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I needed to learn why someone else would like spending time with me.

In retrospect I was having lousy dates and seeking out lousy dating prospects because I was lousy company to begin with.

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Although this was something I sometimes did on real dates, I needed that sense of ritual to legitimize the time with myself.

The pleasure of my company Beyond the list of external guidelines, there was a lot of internal work to do.

I was determined to have fun on my dates, and I did! But now I needed to take in as much joy and delight as I could, no matter who witnessed it. Not surprisingly, smiles were returned; they were everywhere! I would not seek refuge in outside stimulus: no books or newspapers, no phone, no i Pod, nothing to divide my attention. My dates started when I left my apartment and ended when I got back home.

I would never check email, text a friend or read the paper on a real date. There would be no quick, one-hour rendezvous with myself between meeting up with friends.

Not that I didn’t know how to be charming, make interesting conversation, and put my best self forward.