Nov 12, 2013 by

Let’s face it. Many single women are happy! More are on the Great MAN HUNT to find Mr. Right, or at least “Mister I can stand for 20 years.” While not all are destined to take this journey two by two, most of us yearn for a partner to feed our desire for love, passion, and support. The hunt isn’t easy. There are many pitfalls. Let’s look.



Dear Marnie: I am a 27-year-old woman who can’t seem to find love. I’m educated, have a successful job, and am unable to find a man. It seems that all my girl and guy friends are engaged, married and having children. I feel my biggest problem with attracting men is I’m a little on the chubby side. My friends and family all say I’m full of it and have more to offer through my attitude and other more important qualities (but we both know they’re paid to be nice). Do you: A) have any suggestions on how to find a loving man to call my own or B) know the fastest way to become a nun? – Want Love, NW Washington

MARNIE SAYS: Any woman with your panache, your humor, your fire can be curvaceously queenly and still win the heart of a suitable prospect. So for you, I’ll tackle the hows and wheres of man-hunting. (You can deal with the whys.)

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* The Hows: Prepare like the mighty hunter rousting out bison. OK, put on the shades and move off the sofa. You won’t find “him” if you’re slicing up melon balls or, yes, wasting precious time writing to me or lamenting with cousin Louella.

* The Wheres: If you want filet, you don’t go to Wieners ‘R’ Us. Location! Location! Location!

1) The park. Who do you think those creatures are, fumbling footballs in the mud? Jog over, angel. Ditto for sporting events.

2) Gourmet delis. Not pickle places, “pate” places. Single men survive on these joints even more than on Sara Lee.

3) The street. Walk a dog (not a poodle) but a beast capable of hauling an igloo.

4) Stores: Browse! I suggest computer stores, Imported Car Dealers, and Auto Supplies and Hardware. The only thing men crave more than a soft shoulder is soft leather or a 96-head widget screwdriver. Pick up something pointy, and ask a ring less male what the doohinky does.

5) Space and science museums. Make eye contact with a fellow gazer.

6) Amusement parks on Sundays. This is cotton-candy Daddy Day for the non-custodial pop who may be desperate for something sweet, as his tot Tilt-A-Whirls.

7) Network! Since you’re “paying ‘em,” make your pals with the husbands produce. Surely their men know other men you’d want to know.

* Finally … lose weight. Not because you’re fat or because it’s an obstacle (personally, I adore you). But because you believe it is. As long as you believe it – it will be. And that forces me to wonder why a woman of sass and smarts would debate those few pounds rather than shed them. Because in the end, finding love has less to do with being in the right places, than being in the “right” place – within you.

Once you’re there, you’ll have more dates than Dromedary could pack in a lifetime.


Dear Marnie: After 15 years of dating, I’ve had it. I want to get married. I swear this is not the desperate rantings of a 32 year old female who’s afraid to approach middle-age with nothing but cat hairs on my sofa! I’ve had a great time but now I want to get serious. Where to begin? Do I just be direct and inform a prospect? Any thoughts would be appreciated. — Vowing to Vow

MARNIE SAYS: If you’re so wedded (whack me) to walking down that aisle, stop waffling around and go for it! In Nevada alone, scores of couples cleave 24/7 at the Little Chapels of Elvis. And that includes the dumb ones, drunk ones, met-you-in-the-hubba-hubba-lounge ones. (Pity.) Getting married’s a cakewalk, especially for a woman of your superior wit. But to find a worthy mate, you must make it … your mission.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*To wed, weed. If your “garden’s” full of exotic, mystery men who flower in the hothouse but wither on the “cottage” vine, (the phobes, suffering artists, dangerboys, emotional baggage handlers, gay pals, otherwise occupieds (as in he’s taken) and yes, the happy bachelors), stay friends, but weed them out of your date book.

*Remember Mama? Only date those who have potential.

*Connections, connections, connections. Just as you’d use your connections to job hunt, employ the same vigor in your Great Mate Hunt. Notify every female you know (including couples and nice strangers) of your mission and your minimum date requirements (MDR). He must be available, marginally sane, relatively solvent, and own a pair of nose clippers. (You’ll figure out the rest.)

*Mr. Possibility enters. Consider your mission secret — from him. “Hi, let me be frank. I want to get married” is about as attractive as, “Frankly, I have this fungus.” You want to prevent preemie pairings and scarings.

