Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Compromise Line

An Austin man has made the news as far away as England with his self-made website defining what type of girl he would like. Maybe he heard about Dr. Chen’s matchmaking efforts.  The self-styled rocker offers a list even longer than the good doctor’s including a refusal to date women with kids or plans to have kids, wears glasses, smokes, or doesn’t dress conservatively. I read his requirements and initially thought he was picky. Judge for yourself, here’s the link.

I disliked the part where he lumped all women engaged in online dating as unacceptable.  His view was if they were something special, they could meet men the regular way. I am assuming the normal way must be designing your own website and offering to drop a thousand or two for someone who will scare you up a date for money.

It is easy to make fun of this man who late one night came up with an idea to advertise for a companion. Still, isn’t that what everyone does, from the woman who dons a minuscule black dress to go clubbing to the engineer who carefully words his online profile? I think the real problem here is compromise.

Recently, I had a fortuneteller tell me I would always be disappointed in men since I had an idealized view of romance. She must have told all her female clients this and they readily agreed. It may be true for most, not for me though since I have a practical view, which involves some compromise. Many women want a bad boy to wow her, while a stable boyfriend sees her through her daily struggles. It is similar to a man looking for the Madonna and a whore in one woman.

Our hopeful Romeo in Austin didn’t have any worse attitude than many. His mistake was writing it down and publishing it online. Anyone who has ever completed a dating profile knows there is a section you can check for race, age, religion, and body type. Many men and women manage to work in specifics about height, hair, and eye color too.

The personality traits we try to discover through premade questions require a month of emails to decide if someone is datable. What is the big difference between the guy in Austin and every other man out there dating?

There’s a feeling that he isn’t willing to compromise on anything. He wants what he wants, rather like a five year old. What he really wants is a clone of his old girlfriend who dumped him after eleven years of always being there.

I believe everyone has an idealized image of the perfect date/mate. Most don’t bear any resemblance to people living or dead. When you actually get down to dating, you have to decide what you can’t tolerate. What is the deal breaker or is there one to begin with?

Going back to our friend in Austin, he decided he didn’t want a smoker after dating one for eleven years. Of course, the initial response is why did he date one for eleven years? She must have had other traits that outweighed the smoking.

This is compromise. You decide if the good outweighs the non-existent. Notice I didn’t say bad. A guy who shows up with flowers once a month can never outweigh being a raging alcoholic. Still, a thoughtful man who opens your car door trumps any six-foot man who rushed to the car to get in first as if calling shotgun.

Relationships often end because people do not understand the need to compromise. Often people want desperately to be a couple, yet want all aspects of their life to remain the same.  There is no compromise involved. To create good relationships and even find a date, there needs to be some concept of compromise.

Women tend to date with the future in mind while men date in the present. What this means is women will look at a man and decide if there is a future with him. Men will look at a woman as all right for now. The problem with both of these outlooks is it is still about one individual as opposed to the two involved.

In arranged marriages, often the family will advertise for a mate. Half the page is devoted to the traits they want, the other part is what the potential spouse will bring. Most hopeful daters forget this part. What are you bringing to the table?

I noticed the Sleepless in Austin website went on endlessly with I want messages. He also told you dozens of things he liked and didn’t like. It was all about him. A woman could piece together that he’d be opinionated, demanding, willing to date endlessly with no commitment.

He wasn’t able to see he was not the same person who dated his original girlfriend those fifteen years ago. The search for the ideal woman is going into its fourth year. He shouldn’t expect the same type of girl because he’s changed. Some of those changes may have sent his original girlfriend on her way.

He needs to compromise his standards somewhat. While I admire a healthy self-confidence, often it isn’t merited. The compromise line is a tricky one to walk. You give too much, then, you’re resentful. If your partner feels you don’t give enough, then often he or she will use this as an excuse to leave. It is a shifting measure too. Sometimes your partner gives more. Other times you do. There can be no real relationship without compromise.

