Embrace Your Inner Teenager…Dating Advice for Women

iStock_000014270011SmallIf you’re like a lot of Linx members, you are (and probably always have been) a high achiever. You’ve placed an emphasis on your education and your career, and you’ve been very well rewarded for doing so. Your professional life is probably smooth and established, and you have no doubts about your value in the workforce or your place in the economic food chain. You might, however, be not quite so secure about your value on the dating market. And if you question where you stand in the social pecking order, then you probably also have doubts about if (and how) you can change that.

So many of our beliefs and notions about dating, attractiveness, and romance set in at a very early age, and unless you’re one of those rare dashing Stanford water polo players who was on an Olympic team before graduating from the GSB and starting a hedge fund, you probably – at some point – made a decision to invest more in either your Inner or Outer Self. If you were academically gifted, well supported at home, and praised by teachers, it would make sense that you followed the path that led to the most certain rewards. If, on the other hand, you were naturally athletic, attractive, and social, you might have simply chosen to develop your native talents and appeal by working out or taking dance classes, by being fastidious about your diet or learning how to wear makeup, and by extending your natural likeability through learning how to date… and to flirt.

Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive investments and skill sets. In my college class there was plenty of crossover: a future Yale law student from Calabasas who got regular blow outs and danced hip hop, a handsome UCSF-trained radiologist who studied Kafka at Oxford, played lacrosse, and worried (a lot) about his abs, and a very feminine mechanical engineer who could have been then much prettier sister of a very famous actress. But these individuals were exceptions rather than the rule. And in a sea of very talented people they stood out for being both gifted and exceptionally attractive. These were people who were setting the curve both inside and outside the classroom, which is beyond unusual. In fact, unless you’re successful because you’re sexy, sexiness and success rarely go hand-in hand.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Just because you’ve been invested in your education and achievements doesn’t mean you can’t also invest in your appearance. The good news is that a successful woman can work on becoming sexy a lot more quickly and more easily than a simply sexy woman can work on becoming successful. Men and women alike are looking for the total package – someone who is developed on both the inside and the outside. And when it comes to dating – just like in every other strategic endeavor in your life – it makes a lot of sense to work on shoring up your weakest position.

So how do you take the steps to finding your inner femme fatale? By acting like someone half your age, of course. It’s never too late to learn the lessons some people pick up in their youth; in fact, picking up some of those skills later in life could be one of the keys to seeming (and staying) youthful! So what are the secrets?

Get Sweaty
If you aren’t happy with your body, find a form of exercise that works for you, and learn to love it. Whether it’s yoga, bar method, rock climbing, dance, running, Pilates, swimming, or any combination thereof, there is an activity that’s right for everyone. And it’s ok if you’re new to it… in fact, that’s probably a bonus. Being new to a sport or activity allows you to find the fun in it, and requires that you allow yourself to make mistakes. A lot of us were forced into certain sports of activities by peers or parents at an early age, and never allowed ourselves to appreciate the appeal, but those limitations don’t exist in adulthood. It’s good to have a part of your life where you don’t demand perfection from yourself; it’s even better if that lack of perfection can still be accompanied by tremendous progress.

Get Glossy
Odds are that someone you knew spent a lot of time at makeup counters as a teenager, and that she (or he) got really, really good at applying eyeshadow and lipgloss. It’s not too late for you to do the same thing, but instead of aiming for Clinique, MAC, or Urban Decay, aim for Chantecaille, Armani, YSL, or even Lipstick Queen. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit as you try to figure out what looks best on you, and don’t be shy about asking for advice. In fact, it’s both efficient and effective to call ahead and ask for consultation with a makeup artist at a specific counter. These are always free of charge, and if you plan properly you can show off your glammed up self that same night on a date! Also, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a manicure, even if you work in a job that doesn’t encourage a particularly feminine presentation; pale or clear polish is a great way to assert your femininity without drawing too much attention to yourself. A little attention, however, is always a good thing. 😉

Get All Dressed Up
Have you ever noticed the way teenaged girls dress… the snug scoop-necked t-shirts, short shorts, and colorful jewelry? It’s hard not to notice, right? And that’s sort of the point. I’m not encouraging you to buy a ton of tiny t-shirts, dozens of bangles, and shorts with a one-inch inseam, but I am encouraging you to show a bit of skin and get noticed. If you don’t have a wardrobe meant for dating, you should fix that right away. And don’t be afraid to hire a stylist. A few hours with a professional can save you a lot of time – and even a lot of money – in the long run, and will leave you looking better than ever. You can even ask us for a recommendation! Inviting someone to look at you in the first step in inviting them into your lives. Visibility is essential. Do not be afraid to want to be seen; at heart, that’s the very thing that most of us crave, and it’s something younger people often invite into their lives quite naturally.

There’s a lot to be learned from observing people who are coming into their attractiveness, but don’t yet have professional responsibilities. They are focused on developing social capital, attracting the attention of the opposite sex, and learning how to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Those of us who had our heads in books picked up an entirely different set of lessons, but it’s never too late complete your education. In case you haven’t noticed, school is back in session; so what lessons do you need to learn?

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