The other weekend I got a free forty-eight hours with an online dating site. Curious, and against my better judgment I filled out their questionnaire. Now I receive regular emails from the company with all manner of dating advice. As a single person I read them with interest. It occurred to me that before you take some advice you ought to know your focus. If all you want to do is meet guys, you can certainly learn how to be a great date. This is a different skill than sustaining a lasting relationship. In fact, if you are all about the decorations and flirtations, the act may even keep you from establishing intimacy. Nonetheless, not every one wants a long term committed relationship. If you are newly divorced, or separated and not yet divorced "practice" dating can be fun and casual.

How to meet guys: be always half looking. Since you never know where you might chance upon one, take the trouble to update your wardrobe. If you don't know what looks good on you, visit a fine department store and chat with a well paid salesperson. Your friends may indulge you and simply say what you want to hear. A disinterested third party, with some expertise in fashion may welcome the chance to spew an unbiased opinion. Don't bother with fashion magazines because they will only tell you what's in style, NOT what looks good on you, exactly what you want to avoid. Another good resource, although it's less personal, is the TV show and related books called "What Not to Wear." They give pretty accurate advice. If I have one complaint, it's that they tend to invite guests who are slender and good looking despite an inability to dress. One wishes they could on occasion find an overweight guest, or at least an unattractive one – just so we could all learn how to do the most with what God gave us.

So don't leave the house unless you feel confident about how you look. Do the clothes, the makeup if you wear it, and style your hair. Don't be afraid to ask a man for his phone number or email address. Men find it flattering, even if they aren't single. It's much safer than giving out your own number to a man you don't know very well. Give out a business card if you must that shows only an office phone number or a junk email you are using for that purpose. Get involved in activities you enjoy anyway. If you like to hike, you may meet someone you like on a trail, or in the Sierra Club. It's a tad more likely they will share your interests than if you met at a bar. Unless, what you like to do is drink.

Don't be afraid to be a bit flirtatious. Men like it when you compliment them. To do it well, it should have a ring of truth. For example, say "I appreciate the way you open the door for a lady," rather than, "you're nice." If it feels safe, touch a man in a non-sexual area, say his forearm or his shoulder while you are talking. Don't bring up topics you know nothing about. For example, don't pretend to be a hockey expert because you are trying to impress a guy, your obvious ignorance will have the opposite effect. Tell the truth, say something like, "I don't know much about hockey, I think it would be cool if you took me to a game and explained it a little to me. . . ." Who knows, you might end up discovering a new love in hockey even if things don't work out with the guy.

If you are done with your ex, be done with him. Most men don't want to hear about what he did wrong, what you think went wrong, how you miss him at night. They want you to pay attention to what's in front of you. IF you can't think of anything to say, ask open ended questions. "What do you like about your work?" is better than "Where do you work?" Anyway, a man with passion over what he does is inevitably a better mate than one who simply makes money. I had a friend who married a guy just to get out of Australia. Barely three years later he was badly injured in an accident. At that point his main attraction, his ability to support her financially, completely disappeared and her marriage ended. Find someone you like for character trait reasons, things that are less likely to change than looks, car, and tax bracket.

Be busy, if you want to meet a lot of men, you can't be sitting home by the phone. Men are challenged by a sense of urgency. There's something about a girl with a full calendar that makes even more men ask you out. If you can't find a date for all the nights of the week you want, make your own schedule: book club on Tuesdays, bible study on Wednesdays, yoga on Thursdays, and so on. As long as all your activities are things you really enjoy, you'll be happy whether you meet a man or not. When you are happy you are instantly more attractive than when you desperate.

If your religion is important to you, don't fish in the wrong pool. When the bible speaks of "unequally yoked" it is referring to intact functional marriages. It is not suggesting you find some unsuspecting man and beat him over the head with bible verses until he converts to your religion. At best you will have a conversion made under duress which may be fake. Worse than that he may come to resent you and your belief system. Look on Christian websites for Christian men, Jewish temples for Jewish ones and so on. If religion is unimportant to you, beware of dating someone who has strong feelings about it. You may feel it is no big deal, and you may be grossly underestimating a valid point of contention.