Hey, y'all! It's summer, I'm teaching once a week (though I have an interview Thursday for some sort-of actual teaching work in the Fall) and doing one freelance editing project. Lots of time to write, to revise my novel!
So, obviously, I've been watching a lot TV.
Here's what I've decided I've learned about LOVE (or rather dating) from Vh1's reality dating shows.
(1) When you first meet someone, you have to stand out from the crowd. In reality dating shows, this is exaggerated, of course, as there are twenty girls/guy to one girl/guy. But, it's just as applicable in real-life in, say, a bar or a party. You can't hang back and expect them to come to you. Even it's "not your style" to be aggressive or "throw yourself" at someone, you kind of have to SOMETHING at first, or you're going to get eliminated (or not make contact).
(2) Good ways to stand out from the crowd include actually going up to the person you like and talking to them; casually ask to take them to one side, if you have to. Just ask cool and calm about it.
(3) Bad ways to stand out from the crowd include getting really drunk or offering to jump from large heights to get their attention.
*addendum: JUST BECAUSE THERE IS LOTS OF BOOZE AROUND DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD DRINK IT ALL. THIS CAN RESULT IN VOMITING, VIOLENT BEHAVIOR, EMBARRASSING PRATFALLS AND SLIPS OF THE TONGUE, etc.
(4) HOWEVER, all that being said, once you HAVE spent a little time with the person and they don't seem to be feeling you, there's pretty much fuck-all you can do about it. Last-ditch efforts to give them flowers, camp out in front of their room, write them a song, make them a meal, etc. will _probably_ not work. They might think it's sweet (or, creepy) and it'll make them feel worse about rejecting you, but they'll still reject you eventually. It's just drawing out the agony.
(5) On the same note, if they seem to be more into someone else, they probably are. Initial attraction is pretty strong. We do tend to make important decisions quickly.
(6) HOWEVER, if the object of your desire finds out something really damning about the more-attractive person, that can sometimes free up the field.
(7) On a related note, don't try to hide really damning facts about yourself. If you have a significant other already, still live with your ex, are a sex addict, are homeless, broke, live with your parents, your ex-girlfriend thinks you're gay, etc. it WILL come out. Best to broach that stuff yourself, in as positive and non-defensive a way as possible. Then you seem honest and open, and not like a jerk who's hiding something. Then the damning fact bonds you together rather than estranging you from the one you want.
(8) SO, if you get your hands on a damning fact (such as the ones listed above) about a person the object of your desire favors, you can often bring that fact up and get that person out of there. Then you seem awesome in comparison.
(9) HOWEVER HOW YOU DO THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT. It often works to just have the fact "come out" in conversation, so that it's not directly traceable back to you; or you can pass the information and have someone else do the dirty work (however, with this approach, you risk not getting the credit as well as dodging the blame). Another approach is to just tell the One You Want the damning fact in person. Act really upset and make a lot of hay of the fact that you're "really there" for them, and it upsets you so very much that other people are hiding things when you've been totally open. Make sure to emphasize that you don't to like rat out someone else, but that you're "not here to make friends" but rather to get the One You Want. So, even if your actions may seem two-faced and manipulative, it's all in the service of Getting the One You Want! You care! You're "stepping up."
*It's a fine line though, between bringing up these damning facts about others, and seeming obsessed with bringing other people down. Make sure you can put aside your desire to bash your opponents when necessary, and concentrate on getting to know the object of your desire. Otherwise, you seem mean-spirited and boring.
(10) While showing you care and that you're "willing to fight" for the One You Want, it's best not to actually GET into a physical fight with your rivals. Thus, when "calling them out" on the damning fact, don't get up in their face and curse them out, or throw things, or break things. This makes you like an unstable person and reflects badly on you, which is the opposite of what you want.
(11) Balancing friendship and love is extremely tricky. Being popular with members of your own sex reflects well on you and might increase your chances of love. However, excessive loyalty to friends can often negatively affect your chances, as you seem more interested in your friends than in the object of your desire. It's good to be friendly to every one, but be willing to throw your friend under a bus if you really have to. Also, don't pursue the same person as your best friend. This tends to be bad for everyone.
(12) When getting closer to the One You Love, it's important to be open and express your feelings. If they ask how you're feeling, tell them! Don't hold back. They can't read your mind. If you really like them, tell them.
*Like I said though, do this when you're getting closer to them. Not on your first date. That can seem over-eager. But, in general, it's better to have said your piece and stand by it, then to hold back and regret it later.
(13) To have sex or not to have sex? If you're not sure you're the only one your Love wants, do you have sex with them, or do you hold off for exclusivity? That's a really tough call and ultimately up to your best judgment. Holding off does give you an edge, but it's not foolproof. I will say this though: if it's a choice between you and one other person, and your Love wants to hang out with you FIRST and then wants to hang out with the other person later, don't have sex with them. They don't like you. We tend to save the best for last. It's the day-date/night date thing. You have the night-date with the person you really like. So if you get the first date, you're toast, baby.