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The question

Dating for me has been hard. There is rarely interest from either side beyond the first date, so I continue to schedule dates with women using a "spray and pray" approach.

I've been dating someone for two months, and the relationship progressed very slowly. She's a very good person, but it was barely moving forward. So I went out on a first date with a second woman. The chemistry was instantly there, as was the sexual attraction. Meanwhile, the first woman has started to indicate more interest in me. They are both wonderful people, and I can see a future with either of them.

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I'm stuck now because I'm in a non-exclusive dating situation with both, where the first one is slowly letting down her defences, while I very much want to see where things with the second will go. What should I do?

The answer

Okay, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "spray and pray."

And I'm not sure I want to know. It makes you sound like a skunk, or feral alley cat.

I've heard job seekers use the term to describe how they send out their résumé to everyone they can think of, everyone under the sun, then sit back and pray for a thumbs-up-type response.

What I call "the shotgun approach."

I've just never heard it used to describe someone's love life before.

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I guess what you're saying is you spray your love buckshot, willy-nilly into the night, then wait, praying, to see if some fetching young thing in a little black dress will land with a dull thud in your bed.

And on this occasion you managed to hit two unsuspecting young ladies with your romance bullets.

But, whether it be in work or love, I've never been a big fan of the shotgun approach.

I prefer "The Sniper Approach." Identify the person you want to woo/hire you/publish your manuscript/listen to your demo. Learn about the person, his/her likes and dislikes, habits and so forth. Draw a bead on his/her melon.

Then, and only then, when you are confident you have a clear shot, slowly squeeze the trigger.…

From the moment I first spotted Pam, the bombshellicious, rocket-scientific babe who would later become my wife, I - well, I don't like to divulge too many details of my bachelor campaign.

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I'm afraid if they fell into the wrong hands, they could be converted into a Weapon of Mass Seduction; and all over the country impecunious zhlubs like me would make off with all the top babes; and doctors, lawyers, maybe even architects would just stand there, stunned, their Porsche keys dangling uselessly from their fingers.

Society would teeter on the verge of collapse.

Suffice to say for now from the moment I got her in my crosshairs I wove an entire fictional world around her, full of hired stooges, false coincidences and elaborate set-pieces. Like they do to Jim Carrey in The Truman Show .

I had half the city working undercover for me. It was, if I say so myself, the chef d'oeuvre of a Machiavellian master-bachelor.

But sir: I could never have pulled it off if I were juggling some other girl as well.

You'd always have to be lying, prevaricating, saying, "Ooh, I can't see you tonight," and so on. How can you conduct a courtship under those conditions?

Therefore, at the risk of stating the obvious, your first step is to decide which of these two women you like better. In your letter you said: "They are both wonderful people, and I can see a future with either of them."

Please. You sound like one of those un-menschy über-douches on The Bachelor (who all turn out to be lying and cheating on the women they claim to be pledging undying love to - at least, if my subscription to US Weekly is to be believed). I don't care what anyone says on these moronic reality shows: In the opinion of David Eddie, Esq., you can only "connect" romantically with one person at a time.

Therefore, choose one. Tell the one you decide against: "Sorry, I'm interested in someone else."

Then commence to come down on the other one like monsoon rains on a tropical mud hut.

(You haven't given me much to go on as to which one would be the better choice, but the second one sounds more promising: instant attraction is a good sign, I think. I'm also no big believer in these war-of-attrition type courtships.)

Whichever you do choose, go strong for the hoop, radiating unconflicted interest and unbridled enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, maybe it's time to develop yourself personally, cultivate more interests, read more widely, become more passionate and complex. "There is rarely interest from either side beyond the first date" is a statement that fills me with sadness; but why is it so?

Perhaps you should attempt to become more interest ing , and interest ed , in life and affairs and things in general; and you'll be able to generate more interest when you encounter the opposite sex.

If you do all these things that Dr. Dave prescribes, you may soon find your "spray and pray" days are behind you forever.

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, will be published in the spring of 2010.

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