Plan of Attraction

Follow E. Jean Carroll's single-minded formula, the author says, and a woman can have her choice of men

January 27, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Elle magazine's advice columnist and resident firecracker E. Jean Carroll wants you to get off her back - or at least read her new self-help book.

After receiving thousands of "HELP ME!" letters over the years from women desperately in need of a date, Carroll, herself twice divorced ("the normal amount," she says), was just plain tuckered out from all that counseling.

"I pour my brain through a sieve every day [for these people]," she says by phone. "I picture them lined up outside my door."

The former Saturday Night Live writer began to feel she had a "huge responsibility" to bear, and solving the problems of America's jaded, resourceless or terminally shy lonely hearts was becoming a bit too much to handle.

It was time to give her readers - and all single women, for that matter - more than just a quick response or a paragraph's worth of man-catching tips. And so it was that her new book, Mr. Right, Right Now!: How a Smart Woman Can Land Her Dream Man in 6 Weeks (HarperResource, $23.95), was conceived and written.

But it's not just another single woman's tutorial on how one should talk, look, act or dress to impress any and all potential knights in shining armor, says Carroll, who's also the co-founder of the wildly popular women-recommending-their-exes-to-other-women Internet dating site known as GreatBoyfriends.com.

Rather, Mr. Right, Right Now! is a practical guide that, if followed with Carroll-style moxie, guarantees the reader at least a date, if not a great one, even in time for Valentine's Day.

But time is of the essence, so why don't we get out of the way and let E. Jean explain it all for you.

"This book is GUARANTEED to work!" she bellows with a chuckle.

"It's based on a principle that if you meet high numbers of men, then it becomes a mathematical certainty that you will meet Mr. Right," she adds.

All right, we say, that all sounds fine. Is there some kind of catch?

"But," E. Jean says (and there's always a `but,' isn't there?), "you have to meet 20 guys a week."

Hold everything. That's preposterous! How could any busy, successful, high-functioning, self-respecting woman give her phone number to 20 guys each and every week?

A smart reader can and will, E. Jean says, if she adheres to the six steps, which are as follows:

Week One: Adjust your attitude. Learn how to be "engaged with life," she writes.

Week Two: Take care of yourself, love your body and make your good traits great. (E. Jean notes, among other things, that wearing bold colors, sleeping for 10 hours a night and laughing, naked, in front of a mirror will help."

Week Three: Ditch your worries and fears.

Week Four: Go out and get 'em. The book's chapter on finding your man is titled "The 119 Best Places to Meet the Male Beast."

Week Five: Learn how make the first approach. "Vex him! Thrash him! Keep him off-balance!" she writes.

Week Six: Meet and dazzle Mr. Right.

But this six-step plan is SIX weeks long. I thought you said a woman could find a fantastic, date-able guy in time for February's big day of love? There's not quite three weeks left.

"Now Baltimore women are known for their pluck ... they're known as women who are not prissy [and] ... prudish," she replies. "If they get on it and, like, combine chapters, they can have a boyfriend. They can have a great guy ... a guy they LIKE" as a Valentine.

OK, so there's no time to waste. Charm City's women want tips already! What would you consider a great local place to meet a guy?

"Sports [bars] are the place. Why a woman would sit home on Sunday night watching Sex and the City is beyond me. Sunday night is prime time at a sports bar. TAPE Sex and the City," she demands.

Once there, "sit at the bar with a big batch of french fries. It will tell the guy that you like food, you have pleasures in life, that you like people."

And, she adds, if the vision of you chomping unabashedly on a plate of carbs the size of your head isn't attractive enough for some men, then the smell of greasy food alone should be enough to draw any junk-food-hypnotized lads in your direction.

Why E. Jean, your Manolo Blahniks clearly have cut off the circulation to your brain! How could you suggest such a thing? Sitting alone in a bar - a SPORTS bar, no less - can be completely intimidating.

"You have to give your fears a kick ... you have to, must. It's not gonna kill you" to chat with a comely stranger, she says. "When you see that handsome guy ... you walk over and just smile ... and then venture a comment."

But aren't guys the ones who like to do all the approaching?

"Women like to chase just as much as men, and men like to be chased. Anybody who watches a troop of baboons or a group of young teen-age girls will know that females like to hunt. Just go shopping with one and I rest my case!"

So what happens when your french-fry bait lures in someone who's charming, good-looking or just plain fabulous - and then you freeze up?

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