Me, too—which is why Rachel is my kind of gutsy girl: all the kick of Cheddar on rye, minus any trace of baloney. As in this bit of bluntness she delivers in her chapter "Telemarketing: Bring Out Your Rolodex": "Let me tell you right up front that you're not gonna like this step!" she writes. "But trust me, it can yield very good results... You are going to call everyone you know and directly ask them to fix you up." That means all human life forms currently listed in your Palm V—landlords, lawyers, grannies, hairstylists, florists, stockbrokers, long-lost gal pals from summer camp, former colleagues, and even old boyfriends you're still on good terms with.

Oh, exhale: This approach needn't make you seem desperate. "Each person will probably think you're calling two or three friends, not two or three hundred," Rachel says. She estimates, based on her experience with clients and her business school training, that you'll score one blind date for every ten calls. "Why go through this torture?" she writes. "This statistic says it all: 'Fifty percent of people now married or living together were introduced by good friends or family members.'"

After poring over the 15 steps—everything from "Make The Program Your Number One Priority" to "Pump Up the Volume" ("My approach gives you the tools to attract the highest number of men quickly and efficiently")—I decide to test-drive creating a "personal brand." "This is what sets you apart from your competitors—and to be effective, it must be memorable and specific," she explains. "Madonna's brand might be 'outrageous, sexual pop singer.' We're all multifaceted, so you need to give your friends who'll set you up on blind dates a shorthand way of summing you up." This, she says, derives from the business principle that a well-defined brand is essential to the success of any product, be it Jo Malone fragrance, the U.S. mail, or you. Not only should your brand ring true to your "customers"—the people you'll ask to scare up dates for you or the countless men with whom you'll click Cosmo glasses—it should also be designed to attract the kind of partner you're looking for.

Rachel has me draw up a megalist of my most appealing attributes, like "resilience" and "playfulness." Then I choose three ("writer," "warm smile," and "grew up in Phoenix") as a basis for a brand—"sunny girl from Arizona." On the two websites where I've posted a profile, I update my photo (in the old one, we agree, the bad lighting doesn't exactly say "sunny girl"). I then begin "advertising" by calling every girlfriend I have and asking for a setup. This move alone nets me three dates.

For those who snatch up Rachel's book, I suggest enlisting the help of a supporter (in step two, she suggests you find a "program mentor," preferably someone married) who won't be any less shy than Rachel about delivering the hard news straight. (After seeing my potential online photo, in which I'm sitting on a bed, she asks, "Do you want a husband or a one-night stand?") In this program, the truth is the essential bottom layer upon which your entire five-tier wedding cake will stand.

Within two weeks of trying Rachel's strategies, I, the girl who once spent Friday nights booting up Tivo for an American Idol marathon, am now juggling so many suitors that I've started a "man-agement" diary. One of my dates has even led to a second, a third, and a fourth. What a difference a brand—and perhaps 12 to 18 months—can make.

Before you get married, consider:


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