Dating Advice You Don’t Even Have To Read

Haha.

So, I’ve been bored lately.  You’d think that would mean I’d finally get around to writing my book about what to actually do once you have a date with someone.  Or the one about how you really can find love and to hang in there.

But no.  (I’ve been writing some novels instead…Not under this name, though.  Someone else seems to be doing that…)

What I did do though is go out and hire an awesome audiobook narrator, Erin Fossa, and had her record Don’t Be A Douchebag and Online Dating for Men: The Basics.  So now, if you’re a man and you want to hear my wonderful online dating advice (or if you’re a woman and you want to hear exactly what I think of married men who approach me on those sites), you can.

Listen on the way to work.  Or at the gym.  Or while making dinner.  Or while you’re supposed to be working.

(And, hey.  If you don’t have an audible account, but open one and borrow one of my books first and send me proof to show you did it, I’ll send a few free download codes your way.  So basically you’ll get to listen to my book for free and get a couple others free, too.  Not a bad deal…)

 

50% Off on Kobo

So, turns out Kobo is running a HUGE promo right now on 1.3 million books.  They’re all 50% off for three days.  (Depending on where you are that either is already happening or will be happening soon.)  Might be worth checking it out.

Info is here.

I’m also pretty sure that somewhere in that list of 1.3 million books, you’ll find all of my books, just, you know, in case you are a kobo reader and have been hesitating to buy the books because of the cost…haha.

What books would those be?

Well, the classics Don’t Be A Douchebag and Online Dating Is Hell as well as the starter online dating guides for men and women.

And, because there’s only so much talking  about online dating you can do before jumping off a very high cliff starts to sound really, really fun, the puppy books are there, too: Puppy Parenting Primer, Puppy Parenting In An Apartment, and Dog Park Primer. (And I will note here that the covers of all of the puppy books feature my very own adorable, incorrigible pup, Miss Priss.  Why?  Because I could and she’s cute and if nothing else comes of writing those books, it made my mom happy to see her on the cover.)

(I will also note that I am NOT the person on the cover of Douchebag.  Just in case there was any possible question about that…)

Boys, Boys, Boys…

Picture me saying that in a slightly exasperated, you’ve disappointed your mother sort of way.

A friend of mine has been valiantly trying online dating this year.  She did well and found a boyfriend for a while, but it didn’t work out so she’s currently in the midst of round two.  And the stories she can tell…

Like the guy who used her e-mail address to friend her on Facebook before they’d even gone on one date.  (Don’t do that.)

Or the guy who asked her to text him each morning when she woke up even though they hadn’t met yet.  (What the???)

Or the one who texted her non-stop at all hours of the day.  (As she said, I have a job, don’t you?)

(You can see why I don’t give out my number if I can avoid it until I’ve met a guy in person and determined he isn’t insane.)

She’s also experiencing the usual, standard ones that every girl runs into.  Like the guy who put on forty pounds and then posts only old photos of himself and talks in his profile about how much he likes to jog and hike even though it’s clearly been a while since he did anything active. (Uh, women aren’t blind, buddy…)

And I say boys, but these are grown-ass men we’re talking about.  Somewhere in the thirty or forty-year-old range.

Don’t do that shit.

If you’re a guy and you read any of that and recognized yourself in those comments then you may want to check out my book Don’t Be A Douchebag.  It’s currently on sale for 99 cents.  Buy it, read it, and save us all a little bit of pain and suffering, because finding a good match is hard enough without some of the shit guys pull (knowingly or unknowingly).

Oh, and if you’re a woman who recognized some of that behavior, you might want to read Online Dating Is HELL which basically just rants about the same things I tell men not to do in Douchebag.  It, too, is on sale for 99 cents right now.

(Of course, if you’re new to online dating, don’t read those books.  Keep your starry-eyed optimism as long as you can.)

The Art of Conversation

I touched on this a bit in Don’t Be A Douchebag, but it seems (after dinner with a recently-single guy friend the other night) that this is something the ladies might need to work on as well.

Conversation has a flow to it.  There has to be a give and take for it to work.

Like volleying in tennis.  I hit the ball to you, you hit the ball back.  I am trying to get you the ball and you are trying  to get it back to me.  It’s a cooperative effort.

With online dating, where a lot of men fall down is in the return volley, so to speak.

