Welcome to my blog!
My name is Shimrit Elisar and I am the author of Everyone's Guide to Online Dating ,
the UK's first online dating book. All opinions expressed are my own unless posted in a comment by someone else.
Something cute and fluffy for a Saturday morning: Angela Mazur, a talented photographer based in London, is holding a competition where you could win a one hour photo session for you and someone you love. It can be you and your special someone, you and a parent, you and a child or anyone else you love. All you need to do is send a picture of that person with a note expressing your love for them.
There are fifteen million single people in the UK currently. If you’re one of them and don’t want to be, the question you must be asking yourself is why can’t I meet the right person? Chances are you are one of the growing class of professional people who just don’t have the time to meet anyone. If you’re a professional looking to meet a special someone, online dating for professionals has to be a credible answer.
Increasingly we are all working longer hours. The 9 to 5 for most professionals is a thing of the past. Many of us are at our desks or in meetings by 8 in the morning, we will perhaps snatch a coffee at some stage, and will eat a sandwich at our desks, sprinkling crumbs into the keyboard while valiantly trying not to drip salad cream down our shirts. Leaving before 6 is unusual and we have to add a long commute into the mix. We go home and do more work, or attend to chores, before collapsing in front of the TV and then dragging ourselves to bed. Sound familiar?
Approximately 15% of people meet their partners through work but if you are a professional you may feel that flirting with colleagues is unseemly. At the same time however, you would like to meet someone who has similar career aspirations to yourself, or is at a similar stage of their career, or at the very least understands that holding down a professional job is demanding and exhausting. For this reason you may well want to turn to an online professional dating site and there are plenty around!
Have a look at the various online dating sites for professionals that you can find, and see which one attracts you most. Once you have identified a good one take the time to fill out the profile in as much detail as you can. Make a date with yourself so that you have the time to do it. If you’re seriously pushed for time, then remember that you don’t have to complete it all at once, and if you absolutely can’t do it, you can pay a freelancer to complete it for you. Either way it is worth investing time and/or money in a good profile. Because it will do a lot of the initial groundwork for you by attracting people to you. Professional online dating sites allow you to meet accessible people and the profile helps to narrow down the focus.
When you’re completing the section of your profile that outlines what you are looking for try not to be too selective. High expectations are fine, but you may be single precisely because you’re not casting your net wide enough. Open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Don’t dismiss them just because they’re a little larger framed or short in the leg than you’d ideally like. If you have chemistry online and the first phone call goes well, then they have to be worth meeting. It’s just a drink after all.
In terms of scheduling a date, if you live locally try meeting for a coffee at lunchtime or a quick drink after work. It doesn’t have to take long; you’re just testing the water. Show interest by arriving on time and asking lots of questions. Be yourself and be confident. There’s no reason not to be.
Once you have met someone you click with you really ought to make the time to see that person, because you can’t keep a relationship going for very long by text message. If you can’t do that then there really is no point in pursuing a relationship at all, is there? Add into the mix that you don’t have any leisure pursuits or any interests and it’s a no brainer. You might need to sit back and take a look at your work/life balance! However, if you commit yourself to playing the game, you’ll find that online dating for professionals is a mainstream solution to a growing problem; give it a go!
Looking for dating sites specialising in online dating for professionals? Try these!
Parship- Don’t fear their lengthy sign up process, this site has some quality people dating on it.
Lovestruck.com – If you’re urban and you know it, you’ll love their no-nonsense approach to professional dating.
Love and friends – A UK only dating site aimed at professionals. Draws a very good crowd, though can be a bit clunky.
Online dating can be fabulous fun allowing for lots of flirting and fantasy, so what happens when you’ve finally summoned up the courage to meet up and you’re not sure about how or when you should contact that person again.
In recent years there has been a ridiculous spate of dating rules that seem to originate in the USA. These suggest that you have to wait between three and six days to get back in touch with someone after you have had a date. These rules suggest that if a man calls or texts the same night as the day of the date, or the next day, then he is too eager and therefore desperate. Really? Who makes this stuff up?
If you have been online dating, then obviously the pair of you are already pretty good at communicating and have been in regular touch for a little while at least. If the man then has to wait six days to get back in touch then that’s seriously out of the ordinary for you folks, right?
Let’s stop playing games here for a second, and jumping through hoops like our American cousins do. Fact number one is that it is incredibly daunting for a guy to contact the woman in any case, so why stretch out the pain? Let him get it over with. Fact number two, it is really hard to be a woman waiting for that phone call. Put her out of her misery!
Regardless of how people meet, through online dating, speed dating, at work, wherever, on the whole women are pretty unlikely to contact the guy. It’s old fashioned but it’s true. It is still expected that the man will do the donkey work. This is unfortunate given that it’s the twenty-first century and we all think we’re post-feminist. Bollox. We’re still hanging three steps behind, ladies! I know it’s a radical thought but there is no harm in a woman contacting a man, and if he doesn’t like it, well that tells you something about his character too, doesn’t it? And perhaps even more radical, if you got along really well on your first date you could always close that one by arranging to see each other again, then and there.
So given you have been online dating, and that you’ve had your first date but you haven’t organised a second date yet, and given that that either of you can actually contact the other at any stage you choose, what should you say? Keep it friendly but cool. Ask if the other person arrived home ok, or if’s the start of the day, just wish them a lovely day. Communicate in the way that you have gotten used to when dating online. Leave a message online for old time’s sake.
I’d recommend that you keep the first follow up phone call short and sweet. Make sure you feel and sound relaxed, and that you have something to ask them: ‘what have you been up to today?’ and something to tell them: ‘I did such and such last night with Sam.’ This shows that you are interested in the other person but that you still have a life and other friends. You are interesting. Don’t gush about how wonderful your first date together was, or they were, be restrained and just be yourself. If you are going to ask for another date, ensure you have an idea in mind of something fun you can do together, otherwise you’ll drive each other mad by not having a clue.
So, at the end of the day there are no rules to dating, and any that you come across online or in books are just arbitrarily constructed by people trying to make a quick buck. You need to do what feels right for you when it feels right to you. You only need to be guided by your date, not by what anyone else says. If you have met the right person it will be right for them too. Remember, it’s a complete waste of energy worrying about when to get in touch after your online date. You only have one life, so grab it, and him or her, with both hands!
Ten Signs that He or She is not the One
Online dating is a really fun and easy way to get to know someone, but at some stage you are going to have to bite the bullet and meet up with that person in real time. The fact is that no matter how well you have managed to get to know someone through an online dating site, eventually you will have to face the reality of who they actually are, and unfortunately, your suitors may not always match up to your expectations. Here are ten tips to help you decide whether s/he is the one or not!
If they take too long to respond to your messages and you get worked up about it, then ditch them. The fact is, the longer it takes a person to get back to you after you have texted, phoned or emailed etc., the less likely they are to be interested in you. People who are interested in you, behave as though they are. They ask about you, they are concerned about your wellbeing and they want to spend time with you. If you have been online dating with someone who emailed you twice a day for two weeks and then suddenly they email you just once in three days, something is amiss, and the most likely reason is not that they have been busy but that that they are simply not interested in you. Walk the walk.
They start to annoy you. You start to get annoyed by certain things they do or certain aspects of their personality or looks. When you’ve been dating online you don’t get to see the tics, but once you meet in the flesh, the crooked front tooth or halitosis can be a complete deal breaker. It may be shallow but it’s a fact of life. Deal with it.
The other person is secretive. They don’t like you to see who’s calling or texting them, or they claim to work away from home for a few days per week, or they have a job they can’t tell you anything about because they’ve signed the Official Secrets Act, or they have a disabled parent so you can’t phone them at home. It’s all BS. Run!
You can’t be yourself. You have built yourself up online to be their idol; you’re a Prince or Princess Charming. Now you find that you can’t fart, blow your nose, smoke, eat or cry in front of them. This is not a goer!
You think you can change an aspect of their personality or how they look or behave. You can’t. This person is not right for you. Move on.
You’re not a priority in their life. While you were dating online they wanted to know all about you and what you were doing. Now, out in the real world you find that most of their plans do not include you. S/he tells you what s/he is doing at the weekend and there is no space for you and no invite. Next!
You don’t feel special. The person that you bring into your life should help to make you feel good. They are your wing person. They care about you. They are supportive. They buy you sweet gifts, they text you daft messages and write silly poems. When you are with them you feel nurtured and that you are their number one. If that isn’t happening, if they are too busy ogling someone else, or they put you down, either to your face, or in public, you need to head on out and do not turn around!
You don’t get a chance to meet their family and friends. If you are not a part of their whole life then you’re on a hiding to nothing. Taxi!
Your friends don’t like them. Dating online is an intensely private process that you do alone, although you may have mentioned to your friends that you had met someone. When your friends meet your new partner you will sense fairly quickly whether your friends like your new mate or not. While it is not always the case that your friends are right by any means, it is worth taking into consideration what they say. If it isn’t just jealousy and sour grapes on their part, think about their perceptions and make amends if you can. Ultimately, however, what you do is up to you, not your friends or family.
