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by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Alma Avery Rubenstein, aka Date Doctor, organizes Portland speed dating events, flirting seminars, and serves as a dating coach at large.Alma Avery Rubenstein is working on a one-woman show and book tentatively titled, “Pain and suffering: dating and depression.” But take our word for it, the Southeast Portland resident is much more fun than that title suggests. Her professional name is Date Doctor Alma, organizer of Portland speed dating events, flirting seminars and dating coach at large.


Portland Tribune: When you host a speed dating night, do you get more men or women?

Alma Avery Rubenstein: I design it to have the same amount.

Tribune: How do you do that?

Rubenstein: Very creatively. I’ll flirt with whichever sex I have to, to make it right.

Tribune: You’ve worked in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. How do Portland singles rate?

Rubenstein: I hate to say it, but Portland needs help, men and women. I’m currently working with a guy client who grew up with an over-controlling and protective mother and who also was in the military and was pretty much trained to not offend a woman in any way. He’s almost afraid to engage and make eye contact. I have to re-parent him.

Tribune: How old is this guy?

Rubenstein: Forty-two.

Tribune: Re-parent?

Rubenstein: We were out in the field doing our exercise ...

Tribune: Calisthenics?

Rubenstein: No. Practicing flirting and looking at women. The first woman I could finally get him to do something, she looks down really fast and he’s thinking, “Alma, are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

Portland women, they say they want love, romance, dating, sex, but they won’t put their money where their mouths are. You need to be open to be flirted with.

People say New Yorkers are rude. No, New Yorkers feel, you know what they’re thinking. Here it’s more repressed. Portlanders will put their biking career over their potential mating career.

I met this Portland guy on an online dating website. We can’t even schedule a date because he’s too busy training for some Turboman and he can’t get me in between a 5-mile run and a protein eating session.

All his pictures are him on bikes, and I said to him, I asked him, “Could this be why you’re still single?” I said to him, “Dude, put the bike down.”

I had one guy, I went out with him in the field so he could approach women ...

Tribune: Wait, wait. Just where are you in this scenario? Lurking a few feet away?

Rubenstein: I’m everywhere. Sometimes I’ll work as their wing person, sometimes I’ll pretend I’m their co-worker, sometimes their sister. Sometimes we’ll walk in and I’ll say, “Who do you find attractive? I’m waiting outside. You’re not leaving until they get your phone number.”

Tribune: The one guy?

Rubenstein: He was so nervous he threw up at the restaurant.

Tribune: With the woman of his dreams watching?

Rubenstein: He made it to the restroom. He thought that had made him even more of a failure, but in fact, it was a great learning experience because I got him to realize your body does react to change and we don’t like change, but change is good. He had to realize, “This is what women do to me.”

Tribune: How much does all this cost?

Rubenstein: $175 an hour for a coaching session. And my prices are going up.

Tribune: Worst client?

Rubenstein: I had a man take me to small claims court because I made him shave his beard. He wanted to appeal to younger women, but he had a white Santa Claus beard.

Tribune: So why was he unhappy?

Rubenstein: I should have known; when I first met him he said he was suing his therapist.

Tribune: He got dates?

Rubenstein: He did, but nobody made him happy. The judge totally laughed.

Tribune: Best line you’ve heard at speed dating?

Rubenstein: Do you think these pants make me look fat?

Tribune: Oh, come on.

Rubenstein: That was coming from a guy that I coached. He’s putting a little flirt into it, and women love to laugh.

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