Single, Sassy and Singing Your Own Tune?
A New Love Song Is on The Way, If You Choose It
Pssst, I see what you just did there—color me impressed for buying this book on how to be a Master Dater. Although many people say they want to change their love life, not everyone is proactive about it so (seriously) I applaud you for doing a little homework on a topic that has mystified a lot of really smart people. Despite what the media, dating apps and most everyone on social media tells you, you really don’t have to be young, rich, and famous to have a healthy love life these days. Here’s a little secret the Tinderati (not to be confused with the Illuminati) won’t tell you—real whole human beings seem to have an easier time attracting worthy romantic partners than the Instagram glamour pusses of the world. Are you a real human?
Congratulations, you’re already way ahead of the curve.
If you’re tired of getting ghosted after yet another one-night stand, and are looking for a nice, hopefully sexy guy or girl to date—and maybe marry one day—the secret to changing your romance game (for the better) is simply finding a way to forget about all those ghosts in your closet, and be the most genuine version of the “real you” that you can be. Gee, how hard is that?
OK, I admit—it’s not always easy!
In fact, for some of us, it might be the hardest thing we will ever do. But don’t chicken out now—just because you haven’t found your soul mate (or a warm body you can tolerate sharing your bed with for more than one night) doesn’t mean you should feel less than in the art of love. At some point, all of us get hard up in the love department—that is just part of being human. We’ve all been dumped and rejected. We’ve all gotten suckered into thinking someone’s shtick was genuine, and not some sexual smokescreen to get laid. We’ve all found ourselves feeling alone in a coupling. So, if you grabbed this book because you’ve been around the block a time or twelve—and are so fed up, you’re about to log off permanently, pull the sheets over your head and proclaim eternal devotion to your Netflix queue—don’t throw in the towel and start your cat collection, just yet. This is just the introduction—we still have so far to go together.
As a seasoned professional psychotherapist working in San Francisco, I’ve had countless clients tell me “I keep choosing idiots. What is wrong with me?” Before you back away from getting your tootsies wet completely because you’re afraid of belly flopping in the dating pool again, please know that your experience is universal. Sometimes we get lucky in love and sometimes we don’t—but we can’t leave it all up to that fat little diaper dude’s pointy arrow. Cupid is cute, but teaching yourself how to be Master Dater will give you more control of your destiny.
I realize this is the point where the author usually expresses her subject matter authority to impress you. Although I totally get the need for you to trust me, I feel authors can sometimes get a little carried away with their credentials so I’ll keep this short, sweet, and sincere, and I’ll try not to sound too full of myself.
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the psychology of relationships. I always knew I wanted to be a healer of some kind when I grew up. Now even with a Master’s degree and years of psychological counseling under my belt, I’m still fascinated by how we all tick. I truly love seeing people fall in love and transform into the fulfilled humans they always wanted to be.
Besides that, I’ve also logged thousands of practical hours studying relationships in my personal life, “boning up” (as they say) on the issue constantly for decades (bad pun totally intended). Like everyone, my heart has been stomped on and I’ve stepped on my fair share of hearts, too. I’ve certainly gotten my (Malcolm Gladwell approved) 10,000 hours in in the relationships department, and I’m still at it today—just with a husband, kids, and a few more wrinkles that I like to call signs of wisdom. I’m still just as passionate (as I was the first time I sat in my faux leather therapist’s chair) about encouraging my clients not to settle for a lifetime of bad romance (as Lady Gaga once sang) just because you’re afraid of being alone.
You deserve so much better. We all do.
Until now, I’ve rarely discussed my personal life with strangers. Other than a few people who saw me wobbling around the office pregnant years ago, my clients know very little about me. It’s not that I purposely withhold information but I’ve found being a blank slate is best for the therapeutic process. That changes today.
On these pages, I’m exposing myself to you in ways I never have before (not in that way). I’m breaking my therapist code into a million pieces to share a more intimate voice with you. Why the change of heart? I believe personal stories have the power to connect our souls, especially when you hear them directly from the source. Plus, I like getting to know authors along the way—don’t you? I enjoy feeling like I’m really hanging out with my authors. I even wish some would include more pictures of themselves, other than the typical (decade old) headshot. Am I the only one??
