1 Because you’re desperate: From dressing like an overexcited Elton John to babbling desperately in conversation, the pitfalls of trying too hard with the opposite sex are as many as they are varied. If you can’t for the life of you work out why you always fail no matter what you do, then consider this fact: you just might be trying too hard. It’s one we have all mulled over at some point in our lives. One solution to ridding yourself of desperation is to eliminate desire. You can do this by going out with someone so unappealing that the very thought of pairing makes you physically sick (as the saying goes, you have to slay a few dragons to get to the princess). Failing that, buy a dog.
2 Because you’re cheap: Are you the kind of person who winces when you sit down to dinner, partly because of the small fortune you’re about to splash out, but mainly because your wallet is nailed firmly shut?
Then you’re probably the type of parsimonious skinflint who’d rather drag your dinner companion to the Manama Souq and then haggle for dinner in one of the Indian vegetarian joints rather than see that person again. If this describes you, and your date is female, head to some of the numerous ladies’ nights around town (see the nightlife listings section under ‘Deals’), where you she can drink for free and you can sip warm
3 Because you’re afraid of commitment: Bahrain is full of people like you, who can’t commit to living in one country, let alone living with one person. One remedy is to find a new love online who lives far away, preferably more than 10 hours on a plane, as several thousand miles of ocean should prevent any feelings of claustrophobia. However, if the very concept of a relationship still makes you feel nauseous, start small. Enroll at a gym for a month, and bravely book yourself in for a free training session. Fitness First (13 322 200) is a good option, as here they simply won’t take no for an answer and will call you more often than a pestering partner. Or sign up for amateur dramatics at the British Club (17 728 245), where the show can’t go on unless you’re present.
4 Because you’re overweight: So the dreaded Bahrain bulge has finally caught up with you. Join the club. At Time Out Bahrain we’re so fat we can hardly fit through the door thanks to all the free lunches we’re scoffing. First up, join the Bahrain Roadrunners (www.bahrainroadrunner.com) to pound off those pounds. At the same time, book in for a course of colonic irrigation (Dubai has many - let us know if you find one here!) and have a sauna installed so you can purge yourself of all the chocolate that you’ve jammed in your mouth these past few years. If you’re just not one for exercise or culinary privation, wear clothes that flatter. Leggings for ladies are out, even if you’ve got a smock dress over the top. Full skirts and blouses look best. And for the men, never ever wear wife beaters – it’s just not happening.
5 Because you’re too shy: If you fall into this category, the chances are you’re reading this knowing full well you’re not going to do anything, no matter what we say. A cooking class? Too many people. Online? You’ve poked around but think it’s for losers. The fast fix is to grab a non-judgmental friend and do something that you’ve never done before. The Grape Escape on Tuesday nights at Camelot (17 717 370) is a great way to ease yourself into being sociable, while going to Monday Karaoke Night at JJs (17 742 323) is the perfect spot to see other people humiliating themselves, and an antidote to social terror.
6 Because you’re self-obsessed: If you are increasingly finding there’s increasingly only room for one in your life and that’s you, then maybe it’s time to remedy this no-good attitude. To realise how unimportant you are in the scale of things, head to the BSPCA animal centre (17 591 231) to see how some animals in Bahrain suffer at the intolerable cruelty of some humans. And then contact the Migrant Workers Protection Society (17 827 895) to see how our society treats some of its poorest members. If that doesn’t deflate you, drive around town on a Thursday evening and let all the beeping and caterwauling burst your bubble.
7 Because you’re ugly: OK, so you lost the genetic lottery. Take cues from the legions of Bahrain locals and expats who have made an art out of compensating for their physical shortcomings by creating a distracting armour of well-honed style. Begin by accessorising like crazy; the well-edited racks of belts, bags and scarves at Stradivarius (17 172 306) supply everything you’ll need to play up the ultra-trendy angle. Then, sharpen your wicked sense of humour by sitting in on a few shows at the Arabian Knights of Comedy (visit Imran Alaradi’s website www.imranalaradi.com for details of when the next one is). After all, if humour works for Ricky Gervais, it can work for you. And if all else fails, take them to the Friday brunch at Ric’s Kountry Kitchen (17 725 550). By the end of the evening your dining partner will have miraculously transformed into George Clooney or Megan Fox.
