The single life is a gift. It’s champagne and roses, fireworks and fireplaces, long meandering kisses under bridges at sunset, and hot, unfathomable sex that lasts entire federal holidays. But it’s also, sometimes, a gift I’d rather return. It’s lonely. I want to watch Netflix in dirty sweatpants with someone whose name I can remember.

So as an experiment, I went on a date a week for a year to see if finding love was really just a numbers game. For this precious adventure, I am so grateful. (As are condom manufacturers worldwide.)

It worked—I am off the market. And I learned some badass dating hacks along the way. I’ve done my time. I know whereof I speak. 

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1. Sleep around

Everyone thinks they’re good in bed. Many are wrong. Some are extremely wrong. Practice. Date an older woman, old enough to be your “teen mom.” Seek feedback. Then practice again. 

Put another body between you and a bad breakup. Maybe six. Mileage may vary. I’m writing a self-help book titled The Slut Solution. It’s going to be a very big hit. Taste every delicacy, savor each morsel—there will be time to choose a favorite flavor later. Use these years to gain wisdom, to bank happy memories for future late-night PornTube sessions.

When it’s all over, as it will be, you’ll consider your single years your apprenticeship. Don’t cut that time short.

2. Do the easy stuff

Open the door for her. Get the bill at the end of the date. She’ll go for the hand-fake to her wallet, but don’t let her throw down the plastic. At the end of the night, put her in an Uber. Keep your towel off the floor during sleepovers at her house. 

Cheap tricks pay huge dividends, like investing in Apple in 1996. You’ll either make her swoon with your gallantry or, if you never want to see her again, keep her from complaining that you weren’t a gentleman during “your long, awful date” and ranting to her girlfriends the next day that she wouldn’t wish you on her meanest middle-school enemy. 

Remember, the girl you’re not into on Saturday night goes to the replay with her girlfriends at Sunday brunch. “He wasn’t for me” leads to “but you’d love that Uber thing, so I am totally setting you two up.”

3. Never be 100% honest

There’s only one answer: Her ass in that dress gets you hot. That roll of pudge that only she can see? You have one line: “I can’t stop thinking about you naked.” Whisper it when it’s inappropriate, like during previews at the movies, dinner with your boss, or your grandmother’s funeral. 

Petite lies grease the wheels of love. Yes, it’s tedious. Do it anyway. If you find yourself lying more than telling the truth, she’s not the droid you’re looking for. Move along.

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4. Master the breakup

She’ll replay “The End” as if it were the Zapruder film, so get this part right: 

A text, e-mail, call, note, bouquet, semaphore signal, or sky-written message is not enough. It took more than 140 characters to fall for each other, you got naked together—break up with her f2f IRL, k? A good goodbye means the possibility of reconciliation when someday you realize she was more charming than annoying, and slutting it up gets old. It will. Life is long.

Also, she has friends, and brunch.

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