I Know Exactly What Kind of Man I Want to Date. Why Can’t I Find Him?

Dear E. Jean: I live in a vibrant city, I have a job that is stimulating and friends I love, and yet I have trouble meeting men. It’s like I’m caught in a Venn diagram with only a small number of guys in the intersection. I’m an atheist, a feminist, and child-free—important qualities and beliefs that any of my prospective partners must share. I’m also lucky to have an IQ that consistently tests over 140 and would love to find someone similarly lucky.

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I’m completely open to dating fit men (they should be very into exercise) of any race, height, appearance, or income. So, you see, I’m very reasonable about some things! The icing on the cake: I’m into many forms of nonvanilla sex. Yet this restricts my search even more. Given the cross section of qualities I’m seeking, do you have any advice? —Empty Venn Diagram

Venn, My Violet: I know you’re a nonbeliever, Venn, honey, but God Herself couldn’t find a chap who fits into this diagram. Get rid of it.

The heroic requirements bristling in your letter boil down to just three—which I will reveal at the end of this answer. So now, Miss Venn, let us turn to the real question: Who is more successful at finding love? Women with long lists of romantic requirements? Or women with short lists?

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My colleague Kenneth Shaw and I took the weekend and analyzed 30 days’ worth of data from Tawkify, the matchmaking company we cofounded five years ago, which has grown into one of the largest in the nation. The results: Looking at the 1,047 dates we sent out (evening strolls, polo matches, picnics, wine tastings, scavenger hunts, etc.) in the month of May, the women (we didn’t analyze the men) who stipulated eight or fewer requirements for potential mates enjoyed nearly threetimes the success of women who listed between 9 and 34 requirements. (We define “success” as both people on the date wanting to see each other again.)

A chick with an IQ of 140 (and only one-fourth of 1 percent of the human population has an IQ as high as yours) cannot have much difficulty in comprehending why the short-list women tore the long-list women to shreds. A short-lister is open to the queenhell possibilities. A chap has a chance to captivate a short-lister with attractions she didn’t even know she wanted, and when a woman is captivated, it ignites a powerful fire in a fellow.

So, old girl, shall we give a boost to your love life and whittle down that list of yours? I advise you to seek a smart, open-minded guy who will tie you to the shower-curtain rod.

E. Jean Life Advice – Late Night Hook Up Advice

Dear E. Jean: What’s the club etiquette when an attractive guy moves in close and starts petting my hips 10 minutes after he introduces himself to me? I’m not a prude, but I’d like to at least know a guy before he feels me up! Should I tell him off? I’ve tried both ways: Recently when it happened, I told the guy, “Keep your hands to yourself!” and he lost interest. And when a second guy did it, I pretended his hands weren’t on me and he stayed interested. What should I do?

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After-Hours Etiquette Girl

After-Hours, Girl: Piffle! You don’t go to clubs for the “etiquette.” You go to clubs to be playful. You go to clubs to be daring. You go to clubs to be indecorous in the dark.

Of course, if a dude starts plucking at you like you’re a viola, fie! fie! Give him a knee in the groin. But if you like a lad? And he shoots his arm about you and starts playing patty-cake on your posterior? Reach around, clasp his hand, smile into his eyes, pull his hand off, and—hold it. Entwine your fingers with his. This move is so disarming, it’s practically kinky.

But really now, come on. If a chap in a club doesn’t put his arm around you, nestle in to you rakishly like he’s leaning on a golf club, drop his voice, talk the most ridiculous nonsense, and run his hand up and down your back so expertly that you discover, when you stagger outside into the moonlight at 2:30 a.m., that you are no longer wearing a bra, then that chap is not—just a moment! Who says it’s always a chap? If you get a chance to kiss a soft, fragrant girl, do it. You may not get the opportunity again.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Flat-chested and Can’t Afford Breast Implants

Dear E. Jean: I’ve always been flat-chested, but I had a great figure with a good butt and legs. After giving birth to our baby daughter, I breast-fed and my boobs looked amazing!

Now, a year later, I’m back to normal weight, and I have no boobs at all. My husband always said, “Don’t worry, you can have them augmented,” but with the costs of educating our child, feeding her, and finishing my grad degree, we’ll never be able to afford the procedure. I enjoy my life, but I can’t avoid feeling ugly and unfixable. I know physical beauty is not everything, but how can I stop feeling bad about my breasts? —New Mommy on the Block

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My Dear Miss Block: Breasts are like movie stars. Those who want to be noticed are ignored, and those who want to be left alone are harassed. Show your cute, taut, sylphlike shape. Make tight sweaters and T-shirts your style. In a world of plastic and saline, the streamlined siren rules.

In other words, if you change the way you see your breasts, your breasts will change.

