When I was single, I enjoyed dating as much as a prisoner-of-war would enjoy having his fingernails pulled out in the name of torture. 

Image: Corbis

 Personally, I think dating is a tedious game, played by everyone but won only by the smartest and best-looking individuals. The rest of us mere mortals usually don’t stand a chance. 

In fact, I never stood a chance against leggy females with cascading locks and pouty lips, because my hacking laugh (and very witty sarcasm) could stop any conversation cold in its tracks.

As it was clearly not working for me, I decided I wouldn’t pretend to be a damsel in distress just to score a date with the magnificent man next to me. I would be myself and he could choose to accept Monster Me or walk away.

I know I’m not alone in this. There are women who simply don’t fit the mould of a demure, dainty, damsel in distress, and we find it much harder to get a man to ask us out. 

Here are some tips for the women who want to be themselves and score a date:

Step 1: Dress up
Dress well and look smart. This shows that you are conscientious about your appearance and proud to be you! It also largely improves your self confidence.

Personally, I look at a man’s shoes first. If they’re scruffy and torn, I can tell right away that he doesn’t put much effort into his appearance. If they’re sleek and smart, I know he’s dressing up because he wants to look good. And you know what? I admire the effort and self-confidence. If you’re checking out what he’s wearing, you know he’s doing the same.

Step 2: Maintain the conversation
A few months back, while in a bar, a man-boy came to chat to me. We were exchanging small talk about the weather when I decided to change the topic. I asked him about his work, he responded, “Oh, you wouldn’t understand my job. It’s too complicated.” Needless to say, I stopped that non-conversation in its tracks by walking away from him. 

When having a conversation, maintain it, even if it means sharing something that isn’t easily understood. This shows you have depth and are willing to indulge in deep conversations.

Step 3: Send the right signals
The right signals include making direct eye contact, ignoring other men and your mobile device. You should engage in the conversation by contributing and listening. 

It’s a turn off when a man becomes genuinely concerned with the leggy brunette walking past instead of our conversation at hand. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, mate, but her chest isn’t going to pop out of her top no matter how hard you stare. The same applies for women – keep those wandering eyes to yourself!

Step 4: Find common ground
It’s easier for him to pop the question once the both of you find something in common. It can be death-defying like sky-diving or sedate like participating in a book club. If you have nothing in common, try to find an activity both of you like and might want to try. This shows you’re open to trying new things, which earns you a huge gold star. Or five, depending on how many cycling sessions you offer to attend.

Step 5: Be composed
If you’re still having a conversation with him after half an hour, it means that he’s definitely interested. Men are straight-forward, and won’t wasting their time doing something if they don’t see a reasonable outcome or purpose. So when he does ask for your number or a coffee date, play it really cool. Give it to him and tell him to set it up. In other words, leave the ball in his court because he should be wooing you. 

Good luck, my sisters, and Godspeed.

Alisa Chopard is a writer who appreciates a good man who dresses well; is able to carry a conversation and is open to trying new hobbies.