Dating guru DJ Wang tells Paul Little a few of his tips for the romantically challenged.
For someone running something as out there as dating workshops, DJ Wang - that's his name - has a surprisingly old-fashioned attitude to romance.
"The social dynamic has changed a lot since the days when you used to pick up the phone and call someone," says DJ. "Since the introduction of the internet and cellphones, people have become socially inept. It's a lot different from when you used to walk up to someone and say, do you want to go out?"
He wants to help the romantically challenged by turning back the clock to the days of talking to people face to face.
It all began when, after a long time as half of a couple, he found himself suddenly single a couple of years ago.
"I stepped into a whole new world and it was like, wow, what do I do? I had to refine my skills."
Thirtysomething DJ was "made in Taiwan", moved to New Zealand with his family as a child, and has lived in South America and the United States.
As well as coaching the romantically unfit he also coaches athletes and tops the lot off with a bit of modelling and acting.
His confidence today is the result of challenges he set himself. "When I first was single, during summer I went down to the beach and forced myself to talk to strangers. It's daunting to go and start talking to people by yourself. But it's fun."
So conspicuously successful were the skills he developed that friends started asking for his advice. "I'd been doing it for free for them for a long time when they suggested I should sell it as a service."
The dating workshops are done in groups, usually pairs of singles. When DJ meets a client, male or female, he evaluates their appearance, bearing, and communication skills.
"I want to know where you've been, what you've done, what you do now. I do a full assessment of your style and personality."
Then he takes them out to a venue of their choice to teach them some strategies and let them practise. If that's a bar, it's a bar, but DJ is canny enough to know that "if you're looking for a girlfriend in a bar, you're going to be disappointed. However, the skills you learn there are going to be transportable to other aspects of your life."
Sex is low on the list of his educational priorities. "We're not sexually motivated. What we're about is developing a nice set of social skills that you can apply anywhere."
Under his tutelage the desperately dateless will learn the likes of the 10-second rule and the two-minute rule. Apparently, if a woman shows a flicker of interest in a man by, say, smiling, he has 10 seconds to approach her before forever being deemed a coward. Having leapt that hurdle and started a conversation, if he doesn't get some positive feedback within 120 seconds, it's time to leave. Oh, and a lot of eye contact just "looks needy".
All very sage, but does DJ have the results to show for it? He admits he hasn't been invited to a client's wedding yet but says everyone he has helped has managed to get a date.
"What I teach is how to build a repertoire of skills and especially conversational skills. How you stand out from the rest of the crowd. You don't have to be good looking, but you have to have an edge to give the opposite sex a reason to choose you."
If you're keen
Where: Dating workshops are held on Saturdays at the Ponsonby Social Club, $99.
Contact: DJ Wang 021 173 7257