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Students pay US00 (76) for a 25-hour "bootcamp" in real bars and cafes learning wooing tricks, authenticity and confidence.
Professional men and women may prefer to turn to dating coaches such as Denise Corlett, at
It makes everybody a bit angry and they can't help but take it out on each other." (Atkins is gay, so this isn't sour grapes.) And it's the same in internet dating forums echoing with castigations of heartless players and shameless sluts, snobby bitches and weirdo creeps.
If love is a battlefield, for many of us looking for love is a booze-sodden minefield of crosspurposes, misunderstandings, and halfconscious, muddled expectations.
Says Auckland film student Tom Atkins: "Some women act really hostile towards guys.
A misdirected chat-up, a misread signal, a clumsy grope could trigger a lethal knockback fuelled by a bitter backlog of disappointments and disillusionment.
"It's very much a rite of passage, a trial by fire," says Alex.With the old, pre-1970s rules around dating and mating happily dismantled, Western women have more financial, social and sexual wherewithal than ever before and the ground is supposedly set for an equal, mutually-negotiated meeting of bodies and minds.Yet often both sexes are still fumbling about in the dark.But now it's mainstream, it's also forcing us to relearn a kind of dating most of us only know through American TV. Says Auckland singleton Janelle Wills: "It's this pressure that this is going to be a relationship.Everything you say or do means so much more and that's really scary so you've got to drink to lessen that fear." The more common scenario for the teenage to 30s age group goes something like: get drunk to still the nerves, fall into bed on the first or second night, wake up and start figuring out whether you're lying next to a one-night-stand, a fling, a new friend-plus-extra, a potential life-partner or something we don't yet have a word for.