weren't on a date. Instead, I planned picnics, went to farmer’s markets, rolled sushi, toured breweries and rode carnival rides.
Even if I never found "the one," at least I had more than bad dates as memories. Get to know your city while getting to know someone new.
Don’t forget what’s most important.
Don’t let forgettable strangers dominate your weekends. Take those friends who listen to you read entire text conversations out. They deserve it.
Don't bring them some self-absorbed, neurotic version of you; bring your A game.
Save your most important days and the best version of yourself for people who always return your phone calls.