No chemistry. Awww! Everything about the other person when you were online dating seemed sensational. Your profiles were a complete match and your messages and emails were full of fun and laughter. Online, they were exciting, interesting and sexy. In person their zip has zapped. You realise you are more in love with the fantasy image of them that you created online than you ever will be in person. It happens. You may even grieve a little for that online love. Be polite and let the real them go and then get back on that website and start the process over again!
In our increasingly fast paced world, dating in many ways is becoming progressively easier and more high tech. These days you pay a few gold coins to a website or a dating agency, and before you know it, you can tap into a wealth of hot singles. Well, theoretically at least! It is entirely a matter of personal preference whether you prefer online dating to speed dating, or vice versa, or perhaps you have never tried either, but although you might be wary of one or the other, they both have a lot going for them.
Take speed dating for example. Speed dating gives you a fun night out. It tends to take place in a glitzy and sophisticated bar and you get to dress up to the nines, and take a friend along to provide Dutch courage! Try not to get too nervous or read too much into it; you need to approach evenings like this with a relaxed and fun attitude and take it all with a pinch of salt.
The big advantage of speed dating of course is that you are guaranteed to meet other singles (ostensibly). Everyone is there for the same reason; they are trying to find someone just like you are. You sit at a table and chat to a stranger for a fixed amount of time, usually between 3 and 5 minutes, although occasionally this might be up to ten, and tick a box if you like them. Then a bell rings and the guy moves on to the next table. The organisers take care of the details and email the next day with your matches. Your personal data is never shared with anyone else. You can choose to pursue a follow up date or not.
With speed dating you need to remember that first impressions count a great deal. You really have to be looking your best, and you ought to be capable of making small talk and looking someone in the eye; so if you’re desperately shy, speed dating is probably not for you!
Online dating on the hand is much slower than speed dating and is almost the complete opposite. You set up a carefully crafted profile that presents a face to the world that you are happy to display and you never have to provide spontaneous answers to probing questions. You can take your time to answer any messages and think about how you wish to answer without worrying that you’ll blurt out some ridiculous nonsense that you’ll never live down.
The other great thing about online dating is that unless you’re going to be conversing by web cam or Skype, you can attend to your messages and profile while sat in your pyjamas eating a sherbet dib-dab if you really want to.
Online dating also provides you with a vast array of interesting people all with the potential to date. As far as you know they all want to date you too. But therein lies the drawback. With online dating you can never be sure that people are who they say they are. They can misrepresent themselves, or just downright lie. This might be their job, their appearance, their age or their relationship status. Until you’ve made eyeball contact and gotten to know them you need to use a certain amount of caution.
The other drawback with online dating is that you will have a tendency to create mental images of another person, or even of yourself. Eventually the bubble will burst when you have met and cold reality strikes.
However, at least if you have been getting to know someone virtually you have already broken the ice. Speed dating can be quite awkward especially if you feel everyone else at the event is more gorgeous, glamorous, sociable and bubbly than you are, damn them, or if you don’t hit it off with the person sat opposite you and seriously can’t think of anything to say. It can be quite difficult to make small talk at first but after a few rounds, if you’re not bored of the repetitive process already, you should hit your stride and be able to ask some questions.
Probably the very worst thing that can happen when you’re speed dating is that you get an email from the organisers the next day explaining that you made no matches. In some ways, online dating is a hell of a lot kinder to your ego. If you’re rejected on an online dating site, you can simply message a new person to begin the process again, and reach for another sherbet dib-dab.
Want to have a go at speed dating? Here are some companies running some very popular events:
I’m often asked whether slower paced online dating is better than fast paced, but I find it can be difficult to generalise. Either can cause issues. On the one hand you may end up in a relationship that is based almost entirely on physical attraction, and on the other you may get caught up in a fantasy world of your own making.
The first thing to consider about moving very quickly from online dating to seeing each other and starting something physical is the old fashioned notion that one or both of you are too ‘easy’. You’ll have your own thoughts on this and no-one has the right to judge, but do consider that there is nothing very special about jumping in the sack with someone straight away, unless of course that’s exactly what you’re looking for; and some people are. But you haven’t built up any emotional bond, so the physical is all you’re left with. A few weeks down the line when you’ve performed every move from the Kama Sutra, what’s left?
Another issue about moving too quickly is that it can smother the other person. If you are spending too much time together there is no breathing space. The best relationships work when both of you are still doing your own thing and seeing other friends and family, otherwise what do you have left to talk about? In fact, you are running the risk of becoming dangerously obsessive if you don’t slacken the relationship reins from time to time, and believe me, that way great pain lies.
The advantage of taking things slowly when you’re dating online is that you are able to get on with your own life and your new friend is a welcome addition. If you’ve been burned in a relationship you’re naturally going to be more cautious, so slower paced online dating will probably work well for you. You can take time to get to know the other person and just have fun chatting and flirting. You need to be careful not to be too slow however, and leave days or a week between messages and emails, because it will feel like you’re not interested at all. You have to give out the right signals. If you are caught up in a situation where you are responding to messages and emails slower than a deceased tortoise, then you really have to ask yourself whether you are interested in continuing to pursue the relationship.
What you need to be aware of is that slower paced online dating, while building a great deal of anticipation, can result in a relationship that has become more of a creation of your own mind, a fantasy, rather than anything that is based in reality. You can build a scenario of a wonderful imaginary romance in your head that can last weeks or months, and then when you meet, the bubble is savagely popped and you can get badly hurt. The problem here is that you spend a great deal of time getting to know someone without really ever knowing them properly. That can only ever come from meeting in person.
Faster paced online dating has the perk that you will speak on the phone more quickly, and then meet up. This has the biggest advantage of all because you will quickly be able to see what strange tics and characteristics the other person has; do they smell, dress strangely or walk oddly? These things are really important because great email chemistry is not the same as great up close and personal chemistry. Words can hide a world of weirdness.
Somewhere in between laborious slower paced online dating and drop your pants faster paced online dating, the magic does exist for you. I disagree with other experts who say there are ‘rules’ to online dating, such as, respond to two emails, get the phone number and then meet or that you should never respond to a ‘wink’ within the first 24 hours. That’s ridiculous. There will be a timeframe that works for you both; take it steady but don’t hold the relationship up unnecessarily. Make sure that you can satisfy both your physical and emotional needs and that you keep seeing the other people in your life. Its trial and error and you will quickly find what works for you!
Recently there has been an explosion in chat rooms dedicated to online dating and there are dozens, nay, hundreds to choose from. One of the biggest advantages of using the chat room technique to find a special someone is that you can draw from an extremely large user base. There has to be someone, out there, online, that you can forge an attraction with, surely? There are chat rooms for every possible sexual persuasion and flavour combination that you can dream up. LGBT? No problem. Over 40? Absolutely fine. Christian? God yes. Only fancy men wearing aprons? You got it. Just Google what you’re after and you’ll find something. (OK, I may have lied about the men in aprons website).
First off, you’re going to need balls of steel to find the chat room that is right for you. If you try out some of the free ones you are instantly going to be put off by the number of eleven year old boys practicing their swear words and using what they perceive to be seriously arousing chat. Ugh! Just close that tab and head on over to somewhere else. If you are registered with any of the larger and more established dating sites then their chat rooms are going to be a much better place to start, so I would recommend using their facilities for chatting. There are some good free sites, but one I visited used a pop up the second I went into chat offering me soft porn. Goodbye!
Once you have found somewhere that is relaxed and offers a more mature and reasonable level of online conversation then you’ll probably find that you’ll enjoy it. In a decent online chat room you are going to be able to mingle, chat and flirt with singles from across the globe. Feel free to join in the flirting and innuendo – it’s expected!
What is really interesting about online chat on dating sites is that if you meet someone who uses words well, then that in itself can raise their attraction for you. You may fall in love, just a little bit, with their writing and language. And why not? Someone who expresses themselves well through their language may well express themselves well elsewhere. Just saying!
One of the real advantages of chatting on an online dating website is that if you’re shy, out of practice or notoriously bad at talking to, or flirting with, the opposite sex then an online chat room can provide you with the perfect forum in which to practice your skills. You can go at your own pace and take risks. You’ll grow in confidence and if you spend a while chatting with someone and then meet them later, at least the ice is already broken. If you’re not confident about your looks, online chat allows people to get to know you first and like you for whom you genuinely are.
There are of course, a number of challenges for you to look out for. Online chat is easy to use and you cannot trust everyone. Some people cruise from chat room to chat room and they may have something to hide; they may be married, they may be crazy. Take everything with a pinch of salt until you know better.
Some of the biggest advantages of chatting online are: that you do it in the comfort of your own home; it’s easy; and it’s safe as long as you protect your personal information. Plus you can flirt as much as you like; be daring or demure, a goblin or a princess. You get instant replies to questions and can build a great rapport with someone who sparks that initial attraction.
Online dating using chat rooms can be genuinely exciting and great fun. You may have to shovel a lot of muck before you find your diamond but you’ll laugh a lot in the process. Be prepared for the frustration of immature users cramping your style and people telling great big porky pies! Schedule an evening of chat as an entertaining treat when there is nothing on the TV. Relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine and your favourite snack and just join in the fun. You never know who you might meet!