P.S. Not a philosopher? Girl, I can fix your boobs for free. Ready? Snap on a Miracle Bra. Good. We’re done. Now forget your bust. I promise you everybody else has.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Ask E. Jean – The Get-A-Husband Scheme

Dear E. Jean : I may have just ruined my life for a man. He’s a partner at a white-shoe law firm, with an apartment on Fifth Avenue and a house in the Hamptons. When we first started seeing each other, I was a lawyer in Indianapolis, and we spent a couple of weekends together every month. I realized quickly that nothing would happen for us unless I moved to New York, so I found a position with a Manhattan firm I hated, got an apartment, and now unfortunately, things are taking a turn for the worse.

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Item: He won’t give me the keys to his apartment. Item: He’s constantly overbooked with work commitments. Item: He won’t discuss marriage. Item: He doesn’t respect me intellectually. (For example: I’ll suggest a strategy for one of his cases and he’ll say, “That’s why you’re not a—name of his prestigious firm—attorney.”) Item: We went away to a gorgeous Caribbean island for vacation, and I overheard him describing our romantic trip as “a bit dull and claustrophobic.” (I felt like I’d been stabbed!) Item: He’s very close with a beautiful female associate in his firm who has two Ivy League degrees with honors, a prestigious clerkship with a judge, etc.—stuff I never had a hope of getting. Item: The last time he answered his cell phone (I was calling to congratulate him on winning a case in Texas), he barked, “This has to be E___ [my name] calling, because no one else could possibly be this annoying!” E. Jean, I love him! I want him! I want kids before it’s too late! What do I do?—Not in Indiana Anymore

Indiana, Hunny: Item: I don’t like the bugger. I don’t like his unkindness. But if you want him (do you really?), get on with your career; take up a brutal, competitive sport (kayaking, rock-climbing, handball) wherein you beat the tar out of the conceited lout (this will gain his respect, not to mention moving nicer, newer men across your path); lash together a circle of New York friends; don’t call him; don’t text him; don’t suggest plans; never mention marriage; don’t scheme—and absolutely no scenes. Chances are still 99 percent against you, but there’s a one percent sliver of a half-assed hope he’ll come around. By then, of course, he won’t fit into your intriguing new life.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

E. Jean Relationship Advice – Throwing a Big Wedding

Dear E. Jean: I’m engaged. He comes from old money—and all the dust that comes with it. We are planning on having a child, but first we must marry or the child won’t be eligible to receive the family inheritance governed by a trust drawn up more than a century ago.

My boyfriend does not like weddings. (He called off a previous engagement because he was traumatized by the over-the-top nuptial arrangements.) He’s the sweetest man in the world, but when I bring up the subject, he will not cooperate, and asks, “Can’t we please just go to the courthouse?”

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We both love big parties, balls, traveling to beautiful places, and dressing in fine clothes, so I don’t see why I can’t change his mind about a wedding. Should I just give in and go to the courthouse? —There Goes the Bride

Bride, You Attractive Young Fathead: Auntie Eeee is clutching her brow.

Here we have a chap—”the sweetest man in the world,” who has inherited sacks of old money and wishes to get hitched—and you want to “change his mind”? A big wedding, forsooth!

Hell, Reader, I will marry him, if you don’t.

Stop jabbering about bells and churches. Pay attention to what this excellent man is saying. Remember that this is his wedding too, and get thee to the courthouse. I believe that the two of you—although you will be absolutely stinking rich—have as great a chance at happiness and all the domestic blessings as anyone.

P.S. You may start planning your three-year-anniversary party with your 467-
person guest list, Jamie Oliver catering, vow-renewal officiated by Rihanna, etc. when you return from your honeymoon.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

My Man Wants Me to Dominate Him

Dear E. Jean: I’m finding myself pursued by a wealthy, proper British banker who is all but begging me to let him be my “loyal, obedient slave.” He is serious. When it comes to sex, he wants me to order him around. He wants to be my “property.” I’m a gentle, romantic woman whose heart is too soft to violently correct the male species with insults and abuse, and frankly, I’m wondering where it all may lead. I just wanted a husband, and somehow I’ve veered off the beaten path into some British Twilight Zone. —I Don’t Want to Wear the Pants

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Miss Pants, My Petunia: Please. It’s gonna kill you to give the chap an order? Heck, order him to come to my house and clean out my basement. Why not find out “where it all may lead”? After all, you can’t play the “gentle, romantic” lady night in, night out, with the same underlit, soul-killing softness and the same brain-coddling endearments, because soon it becomes so boring that you stop caring altogether. When you were a kid, didn’t you play hide-and-seek? Then double dare, dress-up, tag, doctor, Barbies? Well, that’s what the best sex is. And as in all great games, changing tactics ignites the sacred fires. And the sparks are what made the stars, Miss Pants. So: Order him to paint your toenails.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Girl Code Rules – E. Jean Tips

Dear E. Jean: Can you clarify the Girl Code? I’ve been finding myself in some questionable situations over the past couple of years that somehow or other always come down to potential violations of the Girl Code. I may be out of it—I’m 28; you’d think I’d have a clue—but what are the rules among girlfriends? What lines shouldn’t be crossed? —Totally Frustrated

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Miss Totally, My Truffle: A crone of 28 should be too experienced to follow anything called the “Girl Code.” Here’s the BLC—Basic Lady Code: Never hate a woman you’ve never met, never date a friend’s ex, never reveal another female’s secret, never leave an inebriated friend alone at a bar, never invite a friend’s enemy to a party, never dine alone with a friend’s boyfriend (unless it’s his last meal and he’s being shot at dawn).