Once you focus, angel, I promise, you’ll be registering at Bloomies faster than I can lose this ½ inch of Snickers bloat. Oh … and you might want to make a list of the guys you let see you with a cold sore, who heat the soup when you have the flu, who don’t mind if you beat them at Bookworm, you call at 8 PM when your latest DangerMan didn’t show for theater, or at 3 a.m. when you found that spider the size of a Steinway in your shower? The guys you adore but haven’t thought of “that way?”

If you think 180, you may just find the right way to meet your soul mate.


Dear Marnie: What’s up with women? Last night some female I hardly knew grilled me for two hours. I had a marine sergeant who was easier on me.”

Marnie: I just returned from another lousy first date. This one talked non-stop, laying out how he saw his entire ‘future’ with some lucky woman …”

Hi Marnie: What is proper first date procedure for finding out about someone without seeming too pushy?”

MARNIE’S RULE: A first date should inspire a few bars of “Getting to Know You” not the Board Room in The Apprentice. What we’re looking for is a midground.

Getting To Know – Him (or Her)! Your First Date Strategy:

*Before the date, tune your headset to “Que Sera, Sera.” You’re free, available (hopefully), and have fantastic nook-space in your life for all sorts of people. He’s one of many possibilities. For you, maybe. For a friend, maybe. (OK, for the circular-file–maybe).

*You can’t take it easy, you say? You’re programmed to checklist your dates like some rabid quizmeister? And what’s wrong with that? you wonder. Nothing. Unless your guerilla “interview” tactics have driven potentials to pull their file and flee. If so, time to change strategies.

*Determine to have fun. Yeah yeah we all know dating is a fishing op, but it’s so much more pleasant with great lines (read: conversation) than spears. Your goal is to enjoy the moment so you’ll have more moments.

*The Fine Art of the Story. Ask your date to describe … his last art show, his wackiest customer … his wrong-way ski weekend. Inviting a story not only lets your date take center-stage – but stories tell you volumes more than quizzing. Listen well. Pick up on key points with easy queries. Watch …

HE SAYS: “… so– that’s how I landed on the wrong slope and broke my tibia in three places on that ski trip!” (LAUGHS)

YOU SAY: Unbelievable! When was that?!

HE SAYS: … after my wife divorced me. (ALERT! 411 OP!)

YOU SAY: “Must’ve been one rough season … wife … leg. How’d you manage it all?” BOOM. See it? You’ve got the info without quizzing. You got it by inviting, listening – and caring.

*Share stories of your own. Can your date relate? Can you? ( Go rent and old film, “Marty” with Ernest Borgnine. It’s filmdom’s most magnificent First Date De-Briefing.)

*Make your stories fascinating, insightful, witty … amusing … and just dribbling tidbits about you. But don’t get overly Grimm or Aesop-py. Too much revelation, hand-wringing, and mea culpas expunge the mystery.

*Notice! I once dated a fellow who appeared perfectly normal – until he morphed into Genghis Kahn when the waiter forgot the ketchup. After leveling the poor guy, he morphed back to “normal” without missing a beat. He was, however, missing mental health. Other items to notice are:

– boozy, boorish or boring behavior,

– unamusing oddities (he smashes glass to relieve tension.)

– stories that start and end with too many mememes, poor me’s or worse.

*Heed. Remember, this is where dates are trying to make a good impression. Falling seriously short is a Major Red Alert. Save yourself the aggravation and letters to me that start: … “I should’ve known when he got blitzed, jumped his Hummer over a divider and followed me to the Ladies Room on the first date.”

*Leave ’em panting for more– of you. Avoid opening your personal portals prematurely. As with all marvelous experiences, anticipation is all, friends.

*The Boardroom. Leave it for your living room. Later. Solo – or with smart pals. Now that you’re in a position to debrief, ask yourself how you feel, what you know to support or challenge how you feel, and how – or if – you wish to move ahead.

Finally, decide whether your date’s a good fit for you! If so, and you’ve used the right strategies – not resumes– your date may be drooling for a second go-around.


Dear Marnie: Well, last night it happened again. Like a jerk, I agreed to go to dinner with another lousy blind date! I’m a 24-year-old female who could string all my blind dates from hell across America! You’d think with all of my experience, my “PERSONAL STRATEGY” would be: A) to stay home or B) to get rid of these losers early. Well, I haven’t learned how. What would you do about a lousy blind date? – Loser at Blind-dating

MARNIE SAYS: To go on a blind date, you must have the stamina of 20 yoginis and the entire starting line-up of the Chicago Bears. However, if well-meaning souls see you as delectable, it’s possible they also know others who are dears (and don’t bray at the moon). Therefore, we can’t rule out blind-dating altogether. We can, however, prepare you.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*You’ve heard of “sound bites”? Think “sound-out” bites. Why are you breaking bread with these blokes? Think coffee bar. In public – 5:30 to 7.