Here are some popular dating sites that offer chat and video chat and often have special offers and free trials:
match.com – still the most popular dating site in the UK. Use chat to set up dates and get a quick idea of who you’re talking to, but beware of people who want to use it for online sex.
So, today OKCupid, which I generally rate as a very good (and free) site, has come up with an app called “Crazy Blind Date”. The idea is for OKCupid to basically set you up on a blind date with someone with details kept to a minimum. When I looked at this feature, I could see names and ages, but the pictures on the site have been scrambled to make the dates really blind. I also couldn’t access the full profile of any of the blind date guys in any obvious way, though looking at explanations of how this works, I gather it lets you chat to people beforehand at least.
I’m guessing someone out there came up with this idea as a way to make online dating less calculated and bring back the sense of excitement but really? The thing about real blind dates that are organised by someone who knows both of you: a well-meaning relative whose friend’s son is curiously single, a friend who works with a cool girl she thinks you’d like. You may still end up meeting some boring or weird person, but it’s not likely to be a crazy stalker or a total freak. On a free dating site I’d probably need a bit more convincing and interaction before getting my coat. And I’d want to see a picture. I know most men look better in real life than in their profile picture but I’d still want to see it. I also know that looks aren’t everything, but I’d still want to see it. The problem with online dating is not lack of information; it’s not uncertainty and a multitude of unknowns. Why on earth would anyone want to take away the little bit of information people do get online? Well, at least they got the name right. Stay safe, people. Follow the safety rules if you’re going to try a weird thing like this.
If you’re above the age of 60, dating can seem a daunting affair. You might have been out of the dating world for some time, whether you are widowed or alone due to divorce. Dating when you’re older may feel scary, but finding love is just the same at any age. These days, there are plenty of ways to meet your match. Here are some ways you can find your way back onto the dating scene.
Take up a hobby
Join a club or class which focuses on an activity you enjoy. Classes are a really good way to meet people who share your interests. This will put you in great standing for a good relationship. Whether you enjoy sports, reading or the theatre, you’ll be able to find a class which will suit you.
If you’ve just come out of a long relationship or a marriage, you may be feeling like you’re in a rut. Long-term couples can become too accustomed to each other to the point where they lose sight of what they want. If you try something you’ve never considered before, you could give yourself a new lease of life.
Use an online dating site
In recent years, dating websites such as eHarmony have shot up in popularity, and new profile matching features make it easier than ever to find a mate.
It is no longer unusual for older people to find new love online – for more information about how to get started, visit this page.
Try a matchmaker
Another way to meet a potential match is to visit a local matchmaking service. Matchmaking services have been around for a long time and provide a personalised way to meet your perfect mate. Potential matches are hand-picked by staff and dates set up according to your personal preferences.
Take a trip
Holidays for singles are offered by many cruise lines with group activities and flexible trip plans for any individual. Groups can be organised by age, giving you the best chance to meet singles in a similar position to yourself. The best part is that you may get to visit a place you’ve never been to before while searching for love.
The world of dating may have changed somewhat since you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship. There are many different ways to meet people, particularly with online dating services. Ask advice from those around you and pay attention to your wants and needs. Though times have changed, you’re still just as likely to find happiness.
The big news this week is that oxytocin, the bonding/attachment hormone can make men more faithful to their partners. A while back, some researchers put some of this hormone into a spray and tested it on couples in committed relationships to see how it affected the quality of their communications. They found that couples dosed with the hormone were able to discuss difficult topics to do with their relationship with more ease and mutual trust. It basically took out that whole mutual mistrust and accusatory tone issue that taints most difficult emotional discussions, as the couples were flying high on the love hormone, thus acting from a place of love. I mused then about the possible commercial implications of something like that. Some people might see it as the fast, cost effective alternative to relationship counselling and who doesn’t like a quick fix you can just spray up your nose, right? I see the need for some sort of marketing campaign to convince people to have awkward relationship conversations (with or without the magic spray). After all, a less wholesome “love drug”, MDMA, was supposedly originally touted by dealers under the cuddly name “Empathy”, but it didn’t become a hit with the clubbers till it rebranded as “Ecstasy”. So if someone were to market oxytocin spray based on that particular research, they’d probably get better results by talking about the effects of oxytocin on mutual orgasms, or something. But now, this new research has gone and told everyone that a dose of oxytocin can actually make men in committed relationships stay faithful in the face of sexy women. I doubt there is any interest at the moment at marketing oxytocin spray to the masses, but can you imagine? It would be to bad relationships what Ritalin is to boring tasks. And it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point in the future people just didn’t care. After all, if a man (and probably a woman, too. After all, this research hasn’t been conducted on women yet) is feeling the urge to stay and the prospect of relationship problem-solving or a break up seems daunting or impossible, what could be easier than just spraying something up your nose a few times a day to keep things together? Gone would be the days where people stopped to think about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, of wondering whether there is a reason why they keep feeling the need to move on. Just like the case of Ritalin, there are undoubtedly people out there who are prone to straying even when they’re in a happy relationship with a person they truly love. But I can very much see a future where a one size fits all solution would mean people stop trusting themselves and thinking about their own motives and needs and just spray themselves into fidelity. Can’t you?
The first date is an all-important milestone in a nascent relationship. Get it wrong and there may be no recovery. Because neither partner yet knows that much about the other, the first date must provide the space for a bond to be created. Too many make the mistake of assuming that their choice of activity or venue will speak for them, so that they don’t have to.
Nightclubs are loud, brash and usually filled with slightly/very drunk people. None of these things are conducive to a good first date. If your prospective partner has expressed an interest in dancing, for example in their eHarmony Canada website profile, a better choice would be a class in a specific form of dance – say, swing. If neither of you have done it before, the learning experience can be fun and a good way to break the ice.
2. Family event
While being proud of your family is a positive attribute, forcing someone to meet them on a first date is a bad idea. For one, it presumes that you are forming a long-term relationship, which isn’t what a first date is about. Secondly, meeting someone else’s family can be intimidating. A first date is nerve-wracking enough without the prospect of having to impress parents or siblings. Similarly, it’s wise to avoid involving friends in first dates. These things come later, once a secure bond has been formed.
3. Remote cabin
While it may seem romantic on paper, whisking someone away to a remote destination can cause unease on a first date. After all, neither partner knows a great deal about the other. Also, the isolation places a lot of pressure on the couple to generate their own entertainment. This can put an unnecessary strain on the budding relationship. The ideal first date requires a little outside stimulus to help the couple through potentially awkward moments.
A trip to the cinema forces couples to be silent, which isn’t a great way to spend a first date. The darkness and the requirement to stare straight ahead are also major barriers to communication. If you’re not a great talker and can’t stomach the prospect of an intimate dinner date, one piece of dating advice is to find an activity that allows for both entertainment and conversation. Daytime dates are good options in this case, as they open up a lot of outside activities. These don’t have to be exceptional – a visit to the local farmer’s market can be all that’s needed.
5. Extreme sports
While a little adrenaline is good, too much isn’t. Unless your date has expressed an interest in a particular extreme sport, don’t inflict what might be a frightening experience on them. If you must suggest a participatory sport, choose something relatively tame and uncompetitive such as bowling, crazy golf or ice skating.
Sometimes, you suspect someone close to you is being scammed on an online dating site. It could be a relative or a friend looking for love who’s come across something he or she think is going to be the next love of their lives. When they tell you about it, though, it doesn’t quite sound right. Something makes you suspicious. Maybe you can’t even put your finger on it. If it’s a parent, this could be particularly tough, because you might end up feeling like you are being overly suspicious of anyone your mother/father like.
Because I’ve written a few posts about scammers on here, I have a few pages with hundreds of comments, each talking about a different scammer. Women exchange stories and have found these pages very useful when trying to decide whether the person they are talking to is a scammer. But for these women to get here, they have to have had the initial suspicion to Google the guy’s name. Sometimes, though, people come here because someone else has fallen for a suspected scammer. If the person being scammed doesn’t suspect anything at all, it’s harder to convince them that they are being scammed. Here are some tips that might help:
1. Be very tactful – this is a delicate subject. The person you’re trying to save may actually be in love with the scammer. You need to break it to them gently, rather than be forceful.
2. Don’t make them feel stupid – scammers are pros and they’ve perfected their method over the years. People who are vulnerable or new to the Internet may appear silly to you for having fallen for the scam, but without prior knowledge of how things work, these scams can actually look like the real thing.
3. Act quickly – the more involved the person becomes with the scammer, the harder it’s going to be to extract them and the more painful it’s going to be for them.
4. If your relative/friend tells you they’ve started dating online, a good way around the problem is to give them a lecture about scammers before they even start communicating. Tell them the telltale signs of a scammer (you can find some here and here) so that if a scammer does contact, they will be able to spot him straight away. This method is also good as a way to avoid having a conversation with them about any specific person they may be talking to. It might make them suspicious enough to search for more info themselves.
