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Students pay US00 (76) for a 25-hour "bootcamp" in real bars and cafes learning wooing tricks, authenticity and confidence.Professional men and women may prefer to turn to dating coaches such as Denise Corlett, at "The default way of relating with guys is to make yourself appear as smoking hot as possible and then wait for men to approach you for sex or a hookup and, for your own ego, to reject as many men as possible, and then cherry-pick the head chump, which is very off-putting." Will Hall recalls one particularly bitchy knockback from his student days. She's met too many liars, cheats, emotionally immature commitmentphobes."I'd finally had enough on my coffee card to get two free coffees, so I took this girl who I'd seen a few times to Mc Donald's. "Women just want to be loved and treated with respect.I don't think it's that high an expectation." An entire seduction industry has thrust up for the desperate and socially challenged straight male.

Yet often both sexes are still fumbling about in the dark.

Today, the same woman could be looking for Shane Warne one night and Mr Darcy the next. "Guys have it really hard," says Auckland single-mum Rachel Goodchild, author of Eighty-Eight Dates: The Perilous Joys of Internet Dating.

"I was amazed at how many guys have felt raped or assaulted by women.

But now it's mainstream, it's also forcing us to relearn a kind of dating most of us only know through American TV. Says Auckland singleton Janelle Wills: "It's this pressure that this is going to be a relationship.

Everything you say or do means so much more and that's really scary so you've got to drink to lessen that fear." The more common scenario for the teenage to 30s age group goes something like: get drunk to still the nerves, fall into bed on the first or second night, wake up and start figuring out whether you're lying next to a one-night-stand, a fling, a new friend-plus-extra, a potential life-partner or something we don't yet have a word for.

Otherwise, the conversation starts getting flirtatious and you move into a whole realm of stuff that you could regret when you meet them in person." She'll "date" two or three men at a time (no sex), but once things get serious with one she'll drop the others. Goodchild's favourites include an awkward dinner with a political campaigner.

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