*If you were a traffic signal, stay “yellow” (anticipatory, but cautious) even if a combo George Clooney and David Beckham walks in. A green light too soon could leave you stuck with a panting cluck.

*The Art of the Ditch: He’s 40 and lives with “mommy.” Start ditching “during” the date. I call this “The Bold Hint.” Memorize: “I’m on overload, lately;” “I’m crazed the next few weeks;” “I promised myself I wouldn’t make any plans till I finish (fill in the blank).” Pepper your conversation with these phrases.

*The Doorknob Deploy: Continue the above at your door, if necessary. If he continues to suggest dates into the next millennium (which is why he’s a shnook), just lay it out. “Thanks for tonight. But, I’m feeling very pushed right now.” Then slip behind your door and chain it.

Finally, there’s one statement on a blind date I call “The Terminator.” If all else fails, turn to him tenderly and say, “I’m falling in love with you and want you to be the father of my children.” He’ll hop a cab to Tijuana.

SPECIAL NOTE: The clean break: Should the fellow be obdurate, foul, nasty, offensive, obscene or just plain scary, forget manners. Evacuate!


Dear Marnie: I’m a 32-year-old divorced female with two kids. A high school sweetheart found me on FB and we’ve been e-mailing and texting over the last few months. Mostly, we cry on each other’s shoulders. He was really a geek in school and probably still is, but he’s sweet. I haven’t dated anyone in two years as I really feel I need to concentrate on me now. I’ve told him this, but he’s already made plans to come see me for 11 days after the holidays. Three thousand miles just to see me. Even though I’d like to see him again, am I making a big mistake letting him come? – A.G

MARNIE SAYS: Probably. The fact that you’re “not ready” landed on him like white noise, sounds like this bloke’s determined to land on something softer than his modem. Sweetie, men who buy plane tickets are expecting more than reminiscing over those warm, fuzzy Bunsen burner moments in Chem. Class.

Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:

*Make the deal clear! You’re not up for a relationship. Say so, or you may be guilted into giving more than shoulder. He may choose to stay put. But, should he forge ahead …

*Back it up with actions.

1) Make touristy plans. Vow to light no candle before its time.

2) Eleven days? The only humans I’d allow around me for that long are my son (because I dragged him around for nine months) and Sara Lee. Ask him to shorten it to a long weekend. Hey … if you suddenly hear the “Hallelujah Chorus,” he can always come back. But if you hear the “Anvil Chorus,” 11 days will seem longer than the Napoleonic Wars.

3) Give yourself crawl space, angel. Make sure the fellow is staying in a motel, a camper, an RV, a tent – anywhere but with you!

Hopefully you’ll have a new pal. If not, allow him to leave softly and with grace. It’s the very least we owe the sweet loves of our youth.


Dear Marnie: I’m a professional woman, 30. Last Friday, I met a man in a bar, a nice place I frequent from time to time after work. He said he was in the middle of a divorce and was living in a hotel close to his office. He did give me the name of the company he works for. Anyway, he asked me out for the following week and said he would call. He seemed nice, and I am definitely interested. My friends think, before I see him again, I should check up on him. What is your opinion? – Wondering in Michigan

MARNIE SAYS: In the great kennel of carnage known as dating, any female who isn’t in a minor paranoiac frenzy needs to have her antennae rewired. Look around you! The Fruit Loops have landed, and some have even learned how to imitate nice humans. Now that I’ve scared you witless, allow me to add a little balance here.

Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:

*Do not: rummage through his trash, peep into his closets, hijack his wallet or co-opt his password (well, yet).

*“Net” him. We live in the Age of the Electronic Circus Maximus, where we all have a permanent record – somewhere. Fire up your modem and see what surf-aces.

*Verify, verify, verify! Call his office. Call his hotel. (His cell doesn’t count.) When you get his office or hotel, fish like Ahab! Be yourself, be your mother, be the Avon Lady … but do call. Be discrete and simply say, “I’m looking for so-and-so, who, I believe, works in the legal department. When will he be in?” You’ll be shocked at how much people are willing to spill to a chirpy voice. If you’re really clever, you can even find out his marital status (or his 12-step sponsor).

Should the fellow discover you’ve snooped and object, point out that in the murky sea of dating, you need to get a line on what’s dangling on yours.


