We’ve all heard the line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Well ladies, I hate to break it to you. It’s not him. And—it’s not you. It’s New York. It’s amazing to live in New York City. It’s amazing to dine in New York City. But date, not so much. Our teensy metropolis may be packed with eligible singles, but finding real, lasting love in the city that never sleeps is like trying to find a Mensa member at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. Sure, it happens—and when it does, we feel like an archeologist who has just discovered a lost civilization—but wouldn’t it be great if we could approach the NYC dating scene with the same enthusiasm and optimism we save for our careers… or even our wardrobe?
We wouldn’t waltz into a downtown sample sale an hour before closing expecting to score a Birkin bag, so how can we expect to find the man or woman of our dreams in a similarly haphazard fashion? The short answer: we wouldn’t. Instead of hoping that prince charming falls into our lap while we sip frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, let’s apply the same strategies we reserve for shopping—for dating—and get back into the game.
1) GET THERE EARLY
Everyone knows that all the best finds are snatched up the moment the doors open. That’s kind of like the bar scene in NYC. The normal, financially stable, upstanding men arrive early and leave at a decent hour (presumably to wake up for CrossFit). Only degenerates stay out until 4 AM. Be classy.
2) PLAN AHEAD
Now is not the time to comb through the racks and browse. We go into sample sales knowing what we want ahead of time. Sure, something sparkly might catch our eye and veer us off course. But for the most part, when we go in to a sale wanting kitten heels, we leave with kitten heels. The same logic applies to men—know what you want. That doesn’t mean limiting yourself to a specific body type, career field, or even zip code. But know your non-negotiables whether it’s kids, marriage, or even someone with a passion for traveling.
3) DRESS COMFORTABLY
Competing with 50 other frazzled ladies for discount designer goods? Skip the four-inch heels that make you shuffle like a 4-year-old. Same goes for your next hot date. Wear something comfortable that makes you feel confident be it flats, feathers, or Fendi. Confidence is so much sexier than stilettos.
4) ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
Love a shoe, but don’t see your size? You’d ask a salesperson. Too often smart, sexy, single women hold back from telling guys want they want for fear of looking overbearing. Turns out, men can’t read minds. Express your interests whether it’s attending comic book conventions or the ballet, and chances are, you’ll attract someone likeminded. And your dates will be a whole lot more enjoyable too!
5) BELIEVE IN KARMA
Spot a great dress, but someone else is already zoning in? Let it go. Same with men. The next time you’re at bar and meet a great guy only to find out he’s taken, stop plotting and walk away. It wasn’t meant to be. What goes around, comes around—especially kindness.
6) STOP APOLOGIZING
You’d never walk into a store and apologize for your love handles, messy hair, or how little you plan on buying. So stop doing it with men. Stop apologizing for your job, your body, your untrained, but adorable dog. Just stop. You are perfect, just as you are.
7) TAKE CHANCES
It’s never fun to play it safe—in fashion or in life. Wear color. Try on rompers. Don white in the dead of winter. Similarly, go out with the shy guy or the one who lives outside your predetermined five-mile radius. You just never know.
8) EMBRACE CHANGE
Can’t wear a size two anymore? Who cares. Stop buying clothes for the body you used to have and stop dating men of a certain “type.” Eliminate all expectations for height, salary, and hair color and see where it takes you. You may discover a whole new sense of style and realize that sexiness comes in all shapes and sizes.
9) IGNORE THE NAYSAYERS
If all your friends started exclusively wearing neon would you stop buying little black dresses? I don’t think so. Ignore the whispers from your friends—they may mean well, but they’re clouding your judgement. It’s OK to go out with a guy you’re friends don’t love. They may in time. And if they don’t, well, hopefully they love you enough to be supportive.
10) LOVE YOURSELF
If you don’t feel comfortable with how you look—flaws and all—then you’ll never love anything you try on. It’s OK to have goals. But it’s not OK to beat yourself up for not accomplishing them quickly enough. Hate your arms? Fine, wear sleeves. But don’t spend your days in a sea of black just because it’s slimming. The same holds true for relationships. If you don’t love yourself—even your jiggly bits—how can you expect someone else to? It may not happen overnight, but try saying five nice things to yourself in the mirror every day. One of these days, you’ll actually believe it.