5. Perform the checks on the scammer yourself – Google their name for one, which may show you all you need to know.
6. If this person has contacted your friend/relative via an online dating site and still has a profile there, contact the dating site customer service department. They may not admit that this is a scammer (to save face), but the profile will be taken down quickly, as they will be able to tell it’s a scammer from just looking at it. You should be able to use this as proof.
I’d only just finished writing a post for the Parship Blog in response to an article about why men “secretly love bossy women”, when this article came up on the Daily Mail site, asking why women stay in relationships with controlling men. I thought it was going to be the perfect balancing answer to the other article, but, being the mail, it’s more about celebrity gossip and personal story telling, without actually getting into the real reasons as to why women are attracted to bossy men. All it tells you is that women who are in such relationships blame themselves for their partner’s behaviour and let them get away with it. Why do these often intelligent, attractive women go for such men? Short of saying “low self esteem and boredom”, the article leaves you in the dark.
Now, this article talks about the extreme cases – stalkers, utter control freaks, people who could even end up being violent. There are obviously controlling relationships that aren’t so extreme. So the question you need to ask is what do the women engaged in such relationships gain from them in order to keep them there? Is it a validation of their home lives as children? A validation of the guy’s passion and interest in them or, as in the men in the relationships I discussed in my Parship article, the freedom to not worry about the hard decisions one generally has to make in life. You can talk about these things for days, but ultimately, if you’re one of these women, then the only reasons you should be looking at are your own. Once you realise you’re in a controlling or abusive relationship (and for that, as much as I hate to say it, articles like this one are actually quite useful, as they lay down the symptoms and name the disease) then you should do your own soul searching, possibly with professional help, to see what it is that attracts you to a man that holds you back so much.
After the flurry of surveys and studies proving that splitting the housework evenly does wonders for your long term relationships and marriage (from making men feeling happier, to making your sex life better and more), now comes a Norwegian study which, if you believe the snazzy headlines from papers like The Telegraph, shows that sharing the housework actually leads to higher divorce rates. Of course, looking at the study itself and taking into account comments by the guy in charge, it’s clear to see that this is not at all the case, but I’m sure pubs everywhere will be full of guys telling each other things like “and then I told her, if you want me to do the dishes, fine, but be warned that it could lead to divorce!”. Laughs all round. So what’s the deal? Well, it seems that sharing the chores is part of being a part of a “modern” couple with “modern” values, i.e. the woman is most likely educated, middle class and financially independent. Marriage is not the end all and be all to such women, plus people with modern values tend to want more out of their relationships and, for better or worse, are more likely to bolt if things are looking hopeless. People with traditional family values tend to also believe marriage is for life. That’s pretty much it. Sharing the housework is a symptom of being in a particular type of couple, a couple more likely to split up if things aren’t going well. So all you guys thinking of an easy way out can put your apron back on. You’re not getting off that easily!
I’m used to seeing pretty shoddy surveys and bits of research involving “156 psychology students” or “200 members of a dating site”, so it’s quite reassuring to see an actual experiment based on significant data. The Huff Post reports on a massive psychological experiment looking into what men and women find attractive in the female shape. It’s always been assumed that women are good at anticipating what males find attractive. The article lists a psychological theory that states that this is because when women know what men find attractive, they can rate themselves accordingly and subconsciously pick a mate who’s “in the same league”, ensuring relationship longevity. This also works in reverse – men rate themselves in the same way to find a woman not likely to trade up at the first opportunity. Interesting theory, though I’m not sure it matches up with reality. The very phrase “out of your league” wouldn’t have been coined if people (especially guys) didn’t constantly try to get it together with mates significantly more attractive than they were. Both men and women tend to also spend a lot of time trying to manipulate their physical appearance to match what they see as the other sex’s beauty ideal – so they can get a better class of date. And let’s not forget that according to evolutionary psychology, we’re not even trying to work towards relationship longevity. We’re trying to improve the human race by breeding children with those less genetically challenged than us.
But strange theories aside, it seems that men and women agree on most things to do with the female body – lower weight, narrower waist, longer legs (the sort of leg shape you get by wearing heels) – but disagree on one thing – breast size. It seems that women prefer smaller boobs and men still prefer larger ones. This is apparently (according to some research) why today’s fashion models have smaller breasts and Playboy models have bigger ones and also why mannequins have smaller breasts (this according to the article. Personally I’ve seen some mannequins with pretty huge breasts)- women look at fashion models and men look at porn, seems to be what this theory is saying. Roll on a flurry of explanations as to why that is – smaller breasts being more practical, androgynous body types being perceived by women as stronger, more intelligent and more “guy like” – qualities the modern woman appreciates and more. The trend of women viewing curvaceous ladies as ideal has been diminishing over the past 50 years, apparently.
Of course, it’s a chicken and egg thing. Little girls grow up looking at fashion models and they learn to shape their beauty ideals on what they see. If the women in these magazines had curvy bodies, full hips and large breasts, would this ideal be different? The fact that women’s magazines used to show curvy women and women used to view curvy women as more attractive in those days would imply to me that this is the case. At least, I see it as a theory that’s just as valid as the one that assumes women readers drive the visual choices these magazines make. Heroin chic, for example, which is pretty much the epitome of androgynous fashion, drew a lot of criticism when it kicked off and much of it was to do with the personal choices of fashion photographers who were actually either addicted to heroin or in love with models who were. And let us not forget fashion – I’m leaning towards thinking that androgynous, skinny body types are easier to design the sort of out of this world sculptural pieces high fashion seems to favour nowadays. You know, the sort of stuff that’s more about art and fantasy than reality. Narrow, straight bodies can take on whatever shape you give them. Curvy bodies tend to sort of dictate the style.
And here’s your radical feminist thought for the day – the richer and better fed a society is, the more it attempts to control its women by making the feminine body type ideal impossible to match for the vast majority of women. You could argue that this habit funds a huge industry of everything from gyms and supplements but beyond everything else, it also keeps women preoccupied with their appearance to the point where they become so obsessed with it, they forget the power they have over men.
Scientists say the androgynous body type is more masculine. I reckon it’s more child like, Lolita style. This body type, in reality, usually (not always, but usually) comes with a smaller boob size, unless you’ve got implants. Maybe women are just trying to be realistic. Of course, when we have heroins like Lara Croft to show us a totally unachievable body type with a tiny waist and gigantic boobs, I guess reality’s not necessarily high on guys’ minds. I guess if there’s one message we can take away from this research is: if you want to get that brain scientist quarterback underwear model, ladies, keep wearing those heels, popping the diet pills and stuffing your bra.
I spend a lot of time actively looking for relationship and dating articles online, but sometimes these things just turn up. I found this article while following a link to an article totally unrelated to dating. It’s a bit long, so I’ll sum it up for you, though it’s worth reading. Basically, it says that the abundance of sex tips in women’s magazines is ruining sex for people, because it makes it sound as if sex needs to be this ultra-complicated pursuit you see people do in porn. In fact, the article goes as far as saying that many of these tips originate in porn and that they are mostly aimed at pleasing men. Ultimately, says the author, people end up feeling that “just a bit of oral followed by the missionary position” is not good enough and feel that they have to turn the sexual act into some sort of hard labour. Well…
I’ll start by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve read any of those things, so my memory might be a bit out on what sort of stuff they suggest. I know myself that when your job involves writing a lot about the same subject, you end up struggling to find ideas. I’m sure a lot of the people who write these sex tips do actually get their ideas from porn, probably because their own sex lives are not that exciting and they need to come up with a bunch of new stuff to please their editor, rather than necessarily please the man or woman reading the article if they end up trying it in bed. I’m also sure they get briefs requiring them to include whatever fad that’s popular at the time. So if some celebrity was caught doing something in a sex tape, you can be sure that’ll be all over the mags faster than you can pull out a tissue. So yeah, some of that stuff can be pretty ridicilous and won’t have been tried by the people who wrote it.
On the other hand, sex within the context of a long term relationship can get pretty boring if all you ever do is the one position.
When your guy has that new boyfriend smell and you’re still getting to know each other sexually, you get excited about every bit of physical contact. If you swap partners often, then the fact that you’re with a different person is exciting enough, even if you stick to your usual positions and moves. But when you’re having sex hundreds of times with the same person over time, things are different. You’re basically going to have lots of different types of sex, according to your mood, your physical state, your circumstances, etc.. So there does need to be room for lazy sex, quick sex and even not very good sex (you can’t expect every single time to be perfect when you’re having lots of sex), but you also can’t go around limiting your sexual vocabulary to the basics without expecting things to eventually go very stale. I feel a bit mean saying it, but an article that jokes about oral sex “usually causing jaw ache rather than cataclysmic mutual orgasms” kinda screams “you’re doing it wrong” at me. I can’t help being reminded of the argument between British and French scientists about whether or not the female G-spot exists. Talk about living the “no sex please, we’re British” stereotype. Also, I think there maybe some flawed logic at work here. While women’s mags are definitely guilty of putting women in an obsessive state of mind about pretty much everything (“15 diet tips that work”, “how to keep your man from leaving you”, “is your vagina too ugly?”, etc.), the fact that they advise women on how to spice up their sex lives by pleasing the man doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic for women to want to stretch the limits of their own sex lives, nor does it mean that women don’t have fantasies that extend beyond the obvious.