Marnie: I’m a 26-year-old female, who’s been in an exclusive relationship with “Bob” for two years. My question is: is it wrong to want to go out without him sometimes? HE thinks because we’re “together” I shouldn’t be allowed to go out without him at night. When I do, he searches my purse, my car, and my pockets. I’m confused. I love him but my way of getting out is to go without him to clubs, etcetera. What do you think? — AveryLA

MARNIE SAYS: Ah, now you see, you almost had me until you gave yourself away chickiepie … toward the end of your plaintiff missive. To clarify, I think that “exclusives” not only need to grab their own space, they must or risk strangling each other with “his and hers” tennis sweaters. So yes, while coupling means cleaving, it shouldn’t take a meat cleaver to separate you. But, angel, in your case, the place is the thing.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*If your “etcetera” includes, a Debra Winger film festival, enrolling in a “Risking Change” workshop or spending a delicious strictly girls night out, or draping each other in a cucumber mask then eating the stuff, go enjoy!

*But “clubs?” C’mon chickie! It’s not nice to fool Mother “Marnie.” Unless you’re talking about Chess Clubs, the club scene isn’t about a brew and burger. It’s about boozing and cruising. And your guy’s onto you. If his red flag is up, you hoisted the pole.

If you’re cruising, be a brave Henny Penny and return to “single status” where you can hunt to your heart’s content. But, if you say you love this guy, watch which sandbox you play in, kiddo, or the sky may fall.


Dear Marnie: I’m totally in love with my girlfriend. I would be completely happy to spend the rest of my life with her but I am Jewish and she is very Catholic. We have been together for over a year and her family hardly even knows me! What can I do to get in closer with her family and get her to want me to know her family? – Majesty

MARNIE SAYS: All the Hail Marys you can recite and a visit from Moses himself may not be help you in this Solomon-size dilemma. I’m positively forced to douse you in Truth which starts by telling you … you’re asking way more than you think you’re asking.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*MARNIE’S Rule 1: Core Beliefs are stitched like samplers onto our souls from the cradle.

*MARNIE’S Rule 2: “Opposites attract” works if you like the wing and she’ll take the breast, not when she’s on a strict spiritual diet of yin and you’re yanging away.

*MARNIE’S Rule 3: In the matter of deeply held beliefs, successful coupling requires someone’s gotta give-in or give up.

*It’s going to be you. Here’s why. She’s devout. Plus, the poor thing has legs of silly putty. A whole year and you can’t get past her door jam? Get it! Her folks have romantic “union” rules for their daughter. Based upon your description, those rules will require you act, accept, embrace and/or convert. And even that may not cut their mustard. (There are people of all faiths who won’t bend on the issue.)

*OK, since you signed off as “Majesty,” picture your castle hold circa Christmas, 2010. You’re attending church with your children and returning to feast on ham in the glow of trees and lights. Feel the experience.

*Well, are you up for the change? What will it cost you? Not sure? Try it on. Heck, you don’t buy a suit without seeing if the silly thing fits you. We’re talking about a whole spiritual life here. Quit mouthing your adoration and go with your love to church, celebrate her way – and see if it fits you. Then pick one: A) I’m sold; B) I could learn to live it comfortably; C) It works for her, but there’s a knot in my stomach the size of a latke.

NOTE: Opting for some Big Blended Compromise is usually not workable. Santa candles on Menorahs, for example, are rarely satisfying and they’re most definitely a crime against wax.

*Now, “Majesty” … even if you chose A or B, we forgot something. Queen Mama. Yours. Will your folks have knots in their stomachs and souls? Can they live it? And ….. you?

You see, young fellow, sharing a castle (heck, sharing a prune Danish) is tough enough. The question is, are you prepared to dwell in an equally noble – but very different kingdom – for the sake of your princess?


Marnie: I relocated to a new town about six months ago for job change and to get over a bad break-up. I commute to work by express bus. There’s a man I’ve become infatuated with who frequently sits next to me. We haven’t exchanged a word, but I can feel him looking at me (and vice versa). I think he may be interested too, but he hasn’t made a move. I’m really not the outgoing type, either. Do you have ideas as I’d love get to know him, and maybe more. Thanks. – Uneasy Rider

MARNIE SAYS: You mean, aside from dinging the pull thingy and falling into the chap’s lap? Listen … If shy, naive Shirley hadn’t turned to Louis, a brave-hearted WWII soldier boy who made her heart flop to her ankle-straps, and mouthed her first declarative sentence in 22 years: “Let’s get married,” I wouldn’t be here to get you to open yours. Now, if a shy Shirley can take make that leap, you can say, “Hello.”

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*The eyes have it. Oh yes. The Pupil Dance – he looks/you look/he darts/you dart – is Mama Nature’s clever way of insuring your amiable DNA got here, angel.

