On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness
It’s the best of times and the worst of times.
The preponderance of technology into modern life has pulled the world closer together while at the same time creating more separation. Dating is a prime example of this technological fall out with both men and women paying a price. So let’s take a quick look at how technology and social media have enabled dating and also made it more challenging to find mate.
The good stuff.
Hooray for online dating. Everyone is busy and people don’t have the time to troll the bars and clubs to find their mate. Women can hang with their BFF’s while occasionally checking their phones for the next group of guys who reach out and tell them they’re hot. And dudes can score dates with hot women while sitting at home in their tighty whiteys. Dating online is fast, empowering and fun. If you’re a guy, all you need is spell check, a photo with your shirt on and the patience to mindfully read woman’s person’s profile. After a short message or email you exchange digits and you’re off and running.
When you get together everything can change quickly. But so what if there aren’t any sparks? When you meet online, you can end it with one keystroke— delete. It’s generally considered that people we meet online are disposal and replaceable. That’s not necessarily fair, but it’s how the game is played. So if you can check your feelings at the door, you have a shot at finding a match. And millions do every day. My wife likes to say that she found me online and there are so many others who have found their soul mate online.
Things to keep in mind.
Not everyone has a thick skin and can deal with the cut and dry aspects of online dating. So we need to remind ourselves that there is a human being with real feelings and emotions person behind their online persona. Just because you met online doesn’t make he or she less deserving of your respect. Keep your standards high and don’t forget the words— please, excuse me, and thank you. And if she’s interested and it’s not a match at least let her know that there were no sparkles if she asks.
Another consideration is that, an itchy trigger finger on that delete button could prevent you from getting to know someone who is worth a little extra effort. Not everyone is consistently at the top of his or her game when flirting online or during that first meet up. That’s not to suggest that you waste your time on an obviously bad fit. But if you think about some of your best friends or lovers, did those relationships always begin under the best circumstances?
Between Facebook, Twitter and Tinder we live in an age of maximum exposure. And once something finds its way online, it’s there forever. Keep that in mind next time you think it’s acceptable to sext pics of your junk to a lady or before you take that selfie while drinking from that bottle of chocolate whipped cream vodka. These might not be images you want to share with a prospective mate or potential employer.
Technology and social media can be a dater’s best friend or worst enemy. Always remember that dating is a face-to-face activity. Keep it real, amigo.
This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is any dude who picks up the phone and asks a woman out instead of hitting her up by text to see if she wants to hang out.
You’ve got to be in it to win it.
This old saying refers to dating, too. I hear from so many women who complain that they're having such a hard time meeting the right guy. With everyone working at a frantic pace just to maintain the status quo, it’s no wonder that we have little patience left when it comes to dating. We want what we want now, right ladies? Well, your Guy’s Guy is here to bring you both the bad and the good news about meeting men. Hopefully it will get you what you want, when it you want it. Here are five ways women can sabotage themselves when connecting with guys.
Always Plugged In.
I can’t tell you how many times I decided not to introduce myself to a woman because she was wearing her ear buds or playing Candy Crush on the subway. I love my music, too, but living in New York City provides me with more than enough stimulation that I don't feel a need to stay plugged in 24/7. Countless guys have told me that this is the number one deterrent to politely approaching a woman. I can’t say how much is too much, but while you were listening to Rihanna sing about “talking that talk” the cute guy sitting across from you on the E train probably decided to “walk that walk” at the 5th Avenue station instead of introducing himself. Just sayin’.
Not Fishing Where the Fish Are.
Where can I meet a nice guy? I’ve been asked that a lot. Look around—there are guys everywhere and they're usually open to chatting up a cute woman like you. To be more specific, you can find guys in bars, gyms, and ball games. But if these places are not your cup of tea, check out wine-tasting classes, golf course, tech stores, museums, the park, the beach, or even the laundry mat. And that’s for starters.
Traveling In Packs.
Women's rise in professional power was long overdue. That being said, it can be daunting for a guy to approach a group of women sitting at a table at a club or a bar. It’s a pressure-packed situation that most men will shy away from. You can say it’s lame, but them’s the facts. Guys like to separate a woman from the group and that’s no easy task when all of her friends are looking him over and mentally judging his every word and move. Try going out with one girlfriend and sitting at the bar instead of a table. You’ll meet plenty of guys that way. It’s up to you how to manage their advances and all the free drinks.
Sticking Too Closely Your List.