8 Because you’re too pretty: So, you’ve been blessed with fab abs and your jawline is positively jaw-dropping. The only problem is that everyone thinks you’re way out of their league. Perhaps divert the attention from your looks with a visit to a dimly-lit bar – a dark corner of somewhere like Diggers (17 224 000) should do it. The alternative, of course, is to free yourself of your good looks – a few Thai kickboxing lessons at EZ Fit Sportsplex (17 692 378) should help test the theory that looks aren’t everything after all.
9 Because you work all hours: We’ve seen your type in the workplace. You have a sleeping bag under your desk just in case it’s going to be ‘a late one’; you keep a slice of Kendal mint cake in your jacket pocket to avoid going to lunch; and you have a flare-gun on standby just in case you get swept away in a paperwork avalanche. But if you’re that addicted to work, there’s still time to get out there, even if out there is not really all that far out at all. Shwarma Alley, famed for its cheap late night kebabs, in Adliya tends to be open 24 hours, and while you might not fall in love with the rotisserie carver (though, know knows?), there’s every chance you’ll meet another workaholic there, who is frankly the only person who will put up with your incessant chirping about your job. Failing that, get a job that doesn’t involve any actual work at all, but pays a lot of money, like the one Victoria Beckham does.
10 Because you party too much: Your eyes are sparkling, the positive vibes are humming, and your wit is so sharp it could dice a tomato and call it a salsa – how could your potential soulmate fail to be blown away? Probably because, in actual fact, your eyes look like pink ping-pong balls set in lime jelly, your wit has gone wet and the only thing that’s humming is your breath. It’s amazing how too much partying can distort reality, so why not improve your chances of success by staying dry for a change? Try some of the unlicensed coffee shops in Adliya where you can hang out with locals whilst enjoying a cup of coffee and a nice strawberry juice. We recommend Chaise Cafe (17 715 161).
11 Because you can’t get over your ex: Breaking up, as the Walker Brothers sang so sweetly, is a very hard thing to do. To help you get over your such an obvious trauma, you need to rediscover yourself. A spot of quiet contemplation might help get your head in order with meditation teacher Anubhaa Sharma (39 620 488) or the Bahrain Meditation Centre (17 712 545). If that gets a little lonely, offer to help out with Think Pink (39 076 717), Bahrain’s leading breast cancer charity and Bahrain’s most active fundraisers.
12 Because you have no style: ‘In a lot of cases, these sort of people try to wear things that are way too out-there,’ says celebrity stylist Dalia Anderson. Anderson, who has dressed Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Missy Elliott, among other A-listers, recommends replacing your tartan trousers with more conservative, stylish pieces culled from department stores and clean-cut fashion emporiums such as Gap, Banana Republic or Zara, ‘where you won’t go crazy and find things that are all over the place.’ According to Anderson, ladies should think sleek – a simple tee, a fitted blazer, well-tailored bootcut or straight-leg black pants. Apparently fellas should base their look on a prep school uniform: a crisp shirt, a paisley or textured tie in a subtle hue, a sweater vest and dark-rinse jeans. Or stuff all that, grab a ratty T-shirt and those ten-year-old jeans and head to Wrangler (17 827 600), where no one gives a toss what they look like.
13 Because you’re boring: Do you render friends insensible with lethargy every time you speak? Does your mother doze off when you’re on the phone? Does the cat leave the room when you enter? Then it’s time to inject some much needed vitality into your tedious existence. Put your foot down in a positive way at the BIC (17 450 000), where once a month regular drivers can have a spin at the internationally renowned track. Alongside that, get into the water for a spot of powerboating (offered at Bahrain Sailing Club – 17 836 078). At least, going this fast, no one will be able to hear you speak.