* The Props: A shake of your mane. A lilt and tilt of your mouth. (A SMILE, A SMILE.) One silky camisole peeking through a jacket. Oh, and at least two sections of the newspaper.

*The Opening M.O.: Sit down next to him. Open your paper. Find a fascinating, dumb, amusing article – and laugh. “Oh, excuse me,” you say. “It was just this … story. I hope I didn’t disturb you.” Boom! (Disturb? The poor fellow’s swallowed his tongue.) Show him the page. Let him take it from there.

*Moving In: After he replies, you say, “You know, I noticed you’re a newshound, a reader, a yachtsman,” whatever. Invite him to tell you more – about him. Then add: “Where are the best eateries for someone new in town on her own?”

*The Landing: If you’ve learned he’s unattached and probably not a post office wall, and he still hasn’t asked you to lunch, tell him that you’re arranging a small party … can he drop by? (Yes? Invite twice as many males to females.) His answer will tell you whether his pupil dance is the start of something great – or a spasm.


Dear Marnie: I am a single, 32-year-old, financially independent woman with no dependents. I would like to eventually get married and, thus, have a very active dating life – I guess I’m looking for “Mr. Right.”

I am currently dating two guys with no commitment to either. I met both around the same time a couple of months ago. Guy No. 1 I talk to at least five times a week and see one to two times a week. Guy No. 2 I talk to maybe three to four times a week and see once a week.

My question is this: Am I doing something wrong by dating both of these guys at the same time? I have been intimate with both (Guy No. 2 only once) and partly feel guilty, though I’m pretty sure neither believes there is an unmentioned “exclusive relationship” between us. One of these guys could potentially be relationship material, but at this point I’m not sure which one, if either. Also, I believe there’s a good chance one or both could also be dating other people. -Feeling Guilty

MARNIE SAYS: Angel, you could date the entire 7th Fleet and half the universe would call you a you-know-what, while the other would fall to their knees in praise of your bounty. But, as each of us is a custom job, let’s talk about you.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

*Darlin’, I don’t give permission, I listen. I could regale you with tales of Cleopatra and refer you to “Samantha” on “Sex and the City.” But if it’s stats or “normalcy” you’re looking for to give you license, they’ll be as helpful as toe shoes on a titmouse. It’s your call. I listened. Now you listen – to you. You’re feeling guilty.

*Your “guilt” may be more than “Badgirl-speak from Mama.” It may be that an intelligent, independent woman is worried:

A) that sex may be mucking up your vision and getting in the way of making a wise decision.

B) about health issues. (And rightly so.)

C) about misleading these gentlemen.

* Sex a duo. Even without any “agreement” of exclusivity, honesty is fair. If you’re playing with more than one, they should know it. If not, and either finds out, you may lose out – with both.

*So, WHICH ONE? OK … let’s get this over with. Close your eyes. Yes, right now. Picture both. Quick. Which one would you absolutely hate losing? My guess is No. 1, as you’ve backburnered No. 2 – on the phone, on dates and in the bedroom.

* I’m worried about you. Even if you choose, you may sandbag your own choice. So forgive me if we delve a little deeper because I’m hunching this is more than vanilla vs. chocolate. And frankly, I’d like to keep you away from Rocky Road.

*Let’s start with you and this “Mr. Right” thing. You’re 32, free, independent. Chances are, thus far in your “very active dating life,” you’ve racked up hundreds of dates in your career d’amour. (Forgive me, I don’t want to depress you.) My guess is a “Mr. Right” may have snuck in there someplace. So our possibilities are:

One: Maybe in your search, you’re leaving out the “Mr. Right-Enoughs.” While I never think standards can be too high, they need be realistic. If your expectations are on the moon and you’ll remain moon-struck on terra firma.

Two: You may be holding back in The Great Hunt. I was struck by how relatively little you know about the “Where are we going, Joey?” status of these relationships. Usually, I tell daters to glue-gun their mouths shut and not ask preemie questions. But, at 32, after a few months of grown-up big-time phoners and dates, I’d think you’d be more in their loving loop by now. This may mean you lack a real connection with either of them. Think on it, honestly.

Three: Pulling it together, you may not want what you think you want. Or, you’re quaking and leaving wormholes of disconnection, setting up impossible standards, or keeping extras around to create fall-back positions. If so, consider pro help to sort out whether your actions are in tune with your true wishes.

My best advice, then is to go for true closeness, possibly with No. 1. But do so from truth. Truth with him and about you. Sure it’s a risk. As I see it, between your guilt and confusion, two at time may not only be riskier but also turn out to be the loneliest number.



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