/library/css/style.css" /> /library/css/background.css" /> /library/css/layout.css" />
Dating tips from reality TV

Roll your eyes all you want, but The Bachelor, Blind Date, and other shows can teach you a thing or two about wooing a date. We watched a slew of them, and gathered these pointers.
By Jennifer Armstrong March 14, 2005

Scoff at reality dating shows all you want, but you have to admit: In between those skin-shriveling hot-tub sessions and overly-dramatic rose ceremonies are some pretty smart (even sneaky) tips about how to win someone over. Here’s what they’ve taught us and how they’ve changed the face of dating forever.

Lesson #1: Old-school romance works with the ladies
From: The Bachelor
Roses, champagne, and riding in horse-drawn carriages may seem like they’re dating rituals from a bygone era, but the popularity of The Bachelor shows that modern chicks dig being courted the old-fashioned way now more than ever. Why has the "Cinderella/Prince Charming metaphor," as pop-culture professor Robert Thompson from Syracuse University calls it, returned with such a vengeance? Maybe women have just had their fill of "nontraditional" dates like rock-climbing followed by burgers at some quaint little dive. In a world devoid of damsels and knights in shining armor, women miss the romance, and really crave a storybook moment. Give them one, guys (even just by setting a candle on the table come dinnertime), and you’ve tapped a hidden longing that’ll get your date swooning for you in no time.

Lesson #2: Guys will try harder if they know you’re playing the field
From: The Bachelorette
For all guys who feel they can cut corners on lesson #1, consider this: Would you fight harder for a girl’s hand if you were pitted against 24 rival suitors? Of course you would, because guys love to win, a truth that became all too evident on The Bachelorette. Honestly, did you think all those contestants were lavishing Trista, Meredith, and Jen with poetry, stuffed animals and slippers just because they were besotted? We doubt it. They were out to trounce the competition and come out on top. Women everywhere can take a pointer from this show: Namely, letting a date know he’s not the only guy in the picture. Drop a hint that you’re still comparison shopping with a sweet, "I really like you, but I don’t think either of us is ready for a completely exclusive relationship," then watch him double his efforts to wow you.

Lesson #3: People prefer arm candy to a real connection
From: Average Joe
When the female contestants on Average Joe were forced to choose from among chiseled, sculpted hunks and earnest geeks, one might like to think a geek would win their hearts. Sorry, guys, that’s just a fairy tale. We all know looks count, but what Average Joe taught us as the dorks were quickly kicked curbside—is that looks really, really count. "Average Joe proved that the moral of so many stories, like Beauty and the Beast, is wrong," says Thompson. Even dorks are shallow, as Adam Mesh proved when he was forced to pick between hot and homely girls—and chose the hottie—in Average Joe: Adam Returns. The moral of this story: Maybe you do want to spend more on your haircuts and let that personal shopper help you next time you’re buying clothes.

Lesson #4: Keep talking, and you only insert foot deeper into mouth
From: Blind Date
If any show teaches us there’s something to be said for keeping your mouth shut, it’s Blind Date—where contestants’ nervous chatter gets slammed and sneered at by the painfully-blunt thought bubbles created by the show’s much more savvy writers. So, the next time you’re tempted to babble on about your job, your exes, or "what you seek in a life partner" to fill an awkward silence, beware: All you’re getting is more rope to hang yourself with. Instead, just accept that the conversation doesn’t need to run non-stop like a radio station or, better yet, turn the tables and ask your date what they think. You’ll risk a lot less, and learn a lot more.

Jennifer Armstrong is a correspondent for Entertainment Weekly, where she writes about television and pop culture.

Ready? Set? Find a date now!