David Coleman - "The Dating Doctor!"
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David Coleman - "The Dating Doctor!"

Allendale, Michigan, United States

Allendale, Michigan, United States
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"Meet a real-life 'Hitch'"

David Coleman sees plenty of parallels between Will Smith's character in the new movie Hitch and his own career helping others find love.

Will Smith plays a dating coach who can't take his own advice in i.
Columbia Pictures

Coleman says he has called himself "The Dating Doctor" since 1985. The movie's fictional New Yorkers call Alex "Hitch" Hitchens "the Date Doctor."

"I'm flattered that in the movie, he makes what I do cool," says Coleman, 43, of Loveland, Ohio.

Unlike secretive Hitch, Coleman and a legion of others across the country are happy to see the spotlight on those who earn a comfortable living analyzing the relationship mistakes of others.

It's good for the business, says Chicago resident Patti Feinstein, who calls herself "America's Dating Coach." She says the number of hits on her Web site tripled in the past week, which she attributes to the film.

The movie, which is about a consultant who prods romantically challenged men into wooing the women of their dreams, set a record for the biggest opening ever for a romantic comedy.

"If anything, it's going to draw more attention to what we do," she says.

Some real-life Hitches call themselves "dating coaches"; others are "dating experts" or "dating advisers." But all have the same idea: offering a personal approach to solving their clients' dating problems. Most real-life pupils want their love tutors to help them meet someone or repair a broken heart.

Despite a seemingly endless array of dating books spewing rules and tips, contrivances such as speed dating and the abundance of online dating sites, some people are willing to pay the kind of money these coaches draw. For personal advice tailored to the client, charges run the gamut — $45 for an e-mail, up to $250 for a phone consultation and as much as $1,500 for face-to-face meetings over a period of time.

Some will shadow a date and film the encounters to show their clients where they erred. Others take the Hitch approach and will even tutor on-the-spot with clever comebacks as they go to the grocery store or on errands with their clients.

David Wygant of Seattle views himself as a dating agent, touting image and wardrobe tips as well as dating do's and don'ts. Wygant, 42, also hosts parties so his clients can network. For $10,000, he will even move in for the weekend and provide 24/7 access to his wisdom for the next three months.

"I really believe you need to get to know somebody incredibly in order to help them and market them to the opposite sex," says Wygant, who shares his advice in a new book, Always Talk to Strangers.

Sue Kim, 32, sought a dating coach because she had not been in a serious relationship in seven years.

"I was just kind of stuck in a rut and didn't know where to start," says Kim, who works in finance in New York City. She took to heart Jeff Cohen's advice to approach dating more seriously.

"Dating was more like 'If it happens, it happens, and will work itself out,' " she says. "He made me realize that if you're open to it and you want it, you should take steps and actions to accomplish it."

Cohen, who lives in New Jersey, says he was his own first client. Once he plotted a systematic approach, it led him to 77 blind dates, three Club Med trips, a gold membership in a dating service and five summer trips to the beach with groups of singles before meeting his wife of two years on Date 78.

Dating gurus say well-educated professionals who are accomplished in the workplace but haven't found the same rewards in their personal lives seem to be the most in need of advice. That is, people like 30-year-old Allyson Heumann of Chicago, a never-married options trader.

"I was going on a lot of dates but wasn't really having any success," she says. "I wasn't having a problem finding dates, but none of the dates were turning into relationships."

Gail Prince of Evanston, Ill., has worked with singles about 20 years. She says a big problem is the dating frenzy that follows a bad breakup.

"The first piece of homework I give them is to stop dating," she says. "They're dating for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way."

Angelo Cacciatore, 44, a computer programmer from New York City, had the opposite problem. He says he didn't date much until he sought a dating coach.

"I felt clueless out there," he says. Less than a year later, he's in a relationship and she's moving in with him.

That same uncertainty led Kevin Bisch, 32 and single, to write the screenplay for the movie Hitch.

"I met a girl I was so tongue-tied around," he says. "I couldn't believe what a wreck I was around this girl. The notion and wish for a date doctor really stuck in my head."

The resemblance between Coleman's own career — including an allergic reaction similar to a scene in Hitch — struck Coleman so much that he and Sony Pictures have worked out an agreement for him to promote the movie on his speaking tour. The studio has provided hi - Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY


"HITCH' VS. REALITY: A real date doctor says that the Will Smith movie Hitch, which opens today, is an amazingly accurate depiction of his profession, Hollywood embellishments aside.

