The dating world is filled with a myriad of mixed messages, contrary advice and hypocritical double standards.  No wonder it can cause so many women to retreat into their safe haven of sweatpants, Merlot and Grey’s Anatomy reruns.  It’s daunting out there!

If you bat your eyelashes over your shoulder in the general direction of a handsome young gent, your girlfriends applaud you telling you that you’re doing a good job of being approachable.

However, those snotty women over in the corner will accuse you of being desperate.

Men, with their fragile egos, want to know a woman is going to be receptive before approaching.  Yet we can smell desperation on a woman the same way you can smell shadiness on a man.

How does one maintain an air of approachability without becoming a desperate dater?

DO:

Here’s an insider tip ladies; men’s ego’s are much more fragile than yours.

What’s keeping him from coming up and talking to you?  Most likely fear.  We get shot down all the time.  We don’t want it to happen if it doesn’t have to.

Make it clear that you would like to speak to us.  A simple meeting of the eyes, coy smile and slow look-away should do it.  The smile is key.  Otherwise he may think you’re just zoning out and didn’t even notice him.

Approachable 1

_

DON’T:

Once you’ve made your “move”, relax.  Okay, you can do it one more time in case he’s a little slow on the pick up or is still trying to screw up his courage.  But after that, cool it.

We may be dumb but we’re not stupid.  We see you. The more you keep trying to catch our attention, the less chance it’s going to happen.

Sometimes (believe it or not) we’re just out for a night with the boys and not interested in the dance.  We may come up and talk to you later but if you keep throwing stuff in our direction, you’ll come across as needy and desperate.

DO:

In order to get noticed, you need to be noticeable.  Wear something that will catch people’s attention.  A brightly colored top, a flowing skirt, kick-ass boots or an interesting hair clip could do the job.

You want to stand out without seeming to be an eccentric.  Your outfit should be a non-verbal conversation.  Someone checking out your ensemble should be able to get a general sense of you.

Use the winter to your advantage.  In a sea of darks, be a shining beacon of color.

DON’T:

Don’t go overboard.  I know, I know, it’s an unqualifiable generalization.  We’ll go over a few basics.

First, your girls may be beautiful but save them for the bedroom.  Less is more when it comes to cleavage.

Obviously if you’re busty, they’re there but no need to bare lots of skin.  It looks like you’re trying too hard.  You don’t need a neon sign advertising your goods.

When making fashion choices, don’t try to cram too much into your look.  If you’re going for bohemian chic, the patchwork skirt and printed top would be enough.  You don’t need the hand-knitted cap, woven hemp bracelets, chunky wooden jewelry, hair ribbon, tasseled leather bag and your Antik Batik sequin sandals.

To us it looks like you’re trying to zero in on the ONE GUY that loves what you’ve got going on while ignoring the rest.  Calm down and diversify.

DO:

Talk about where you see yourself in the future.  Believe it or not, we think about those things also.

Feel free to mention *gasp* marriage and kids.  You’re just discussing the possible ways you see your life unfolding. To a confident (read: worth it) guy it comes across as self aware, thoughtful and shows your depth of feeling.

Someone who doesn’t know or hasn’t thought of it can come across as shallow and vapid.

DON’T:

Bemoaning your current single status and projecting longing for either wedding bells or the pitter-patter of little feet.

One memorable girl, after a few drinks, was looking at another girl’s engagement ring and started pining away that it meant that she was wanted and accepted. Ugh!

Listen, we know that you have probably been thinking about getting married or having kids since you were able to formulate thoughts.  But having that longing come across as you feeling your life is not complete until then will turn us off right away.

You should be enjoying where you are as well as looking forward to your future.

DO:

Play with the boys!  Pool, darts, cigars, Mario Kart, ball busting, whatever.  We love it when there’s a girl that wants to get down and dirty with us!

You’ll seem fun, adventurous and not too high maintenance for us.  We might even let you win sometimes!

Approachable 2

_

DON’T:

Make sure you let us have our boys time also.  If you keep trying to play everything we are playing, it’s going to get old.

Sure, it’s fun to run the pool table out one Saturday night with you. But if every time we hang out you want to muscle in on our fun, relaxation time, we won’t have fun or be relaxed.

As much as we enjoy your company, sometimes we want some time for ourselves or our buds. Being “just one of the guys” is all well and good as long as you are “just one of the girls” as well.

If you only want to play with us, you’ll look like you are trying WAY too hard and that you don’t have any other friends to do other stuff.  Either that or you’ll start entering the “annoying kid sister” zone.

++++++++++

Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).