We’re exchanging e-mails, I ask what he likes to do, he gives me two paragraphs about his hobbies, and that’s it.

When that happens it puts all the burden of continuing the conversation on me.  And, if he’s not all that interesting, I generally choose not to bother.

What should a guy (or a gal) do?

Ask a follow-up question.

“I like to do macrame.  What about you?  What do you like to do?”  Or  “I like to do macrame.  Have you ever done it?”  Or “I like to do macrame.  That’s kind of an odd hobby, isn’t it?”

Say something that requires the other person to respond.

This even works if you’re not a big talker.

They ask what your hobbies are, you answer, and then you let them babble for a while.

“What are your hobbies?”

“Reading, mostly.  You?”

“Well, on Mondays I like to go to the gym, and on Tuesdays…”

Off they go and you’re having a conversation.

Otherwise?

It looks like this:

“What are your hobbies?”

“Reading, mostly.”

“Oh.”

Both stare awkwardly into their coffee cups.

“So, uh, what do you read?”

“Thrillers.”

“Oh.  Cool.”

Both once again stare awkwardly into their coffee cups.

The other nice thing about asking a question is that it triggers most people’s instinct towards politeness.

So, a girl who might not respond to your message if there’s no reason to do so, will respond if you ask her a direct question.  (Even if she’s not all that interested.)  Because it’s rude not to respond to a question.  Right?

And every response you get means one more chance to impress her and one more chance to succeed at this whole dating thing.

So, whether via e-mail or in person, you need to do your part to create that back and forth with someone.

If they don’t hold up their end?  Well, screw ’em.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.  (Because that give and take thing?  There are other areas where that matters A LOT.)

Online Dating Does Work

Not for everyone, but it does work.

I was thinking about this today because a friend of mine who met her husband online just had a baby.  And she and her husband really are a good match.  They wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for online dating.

Another friend of mine met his wife online as well.  And four, five years later (?) they’re still going strong.

I think what both of my friends had in common was a very positive attitude towards the whole thing.

My friend who just had the baby went on a large number of dates from the site she was on.  She wasn’t trying to be overly selective up front.  She was just trying to get out there and meet people and see what happened.

Me?  I’m a paranoid freak who thinks there are some seriously crazy people out there, so I am always pretty aggressive in weeding guys out before I meet them.  Which, since I’m still single and she’s not, kind of shows that her method is more successful.

Then again, she’s also a relationship person and I’m not.  I think between her first boyfriend and her husband she spent maybe six months of her life single.

I’m a firm believer that if you just keep trying you’ll eventually find someone.

All you have to do is look around at the people who do end up with someone and you’ll generally see a pattern of people who keep getting into relationships until they find one that sticks.

Of course, a lot of those people also have some pretty miserable experiences along the way.  My friend had at least one dating experience that would’ve completely freaked me out and probably driven me into hiding for a good six months.

The key I think is to be open, approach it with a positive attitude, and keep trying.

(And if that fails you can do what I did and write a book explaining all the things that just made you want to throw your hands up in despair…)

Asking For What You Want

In Don’t Be a Douchebag I give the real-life douchebags a pretty hard time.  Because they’re annoying and shallow and I don’t like having to wade through them to find a quality guy.

But, I have to give them props for one thing.

They ask for what they want.

In college my brother had a friend who was like this.  He’d go to a bar, start on the right side of the room and hit on every single woman until one said yes.  Made him the laughing stock of his friends (pretty sure he used a really cheesy line to do it, too), but, you know what?  That guy succeeded.

Would other guys want the woman who said yes to him?  Mmm.  Perhaps not.

But he got what he wanted.

Because he asked for it.

How does this translate for a guy who doesn’t want to take just any woman home?

Well, do you like a woman?  Ask her out.  On a real bona fide date.

Don’t say, “Hey, we should like hang out sometime.”

Or, “I was going to see the new Hunger Games movie.  Want to go to it with me?”

Ask her on a date.  Make it clear that this isn’t two friends hanging out.

As with most dating advice, this is true for life as well.

I recently had to negotiate a contract for something I didn’t really care about.  So, I asked for exactly what I would need to do it.  And I got everything I asked for.  (Should’ve asked for more it seems…)

A few friends have commented that they can’t believe that happened because they’ve never had anyone offer them those things.