"I don't meet people on a street corner and hand out a card," said David Coleman, who has been doing this for 20 years his Web site is www.datingdoctor.com) And he doesn't give personal kissing and dance lessons (though he addresses those subjects in his speeches, books, CD, video, radio shows and interviews).

But key plot points in Hitch have Smith's Alex Hitchens employing some of Coleman's basic rules for wooing, winning and wowing. "It's amazing how much of what he does ... I do," Coleman said.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES A "DATE DOCTOR' DO? "I give (people) a plan of action and encourage them to try for the relationship in life they really want," Coleman said in a phone interview Wednesday from Oshkosh, Wis., where he was making an appearance at a campus of the University of Wisconsin.

This brings us to Hitch instructional point No. 1: "The first thing they say in the movie is that on any given day, at any time, in any situation ... the right man can win over any woman," said Coleman, who saw a screening the night before. "Most people in this country lack the courage to try. ... I try to ... convince them that no one is out of their league."

THE FAT PENGUIN THEORY: It's related to Hitch instructional point No. 2: "It's played out in the movie but not in the terms I use," Coleman said. "I tell people right up front that I want them to meet their "Hmm.' "


"You saw some guy who just stopped you dead in your tracks. You went "Hmm.' "

To meet this person, you must not be afraid, Coleman teaches. You must be the fat penguin: "Fat penguins break the ice," he said.

FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE: "What Will Smith says about women equating dancing with sex, that is pretty true," Coleman said, establishing Hitch instructional point No. 3. Women think that a bad-dancing man is a bad-between-the-sheets man, he said. Not that a woman needs to see a man dance to reach a negative conclusion about his lovemaking skills. "That's the No. 1 complaint I got last year: Why are men such horrible lovers?" Coleman said.

EQUAL TIME TIME: Coleman's No. 1 complaint from men about women is that women want the bad boy, not the nice guy.

And we're at Hitch instructional point No. 4: "Will Smith does a pretty good job of this. He teaches these men - same as I do my audience - what mistakes they are making," Coleman said. "Nice guys often do finish last. They divulge too much information too quickly, they are overly needy and desperate right from the start, they try to take care of a woman's needs before the woman knows what she needs.

"I don't teach nice guys to become jerks. They just have to be a little bit less available."

THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A GOOD PICKUP LINE: Though it's not a line as much as a scenario, Coleman said. This is reflected in Hitch instructional point No. 5, a scene involving Smith, a woman he's interested in, a bar and a drink. "Take advantage of another guy's opening-line failure," Coleman said.

NO ONE IS HOPELESS AT THIS. UNLESS ...: Some people have given up on themselves and won't even try, Coleman said. In Hitch instructional point No. 6, this is the character played by Kevin James, who yearns for a woman who would fit the "out of his league" category. "What Will Smith teaches him is what I try to teach every single night," Coleman said. "You have to be rare to be recognized."

- By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer

"Reel To Real: Do Date Doctors Like 'Hitch' Really Exist? They sure do."

The Reel Story: This past weekend, the effortlessly charming Will Smith propelled yet another film into the #1 spot at the box office — "Hitch." However, while Smith has always charmed the ladies in his movies, his turn as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens finds him in a new role — the romantic lead. Smith's Hitch is a swinging New York "date doctor" who makes a living as an instructor in the ways of wooing women.

Kevin James' woefully fumbling Albert enlists the aid of Hitch to help him connect with his dream girl, heiress Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta — who's probably pretty comfortable in that role). Hitch schools Albert in the ways of the world, basically putting him through a one-on-one charm school. He learns to dance, make small talk and, of course, gets his back waxed. His credo (stale though it may be) is "Any man has a chance to sweep a woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom." Hitch is a one-man "Extreme Makeover" and Dr. Phil, helping the clueless jump into the dating pool.

Meanwhile, he's romancing — with mixed success — Eva Mendes' Sara, promptly forgetting his own lessons and generally acting a fool.

Of course, we can't help but wonder, are there real date doctors? And can they really help?

The Real Story: Of course there are. Since the dawn of the human race, people have been trying to figure out how to make a love match, and more than a few professionals have made a living trying to help them. In fact, back in the day, parents would hire matchmakers to find their children advantageous matches. This is still popular in some parts of the world, but doesn't really fly in Western culture.

Thus, the date doctor comes into play, to help people to date with more success and hopefully find their own mate. One such date doctor, David Coleman, is the author of several relationship books, makes public speaking appearances, has appeared on CNN and has been in the pages of Us Weekly.

