Tips from a Beverly Hill matchmaker

Marla MartensonMarla Martenson is one of our favourite dating experts. A real-life Beverly Hill’s matchmaker, dating coach, and speaker, she has great tips on how to make this coming February 14th your best Valentine’s Day ever. She’ll even show you how to enjoy the day – even if you are not in a relationship.

Marla is the author of three books, Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting, Good Date, Bad Date and her memoir, Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker. So, don’t miss a word of her very good Valentine’s Day advice:

Valentine’s Day can be daunting when you are single. Images of hearts, cupids, and lovers seem to be everywhere. Advertisements for flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, and even pajamas flash across your television screen. Even though we all know that it is an overly-commercialized holiday created as an excuse to sell products and expensive dinners in fancy restaurants, many of us still feel pressure to have a “special someone” to spend that day with. When I was single, I remember always seeming to have the unfortunate timing of never having a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day and feeling so blue and lonesome, even though my practical side knew that I shouldn’t. Over the years I have been asked a lot of questions about love, relationships and Valentine’s Day, here are a few of them.

Q: What is a soul mate?
MM: Many theories exist as to what a soul mate actually is. Many believe that a soul mate is someone that you have encountered in many different lifetimes and have loved many times.  That is why the first time you meet them you feel as if you have known them forever before you even knew their name.  There is a déjà vu feeling right from the first meeting. Today, people use the word soul mate more loosely, to mean anyone that you fall madly in love with and they with you.
Q : I hate the fact that I don’t have someone special to spend Valentine’s Day with. How can I get through the day without feeling depressed?
MM: There are two things that you can do to turn the day into a “love fest.” First of all, take yourself out to lunch. Go to a nice restaurant, take a seat at the bar and order yourself something delish and a glass of champagne. Celebrate you. You are special with or without a man, and today you are going to celebrate just how wonderful you are. The next thing on your list is to do something nice for someone. It can be giving a ride to the store to your elderly neighbor, babysitting for your friend so that she can go out to dinner with her husband, volunteering at an animal shelter, or making a donation to your favorite charity.
Q: If I have only been dating my guy for a short time, should I expect to spend that day with him? Should I give him a Valentine’s Day gift or a card? I am so confused.
MM: It’s fine to give something small. For example, if you know your date is into beer, picking up a six-pack from a select microbrewery says, "I pay attention to what you like." Or, if a guy has mentioned that he loves reading Brad Thor novels, picking up the latest one for him is thoughtful, without being a profession of undying love. If you are both into sports, you could get a couple of tickets to a sporting event for a fun and causal day. Just remember: Don’t give a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return. The other person may not have thought to get you something, and make sure you can handle that before giving your gift.
It’s unrealistic to expect a big, romantic evening at this stage of the game. And if he hasn’t expressed his thoughts about Valentine’s Day, you won’t know what to expect, if anything. He may perceive it as just a commercial holiday, corny, or hokey.
Q : It seems like everyone is just busy to date, are guys really serious these days about finding the right person?
MM: I am asked this question a lot. Men will come in and join my matchmaking service and pay an exorbitant amount of money for me to find them a wife, but then they don’t seem to have the time to really develop a relationship, and in some cases even meet anyone at all. Their heart is in the right place, they really would like to have someone in their life, but oftentimes the men — just like us ladies — are working so darned hard and so many hours, that it seems like chances are slim in being able to cultivate a real relationship. Many men who come to me own several companies and are flying all over the place doing business that dating gets put on the back burner. So, my answer to this is, yes, everyone wants to be with their soul mate, but unfortunately society and making a good living has preoccupied many of us with just that.
I also want to point out that if you are on a date with a man and you seem to be getting along great, but he mentions how busy he is and that he is not really interested in getting married or involved any time soon. It most likely means that he is not interested in you in a romantic way, and that is his way out of committing to seeing you again or getting involved.
Also, cutting to the chase with a guy right up front is a huge turn-off. Women tend to obsess about marriage whether they are dating anyone or not. And when they meet a guy, they immediately go into the thought mode of; is he “the one?” Getting into a serious relationship is always on the forefront of their minds. When it comes to dating, take your time and see if this guy is worth a second, third, or fourth date. See if you are even compatible before jumping ahead into a marriage-minded frenzy.
Q:  Is it a good idea to ask man out? Or is it true that men like to be the one to pursue?
MM: Conventional wisdom says “No, it’s the man’s job to do the pursuing” but in the modern world we can nudge them a little bit. Guys have of tough time of it, always having to pursue and get rejected a good deal of the time. I think that if a man is showing some interest, you can go ahead and try one of these techniques. Don’t actually use the word “date” or “go out with me.” You don’t want to sound too serious. You can always say something like “I’m going to be in your area for a meeting, would you like to meet for a drink?” A drink can turn into a dinner or a whole evening if things are going well.
You can also ask him for advice. If he is a computer whiz, for example, or knows a lot about cars and you are in the market to buy one, then you can always offer to buy him a drink for his help.
So, subtlety is the key. I don’t suggest coming on like a man and flat out asking him for a date. You can suggest a drink or doing something together without seeming like you are the aggressor or chasing him. I still believe that the man likes the challenge and the hunt, and if it comes to easy, he might lose interest quickly. A man is biologically hardwired to do the chasing. And as far as whom pays for what, if the man asked you out, let him pay. If you suggest an outing, then you should pay.