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Sex and the Queen City 

While cities like New York have The Learning Annex to educate us in street smarts, Charlotte has The Better Class. The Better Class offers classes on how to cope with a divorce, the fundamentals of Facebook, how to speak dog, make sushi ... and even how to find love.

Yes, find love. Writer/director and founder of The Better Class Brian Howie offers the course "How to find love in 60 seconds. " Sometimes we all need a little help ... not to be hopeless. And while 60 seconds isn't much time, it's just enough time to score ... someone's attention.

"Men say hi, women ask why and women act, men react," he exclaimed. Women typically spend the first 30 seconds of meeting a man painting a picture of him in their head: Married? Womanizer? Good job? And Howie, coming from L.A., has noticed a phenomenon in the South -- women would rather be with a bad guy than no guy. Why is that?

In his lessons in love, Howie taught us that Cinderella is a liar and Prince Charming is not most men's role model. He's right -- life is not a fairy tale. And even worse than Cinderella, he said, is Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City ... and then he looked right at me. He said she glorified always going back to the guy who treats you like shit. Touché. And he wondered why everyone wanted Carrie to end up with Big ... why were we rooting for the asshole? He also admitted that men aged 37-45 are fundamentally undateable. This would have been information useful to me months ago.

After the seminar he had everyone put their principles to practice ... in a round of speed dating. Players had 60 seconds to make a lasting first impression and were rated based on opening line, charm, confidence and style.

When I sat down for my first "date," the guy said, "I know who you are, and I don't like you. I hate the liberal rag you write for." I gave him a score of "0" for opening line.

Said event was at Roosters -- no, it's not a rotisserie place, but it was an ideal venue for dating school -- for starters because it's an upscale wine and dine in SouthPark where cougars hunt.

The best question Howie posed was, "How do you define love?" Some people said happiness, some said partnership. I, on the other hand, described it as the ultimate achievement.

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