Monday, May 31, 2010


The DTR (“Define the Relationship”): that necessary but nervous-sweat-inducing conversation that every couple must have (besides perhaps an arranged marriage). How many dates must pass before the talk? What’s the best way to do it? What if they’re not feeling the same way and the DTR causes a premature end to your (or their) live-in-the-now happiness?

When to DTR: This varies from relationship to relationship, so instead of following some arbitrary timeline, do it when it feels right. The DTR should happen when you start feeling ready to take things to the next level. If you’re feeling excited about them and want to see what happens in an exclusive setting, bring it up.

The other situation in which to DTR is if you’re getting the impression that they’re way more into you than you are into them (and/or feel like maybe they’re thinking exclusivity when you’re not). Put yourself in their shoes and treat them well, even if you think their assumptions about your relationship are out of line. Being honest about where you stand and getting everyone on the same page is huge, especially when feelings get involved. 

How to DTR: Couching the DTR as a serious talk may be mistaken for the break-up speech, so avoid talking about having the DTR before you actually do. If the person you’re with hears “I want to talk about something with you”, they’ll be on the defensive to protect themselves in case what you have to say isn’t good — no one loves getting dumped. Instead, bring it up the next time you’re both happy and comfortable and in a low-key but positive way: “Hey — I like you. I want to see where this will go. How are you feeling about us?” Then, have a conversation and figure out where you both stand. If you’re in the same place, brilliant. If not, talk about it.

When you want to go from many to one: If you’re currently dating multiple people and would like to be dating just one, hen you mention you’d like to be exclusive with them that one person will pick up on the fact that they were not (up until the DTR) the sole member of your happy-time club. If they subscribe to the popular belief that until the DTR, everything is fair game, they’ll be fine with this. If they don’t, listen and talk it through. Hopefully they’ll see your side.

A successful DTR requires both grace and tact, and an understanding of the position of the person you’re DTRing. Honesty, respect and communication are golden. No one likes to feel like they’ve been played, or to be in a position where they’re getting hurt or are hurting someone else. Don’t fall prey to wussiness or a douchebaggery: talk about where you stand when you get to the point of moving forward or out.

Yours in happy DTRing, S

(Credits: Image by mando2003us)

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Facebook Flirting 101

Facebook isn’t the college reunion it was five years ago, where privacy was tighter than a spandex leotard and you could post just about anything without fear that a picture of you pole-dancing at that one party in college would surface during a job interview ten years later. Now it’s a free-for-all, highly visible, real-time accounting of our lives — both personal and professional — that requires us to keep our profiles G-rated, un-tagged and highly edited if we don’t want our professional lives to crash and burn. When you add the potentially explosive and unknown quantity of new romance into the mix, it’s necessary to keep a tight leash on FB interaction to keep our online personas from imploding.

Since we all flirt, we all have Facebook profiles and we all have jobs we’d like to keep, here are some helpful tips for how to handle some of the more common challenges of flirting in the modern Facebook age. 

1. Keep your cyber-stalking habits on stealth mode. When you’re cruising through all 45 of your crush’s photo albums on FB, don’t go crazy with the picture commenting. Same goes for “liking” - it’s a little less intense, but too many instances of “John likes this”, and things will get weird fast. I once accepted a friend request from this guy I was in a class with, and he wrote a comment on almost every single one of my over 400 pictures. Weird? Yes — unfriending happened quickly thereafter. Besides looking obsessive, it makes the object of your affection wonder why you don’t have something better to do with your time. Keep the comments to only one or two of the truly exceptional pictures. If you must respond to status updates, make sure you don’t do it more than once every couple weeks.

2. Think before you post (on your profile). If you’re jonesing to shout to the world about how in love you are, email or message your amor instead. When you’re dealing with your profile, the only time it’s acceptable to post anything about someone else is if it’s anonymous — “Went on a fantastic date last night.” is perfect — it’s cute and holds a bit of enticing mystery. “Went on a fantastic date with [insert link to their profile here] and am counting down the minutes until I see her again” is TMI.