Also, I feel like you need to know at least a little about my personal life to understand the concepts in this book. Raw data without context can be extremely useful for many fields of study, but in the love department? It can leave you cold. Bullet points are hard to digest without a little color (and context) to wash it down, and rarely stick to the heart—so I’m going out on a limb, and humanizing some of my most relevant lessons on love in order to paint a fuller picture of myself, while hopefully fostering a real human bond between me and you, the reader.
A little caveat before we dive in: the stories in this book are factually accurate, but the clients and friends I mention are composites of people I know, or flat out fictional characters I’ve used to make a point. Other than the references to myself, any resemblance to a real person is purely coincidental. I even disguised some of my own stories to protect me from some ex-man friend showing up at my office with a freeway billboard lawyer, or a shiv to my tires. Bottom line: this book should be enjoyed as entertainment, and not as professional medical advice. I do not know your situation—nor have I ever met you—although I’m sure you’re a lovely person. Please, if you need professional help, there are lots ways to find it. I encourage you to reach out to one of the many fabulous healing professionals in your town. Don’t hesitate.
Remember: they won’t seek you out. You need to find them.
Let me end by saying this—I’m not some “know it all” love guru. I’m just a flawed human being who has a blueprint for happiness that seems to work—but I don’t have all the answers. By showing you a glimpse into my humanity, I hope you’ll see some of yourself in my fumbles, foibles, and triumphs—because I (too) am a work-in-progress who falls on my face occasionally, regardless of my credentials. I simply want to share what I know to help you decode the modern dating landscape and make it a bit simpler for you. I hope you will walk away from this experience feeling better about yourself, especially if you’ve been spending far too much time looking for your own Shape of Water fish lover. Because unless you’re dating a psycho or a fish—whatever is going on in your dating world is not some dysfunctional freak show—the odds are (actually) it’s pretty common. We humans are more alike than we like to think.
To get the most out of this experience, I suggest you read Master Dater front to back, in its entirety. No flipping! Please don’t let it rot on your nightstand next to that box of expired condoms (sorry—that unused box of new condoms). It won’t do you any good that way. The last thing I want is for you to copy every move in the book.
The chapters don’t work that way!
Think of this book as food for thought.
Let the stories steep into your soul, and once you’ve soaked them in, I hope you will customize each concept to fit your life. I also hope you will enjoy the ride a little, because (like romance) this book is supposed to be filled with giggles—so go have some fun, and when the time is right, go ahead and cannonball back into the dating pool.
Get in—don’t be shy. The water’s perfect.
1 | Why Even Date, Anymore?
Finding Light at The End of Your Tunnel of Love
I hear this all the time from my single friends, “Dating is more effort than it’s worth. By the end of the day, I’m so tired I can’t imagine going on a date; I’ve given up!” If this statement sums up your current dating philosophy—I feel you, getting hit in the kisser by a revolving door of douchebags can make you never want to leave your couch again. But as much as Netflix can be a pleasant diversion from your neglected love pump (oh you, I meant your heart!) after a while, you may begin to realize the cast of Strangers Things can’t go to Bora Bora with you, or whisper sweet nothings in your ear, or give you “all the feels” between the sheets. Don’t believe what any overprotective parent or health teacher told you about the lustful perils of sucking face (and so forth). Dating is not some extracurricular activity you can just skip like wood shop or college, and still be totally fulfilled. That was just B.S. they told us so we wouldn’t cut class to go have quickies behind the bleachers. Love is actually, the most (re) productive thing you can do.
Human civilization was built on the gyrating backs of billions of our horniest ancestors—who are you to shun our most fundamental purpose in life? All kidding aside, if you are on an extended voluntary hiatus, I gently urge you not to stay on the sidelines too long. No person can be happy alone on an island unless you’re into collecting coconuts or you’re a contortionist with (ahem) amazing D.I.Y. B.J. skills), so I want you to avoid thinking like a castaway when there are so many other lovely mercury-free fish in the sea. Finding a new love interest will not solve all your dark “emo” problems—but it’s healthy to be in love. Love makes us feel good and gives us someone to share our lives with. Love takes us out of ourselves. Besides, you will live longer as a couple than you will alone. Animals don’t fare well without love, and neither do humans.
Love connections are vital to our health and happiness. A new lover will not bring you everlasting joy but it’s important to keep trying to connect. You will learn something new even from the relationships that don’t last. So, put away (Lelo) your vibrating rabbit and go love somebody already. We only go around once, don’t miss your chance while you’re still young. Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Now it’s your turn to make a little hey-hey. How awesome is that?