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Fri, Oct 29, 2010
The Star/ANN
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Women are their own worst enemies
by Sharmilla Ganesan

WHEN it comes to dating, women can often be their own worst enemies. From selling themselves short to having impossible standards to moving too fast, many of them unwittingly sabotage their own attempts at finding their perfect partner.

Matchmaker Violet Lim has seen all this and more; she has, after all, set up 15,000 first dates through her dating agency for thousands of single men and women. She is the founder of dating services like LUNCH Actually, and in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as executive director of the Matchmaking Institute, South-East Asia.

After six years in the business, Lim has decided to share her experiences to help women find the right man. She has written a book called Lessons From 15,000 First Dates.

"I started dating my husband at 20 and got married at 25, and I thought I knew all there was to know about dating," shares Lim, who is now 30 and settled in Singapore. "But after I became a professional matchmaker, I was surprised to learn a lot of things I didn't think about."

She thinks that most other women are operating under misconceptions too, and could use some inside information, hence her motivation for writing her book.

Be warned though: she may be named after the proverbial blossom, but Lim is no shrinking violet. In fact, this soft-spoken, sweet-looking lady pulls no punches when it comes to talking about dating and relationships.

"I have to warn you, I'm not going to be politically-correct, and I'm not going to sugar-coat what I have to say!" she jokes during a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Timing is everything

And the first so-called politically incorrect factoid she professes? Age does matter.

"We prefer to think that this isn't true, but I get to see the truth statistically. There are many young women who want to focus on their careers and put off a relationship. But they can, and should try, to have both!

"What they don't realise is, there is an unofficial age limit. Men in their mid to late 30s, for example, prefer women who are below 35," she says.

Their reasons, she says, are very practical. Ideally, the men would like to date for one to two years before getting married, and another two years or so enjoying the "honeymoon" period. Therefore, if the woman is older than 35 when they first meet, she would be about 40 when they are ready to start a family, which Lim says many men feel may be too late.

Being "ageist", however, is not confined to just men. Lim shares that most of her female clients in their mid-30s are not interested in men above 40, for similar reasons.

"The men are interested, but the women want someone closer to their age. Problem is, the men around their age are interested in women in their late 20s!"

In Lim's opinion, the "ideal marrying age" is mid-20s for women and late 20s for men.

One way for women to find that perfect partner, says Lim, is to tear up their "checklist" - that list of criteria most women have that a potential mate has to fulfil.

"I don't have to be psychic to know that 90% of women want the same thing. Most of them want a man who is taller, nice-looking with a good physique, intelligent, and able to provide for a good life. Of course, it is good to have standards, but you shouldn't set them so high that no one meets them," says Lim.

According to her, many women focus on superficial elements like how chivalrous a man is, or his looks. And almost every woman wants her man to be taller than her.

"However, communication, compassion and being there for you is even more important. After all, happiness doesn't come in a 1.75m package," she asserts.

Here's looking at you

But does that mean appearances don't matter?

Unfortunately, this isn't the case, particularly for men. Which leads to Lim sharing another potentially controversial point.

"Appearance is very, very, very important," she says. "There are certain biological markers, or fertility markers, that we are wired to take note of; that explains why we take a double look at certain guys and not others. It's may sound base, but that's how it is."

Her experience has shown her, however, that making the best of one's looks can be effective too.

"When you're dating, especially the first few dates, you have to put your best foot forward. I believe that there are no ugly women, only lazy ones. My male clients have shared that they are not looking for a supermodel, but rather, a woman who takes pride in her appearance."

Surprisingly, average-looking women may sometimes have a better chance of finding a partner, says Lim. She calls this "the curse of the beautiful woman", saying many beautiful ladies end up single because they are so used to being impressed.

"A beautiful woman in her 20s, will have about 10 to 20 men looking at her every day. And men use a variety of ways to catch her attention. Therefore, they often get bored with nice, decent and sincere guys.

"A really beautiful woman I know once told me her idea of a perfect first date was for the guy to charter a helicopter tour around the city! How can someone live up to something like that?"

As these beautiful women get older, Lim adds, their expectations stay the same; what they fail to realise is that there are already other younger beautiful women on the dating scene.

"A so-called 'Plain Jane', however, will treasure efforts made by a decent man to impress her," she says.

Another mistake Lim finds many modern women making is what she terms the "dragon lady symdrome".

She explains that many women who are climbing the corporate ladder have adopted a "masculine" attitude, which is effective in the workplace, but not necessarily in a relationship.

"Men want to marry women, not men!" she says, citing the example of a woman she once set up on a date.

When the man was a few minutes late and apologised to the woman, a vice-president in a bank, she bluntly responded: "Apology not accepted". Needless to say, the rest of the date didn't go well. Ironically, Lim says, the woman actually liked the guy.

Other women turn first dates into interrogation sessions, where they aggressively question the man, she adds.

"I'm not asking women to not be themselves. I'm asking them to rediscover and indulge in their femininity. Don't scare the man off."

Ultimately, having a successful date depends on two things, Lim says: mindset and attitude.

"People who do the best on their dates are those who are happy. The biggest turn-off on a first date is actually someone who complains about everything under the sun. People don't like negativity. So just have an open mindset and a positive attitude, and you will be fine!" she concludes.

Lessons From 15,000 First Dates is available in all major bookstores. Violet Lim will be meeting her readers at MPH Bookstore, Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur on Oct 24, 3-4pm. Buyers of the book during the event will receive two audio CDs on dating for free, while stocks last.

readers' comments
ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2006) — The discovery of a 100-million-year old bee embedded in amber -- perhaps the oldest bee ever found -- "pushes the bee fossil record back about 35 million years," according to Bryan Danforth, Cornell associate professor of entomology.

The bees had been at the sexual controversy for 100 million years least. amidst their busy daily routine, they found what they think is the answer to the balance of sex. 1 Queen. many workers. and they dont give a hoot how old she is (as if they can). we humans are just getting on track.

the moral of the story? ppl will whine dine, pick and choose until theres no more whine dine, pick and choose. then reality strikes. (ps: the bees are smirking at us. been there done that. guess the rest Queens simply died off ha)
Posted by problemchild on Sun, 7 Nov 2010 at 15:07 PM
In the USA we find a lot of "beautiful" women in places like Las Vegas. They are cocktail waitresses and get loads of offers. But we know they are digging for gold and after the newness wears off they have nothing else:no personality,no brains,no education,no skills and a very spoiled attitude.
Posted by Vasha_851 on Sun, 7 Nov 2010 at 04:25 AM

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