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TODAY contributor
updated 12/4/2008 9:55:30 AM ET 2008-12-04T14:55:30

Forget the psychologists and relationship experts, guys. If you really want to know how to meet girls, snuggle up to a clever little book written by 9-year-old love guru Alec Greven.

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A year ago, Greven was just another third-grader with a writing assignment at Soaring Hawk Elementary School in Castle Rock, Colo.

“We got to write whatever we want, and I chose to write about girls,” Alec told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Thursday in New York. The result of his efforts is “How to Talk to Girls,” recently published by HarperCollins.

Research at recess
Alec did his research on-site, hanging out on the playground at recess watching other boys trying to talk to girls, and taking notes. He realized right away that many boys find it difficult to approach the fair sex, and that the road to true love is paved with potholes.

“They were having a lot of trouble getting girls to like them, so I wanted to write a book to kind of help them,” he explained.

His observations are both simple and incisive. For example, in his chapter on crushes, Alec notes, “A crush is like a love disease. It can drive you mad.”

Sitting straight up on the sofa in Studio 1A and speaking like a practiced performer, Alec pointed out that girls don’t like sloppy boys, so ditch the sweat pants and comb your hair if you want to get one. Also, he told Vieira, listen to your mom: After all, “She’s a girl, too.”

In a later segment, Alec shared a couch with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford and offered some specific advice on how to meet a girl.

“You gotta walk up to her casually. Then you want to say, ‘Hi,’ and if she says ‘Hi’ back, you’re off to a good start,” he said.

Kotb asked Alec what he thought was the rudest thing a boy could do to a girl.

“Probably say something mean to her or do something mean,” he replied.

When to move on
On the playground, Alec noticed that love is fleeting, and the younger you are, the more fleeting it is.

TODAY
Alec’s book includes sartorial advice for boys. A key point: Avoid sweat pants.
“Boys, they can’t hold on to girls for a long time,” he told Vieira. “Some boys, they might get the girl to like them at the start of a recess and at the end, the girl dumps them.”

He said boys have to learn to move on when girls dump them.

“Life is hard, move on,” the juvenile love guru said. “You have to get over it. Otherwise everything just crashes down. They’re all depressed. They don’t play. They spend their time locked up in their room. You have to move on.”

Other chapters include “The Facts of Life” (“Life is hard, move on”); “There's a Girl for Every Boy” (“You are like a magnet and girls are the metal”); “How to Get a Girl's Attention” (“Most girls don't like showoffs”); “What to Say to Girls” (“Act calm and don't be nervous”); and “Success” (“If you do win victory with a girl, don't cheer in front of her. Go somewhere private, then knock your head off and cheer”).

Avoid high maintenance
He advises boys to pursue “regular girls” instead of pretty girls. “Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil,” he writes, adding that pretty girls are more likely to dump a boy than regular girls.

Video: More dating advice from 9-year-old Alec’s teacher, Miss Dupree, liked his effort so much she showed it to the school’s principal, who printed copies to sell at the school’s book fair. At $3 each, the book was the fair’s best-seller.

NBC’s Denver affiliate, KUSA, got wind of the story and did a feature on Alec and his book. The station also called Ellen DeGeneres, who had Alec on her show in February. Degeneres then put Alex and his mom in touch with HarperCollins, who signed him to a contract.

The publisher enlisted artist Kei Acedera to illustrate the book, which was released on Nov. 25. The result is a breezy and engaging 48-page tome that is a best-seller among children’s books and self-help and psychology books on Amazon.com.

Alec is donating part of his royalties to “Stand Up to Cancer” and hopes to be able to raise $100,000 for cancer research.

TODAY
Alec Greven’s “How to Talk to Girls” is full of savvy tips, including “Don't date too many.”
Girls don’t like the class clown, Alec said. “They tend to like the smartest kid in the class. That might a good thing to shoot for, because then you pretty much get all the girls,” he told Vieira.

Vieira asked Alec if writing the book has made him a chick magnet.

“Not really,” he said, adding that the girls do come around after he’s been on TV. “They’re kind of all over me when I go on a really big news station like the TODAY show. Then they’re like, ‘What was it like? Who did they have there? Who’d you meet?’ ”

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