A lesson Sleepless in Austin might do well to learn, but others who are hoping to make a love connection would benefit from it too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How Often do People Find True Love?

Face it; most of us have an old flame in our past. Many women and men wonder if they are settling with their current partner, while rehashing memories of a previous love. Many of us don rose-colored glasses when recalling a previous romantic partner. Ironically, women are guiltier of this than men.

Facebook survives on forty-ish women trying to find old high school boyfriends. About a half of social media users stalk exes online. One ambitious writer put out the call for women to send her stories of high school or college sweethearts who tried to reconnect. Surprisingly, the tales were rather sad.

It wasn’t because the men didn’t want to associate with their former girlfriends. In their early years, the women thought their honeys had so much potential. A reunion twenty or thirty years later demonstrated the former Romeos never realized their potential or never had it.  The old flames disappointed eight out of ten women immediately. Two managed to rekindle an affair, but one of them sputtered out. What gives?

Most people might imply the people were never in love, which could be true. We don’t want to think we were in love and it didn’t work out. Often we’ll say we were attracted, had a crush, and were in lust, anything but love. There is a theory that you can only be in love once in your life. This is why unattached women keep mining their romantic history, trying to find lost love.

This dominant theory has led to a great deal of unhappiness. People who lose a beloved romantic partner believe they can never love again.  One dating ‘expert’ declared people in their forties could not expect to find love again because they’d already loved. The best they could hope for was to find someone they could tolerate.

There is hope for all of you who have loved and lost. You can love again and the Siemens Festival Nights survey backs it up. We already know from the Wired magazine article that people are living longer and dating more with the end result being it takes an average of thirteen relationships to find that special someone.

Most people fall deeply in love twice.  Women tend to fall in love more than men. It usually takes a person about ten weeks to decide if he or she is in love, according to eHarmony. Average people are still very cautious around one another, even after they feel pangs of love. It takes most couples about 2.8 years to marry after realizing they are in love.

People are always looking for true love.  As many as 46% stated in the survey they’d leave their current partner if they fell in love with someone else. Men are more loyal to their current partner than women are, via survey results. Unfortunately, what we call love is often a chemical response of pheromones. Many a man and woman, who darted after a hard body, left behind a loving partner thinking they found “the one.” The loving partner wasn’t up for taking their former partner back either.

Most people believe they’ve been in love at least twice. They also see in retrospect that many relationships they thought were love, weren’t. One in seven people currently believe they are not in love with their current partner. Out of that unhappy population, 73% now realize they allowed real love to slip through their fingers. The big question is, how did that happen?

We all know things don’t always go well every day. In fact, many have bailed out of a love relationship at the smallest crack. Maybe a job forces one partner to move and the other doesn’t want to go. The woman might own a cat and the man is allergic. Even though most of us still hold to the theory that we might only love once, we still give up on love fast, to become one of those tragic movie characters who lets love slip through his or her fingers.

Are you in this situation right now? The good news is the 2012 survey suggested we fall in love four times in our lives. Those are better odds. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First Date Mistakes

Dating Mistakes Guys Make
Most of us have several horror stories to tell about first dates. We may have even more stories of mediocre dates that didn’t rate a follow up 2nd date.
Here are some first date mistakes to avoid.
1.      Location of your date. Never plan a first date at your house. Booty call is written all over this. This also sets you up for the non-date. If he can come to your house, eat your food, and watch television, why bother with the expense of taking you out?
2.      Timing does matter. Setting your date late in the evening sends the wrong message too. As the evening gets longer, you get more relaxed. More often you’re tired and not on your best.
3.      Appearance matters. Be clean, attractive, and alluring. Don’t look like an escort. A man doesn’t want to be embarrassed to be seen with you. A woman should retain some mystery. Men, please do not wear your tennis shoes, ball cap, t-shirt or old jeans.
4.      No interview questions please. Some people come with a list of questions to ask.  Dates are nerve-wracking enough without being asked about your five-year plan or the ability to produce offspring.
5.      No attitude please. Remember you agreed to this date so act like it. Some women and men feel it is okay to act bored on the date. It is never okay. Be pleasant and smile. If you don’t want a second date, still wish your date the best when it’s over.
6.      No marriage plans on the first date. Sounds crazy, but some people are busy mentally naming their future children on the first date.
7.      No sex talk. Remember you want more than a one-night stand.
8.      Act confident, even if you don’t feel it. Most people want to talk about their insecurities on the first date just to get them out of the way. Never do this. As the relationship grows, you will reveal your short-comings naturally..
9.      No sex on the first date, unless you don’t want a second date. A man appreciates a woman he has to woo. She takes on more value the longer he dates her.
10.  No company. Some dating sites encourage inviting your friends along on a date for safety reasons. This will only make your date feel awkward.  If you are afraid to be with your date in a public place, this is someone you don’t need to be dating. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flirting 101

