Friday, June 27, 2008

The Dating Doctor Interview

My interview with the "Dating Doctor", Daniel Packard, appears in this week's WestEnder. The layout is great, so pick up a copy if you can.

By Andrea Warner

Lots of people rely on social lubricant (i.e. getting drunk) to take them from “You come here often?” to “Can I fix you some breakfast?”

Unfortunately, the path from A rarely leads to B, so think of the Dating Doctor, Daniel Packard, as your personal guide through the twisted and thorny trappings of Flirting 101.

Packard got his start as a comedian before launching his wildly successful and controversial show, Live Group Sex Therapy. Recognizing that everyone needs help hooking up, he’s now made a career out of it. His work has taken him to locales as far-flung as Dubai and Greece, and his monthly FlirtFest nights with the Rendezvous Club in Vancouver are proving to be sold-out celebrations of female empowerment and male wish fulfillment, of which he guarantees the clientele is “very attractive.”

The WestEnder talked with Packard about what women want, the biggest misconceptions about men, and how our high school days are never far behind us.

What made you decide to go into this line of work?
High school was my Vietnam. That was my defining emotional experience, and it didn’t go well. I was always a guy I thought was a “catch.” I had a lot to offer, and I’d listen to girls and I heard the things they wanted and I was that, and I found how hard it was for me to connect with women. Part of the teenage adolescent in me, you know, up until about five minutes ago, was lonely and frustrated. I know how hard it can be for people to connect. I guess it came from a certain amount of loneliness and sadness, like any great art, and I’ve just tried to take that negative and turn it into a positive for everybody.

How would you describe FlirtFest?
Essentially, it’s every woman in control and every guy in heaven.

I’ve heard the word “empowered” bandied about…
I want to empower women. I find that in this culture women are enabled to blame men a lot, and no one will really interrupt you. You know, when girls are sitting around talking, and they say “Oh my god, this thing happened”, and the friend doesn’t turn around and say, “Well, let’s take a good long look at your role in the dynamics so you can avoid this pattern in the future.” Men are such easy targets, you know. But anytime somebody blames or gets frustrated, they are not taking responsibility for their actions and then they can’t improve the situation.

You talk a bit about high school. I guess it would be hard to leave certain behaviours behind.
Well, yeah, it’s really hard. And most people will blame until an external force forces you to grow up. And, because men are generally the pursuers, women don’t have to grow up in this area of pursuit. Men will do the work; we’re the hunters. Most women spend a lot of energy in terms of looking cuter, but they don’t spend a lot of energy in terms of becoming emotionally stronger when it comes to going after men.

Would you say you get to be in the very unique position of telling women how to grow up?
I don’t like to say, “Grow up.” I have a lot of compassion and understanding for it—I’m growing up myself. When you’re a guy talking to hundreds of women simultaneously and you say “grow up,” the female mafia will quickly lock arms and take you down. When I first started this, I thought the women would go, “Oh, wow, thanks for the information,” but they just hated me. This was before I knew what I was doing.

What’s the biggest misconception women have about men?
The first is that men like the chase, and the second is that if you sleep with a man too quickly he’ll think you’re a slut. And while there’s a sliver of truth in there, these are basically perpetuated by the female culture. If you believe men like the chase, then guess what? You can avoid walking up to a guy, pursuing him, and getting rejected. You never have to put your ego on the line. And, women have a lot of judgment around sexuality, and they think men have it too, but we don’t.

Have you ever had the women try to pursue you towards the end of the event?
Oh yeah! I’m the alpha male, baby!

For more information about FlirtFest go to

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