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For the first meeting, don't plan a big date with flowers and dinner and a movie. You'll look like a simpering fool that is desperate for acceptance, and no woman will respect - or more importantly, be attracted to - this kind of behavior. You are screening candidates for your job, and this is just a glance at their resume. I don't know about you, but I'd worry about a company that put on a big production number to lure me in for a job. Women worry about that sort of thing, too.

Plan to spend no more than $5 for this first introduction session. At least half of the first meetings are disappointments, so for every four meetings you initiate, you save at least $140, assuming around $40 a date - and that's a cheap date. (I told you I'd save you time, heartache, and money, didn't I?) You learn more on inexpensive dates than you do on the big ones - such as if she's low-maintenance, and is she fun. If the date is expensive, you wind up forcing yourself to feel more interested because you're investing more.

Spend less, get more.

So just do a half-hour meeting with her at a local coffee shop. Make it interesting and fresh sounding, not a chore, and if it really does get interesting, you can always extend the time a little. You show up a couple minutes early to check the place out and get a seat, and you bring something along to do. As I advised before, bring a book or a magazine. Don't look like a needy guy who's just dying to be seen with a woman.

At five (5) minutes after the time when she said she'd be there, you order a cup of coffee or tea on your own. So when she gets there, you've already demonstrated that you are capable of making your own happiness in life. When she gets there, you ask her what she wants, order, and pay.

You wait there for fifteen (15) minutes. No longer than this. If she doesn't show up by then (or call you on your cell phone), you leave. Don't linger around outside or even look for her. You go home, or to your next date. Later you can decide if there was enough interest and promise expressed on her part to warrant a phone call, or if you want to ask for an explanation of her rude behavior. If not, flush her and move on.

Unlike the first date, this meeting is not necessarily the one where you need to concern yourself with getting a kiss. Though, if things go a little longer or you find there's good chemistry, you may wish to bridge to a kiss anyway. (See the first kiss discussion in the next section.)

The goal in this meeting is to watch for Red Flags. You want to know if she is unstable or a flake as early as possible.

Let me put it in simple terms for you: If she demonstrates any qualities that you would find alarming for a mother to your children, pay the check and run for your life. It's much easier to disentangle now, early in the game. Remember: your job isn't so much about finding Miss Right as it is avoiding Miss Wrong. Imagine what your life would be like with the wrong woman, and not being able to leave because of children or money.

You're better off alone than with the wrong woman.

What do we talk about?

I believe in the saying: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. I'm going to do both for you. I'm going to show you how to find things to talk about as well as some specific things to talk about. (You'll also want to refer to the Appendices for more specific phrasings, etc.)

Start with the small talk questions, but only a few. You don't want to get caught up in the usual trap of favorite movie, favorite color, favorite TV show, etc. Ask her about her day and then start branching out.

Here are some starter topics:

- Talk about someone in the entertainment news. There's lots of good drama here.

- Talk about someone else's drama that doesn't immediately affect you. As long as it's not too negative, you can find lots of interesting discussion.

- A general rule is to talk about anything that deals with the present or future, but steer clear of the past for the time being. It's old hat, it's familiar, and it seems like the usual exploratory topics that two people who are looking for a long-term commitment would discuss.

The best way to learn the art of conversation is with a few simple rules. The first of which is, ask questions. Don't just ask yes-or-no questions, but open-ended questions, the kind that will get a person talking about themselves.

- What was your major in school? What made you choose that?

- Where would you like to go in the world that you have not gone? Why?

- What is there about the world that you would change? Why?

- What kind of hobbies really gets you excited?

- What would you do in life if you knew you couldn't fail?

- What three books would you take with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

- What is the most inspiring thing anyone ever said to you?

- If you had to be transformed into an animal, what would you choose?

- What car most resembles your personality? Why?

- What's the nicest place you've ever visited?

- If there was one thing you wish you'd learned years earlier, what is it?

- Who is your personal hero? Why?

- What's your favorite time period in history? Why?

Ask them questions that no one else has ever asked them. Forget her favorite color. Be different.

Another simple rule is that it's actually easier to find things to talk about on the spur of the moment than it is to try to memorize topics, but both will work. If you have a few things to talk about that you can draw from, you won't go into a conversation with a nervous edge. And, if you can generate your own topics on the fly, you'll be a conversation machine.

When you find yourself at a loss for words, the best thing to do is look around you and find a topic from your surroundings. Start with her and her jewelry, her choice in clothes, hairstyle, etc. One of the best questions is to notice a piece of jewelry or item on her and ask: "What's the story behind that?" Alternately, you should see what else is going on around you. If you're at a sports bar, you can ask if she's into any particular teams. If there's a television on in the vicinity, use whatever's on to start some small talk. From small talk comes bigger talk.

As you become more comfortable keeping a basic conversation going, you'll be able to branch out a bit. Another good rule of conversation with women is that you should make the topic sensational, a bit lurid and dramatic. Then take it and throw in a dose of humor along the way.

_ For example: You're at a bar and you just went through the usual patter about how your day was. You glance at the television and see that "Cops" is on. You say: "Have you ever watched this show? What do you think?" After she answers, you say: "So what is it with every guy they put on there has to be grossly overweight and living in a trailer park. Why aren't the cops ever going to some nice house in the valley? Instead, they're all named 'Bubba' and they wear those same tank-top t-shirts. What gives?"

Being able to take the conversation away from the usual topics and towards something humorous gives you an edge. Every other guy she's dated in the last week has been going through the same date script that everybody else uses:

- Do you live in the city?

- Been to any good movies/restaurants/shows/clubs?

- How 'bout this weather?

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