By Jayne Buxton
Published Jan 2010
Ally James’ life is in dire need of a makeover. Juggling the demands of a neurotic boss, her ex-husband’s string of twenty-somethings and the endless whirl of school runs and fish fingers seems to have become a mammoth effort of late. And watching The Little Mermaid with her kids is probably the closest she has come to an exciting date in years. So when her best friend Mel persuades, or rather bullies, her into a dating seminar, Ally finds herself reluctantly giving in. Marina Boyd, American relationship guru extraordinaire, claims that all you need is some shrewd self-marketing and a steady stream of trial men – or, to use her term, ‘duck decoys’ – and you’re on a sure-fire road to Mr Right. Ally’s not so sure, though. Can packaging and promoting possibly be the same as dating and falling in love? And how on earth would you find the time for a makeover, a direct mail campaign and a branding programme when you’re busy putting out fires at home?