So yes, there’s nothing wrong with any sexual position or move on its own, but if you’re a guy and your whole repertoire consists of the missionary position and you’re looking for a long term relationship, you’d better find yourself a woman who’s not really that much into sex, otherwise she’s gonna get real bored real quick. Spending hours setting up the bedroom with all kinds of silly stuff just so you can have a bit of a fondle can certainly be a chore, but so can having exactly the same shag every single time. While the sex tips offered by the freshly post virginal 20 year olds and frustrated demi-spinsters who write for women’s mags may be a bit far fetched and stupid, there’s no shortage of good stuff out there written by people whose sex lives are actually a tad more adventurous for real. The Internet is your friend and there are also books and videos out there that do a better job. So remember, kids consenting adults, experimentation is not a dirty word.
Sometimes you have to wonder about research people come up with and the logic behind actually funding it. This is one of those times. New research is linking men’s stress levels to their preference in female body types. The smashing, tabloid-like BBC headline tells me men are drawn to heavier women when they’re stressed, but when you read the actual article, you realise stressed men simply preferred a larger range of female body types. Basically, stressed men are easy. Put a man under pressure and he’ll be more open to sleeping with women he might not otherwise be attracted to.
Interesting, if perhaps obvious information. I leave it up to you to decide what to do with this valuable information.
OK, this made me laugh, mostly because I actually hate low handlebars on bicycles. Apparently, apart from making me feel dangerously unbalanced, bikes with low handlebars can actually affect women’s genitals, making some bits numb enough to actually make for less sexual enjoyment. We’ve heard it all before about serious guy cyclists and their genitals (lower sperm count, I believe?) but now it seems women can suffer as well. It’s all down to angles, saddle pressure and things like that.
The full article is here. It’s enough to make me really glad I never left my trusty old mountain bike!
Makes you wonder how many women have had sexual issues as a result of this and put it down to something completely different (psychological issues, lack of compatibility with partner, depression, stress, etc.). Sometimes problems can be the result of a completely unrelated, seemingly random factor you wouldn’t normally even consider relevant…
I’ve written here before about the need to tailor your dating profile to your “audience” (which in this case means the person or people you would like to meet), but what I’ve noticed a lot of people do is write one profile and then use it on several sites. Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this. It can take a lot of time to hit a winning formula with your profile and most people hate writing about themselves. So once you get a good dating profile together you tend to feel that your troubles are over and now you can just plonk that on any number of dating sites you fancy trying and it’ll do the trick. But dating site vary quite greatly not just in the type of crowd that hangs out there and what they’re generally looking for, but also in conventions and the sort of house style, if you will. For example, if you go on a site like the Lovestruck dating service, you’ll find profiles geared towards busy London professionals who are generally keen to take things offline quickly, meet for lunch or a drink after work and generally not spend too much time reading lengthy profiles online. Try to use the profile you’ve come up with on one of the personality testing, take it slow, long term relationship NOW websites and you may well stand out, but in a bad way.
You want your profile to stand out, you want it to appeal and attract and most of all, you want it to represent who you are, but you also want to stay enough within the limits of the site so as to fit in and not put off people. This means that you should start by running a search as if you were the person you want to meet. So if you’re a straight guy, you run a search for guys, if you’re a straight woman, a search for women. Then start looking at the profiles you see. What do they mostly have in common? Are they short or long? How many paragraphs do people tend to write? This is probably the amount they’d be willing to read. In general, people who write longer profiles are ones looking for more serious relationships, as they have the inclination to dedicate more time and effort to their profile. But write too much and you end up appearing desperate and lonely when compared with other, shorter profiles on a site where most people keep things concise. Your best bet is therefore not to stray being a paragraph more than the general profile length consensus. This is where you also learn how to avoid cliches. Everyone thinks their witticisms are unique and entertaining, but read a 100 profiles and you’ll end up reading the same stuff over 50 times. Learn from others’ mistakes and know what not to put in your profile.
You have till the end of the month to make use of these two great eHarmony offers. If you live in the US, that is. Great if you’ve been thinking of signing up long term (which is a good idea anyway with eHarmony as it’s a site aimed at people who want to move slowly). These discount coupons will expire on the 31st of July so if you want to try eHarmony without paying full price, then hurry. They have special offers every once in a while, but who knows when the next one will be.
OK, so if, like me, you’ve heard all about how men are programmed to “cheat” by nature and women are the homemakers who are programmed to stay at home with one man and the kids, then you may be interested in this little bit of information, which I’d like to file deeply in the WTF pile. Apparently our understanding (as a species) of the genetic programming supposedly found in nature that inclines men towards cheating and women towards remaining faithful originated in a 1948 study conducted on…wait for it….fruit flies!
Yup, that’s right, the underlying assumption that has coloured countless studies since the day it was published was based on research into an insect. They didn’t even electrocute a monkey or anything before coming out with their far fetched conclusions, which seem to not really take into account that there is a teeny tiny difference between a human and a fly. More importantly, no one ever came back to the original study to try and recreate it to see if it really works as described. Until now, that is, when a new team of researchers have disproved it. As always, as humanity (in part, at least) moves gradually away from oldschool values, science eventually catches up with some proof or other to validate something people with common sense already know to be true.
So there you have it. Apparently women are just as programmed to have multiple partners as men (and fruit flies). Science approves this message, just like it recently acknowledged the fact that bisexuals exist. It’s a good thing we have female (and gay/bisexual) scientists nowadays or we’d forever be stuck in the past.
I’ve written a lot about which pictures not to pick for your online dating profile, but if you need any more proof as to why people might think you’re a little bit off, then I have some fine examples for you right here. The word on everyone’s lips is “why?!”
First up, here’s a little page from Buzzfeed, collecting 27 cases of men most ladies would not want to meet dating online. The sad thing is, some of these guys don’t actually look half bad. If only they’d not chosen their words and pictures so damn poorly…
But before you start talking to be about how sad and clueless straight guys can be, I give you another recent discovery. This one’s a blog by an anthropology student collecting pictures from gay dating sites and apps where the subjects are posing in front of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Why? I hear you ask. I don’t know. But it happens often enough to feed a whole blog and makes you wonder whether these people are ignorant, want to appear cool or just don’t care.
It’s funny how your opinion about stuff changes as you get older, isn’t it? Here’s another article I saw about a woman in her late 30s trying to find the husband she’s always dreamed of and, so far, failing. This particular woman explains how she found a man who was “perfect on paper” but left him because there was no real passion there and has gone back to the drawing board, looking for a man to tick every possible box.
Now, when I was in my 20s, I’d be completely understanding of this and tell this lady to ignore everything her family and friends are saying and carry on with the search. Nowadays…Well…Now I think women should think carefully about what’s really important to them in life. I look around me and I see a lot of women in their late 30s or early 40s who are so determined to have it all that they can very easily end up with nothing, at least for a while. Now, to be clear, I’m not actually the sort of person who thinks a woman is defined by having children and that starting a family is the right choice for every woman. I’ve seen many woman discover the hard way that the romantic notion of family life is not exactly what they expected and my own personal views about bringing children into this overpopulated, violent world are somewhat less determined by my hormones or my desire to clone my own genetic make up.
Everyone has a vision of the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect happily ever after. It’s never quite like that, whether you have children or not. So for me, it’s a perfectly valid choice to say to yourself that you’d rather not have a family than have it with the wrong person and you’d rather keep searching for the perfect guy than to settle for someone who’s not your perfect soulmate. It’s also perfectly fine to say you don’t want to have children at all, but would like the focus of your relationship to be the feelings you and your partner have for each other.
Also, let’s keep in mind that now that the world (parts of it, anyway) is moving away from puritan religious values, we’re beginning to understand that the Catholic-style version of perfect love is, frankly, not realistic for most people. The majority of people in the west engage in “serial monogamy”, which comes far more naturally to most than the vision of eternal coupling. In fact, most people in the world engage in some form of polygamy (whether it’s cheating, open relationships or “emotional cheating” – the annoying term for what is basically having normal human urges and not acting on them). It makes you wonder whether there is such a thing as a lifelong soulmate at all. The answer to this, I believe, is a positive one. Some people do find a partner they’d like to be with for life. On the other hand, cases of genuine, lifelong “soulmatism” are actually relatively rare. It’s a lot more common for people to stay together because they believe they have to or ought to.
So, unlike what I thought in my 20s, nowadays I look at such articles as the one above and women who write or identify with it and I say – grow up, ladies, it’s crunch time.
Your deadline approaches and, like it or not, as women we do have a deadline beyond which we are no longer fertile. I look around me and I see children whose parents are going to most likely die when said children are still way too young (because if you have a child in your 40s, you’re going to be in your 70s by the time he’s 30), the result of people holding off having kids while they have their career and choose the perfect partner. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either. Still better, in my honest opinion, than deciding to have and raise a child on your own (i.e. sperm bank rather than say, adopt one) “because you want one of your own”. And no, I don’t have anything against single mothers at all and most single mothers don’t start off intending on raising a child on their own. They end up in that situation and do the best they can for their children. On the other hand, I think that it’s not the ideal situation for a child, so knowingly choosing to place a child in a non-ideal situation before it’s even conceived because you want to experience motherhood is, to me, a very selfish decision.
