May 23rd, 2013
Are you happily single or still looking for “The One”? Statistics show that men and women, who in their parents’ era would have been waltzing down the aisle in their early 20s, are pushing marriage off into their 30s and increasingly choosing to remain permanently single. But are 30- and 40-something daters actually embracing singledom because they want to or because they can’t seem to find the gal or guy of their dreams?
Opinions are split on how “happy” singles actually are and whether they really enjoy being single or have simply run out of options and decided to settle for second best. Hollywood seems to vote on the side of happily ever after, despite its heavy investment in movies that appear to champion the friends-with-benefits single life. A recent example is the Ashton Kutcher movie, “No Strings Attached,” where Natalie Portman plays medical resident Emma who has embraced singledom, eschewing the complications of romantic entanglement in favor of no-obligation, feel-good sex. Eventually, though, Hollywood manages to end the film with the traditional boy-gets-girl cliché that has been feeding the romantic fantasies of the public since the first strip of celluloid was cranked through a camera.
When even our pop culture seems to put the lie to the concept of “happily single,” it makes you wonder if most of us don’t secretly hold out a thread of hope that some day our prince or princess will finally come to whisk us off our feet and into the traditional arms of marriage. The plethora of dating websites on the internet would seem to indicate that a lot of us are still looking but are there happy singles just looking for a few pleasant evenings hiding among those dating profiles?
You tell us. Are you:
_______ happily single and proud of it? or
_______ still hoping to find The One?
May 21st, 2013
Getting ready for your first live conversation with someone you’ve met on an online dating website can give even the coolest, most confident person the jitters. As soon as you pick up the phone and say “hello,” you rip away that comforting mask of anonymity that protects you during the initial phase of online dating. Once you make that first phone call, you lose the lag time you enjoyed during email and texting contacts that gave you time to think about what you were going to say before you pushed “send” and provided a reassuring safety net against sounding stupid. When you come to that all-important first phone call, your relationship suddenly goes live and you’re performing without a net!
To calm the “hello” jitters and give yourself the best possible chance for dating success, try these online dating tips:
- Dress for success. Before you pick up the phone, do a little sprucing up. Put on an outfit that makes you feel attractive. Freshen your lipstick or run a razor over your chin. Spritz on some cologne and brush your hair. Sure, it sounds ridiculous. Your online date isn’t going to see you, so why bother? It’s all psychological. When you know you look good, you feel and sound more confident. That self confidence will come through over the phone.
- Skip the cheesy pickup lines. Be yourself. It’s even OK to admit that you’re a little nervous. Most dates find that endearing and preferable to blustering bravado.
- Be honest and genuine. If you and your online date are going to forge a relationship, best to base it on who you really are. Being caught in a lie is a certain relationship killer.
- Conversation is a two-way street. Don’t monopolize the conversation or steal the spotlight. You and your date should have equal opportunities to ask and answer questions or share views.
May 9th, 2013
It’s fun and flirty and the newest dating gimmick. Called “flirtexting,” it’s flirting via text messaging (see our previous post). Kind of like Twitter for daters, flirtexting is a way to be intimate without getting serious. Keeping in touch with each other by sharing little thoughts and observations as you both move through the day is a great way to get to know each other better. Best of all, because the connections are casual, brief, occasional and don’t require an immediate response, flirtexting exerts none of the pressure that can make daters feel crowded or pressured early in a relationship.
Flirtexting can be a lot of fun, but improperly used, it can scare off someone you’re interested in. So be careful and follow these tips to keep flirtexting fun and flirty:
- Keep it short. Like tweeting, messages should be brief; not more than a dozen words.
- Learn the lingo. Flirtexting uses the same cryptic acronyms and shorthand abbreviations as Twitter and text messaging (LOL, FYI, etc.). Only use the most common; if you use something too obscure or make something up, your date won’t know what you’re talking about. Brush up on text lingo at Webopedia or Netlingo.
- Keep it fun. This is a great place to give your date a glimpse of your humorous side. Keep messages casual. Share something interesting or funny you saw or heard. This isn’t the place for serious issues.
- Don’t overdo it. Like tweets, a little goes a long way when flirtexting. You don’t want your date to feel like he or she’s being stalked. Too many texts makes you look insecure and needy. A short volley of back and forth texts is OK occasionally; but otherwise, limit your contacts to 3 or 4 a day.
- No heavy breathing. Keep the sexual innuendo light and casual. You don’t want to send your date the wrong message by getting hot and heavy too soon. Give the relationship a chance to develop. Tease; don’t pant.