Not sure how to attract a date or develop a relationship? Here are a few things to try. First, hygiene is important. The aroma of sweat or scruffiness doesn’t work for initial flirting. Have your A-game on even when running weekend errands. You never know when you’ll have a chance to flirt.
Flirting Do’s
1.       Make Eye Contact. Make sure whoever you have your eye on sees your eye contact.
2.       Smile. Patti Stranger, The Millionaire Matchmaker, states if you smile at ten potential dates, at least two will ask you out.
3.       Say Hello. This signals your interest. The ball is now in the other person’s court.
4.       Have realistic expectations. Women who hope to find The One come off as needy. A woman or man who just wants to meet someone new is much more relaxed.
5.       Don’t overthink things. This means don’t overanalyze every word and action.
6.       Tease, but don’t mock.
7.       Don’t judge. Most people run through possibilities as if they were running a 50 meter dash. Make an effort to find out more about a person before rashly discarding them for the next hopeful. The good ones usually are nervous because they aren’t players.
8.       Lean in when talking or listening. This signals that what the other is saying is important.
9.       Bump elbows. This manages to signal you’d like to get to know the other person better without too much familiarity.
10.   Flirt via technology. Be aware that without a face to go with a text message, the recipient doesn’t know if you’re teasing, sarcastic or dead serious. Most assume you’re serious. A remark you thought was clever ends up sounding boastful or insincere.
11.   Dance. Get out on the floor and dance with your friends, that way people see you. Ask a stranger to dance.
12.   Laugh. Happy people are attractive.
13.   Flip your hair. This works for women, not for men.
14.   Face the person. Give the person your undivided attention.
15.   Lightly brush an arm. This is a safe zone to signal your interest.
16.   Pay attention to the other person’s eyes. Looking over your shoulder signals she’d rather be elsewhere. Eyes drifting to your mouth may indicate that kissing is in your near future.
17.   Compliment. Be sincere though. A compliment about a virtue the other doesn’t possess is an immediate fail.
18.   Show your neck. Don’t be a giraffe, but not a turtle either.
19.   Listen. Most people don’t, instead they think about what witty thing they’ll say next.  Ask question about what your date is saying.
20.   Mimic body language. This comes from Psychology 101. We like people who are like us. Even when we are unaware of the mimicking, we still react to it positively. This is what job applicants are told to do to ace the interviews.
21.   Whisper. It brings the person closer. It also creates a feeling of intimacy.
22.   Touch hands. It signals a desire to be closer.
23.   Be on parade. Remember the movies were the woman or man keeps walking past a table? Do the same thing.  Not to the point of being absurd though, people might mistake you for the server.
24.   Play footsie. Be careful on this one, though. Some folks are icked out about feet.
25.   Bump knees. You can make this look accidental.
26.   Be Playful. Playful is up there with happy.
27.   Apply lipstick. This makes a man think of kissing.
28.   Caress his back. This has a calming effect has well as creating intimacy.
29.   Hug. Almost everyone can get away with a hug as a greeting
30.   Wink. Stars of bygone eras used the wink to signal interest. It will work for you too.
31.   Raise your eyebrows. This is a subtle interest signaling method.
32.   Cut your eyes to him if you’re seated nearby. If you’re already together, it serves no purpose.
33.   Look back at him as you pass by.
34.   Play peek-a-boo with a menu or book.
35.   Men, ask female friends or co-workers to smile adoringly at you. Oddly, women are attracted to men other women like.
36.   Men, make the conversation all about her. Use her name in conversation.
37.   Women, allow the man to change your mind about something. While men enjoy women who agree with them, a woman they can convince to change her mind pleases them more.
38.   Angle your body toward his when speaking. If interested, he’ll angle back or stand and block other men’s view of you.

