Anyway, given the number of dating-related phrases I see in my search engine hits, I suppose it should be no surprise that I was contacted a while ago to be part of the virtual book tour for Jess McCann's You Lost Him at Hello. Today is the day the tour stops here, so it's my turn to tell you what I thought of the book.
While I was compiling my thoughts, I decided to swing by the previous stops on the tour to see what other bloggers thought of this book. A lot of them started with a similar sentiment: "When I was asked to review this book, I was hesitant." It seems we're all a little leery of the self help genre, at least where dating is concerned. I'm glad I wasn't alone in my leeriness and skepticism.
I was probably predisposed to dislike this book, but I tried to go into it with an open mind. As with probably most self-help books, I knew not all of it was going to resonate or apply. But it never hurts to put yourself in a place where you're forced to think about what you're doing or not doing, to examine your own behavior and reflexes and try to look at your history in a different light.
The central premise behind You Lost Him at Hello is that the same tactics that work in sales will work in dating as well. From prospecting, to pitching and promoting your product, to ultimately closing the deal, what you do as a single woman trying to land a boyfriend or husband shouldn't be all that different from what you'd do to land a lucrative new account. It's an idea that actually makes some amount of sense. To sell something, you need to be confident and assured. You need to believe in your product (or at least successfully convince people that you do). You need to know when to apply pressure and when to back off. You need to frame your pitch in such a way that the customer doesn't feel "pitched to" at all.
In dating, of course, the product is you, and the most successful daters naturally are the ones who've mastered the art of presenting themselves in a way that keeps prospective boyfriends continually wanting more. The question is how to harness that sort of self-assuredness to use when you need it most.
Throughout You Lost Him at Hello, McCann offers numerous tips culled from her sales experience for finding prospects and keeping them interested. As with many self help books, a lot of it is common sense, but I recognize that for many of us, common sense goes straight out the window when we meet someone we're interested in, so seemingly obvious whacks on the head like, "Don't drink and dial" and "Don't give up the goods too soon" can be helpful and valuable reminders at times. She does offer some useful tips, such as casual icebreakers to use as opening lines so that a guy who's receptive to you can consider it an opener while one who isn't will simply take it as an innocent, innocuous question. And I did mark a few passages I found myself nodding in agreement with solidly. Passages like these:
"What makes a person like you has less to do with what you say and more to do with how you make them feel."and
"The constitution of marriage is like a mixing bowl. People make the mistake of thinking that if they can just get the bowl, they will automatically get a cake. They don't realize that what you put into it is what you are going to get out of it. If you have the right ingredients, you will come out with a cake. But if you have the wrong ones, all you will get is a bucket of mess. The bowl itself doesn't matter."
Ultimately, though, I'm not convinced I'm the target audience for this book. In addition to the insightful passages I marked while reading, I also littered the margins of my copy with terribly thoughtful and intelligent comments like, "Duh" and "Who DOES this??" McCann talks a lot about women who get invested in a relationship too soon--who go on one date and decide they've found the love of their life, and immediately thereafter smother him or scare him away. Maybe there really are many women who do this, but I don't know any of them, and I certainly can't think of any recent time I've been one myself. My problem the past few years hasn't been finding a man who wants to keep dating me. Much more often it's finding one who *I* want to spend more time with. I suppose this only confirms what I've said numerous times in certain circles: when it comes to dating, I'm the guy. Perhaps I should read a self-help book on dating aimed at men. Maybe that would be the key for me. Wait. Do they even publish those? If so, where do I get on that tour?