Coleman has said that his life is remarkably like that of Hitch, but that he doesn't stand on street corners asking for business. We also bet he's not dating Eva Mendes. He speaks to large groups at a time on the college lecture circuit and also addresses corporate groups ... one-on-one business partnerships like the one Will Smith and Kevin James strike up are mighty rare. He is also not actually a doctor, but has a master's degree in personnel administration.

There are also a lot of interesting characters out there who offer their coaching skills, but who may or may not be qualified to dispense advice. One such romance coach, Reid Mihalko, teaches a romance class for men called Malekind 2.0. He also hosts "cuddle parties" that, according to his Web site, are designed to provide a space to explore and enjoy touch, nurturing and communication in a non-sexualized way.

Finally, there are traditional counselors and therapists who specialize in helping people who are having difficulty in the romance and socialization department. These experts won't teach you how to dance, or the finer techniques of a pickup line, but they will help your self-esteem and give your confidence a boost. Not exactly Big Willie style, but it beats watching "The Bachelorette" and eating Lean Cuisine.

Check out everything we've got on "Hitch."

Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, interviews, trailers and more.

- By Tanya Edwards Mancini of MTV

"BGSU Accomplished Graduate Award"

David Coleman '83, '85 of Loveland, Ohio, is known as The Dating Doctor and has spoken to more than five million people in the United States and Canada about prescriptions that lead people to healthier, more satisfying relationships with spouses, families, co-workers and neighbors. Coleman has been named Speaker of the Year six times by Campus Activities Magazine and three times by the National Association for Campus Activities. He recently finished his book and video series, Making Relationships Matter. His other publications include Date Smart, How to Stop Revolving and Start Evolving In Relationships and Let Your Leadership Speak. Coleman received his bachelor's degree in speech pathology and audiology in 1983 and master's degree in college student personnel administration in 1985 from BGSU.
- Bowling Green State University - College of Education and Human Development

"Advice from the ‘Dating Doctor’"

Run out of pick-up lines?

Just ask David Coleman, also as known as the “Dating Doctor.”

The real-life “Hitch” shared his tips for healthy relationships – along with a few of the best and worst pick-up lines he’s heard – with a captivated audience Thursday night in the Bemidji State University Gym.

An estimated 1,000 people, mostly college students, attended Coleman’s talk, “Making Relationships Matter.” The event was held in conjunction with National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week at BSU.

“The ‘Dating Doctor’ is really the premier event for this week,” said Jay Passa, health education coordinator for BSU’s Student Health Service. “He explains things so well. The message he sends is clear.”

Speaking on topics ranging from basic differences between men and women to five characteristics of a healthy relationship, Coleman, who inspired some of the scenes in the movie “Hitch,” engaged audience members by encouraging their participation. Midway through his talk and at the end, he gave audience members the chance to ask questions.

“It’s very open,” Coleman said. “It’s very honest.”

In a Thursday afternoon interview, he said he aims to help people get out of their own way when it comes to relationships. Through his talk, he added, his hope was to help every single one of the audience members find their “Hmmmmm,” or someone who stops them dead in their tracks.

Many people, he said, don’t say hello to their “Hmmmmm” because they didn’t have a plan of action and the courage. During his talk, he offered tips to those wanting a little guidance.

Everyday people hesitate to say they have feelings for someone is one more day their hopeful might meet someone else, Coleman said.

He added that the five stages of a relationship are infatuation, discovery, reality, decision and commitment. One mistake, he said, is staying in a relationship out of obligation.

What drives him to do his job is what he calls “the big lie,” which is when people think no one else will want them if they let go of their significant other.

In the interview earlier Thursday, Coleman said the first thing he tries to do when talking with people is to change their mindsets. He said he tries to redirect their focus from negative feelings about themselves to positive feelings.

During his talk, the “Dating Doctor” offered five characteristics of a healthy relationship, including trust and respect.

“Respect is mutual, respect is equal, respect is earned,” Coleman said.

He said the other three characteristics are intimacy, passion and commitment.

In light of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Coleman said relationships and alcohol don’t mix.

“My entire program is (about) having a quality relationship,” he said during the interview. “Drinking changes everything. People lose their inhibitions when they drink.”

Audience responds

Many of the audience members said they enjoyed Coleman’s presentation.

“This is the third time I’ve heard David speak and I’m still in awe,” Passa said.

He added that he was thrilled with the turnout for the talk.

