I was recently hanging out with a group of pals on a Saturday night and after many conversations about our current existences, one of my single friends looked at me wide-eyed, audibly sighed, and posed the question: “Jess, how do you do it?”

I wrinkled my forehead. “Do…what?”

“Have all of this SEX. How do you do it? What’s your secret? I NEED to know. TELL US!”

My frank answer to this clarified inquiry was: “I work very hard at it. Simple as that.” This response garnered shock and awe and confusion from the inquirer and catapulted them into a string of more specific questions. Their inability to comprehend my method of investing endless hours and extreme brain power and excessive phone battery into romance stems from this notion that true love is supposed to manifest organically without any ounce of labour. According to Judd Apatow’s flicks, your soul mate is going to fall into your lap at the most unexpected moment without intention and sometimes they’ll fall literally into your lap ‘cause women be clumsy, am I right? We’ve seen fate play out this way again and again in movies and in books and in movies adapted from books. If you’re meant to be/kiss/bang, you’ll naturally find each other, and when you completely stop trying is when it will DEFINITELY happen.

According to romantic comedy guidelines, “trying” never results in achievement, except for the fact that it does. Often. And you know what a synonym for trying is? Ding ding ding! You got it. Hard work. But nobody wants to think of dating as work. Dating is what we do to escape work. We go to our jobs Monday to Friday (or in my case whenever I’m awake) and toil away performing mundane tasks we sometimes dislike and force ourselves to smile when we don’t want to and kick our asses into high gear when we’re procrastinating. Then we clock out and go to a random bar and instantly meet THE ONE. As the famous saying goes, we work hard and we go down on each other hard.

When you associate dating with happenstance, you remove all responsibility from yourself and limit any potential action you could take, and you definitely don’t get any closer to success. It’s also way more unpredictable and confounding and mysterious under those terms. If we treated our love lives more like we treat our careers, it would be a simpler concept to grasp. Maybe then my friends wouldn’t be wondering how I schedule as many intercourse sessions as I do, considering I’m not running down the street completely naked yelling, “FREE SEX! COME AND GET IT!” They would presume, as with any vocation, it’s because I put in time and effort. I treat dating like it’s my job. I set a goal, I apply myself, I follow through, and then BAM — I get me some cunnilingus. My resume is my online dating profile, my interview is the first beers we share, and my being hired is us making out/having sex/getting into a relationship.

Of course there are varying levels of permanency, just like with work. It could be a full-time position or it could be a part-time contract role. But regardless, I book the gig because I take action. Now, every individual who interviews me doesn’t always hire me to Netflix and chill. Sometimes there are other applicants who are preferred for whatever reason. I usually don’t even know the reason but I accept it as something out of my control (I did try my best after all) and I move on and continue my hunt for a better-suited gig.

I also don’t accept gigs or promotions from just anyone either; I’m selective with who I date and very selective with who I get into relationships with. As any good career counsellor would say, they’re interviewing you AND you’re interviewing them. And the higher your standards are the more difficult it’s going to be to attain that coveted position. But that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and accept defeat and convince yourself that it’s impossible.

Instead you should work harder for it. Ask out more people. Spend more hours on OkCupid. Be more assertive when you flirt. Message that babe on Facebook. Request that a mutual friend recommend you. Go to the soiree they invited you to. It’s called NETWORKING. Hello! You shouldn’t flush your dreams down the toilet because you were rejected a few times or someone ghosted right before you made plans or you slept with a jerk who you thought was swell until they made a weird comment about your pubic hair (which you wish you could report to sex Human Resources). Rejection sucks, ghosting is the worst, and jerks are shit, but so were a bunch of jobs you had before you got the one you genuinely like. And you know how you got that cool job? By not waiting for opportunity to come to YOU.

If I saw a job posting and thought, “Oh. That looks awesome” but then never applied, it would be ridiculous to assume I could get it. Why is this perspective of waiting for opportunity to come to you acceptable in the dating game but not acceptable in the career game? Why do folks expect to book themselves a partner by doing, well, nothing?

I work hard and that’s what my secret is. Simple as that. I know I won’t find love without a little overtime, so I set a goal, I apply myself, I follow through, and then BAM — I get me some cunnilingus.