Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dating Red Flags

Dating Red Flags



Earlier today, I read an article about a woman who tried every dating book, online dating, and even a professional matchmaker. I never gleaned from the short article if she ever found that special someone, but I did notice two red flags. Red flags are warning signs to discontinue the date or sneak out the back way if possible. Her first warning flag was she talked about all she wanted a man to do for her. This included buying her the new car she couldn’t afford. She also wanted someone drool-worthy to parade in front of her friends. Those are rather obvious flags, but some are more subtle.


A man who is unhappy with his job is a bad dating prospect. Men’s jobs define who they are. If he is unhappy at work he won’t be happy anywhere. Dating this unhappy camper will end up with you both being unhappy. Do you really want to listen to a litany of work-related complaints?


The flip side for men is avoiding women who are unhappy with their weight. There is a real difference between wanting to drop five pounds and despising your shape. Women identify themselves with their weight. They also value themselves by how they FEEL about their looks. If a woman is down on herself then it is hard to be up on someone else. A heavy-set woman can have a good self-image while an average-sized woman may dwell on weight concerns.


Another red flag is the straight out of a relationship guy or gal. I am amazed to see men who are just starting the divorce process (so they say) by online trolling for a date. Anyone who has been divorced or newly single for less than a year is very fragile. They need a relationship to prove they are still desirable. What you get is an emotionally needy person who has yet to find his own feet and will lean on you heavily. Caution: after you helped him on his feet, shored up his confidence and held his hand, he will drop you for a less helpful woman. The twist with the newly divorced woman is sometimes she needs the financial support the man provides.


Then there is the relationship king or queen. A recent interview on The View with Jessica Hahn highlighted this issue. She updated the audience on her life since the PTL scandal. Jessica proceeded to talk about her various relationships. Not once did she mention a career or even children. Whoopi summed it up when she stated that Jessica lived her life via relationships. Just like your relationship King.


This person seems to have never been without a date or a significant other for his entire adult life. This should be very scary to a potential date. Why can’t he spend time alone? Why does he need someone by his side 24/7? Sometimes to justify our choice we tell ourselves that he is such a good prospect that naturally other women want him. What other women want him? Desperate needy women, that’s who.


In the movie, Ten Ways to Lose a Guy, the main character gets bad dating advice from her assistant who chases off every man she’s ever dated. One way the assistant did this was to imagine each man was her future husband. By the end of the date, she had names for their children. The male version of this might even want the waiter to take a picture of the two of you for your future grandchildren. This man assumes a great deal before you’ve even ordered dessert. Despite his confident front, this man is desperate. It is okay to cut the date short to visit a sick friend.


The dictator roars in on a date and demands to have everything his way. He terrorizes waiters and valets alike. He thinks he impresses everyone with his importance, but he just comes off obnoxious. Keep in mind that no one is good looking or rich enough for you to put up with this type of nonsense. Some of you will have to find this out on your own.


The time-challenged date arrives very late with no excuse. At first, you figure it was one time thing until you see a pattern emerge of lateness, missed or cancelled dates. By accepting the first dubious excuse, you’ve set yourself up for continued disrespect. At college, when a professor didn’t show, you waited fifteen minutes and left. It seems fair to give a date the same treatment.


The flirt is usually a good-looking charmer who feels the need to impress every woman within five hundred feet. He flirts lavishly with the restaurant hostess until you wondered which one of you is on the date. He compliments random women as if he dispensing grace. He tries to catch women’s eyes and smiles at them. He is under the impression that all women want him. Aren’t you the lucky one because you have him for the night?


Another warning flag is when someone you just met wants you to do outrageous things for him or her. On your first or second date, he asks if you’ll drive him to the airport to make a four a.m. flight. If he asks you to pick up his dry cleaning or boots he just ordered, don’t. You’re not his errand boy. Extract yourself from this man’s clutches the first time he asks you to pay the bill because he forgot his wallet. How often have you walked into a restaurant and forgot your purse?


The randy octopus guy describes a man most women have dated at least once. He uses every opportunity from opening the door, to helping you on with your coat to cop a feel. At dinner, he slips off his shoes and his feet go wandering along with his hands.  Forget slapping his hands away, he only sees it as a game. This date is your reason for arriving in separate cars.


Sometimes the guy is wonderful. The date is going well. It is obvious that he’s both intelligent and charming. Besides being good looking, he’s also financially stable. It’s great he isn’t bitter like so many of the men you’ve met before. You know he’s a great guy because he speaks so well of his ex. They have a great relationship he coos. They even go on vacation together. Did you miss something here?


