Desperate singles, don't despair get out and smile!

June 22, 1993|By Vanessa Ho | Vanessa Ho,Seattle Times

This is the '90s, right? It's OK to be single.

So why do you feel like a social pariah on the prowl, a buzzard circling widows and recent divorcees? Or maybe -- if you've been single for a while -- you feel desperate.

You've spent money on personal ads, singles bars, blind dates. And you're still single! What's wrong with you?

And then, when you think you've found a soul mate, you panic. They can smell the desperation. They eye you the same way they would a mangy stray dog. It's enough to make you retreat to your VCR.

Well, take heart. Or at least take out your checkbook.

For up to $45, you can hear Nita Tucker tell you how to get a date and find a lasting relationship. Or you can buy her book for $10, or a set of one-hour tapes for $69.95. Money-back guarantee not included.

A youthful, energetic 43-year-old, Ms. Tucker gives three-hour seminars nationwide on relationships. When she was in her 30s she moved from San Francisco to Seattle to find a man. She made a project of it. She wrote a book called "Beyond Cinderella, the Modern Woman's Guide to Finding a Prince."

Now married for 12 years and settled in Santa Fe, N.M., Ms. Tucker was in Seattle to give two seminars.

As the sun set, a collective self-consciousness took hold at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland, Wash., where about 60 single men and women slunk inside. Eye contact was minimal.

"How Not to Stay Single in Seattle," read Ms. Tucker's sign. For some, the hidden meaning seemed clear: "We're losers and have to pay to find a date."

Ms. Tucker's seminars are geared for people in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and this crowd was no exception: salt-and-peppery, well-to-do, shoulder-padded, sprinkled with several balding men with ponytails.

Her first rule to finding a mate is to stop feeling ashamed of being single and of wanting a relationship.

"If you ask women if they want a relationship, they say, 'No. I have a satisfying job,' " she said. Society has conditioned us to feel "needy, desperate and co-dependent" when we want someone to love.

She tells people to date. Go out on at least three dates with a person before calling it quits.

It's easy to meet people in college, but it's harder when you're older and divorced. You're scarred, they're dysfunctional, and who has time?

"People say, 'I want a relationship, but I don't like the dating scene,' " she said. "That's like saying, 'I want to be an Olympic swimmer, but I don't like to get wet.' "

To meet people, she suggests smiling at 50 members of the opposite sex a week -- which might explain why her face is frozen in a grin for three hours.

After the seminar, Lisa Ward, a 30-year-old medical saleswoman, bought Ms. Tucker's book and got her autograph. Ms. Ward hasn't been able to meet anyone special, in part because she travels so frequently. So far, it's been "dates from hell."

Two weeks ago, she went on a date with a computer programmer who had "no sense of humor or social skills."

The date propelled Ms. Ward to Ms. Tucker's seminar.

"Single is the pits," she said. "When I go to dinner parties, it's such a lovey-lovey couples thing." To order Ms. Tucker's book or tapes, call (505) 986-1558.

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