Arts

Èva Morin | Fulcrum Contributor

WALKING INTO MY first dating workshop was nothing short of terrifying. Having agreed to participate solely for research purposes, ideas of stereotypical motivational speakers and lonely singles ready to mingle haunted me the night before the seminar.
I spoke to Irene Yarkoni, a dating coach in the Ottawa region, briefly beforehand and was not given many details as to what I should expect. I was relieved to learn the workshops were for small groups of five to 10 people, which eliminated the possibility of coming face-to-face with hoards of confused singles searching for enlightenment.
Appropriately titled Dating 101: For Single Women In Today’s Dating Culture, the workshop was intimately set in Yarkoni’s office. I knew little about her, but what I did know was rather impressive. Fifteen years of experience as a dating guru was nothing short of striking for someone coming into the workshop with vague questions and bipolar expectations.
The workshop begins with Yarkoni making a strong statement, setting the tone for the next three hours .
“This is not what I think is right, but rather what I know is right for women,” she says.
Throughout the seminar, the dating coach boldly and frequently emphasizes how the dating scene has changed in the 21st century—changes mostly related to women’s liberation.
“Women’s financial independence is very important; nevertheless, women’s power in dating is not necessarily an advantage,” she says.
Yarkoni’s dating perspective may seem odd, especially as she insists that a woman should never make the first move.
“A man’s primary goal is to be successful,” she explains. “When a woman makes the first move, he has no success … When a woman makes the first move, she doesn’t know if the man is actually interested, because he was not the one to approach her.”
The workshop continues with an exploration of different qualities found in each gender, and takes a scientific approach to answer why each sex behaves a certain  way.
“There will be no solution for gender differences until there is proper understanding of gender qualities,” says Yarkoni. “Men and women operate differently; understanding this is the first step.”
Research has proven a woman’s limbic area in her brain, which is connected to emotions, is much bigger than a man’s. Women possess 11 per cent more neurons than men, which are directly related to communication and language.
As the seminar progresses, Yarkoni mapped out her three cardinal rules for dating in the beginning stages. Authenticity made the top of the list.
“The reason we are not able to connect with one another is a lack of authenticity on our part, and the reason why we are not authentic is so the other person will not know how we feel,” she explains. “We don’t want to lose the upper hand by exposing our self.”
Having a “joie de vivre”, or love for life, is number two on the list, because according to Yarkoni, it demonstrates that someone is confident and open.
Finally, expressing gender qualities rounds out the love guru’s list.
Despite teaching a seminar on love and dating, Yarkoni doesn’t believe that perfect someone is out there.
“You will never find someone with all [three of] these qualities,” says Yarkoni.
With the workshop coming to an end, Yarkoni gives some tips on how to score a great date in the city.
She encourages women to flirt as much as they can, mainly through the subtle use of open and inviting body language. Yarkoni also gives advice for men on how to approach women.
“There is no sure pick-up line for a man,” advises the love coach to worried men.
“Everything in dating is a game,” she adds. “You just have to know how to play it.”