If having a child is the most important thing to you to you and you’re getting to the point where you may not be able to have one, then yes, you may have to bloody settle. Sure, as I’ve said before, don’t go for someone who repulses you or bores you to tears, but do accept that you may not find prince charming in time for your perfect baby shower. Also, keep in mind that even prince charming may lose much of his charm after your baby comes out anyway. The way I see it, if you can’t stop thinking about your own needs and desires and keep wanting to have it all instead then either you don’t want children as much as you thought you did (which is absolutely fine, but you should come to term with this) or you’re just not ready to have them. Let’s be honest, chances are, you and most people around you will not have the happily ever after relationship you’ve envisioned. Hell, most women in their 20s won’t have it all either. They just have a few years before they have to face that realisation. People change, life changes and relationships change. You may as well decide what’s important to you and get ready to compromise and take risks. Be it risking not having a family (or adopting one later on) for the sake of finding someone truly compatible for life or settling for a relationship that’s likely to not last forever for the sake of having a child. You could also seek out alternative parenting arrangements with gay couples or men who want a child but not a relationship. Not ideal, but then again, what is? You most likely can’t have it all, but it’s OK. You just need to come to terms with it.
Here’s something I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to. Huffington Post reports on one blogger’s “online dating chart”, showing the cycle she goes through with dating on OKCupid.
I’m sort of thinking… If you keep going through the same cycle, why not change it? Change your dating site, do stuff that doesn’t involve online dating to meet guys… Or maybe start by not turning to online dating during times when you’re feeling low and desperate. You generally tend to meet better matches when you’re feeling good about yourself and about being single. Just a thought…
Someone pointed me at the new TV ad campaign from match.com in the UK. I like how they’ve gone from wacky to personable and “real”.
Plus the couple in the ad are cute without being off-puttingly beautiful.
What do you think? Would this ad make you want to join match.com ?
Whoever said that stereotypes weren’t based on just a tiny little modicum of reality? If you’re not yet convinced, take a look at this story about British and French scientists and the burning question of the female G-spot.
The National Association of Victims of Human Trafficking Advocates (an American organisation) says Google should stop displaying all online dating ads until it can be sure none of them point at fronts for human trafficking. I’m sure Google is not keen to part with all that money (lord knows there’s loads of money in advertising online dating), but I’m also sure it doesn’t want to support slavery. I’ve seen quite a few Adsense ads in my time that reeked of mail order bride of the worst kind. In fact, this was one of the reasons I never signed up to Adsense in the first place, because it doesn’t give you the freedom to reject ads. There were all kinds of ads appearing on my site that were obviously aimed at Western guys with am Asian women fetish and I didn’t like the language and pictures used (nor the sites they pointed at). But can Google really filter out the baddies and should all reputable dating sites suffer if it can’t? It’s a tough one. I’m sure Google is working really hard already to ensure it complies with legalisation. An article in Search Engine Land wondered whether something can be done similarly to the way Google handles the healthcare sector, requiring advertisers to go through a certification process. The author mused whether the US could learn from the UK, where there is an association of dating sites (an organisation that is hardly the seal of approval it may appear to be from outside, not because it’s dodgy or anything, it’s just not quite as official as it may appear). Maybe Google should just treat this highly explosive area of advertising even more seriously and put even more resources into actual human vetting of new advertisers. Having worked as a moderator I know mistakes can happen even when you have whole dedicated teams working on something, but when actual human lives are at stake, you can never be too careful. I’d rather see advertisers denied until they can prove they’re legit than all those horrid ads for sex slavery fronts.
Seriously? They couldn’t see this coming? The “Girls Around Me” app, an app that draws info from Foursquare and tells guys which girls are in their area right now, has been withdrawn after complaints. BBC news tells the story, which should really be of no surprise to anyone but the nerdiest of geeks.
To be fair, I never understood why anyone would want to check in anywhere online anyway. It’s practically doing big brother’s work for him (it? them?). Let the government (and the stalkers) work for their money if they’re so keen to know where I am. If you check in online using Facebook or Foursquare then you shouldn’t be surprised if your privacy gets invaded. After all, you’re kinda giving up on your privacy by giving everyone your private information for free. But this app…well…
When I was working for Allegran (online dating company), we got contacted by a company offering the technology to allow people to check in and find the users who were physically near them. This was before foursquare and before all the current apps. There was a debate among our directors as to whether we should use them. In the end, one of the directors simply asked us girls in the office whether we’d want to use such an app. We all said the same thing, and quickly: STALKERS!!!
The decision was made to let other companies iron out the creep outs, stalkerfests and eventual lawsuits before joining the party. The men, by the way, thought the app would be a great idea, but in online dating, nobody cares about what men think. Men wouldn’t want to join a site that only had other men dating on it, unless they were gay men and women wouldn’t join a site that got them stalked by weirdos.
So there you have it. Women may not actually like having all kinds of guys knowing where they are and popping up uninvited. Yes, I’m sure a lot of it is to do with privacy settings and can be fixed by tightening them up and only sharing your location with close friends, but privacy settings are hardly ever set to be pro-user by default, are they? Unless the user in question is an exhibitionist or his/her friends are stalkers, then we’re doing fine.
Guest blogger Rick Walker is back with another post, this time about food and spring dates.
Various foods come in and out of season, so there are many delicious delights to eat during spring. What food you eat on a date is important because it shows the other person a reflection of your personality. For example if one sits there nibbling on a carrot and some salad leaves, it demonstrates that the person is health conscious whereas if someone eats a burger and loads of chips, it displays that they love their food as much as they love life. Smooch.com has revealed the best foods to eat on a date in spring. Tantalise your date’s taste buds this season with strawberries or lamb. Lamb is a very popular main course in spring and strawberries are ideal for a romantic, saucy dessert. Casseroles are not just for wintertime and a spring chicken pot is packed with light vegetables; whereas springtime spaghetti and meatballs is great for warmer weather.
A healthy light meal is salmon which is scrumptious with asparagus and baby potatoes, and a warm salad with meat is ideal for a lunch date. Goat’s cheese is a favourite springtime food as well as risotto, jacket potatoes and hearty lamb burgers. And spring fruits like cherries and apricots make cooking a treat at this time of year. If you are going on a first date, make sure to tuck your chair as close to the table as possible to avoid getting food down your shirt and a major no-no is talking with your mouth full of food.
Spaghetti is a good meal but it can result in slurps and mess, and spinach and corn on the cob are not so great for getting in-between your teeth. Food can be a universal language which you can converse about over your date; so don’t be afraid to share your love of food.
I know it’s sometimes difficult to think of the individual user when you run a dating site or work for a dating company. When I worked in one, we used to often think of things in terms of trends, statistics, demographics. When we started a new site, we’d sometimes populate it with suitable people from our database and email them to say they got a new account set up. Sometimes we’d even give them a trial subscription to try it out. Some people complained, but most only complained because they didn’t realise the new website was also owned by us and thought we’d sold their details on. We figured, these people already have us our details, so they might like to try a new site where they can meet more people, especially if they can try it out for free. I still don’t see anything inherently wrong with that. There are also a few companies that run white label dating sites where the whole business model is based on providing new websites in the “family” with an off the shelf database to kick things off. But when you start selling your users’ data to the highest bidder, well, that’s just plain nasty.
Check out this article about this worrying trend. I won’t call it a new trend, because it’s been going on for years. It’s just that now someone’s caught on and is spreading the word.
I got contacted by the assistant producer of an upcoming UK documentary about women who date younger men (they’ve not used the word “cougars”, which I like!). If this means you and you’re interested in talking about your experience, then see their message below and get in touch with them to discuss.
Their call out follows:
Are you a woman in a relationship with a younger man? Are you also the main bread winner?
Perhaps you are a woman who prefers younger men?
If so, you are part of a major growing trend in Britain.
We would like to speak to couples & singles, both men and women, willing to talk about the good and bad aspects of their experience of this.
Please contact us with your daytime contact number by emailing us at email@example.com or call us on 0203 189 3412.
I’ve recently started accepting guest posts so I’m happy to introduce my first guest poster, Rick Walker. Here is is post about the importance of honesty in online dating.
It seems you have finally made the choice to throw the single life out the window in favour of finding someone to share your life with through online dating. Making that decision is the easy part. Selling yourself by making yourself look desirable through a good online profile is the part that people have the most trouble with. You want to make yourself look good but not too good. In other words, in the end you are going to win up meeting the person who choose you, with any luck.
Because of this the best policy is to make sure and use as much honesty as possible. Don’t pretend to be into things you are not and certainly never show only the “good” headshots. Show pictures that depict what you really look like, and not just at night or in low lights! If you are looking for a real UK date then make sure you understand that you had better show the real you. Otherwise you are wasting your time and that of the lad or lass who happens to be allured by your trumped up profile and unrealistic pictures.
