Christine is beautiful, warm, and wants to get married. She said she’s tried online dating—“Isn’t that where everyone meets today?” but hasn’t found the right guy.

Indeed today, many people do meet online and so it was tempting for me to start by reviewing her Match.com profile, photos, see who she responded to and how, who initiated contacted with her and how she screened them. Was she too fast or slow to dump someone? Was she dumped a lot and why? What was she like on a first and second date?

But my intuition told me that, in her case, we should spend the session going in a different direction. I felt she would do better exploring in-person--She exuded a warmth and beauty I sensed couldn’t be captured well enough online. And she had a quirky, artsy, spiritual personality---her Mr. Right would more likely be the type who would spend little or no time in online dating. Besides, many great people are too busy to spend a lot of time doing that online dating dance: all the screening of profiles, email exchanges, and in-person meetings only to find that they’re quite different from the person they portray in their profile.

But where should Christine go? She radiated spirituality and she suggested meditation retreats, ashrams, healing groups, Esalen, “journeys,” But I’ve found—and there are many exceptions--that while many women who are “together” have a significant spiritual life, many guys who are deeply involved in such matters, tend to have, let’s just say, more than their share of issues.

Christine has little income so she wants to find a guy with some money. I thus suggested she not hang out in cafes. Well-employed people tend to be too busy to do that. Or they live in a nice place and so would rather hang out there.

She ended up liking these six places to meet her Mr. Right:

Bookstores. Unlike cafes, people go to bookstores for shorter amounts of time and tend to be intelligent. Unlike bars and clubs, bookstores tend to be quiet, allowing for conversation and, because they’re not alcohol-soaked, a person can be at their best and judge people on more than looks and not be too impulsive in running off to his or her place.

Volunteer for an environmental group. Guys there are more likely to have a piritual sense--at least a reverence for the earth--while being less likely to have issues than guys very involved in more directly spiritual activities. And volunteers are more likely than average to have a good heart, and I felt that Christine really had one and needed to meet a guy like that. Otherwise I fear she could be taken advantage of. She agreed.

Nature-centric activities.  I could picture her meeting her Mr. Right on a nature walk, for example, a Sierra Singles hike, Meetup hike, group backpacking, or some such. She agreed.

Maker spaces. These are informal workspaces for engineers that have an alternative vibe. Christine loves jewelry, so if she frequented a maker space, ostensibly to learn how to make jewelry using their fancy equipment, I could picture guys flocking to help her. She agreed.

Non-profit fundraisers.  I feel she’d meet successful guys whose values aligned with hers by volunteering to serve at the registration desk or as a server at a fundraiser for a cause she believes in: environmentalism, education, whatever. Guys who spend $100 a plate have money and a heart. Not a bad combination. She agreed.

Trader Joe’s.  People who shop at Trader Joe’s tend to be careful about what they eat but also watch their budget, unlike at Whole Foods whose prices are astronomical and attracts more than its share of spendthrifts. Trader Joe’s also has that somewhat alternative feel that matches Christine, especially if she chooses to shop at a Trader Joe’s in Berkeley or Oakland (very liberal cities) rather than nearby Lafayette, which is moderate. (Of course, if my client wasn’t so liberal/alternative, I’d suggest Lafayette.)

Before ending the session, we spent a couple minutes on appearance. We agreed that, whenever going out, she needs to take a little more care to look good. And when she asked if she should dress more mainstream (She dresses a little hippieish), I said no. Your Mr. Right will like you dressed as you like to dress. You need to reveal your real self. Otherwise the relationship will be based on an illusion, which you sure don’t want to try to keep up forever.

We ended the session optimistic that if she does even some of the above, she will meet Mr. Right. She agreed.

Marty Nemko's bio is in Wikipedia.

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