If you've seen the movie "Hitch", you're probably familiar with the concept of a professional "dating doctor" -- a dude whose job it is to personally coach other dudes who have a particularly difficult time approaching women or having a successful first date.

Yes, dating doctors actually exist.

In fact, there's an entire industry of dating gurus with self-help programs and weekend-long, face-to-face seminars designed to turn the dating zero into a romantic hero. However, most of these programs reek of that late-night infomercial desperation to make a quick buck at your expense.

But let's say you're stuck in a dating rut and you feel like you need some serious help with the ladies. Are these seminars worth it? Do they even work? What can you expect?

Asylum met up with Dr. Paul Dobransky, a psychologist and self-proclaimed relationship expert, who allowed us to follow him and a few of his clients around on one of these excursions in New York City to help answer those questions.


Dr. Paul's flagship program is his "Omega Male Bootcamp" -- a weekend intensive that includes seminars on all aspects of a relationship, from the pick-up to possible marriage, followed by the "opportunity" to hit the bars with Dr. Paul himself. While that relationship stuff is all well and good, we stayed just for the beginning session on how to make first contact -- after all, that's half the battle, right?

Upon arriving for the seminar portion, Dr. Paul and his staff made it very clear to us that his program is not all about the nookie.

"We don't encourage guys to have one night stands," said Tony Monterastelli, one of Dr. Paul's associates and assistant coaches. "If you sleep with someone on the first date, you tend to not end up in a successful relationship with them." We'll be the judge of that, thank you.

When we entered the seminar room, we were struck by the fact that there were just two clients (both of whom asked not to be identified for this article), which tailored the experience more closely to their needs. We asked them what they hoped to get out of the program. One guy predictably said he wanted more confidence when approaching women, while the other told us he wanted to learn how to find better women. Well, sir, don't we all?


The seminar, which felt almost too much like we were back in a college lecture, followed Dr. Paul's promise that it would be less VH1's "The Pickup Artist" and more "Weird Science." After roughly two hours of learning not only various pick-up techniques but the psychology behind why they work (it turns out women like mysterious men -- who knew?), it was time to hit the town and put what we learned to the test.

If you've ever had an older brother or cousin who thought he knew everything there was to know about meeting women -- and would prove it at every opportunity -- then you've sort of already met Dr. Paul.

We don't mean that in a bad way, though. If anything, Dr. Paul is like a human ice-breaker, wearing ridiculous glasses and even a light-up fur coat to show his clients that sometimes a good conversation starter is all you need to get over those jitters. After a night out, Dr. Paul will then spend the next day with his clients, pinpointing their mistakes and coaching them through how to find the right mate after the initial meeting.

So, is it worth it? To be perfectly frank, probably not.

Dr. Paul's Web site
quotes the price of a trip like this at $1,797 -- not including transportation, food and hotel accommodations. If you're just in a bit of a dry spell that you think you can shake, you're definitely better off holding on to your hard-earned cash.

But if you consistently find yourself trembling at the mere thought of talking to women at all -- and you've got an extra $1,800 lying around -- you could give it a shot. Then again, if you've got that kind of disposable cash, we're sure there are better ways to spend it.

Ryan Simmons is an Asylum contributor who can get a date on his own, thank you very much.