The longer you’re single, the longer the list grows. And before you know it, you’re plucking random gray hairs and sitting on the couch on Saturday night stroking your cat, Fluffy. Not a good look. Alright, I’m being dramatic; but trust me—time files and if you keep adding to your dating criteria, you’ll shrink the pool of available dudes. If your list is longer than five, it’s too long. Another thing to consider is that sometimes traveling off the grid reaps mega rewards. Think about it.
Tossing Him Back Too Soon.
I know there’s always more fish in that online dating ocean and it’s so easy to just delete him for something as minor as walking with you on the wrong side of the sidewalk. Take it from your Guy’s Guy—men screw up, but we are resilient and we aim to please. If you give a guy a second chance over a minor indiscretion (and I don’t mean cheating), you might find out something about what he’s got inside.
Are you taking steps not to sabotage yourself with guys?
Once upon a time there was no Instagram, Tinder, Facebook, Match.com, Vine, and no sexting, texting, or even e-mail.
Can you imagine? If a young buck wanted to meet a nice lady, he’d take a deep breath, walk across the bar room, smile and say something clever like, “Hey, my name's Steve.” If he was fortunate enough that she didn’t blow cigarette smoke his way, it was on him to keep the conversation going in the hopes of making a connection. This requires a real conversation, one that transcends discussing recent episodes of “The Walking Dead” or fantasy football. Keep it real, amigo. Before we were drowning in technology, people were forced to connect face-to-face, person-to-person. It was a good way to foster social skills and the fine art of conversation. Instead of hiding behind cell phones and 140 characters on Twitter, dudes had to put themselves on the line in the hopes of as a way of making a woman feel special. With this in mind I humbly offer the Guys’ Guy’s four easy ways to polish your social skills and improve the chances for romance.
Put The Gadgets Away.
There's a million apps available to help guys out on the town connect with random women. But texting a stranger from across the bar will not enhance your social élan. It’s much more effective to introduce yourself in person, like our friend Steve did all those years ago. Women prefer the direct approach. Just be a gentleman and don’t gawk at their boobs. When scoping out the female prospects, check the hair, the bag and the shoes. They’ll tell you a lot about a woman and how she sees herself. Once you decide whom you want to meet, think of an open-ended conversation starter that requires a real answer, not a yes or no. “Do you like pickle backs?” probably won’t get you far. Then, tuck that cell phone into your pocket, flash your best smile and make your approach.
This is the cardinal rule for connecting with women. That’s because women pay attention and have this amazing capacity to assimilate tons of detailed information about everything, including what you said two months ago about your ex. Men are not very good at this. But, guys who learn the value of active listening find themselves miles ahead of their beer swilling mates that half-listen to their female companions while they multitask by watching the game and checking for texts every two minutes. When talking with a lady, everything else takes a back seat. Period.
Unless you have major bank, can rhyme like Drake or look like Gosling, you are not a chick magnet. Life is not a Rick Ross video unless you are Rick Ross. Take a deep breath, accept who you are at this moment, then smile inwardly and say, “Damn right!” It’s all good, young man. Not all women are built like fitness models and neither are you. Laugh with others, laugh at yourself and have fun meeting women. Maybe you hit it off conversationally with someone who may not be your cup of tea physically. Not a problem. You can be friends. She might make a terrific wingman, or you could be hers. Better yet, she may have a slammin’ girlfriend that she’ll introduce you to if she hasn’t already set her sights on you. If that’s the case, be nice and be kind. Things usually work themselves out.
If you master steps one through three and score her digits or more, make sure you stay the course and call her the next day. That means the next day, not next week. And it means a phone call, not a text, not a sext of your junk, or an Instagram, etc. Let her know you had a great time with her and that you’d like to see her again. If she shares your interest, have a plan in mind. Trust me, she’ll be impressed that you’ve not only taken the time to call her, but you had the consideration to think ahead and make her life a tad easier. Woman may be more aggressive these days, but they appreciate a dude who can take the wheel and treat them special. And, women are special.
Are you polishing your socials skills and connecting with women?
Fishing and dating - not so different
Yes, we’re almost at the end of another steamy summer in the city. Whether it’s enjoying a Dunkin’ Donuts Coolatta, a frosty brew, or just slouching down in your seat in a cool dark movie theater everyone has their own special way of relaxing and keeping cool in the hot weather. I’m a beach Guy’s Guy and I prefer chilling at my place at the Jersey Shore. No GTL for me, but lots of time outdoors, playing golf, running on the boards, and enjoying the ocean. Come to think of it, last weekend I noticed a school of fish pass by while I was heading out to body surf. Unfortunately, the fish did not literally speak to me, but they did spark an idea about the correlations between dating and fishing so here are a few ideas to consider that might raise the tide to complete your Summer of Love.
