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Q and A With… Genevieve Field




Genevieve Field,

dating guru

By Judy Dutton

The editor of the new collection of women’s essays, Sex and Sensibility, shares tales from the dating trenches. Warning: It ain’t always pretty.

What's it like out there on the dating frontlines?
It's tough, but a lot of that depends on your age. In your 20s, dating is fun, but in your 30s when you start thinking about having a family, dating can start to feel more like a full-time job.

So when it starts to feel like work, how do women deal?
They become more efficient. One friend of mine who was determined to find Mr. Right vowed to go on a few dates every week until she found him. It got to the point where if she wasn't feeling a connection, she'd thank him for meeting her and leave before she'd even finished her first drink. After six months of doing this, she found a guy; she's now engaged.

Talk about speed-dating! How quickly do you think a woman can tell whether a guy's right for her?
There's something to be said for seeing an evening through. I recently read about one matchmaker who insists her clients go on two dates with someone even if neither party wants to. On the first date, you're so nervous it's almost impossible to be yourself. The real you doesn't come out until the second date.

What's the worst dating disaster you've ever heard of?
One friend of mine met a guy online and although they never met, it evolved into a long-distance phone relationship. They'd talk for hours, and sometimes have phone sex. She eventually found out that when he called and her roommate picked up, they were talking for hours and having phone sex too! She felt so awful she moved out of the apartment. And she'd never even met him. But I think her roommate did.

What dating rules have changed?
The biggest change may be that most women aren't as shy about asking men out. I have one friend who'll walk up to guys and just say, "Hi, here's my phone number if you'd like to go out to dinner sometime." She's never gotten anything but a thrilled reaction.

What's the one dating question women struggle with most?
The great debate is whether women are settling or being too picky. It's an endless circle: If you're in a relationship that's good not great, you feel like you're settling, and if you break up with him you feel like you're too picky. Some of my friends say, "We don't live in a fairytale world, so we can't expect to just know someone's right." I'm of a different mindset: I think that if you're hemming and hawing, he's probably not the right guy.

What's the one thing you wish women knew when it comes to dating?
Some women still tend to blame themselves if a guy doesn't call them back. We need to stop internalizing that stuff and just realize it's not you, it's him-and move on!

Judy Dutton is a freelance writer living in New York City. After interviewing Genevieve, she was very glad she never had a roommate.
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