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    Dating For Fun and Profit

    Excerpted from
    Women Who Date Too Much . . . and Those Who Should Be So Lucky : Happy Dating, Great Sex, Healthy Relationships and Other Delusions
    By Linda Sunshine

    Dating is probably the most important aspect of a single person's life. A huge amount of time, effort, and money is invested in dating, yet very little planning is applied to this crucial area.

    In our professional lives, we spend an extraordinary amount of energy developing plans to achieve our projected goals. We are a generation who worships at the MBA shrine. We believe in cost projections and profit-and-loss statements. So, why haven't we applied these basic techniques to our social lives?

    When was the last time you sat down and charted a business plan for your dating career? When was the last time you tabulated your cost-per-unit date? When was the last time you inventoried your backlist of social engagements? If your answer is, "I don't have the foggiest idea what that means," then this chapter is for you.

    Here is where you 11 learn to chart your social lite, to prepare a business plan for your dating career, and to analyze a potential date's assets and debits. You'll establish a profit center for your social life and learn how to depreciate your last boyfriend as easily as your car.

    This may be the most important chapter you'll ever read, so pay attention. If you need to go the bathroom, then do it now.

    Dating Business Plan

    According to Dating Industry Trends, a professional magazine covering the singles market, up until the late 1980s dating was a routine activity involving fast cars, punk rock, cheap wine, and big hair. Today, dating is more complicated.

    Kirby Denver, editor of Dating Trends, says, "We describe dating in the 2000s as being like the classic Roller Derby, a life-threatening contest to determine who will get dumped first."

    While socializing is more extensive today than ever before, dating is experiencing a downward spiral in some respects. Dating Trends has predicted that from 2004 to 2010, the incidence of dating will increase IO percent in units and 47 percent in dollars, while decreasing 97 percent in personal satisfaction. The increased population will account for the rise in units, inflation will account for the rise in dollars, and bad press about various social diseases will account for the decrease in satisfaction.

    Who is affected by this trend? I he market for dating has traditionally been generalized as the "under thirty-five" age group. This is clue to several factors. Historically, people over thirty-five have been thought to be too smart to still be dating. Prior dating experience in high school, college, and in the workplace was considered enough to encourage most people to marry the first person who'd consent to have them.

    Because of this, most rational thinkers projected the demise of dating. Yet, for the past three decades, dating has continued despite the fact that birth control pills cause cancer, herpes is incurable, and there's not a single humorous remark anyone can make about AIDS. Still, dating continues to prosper. This leads most experts to conclude:

    1. People are either incredibly stupid or unbelievably horny.

    2. The staying power of dating is beyond the scope of rational thinking. According to Dr. Donald Rumbacon, a physicist with the Arkansas Atomic Energy Commission, We have projected that the only things to survive a nuclear holocaust will be the household cockroach and the blind date."

    Advertising and Promotion

    One way to increase your number of unit dates is to concentrate on marketing and selling your product (namely, yourself). You may need to invest in advertising space to promote yourself to the general male public. You should not be embarrassed or dismiss this idea out of hand. One of the major themes of dating in the 2000s is clear to anyone who owns a laptop: it pays to pop up.

    On almost every Web site from Yahoo! to Stench: The Website of the Dead Fish Industry, singles ads are the largest growing area of advertising revenue. Pretty soon these sites will be 90 percent singles ads and only 10 percent feature stories and ads for lower mortgage rates.

    Unfortunately, this glut of electronic matchmaking greatly decreases your chance of meeting anyone. With so much competition in the field, you need to be more original.

    Use your imagination. For instance, the perfect place to advertise is your car. Get in on the "Baby on Board" placard fad. Use your back window to declare "Single on Board" or Dateless on Board."

    Paint your cell phone number on the back window. Or get your phone number on a vanity license plate: 555-5555.


    If you don't own a car, use any of these clever slogans in your own original way-on a T-shirt or baseball hat, or tattooed on your forehead. Design a hat with a light that blinks on when you are available for a date (a tactic that works for cabbies, why not you?). Wear a sandwich board or, if you live in a high-rent district, a croissant board.

    If you can afford it, rent a billboard. Hire a skywriter. If it pays to advertise, remember it pays even more to advertise big!

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