HeartsCredit: Deposit photos

Each new decade I live through my philosophy about love evolves. Although silly and impractical my advice just may help you find your next conquest or give you a chuckle.

My love strategy ages 1-10

1. Ignore him

This plan didn’t work out for me very well because anytime the boy I had a crush on looked my way or tried to talk to me, I pretended to be lost in a book, enthralled by something outside the window, or I just could not hear them standing right beside me. The boy would tire of trying and leave, and I would be confused why they left.

2. Writing a note

I tried a more blunt approach by leaving anonymous notes declaring my budding love and the qualities I enjoyed which the boy possessed. I thought my intended and I shared a secret connection, and that he would know that the note was from me. I left most notes on school desks, so I was found out a few times. If the boy approached me, I would revert to strategy number one.

3. Play hard-to-get

If a boy I liked could penetrate my wall of ignoring and engage me in a game of tag or hide and seek, I would enjoy that day to the fullest. I would be silly and fun and very open and engaging. After the sun set for that day, I would revert to being closed and nervous. Rarely would a boy try to rebuild a relationship of trust, and I would be on the swings wondering what had gone wrong.

4. Become friends with his sister

My approach to signaling boys, that I was attracted to them was always at an indirect angle. I wanted to know as much as I could about them, so I could secretly woo them with all their favorite things. I tried this approach through being friends with the sister of a boy I liked. It backfired when he treated me just like his sister, a pest and no one to be remotely attracted to.

5. Stare at him

Sitting in class was very boring for me, so to pass the time, I would scan the classroom for a cute boy to stare at. I would pretend to look at the clock and then let me gaze fall on my target. If he happened to look up while I stared at him, I would turn away and ignore him.

My love strategy ages 11-20

6. Makeup

I was pretty oblivious to how boys work through my entire pre-teen and teenage years. I tried wearing make up for about one week. My mother and sisters didn’t wear makeup so my attempts to draw male attention were doomed from the start. I have picture evidence of my makeup disaster, and I can hardly blame the teasing that left me to conclude that I would never paint my face again.

7. Pray

I was highly devoted to my spiritual path, and I was taught that if I prayed for good things, God would grant them to me. I was on my knees every night asking for prince charming to make my life complete. The boys at church were more like brothers than dating material because we grew up together. My next option was to write to the missionaries of my church in hopes my way with words would draw them home with a proposal on their lips.

My love strategy ages 21-30

8. Online dating

Nothing could be easier than a computer matching me up with the perfect partner. I joined the online dating community with this naïve expectation. The men I met and went on dates with were less than desirable, but they lent very well to being characters in my romance novellas.

9. Get out of the house

As a homebody, it was very difficult to meet anyone much less try to date. I decided that I would try going to college to meet people more specifically guys. Unfortunately, I kept reverting to my grade-school strategy of ignoring anyone who tried to talk with me. I gained an education, but failed to get my MRS.

10. Blind date

My sisters were much better at dating and often volunteered to set me up. I finally gave in and went on a date with a fellow who was very nice, but there was no spark. I have refused all dates since because I don’t want to blame my love life on my siblings.

11. Unrequited love

I sated the yearning for a relationship by falling for guys who were not available. This was a foolish phase, especially for an adult. It left a bitter taste in my mouth for the word love, and I resolved to purge my feelings and focus on things I could control like work and the next episode of Judge Judy.


My love strategy in my thirties

12. Love Myself

This has been the strategy which has worked! I engage with men confidently and easily because I am no longer tied to an outcome of happily ever after. I enjoy my company alone, and I enjoy the company of others. I have let myself off the hook for not fitting into the cookie-cutter-life. I feel freer and more adventurous because I am who I truly am. The people I meet and spend time with are incredible people and not just physically attractive. I think I’ll be sticking with this plan for a long time.

Advice is usually worth what it costs to give it, and advice about love is easier to find than water in a puddle. My advice is clearly tongue-in-cheek, but if you catch yourself making the same mistakes, then you have a chance to rectify your philosophy and fall in love with you. When you love yourself then others will love you too.