May 7th, 2013
Who picks up the check is one of those thorny subjects for which there is no single “right” answer. Changing social mores have turned the long-held tradition of “the man pays” into a bewildering muddle. Making things even more confusing, expectations about who pays seem to vary with age. The findings of a 2008 online poll by Elle magazine and MSNBC.com point out just how confusing the check issue has become as illustrated by the contradictory results:
- 66% of men, particularly younger men, want women to help with the check after the first couple of dates
BUT 44% of women are annoyed when the man expects them to chip in
- 57% of women always offer to help pay for a date, particularly younger women
BUT 34% of women don’t like it when the man allows them to share the tab
AND 46% of women are annoyed if their offer is refused
Basically, the problem comes down to communication and expectations. The fact that older and younger daters have different expectations about who should pay for a date illustrates the speed with which dating habits are changing. It’s also interesting that women have more variable opinions on the subject than men. Men as a rule seem to favor check sharing after the initial 2 dates with younger men more eager to split the check than older men; financial security (or a lack thereof) being the most likely reason. Women are split on the issue down age lines. Women 40 and older favor the more traditional approach and expect the man to pick up most of the financial burden. Younger women, however, are not only willing to chip in but expect to pick up part of the tab. Of course, social or political beliefs can skew opinions either way in either age group, making who picks up the check swampy ground for men.
The solution is to be clear about payment when extending an invitation so that no one gets blindsided when the check arrives.
May 2nd, 2013
When you’re dating a mother, how you handle Mother’s Day depends in large part on how long you’ve been dating the woman. If you’re at the beginning of a relationship and barely know her children, it’s best not to intrude on the family’s plans. Because you have not yet become part of the family’s life, your presence would be awkward at best and is likely to be seen as an unwanted intrusion by the woman’s children. Rather than rock the boat; politely bow out. Let your date know that you understand she wants to spend the day with her family and schedule your time together for another day.
If you’ve been dating the woman for a while and have gotten to know her children fairly well, take your cue from them. If the children are still stand-offish (this can be a common reaction to a new man in their mother’s life), let the kids know that you understand this is their special day with their mom and make other plans. If you have become a regular fixture in the family’s life and built a positive relationship with your date’s children, being included in the family’s Mother’s Day plans may be appropriate.
It’s important, however, not to assume that you’re invited–ask. And don’t just ask your date, ask her children. The kids, particularly if they’re older or adults, may have planned a surprise for their mom that does not include your presence. Sometimes children want their own private time with their parent. Don’t take it personally. Let the children know you understand. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Younger children might need a ride to the store to buy their mom a gift. Just be careful not to outshine the kids with a larger or more expensive gift. If you keep the focus on the mom and her children and you won’t go wrong.
April 30th, 2013
Any time you date someone new, there’s a small element of risk. Will he be everything his online dating profile promises? Will she have fudged on her age and weight? Will you be attracted or turned off? For most women, there’s also that little voice that asks, will I be safe?
Safety is a concern whenever you go on a first date, whether it’s a fix up or an online liaison. The need to be smart and use common sense when you date someone you met online – or anyone you don’t know — has been a hot topic recently in the wake of a California woman’s claim that she was attacked by a date. One popular online dating site has already announced that it will soon begin screening users against a national sex offenders’ database.
While anything that protects people’s safety is a good idea, there’s no way to eliminate all potential risk from the dating scene. Databases are not flawless. As always, online daters need to use common sense and be smart about protecting themselves when dating. Here are a few safety reminders:
- Always arrange the first few dates in crowded, well-lit, well-populated coffee shops or restaurants.
- Double date with friends you trust and listen to their concerns if they give your date a thumbs down.
- Pay attention to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, cross the person off your dating list.
- If you become concerned during a date, end the date and call a trusted friend for an escort home. Or ask the manager of the restaurant or venue to call a cab and escort you to it. Leave your car and pick it up the next day.
- Don’t share your home or work address with your date until you feel comfortable with the person.
- Don’t be afraid to dial 911 if you become frightened.
February 14th, 2013
As we noted in our last post, your dating headshot is the single most important part of your online dating profile. A well-lit, beautifully composed professional photograph will showcase your natural attractiveness to best effect and attract attention. Online dating is all about first impressions, and it’s your dating headshot that causes a potential date to click on your profile and delve deeper or keep on clicking. With so much riding on your online dating profile photo, it’s smart to invest a few dollars in a professional photo shoot.
When you arrive at your photo shoot, you’ll want to be prepared and ready to go. Before the photographer starts clicking, spend a few minutes chatting about the image you want to portray in your dating profile photos. If there are any specific types of photos you want, make sure the photographer knows this up front; but listen to his suggestions too. After all, you’re paying for his professional expertise, so trust his advice.
You should arrive at the photographer’s studio with your hair, makeup and nails complete, but make sure you bring cosmetics and hair supplies with you for quick touch-ups.