The opposite of 'I love my ex' date is all women are scum date. Of course, you wouldn’t have gone out with him if you knew this. He reveals this by mentioning how his no good cheating girlfriend left him for his best friend or his ex took him to the cleaners. It may all be true, but the first date is not the place for these types of disclosures. He is eager to let you know how the female gender left heel prints on his heart. He also stereotypes by saying things like all women lie. Do you really want to be stereotyped?


Every male red flag has a female equivalent. Some red flag dates are women only. The gold digger date is a woman who measures the value of the date on how much he spends on her. She’s going for as much as she can get and may not care if she sees the man again. One man told me his date was highly offended when he used a gift certificate to pay for their pricey dinner. She seemed to think the gift certificate invalidated the date. She told him he should put away the certificate and pay cash if he wanted the date to count. I am sure those two never went out again, but she went on to relay to her friends how much her date cost…not mentioning the gift certificate, I’m sure.




Update: Any man or woman who spends a good deal talking about another person they may have dated isn’t a good bet. What they are really saying is they wished you were that person.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soul Mates

Who looks for a soul mate? Anyone who looks to astrological advice, takes magazine quizzes to measure their current or potential boyfriend for soul mate-ness or even goes out on a date is looking for a soul mate. Most of us won’t admit it for fear of being ridiculed. The idea of a soul mate is hard wired into American culture. Most dating services use the premise of finding a soul mate so it equates people do want to find theirs.

The idea of a soul mate surprisingly comes most recently from the Victorian period. People normally married for financial or practical reasons. The bride might marry to bring her family’s standing up either financially or socially. The concept of marrying for love wasn’t really popularized until Queen Victoria married her beloved Albert. The idea shocked the general public, but the adoration and support the staid queen displayed for her husband excited general views on marriage. While Queen Victoria could never been compared to literary lovelorn heroines, she was open in her love for Albert often referring to him as her soul mate. The real question is what is a soul mate?

The original Greek myth had the soul mate being a two faced creature with four legs and arms plus a great deal of power. This creature consisted of two souls, but inhabited one body. All emotional needs for love and devotion were met within the creature. There was no reason for it to look to the gods for guidance or worship. This angered the jealous gods who tore the creature asunder and threw the halves to separate ends of the Earth. In the movie, The Butcher’s Wife, Demi Moore’s character explains this story and how the creatures must spend the rest of their lives asking everyone if they were their soul mates since once separated they could not recognize one another. Another version is that the creatures are dogs that’s why they are constantly sniffing each other’s butts to see if the other dog is their soul mate. Supposedly that was where they were connected. Not the most romantic version of  the concept. I am sure that isn’t the version Queen Victoria wasn’t thinking of when she referred to Albert as her soul mate.

The dictionary defines soul mate has having a natural affinity for the other both intellectually, physical and sexually. Of course, there is great love for each other across every area of the spectrum. According to online respondents when posed with the question of the reality of soul mates existing their answers differed. Some women believed that a real soul mate ultimately knows what the other needs or is thinking without any words being exchanged. This explains why women get miffed when their significant other doesn’t have a clue what’s wrong. Men aren’t much better in their expectations often they expect their soul mate to fulfill their fantasies without being told exactly what they are. Expectations are high for a soul mate. The first requirement must be clairvoyance.

Can a soul mate actually be found when this one person is supposed to meet all your needs? Is there only one person who is your soul mate? The Victorian concept insisted there was just one. That has led many men and women to engage in a lifelong search for that one elusive person often rejecting people who might have enriched their lives. Often people will despair if they believe they have somehow missed their soul mate due to death, sickness or location. The soul mate concept is also used to rationalize bad behavior. A man or woman who walks out on their current family to chase after their soul mate is only using it as a weak excuse. Finding your soul mate gets even more tricky if you believe your soul mate might be reincarnated. Suddenly you are wondering if both men, women, children, even poodles might be your soul mate.

Can you ever actually find a soul mate? That depends. If you are looking for a psychic friend who can read your mind and is able to deliver on all your desire ASAP, then I hate to burst your bubble, but you will be disappointed. I do know couples that fit together very well and I guess they would define my expectations of what a soul mate is since they respect, love and support each other. The other major factor is they enjoy being with each other. Sure they can function on their own, but together they are stronger. Kinda harkens backs to the original soul mate creature who so angered the gods with its strength and self love.

