Dating? Here's some advice for men from the book "How to Survive Dating" (Hundreds of Heads Books, www.hundredsofheads.com, $13.95), straight from people who've done it:
"A lot of guys think that the way into a girl's heart is to suck up to her through excessive compliments and gift-buying. Of course, giving too many compliments to a woman, especially about her looks, only makes you look needy and desperate. It gives her the green light to walk all over you. On the other hand, some guys have the philosophy that you should never compliment a woman. But this isn't right either. Giving a compliment can be very powerful with a woman when you say it directly, smoothly and with no apologies."
- P.W., Harrisonburg, Va.
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"Don't be cheap. I once had a date use his student ID to buy tickets when he had been out of college for seven years. When I meet up with people like this, I usually just drink and try to get the night over as soon as possible."
- E.B., Atlanta, Ga.
"Don't use a coupon for 20 percent off the meal on your first date. I was tempted to do that one time: I'm a real tightwad. But then I realized that was probably not a good idea."
- Todd Kasik, Chicago, Ill.
"All guys should know that when you take a girlfriend to a family function, you shouldn't expect her to mingle with your family while you leave her alone. This has happened to me several times, but most recently, my ex-boyfriend took me to his sister's wedding and just left me sitting at the table with his aunts and uncles and I had nothing to say."
- A.F., Iowa City, Iowa
"Don't talk about the following things, unless you know the woman and know she is also interested in the thing you're talking about: baseball, The Grateful Dead, former girlfriends, your mother, your car, your cell phone, golfing and politics. What should you talk about? Her. Ask lots of questions about what she likes, about her job, about her family, about where she has traveled. The more she talks, the better you're doing."
- M.J. Twetten, Chicago, Ill.
"Your boyfriend should have nice relationships with your friends, even if just out of respect for you. When I first started dating my first boyfriend, he never wanted to hang out with any of my friends. He just refused to make the effort to get to know them, and at the time I was slightly annoyed but didn't think it was abnormal. So it was a big dilemma, having to always choose between him and my friends, and finally it was just too difficult. I lost many of my close friends in the process. Now, I realize that it doesn't have to be like that."
- Dacoda K., New York, N.Y.