Check the surf. They don’t call it surfing the internet without a good reason. This is 2012 and if you are between 21-50 and single…or not, you have probably dipped your toes into the online dating waters. And, why not? What once was considered an act of desperation is now the norm for most “swingles”. There is an endless wave of attractive, intelligent people many of them just like you who are just a click away on the myriad of dating sites that are now specialized to meet almost any criteria you can think of in a potential partner. Of course meeting new people the old fashion way like, “Hi, my name is Luke”, never goes out of style. But everyone is so busy and those iPod ear buds tend to get stuck into our ears, so actually meeting new people organically seems to have gone the way of the rotary phone for a great number of us. But, that’s for another blog post. This about getting online and putting your best face, er, I mean profile forward.
Fish where the fish are. Old saying, still true. Besides surfing the internet for love, summer is the perfect time to get outside of your crib and meet new friends and lovers. If you are looking for a guy, you might find them running in the park, at a ball game, having a cocktail at a sports bar or cocktail lounge, or at an outdoor class like sailing or kayaking. Frankly, dudes are everywhere and in the warmer months, they can easily be spotted and captured outdoors. And if you are seeking a pretty lady, there is no better place to find them than a class, yoga, cooking or wine tasting, or at an outdoor café sipping Chardonnay with their best girlfriends. And don’t they look fine in those summer dresses or short shorts.
Use the right bait. Okay it is summer, but you can do better than ordering hot dogs and then smothering them in ketchup on a first date. Okay, one frank if you are attending a cookout, especially since Labor Day is coming up, but don’t forget to throw some colorful veggies on that paper plate also. In these days of judging one another to no end, a new friend will check out what and how you eat. Think about that before putting on that white shirt, fellas. Speaking of which, if you are invited to a party, whether it is a barbeque or at a polo match, do your best to show up and dress appropriately. Yes I know they are back in “fashion”, but leave your oversized Hawaiian shirt where it belongs…in the closet.
Get fishing and reel them in like a pro. Did I mention it’s almost the end of summer and if you haven’t already, it’s the time to cut loose and have some fun? Whether you are looking for a short, flirty fling or a more meaningful relationship now is the time to focus your attention on your goal and make it happen. I assure you that it will not happen if you stay home watching the new season of “Swamp Brothers” or “The Bachelorette”. And if you are the shy type, get yourself a wingman or wing woman, get cleaned up and start casting your lines in the water. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good you attract what you desire. Now you’re ready to cut bait and start fishing.
Guy’s Guy of The Week: The Old Man from Ernest Hemmingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, for sticking with his strategy until he landed his prize.
What are your ways of reeling in your catch of the day?
Image courtesy of Du Dãng
Online dating is a big topic and worthy of a book. As far as getting started is concerned, there are a few overarching rules that apply to anyone who is dating online. You might have a system that works for you, but for most people, they are looking for ways to have more fun and less anxiety when making a splash in the online dating pool.
1. Determine Your Objective
This is marketing and you are the brand. So like any astute marketer, you need to first determine your objective. This is a step that will have ramifications for every online date. Think about it. Do you want lots of dates and partners, or a relationship? Be fair to yourself and everyone else when considering that. You may be thinking, what’s wrong with dating a number of prospects until I meet the right person? Nothing, but it will become a factor with every new person you meet.
2. Find Potential Dates With The Same Objective
Some guys and women use online dating as an efficient way to fill up their calendar, meet new people, score free dinners, and enjoy what happens after dessert. My point is, if that is what you are looking for, find partners who are share the same mindset. You can sort that out fairly quickly. And don’t be a heartbreaker because there are a lot of sincere people out there looking for “The One”.
3. Don’t Waste Time, You Have An Offline Life Too
If you are reasonably intelligent and “normal”, it’s easy to score dates online. There is a bottomless pool of potential partners that is constantly restocked. But this is your time and your money and your sexual and mental wellbeing, so be mindful of your online dating behavior and avoid getting lost in a sea of endless possibilities.
4. Avoid The ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’
One of the biggest challenges to online dating is not falling into the pattern of immediately tossing aside potential mates for anything less than perfection because there’s always another prospect out there waiting to share a glass of Prosecco with you.