3. Think (even harder) before you post on their profile. Keep anything you post on their profile completely G-rated, non-flirty and devoid of insinuation or detail. First off, flirtations are much hotter when they’re done over text (see Texting Etiquette 101) over the phone, in person, or over email. When flirting happens on FB where everyone from their grandmother to their high-school ex-boyfriend to their creepy co-worker can see that you posted: “You’re a really good kisser and I can’t wait until our next date”, it’s bad. Posting links to something funny or mentioning you saw their doppelgänger on the street yesterday is fine — openly flirting and gushing about how awesome they are on the equivalent of a stage in front of their 500 closest friends, frenemies, family and co-workers is highly ill-advised.

4. When you get cyber bitch-slapped (i.e. unfriended), handle it with grace. Respect their choice and keep your reactions mature. If you absolutely must know why they did it, send them one respectful, emotionless email asking what happened: “Hey - I noticed I no longer see your profile. Did I do something to offend you?” They may have deleted their profile, they may be culling “friends” to avoid Facebook-whore status and keep their circle to only those 300 people closest to them, or maybe you did something to piss them off — it’s hard to tell. Whatever the reason, your best course of action is to accept it and move on.

Happy FBing, S

(Credits: Image by Franco Bouly)

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tired of Bars? 5 Daytime Alternatives that Rock

When most of us think about “going out” with the intention of meeting our next night-o-fun/date/fling/relationship, we think of a bar. Sometimes the bar takes the form of a club with a giant dance floor and the vodka red-bull flows like water, sometimes it takes the form of a dart board/draft beer/pool table low-key meat market, and sometimes it’s populated by bitchy but smokin’ hot bartenders, $30 drinks and perfect tens wearing Christian Louboutins. No matter the packaging, a bar is still a bar — and they’re great places to go out at night and have a good time.

If however, you’re growing weary of the nightly race, I’m here today to rock the boat and suggest a few daytime activities that give the nighttime pick-up fest a run for it’s phone-number-gathering money.

 Food Festivals. I attended the Seattle International Cheese Festival this last weekend, and can personally attest to the glory of the mixture of delicious free-to-cheap food, attractive people, sunshine and fun. Garlic, artichokes, strawberries, mushrooms, pumpkin, and a few dozen others all have festivals devoted to their deliciousness. Check one out.

Outdoor Festival Concerts. Although these technically also extend into night territory, the vibe is low-key and everyone is there to have a good time. Plus, the music rocks and you can bond over your love for obscure side-stage bands.

Farmer’s Markets. A staple weekend activity, farmer’s markets are fantastic places to spend a morning/early afternoon. Fresh-from-the-farm food, street vendors and often times a few random craft-makers bring attractive people together en masse. Plus, you can meet your next date by asking how to properly identify a ripe kumquat.

Beer Festivals. Lots of beer for very little money, lots of people looking to have a good time and lots of debauchery. What’s not to love?

Marathons / Triathlons / Adventure Races. If you’re not participating, you can always hang out as a volunteer at the finish line and vicariously enjoy the thrill of finishing, and the super-friendly vibe. I did a race last year that had a beer garden at the finish line. What better way to spend a Sunday? Speaking of, I hope all you SFers enjoyed Bay-to-Breakers yesterday. I heard it was awesome. 

Daytime outdoor activities are more low-key than their nighttime counterparts, and so have a more relaxed atmosphere. For the would-be date-seeker, this means that people are much more friendly and open to conversations with strangers. It doesn’t take much to start a conversation, and even less effort to stay in one and have a good time. You’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company in a less sexed-up environment, which leads to more “getting to know you” interaction versus the charged and potentially less information-gathering “you’re hot” interaction. 

Yours in afternoon delight, S

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

(Credits: Image by tyreseu

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Texting Etiquette 101

Texting: the wonderfully practical but often easily and horribly misinterpreted middle ground between the informality of email and the seriousness of a phone call, it has become the go-to way to communicate with those around us. It’s immediate (as most of us seldom stray more than three feet from our phones), it’s quick, and it’s easy.

That said, texting requires a delicate hand, especially at the beginning of a romance. If you say something that gets misinterpreted, it can spell disaster. Taking too long to respond or responding too quickly takes on significant meaning. Witty banter is a must, and so is the requisite agonizing over clever word play and/or alluding to your vast knowledge of obscure but humorous pop culture (obviously making sure it’s not so obscure that your amour won’t get it).

The problem is that not everyone subscribes to the same version of Texting Etiquette 101. As a result, misinterpretation, confusion and emotional agony can surface — Yikes. Here’s how to avoid the worst of it. 

