30 Girls in 30 Days?

You are an all-American boy. You are shy. You are horny. You want to meet 30 girls in 30 days, so when you see this title on the front of MH18, the magazine Men's Health created last year for teenaged guys, you pick it up.

Inside you read an innovative how-to article written by both men and women that encourages teenaged boys to get over their unmanly insecurities and chat up more girls than your average rock star can handle in one show. The tag-line of the article reads: The ultimate pick-up plan for any guy. Talk to any girl and score more dates than you deserve.

"The ultimate pick-up plan for any guy. Talk to any girl and score more dates than you deserve."
You see, if Kobe Bryant just sat around talking about basketball, he certainly wouldn't be the superstar NBA player he is today, MH18 preaches to its Britney Spears-worshipping readers. To be a superstar dater, a boy must sweat and suffer with intensity as fierce as the free-throw training he does in his parents' driveway. But be prepared for rejection, the article warns. For every two points, you will be 10 times denied. Get rejected, dust off the bruised ego, and move on to the next potential conquest. The plan seems fool proof.

But how does a boy go about finding this many girls in a mere 30 days? Perhaps it's just a figurative goal, like a Christian striving to be more like Jesus. Nevertheless, MH18 caters to readers who will literally follow the informative, step-by-step article, reinforced by the 30-30 Resource Center on the MH18 web site.

Steps include:
-First Impressions: Be yourself (mostly)
-Approaching and Talking
-Compliments (well discuss this in detail below)
-Asking Her Out
-First Date
-Emergency Kit
-Hygiene (brush your teeth, comb your hair)
-Quick-fixes (suck on a lemon after eating garlic or onions)

This plan acts as if a boy has the freedom to hang out wherever, whenever he wants. It's a plan that would work well for a college guy or a 20-something bar-toad, but for a high school boy? Not very realistic, unless he hits the mall, the movie theater, various street corners, or Six Flags after school. Either way it suggests that guys should start practicing their predatory skills early.

Some boys' most discouraging obstacle will probably be age. School may be their only playing field, thus limiting the number of opponents to high school girls who are rarely nave to boys nasty schemes. They may ban together in sisterhood to foil the efforts of an MH18 disciple.

While the title of the article reeks of machismo, it is merely a sexy segue into an empathetic, user-friendly guide for the average game-less boy (and you can tell they worked to keep it sufficiently inoffensive on the surface, as a way to keep parents and feminists quiet). If he follows the instructions, the article suggests, a boy will exercise his dating chops, and learn how to systematically demystify women. At the same time, he'll build up his confidence, his charm, and eventually squash the jitters and shakes caused by scary girls.

"Notice a girl's funky shoes, her hairstyle, her fast track speed at last week's meet, the article tells us, and she'll be carving her phone number into your forearm."
After reading the article, which attempts to simplify the neuroses of the female species into elementary terms, girls will seem incredibly easy to break, especially with the power of the compliment. All people, but especially young women, according to this article, respond most enthusiastically to compliments. "Girls love compliments!" the MH18 web site declares. You can have them swooning over you with a few well-placed words. This may be true, but the whole thngs reeks of manipulation. Aren't we all influenced by attention and praise? Is this only a female trait?

Notice a girl's funky shoes, her hairstyle, her fast track speed at last week's meet, the article tells us, and she'll be carving her phone numberinto your forearm. Even the most socially inept, bumbling idiot can look like he's got game.

Sad, but true. We girls are raised to build our self-esteems around the acceptance of others around us. Attention equals power and when boys figure out that's all we really want, some boys will get what they want, if it's sex or just a date to the latest Mummy flick. But what about boys who actually do want to connect with the cute girl wearing funky shoes in his English class? Lets hope he feels comfortable creating his own game plan and focuses just on her. He may gain some tips from the 30-30 plan along the way, (althought they do bring in expert advice from anthropologists that say things like "Women get intimacy from face-to-face talking, men get intimacy from side-by-side doing. If you do something that involves more face-to-face talking, youre going to get some intimacy out of it.") but it will not be his dating Bible by any means.

As for girls, they should watch out for the boy on the 30-30 prowl. He may be more interested in the date than in those funky shoes or her quirky personality. Or that's what this article tells us. There is more emphasis on "scoring" dates than on how to really connect with someone of the opposite sex. It stays true to its basketball analogy: racking up points on the scoreboard is the name of the game.

But this is the summer issue, after all, so maybe it is possible. Tell us what you think about the 30/30 advice and tell us about it on our message boards.

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