Dating Expert, Steve Mailer, had attracted crowd of 50 people for a Learning Annex event in Mill Valley. His presentation was entitled
“The 10 Commandments of Dating Online or
Take a Tablet and Call me in the Morning”.
I appreciate humor and am always up for new dating information, so I paid the $29 to attend the two-hour presentation. I asked several single friends to join me in this endeavor and got a resounding “No!” from all of them. So I went alone.
What if the first commandment was ‘Thou shalt not attend dating seminars alone’?
It was pouring rain as I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to the sold out presentation. The windshield wipers slapped and the torrent continued as I drove into Mill Valley and, like magic, the rain stopped. Already there were mini miracles…
I easily located the Arts Center. Parking was a challenge. After driving around for 20 minutes, I found a place for my Ford amongst the legions of Lexus SUVs.
The long line to get in, snaked down the sidewalk. As nonchalant as I tried to be -the energy of this group was electric. You know how some lines to get into different venues are demure? People speak softly, they scuffle their feet, lots of furtive glances? This crowd was friendly and looked to be about 50% men. Again, one of those miracles.
At 7:15PM, the ticket takers plucked tickets from our hands. In a musical-chairs kind of fervor, everyone took their seats; laughter, hellos, and waves flew across the room. It was a very friendly group. That was rare for a lecture.
The book publisher introduced Dating Guru and author, Steve Mailer. And, from the back of the room, dressed like Moses – holding a cardboard replica of the Ten Commandments came the Guru.
The crowd roared. Mailer did a little Charlton Heston imitation and instantly had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Dramatically, he removed the gray wig and rapidly pulled off a Velcro -tear -away flowing robe. Mailer was wearing black jeans and a black cashmere turtleneck.
His medium height, medium build, was topped of by a gleaming shaved head. He put on squinty designer eyeglasses; the huge silver watch was his only jewelry.
His opening line was “What are all of you doing here at the Arts Center on a Tuesday night?
Why aren’t you with your girlfriend, boyfriend, beau, lover, sweetie, honey, significant other, or partner? Oh, you don’t have one! No problem, friends, I am here to say to you, I’ve got the answers! My book, (and he held the book up) this one slim book is all you need. The ‘Ten Commandments of Internet Dating” You say book? Another book?” He slid onto the side of the table, got comfortable, and slowly scoured the room.
This guy was “On”, very energetic and ready to roll. He was also very slick and well-rehearsed.
Now, I’m too polite to call him a huckster or a shyster, but he could’ve been the main act at a County Fair selling that amazing blender for Veeta-vita- vegamin.
The message, what was his message?
He asked us how many of us were online daters. The majority of us raised our hands. Mailer said, “You’re all doing it and you must stop now! That is the First Commandment! From here on in- you’ve got 5 minutes and only 5 minutes to be online each day. Amen. End of sermon!”
I was perplexed. He went on to say, “Thou shalt not waste time surfing Internet dating sites…from here on in – it’s the 5 minute rule. For all of you who spend hours searching, questing, and looking for Mr. or Ms. Right: Cease and Desist. If you’re on Match, or Lotsa fish or EHarmony. I say take the hours back, starting tonight, when you get home you may spend only 5 minutes check messages, to send a message, and sign out. Amen.”
“As it is written (he held up his book again) that’s the First Commandment of Successful Internet dating – work with me, friends.”
Mailer eased off his perch and said, “Front row, please stand up and smile. Everyone raise your right hand.”
The entire front row stood up and followed his directions. They were instructed to: “Turn around and face the audience and wave. And repeat after me as you wave your right hand: ‘Hey, hi, how you doing? I’m single, and I bet you are, too!’
Now sit down. Okay, second row stand up. Raise your right hand.”
All six rows of us got up, one by one, enthusiastically and greeted the entire room. Laughter filled the air. We were having fun.
Then Mailer said, “Who lives in town?” 10 people raised their hands.
He continued, “Who lives in San Francisco?” About five people raised their hands.
Next, “Who lives in Corte Madera? San Rafael? Fairfax? Other places?”
Hands went up-and-down. People looked around. He was an icebreaker, a motivator, and a dynamic speaker with a blend of matchmaker thrown in.
The audience was talking and laughing and the room was alive and clicking. Mailer looked at his watch, and looked at all of us, and said we would take a 20-minute break.
He instructed everyone had to introduce themselves to 10 people they had never met before. He told us to start – and he walked off stage. The noise level was a small roar.
The rest of the evening was even more entertaining. By the end of the night, I’d met 5 pretty interesting men -I might never have met.
Everyone there bought a copy of Mailer’s book of “Ten Commandments’ because he told us our social lives would take on biblical proportions.
Hey, I’m a believer and ~ I’m no saint.
Page Larkin 2014