How To Date And Win!

Lorraine Adams, dubbed the Simon Cowell of the dating world, gives no-nonsense advice for successful single women, including how to spot a gold digger and how to move 'from fling to ring'.

As a single and successful 40-something I have never had a problem meeting men, I just never seem to be able to hang on to them.

So after a string of disastrous short-lived love affairs, it's time to check-in to the Love Clinic.

Lorraine Adams runs the top executive dating and introductions club Gorgeous Networks, which is a dating site with a door policy, allowing entry only for those who pass a rigorous voting process by existing members.

It was launched via a blaze of publicity in 2001 and Adams has since become something of a dating guru.

The 46-year-old is credited with launching the whole Speed Dating concept aimed at 'cash rich, time poor' professionals and frequently appears on TV and in the media.

"Gorgeous Networks members are generally busy, attractive and successful executive men and women in their late 20s, 30s and 40s that join the agency in the hope of finding love," she says.

"But before any introductions are made, members first go through a brutal Personal Dating Evaluation."

She tells me she's dubbed the Simon Cowell of dating because of her ruthless honesty during these consultations - but it's only to help people like me manage our expectations.

I was given a top-to-toe critique by Adams and managed to scrape by with my ego still intact. I scored 9/10 on Looks and Career and 8/10 on Body Language, Physique and Presentation. But I goofed on Wit, Enthusiasm - "A little negative about my chances when in fact the world is my oyster" - and Sex Appeal (great).

Adams, an attractive, lively blonde who catches more than one eye in the cafe where we're chatting, thought I was a little "too obvious with my dress sense" too. "Subtlety is the key and far more sensual," she advised. For interests I scored 7/10. "You didn't talk about them so one can only assume you don't have many," she told me.

My current predicament is that I'm dating a younger man, and not sure how long it'll last. This is a scenario all too common for Adams.

"The most common phenomenon is the older woman, younger man scenario. A lot of woman come to me and say, 'It's strange because a lot of younger men are attracted to me'. And it gives them a great boost.

"But the reason the 28-plus man is attracted to the 40-plus woman is usually this: When a man gets to the age of about 28, especially if he's doing well in his career, he's through with all the craziness of going out every night, pulling.

"They usually start to think about settling down and looking for a steady partner. But they worry that if they find a girl in her 20s or early 30s, after a certain amount of time she's going to have an agenda."

In America they refer to this current phenomenon of younger men pursuing older women as 'chasing cougars'.

Adams explains: "So they'll think, 'A 40-plus woman is a much better option for me. A Miss Right Now, whilst I continue my search for Miss Right.'"

Sometimes the Miss Right Now goes on for years and years because he's so settled and happy.

"I hear this countless times, 'Well I was with her for five years, she was much older than me'. And the reason is they get everything from the older woman.

"She's more sexually confident and she's more confident in her own skin. Usually you find older women take a lot more care of their bodies and appearance than a younger woman.

"Younger women often become much more complacent with their looks. An older woman, by the time she reaches 35, starts thinking, 'I'd better start looking after myself'.

"And the older you get, the more worldly you are and the more interesting. A guy doesn't feel this woman has any agenda because she's more than happy. She's got a younger guy! She's not going to try to get a ring on her finger and will just go with the flow for a matter of years."

Demi Moore, Joan Collins and Ivana Trump have all hooked up with younger husbands. But how were they able to make sure that Ashton, Percy and Rossano didn't have their own agenda?

How can a women spot a gold-digger and ensure he's not eyeing up her valuable assets as well as her vital statistics? How does she know when it's the real deal?

Adams says: "The playboy type will be very generous in the first instance. He'll shower you with expensive dinners and presents to make it appear he's doing well.

"But beware if he pays for everything on a credit card; most wealthy men will use debit cards.

"A lot of these guys won't have real friends," she adds. "A gold-digger will introduce you to associates to make it look like he has lots of friends. Seldom will you meet people that they've grown up with, or their mother."

There are plenty of other danger signals, she says. Watch out if your date wants to move in within three months of meeting you, it could be because he's running out of money - and avoid 'drama kings'.

"Drama will just follow them round," says Adams, herself formerly married and now engaged. "This is because they're leading you up to the drama that requires your finances to bail them out. Be careful of the guys who talk in telephone numbers. The more genuine the guy, the more subtle he will be about his wealth."

Another hallmark of a good guy is one that hadn't occured to me before - if lover boy hasn't called after the weekend or texted you for a day or two, he could be the real deal.

"Good guys won't be able to spend all their time with you because they're busy," says Adams. "They've got other things going on in their lives with work and business deals and it's not possible for them to live in your pocket.

"Beware of a man who wants to spend his daylight hours with you, talking on the phone or meeting you for lunch. Successful, wealthy men just don't have the time.

"You want to look out for a guy who's a bit short of time and not always able to see you."

The dating game is a precarious one and the odds of finding true love are against us.

But, armed with fresh insight into my own appeal, and the motives of the men I meet, I'm ready for another gamble.

:: FROM DATE TO MATE


If you're looking for a relationship, Lorraine Adams of Gorgeous Networks says there are some essential dating dos and don'ts...

THE FIRST TWO TO THREE WEEKS


Do..
:: Always pose yourself as a challenge.

:: Exude confidence and sex appeal.

:: Multi-date until it becomes an exclusive relationship so he's not 'all consuming'.

Don't...
:: Be tempted to call, e-mail or text (no matter how difficult this is).

:: Sleep with him for the first 14 days.

:: Ask him about previous relationships.

THE FIRST TWO TO THREE MONTHS

Do...
:: Be an enigma - don't be too available.

:: Show him warmth and compassion but through other people, avoid doing it directly to him.

:: Change the subject if he talks about the future.

Don't...
:: Go on holiday with him; it's a real make or break.

:: Stick to the regular kind of dating. Go outside your comfort zone and see how he reacts.

:: Let him control your life. Keep up with your girlfriends and your own social life.
Snapper

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