But they’d never asked for them either.

If you work at the same job for twenty plus years and don’t ask for more money, you won’t get more than is built into the system for the average worker.

Sure, when you ask you risk getting told no.

But if you don’t ask, you’ll never get it.

Chasing The Wrong Rabbit

They say that dog owners start to look like their dogs.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but I do see some similarities between my dog and me.

We currently live in a place that has a LOT of rabbits.  They’re everywhere.  And she’s obsessed with them.

I take her for a walk, she sees a rabbit, and she stands there staring at it, refusing to move, until I either scare the rabbit away or it moseys along.

What’s funny about this is that she’ll be fixated on a rabbit ten feet away and there will be another one sitting three feet away to her left.  But she’s so focused on the first one she saw that she doesn’t even realize that there’s another rabbit closer to her.

How does this apply to me or to dating?

Well, I think I do this a lot when it comes to men.  I’ll meet some guy and he’ll catch my interest and I get so fixated on that guy that I’ll completely overlook another guy who comes along after him.

I had this happen in school.  I really liked Guy A.  (We were good friends and spent a lot of time together, so I wasn’t completely misguided in my interest.)

(In hindsight, I was somewhat misguided since he wanted a non-cussing good Catholic girl who never wore jeans or drank too much.  Which is so not me.  Fuck that shit.)

I was also friends with Guy B and had thought about him as a possibility, but Guy A had so captured my attention that I didn’t really think about Guy B.  By the time Guy A disappeared and I got around to thinking about Guy B, he was engaged.  There went that opportunity.

That’s just one of many examples.

I think it’s easy to meet someone and either be really attracted to them or really click with them and start to ignore other possibilities.  Sometimes that’s a good thing, because there are certain people you won’t get unless you’re 100% committed to getting them.

But it’s a very, very bad idea if they don’t reciprocate your interest.  That’s the way to spend a few weeks or months missing out on actual dating opportunities.

So, to all the daters out there, keep your eyes and your mind open to other possibilities.  Especially if you’re not gaining traction with the person who seem PERFECT.

(No one is, by the way.  And, for the guys especially, just ’cause she’s pretty, doesn’t mean she’s a good match for you…)

 

 

Sending The Right Signals

So, in the dating books I talk about how online dating isn’t really a great solution for everyone.  I think it is ideal for a certain type of person and a complete waste of time and energy for others.  Ideally, the best way to meet people would be in real life doing something you love.

My mom met her current husband in a bowling league.  She didn’t join the bowling league to meet anyone and neither did he, but they got thrown on a team together, her car broke down, he offered her a ride home, she cooked him dinner as a thank you, and the rest is history.  They just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.

Here’s the problem with the whole meeting someone in real life idea: They have to know you’re available.

I’m in my thirties and I notice that I get hit on a lot less now than I used to.  Sometimes I think it’s because I’m old and fat, but then I glance around a little and see that I’m still getting eyed like a piece of meat, so, as much as I’m not what I used to be, I think there’s a different problem at play.

And that’s the fact that I give off no signals that I’m available.  None.  And, being the age I am, I wouldn’t blame men for assuming that I’m married, in a serious relationship, or not interested.

Unfortunately for my dating life, not giving off signals is a protective mechanism I developed when I was younger, hotter, and men said creepy things to me all the time.  After about ten years of that crap I think I pretty much suppressed every signal a girl can give off.

So, what signals are those?

– Eye contact

– Smiling

– Doing something with your hair.  (If it’s up and long, letting it down is the BEST.)

– Reacting to a man who is trying to get your attention (This one sounds a little odd.  But think of the guy who sits down next to you on the train and proceeds to fidget and make noises.  What’s your normal reaction?  You look at him.  If he’s good-looking, your gaze lingers.  He smiles, you smile.  You start talking…)

– Being open to being approached (Put away the book, cellphone, etc. and be open to conversation)

If you know someone and want to signal interest:

– Staying with them/near them at a party or event

– Laughing at their jokes

– Engaging in witty banter (Good example.  Guy I knew casually said, “You know, I had a dream about you last night.”  I said, “Really?  What kind of dream?”  He said, “Ah, the usual.  You were naked, I was naked.”  I responded, “Is that all?”  He crouched down by me and said, “Well, there was a little more to it than that…”  See where that was going?)