Once you have provided a realistic picture of yourself both through photographs and details about yourself then you will need to specify what you are looking for in a prospective date. When looking for a good date the UK is as good a place as any to look but take care not to let yourself look like a psycho by stating things like, “Must never lie or cheat” or “must like cats.” This says a little too much about you by making someone assume you are picky or demanding. Of course you don’t want to come right out of the box looking like you are an obsessive freak who insists on everything being your own way.
Rick works for the online dating industry and enjoys writing about his experiences with online dating. He is passionate about sharing his tips and advice with other users.
It’s spring! The sun is shining and if you’re suddenly feeling more in the mood for love, then you’re definitely not alone. You can totally cash in on the nice weather by getting out in the sun with your date and doing springy things.
Personally, I love a picnic in the park and considering the whole financial crisis thing, it’s also the perfect way to save some cash. You could stock up on sparkling wine, cheese, nice bread and even posh dips for a lot less than you’d pay for a meal at a nice restaurant and have a truly relaxed time outside.
You can turn your park experience into something more active (or comical) by doing all kinds of random things like boating (which is random enough to be ironically cool), rollerblading (endless potential for hilarity) and, my personal favourite – feeding the ducks with endless slices of stale bread, which requires no special skill but shows that you care.
But before you head off into the great unknown with the great unknown you’ve picked up on a dating site, you might also want to check out these lists of great al fresco dining options in London and the UK plus London’s and the UK’s best pub gardens.
If you’re looking for something a bit more informative, then you can opt for something inoffensive like a short walking tour (in London, there are loads of new ones gearing up for the Olympics), or, if you and your date are into fitness, why not try this crazy thing?
Glamour recently published a couple of interesting surveys. First, there’s the UK Guy Survey which asked men about their dating, relationship and sexual habits (including the opening question which is the charming “which of these places have you masturbated in?”). Frankly, there was little in it that is groundbreaking or comes as news to anyone who’s either a man or has dated a man, though I did like the fact that most men (85%) find women who reply to texts quickly to be efficient, rather than desperate.
Meanwhile, in the US, Boston women have been found to be the unhappiest of US daters in a Glamour survey, sponsored by match.com. Boston was also found to be the US city with the highest percentage of men who expect to get laid on the first date, although the percentage was still not particularly high – just 14%. Boston is a student town, so you have to wonder, really. Is this an indication that more guys in Boston are after casual sex? Sleeping with someone on a first date shouldn’t really indicate that you’re not looking for anything serious, but many people have this stupid idea that women who’d sleep with you on a first date are not marriage material. Ho hum. I guess until we know where Boston women stand on the sleeping with someone on a first date issue, we won’t have an answer, plus, as I said, 14% is not really such a high percentage, when you think about it.
I have to share this interview on Huffington Post giving insight into what the sex life of a successful, confident 50something woman is. It’s an interview with Cindy Gallop, who shares information about her love life and views on female sexuality over 50.
With all the crap out there making women feel like they’re increasingly old and past it with every day that goes by, it’s so wonderful to read about an actual, working alternative to both ageing related self-hatred and traditional dating and relationship models. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that even though the article talks about an older woman having sexual relationships with significantly younger men, the word “cougar” wasn’t mentioned. I cannot hate that word enough. Seriously.
I both love and hate that in this world, sometimes just being yourself and living out the life that’s right for you can be a radical act of rebellion against society (or, if you want to be softer about it, an act of active re-education). I wish society was more accepting of just letting people be. Maybe if more women follow in Gallop’s footsteps and be true to themselves as they go through life, things will slowly get better.
People are always saying that online dating is a lot like searching for a job. I agree. A dating profile, in a sense, is much like a CV and job ad rolled into one, even though nobody will expect you to include information about your past relationships or give references for exes (can you imagine how funny that would be?). Even if you’ve never tried online dating, you’re probably quite familiar with the job search and application process. Job ads have codes – things that any experienced job searcher would be able to see and immediately know what type of potential employer the job was posted by. Similarly, online dating also has codes and reading between the lines can save you a lot of time and hassle later.
What do I mean by codes? Well, if you were searching for a job and saw an ad that asked for a “hardworking person” who’s “not all about the money”, you’d probably suspect the job is badly paid and that the employer expects you to work long hours regardless. If you saw a job ad asking for a “high calibre candidate”, you’d know a significant amount of experience and expertise was required for the job.
Likewise, online dating has different types of codes that imply certain things about the person whose profile you’re looking at and the type of relationship they’re looking for.
Online dating codes that describe people
Words like curvy, BBW, cuddly, more to love, etc. are often used by overweight people to describe themselves, especially women. On the whole, those are pretty self explanatory.
Online dating codes that describe requirements
No strings attached
Looking for fun
These are all code words for wanting casual sex (webcam chat more often than not means net sex). Sometimes it can actually mean the person is already attached but wants something on the side as well.
Online dating codes people give you without realising
Sometimes people will give away more than they intend, which I see as nature’s way of warning you off people who are blatantly not ready to date again.
Beware of any man going on about how he expects women to pay their own way and be financially independent (cheap) or anyone going on about how they hope you’ll “prove them wrong” about all men/women being bad (too much baggage).
What other interesting codes have you come across?
Seriously. I’ve just had to remove 100 attempted spam post from some lame dating site I won’t mention by name because I don’t want to give them any publicity.
Seriously guys. I don’t know if you’ve outsourced your link building to some cheap ass company or whether your own SEO guy thinks this is cool, but seriously, a 100 comments of crappy spam? Yeah, that’s gonna get you very far in this business. Oh yeah and I pre-moderate every single comment on this blog. Nothing goes up unless I personally approve it, so give this shit up. Now.
Found this article on the Jezebel site, talking about whether it’s good advice to tell women to “settle for a man who loves you more than you love him, even if he bores you”. It was a really good read (go, read it!) and the conclusion seems to be that no, it’s not good advice at all, for a variety of reasons.
I tend to agree (and have written about this issue in the blog before), though I would say, it very much depends on what the woman wants out of life at that point in time. For some women, making a home, having children and being a part of a relationship are more important than finding the perfect relationship. If a woman is in in her late 30s with seemingly no better prospects than a man who’s “good enough” who can give her most of what she want (i.e. a caring relationship, children, etc.) and make her happy enough in an every day sense, then I wouldn’t tell her to ignore him in favour of someone else she may or may not meet. Yes, if you stop looking you’re (probably) less likely to find the perfect man and I do resent the advice mentioned in the article that makes women doubt their own feelings, but a woman’s freedom to choose also sometimes involves realising that what’s in front of you can be better than what you could potentially have by virtue of being available. Also, some women get to the stage in their lives where they feel having and raising a baby is what they need to be happy, rather than a man who excites them every day of the week. You may disagree with it, it may not be the right choice for you, but the truth is, for many women, it is. The truth is, there is risk in giving up what you have (or what you can easily get a hold of) for something you may or may not one day get. And while I would encourage any woman who feels in her heart that she shouldn’t settle to follow her heart and go looking, I would also say that you shouldn’t feel that you are failing yourself and your dreams if you choose to settle for someone with whom you can have a comfortable life, raise children and generally be content. Dreams change. Priorities change. It’s OK to be happy with what you have without constantly striving for something better because pop culture and TV adverts tell you there’s more that can be had out of life.
What I do resent in this sort of “settle for less” advice is the dogmatic approach that assumes all women would prefer being with someone who bores them to being alone and trying to find someone more interesting. That and the incredibly derogatory underlying assumption that all women have to offer suitors are their looks so you should “act now, before it’s too late”.
With so many iphones, android phones and even (shudder) windows mobile phones around, it’s hardly surprising that mobile dating is becoming as popular as traditional online dating. Online dating sites have been offering mobile apps to stay competitive, with various levels of sophistication. This is great news for people who are often on the go and don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer. With mobile dating apps you can use dead time to browse profiles and send messages, making the whole experience much simpler. Mobile dating apps are usually free, though if the site isn’t, you’ll need to be a paid member to use them.
Here are some handy ones to keep in mind if you’re after UK mobile dating apps:
match.com – As you’d expect from one of the most famous dating sites, Match do a mobile dating app suitable for iPhones, Android phones and Windows mobile phones. You can do practically everything via the app – get profile alerts in real time, send and receive messages, send winks, check out profiles, etc.. The app is downloadable from the Match site.
Cupid.com, a big, popular dating site like Match, has a handy Android App and a handy mobile version of the site for other smartphones.
Lovestruck.com were one of the first sites to offer a mobile app and they have apps for iPhones, Android and Blackberry – perfect for busy professionals on the go. Lovestruck are all about the busy urban professionals!
eHarmony UK offers a handy mobile up to registered users. Once you’ve signed up via the main site, you can start using the mobile up to receive alerts and matches and to communicate with those you’ve been matched up with.
ChristianCafe.com Have had a useful mobile dating up for a while with everything you need to date on your mobile. It’s available for Android phones, iPhones, etc..