Most people do these things without even thinking about it. If you’re out of practice, you might have to make an effort to find your optimum flirting technique. Remember, not all flirting suggestions may suit your style. One flirting guide advised women to pout. I wouldn’t add that to this list. It works well if you’re under ten. Over ten, you just look high maintenance.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Is Your Flirting Style?

Flirting takes different forms. Often we wish flirting into existence. Polite people who smile and wish people a cheery “good morning” are mistaken as flirters when someone fixates on them. The general greeting suddenly becomes the marker of a deep, unspoken longing. It takes me back to junior high, where a casual shoulder bump during a crowded passing period often had a girl writing the guy’s name on her shoes, folders, and hands, convinced of his affection.
 In the movie, 500 Days of Summer, the hero demonstrated his feelings with subtle gestures, but Summer wasn’t getting it. He’d found out what her favorite music was and played it whenever she walked by his cubicle. The hoped for result was she’d stop and comment that they both liked the same music and their relationship would start from there.
It didn’t happen. Part of the reason is we have different flirting styles. You might want to take a test to find out what your flirting style is by taking the Flirting Styles Inventory quiz. According to the inventory, a person may have five different styles including sincere, polite, physical, playful, and traditional.
Ironically, you may flirt wildly, but if your crush has a different style, he may be clueless. Many men may have a physical flirting style and touch a date casually after their introduction. Even though the touches are non-sexual in nature, women often interpret such actions as being sexually aggressive and coming too soon in the relationship. There are times, however, when your date is simply being sexually aggressive.
Can people with separate flirting styles be compatible? Yes, but they have to understand the other person’s style and give back some flirting in the preferred style. A man could feel he’s being extremely attentive, but his date regards him as cold because he’s not a playful flirter like her. On the other hand, the man regards his date’s flirting as childish. We often respond to people’s flirting that is the most similar to ours. Two playful flirters engage in mutually satisfying banter.
On the flipside, just because someone’s flirting style appeals to you does not make them the one. It simply gives you a chance to get to know the person a bit better. Maybe after a month or so, you both come to the realization that it isn’t going to work. That’s okay too.
On-line dating prolongs this realization. In today’s cautious dating climate, it takes almost a month for people to meet face to face. All those clever texts or emails that initially drew you in are absent at the first meeting.
Don’t be too hard on your date. First meetings are nerve wracking. The texts and emails didn’t happen spontaneously. Yes, help may have taken the shape of a friend or suggested texts on the Internet. Stress makes you stumble over simple things. There are few things more stressful than a first date.
Flirting is a bit like window shopping. The person pretends not to be that interested, but instead tries to sum you up in two or three sentences, before he or she moves onto the next possibility. This puts pressure on a person to grab attention before the person vanishes. Some men do it by being too enthusiastic, lying, revealing too much and being needy. Women do the same things, but with cleavage.
The simple secret is acting as if the connection doesn’t matter. As unfair as it is, people like what isn’t easily available. This is the reason women tend to fall for the bad boy who flirts with her friend. When he finally turns attention to her, she feels like the victor.
Flirting can be as simple as eye contact. What makes it flirting is the receiver. If a man, a woman doesn’t view as a dating prospect,  stares  at her, then it’s creepy. Another man she views as her type, makes eye contact for the same length of time, is flirting.

 Next blog will detail the many ways we flirt.