Dating Tips For Single-Gal Workaholics

We spoke with the stars of Downtown Girls to find out what it’s like being a workaholic twenty-something in the largest singles scene in the U.S. — New York City. Their advice might surprise you!

By Margot Carmichael Lester

hen you’re building your career, it can be hard to build a love life. And when you’re living in New York City — with one of the largest single populations in the nation — it can be even tougher. So we asked the career- and romance-minded ladies from MTV’s new reality show, Downtown Girls, how they balance work, life and love in the big city.

First, meet the women:

Gurj works in digital media for Atlantic Records, has a serious boyfriend, and is the “voice of reason.”
Klo was laid off last year and hopes to start a no-kill animal shelter — after she’s done planning her wedding.
Nikki owns the high-end Nikki Laura clothing boutique, and claims to have dated every Jewish guy in Manhattan.
Shallon is a relationship blogger for who dishes out good advice — but doesn’t always take it.
Victoria is an aspiring attorney whom the girls call the “queen of the first date.”

What’s the biggest dating challenge for a busy young professional like you?

Klo: Tall, pretty, successful, intelligent women are a dime a dozen on these streets, so you have to
I love to date and I love meeting new people.
make so much more of an effort to get out and make an impression.

Nikki: I continue to tell myself, “everything in moderation.” If I have a busy week at work coming up, I will make sure that I take a few days off to have some “me” time.

Shallon: I assumed that my accomplishments and ambition would make me more attractive to guys, but they find it intimidating, I think. It’s especially true with younger guys, which sucks because I like ‘em young! I try to date guys who are very accomplished in their own right, like a hedge-fund manager, because they won’t feel competitive with me.

How do you keep a good attitude about dating?

Gurj: Don’t try so hard. If you do, you’ll subconsciously end up with a guy just for the sake of being with someone rather than being single. Don’t settle for just anyone. Date, but don’t make every guy you meet your boyfriend by the third date. Also, try to avoid falling in love with anyone you work with. It gets messy.

Klo: I definitely adopted a “why not” approach [to dating]. For instance, we all went to a party during fashion week together, then left because we weren’t in the mood for a fancy-schmancy event. We ended up at a dive bar eating wings and drinking pints. That’s where I met my husband. Who says Buffalo sauce smeared over your face isn’t sexy?

Victoria: I love to date and I love meeting new people. If a date is bad — like, really terrible — I use it as free therapy and have a few glasses of wine. I try to make myself have fun and see what will shock him, so at least I’m entertained.

How do you balance work and romance?

Gurj: Building a career shouldn’t get in the way of trying to establish a love life and vice versa. More importantly, careers and love are two different things that have nothing to do with each other. You can create and build a career from the ground up. But I feel like love just happens. It’ll just fall in your lap at the right time. I can go out and endlessly make contacts that’ll help me get ahead in the business world. But if I had spent that much time combing the dregs of New York City looking for love, I’d probably have nothing more than a lot of emotional hurt and several trips to the gynecologist.

Nikki: Delegate! The best lesson I ever learned was to delegate responsibility to trustworthy people.
Less is more, at least in the beginning.
It’s the only way to have a successful business without losing your mind! Once the tasks are done for the day, it is much easier to enjoy your social life.

Shallon: I’m getting better at it. I used to fall for a guy and ignore everything else in my life while I spent hours daydreaming about him like a 14-year-old. I’m a crappy girlfriend if I’m ignoring my writing, and I’m not a good writer if I’m not getting some action. So sometimes I have to peel myself off the couch and go out, or wiggle out of his arms to go write. It takes self-control. And that’s never been my strong suit! I have a very structured writing schedule so that I don’t just blow it off and go drink Irish Car Bombs — my favorite — all night long. That way, my free time is truly free, and I don’t feel guilty.

Any words of wisdom for our readers?

Gurj: I discovered that looks can truly be deceiving when I agreed to go on a date with a guy I met through a mutual friend. His dress sense was immaculate, gorgeous eyes, cheeky smile, and he seemed like the coolest man I’d met in NYC so far at the time. Unfortunately, about 35 minutes into the date, I wanted to poke a fork in my face or pretend to choke on bread sticks just so I had an excuse to leave.

Shallon: Never downplay your accomplishments; just make sure your date doesn’t sound like a job interview. I used to bombard guys with all the reasons why my life was amazing — book deals! Parties! Celebrity friends! But it scared those men off and gave them the wrong impression. Make your date feel like a man. It sounds antiquated and anti-feminist, and it is, but it works. Less is more, at least in the beginning.

Victoria: I can sum it up with a quote from RuPaul: “You gotta love yo’self before you can love anybody else!” It’s important to be the best you that you can be — that means educating yourself, staying in shape, looking put-together, standing up straight and smiling.

Carrboro, N.C.-based freelance writer Margot Carmichael Lester has written for Playboy, PoV and
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