Deciding what you want before beginning something new. Sounds like a no-brainer. So does not texting when you are walking up the subway stairs during rush hour. So put down that BlackBerry and take a few moments to consider what you want before texting that new guy back.
Do you know what you want?
Image courtesy of Egan Snow
1- Read her profile. Twice.
That’s correct. A lot of dudes flip through the photos and only pay attention to the hottest of hotties only. Tsk, tsk. Of course you want to connect with a young lady that strikes your fancy, but there is a world of important subtext once you dig into her profile. And I assure you that she will be reading your profile very carefully when you send that greeting her way.
You can learn a lot by reading about her. Besides the usual background info and status(avoid ‘separated’ if possible-that can mean she’s in a bad marriage and just scoping the scene), check out what’s going on in her world, and see how much she talks about herself. Does every sentence begin with “I”? If the answer is yes, move on. Same thing if she states anything negative in her profile. That’s a signal for you to turn the page. If someone cannot make it through writing their online advertisement without going negative, imagine how that will spool out on dates with her.
2- Look for someone who knows what she wants.
Does she mention what she is looking for in a partner or is it all about all about her and the places she has traveled? Does she offer up anything that acknowledges that online love is a two-way street? You’ll probably have to read between the lines a bit, but it’s important to find out if she gets it. To me, no matter how good looking she might be, if you cannot get a good sense of he and the qualities she’s looking for in a guy, it’s a red flag. Same thing if she is too specific. But if she only wants to date accordion players from Alsace Lorraine, at least you’ll know that you don’t fit her specs.
3- No winks.
Really. Dude, winks are for the ladies. And most women will send a line or two if they’re interested. Guys need to step up. Tell her that you enjoyed reading about her and that you think she’s pretty and then comment on something in her background info that you can connect with. “Yes, I love Korean BBQ too.”
4- Always ask her a question to make it easy for her to reply.
And I don’t mean, “Has anyone every referred to you as a spinner?” Come up with an inquiry about her trip to Iceland or that belly dancing class she takes, but without an innuendo about your personal expertise at wiggling below the waist. Take the high road and she’ll see that you are a gentleman.
5- Spelling counts.
Yes, women pay attention to details and usually have excellent written communication skills. Review your note before sending it on and ask yourself if you would respond to it if you were her. If you are feeling a groove, add a little humor, but again, no sexy time talk. Show her your smooth side and then see if she responds.
6- Never write in all caps.
I’m sure this is obvious to most, but it’s surprising how many people commit this faux pas which means they are yelling at someone. Bad sign if they do not know this. That’s a sign of not paying attention. Move on, quickly.
7- And, of course, make the first move.
Show her that you’re interested. I’ll leave it at that. Good luck.
What are you waiting for?
Image courtesy of Courtney Carmody
1- Adjust your expectations.
You’ve never seen her in the flesh, so you have no idea if that first look will exhilarating or a letdown. Face it. If you don’t connect with her looks, it’s not going to work out for long. No judging. That’s just how we homo sapiens are wired. I suggest discounting your expectations from what you’ve seen in her photos by 15%. That gives you an opportunity to be delighted and sets your reality barometer at the proper level. Everyone chooses their very best profile photos and some pics are going to be dated, so get over it and hope for the best. She’ll be doing the same thing when she eyeballs you for the first time.
2- Let your vibe be your guide.
Dinner at Daniel? Be my guest, but I suggest allocating an hour for a glass of wine at a reasonably nice establishment or even the old standby, Starbucks, if you’re not quite sure what to make of her and she doesn’t drink alcohol. If she doesn’t drink and you feel a connection, take the high road and meet her at that nice wine bar and spring for a cranberry and club soda. If you follow my previous tips and have gotten this far, it’s a good bet that this could be a real connection for you. Just keep the first “date” simple.
3- Actively listen, be honest, but don’t reveal too much.
Even if you both are digging what you see and have an easy, free-flowing conversation sprinkled with laughter, make sure you allow her to tell you what she wants and don’t pry for more. Then, when she asks you a few things, consider what she is really asking and give her an honest answer. If she doesn’t ask you anything, it’s probably a one-time meet up. That’s okay─ you don’t want to waste your collective time if she is not feeling it. Respect a woman’s prerogative.
