Given that Canadian guys aged 16 to 24 scored a C-minus on AXE Canada’s first annual dating report card, they clearly need some help.

And while the folks behind the cologne — yes, the one that gets guys laid in the elevator if you believe their ads — have offered some helpful advice (i.e. lose the cheesy pick up lines, follow-up with a phone call, and don’t automatically assume a kiss means she’s interested), I went to the real experts.

Ronald Lee is the guy behind Vancouver’s Man Meets Woman (manmeetswoman.com), a dating coaching company for men. He says one of the biggest mistakes men make is that they approach women without a clear goal in mind and end up having a possibly pleasant, but unfruitful encounter. Says Lee, “A man needs to know why he is talking to a woman. For her phone number? To get a date? To just be friends?”

Darren Glickman is the co-founder of The Guyds (theguyds.com), a Toronto-based dating coaching website for guys. He agrees that cheesy pick-up lines don’t work but adds that most guys are too weak or way too strong in their approach. “Women like confidence, but they don’t like cockiness,” he says.

The best way to avoid one of men’s biggest fears when it comes to dating — landing in dreaded “friend zone” with a woman — is to stay out of the friend-zone to begin with, says Lee. Glickman agrees. “Don’t do ‘friend’ things with her — like shopping, beer pong or hockey games,” he says. “Don’t take an interest in the men she’s interested in romantically. Don’t beat around the bush; tell her you’re interested in more and see where it goes. The worst that can happen is she turns you down. That’s better than ending up with another pseudo friend.”

And, contrary to popular opinion, nice guys don’t have to get left on the dating sidelines. “Many nice guys are ignorant about how to seduce women and thus, get treated as doormats, a role they unfortunately accept,” says Lee.

Fortunately, adds Glickman, he’s noticed in his coaching career that, “The more mature a woman is —either emotionally or chronologically (or both) — the less inclined she is to put up with the bad-boy attitude.”

Finally, one thing the experts and the cologne survey participants agreed on: Personal hygiene matters. Conveniently, 96 per cent of male participants guessed bad odour turns women off and 95 per cent of females participants confirmed it.

“And halitosis?” says Glickman. “Ultimate deal-breaker.”

• For more dating advice for guys and to see the entire AXE Dating Report Card, go to Josey’s blog Sexcetera at metronews.ca.