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Upgrading Your Bad Self

by Sherise Dorf

Sure, lots of Cosmo readers may meet their men while roving supermarket aisles, but how feasible is it to check out fellow shoppers and come up with scintillating small talk while squeezing fruit? Sounds like major multi-tasking to moi. There has to be a better way.

Hometown Advantage

Use the strengths of the city you live in to map out a practical "putting yourself out there" strategy. Los Angeles, for example, is known as the city of self-improvement, so what better way to meet a potential mate than while improving yourself? When you're both working on ways to be more interesting/in shape/funny/artistic/creative/coordinated?

Now, the upside to taking on a new hobby, or what I'll call a "learning challenge," is that, in a perfect world, the other people taking on the same new learning challenge will share your interests and have similar skills -- or lack thereof. This provides for no shortage of dating dynamics. Will you be competitive peers, helpful teacher to his/her helpless student, or some other tangled combination of master and apprentice?

All the World's a Stage

This being Hollywood, the finest example of people-finding-people plays out against the glamorous backdrop of the Golden Globe Awards. Watching Winona and Matt, Gwyneth and (best bud) Ben, Barbra and James, variously snuggling, whispering, poking each other and giggling on television the other night, the following thought occurred to me: if you're single and you earn millions of dollars each year for memorizing lines and looking good on camera, then who you'll date/sleep with next is easily determined by who you'll meet on your next set. Or at a party hosted by Instyle Magazine.

That said, why not learn to act? Even if you never achieve fame or fortune once you've mastered your new talent, think of how many attractive and/or funny would-be Thespians you'll meet at each and every audition you attend. And remember, there's nothing wrong with the people who don't get the parts. Chances are, they're feeling rejected and vulnerable and will be most open to receiving nice words and/or an invitation from a complete stranger. "That casting director's crazy!" could be your line. "You're the perfect for the role of ________, and I've been wanting to take you to coffee/drinks/dinner/bed ever since I saw you standing there, rehearsing your lines."

Sit and Spin

On the other hand, maybe the fine arts are more your style. If you're shy, consider a class in which you won't have to open your mouth at all: pottery. A friend recently dove back into the world of ceramics at the MOA Center in West Hollywood. As he explains it, there are different levels depending on how well you handle your clay, yet everyone sits and spins their wheel or hand builds their vessel together in one feel-good-about-your-pots-sort-of-space, so there's plenty of opportunity to get to know other potters, who range in age.

And twice a year, the school throws a blowout sale, so that if you're ultra-proud of your work (or just want to earn enough cash to take the next class) you can stand behind it and sell sell sell. You never know who might fancy your offerings and end up the new owner of your favorite pot (and phone number!).

Master Your Domain

Now call me crazy, [Sherise, you're crazy. -ed.] but why pay a Feng Shui expert an hourly rate to consult you on how to get your abode into "God-help-me-this-year-I'm throwing-out-the-past- and-delving-straight-into-my-love/ sex/success-filled future" when you can learn how to do so yourself?

Turns out the American Feng Shui Institute is located in Greater Los Angeles (code for, not in Hollywood or Beverly Hills, but so what?) and according to their Web site, it "draws the best students from all over the globe." If you're thinking, big deal, maybe I'll meet someone from as far as Fresno, think again: join now and you'll take your seat alongside the best that Iceland, Italy, Japan, Turkey, New Zealand, Germany, and Abu Dubai (known for sexy men) have to offer!

Not interested in "gaining the knowledge of how to manipulate your surroundings such that you make an impact on your finances, health and emotions?" The Institute also offers other classes in the Chinese Arts, such as "Four Pillars," a method of Chinese Astrology that can be used to analyze a personality or... (drum roll please) choose a mate!

Okay, so maybe none of you in Nebraska are going to rearrange the ranch house based on Chinese teachings. And perhaps you'd be the sole student willing to stride onstage in South Dakota. But if these particular classes aren't available where you live, you can be sure there's somebody down the road who's just dying to help you pick up a new skill. So start planning your own strategy for self-improvement -- if only so you'll never have to dress up for another trip to the supermarket!

Sherise Dorf iscurrently trying to set up friends of hers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

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