OKCupid offer a fun app where you can endlessly browse pictures and profiles, send and receive messages and get profile alerts.
If you’re looking for flirting, casual and sexy mobile dating, you should get your hands on the BeNaughty mobile app.
There are some fun things happening in London and around the country this Valentine’s Day. If you’re single and looking for stuff to do, while not join in and have a laugh? I know it’s a day where a lot of singles enjoy wallowing in self pity or doing the whole bah humbug thing, but there is another way!
First up, I’ve noticed this event on the 12th, that’s run by MySingleFriend.com. It’s basically a food walking tour where you can take in some sights and get some info about the Brick Lane area, have some great food and meet some of the cool people from MSF.
The bonus? If you scroll down the page, you’ll see a few more interesting Valentine’s Day London events you could sign up to. Somewhat different than your average speed dating event!
And if you’re in the general Brick Lane / Shoreditch / Bethnal Green area, you may also be interested in the Valentine’s Love A-fair at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club from 12:00 – 18:00. It’s the perfect place to get cards and retro gifts, as well as get done up retro style for your big date night.
For official singles’ parties and speed dating events in London and the rest of the country, try the big companies.
Speed Dater have two London singles’ parties on. One massive one for people up to 40 years of age and a smaller one for people up to 55.
They also have events all over the country – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Guildford, etc. on V-day itself and around. Some have sold out of women’s places, but all have spaces for men.
I first found a version of this so-called psychological test online about 6 years ago. I think it was supposed to be some Jungian thing, but I actually have no clue who came up with it. I’ve been reminded of it recently and of the fact that it can be quite a fun way to get to know new people. I reckon it would be a great thing to use on a first date to see if you and your date are on the same page. The answers to these questions tend to change many times throughout life, depending on where you are, your mood and one’s changing outlook on things, so they are never set in stone, but they can certainly be quite telling. I wouldn’t go basing whole relationships on this test, but you’ll be surprised at how accurate it can be. Try it on yourself first, before scrolling down to read the answers. Obviously, there are no right or wrong answers, although there may well be answers someone could give that would make you think you’re not entirely compatible.
Ask your new friend the following questions:
1. What is your favourite wild animal and why?
2. What is your favourite domestic animal and why?
3. What is your favourite body of water and why? (things like the ocean, rivers, ponds, springs, lakes, etc.).
Vicki Larson, writing in the Huffington Post interviewed Dr. Eric Anderson, author of a new and “controversial” book that talks about how monogamy is wrong for men, who need to be having sex with different people to be happy. The non-monogamy thing becomes a hot debate every once in a while and while I’m all for opening it up again and again, I’m kinda fed up of the whole evolutionary psychology bull that comes with it and seems to put men in the centre of the need to have different partners, while women are assumed to be more into picking a partner that would care for the children. Then again, I’m also fed up of hearing about how men cheat because their brains are programmed to make them spread their seed and women cheat because they want to breed with alpha males but have the betas look after their young. I’m not saying this book says this last bit, by the way. I’ve not read it so I couldn’t tell you for sure. It’s just that whenever the non-monogamy debate is raised it’s all men men men and, frankly, we’ve already had the school of man-only polygamy being the norm (and in some countries it still is) and focusing on it from a pseudo-scientific angle seems dangerously close to the school of thought that claimed the female orgasm doesn’t exist – it completely ignores the fact that many women experience the same urges and have the same psychological needs as men when it comes to relationships.
In the conservative society we live in (and conservative it is, even though it pretends to be liberal) saying that men need to stray to be happy may be controversial, but it’s certainly not groundbreaking or new. It would be nice, just for a change, to have a broader debate about the whether monogamy is suitable for either men or women. I suspect, though, the answer to that is a little bit more down to the individual, which would paint a much more complex picture than going on about how men need to get off with other women all the time to be happy.
A new UK study has found that the language used in men’s mags is surprisingly and frightfully similar to the language used by rapists to talk about their victims. Obviously women have been complaining about this sort of thing for years (and often branded “feminazis” for saying it), but you’d think men themselves would be able to easily tell the difference, showing the feminists they’re totally overreacting to the whole issue. After all, rapists are evil, whereas men’s mags are harmless fun, right?
Well well well…
It seems men themselves can’t tell the difference between a rapist and an article in FHM. So now a Middlesex Uni study showed some men quotes from FHM, mixed up with quotes from something called “The Rapist Files”, a collection of transcripts from interviews with convicted rapists. All the men had to do was say which quote came from where. They failed miserably. You can actually test yourself with a few quotes here, to see how you’d do.
Then there was a follow up study, where men had to grade each quote according to how derogatory it was to women. FHM quotes actually came out as worse than the stuff rapists say.
Now, people who know me know that I have absolutely no problem with non-PC and even offensive humour, but when you’re a magazine publisher and the stuff you publish is actually seen as worse than the stuff a convicted rapist would say to justify sexually assaulting a woman, then you have a serious serious problem.
This post first-date email is doing the rounds on the net right now and is possibly the perfect example of what NOT to do after a first date with a woman. Nobody quite knows whether or not it’s real (though it at least appears to be real on the surface), but speaking both as a dating professional and a woman, I can tell you such men really do exist. Basically, this investment manager guy went out on a date with a woman. The date, according to the woman, was absolutely horrible. Then the guy texts and leaves messages for the woman, which she never replies to. The man then goes and sends here a terribly long, freaky email which you can read here.
Note to guys who think that’s acceptable behaviour – if the woman didn’t reply to your texts, she’s sure as hell not going to reply to your strange and detailed rant. She’s just going to run away and, if you’re unlucky, she’s going to put it up on the Internet like this woman did. But, what struck me most about the email “Mike” sent “Lauren” is that “Mike” has obviously spent some time reading about body language and subconscious, non-verbal signals to the point where he considers himself an expert on the matter. The fact that he accuses the woman of leading him on using what are generally accepted to be subconscious signals is pretty precious too, but this should be a lesson for anyone who spends too much time hunting for signals and not enough time paying attention to how the date is obviously going badly. Nobody owes anyone anything after the one date so just accept things and move on. Save the 1000 word rants for your breakup with the woman who actually dates you more than once.
If you want a little “awww” moment, take a look at this. It’s quotes from a bunch of kids talking about the meaning of love as they see it (often as a result of looking at their parents’ marriage or the way their grandparents are with each other). Some of it is pure poetry. I’m not even sure if it’s real or not, but who cares? Love it!
I just noticed the matchaffinity 3 day free trial is still on for December 2011. You need to use a special link to access it, though and sign up through that link. If you haven’t signed up to the site yet, then use the link below to go to matchaffinity and get the trial. Make sure you read the small print to see how you can cancer before being charged, as I assume you need to put in your credit card details to get the trial.
If you have already signed up and not paid, use the link below to access the site and click on the “already a member” link at the bottom right of the page and maybe you can still get 3 days for free.
I thought Christianity was meant to be a religion of tolerance. Words can’t describe how annoyed I get when I read stuff like this. Seriously, people, if you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex then don’t, nobody’s forcing you to do it. But to fight for the denial of rights to people who are in love and want to make a commitment to each other in this day and age is seriously unnecessary. I just hope the Scottish parliament goes ahead with the plan anyway.
Here’s a quick run down of speed dating and singles’ events companies that are holding events across the UK in December. See my post about singles events and speed dating in London for info about London events in December.
December actually starts tomorrow and these parties seem to be selling out fast, so if you’re keen to go speed dating this December or to attend a bowling night, lock & key party, a Christmas party or any other specialist singles’ event, I suggest you get your tickets early before other hungry singles get there first.
Speed Dater are the UK’s biggest organisers of speed dating events, lock and key parties and singles’ parties. They have events all over the UK, generally in trendy / semi-upmarket bars and venues with a few events at more upmarket places, as well as special events like bowling nights, cocktail parties, etc.. They have plenty of parties all over the place in December, including big Christmas parties and a massive NYE party in London. They cater for quite a few age ranges, as well as having events for professionals, international professionals, Asian singles, Muslim or Christian singles, etc.
Here’s what they are offering in December:
Speed dating in Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridge (4 different events), Newcastle, Reading and St Albans.
Speed dating, singles parties, lock & key events and a big NYE party in London
There are even more cities covered in January, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.
SlowDating have similarly good coverage, similar (or lower) ticket prices and also use trendy bars and venues. They only run speed dating events as far as I can tell. They are running a lot of parties in December, but they are selling out fast.
Cities where speed dating events are happening include:
UrbanSocial specialise in speed dating events, singles’ parties and wine tasting parties for singles (also the occasional beet tasting singles’ events and singles’ cocktail parties).
The speed dating and singles’ parties event are similarly priced to the other companies, but the wine tasting events are slightly more expensive. Over the month of December they have events in London, Brighton, Norwich, Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow), Wales (Cardiff), Northampton, Leeds and Milton Keynes.
SingleSolution cater particularly to “well educated professionals” and offer speed dating and singles’ parties all over the country. In December you can attend in London, Aberdeen, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Guildford, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Norwich, Reading, Oxford, St. Albans and Windsor.