The Swagger Coach: Mating Season

swagger coach

“Hoo boy, you can really tell its spring. I need to find me a girlfriend”

– My best friend

He’s right. Spring is here, and thus begins strolling-while-holding-hands season, and ice-cream-sundae-for-two season, and lemonade-with-two-straws season and watch-fireworks-with-that-special-someone season. There must be a gene in us somewhere that beat the evolution model and has traveled with us all the way down until it smacks us right in the face here and now, as civilized people of dignity and decorum. But I’ll be darned if spring doesn’t spark something inside of us which puts us on the hunt for a mate.

I’m a big fan of Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker. I’ve had some pretty interesting jobs, but one of my most memorable was a high-end matchmaking agency. It used a simple software to sort clients by location, age, body type and interests among other attributes, making our jobs easier by eliminating anyone who possessed traits which were not desirable to the client being matched du jour. I drove my boss nuts, because I would often deviate from the “typical” matchmaking formula, matching my clients based on sense of humour or first impressions. Boy howdy, you can bet your best hat I had more successful matches than any other matcher there. I’ve got a pretty no-nonsense approach to dating and mating, and although I’m happily claimed by my awesome fiancee Fern, I’m still very well aware that dating truly is a game, and there are some crucial strategic moves that can be executed to level up.

This is me and Fern on our first date, fresh out of high school. Weren't we (almost as) cute (as we are now)?

This is me and Fern on our first date, fresh out of high school. Weren’t we (almost as) cute (as we are now)?

 Exhibit A, a tall, athletic and handsome guy named Mark*. Mark worked in finances, was pretty well-off and had a beautiful home in the west end of Toronto. Mark, although 32 years old at the time, had never been in a serious relationship. He had submersed himself in work, fitness and “building his empire” so much so, that he had forgotten that yeah, sometimes having someone to curl up and watch Scrubs DVDs with, is nice. When Mark and I met, he said he would only date females from twenty to twenty five, they MUST be petite and either blonde or red-headed and (brace yourself) they must ALSO have never been in a long-term or serious relationship. He genuinely believed that anyone who had been in previous relationships would judge him, discount him as inexperienced, and that his time would be wasted. Needless to say, matching him was rather difficult. Eventually we had to sit down again and discuss expectations and being open to amazing possibilities and people. We attempted to match him many times, and despite the women having a good time, he refused to pursue any girls who had either maintained previous relationships, or were taller/darker/less athletic than himself. After more than a year, Mark left the agency, and I was so sad to see a great guy like this left empty-handed. I knew he would have found the gal of his dreams if he had been a little more open-minded about love.
"Standing alone with a bag full of requirements often results in simply standing alone."

“Standing alone with a bag full of requirements often results in simply standing alone.”

Flipside, Exhibit B. An older gent named Bryan*. Bryan was from a small town in North Ontario, and although he travelled down to the city often, he had a hard time meeting ladies who shared his love for small-city living, fishing, and dogs. Bryan had been married for over 30 years and had a son in his late thirties, but lost his wife to cancer a few years before he came to the agency. He was looking for a Heather Locklear type without “all the glitter and face crap”. When we first met, the first thing I noticed was his uproarious laugh. He was hilarious, if not bordering on inappropriate at times, but he had a great sense of humour and positivity and joy oozed out of every pore he had. He was like that awesome, crazy uncle everyone has. Bryan was a favourite of mine. He called the office on my birthday to wish me a happy one, and when matched with his first two ladies, both reported having an amazing time and said he was a true gentleman, but no romantic connection. Oh no, the dreaded friend zone! A few months after meeting Bryan, I met a woman named Claire*. Claire was short, in her 60s, fuller figured with dark auburn hair and had a penchant for mustaches (seriously). She had a high-pitched laugh that made me think of Bryan, but physically, she was looking for a Burt Reynolds type, and Bryan was more of a Danny DeVito. She herself was closer to a Melissa McCarthy, definitely not a Heather Locklear. I met with each of them several more times to review past dates and tailor preferences, and although both of them were popular in the system, neither one of them had found love. During a check-in with Claire, she mentioned that one of her boys lived in the town where Bryan was from, and then I discovered that she was actually from the same town!

Each time we matched a client, they were charged. I had a great idea. I called Claire and told her about Bryan. She was hesitant, but once I told her that the match was on the house, she agreed. I called Bryan and told him the same, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was really excited! It was rare for him to meet someone from his area who knew the lifestyle, and she could very well work out to be a great friend, if not a love match. The day after their date, I got an email from Claire to tell me that they had met, and not only had they had a wonderful time, it turns out that they went to the same high school! After graduation, Claire’s family had moved to the Toronto area and they had never seen or heard from each other again. To my delight, they both pulled their profiles from the system a couple of weeks later, after becoming monogamous and deciding that they were no longer on the hunt. SQUEEEEAAAAAL!

"Love is the truest form of friendship. Sometimes Mr. or Mrs. Right is actually the person right across from you!"

“Love is the truest form of friendship. Sometimes Mr. or Mrs. Right is actually the person right across from you!”

Knowing what you’re looking for in a partner is crucial. Knowing what you DON’T want in a partner is just as crucial, and being able to confidently communicate this is often perceived as being narrow minded or superficial. I disagree. I know that I would have a very difficult time forming a relationship with someone who’s lifestyle is radically different from my own, and I’m okay with people having physical preferences. For example, I understand that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I are a perfect, perfect match and am relatively confident that our lifestyles would be an identical match. You know, because I love him and all. But in all seriousness, I have a type, and I’m someone’s type, and I understand that everyone is different in this respect. I will say, however, that during my single days I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I don’t let that type rule my decisions, and I leave myself open to possibilities of new people and experiences. Physical attraction is definitely important, but I’ve found super-hot guys who seem to be totally void of a brain, and other guys who may not be my type at first, but their cute smile or quirky sense of humour has grown on me, increasing their dateability.

Dateability is totally a word.

So friends, my advice to you during this beautiful season is as follows. Make an effort to meet people. I mean REALLY meet people, don’t just meet eyes in a bar. Involve yourself in activities you are truly interested in, and you’ll find a swarm of folks who share common interests. Don’t bash yourself during social situations. If you tell a potential partner that you’re not _____ or are too _____, chances are, they’ll believe you. Think of meeting new people as you would a job interview. Present the best parts of yourself, sell your strengths and be genuine, warm and authentic. Laugh at pickup lines, and strike up a conversation with the geek who’s brave enough to use them on you. Its probably the bravest thing they’ve done all week. Drop two of the things on your “dating must-have” list. Really, your dating candidate may not sleep in a bathtub full of money and speak four languages, but they may be a sweet, caring and truly compatible person. Be tolerant of set-ups. Your friends may set you up with the perfect someone… or you’ll have a hilarious story to tell and are one date closer to finding the perfect one. Before a date, remind yourself that you’re simply meeting someone new, and that there is NO way to tell if they are THE ONE at this point, so the goal is to have fun, share an amazing conversation, and maybe a drink or two.

Dating is fun, folks! Kick back, unwind, and get to know the cool, unique and fun person sitting right in front of you!

-Jamie xo

* individual’s name has been changed

odd bird apr 24 banner