(The Root) —
"All of my friends say, 'Wait on God to send you a man. He who findeth a wife finds a good thing.' They feel that my 'cutie runs' show that I am searching for a guy. I just think I'm showing guys that I am approachable and let them do the rest. Thoughts?" —B.E.
One of my favorite films is Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts. If you haven't seen it or read the book, loosely, it's about a woman who isn't happy with the life she has and actively decides to do something different to create the one she wants.
I love the scene in the movie when Roberts' character recalls a story about a guy pleading with a saint to help him hit the lottery. The story goes, "A poor man goes to church every day and prays in front of a statue of a great saint, begging, 'Dear Saint — please, please, please let me win the lottery! Finally, one day the exasperated statue of the saint comes to life, looks down upon the man and says, "My son — please, please, please buy a ticket!"
When it comes to dating, my mantra is, "God helps those who help themselves." Wanting to be married and then spending all your time at work, hiding in the back of the party with your group of girlfriends or refusing to so much as say hello to a man is akin to wanting a job but never bothering to send a résumé or tell anyone you're looking for work.
If you're a Christian — which, if you're quoting Proverbs in conjunction with dating, you likely are — then you believe that God is capable of miracles. It will take one to get married if you refuse to put forth any effort to do so.
I've never understood this sit-back-and-do-nothing approach. In every other aspect of life, women seem to understand that they need to expend some energy. Degrees aren't handed down; they are earned. Promotions don't just appear; you strategize to get them. Money doesn't fall from the sky; you work for it. Meeting high-quality men, dating and marrying are not exceptions to the rule.
The "cutie run" is a term I crafted to describe a practically foolproof method for women to meet potential mates. At its core, it's the same way you meet people at networking events. I've just applied it to dating and suggested that women treat the entire world like one large networking event.
When you see someone you find attractive or who looks interesting, you smile, say hello and pay a compliment (about literally anything) or ask a question. It helps you appear friendly and, as you said, approachable. You can literally try it anytime, since you're looking to meet men.
Women have "off" times when we don't like to be approached. Guys? Not so much. If he finds you remotely attractive, there is no such thing as off-hours, and he will gladly engage you in conversation. If that goes well and he is available, give him your contact information so he can ask you out and get to know you better.
I've heard this approach to meeting men derided as "trite" or "too simplistic." Of course, I argue otherwise. Sometimes we make dating harder than it needs to be. Others have called it "too forward" or "aggressive," which I've never understood. If it's too much to smile at a man, perhaps you're better off single, even if you don't want to be. And if you really don't want to be, it's time to try something different. A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Since you don't know what to do, let me help you figure out your answer instead of giving you mine. You have friends who are sitting back waiting, the ones who tell you that you should take their approach. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they are the ones who will occasionally meet a guy but wait for him to initiate all the contact. Then they don't understand why he loses interest, right?
These are the women who get dressed up to go out and leave disappointed because no one asked for their number, correct? Do these women who are giving you advice have potential dates on deck, much less a could-be husband prospect? Are they having even half the fun waiting that you're having meeting people and dating?
If you want to be like them, then try their methods. If you want something different, like dates and an increased potential to meet your Mr. Right sooner rather than later, then keep going on cutie runs.
Of course, this approach won't guarantee you a date, much less a husband, which is what it sounds like you're eventually hoping for. But going out on cutie runs gives you a greater potential to someday become a wife than sitting around waiting for, literally, only God knows how long.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.