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As Valentine's Day approaches, Portland's Alma Rubenstein breaks down thoughts on dating and love.

COURTESY PHOTO - Alma Avery Rubenstein, aka 'Date Doctor,' works in the Pearl District, helping others improve their dating game.If you're looking for love — or a date for Valentine's Day — you're not alone.

Alma Avery Rubenstein, the self-professed 'Date Doctor' from Portland, says it's a changing world in the love department, and it's often a topic of interest for people around Valentine's Day.

Rubenstein, a former contestant on "The Bachelor," has an opinion about where we stand on love and dating, given that it's her business — and the 40-something Rubenstein, single herself, said "I'm fighting the fight like everybody else."

Rubenstein said folks need to put down their phones, talk with people, be open to dating, be proactive in meeting somebody in person (and not just online), and just enjoy the whole process. Who knows, maybe love will happen.

"In today's dating culture, people don't celebrate Valentine's Day at all, it's blending in with the other days," said Rubenstein, who has operated as "Date Doctor" for several years in Portland and Seattle with coaching, classes (such as Flirting 101) and speed dating events.

As Valentine's Day approaches, Rubenstein shared some thoughts on dating and love, including emphasizing that women need to be more proactive about trying to meet men:

Idea: Being a "doctor" means people need your help.

Comment: My classes and coaching help empower people to believe in themselves, so you don't need a matchmaker or to go online.

Idea: You can meet people anyplace, if you allow yourself (and put down your phone).

Comment: Everyone's on their phone. We're more connected, and we are more disconnected. I hate what technology has done, it's taken away the true essence of what it's supposed to be. Some people are desperate for love or want connection, but they're too busy or multitasking.

Idea: Where, oh where, do you meet people?

Comment: If you get your (butt) off the phone, it could be shopping or a bookstore or the gym, or anywhere people are. Everywhere you go, (people) are there, but you're not doing anything about it. People think it's OK not to talk to people. If you bump into somebody at a bar ... I teach men and women the same way: Go for it, make it happen. If you do nothing, it's a constant no. Believe you're a catch and work on role play, improv, body language, sex appeal, how to flirt and romance, and make it fun.

Idea: One might feel creepy about being more aggressive.

Comment: I've experienced with my clients and myself, you meet someone online and you exchange numbers, they get your number and it begins another texting escapade. 'But, I gave you my number so we could hear each other's voices.' I call it disposable dating and self-indulgment dating. Who created these games?

Idea: You have a fairly bold way to meet men; therefore, you tell men and women to be bold in the same way.

Comment: You see somebody at a bar or restaurant, you tap them on the shoulder or soft-touch and say, "You're beautiful' or 'What kind of cologne are you wearing?" Like I teach people, you write down your phone number on paper, fold it up ... the more you say might get you in trouble, but if you see somebody you're attracted to, you say, "You want to have coffee?," hand them the number and walk away. It's kinda cool, and the other person thinks, "A stranger is interested in me." That's how I

dated (actor) Timothy Hutton. If they're out and no ring, they're free game and up for grabs.

Idea: What? Really?

Comment: Approach slowly, look confident, let them know you're flirting, and give the number. Or, walk up to them, hand them the number and walk away. When I go into the field with clients, we have a high success rate. We do 10 an hour. People will call or text. It works.

Idea: But, what about the fear of being rejected?

Comment: Know you are a catch and get that confidence. If you see somebody attractive, could you go up to them?

Nine out of 10 say no. I can fix that.

Idea: Age appropriateness is a big thing; people often pursue somebody not in their league.

Comment: I definitely think 20 years up or below (your age) is too much. You have to have common values, growing up in a certain age with the same music and pop culture and things like that. For normal people, I'd say seven years up and seven below. That's healthy.

Idea: Women should be as proactive as men, perhaps equalizing dating roles.

Comment: Women almost need to think they need to make up for the fact that men have had to do everything forever. It's been so much harder for men. Men have had to ask women out, pick up the women and ask women to marry them, they've had to deal with a lot more rejection. I empower women, "Give the men a break, make it easier and take the bull by the horns."

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