Don’t be evasive if she asks your age or if you’ve been married. Fess up and get it over with. She wants to know and she’ll eventually find out. And if she doesn’t like the answer, it’s curtains anyway. And regardless of how much fun you’re having hold back some personal info, like your being a Reiki Master, for another date. She’ll appreciate peeling the layers back to reveal the mysterious man that you are.
4- If it feels right, order some food or suggest someplace different for a casual bite.
That’s it. Keep it simple and keep it to an hour or so. If it’s meant to be, you’ll see her again. And if you think meeting for a drink or coffee is boring, be my guest and enjoy your scuba diving lessons or ice skating.
5- What if it’s not happening?
The heart wants what the heart wants, but be gentlemen. If she is not as advertised or just very sweet, but not your type, she is still a person with feelings and a woman deserving of your respect. Don’t look at you watch or play with your phone. She might be a really cool person and someone that could become a friend. Yes, a friend. But leave that up to her. When the bill comes, take care of it─ you asked her out─and then offer to hail a cab for her. And even if she’s not a keeper, remember to say good night with a smile.
Think you’re ready to take the situation offline?
Photo courtesy of Tim Boyd
Things have changed. No doubt. And that’s for just about everything that takes place between the sexes or within the same sex. Every other movie or TV show that stars a woman these days seems to feature a buff chick toting a shotgun, dressed in a wife beater, about to take revenge out on the bad dudes who harmed her family. Up until a few years ago, this was a genre reserved for Ahhnold, Van Damme, and Chuck Norris. Now these action vehicles showcase wiry females with a martial arts skill and an attitude.
Concurrently, this month’s Playboy features an article about men, using iconic male stars like Dean Martin and Paul Newman to hawk a bunch of facial creams and hair products. It seems that having smooth, glowing skin, product-laced hair and squeezing into your skinny jeans has become a new way to demonstrate your “guyness”. And we can marry whoever we choose─Harry or Sally. It doesn’t matter and most of us don’t care. But change creates interesting questions as we dance in the dating mosh pit. Like who picks up the tab on a date?
Here’s what I think. Generally, if you ask a woman out on the first date, even if it’s just for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, the guy should reach for the check. Even if the woman starts digging through her hobo bag, the guy should pay.
Here’s an exception. Maybe you two didn’t hit it off and the woman feels patronized and insists on paying her way to assuage any guilt, anger, or because she just wants to get away from you. Let her throw a few bucks down and say goodbye. We’re all even now.
Going forward a pattern usually occurs between potential partners and although it’s going to be different in every relationship, the bottom line is that you want things to feel equal so no one seethes inside or gets all passive aggressive. In a perfect world, and in a big city where women are increasingly taking the wheel in business, politics, and relationships, paying for a date would be split down the middle every time. But we know that this isn’t a perfect world, except in its imperfections, so we’ve got to be flexible and open-minded about almost everything.
Directionally, whoever has the idea and asks the other person out should be willing to pony for the bill. But that can get old quickly. And what do you do if you’re an investment banker ranking in the cash and she’s a teacher. Are you really going to make her split every tab down the middle? And vice versa, what if your lady pulls in major coin as a corporate litigator and you’re “consulting”? It’s something to keep in mind. And there are some women who never, ever crack their wallets open, and that doesn’t feel right.
What I have done to make life easy is to take charge and arrange the first few dates, at least until we’ve “gotten to know one another better”, and either paid the bill or made the offer. After you’ve taken care of the first major date, if she wants to split the tab the next time, cool. I suggest having no pretentions and always being prepared to pick up the bill if necessary. Women get it, and if they are not choosing the fifty-fifty route they usually have some things in mind that will make up for it, like cooking a nice dinner at her place or bringing along your favorite Pinot Noir when you cook for her. Women pay attention and the vast majority are not looking to exploit you. So if every check is not split exactly down the middle, chill.
In many ways dating is a microcosm for how we interact and treat people, and all I’m suggesting is to always be a gentlemen, do what you know in your heart is the right thing, and always give a lady the benefit of a doubt.
Does who pays the tab really matter?
- The Guys' Guy's Guide to Beating the Blues
- Ask The Guy's Guy: Meeting an Online Connection for the First Time
- The Guys' Guy's Guide to Keeping Your Mojo Working
- Saying Goodbye to Summer
- Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Connect with Someone Online
- 10 More Tips for Wellness at Any Age
- 10 Tips for Wellness at Any Age
- Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Keep Your Man Happy
- Five Guy's Guy-Tested Diets That Actually Work
- 6 Ways to Brighten Up Your Summer
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