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You’re dressed for success, wearing your finest Mark Jacobs sweater with your brand new Le Coq Sportif shoes, you’re looking damn fine even if you have to say so yourself. Your palms are sweaty and your mouth is dry. You can hear your heart beating wildly inside your perfectly manscaped chest whilst you try to rid the corners of your mouth from the floury white spit stuff that has gathering there as a result of angst, anticipation and fear. You’ve got this old boy, you can do it! Just stay calm and do it like we practiced. Remember to SELL yourself, focus on the good bits and stay calm! Deep breaths. In, and out. In… Out…

You watch as the person you’re meeting coolly heads in your direction, smiling casually and effortlessly like a charming young oil magnate entering one of JFK’s famous celebrity parties. At first he doesn’t notice you and you’re gripped by fear: do you casually raise your hand to let him know you’re there and risk coming across as desperate and overeager, or do you sit it out and wait ‘till he finds you? Just as you’re about to raise your hand he spots you and saunters over like a Jaguar with the facial features of Johnny Depp. Phew… Just in time. Breathe, breathe… Stay calm, it’s almost over… You find yourself smiling like an idiot, remembering to make a good, lasting first impression. Your hand casually brushes over the loose strand of hair hanging over your forehead in a last attempt to present a pitch perfect appearance. You get up, suddenly aware of the nerve-induced sweat marks on the plastic chair you’re sitting on, hoping, no, praying, that he doesn’t notice them. Seconds before you shake hands you quickly dry your sweaty palm, and after the awkward introductions you get down to business… Err… Well, for a date that is.

First dates are petrifying – in fact, they’re almost as scary as job interviews, if not more. It’s all about the possibility of the return on investment, risk calculation and skills set management, and finding the right man for the job. When thousands are being interviewed, cross examined and judged on their various pros and cons, you have to ask yourself this: do you stand out enough amongst the masses to be the chosen one; do you fit all of the requirements, and more, to be appointed as the new “better half”? We live in a world where economy is key – everything is bigger, better, faster and harder! (Cough, cough…) And whilst the internet is responsible for a virtual infinity pool of opportunities, its downfall is a generation that is spoilt for choice as a result. Simply, when you’re one of 7 billion eager hopefuls vying for a top (cough, or bottom) position, it’s vital to be a cut (cough, or uncut) above the rest!

When preparing your Gayrriculum Vitae (GV) or practicing for that first date, there are a few cardinal points to consider. Firstly, keep it simple – less is more. Nobody wants to hear about your high school heartaches from fifteen years ago. And whatever you do, don’t go into the laborious details of what transpired between you and your Ex. State just the necessary facts and move on. No future lover, or employer for that matter, wants to get entangled in the complicated politics of your previous (business) relationship – stick to the bare essentials. It’s better to focus time and energy on why you want to be with your prospective new partner – a healthy amount of flattery really does go a long way.

Making your GV as presentable as possible is as important as flossing every evening – pay attention to the little things. Always consider what your dating history tells potential new investors about you. Will your last seventeen loyal and dedicated years to a man hardly worth the effort make you seem pathetic because you were too afraid to end it? Will the fact that you have had eight short dating stints in the last six months suggest that you are emotionally unstable and somewhat slutty? Also take into account the fact that some things are better left in the dark (like some of your relationships). What they don’t know won’t hurt them. Select what you put on your Gayrriculum Vitae with care and you might just have a fair shot at success.

When fine-tuning your GV, make sure that your references are all in order – there’s nothing worse than a scorned ex spreading dirty rumours about you. And if you can’t end it amicably, make sure that you stay as neutral or uninvolved in the mud-slinging as possible. Cut your losses and move on. A clean(ish) track record is paramount in landing your next bromance.

Stay dating fit. Whether you’ve just not been dating because of personal reasons, or because you’ve been in a relationship for a good couple of years, remember that it takes time to get back into the swing of things. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice… I’ve often heard that in order to keep the “job interview muscles” active, you must go for at least one job interview a year (whether you get the job or not). And before you get all excited, for those in committed, healthy relationships, I’m by no means implying you should be unfaithful to your partner. I am suggesting, however, that before you set your heart on finding the proverbial Anderson Cooper of boyfriends, you allow yourself to fall off the love bicycle a couple of times. Practice makes perfect and kissing a few frogs is all part of the journey. This is a time where you can seriously hone your dating skills and become the Jack Nicholson of the singles pit.

When I was younger I used to fear being asked when last I had a boyfriend. I always felt that it reflected negatively on my wooing ware if I didn’t have anything to show for the, say, last (cough) years of my life (give or take a few coughs). That all changed when a good friend of mine once pointed out that she actually prefers dating people who are “baggage-free”, and for the first time I embraced my sporadic bouts of singledom. Sure, I’ve been in a healthy number of relationships in my life, but I’m by no means one of those people who jump from one failed love affair straight into the next. The point is to rather focus on silver linings.

It’s never too late to hop (back) onto the dating train, and you’re never too old to make a new beginning. All it takes is a bit of spit and polish, a good wax and a brand new attitude and Bob’s your uncle. So, what are you waiting for? Get your GV out there and start dating again!