It brings back to my mind the concept of a good relationship is one that helps you be your best self. It is certainly better than the alternative. So how do you find this soul mate? Now if I knew this would I be writing this blog? But I have some ideas. I think if you’re open to all sorts of a different people you might run across those you could be compatible with as in more than one. The big job now is deciding which reasonably compatible person would be the best match. Who would you want to spend the rest of your life with? After all that is one of the requirements of soul mates is to spend the rest of our lives together.

Do you believe in soul mates? Tell me why?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The High Cost of Dating

When I lived in Cincy, I read about the high cost of being a Bengals cheerleader. A typical cheerleader is paid about $60 a game and only does home games. At best she probably only makes about $120-$180 a month depending on the schedule. The same cheerleader ends up paying monthly over $1100 for parking fees, gym membership, tanning,acrylic nails and other associated cheerleading expenses. It isn’t cheap being a cheerleader. Of course, every cheerleader hopes the expenses rakes in major benefits in the form of a modeling contract or an NFL husband.

Ironically stepping into the dating world can be a great deal like being an NFL cheerleader. The men tend to think it is just them who drops cash, but they are so wrong. We women need to get ready before even considering dating. That includes at the base level getting in shape, which may require a gym membership or at best a few workout tapes. Secondly, the hair is the next item from trimming it to dying it, often both. Professionally whitening teeth is important since magazines point out that yellowed teeth are a real aging factor. Then it might be off to acrylic nails and a pedicure. Nails are an expense that keeps on giving. Now that the outside is fixed up it is on to clothing.

After consulting various girlfriends and magazines,the very least you can get by with is new pair of jeans, hot top, dress, killer heels and appropriate jewelry. Depending on the weather, a new coat and boots might be needed too. Definitely some Spanx to smooth out all those extra lumps the gym membership did not trim off. The wardrobe list grows as you continue to date because you can’t wear the same thing on every date. But now it is time to get a date, so you now have the expense of an online-dating site or the pricey option of hanging out at trendy clubs with your girlfriends. If you do meet a guy or two and suddenly you’re spending a great deal of time chatting then it might be time to update your phone package.

Don't forget the incidentals such as parking, gas, breath mints and possibly paying for your date. Many men don’t think they should pay for the first date. They don’t want to think they wasted $10 on a meal for a woman they never want to see again. The woman may have already spent as much as $850 getting ready to date a man who is too cheap to pay for her meal. Who cares if he wants to go out again? A man this cheap and inconsiderate isn’t worthy of another date.

In retrospect, I thought a woman buying her own food made her independent. I’ve met guys who expected me to buy my own food and drink and I did. Did I go out with them again? No. There were about five of them as well as I can remember. One man insisted on buying nothing as we talked for over an hour. When I suggested the restaurant might not like us not ordering something he suggested we leave. Another one barreled up to barista put in his coffee and pastry order before I even could say hello. The other three were variations on the same them.

I tried to honestly evaluate if I didn’t date them because they were tightwads, but that wasn’t it. It was more that they were inconsiderate of my feelings and needs. It made me understand one woman’s profile I read online when I accidentally logged in as a man. A very attractive woman stated she did not do coffee house dates because she worked too hard to get ready for a 15 minute look-see date. If a man was going to date her, then he was going to treat her to a real date where she did not carry her own tray. She also specified that her date should not show up in shorts or a tank top. He had to be properly attired. Her lengthy description of what she would or would not accept included that she expected the man to pay for the date because she already spent enough money getting ready for the date. At first, I thought her profile was pretty gutsy. Later on, I considered her more intelligent than most. Finally, I wondered if she got what she demanded. I hope she did. She definitely had a better chance than most since she laid it out plain.

After all of this, what are the benefits? If I could say I found my soul mate, perhaps John Cusack, then I could say it paid off big time. But I did find someone, interesting that I didn’t totally know. I stumbled across myself, a self I wasn’t that familiar with. Dating has allowed me to do things I’d probably never consider doing including straddling a Harley and screaming my head off at NFL games. I found out that on the whole I am much more self confident than most of my dates. I’ve discovered that I can be charming and witty. Often I found my best date was myself. There were times that staying home on Friday was my preferred choice.

Dating can be very expensive. If I rationalize all the money spent is used to catch a man then I can become hopelessly depressed. On the other hand, if I spent money on myself because I deserved it and I go out simply to have fun then it is money well spent.

What should you spend money on when dating? I would love to hear your answers.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Secrets Revealed

Valentine’s Day is the one single holiday that makes many women feel like failures because they don’t have a significant other showering them with roses and poetry. Ironically, while many couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day others break up right before Valentine’s Day. What gives? Why is there so much importance attached to Valentine’s Day? Is it a plot by retailers? Lastly, how do guys feel about Valentine’s Day? Today, I will answer these questions and more.

