Are you a girl? Did you spend your Valentine’s Day dateless? If so, are you looking for a way to put a positive spin on the situation? Alison James, author of “I Used To Miss Him…But My Aim Is Improving,” has obviously gone through this experience and claims to offer girls a successful way to cope.

From the advertisements for her presentation on Feb. 9 at Hoyt Auditorium, I was expecting a female empowerment session, with a little bit of humor thrown in. What I got, however, was a set of instructions on how to wallow in my self-pity, which I could have easily accomplished on my own. For example, James suggested ways for girls to celebrate Valentine’s Day without a guy – sit at home and eat Ben & Jerry’s, put your ex’s picture on a piata and beat it or – this is the best yet – make matching shirts and have a night out on the town with your girlfriends while wearing the matching shirts.

James went on to offer five rules for finding and maintaining a new relationship that will be more successful than the last. None of these rules contain any earth-shattering new ideas – in fact, they seem pretty obvious. Rule No. 1 is called “Feel the Love,” which means make yourself happy first. If you are looking for a relationship because you have no other hobbies or activities to fill your time, your new boyfriend may be frightened away by your neediness. Rule No. 2 touts the importance of “female bonding,” which means that it is not cool to drop your girlfriends when a boyfriend comes along – or as I like to call it – “Chicks before Dicks.” Particularly pertinent at this time of year is Rule No. 3, which says to make sure that your guy treats you well all year-round, not just on special holidays like Valentine’s Day.

In Rule No. 4, James suggests walking to class a different way and sitting in a new seat in order to “take a break from the routine” and possibly meet that special someone.

Rule No. 5 is, in my opinion, the most amusing – “Don’t have contact with nasty people.” This is pretty self-explanatory, unless, of course, you are one of those aforementioned nasty people, in which case the rule doesn’t apply.

At the end of the presentation, attendees were given the opportunity to ask James their burning questions about relationships. The answers they received seemed mostly to buy in to gender stereotypes.

The presentation by James was neither useful nor entertaining in the end – with some exceptions that were few and far between. All of the tips James offered could be called common sense, and you are probably better off not engaging in her suggested stereotypical and pathetic behavior.

Geswein can be reached at

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