A few words to the wise about hair and makeup:
- Experiment with hair styles well ahead of time so you have plenty of practice styling your hair the way you want it to look.
- Don’t get a hair cut or color job any sooner than a week before the shoot.
- Keep makeup, simple, fresh and natural.
- Line your lips to add definition but keep it subtle. Dip a cotton ball in powder and dust lips to prevent bleeding.
- Use eyeliner and mascara judiciously. Again, keep it subtle.
- A heavier than usual coat of translucent powder will prevent shine and make your skin look flawless when photographed.
- A little lip gloss is fine, but avoid makeup that shines or sparkles.
February 12th, 2013
Were you still dateless for Valentine’s Day this year? Don’t think for a minute that the problem is with you. There’s someone special out there for each of us; we just have to find each other. And that’s the trick, isn’t it? Whether you’re young, time-strapped and singly focused on building a career, recently divorced and struggling to adapt to the modern dating scene or a silver-haired fox ready to embrace new experiences; finding that special someone can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
What you have to do is improve your odds. In effect, you need to make that needle bigger, color it bright red and stud it with diamonds so it can’t be missed! How? By giving your online dating headshot and dating profile a head-to-toe makeover. Today, 1 in 5 committed relationships starts online. Seventeen percent of the couples who walked down the aisle in 2010 started their romance on an online dating site. People find true love online every single day and you can too. You just gotta have faith!
If love hasn’t sent you an email lately or the online contacts you’re getting aren’t from people you consider datable, there’s an obvious disconnect between your online dating persona and your heart’s desire. It’s time to take another look at your online posting and perform a little cosmetic surgery that will get you noticed.
The first place to start is your online dating photos. When your first contact with potential dates is online, posting fabulous profile photos is hugely important. It may not be PC to judge people by their outward appearance, but it’s human nature. Your dating headshot and any other photos that appear with your online dating profile create that critical first impression that determine which way Cupid aims his arrows.
Next time: Tips for getting great dating profile photos
February 7th, 2013
Valentine’s Day receives a full court press from American advertisers. Commercial America would have you believe that Valentine’s Day is the make it or break it moment in a relationship. Deliver the perfect date and Cupid will fire his arrows of love in your direction. Screw up and you’ll be dateless forever. Talk about pressure! It’s easy to get sucked in if you don’t maintain a firm rein on common sense. Before asking your online sweetie out for Valentine’s Day take heed of the following advice from dating experts:
• Stick within your budget. Spending more than you can reasonably afford on a date places too much pressure on both you and your date. If things don’t go perfectly, you’ll wind up kicking yourself and blaming your date for wasting your money. If the date is a hit, it could be awhile before you can scrape together the money for a follow-up date. When you don’t call, your date could decide you’re not interested and move on. You win the battle but lose the war.
• Don’t overstep your relationship. If this will be your first date or if you’re in the early stages of dating, planning an overly romantic or financially extravagant date or giving your date an expensive gift can scare them off. Successful relationship building is a gradual process. Too much, too soon sets warning signs flashing when your partner has not reached the same level of commitment. Keep dating plans appropriate to the current status of your relationship and allow the relationship to unfurl in its own time.
• Banish unrealistic expectations. Valentine’s Day is so over-hyped that it’s easy to develop unrealistic expectations for the evening. This is real life, not a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you and your date are going to hop between the sheets. Take the pressure off. Relax, have fun, respect your date’s feelings and see where the evening leads.
February 5th, 2013
Poets say the eyes are the window to your soul. A bit overly romantic, perhaps; but your eyes definitely reveal what you’re thinking and feeling. The next time you gaze into your date’s eyes, don’t let yourself get lost in those limpid pools. To find out what your date is really thinking, pay attention to how often he or she blinks and where exactly your date is looking when you’re together.
Use the following tips to shed some light on what your date’s eyes are trying to tell you:
- Blink rate. When comfortable and relaxed, people blink at the rate of 6 to 8 blinks per minute. If your date’s blink rate seems to be on permanent pause, he or she has zoned out and disengaged. If you can’t capture your date’s attention soon, expect it to be a short evening. However, if your date is blinking like a strobe light, total freak out may be just seconds away. If you don’t want your date to dash away like a scared rabbit, do or say something quickly to cut the tension and put your date at ease.
- Closed eyes. Closing or covering the eyes is a protective mechanism. We protect ourselves from things that are unpleasant or threatening by refusing to look at them. If your date appears to be sleeping sitting up, you might as well delete his or her number from your cell phone.
- Looking straight at you. Score! If your date spends most of the date gazing into your eyes, you’re hitting it out of the park! Continuous eye contact means your date is totally engaged and interested. Ask for another date now.