By Sharon Chayra

Las Vegas Informer

This is the time of year that women (and men, but mostly women) are choosing their holiday frocks with great care in anticipation of that one special party. Sure there are other parties throughout the year but we’re talking the annual Christmas function, holiday soiree or Kwanzaa celebration, all leading up to the mother of fetes, New Year’s Eve. These occasions bring with them endless attire possibilities but they also bring loads of expectations. It’s not enough to look ravishing so that the snarky woman in accounting can jealously glower while the guys from the warehouse ogle. There is an accessory you may feel you need in order to complete the look.

What is that accessory, you ask?

A date!

There’s something about the holidays that makes the uncoupled take a rather dim view of being, well, uncoupled. Statistics support this observation. Despite one in every four American households possessing a single soul, the pervasive belief is that a lone person is a lonely person. Not true. This doesn’t mean that the individual doesn’t want to be involved or contemplate that there might be something off-putting about them. Most of the time it’s just been lousy choosing and to a lesser degree slimmer pickin’s.

While the holidays come but once a year to crescendo this angst, it’s year round I hear my sisters bemoaning the dearth of suitable men. The lament is frequent and themes common: There are no good guys left. They’re all cheaters. He has no job. He doesn’t make enough. I’d have to register at Bail Bonds R Us if I marry him! I’m becoming a sort of defacto Carrie Bradshaw meets Dear Abby guidance counselor. It probably relates to having been married for decades, then single, together with an odd talent in matchmaking.

My business requires meeting a lot of people so I make a fair amount of friends. The more I learn about them, including their dating dilemmas, the easier it is to make introductions to people for whom I think might get along. It doesn’t always work but I am proud of the relationships I’ve birthed including one marriage. It’s not just the introduction though because very often our failure to find a guy or girl is related to bad habits. Fortunately, habits can be changed and improved upon.

I have a girlfriend who, in a span of one year, managed to go on 43 first-dates, none of which lead to second dates. Another keeps a hysterical blog of her dating life as a middle-aged woman so that now her subscribers number well over 50,000 even as the search for her other half continues. In light of the billions spent on everything from matchmaking gurus to cosmetic surgery, why do we find it such a challenge to find “the one?”

In my humble opinion—based solely on observation, experience, and my highly unscientific research asking dozens of men their opinions—an attitude adjustment is overdue. For instance, if you have a laundry list of must-haves enough to rival the NRS, you ought be smacked off your high horse. And if you believe dating anything other than a Matthew McConaughey look-alike as beneath you, you’ll not only never give the Eamonn Walkers of the world a chance and possibly a man who adores you, but you damn well be Sports Illustrated suitable yourself. I’m not saying you should date the fixture at Frankie’s but if you discover he’s a cad, you can dump him quickly.

By now there are might be several eye rolls with commentaries like “I have standards” or “that’s what I like,” I’d ask you to recall a time you hated third grade’s Jimmy Smith only to find him divine in high school? Or what about asking your mom to get you Charlie perfume and now you’re shocked to hear it’s unctuous fumes are still being produced and sold. You see, we change, our tastes change, and if you’re not changing, you are surely not growing as a person and that alone is why you’re even considering asking your brother-in-law to escort you to the Christmas party.

We can’t see ourselves the way others can, so if we’re serious about finding love, we must be prepared to take the honest counsel of those in our circle of trust. No matter our age from the fetchingly fresh to the mercifully mature, there’s a chair for every fanny. It’s the choosing that becomes the challenge and one that one of my girl’s jokes about frequently. She says she has a broken “picker” and has enlisted my help. Wonderful. So here’s my primer for her as well as other women seeking guidance from a seasoned big sis. Keep these in mind and see your dating life improve.

Just say no, at least for the first 30 days. Though the time varies between two weeks to two months, nearly all the men interviewed cited sleeping with him too soon was a turn-off even if they were turned on. Punctuating this point was my dashing and discerning physical therapist who says booty calls are a dime a dozen, but she’d never be worth enough to become his wife or the mother of his children. He’s not alone. So he like many others says he’s prepared to wait.

Me, Me, I, I, Empty, Empty. Men appreciate a well-groomed, considerate and well-rounded woman. If she runs an hour late for a date because she can’t find a thing to wear or avoids driving in a convertible so as not to muss her ‘do, she’s high maintenance. Too much blather about your weight and what you can’t eat and why is exhausting even for your friends. If you have no clue who is the VP of the US but can recite an entire text conversation between LiLo and her flack, you need to expand your horizons. Same goes if you shop Army surplus for clothes or have halitosis to peel paint off the wall. How you care for your mind, body and spirit is a reflection of your respect for yourself. As brutal as this seems, guys want these things and they’re candid in telling me.

Man haters need not apply. It’s sad how few of my friends actually like men or accept the fact they’re different creatures with different behaviors than us. Sorry girls, he’s not going to be delighted at chatting all night about you and your posse but that doesn’t mean he won’t give it a fair try. Just know he’d rather be watching the game and that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, isn’t interested or doesn’t love you. The sooner you embrace that lovely quality that makes men men, the sooner you’ll be dating the guy seeking that one special woman.

Hope and Patience. Are there cads galore? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean you give up. While you’re waiting, learn to type properly, build a trellis and plant vines, take a trip to Italy. Life may be complete with a good man but it will be miserable with the wrong one. It’s okay to say no to the clear losers but it’s also important to feed your other appetites so that what you seek is what is found. Some call it vibrational energy but however you see it; if you keep doing things the wrong way you’ll also be postponing potential love. So go out and buy that lumber for your trellis today. Who knows, you just might discover that “the one” is standing behind you at Lowe’s for his trellis. And if you’re really lucky, you just might have that holidate yet.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

Sharon Chayra

Sharon Chayra is an award-winning writer and president of a medical marketing firm based in Las Vegas. A traveler of life, Chayra integrates her science background with spirituality resulting in common sense observations to others on their life’s journey. Given her heritage of Apache and Scottish, she is a born storyteller and documents experiences about personal growth, culture, laughter and health into the written and visual word.

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