- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2009

One of Washington’s hottest dating coaches has made it to the big leagues.

Jess McCann, the locally based 30-something author of the dating advice tome “You Lost Him at Hello: A Saleswoman’s Secrets to Closing the Deal With Any Guy You Want,” tells us she became engaged last weekend to Erik Ballagh, a 30-year-old engineer.

“I’m on cloud nine,” she says of Mr. Ballagh’s proposal, which included candles and white rose petals being scattered over the home they’ve shared since August.

On bended knee, Mr. Ballagh presented Miss McCann with a 2-carat Tiffany engagement ring.

In 2005, Miss McCann, a former sales entrepreneur, was a contestant on the Fox reality show “Rebel Billionaire” with Richard Branson. She published “You Lost Him at Hello” last year.

She has since become a traveling “love doctor,” visiting college campuses and giving talks to modern women about dating in the 21st century.

Miss McCann explains that she sealed her own deal by practicing the principles in her book.

For starters, she used “the prospecting” method by going out with a friend in early 2008 to meet possibilities for dating.

She also says she “talked to guys first” - another McCannian dating ploy - to lure Mr. Ballagh into conversation.

“As soon we started talking, a light bulb went off, ” she recalls.

The two plan to wed next fall, and the ever-industrious Miss McCann says she’ll turn the lessons learned from her engagement into her next love-advice book, which she expects to publish in the next two years.

In the meantime, “You Lost Him at Hello” is experiencing an increase in sales in the aftermath of her good news, she tells us.

Got cabin fever?

G2 has the inside track on a few events to get you out of the house over the holiday.

For starters, there’s the 16th annual Gefilte Fish Gala Charity Fundraiser - scheduled, as usual, on Christmas Eve. This year, however, organizers are setting up shop in two locations: the K Street Lounge in downtown Washington and Union Jack’s in Bethesda.

A $5 donation is requested at the door, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to several charities, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Elsewhere, if the spirit of the holiday has you down, you probably can find someone who shares your sentiments at DC9 (also downtown) on Christmas night.

Musician Andy Rourke - who played bass for the English alternative rock band the Smiths (known for their depressing and lovelorn lyrics) - will be spinning the discs. Mr. Rourke DJs regularly for radio station Xfm Manchester across the pond.

Somber holiday

The body of actress Brittany Murphy has been released to a storied Hollywood memorial park, where a private service reportedly is scheduled for Christmas Eve, the New York Daily News reports.

An unnamed coroner’s source told the newspaper that Miss Murphy’s body was released to Forest Lawn after Monday’s autopsy. That’s the same memorial park where Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and John Ritter are buried.

The daytime memorial service will be “strictly private,” RadarOnline.com reported.

More Tinseltown talk

Golden Globe winners Jennifer Aniston, Mickey Rourke and Julia Roberts are set as presenters at “The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” on Jan. 17.

The Sunday night show, hosted by Ricky Gervais, will be broadcast live on NBC (beginning at 8 p.m.) from the Beverly Hilton.

They join previously announced presenters Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, who will present the Cecil B. DeMille Award to Martin Scorsese.

The awards program, which will honor achievements in both film and television, will be seen in more than 160 countries worldwide.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@washingtontimes.com.

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