So much for the elemental stuff; as for those famous “lines” that “shouldn’t be crossed” by girlfriends, here’s the AWC—Advanced Woman Code:

• Never stay silent when a friend is falling for an asshole.

• Never favorite a best friend’s bon mot. Always retweet it.

• Never trust a girlfriend who dates a married man.

• Never refuse to write a recommendation for the offspring of a friend (no matter how big an idiot the kid is).

• Never steal your friend’s thunder at a dinner party—when she’s on, give her room! Pound the table! Bang your glass with a spoon! Laugh the loudest at her story!

• Never give your friend’s business four stars on Yelp. Always give five.

• Never agree when a friend says she’s flabby, baggy, saggy, lumpy, floppy, veiny, squishy, scrawny, etc., etc. Tell her to shut up. Tell her life is too short. Tell her to eat, drink, and be merry. And finally…

• Never treat other women disrespectfully: It gives men ideas.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Will Plastic Surgery Solve All My Problems?

Dear E. Jean: I’ve been ugly my whole life. But I’m not getting any younger, and I’d like to get married—or at least know how it feels to be loved before I die. I have small eyes, a big nose with a pronounced bump (I broke it last year surfing), a large chin (like Jay Leno), thin lips, and acne. I’ve had boyfriends, but only because I have a decent figure and I’m interesting enough to hold a conversation.

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I’ve built my whole life around being kind and doing good works. My family would lose their minds if I spent money on something so superficial as plastic surgery. (Especially since they’re counting on my financial support when they retire.) But I feel trapped by my face. I’m not improving with age. Would it be so bad to get a nose job and maybe a chin reduction in the hopes of finding love? I’m sick of hearing crap like, “Anyone who is worthy of you will love you for who you are.” It’s baloney! Shouldn’t I try to look passable and hope my personality will make up for the rest? Nobody falls in love with the ugly girl with the great personality—no matter how well she dresses or how funny she is.—Should This Surfer Girl Just Throw in the Towel and Join a Nunnery?

Miss Towel, My Turtledove: You’re right, it’s baloney. And if Auntie Eeee were running things, women would look however they wanted to look and never take any grief for it. But I’m not running things. You are. So let’s get this straight. Ugly chicks don’t surf. Absolute fact. You simply can’t be ugly. When you’re riding the edge of a monster wave, you could sport a nose like an eggbeater, and you’d still be the most dazzling girl on the beach.

And off the beach? In this era of plumped-up, pinched-back, sawed-off, lifted, frozen, look-alike females, there’s a distinct possibil­ity a woman with a broken nose might just attract more chaps. The simple awareness (and confidence) that you can attract a man is what attracts men.

So much for the hortatory portion of this correspondence. Shall we cut to the heart of the matter? I’m e-mailing to ask you to send me your photo. Before I turn in the column, I want to see what you look like. (Twenty minutes later…)

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Well, well, I’ll be damned. I’m looking at your picture, and I’m—baffled! You’re utterly charming! Built on the Pippa Middleton model but blond. I can also see you broke your nose. Now, it so happens that Cleopatra had one just like it and blew away half the rulers of the known world. But since the odds are you’re not going to date Mark Antony, and since you obviously lack confidence in your pretty face because of the break, see a talented plastic surgeon. But your guide here is “subtle”! As the designer Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gab­bana said: “I love a woman with a real nose. A nose is character.”

Good luck, darling! Men will fall and be trampled by other men trying to woo you as soon as you realize what a knockout you are!

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Can You Find Love Online?

Dear E. Jean: I have a Craigslist etiquette question. I met the man of my dreams—Stanford grad, modern-art collector, brilliant—on the Casual Encounters section. He was sweet and attentive, and for months I was able to indulge every erotic fantasy I could think of. But then he moved 70 miles away, and we stopped seeing each other. I recently checked Casual Encounters for his new city, and there he was, looking for a partner. I cannot tell you the pain I felt, E. Jean! I posed as someone new and busted him. He apologized, and we met again. It was incredibly hot. But now I’m at a loss for how to proceed. Shouldn’t he come right out and make me his girlfriend? Or does his actively searching for playmates mean he’s never going to be serious?—Hopeless Romantic

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Hopeless, Dear, Dear, Dear Girl: It means “he’s never going to be serious” with you. I’m sorry to hurt your feelings. It stings my heart that you’ve got it so bad, but Casual Encounters won’t bring you love—it will bring you sex. Get that straight, sweetheart, or men will play you for a dunce the rest of your life.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.