In my experience, both personally and professionally (and I’m going to gender generalize here, so bear with me), the ladies and the gents have very different views of the dos and don’ts of texting. For example, the ladies (in general) appear to require (and give) a response — even if no question was asked and no response was necessary. The ladies want to know that the guy received the text (and want the guy to know that they received his), and attach a lot of emotional significance to how long it took said guy to respond, what he said, how it was phrased (and if there was any hidden meaning), and if the guy (deep breath) didn’t respond, many an agonizing hour will be spent analyzing why he didn’t respond.

The gents (in general), view texting a little differently. If the text received requires a response, a response is given. If it doesn’t, the information is absorbed and the day continued. If a guy doesn’t receive a response, the assumption is that the lady receiving the text was busy and will get back to them later — only after a couple days have passed do they wonder if something is amiss. Also, the gents (in general) don’t seem to analyze the “hidden messages” in each text (as the ladies want to do), unless said text says something totally weird.

The most solid piece of advice to keep everyone happy (no matter which gender you subscribe to) is to always provide a reason for your crush to reply. Say what you were going to say, but end it with a question or say something witty and entertaining enough it deserves a response. Bottom line, avoid the open ended statements that can be read, absorbed and require no response. Response is everything when you’re in a new texting relationship — and the more witty, fun and sexy the response, the better.

Yours in titty wexting, S

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

(Credits: Image by: stevendamron)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gloria McDonald of "Secrets of Dating and Relationship Success" Radio Interview

This week, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely and witty Gloria McDonald, host of the radio show "Secrets of Dating and Relationship Success", based in Toronto, Canada. The hour-long interview is posted here, if you want to listen to it. We talked at length about internet dating dos and don'ts, how to move on from rejection, and some of my own dating horror stories.

Gloria and her staff did a great job with the interview, for which they deserve a huge thanks. They were a pleasure to work with. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

When Your Crush is a Co-Worker...

If falling for a friend is complicated, falling for a co-worker is a step beyond that, with the if-it-doesn’t-work-out repercussions ranging from awkward staff meetings to losing your job. We can choose when to see friends, but you can’t choose when to see co-workers. They’re just there. Everyday. But, if the risk is worth it to you (in other words, this person is THE person for you), here are some pointers for making your co-worker crush into your next hot date.

The most important thing to remember is to maintain professionalism at all times while in the office, which means no obvious flirting when you’re debugging Excel spreadsheets together. If things go south, the HR department will look much more kindly on your situation if it’s obvious your work hasn’t been affected by your romantic trysts (especially if your co-worker crush falls under the no-fraternization policy).

Your goal is to turn your co-worker crush into a friend first, then into a date. To start, institute time spent hanging out with them outside of work. Put together an informal office happy-hour and make sure to invite them, or throw a party and invite some co-workers (including, but not limited to your crush). While there, get to know them as a person (versus as just your co-worker) and develop a friendship. Don’t be too pushy — your goal at this point is to get them comfortable with the idea of you as a friend, and not just that guy who sits two cubicles down from them. 

Once your friendship outside the office is established, invite them to be your “plus one” to an event you need (or want) to attend. Very similar to last week’s post “Escaping the Friend Zone” , by putting them in a position of doing you a favor (i.e. being your plus one to your friend’s band’s back room bar concert), it takes the pressure off your first one-on-one outing being a date. This is good, because you absolutely don’t want to force them into making a decision about you before they’re ready. Even though at this point they’ll have figured out you have a crush on them, because your non-date date suggestion of being your “plus one” is pretty low-key on the date scale, they’ll feel comfortable deciding at their leisure whether or not to pursue anything with you.

If nothing happens to indicate where they stand after a couple more one-one-ones, it’s fine to make a move and let them know definitively that you’re interested. Most likely, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly during that first one-on-one whether or not they’re interested in being more than your coffee buddy at work.

If they decide that they’re not into you “like that”, even more important than with a friend is the need to maintain maturity. You have to work with this person everyday, so keep the emotions in check and be mature in your reaction. Something like, “I think you’re great, but completely respect your feelings about us, so consider it dropped. Friends?” is perfect. Then, be completely normal and friendly when you see them at work, and they’ll respect you very much for being cool about the situation instead of freaking out and making things weird. 

Yours in professional crushing, S

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.