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I nearly collided with several men while smiling vacantly at the wall behind them.Surprisingly, nobody rushed to the coat check girl to ask for a pen to grab my number, as promised.window.sbbop Loaded){ var sbbop_modal = create Modal(modal); if (sbbop_modal !

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Aside from his repeated requests (and my repeated denials) that we “find somewhere to lie down,” the evening had gone smoothly.

Then we started making out and he fell asleep: just leaned his head back and closed his eyes, mid-kiss.

I am not sure if I spoke with a man that evening or not.“But First, the Product — You!

”As I continued my research, I realized I’d missed an important first step: becoming a product. ” provides helpful hints that mostly seem to involve not eating sundaes, not dressing like a man, and having long hair, in addition to (obviously) an alternating regular schedule of manicures, pedicures, and facials, as well as plastic surgery “if necessary.”Of course, it also involves getting skinnier.

That’s when I discovered is a notorious dating advice book published 20 years ago, in 1995.

It lists 35 rules that women who want “marriage, in the shortest time possible” are supposed to follow.

We walked to the restaurant, which worked out well because I at least had something to do while I tried really really hard not to initiate any sort of conversation. For all the ridiculous advice, the message seems to be, “Don’t throw yourself at guys who aren’t interested and who treat you badly.” The problem is, the more I try to follow , the less self-respect I have.

This feat was much harder as we stared silently at each other over dinner between short bouts of small talk. “You know, all this staring reminds me of an article I read recently where a couple asks each other 36 questions, then stare into each other's eyes for four minutes, and they fall in love,” I blurted, which was almost as bad as using the “M word.” “Oh, so if we keep staring at each other we’ll fall . The more I have focused on how I act around men; how I speak, and look, and every gesture I make, the more self-conscious and anxiety-prone I have become.

This is not a condition that is covered in , but I could hear the authors’ voices in my head: “Inner thighs should be strong and mysterious!

” So I integrated clam shells and squats into my workout schedule.

The prose is both basic and whimsical, like advice from a well-meaning but slightly unhinged 90-year-old great aunt, offering one of those “pep talks” that actually make you feel worse, rather than better.