Imagine people were like ice cream and you could taste test every flavor (without packing on a pound) until you found the one you liked the best? In her new book, “MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course,” author Tristan Coopersmith posits that finding love is a lot like test-driving lots of new product. Now she shares her smart and sassy insights with readers, courtesy of

Q: How did you come up with the concept for your book “MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course”?

Once upon a time, my BFF Todd and I bestowed the responsibility of dating coach upon one another. In a grand social experiment, for 90 days we vowed to serve as each other’s compass in the dating jungle. We would do nothing– from who to date and what to wear to what to write in an email and when to sleep with someone and everything in between – without the other’s approval. We deciphered man/woman speak for each other, forced each other to go on dates with 3+ different people per week, role played conversations and so on.  We dated lively and largely and what was to last 90 days lasted three and a half years! MENu Dating is the result of my learnings.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge single women face when it comes to dating and what advice do you give them?

Keeping up their dating stamina! It is easy to get into the “I’m just not lucky in love” or “All the good guys are taken or are gay” zone, but getting deflated by a string of bad dates doesn’t get you any closer to a good one. Therefore it is critical to maintain your dating endurance, keeping three things in mind: 1) Dating is a game of numbers – the more you date, the better your odds. 2) There is always the one before the one… and no one ever knows when that will be… such is the magic of love! 3) He is not at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s; wallowing in pity will get you nowhere. At the very least go out and live your life – build that up to the best of your ability and as you become happier, you will become more attractive to men.

Q: Many people get to a point when they simply hate dating. How do you suggest they adjust their attitude?

It’s all about reprogramming the way you look at dating. You need to eliminate your time line. Instead make it about an experience line. Dating is not a means to a marriage end. It is a journey in self-discovery – it is a process to uncover what you require in a life’s co-pilot. This won’t happen in a few dates. It will take time. There will be some storms to weather. And like weather, you can’t forecast it perfectly, but you can forecast your attitude towards it. Work towards a sunny forecast in your heart and mind and assume that despite what text you may not have gotten back last night or what a disappointment who’s-his-face was on your blind date, know that yesterday’s dating weather pattern was necessary for today’s and that today’s could bring new love opportunities tomorrow, especially if your forecast is filled with optimism. Sunny attracts sunny and no guy wants a repeat date with a woman, no matter how beautiful she may be, if she is accessorized with a cloud overhead. Even if you end up with a tornado of a date, you will still have learned something about what you want and need in a man, plus it will make for a hilarious story with your girlfriends over Bloody Mary’s and a bottle of Advil at Sunday brunch, right?!

Q: Number one online dating mistake every single woman should avoid?

Most online dating mistakes will point to too much cleavage in a photo or over-revealing information, but I think the biggest mistake women make when it comes to online dating is prematurely falling in love with a man via his profile.  A guy appears dreamy virtually – his “resume” is ideal and all of your email communications are as charming as can be, so that by the time your in-person date rolls around you’ve already decided he could be “the one!” And then you show up and are disappointed to find out he’s just a regular guy… God forbid! Don’t stalk a profile or fantasize into the future. Maintain realistic expectations and stay in the present to enjoy an online dating experience.

Q: Any help for women who attract jerks on how to break the pattern?

You don’t attract anyone accidentally, you choose them in all that you put out there… the way you dress, the way you flirt, where you go and what you decide you are willing to accept in your life. So first, you have to accept responsibility for the men that are in your life. Secondly, oftentimes we seek in a relationship what we actually seek to have in ourselves. For example, we may be attracted to an artist because we have an unfulfilled artist within ourselves, or someone who is emotionally crippled because we like to heal people. Try pointing the dominant characteristic you are repeatedly attracted to inward and see if that diminishes your cravings (i.e. take an art class if you like artists or volunteer if you like emotionally crippled guys.) Dating is like algebra. If there is a variable in your dating equation you don’t like, change it and the results will change too.

Q: Should single women test date men who are not their type?

Absolutely! It’s all about the learning process and every man is comprised of a unique flavor composition. Therefore there aren’t really “types.” While there are generalized types which I call “mandidates” in my book, every guy is unique, meaning all lawyers or sensitive guys or co-workers or mama’s boys or jocks are not created equal within themselves – two “suits” could be really different; one you could adore, the other you could detest. You can’t judge a guy just by his job, what school he went to, what he is wearing, where he is from, etc – you need to uncover his various flavors a little more to determine if you like the way he tastes. After all, do you want someone typecasting you?

Q: Unless you have a ring on your finger, it’s okay to date more than one guy at a time. Why do you think this is true or false?

The ring isn’t the definer, it is whether you have verbally committed. If you haven’t, I say not only is it ok to date more than one guy at a time, I say it is smart to so long as you are doing it openly and honestly (there’s a difference between being a player and a menu dater – it’s called ethics!) Simply, dating is a learning journey and like any learning experience you wouldn’t minimize your opportunities to absorb knowledge, would you? What you learn from taste testing are the nuances of your discerning palate – your very specific wants and needs in a relationship. The more you date, the more precise you become in this knowledge and the closer you get to finding your main course. is a lifestyle destination where singles get advice, discounts and connect with other singles, and share their inspiring personal success stories. To read more articles about the single lifestyle, click here!

  1. Many of my friends, men and women, would love the opportunity to have such a bounty of date opportunities that they can MENUdate, taste test, etc. But the reality is that dating is not always a free-for-all, and that even if on a dating site the dates can be hard to come by. However, getting out there to events and mixing it up, with the online dating as only a part of the whole approach, certainly leads to more dating activity. This article is good for assessing what you want, but getting in the game continues to be the hard part.

  2. Certainly can find the whole spectrum of daters on this site. I find myself being more discerning but less picky, if that makes sense, as I am finding out the personality quirks that I can live or live without, and the underlying qualities that reveal true values and intrinsic qualities. This article is right on point, as learning about myself through my dating experience is, I believe, bringing me closer to finding my beshert.

  3. I totally agree with Steve that you have to blend online dating with real world dating. I’ve read Tristan’s book and she talks about treating every opportunity as a dating playground not just obvious places like events, bars and parties. Because of that mentality I’ve now met great guys at Starbucks and waiting for the subway. And I totally hear you on being more discerning and less picky. Picky to me is finding excuses for why you don’t want to date someone – like stupid things like you don’t like their name. Discerning though is uncovering true needs you have for a healthy happy relationship.

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