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Dunce Bitten 

Ask the Advice Goddess

I'm a 34-year-old guy who's ready to settle down and start a family, but I can't even get a date! I don't think I'd know a woman was interested unless she came out and said so. Because I'm such a dating dunce, it takes enormous effort for me just to ask a woman out to dinner. Ironically, I work mainly with women. In trying to be sensitive to my colleagues' feelings, I get walked on all the time. This makes approaching women I'm interested in romantically even more daunting. I just try to relax and be myself and hope women will appreciate me for who I am. So far, that's gotten me nowhere. My buddies tell me it'll happen when I "least expect it." Well, it would be easier to "least expect it" if my dating situation improved a little. Any idea how I might make that happen?

--Mr. Nice Guy

Your buddies must appreciate what you have to offer -- zero competition with them for the ladies. Real friends are people who are nice enough (and not nice enough) to tell you what you need to know -- like, that your front teeth are sporting spinach falsies or that you just pranced out of the ladies' room with the back of your evening dress tucked into your nylons.

What you need to know is that you aren't (oh, yawn!) yet another nice guy finishing last. You stand around, eyes to the sky, waiting for a girlfriend to fall into your arms. Stop waiting for your future wife to notice your potential from across a crowded bar, and stage a seduction like they do in the movies -- those starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Taye Diggs. Don't worry about whether a particular woman wants you or not. If you want her, ask her out. If she says no, you probably won't suffer seizures and death (unless you ate some bad clams while asking).

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