– Letting them run their game (A lot of times you can see someone’s angle, but if you like them, you don’t let them know that.  You just go with it.  Like that conversation above?  Here’s what I said next, which is what you DON’T do.  “You know, you’re really predatory…”  I actually liked that about him, but it shut him down.  So, don’t do that.)

– Being complimentary

– Touching them or allowing them to touch you  (Don’t be creepy about it, just allow them to be in your space.  Sit on a couch and let your legs touch, sit at a table and let your feet touch, etc.  )

So, those are a just a few thoughts.  Just remember, especially in this day and age, your odds of anyone approaching you are pretty much nil unless you’re signalling your availability in some way or other.

(And, for the really clever and brave, you might have realized that just because an attractive woman isn’t signaling her interest in you doesn’t mean she isn’t available or potentially interested…she may just be sick to death of dealing with the douchebags out there.)

 

Having Fancy Degrees and Dating

I’ve had this post bookmarked for ages: She Got A Big Ego?: Thoughts on Dating With a Doctorate because it resonated for me even though I don’t have a doctorate and am not Black.

It still raised interesting points for me as a white woman with a few fancy degrees under her belt.  (And whose undergrad majors included psychology and anthropology, which were referred to as “fuzzy” subjects at my lovely alma mater.)

I, too, have had those conversations with men where they seemed intent on showing me just how smart they were.  Conversations that, quite frankly, just annoy me.  I’m not a facts and figures person.  I’m a concepts person.

I suck at Trivial Pursuit.  I misremember shit all the time.  Was that a 1098 form or a 1099?  Who cares?  Did it change my point?  I’ll go look it up if it matters.

And do I really want to engage in some game of one-upmanship with a guy that I’m trying to get to know?  Nope.

But when men find out about those lovely degrees from those fancy schmancy schools and that high-powered career, they suddenly fall back on this need to prove themselves.

Problem is, correcting everything I say or burying me in minutiae doesn’t show me how smart a guy is.  It shows me he’s annoying and insecure.

Analyzing a complex issue from multiple sides?  Now THAT impresses me.  Seeing the nuance and variety in things?  That too.

Appreciating people of all types even if they’re very different from him?  YES.

I think that’s why many of the men that I’ve most enjoyed dating were not intellectuals or highly educated.

Don’t get me wrong.  They were SMART.  Hella smart.  We could talk about anything and everything.  And if they didn’t know something, they were willing to admit it and still smart enough to analyze the situation and give sound advice.

Of the top two I can think of right now, neither one had gone to college.

Didn’t change the fact that I enjoyed spending hours talking to them.  (And a lot more than I enjoyed talking to some of those guys that I sat in classrooms with every day who now have their own fancy schmancy degrees.)

Who knows?  Maybe this goes back to the fact that I’m just a trailer park queen at heart no matter how far away I go.

But for me, a relationship is about compatibility not competition.

This is why in Don’t Be a Douchebag I encourage men to be themselves and be confident that they deserve to be with that woman.  It isn’t about money or degrees.  It’s about who you are inside.

(Now, that’s not true for every woman.  It is for me.  But some women are all about what they can tell everyone else.  “He went to Harvard and works as a hedge fund manager.”  For women like that, well, if you don’t have it you don’t have it.  So, move on.  And if you do have it?  Maybe you should consider whether that’s the type of woman you want to be with.)

Skip The Photo When Online Dating

I found an interesting article today on msn.  (Okay, so the article isn’t exactly fascinating, but what it was about is.)  Here’s another from Daily Beast.

There’s a new dating website, Twine, where you aren’t allowed to see a picture of your matches until after you’ve started communicating with them and both agree to it.

I haven’t used this app at all, so can’t vouch for it.

But the idea is one I advocate in my book. Because (in my experience) far, far too often men get fixated on appearance and miss all the red flags that things are not going to go well.

I wish more men would look at women’s profiles and figure out if they have anything in common with a woman before they look at her photo.  It would turn out better if they did.

Sadly, that’s not how it goes.

(Might also be why Twine currently has about sixteen women to one man signed up.)

So, if you’re a guy and you’re looking for a lasting relationship, it might be worth giving this a shot.  Get around that whole “pretty smile” blindness that kills your ability to meet someone compatible.