DATING GAMES / Prepare yourself

Going to a singles event means taking the time to get physically as well as mentally ready

Prepare yourself (photo credit: Courtesy)
Prepare yourself
(photo credit: Courtesy)

People-watching is an art form to me, especially when eyeballing singles at mixers. I especially love when I’m asked to attend singles events to lend advice and even make matches based on my observations. There are a few things I noticed that are universal in helping singles prepare to make the best of these events.

Attitude is everything If you’re not in a good mood, you might want to skip going out. Many of us have terrible days at work and can’t seem to shake it off. Vent to a confidant to get it out of your system, and either go home for a bath or to the gym for a quick workout. If you still can’t turn it around, then either cancel your plans or simply be okay with arriving late. Better to make a good entrance an hour after start time than a bad one on-time.
Once you’re at the mixer, watch your body language, because you may be exhibiting negative social cues that you never paid attention to before.
Do you cross arms across your chest or prop your hands on your hips? Are your shoulders hunched? Do you have a sour face? Keep your arms relaxed by your sides, stand up straight and keep at least a half smile on your face at all times. If it’s evident that you don’t want to be at the mixer or that a parent forced you to go (and guilt-tripped you by letting you know they already paid for the non-refundable event), then you need an attitude adjustment.

Often mixers are held right after work, which means people are coming straight from a job where they’ve been sitting in the same outfit for at least eight hours. As a result, it’s more than likely that your hair and teeth haven’t been brushed since that morning. Singles walk into these events with disheveled hair, makeup that has worn off (or too much makeup, obviously applied in front of the computer screen or in a car’s rearview mirror), and wrinkled clothing that leaves much to be desired.

What should you do? Change your clothes. I repeat, do not go to a singles event before changing your clothes. If you don’t have time to go home, bring a change of clothes with you to the office as well as a pair of non-work shoes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, deodorant and makeup.
You want to look put together, smelling fresh and letting interested parties know that you took the time to get ready for the event – whether it was at home, in the car or in the bathroom at your office.
Finding love is important to you, so make it a priority in your day to look good.
Conversation starters

At mixers there’s often a theme that helps open the door to starting a conversation with potentials, but sometimes there is not. And sometimes after you do meet people, you are frozen trying to think of what to say and how to carry on the conversation.

Aside from the actual asking out part of the talk – getting the digits and making plans to get together – you have to first sell yourself to the other person.
Self-promoting is tough. We are not raised to be arrogant, but humble yet confident – so to talk about how great, popular, funny, successful, smart, fabulous and so on we are is not natural. But if you’re at the event, then you gotta do it. You need to look your best, be outgoing yet natural, and not seem too desperate all at the same time.
Final tips

A few more tidbits: When you’re checking in at a mixer, make sure you write your name on the name tag in all caps; if your penmanship is really bad then let the person checking you in do it for you.

While you’re at check-in, ask the people there for one last once-over to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth or on your face, that your breath smells good and even if you should button or unbutton the top of your shirt.
The best thing about singles events is the opportunity to feel an instant kinship with everyone there and draw instant comfort from that. Everyone there is there for the same reason – to meet someone Jewish – whether they were forced to attend or not. Try to enjoy the opportunity of having hundreds of local Jewish singles in the same place at the same time with the same motivation.
Basically, going to a singles event means taking the time to get physically as well as mentally prepared. It’s tough to put yourself out there but you have to do it with your best self, otherwise you’re wasting your time. If you paid for a JDate or other online dating account, you wouldn’t waste your time and money by using pictures of yourself “undone” – so why go to a Jewish singles event without fresh clothes, makeup, combed hair and a smile? Take the time to prepare yourself before putting yourself out there.
The saying “look good, feel good” means that once you’ve got your clothes, face and hair right, you’ll feel better, have more confidence and that will shine through to the people around you.
A study shows that when you smile, your brain thinks you’re happy and will release endorphins – and you will actually start to feel happy. So if you’re not so happy to find yourself at a singles events, smile anyway. You’ll start to feel better and not only will you attract people, you will start to see others smiling because happiness is contagious.
And nobody wants to talk to someone with a frown on their face, no matter how pretty that face is!