Normally, the onslaught of Valentine’s Day ephemera inspires a mere eyeball roll from me, but this year I find myself sprinting past heart décor window installations back to my apartment, a zone void of pink and red reminders of the guy who decided to end our story — the same week I got laid off my job, which just so happened to also fall on the week before the impending holiday. My job and I had a solid eight-year relationship, until the corporate office decided to “downsize” and I got dumped. The guy and I? We had a good run of late-night laughter, cooking with rare spices (sumac, anyone?) and forging the kind of intimacy that makes you quietly happy, for as long as it lasts. “Longer than Kim (Kardashian) and that Kris guy,” as he put it during our breakup.
Being unattached and unemployed this Valentine’s Day is a constant reminder that I would like to be tethered, well, to something. Whether my final destination is a new gig or a new guy (or both!), getting there is the fun part. Or not so fun part. Here’s my plan of action …
1. Look Good, Online.
Dear Future Employer, Please Google me: here’s my butt-kicking resume, a link to my witty website/Twitter/Linked In profile and yes, I speak three-and-a-half languages.
Dear Future Date, Please don’t Google me: my bangs totally look better from the other side. And yes, I was a Kung Fu champion in college.
2. The Button Count. It’s the little things that matter. A few buttons can make all the difference in presenting the package of wonder that you are.
Job: Pick a super-smart-and- savvy outfit, button up, and leave the cleavage at home. Don’t forget stapled, wrinkle-free, copies of your resume.
Date: Pick a super-cute-but-not-trying outfit, leave a few buttons open, and take some cleavage with you. Don’t forget the emergency friend on speed-dial. V-Day advisory: no first dates (or second ones, for that matter) on Feb 14th.
3. Be Keen, But Not Too Keen. When and how you arrive can make all the difference in giving a good first impression.
Job: Leave extra early. Delayed subways, traffic, running tights problems, or snow-blown makeup meltdowns are never good reasons to be tardy to the interview party.
Date: Leave just on time. And window shop on the way, so he gets there before you do. Never mind those weather-kissed cheeks – they just make you look … sultry.
4. The 30-Second Killer. This first impression will self-destruct in 30 seconds. Make it matter, and you’re halfway to a lasting relationship over the water cooler or candlelight.
Job: Smile, firm handshake, and stride in your sassy heels like you know what you’re doing.
Date: Smile, kiss on cheek, and stride in your sassy heels like you know what you’re doing.
5. Do I Want What You Want? Use your time together wisely for the must-do Q&A session. Note: some questions are better left in your head.
Job: Is there a coffee shop near the office? Do you provide dental? How much will you pay me?
Date: Are you really into creative facial hair or is this just a phase? Do I like you? Who’s paying for dinner?
6. The Follow Up. Send a nice note to let them know you care. Only if you do.
Dear Future Employer, I really enjoyed our meeting, and I could be a great asset to your team.
Dear Future Date, I really enjoyed your live reenactment of “Portlandia”, and I think my assets could be a great addition to our next episode.
7. The Wait. I Mean, the Torture. It’s been four days and three nights, and the refresh button on your email is starting to wear out.
Job: You’re not the only applicant. Stay cool. Wait it out.
Date: You’re not the only applicant. He’s not either. Go out with someone else.
8. It’s Not You, Really. It’s NOT you. You put your best foot, the high-heeled sassy one, forward.
Job: So they went with another applicant.
Date: So he went with someone else. He smelled funny anyway.
The right one is out there. It might just take another day. Or month. And maybe some chocolate — just not the heart-shaped kind.