The origin of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the Roman Empire. Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided all his soldiers should be single so they could be more focused on their work. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men. Supposedly, Valentine decided this was unfair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine's actions he had him put to death. So you can see that Priest Valentine really was a friend to young lovers. So where did all the cards come from?

That brings up another legend that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailor's daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first 'valentine' himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it 'Your Valentine', words still used on cards today. It is hard to say if either story is true, but they are both romantic. Romance is what Valentine’s Day is all about.

February 14th is when we are supposed to remind our beloved what we love about them. If we have a secret crush then it is the day we might reveal ourselves with a card or text. This is also the day men can make extravagant gestures to remind their love how special she is. No wonder this is also the time retailers double or tripled the price on red roses since they symbolize love. With all this love in the air why do couples break up before the day?

Male feedback blames the holiday for the breakup. Women expect too much what ever they do is not enough. They’ve been burned before by a girlfriend who was angry at them for not doing Valentine’s Day right. Then there is the expense of it…booking dinner reservations, a nice gift and a card can be pricey. The biggest reason to break up before Valentine’s Day is the commitment factor. Many women hint they want to get engaged on Valentine’s Day and the man doesn’t feel the same way. Some dating couples feel spending Valentine’s Day together would make the relationship more serious than it really is.

Not all men are anti-valentine’s day. My own stepbrother enjoys surprising his wife every year with a unique piece of jewelry designed just for her. They’ve been married for a while so she may not be as surprised as she was the first dozen or so times. Many men are hopeless romantics and planned for weeks to make Valentine’s Day perfect for their sweetie. Probably just as many women are hard at work planning for their guy. But is this just a retail generated holiday?

Why is Valentine’s Day so important? It is because you hear about it more. It is only second to Christmas in advertising dollars spent. I used to work for a florist and we prepped for Valentine’s Day for a month because 70% of the year’s income was generated by February 14th. Everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon about advertising. You can get cookies, cupcakes, chocolate, cards, flowers, balloons and stuffed animals at your local grocery store. Just imagine what is for sale at Hallmark or a jewelry store. The Beatles used to sing about “can’t buy me love,” but most retailers would have you believe otherwise.

Advertising depends on two types of selling creating a desire for the item and fear if you don’t have it. Women who are exposed to countless commercials about a particular diamond pendant decide they must have it. If their sweetie really loved them then he would get it. The same process happens with weekend getaways and flowers. Of course, the men are not motivated by desire, but by fear. If he doesn’t get the right gift he’ll be in the doghouse or she’ll break up with him.

Honestly, none of this seems terribly practical in our current tight economy. Any gift from the heart to let your sweetie know how special he or she is should be enough. If you really love each other a homemade gift is more than enough. When I care about someone I want to make their gift because I can personalize it and put more love into it. I want it to be a unique gift celebrating us.

If your valentine rejects your gift that you slaved over, think of that as your gift. You got to see him or her for the person he or she really is. You now know not to waste any more time making them gifts or with them in general. A bittersweet valentine, but one you will be grateful for as weeks past.

As for Valentine’s Day making you feel like a loser—that happens only if you let it. I like to buy lots of Valentines…even the kid ones and give them out to all my friends and co-workers. Everyone benefits from knowing they are loved. Do something nice for yourself on Valentine’s Day and if you have a special someone then you can do something nice for them too. Happy Valentine’s Day.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Importance of Chemistry

Do you believe in love at first sight? Books, songs, poems, even movies are based on this theory? Does it really happen. If so does it equate to a lasting relationship? Sometimes we talk about having chemistry or sparks? If you don’t have it at first, can it develop?

On one of the online dating sites, you’re able to tell why you closed a match. A member closed my profile even before I even had a chance to send him an ice breaker. His reason was no chemistry. How could there be no chemistry when we never even met in person? He never even read one of my witty emails. I was put out because I was rejected before I even showed up. What probably happened is he looked at my photo and thought not a leggy blonde.

Some of us have an image of an acceptable date/mate hard wired into our system and will not even look at someone different. Think Donald Trump who continues to date younger versions of his ex-wife. When dealing with chemistry, the first thing we notice is visual. Why do you think many guys resort to flashy sports cars? Yes, some women will react to what a guy drives. So even though I am amused that some guys post profile pictures posing with their BMW convertible, speed boat and airplane it still snags them women. These relationships based on stuff are very short lived. I guess it can be referred to as possesion chemistry. What about physical chemistry?

