The Science of Single: Dating Tips From a Woman Who Tried Every Method in the Book
In her book "The Science of Single," she spends an entire year just casually dating by using every popular method out there. She survived, and luckily we got to grill her about all the musts, must-nots, neurotic thoughts and weirdo guys out there.
MyDaily: This book is a pretty hilarious exploration into dating culture, and one of my favorite things about it was hearing your inner monologue about yourself, your butt, your dates and your fantasies of the future.
Rachel Machacek: Ha ha, thanks! I feel like I have a very lively and overly analytical inner monologue. I think it's pretty funny that I think these things, I try not to take what I think too seriously. Of course, I still cringe when I see how much I talked about how I feel about the size of my butt. I realize how I sound, but that doesn't mean I don't do it.
Among my single female friends, there seem to be two camps: the women who date as a means to an end, in hopes of meeting the perfect guy and dissolving into a hopelessly happy marriage, and the women who date just because it's fun. You seem to go from the former camp to the latter in this book. What's the difference in those two mindsets?
It's all about expectations. It's okay to hope for something, most women are looking for something more meaningful in their relationships, but don't set up expectations that this guy is "the one" before you meet him. You don't even know that you're creating a situation for yourself with no possibility of success. I haven't lowered my expectations, but now, a date is just a date. I feel no more pressure to make every date perfect, because it's just a date. The more options you have, the more you can be yourself on a date.
Chemistry can exist, but it's OK if it's not full throttle. I think I allow my relationship with dates to unfold a little longer now, even if there's not a ton of chemistry. I'm much more comfortable on first dates than I used to be, but it's still awkward. Everyone's projecting an image, so it's important to give someone a shot beyond that first awkwardness, as long as it's not a total loss. If you only have chemistry with someone, you become desperate for it.
Everyone has their own standards, but can you tell us about any universal red flags that women should beware of?
Someone coming right out of a relationship, even if it's only been a few months. I like to find out how long they've been out of the relationship, how long the relationship lasted -- even if it's been a while, there's a healing process that you can't speed up. Also, one of the matchmakers I spoke to said, "You can't date a man who isn't happy with his job, and you can't date a woman who isn't happy with her weight." It sounds weird, but there is some primitive need for men to provide, and for women to feel confident in their looks. Your confidence is kind of rooted in those things.
If you had to read this book, as opposed to writing it, what would you have gotten out of it?
I think it would have probably resonated with me. I probably would have tried everything in the book, but at that time, I was ready to do that. I wanted to effect change in my life.
What about for those of us who want to take baby steps in our dating lives?
I have a few tips. One, focus on your dating life and be proactive. You can't just wait around for things to happen to you -- be opportunistic, be as ambitious about your dating as you are about your career. Before this experiment, I never made time for myself to date. Some experts say you need to spend 15–20 hours a week on your dating life, and maybe that' a bit extreme, but you need to spend time.
Two, keep your expectations open. It's easy to say "I would never date online" or "I would never let a friend set me up", but that's just an excuse. Be willing to be open to things.
Three, keep a diversified portfolio. You don't have to do what I did, but mix it up as you go along. Have your friends set you up, try a matchmaker, let people know you're available. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Any other advice you can think to give our readers?
Oh yeah! I was watching the movie "Good Hair" last night, and Ice-T had a quote in it that I really liked: "If a woman ain't happy, she's going to bring every-f*cking-body around her down."
I think that's true of both men and women in dating. You have to like your life, and like yourself, before you can really be a good date, or a good partner to someone. Find out what you love to do, what makes you better, and then go on dates -- don't expect the dates to make you happy.
Take a tour of Rachel's single-girl abode on our sister blog, ShelterPop.
Emily Gordon is a writer living in Los Angeles. She recently wrote about why she wouldn't want to win the lotto. She's totally sane, though.
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Hear Rachel's Adventures from "The Science of Single" Firsthand:
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