Freshman Pran Puapanich said also she enjoyed listening to the “Dating Doctor.”

“He was really funny and he really knows what he’s talking about,” she said.

Freshman Samantha Rich agreed the talk was informative. She said it was one of those presentations that empowers people to do something they otherwise might not.

“He left you with really good feeling,” Rich added. “Plus, it was funny.”

Sophomore Orlando Alamano said Coleman was entertaining and offered useful tips.

“He was really down to earth,” he said.

Some of the topics Coleman touched on are those that people often don’t feel really comfortable talking about, added senior James Midboe.

“He told reality,” he said.

A real-life ‘Hitch’

Since the movie “Hitch” came out in February, the hits on Coleman’s “Dating Doctor” Web site have about tripled.

In the interview, he said the popularity of “Hitch” has made people more aware of what his job is and how he does it.

“I don’t have to do a lot of explaining,” said Coleman, who promoted the movie.

Some of his own personal experiences inspired scenes in the movie, which tells the story of an accountant who hires Hitch, a New York City “date doctor,” to help him capture the heart of his dream date.

“I did have my face blow up like a balloon,” Coleman said.

While dining out before one of his shows, he had an allergic reaction to the iodine lining his Pacific swordfish. Like Coleman, Will Smith’s character Hitch’s face swelled up after he ate something allergic.

“I went to the emergency room,” said Coleman, adding that the nurse gave him 1,000 milligrams of Benadryl.

In the movie, Hitch stops at a store to buy some of the medication t - By Michelle Ruckdaschel Pioneer Staff Writer





David Coleman
"America's Dating Doctor!"

Let's face it, the immediacy of technology has changed relationships forever. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat...relationships can begin or end in the blink of an eye and messages can be clearly interpreted or completely misunderstood. A one word text can change someone's life forever and lift or destroy their spirit. Now, more than ever, outstanding interpersonal skills are a MUST if your relationships are to stand a fighting chance.

14-Time Speaker of the Year, David Coleman, The Dating Doctor, will help you discover (within 5 minutes!) if someone is worth pursuing, how to find a partner who complements you, how to survive a bad break up, how to become a more passionate and safer lover and how to identify if you share the three types of love necessary for a healthy and successful romance. Reporting "on-line" to be "in a relationship" is a far cry from actually being in one and David will help you navigate those tough dating waters. David is the only speaker ever to be named Entertainer of the Year and after attending his show we are sure you'll understand why!


David Coleman is known worldwide as The Dating Doctor.™ He has been honored thirteen times as The National Speaker of the Year— 10 times by Campus Activities Magazine and 3 times by The National Association for Campus Activities and was honored as the 2011 National Entertainer of the Year! He is a highly sought after speaker, author, entertainer, radio and television personality.

David received his B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology ('83) and his Master of Arts in College Student Personnel ('85) from Bowling Green State University (BGSU). His book, Making Relationships Matter, has completed its second printing run, and his previous works, Date Smart! and 101 Great Dates are well respected and continue to impact lives worldwide. David has also contributed to five outstanding collaborative efforts, Leadership's Greatest Hits, Let Your Leadership Speak, BluePrints for Success, Why We Hover, and Keys to Success in College and Life. These publications are all filled with anecdotes, strategies and ideas to help expand one's relationships and potential. His compact disk, Prescriptions for Life and Relationships is a humorous, challenging and candid resource that examines the subtleties and complexities surrounding dating, relationships, romance and sex. David also had a story featured in the national best seller, Chicken Soup for the College Soul.

David has been featured in such fine publications as Us Magazine, Glamour, Celebrity Living, Mademoiselle, Women's World, Cosmopolitan, The USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has been featured on CNN as well as on all major television networks and on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

David has spoken to more than 2,000,000 people in all 50 states, Canada and Europe and another 20,000,000 through his appearances on radio, television, and in print, Audience members at more than 2,500 college campuses, corporations, conferences, single's organizations, military installations, churches, and civic groups have experienced his energetic and entertaining programs. He has been a featured speaker for all branches of our Military Service, the Sprint Corporation, Merrill Lynch, The Kroger Co., Federated and Flo-Tork, Inc. as well as civic organizations such as MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), Junior Achievement, Circle K International, and Mortar Board.

David received a National Service Citation from President George Bush, and has served as a spokesperson for Microsoft's Streets and Trips campaign , Abbott Labs Humira campaign, English Leather Cologne and Coca Cola's Fuze Black and Green Tea.