When a male and female are on the hunt, so to speak, they give off pheromones that lets the surrounding public know they are open to advances. Ironically, we douse ourselves in cologne, but that isn’t the smell that matters. While the guy is trying to chat you up, he is trying to get closer. If you’re interested you allow him to move in closer cutting out the other guys for a moment. This allows both of you a chance to see if there are any sparks. We think we are measuring different things like is he funny? Polite? Charming? But what we’re really doing is reacting to his pheromones while noting if he’s funny.

Countless women have related tales of dating wonderful guys who had everything going for them, but when they bumped into the ONE, they dropped Mr. Wonderful like a hot potato. It puzzles the rest of us who were rooting for Mr. Wonderful. What happened is that they met someone they reacted to more powerfully? Think, has this ever happened to you? Dating a perfectly nice guy, maybe even engaged, when someone new roars on the scene and sweeps you off your feet. In the beginning it is all about smell. Your primitive response is based on does he smell right to you. This is done on such a subconscious level we’re barely aware of it. Women are more open to men while they’re ovulating which means men have an even smaller window of opportunity than they even realized!

The next step in chemistry is the kiss. This can make or break the attraction. One study I read was that men don’t even like to kiss. Bad deal for hooking a good mate because most women love to kiss. A smart man knows he can work himself out of trouble with kissing if he can get close enough. A man is able to excite a woman by exchanging his testosterone-laden saliva with hers (i.e. French Kissing.) Suddenly a woman can be more turned on by a guy than she originally thought she wasn’t. She might be telling herself he isn’t a good bet when he starts kissing her, but she soon forgets why he’s a bad bet.

If things get really hot and clothes start flying, a woman can find herself more attracted to a man after sex because of the release of Oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin is often called the cuddle hormone. Women like to cuddle after sex because they feel all loving and warm because of the Oxytocin rushing through their system. This hormone causes you to bond to the guy even if he’s a bad bet. The male doesn’t have any Oxytocin flooding his system so he may try to quietly slip away. This is also the reason why some women continue to pursue bad boys. How to avoid this awkward scenario? Simple really, don’t jump in bed with a guy simply because he makes your hormones fire. Get to know him first and that takes time.

So yes, you can fall for a guy on first sight, but it is lust, not love. He may fulfill the image you have of a desired date. Your pheromones are mingling well. The man is funny and charming. (Funny goes a long way with women. I will always give a man a second look and a second chance if he can make me laugh. I’ve also broken off relationships with men who seemed to have no sense of humor what so ever.) But does this immediate chemistry equate a long term relationship?

The answer is yes and no. Think here for a moment, have you ever been in a relationship that was purely physical? The physicality was great, but the relationship burned out fast because that was all there was. Too often you see committed men and women drop out of a relationship to chase after a younger, hotter model. The end result is usually the new relationship dies out quickly because it was based on physical attraction only—the chemistry.

On the other hand, many women and men reject potential dates because there is no chemistry. What is the happy medium? Chemistry can grow and develop as you get to know a person. Really. This explains friends or co-workers who work side by side for years until friendship turned into love. Unfortunately, some women will reject a man who doesn’t meet their height or occupation requirements before they even get to know him so there is never any chance of chemistry developing.

I’ve met guys who on first glance weren’t that attractive to me because they didn’t match up to my type template. To give the persistent men credit, they still tried using humor. When I did look again I saw something different. Men I would have initially rejected began to grow on me. How I looked at them changed too. Suddenly, they were much more handsome than before because I actually knew more about them and I liked what I knew.

Chemistry can be an important part of the relationship. It is the thing that keeps you dating when you’re unsure of the guy. Maybe you don’t know enough about him or there is a characteristic that puts you off…but chemistry trumps it. Long distance relationships have to have chemistry to succeed. His kiss has to be pretty amazing to travel hundreds of miles for one. There are plenty of men nearby who would volunteer for the job. The goodnight kiss usually seals the deal for the possible next date so it is very important. The smart man sometimes leaves without a kiss just to leave the woman wondering.

In the end, does chemistry matter? Yes, it does. Most men would never date a woman they could not see themselves sleeping with. Does chemistry guarantee a successful relationship? Absolutely not, there needs to be other foundations to build on besides how well you shake the headboard. Can chemistry develop? Yes and no. You may meet a guy who has all the characteristics of Mr. Wonderful, but you may never fall for him. On the other hand, you may meet someone and gradually get to know him over time and fall for him.

It is a wonderful feeling to look across the room and see your man and have your heart race after you’ve been together for long time. Personally, I’m looking forward to this. But those of you are living it; feel free to share if only to make the rest of us…believe.