14 Because you’re obsessed with Facebook: There was a time when you actually spoke to people. To their faces. Yes, strange concept isn’t it? Now it’s just easier to leave messages on their Facebook wall or give them a virtual online cuddle. To socialise you don’t even need to leave your bedroom any more, and even when you do, you start conversations with, ‘Guess who I saw on Facebook today?’ Going cold turkey can be tough, so try to seek out Wi-Fi enabled cafés to get yourself out of the house whilst trying to control your addiction. Alternatively, just alienate yourself from everyone you know on the site by announcing your conversion to Scientology or joining the BNP.
15 Because you have a kid: As far as you’re concerned, they’re a picture of innocence, a vision of cuteness and the only true beacon of light in your life. But to a potential partner, they might come across as the very epitome of chaos and darkness. So when it comes to spending time with that special someone, it might be a good idea to keep your children occupied. At Studio Ceramics, your child can paint a mug while you and your date drink from one, which should at least keep part of the conversation free from baby talk. If you want rid of them completely, Mums In Bahrain (www.mumsinbahrain.net) have a good database of nannies.
16 Because you’re too nice: Aww, you’re a big cuddly puppy aren’t you? Yes you are. A big sweet puppy who everybody likes but nobody wants. Find your inner anger. Don’t be that puppy – be the bear. The bear gets the honey, and to unleash the bear you need to get angry. Here are five simple things you can do:
1 Try to find a taxi anywhere other than the Bab Al Bahrain.
2 Call any bank and try and get them to explain how their loans work.
3 Two words – letting agents.
4 Take the free gym-trial at Fitness First and put your real mobile number on the entry form. The subsequent, and seemingly endless, calls trying to get you to join will invoke Incredible Hulk levels of rage.
5 Drink three espressos then try and drive around the city during rush hour. Failing that, the next best thing to a real life Fight Club is Thai Kickboxing at EZ Fit Sportsplex (17 692 378).
17 Because you’re so damn angry: We know that your parents didn’t understand you and work is awful and that guy just cut you up on Budaiya Highway and the manakish man gave you cheese bread when you very clearly said zaatar. All of that is certainly annoying. But the way you’re getting bent out of shape about it is highly unattractive. Clearly you need an outlet for your rage – one that won’t bruise or push back. Join the ranks of your fellow steamed city folk and start an internet blog. If you’re looking for something a little more physical, channel your agitation and turn it into competition by joining one of Bahrain’s myriad social sports groups (see the Sports listings for more details). In the event that you get kicked off the team for biting someone’s ear off, perhaps opt for yoga at the Bayoga Centre (17 725 027), when you can try to locate your inner zen.
18 Because you’re shallow: You’re a vacuous philistine, an empty vessel. OK, we know you’re not really. You’re a witty, sparkling, walking repository of cultural knowledge, steeped in art and literature. If only you could just get round to expressing it properly. Replenish the soul with visits to some of Bahrain’s finest contemporary art galleries. Al Riwaq Art Space (17 717 441) and Albareh Art Gallery (17 717 707) are two of the best galleries in the country, and exhibit some of the best artists in the region.
19 Because your social circle is too small: You’ve made the move to Bahrain, you’ve acclimatised to the heat and located your favourite hangouts – but a year later you’re still knocking about with the workmate who showed you where the bathrooms were on your first day. If you ever want to find love in this country, it’s time to spread those clipped social wings. Luckily for you, expat-heavy Bahrain is perhaps one of the easiest places to meet new people, with plenty of non-humiliating social groups already set up for newcomers. If you’re a girl, join Sunday Newcomers (39 270 413). If you’re a bloke then hang out with Hash House Harriers (17 862 620). Since these are single-sex groups, you are unlikely to find your future partner there. But there’s always someone who knows someone who knows someone...
20 Because you can’t dance: Remember the glances John Travolta got from his fellow cast members when he stepped onto the dancefloor in Saturday Night Fever? And how Patrick Swayze stole so many female hearts in the 80s snapping off moves in Dirty Dancing? In some cultures, a dance can make it rain and save lives – it’s powerful stuff and you need it in your wooing repertoire. Get those hips snaking with salsa lessons at Slasa Bahrain (39 676 349) and give the latinos a cha cha cha for their money. Illustrations: Tim Bradford.