Saturday, February 26, 2011

Date Locations

Good first dates are hard to find.  Particularly in the early dates, when you are getting to know someone.

The ideal date has several important qualities:
  • It is quiet enough to talk - and not be shushed for doing so.
  • Not too expensive - for either of you, even if the guy is paying, it should still be in the gal's price range.
  • Not too crowded (and free things tend to be too crowded)
  • You should be close enough to each other to hold hands and otherwise physical contact.
  • Weather friendly.  You should be able to do it without wearing a rain coat/winter jacket, etc.
Some of my favorites are:

  • Coffee/similar non-alcoholic drinks
  • Food (Brunch/Lunch/Dinner)
  • Bar/Wine Tasting (Don't do this one myself but it is a good idea for those of you that drink).
  • light sports - no sweating (bowling, pool, miniature golf)
  • Zoos/Museums/other cultural activities
  • Social dancing (tango, salsa, swing, texas two-step, not clubs, no trance, no raves, etc)
Specifically, I have had success with tango dancing (I am very experienced), The Central Park Zoo, and The Highline Park as first dates.  I have plans to try a 'pizza making' date, as soon as I find the right woman
    Some of the things I do NOT recommended as early dates are:
    • Clubs/raves: TOO LOUD
    • Movies: Can't talk
    • Boats:  Sea sickness may be a problem and weather doesn't always accommodate
    • Dog walking: The dogs may not get along.
    • Ice Skating: cold/weather and they may not be a good skater- save for a later date.
    • Anything at a place you work.  
    • Long Drives - no way out.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011


    Alcohol can be considered God's biggest joke on single people.    For some people it can be a tremendous boon to their social life, for others it can be deadly.  Not everyone can use it, and I am among those few that can not. I am not an alcoholic.  While I am pretty healthy, I do have a health issue that might, in 10 or more years time, become debilitating and drinking alcohol increases that chance.  I have however gotten drunk in college, and hung out with drunk people.

    Basically Alcohol reduces anxiety, letting people act as if they had confidence and courage, while at the same time impairing judgment, preventing unreasonable picky-ness.  This in effect stops people from being quite as shallow as they normally are - you date the slightly overweight woman, or the short guy.

    But I said joke, not gift.  Alcohol has several rather drastic downsides.

    1. Overuse leads to huge problems.  Not only do you end up hitting on/getting picked up by people you hate when you are sober, but it also makes you act like a total idiot, turning off the people you like.
    2. It severely impairs the growth of your social skills.   If you don't date sober, you never learn how to date well.  
    3. Sober people often think you look foolish when buzzed.  Even slightly lowered inhibitions can make people say and do stupid things.
    4.  It can give a false impression of having a good time.  You think you enjoyed yourself with a date, but when you meet them sober, you think they are boring.   Worse, when you compare your few sober dates with your false memories of buzzed dating, the sober ones come out poorly.
    5.  It can easily place your life in extreme danger if you attempt to do dangerous things while drunk (driving among them).  Worse, the impairment to your judgment is incremental, even a little bit impairs you some.
    6. Finally, it impairs your own ability to judge how much you have. This makes it very hard to have just enough to get the benefits without the problems.
    One of the huge advantages of living in NYC is the public transportation system.  This significantly reduces the chance of harming yourself while drunk, but it does not eliminate it.  

    You have to decide how much you want to drink.  I strongly suggest limiting yourself to no more than 3 drinks a night.  Unless you have developed a large tolerance, any more than three will add more trouble than it removes.

      Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      Games People Play

      Like confidence, communication is one of the most common cliches for relationships.  But this one I believe in.  Unfortunately, the most common way people screw communication up is via games.

      There are several games that men and women play.   By game I mean a false communication designed to manipulate the situation.   Sometimes the idea is to "get them", others it is to simply control the situation.

      Common games that men and women play with each other.
      • Male construction worker (or similar situation) making crude comments "Can I have fries with that shake"
      • Women expecting her date to be telepathic.  "If I have to tell you, then it means nothing"
      • Fake soft rejections: "It's not you, it's me.", "We are moving too fast", "Lets be friends"
      • The woman pretending to be willing to go dutch.
      • A man claiming he wants a relationship up until after he has sex, then says it isn't working out.
      • Trick questions like (woman) "Do I look fat in this dress" or (male) "Was it good for you?"
      • Men not calling a woman after they got her phone number - or women not calling a man back after he calls.  Both of these are the same behavior.
      • Don't admit being wrong.
      All of these games are romance killers.   They not only kill the relationship, they hurt people.    Worse, if you do any of them, chances are you are doing other things wrong as well.   If you have ever found yourself doing any of these things, then it means you are not good at communicating and are seriously undermining your own relationships.  You need to grow up and handle reality, which means being a lot more honest.

      Lets take a look at these games.

      Does anyone ever know of a guy actually getting something besides a laugh from his friends by yelling out crude remarks at strangers? 

      Women, if you want a guy to be able to read your mind you first have to let him get to know it.  After ten years of marriage THEN he will be able to know what you want without asking - if you have spent those years wisely. Till then, you have to tell him what you want repeatedly, and also tell him that in the future you would love it if he did it without a hint.

      Look, as someone that has been rejected a lot and rejected women, I can tell you that no matter what you say, the rejected person will be hurt.  The best thin you can actually do for them is to tell them the truth about why you rejected them, as long as it is something they can change.  Too Short, Too Cheap, Too Smelly, Got lucky with someone else, Too overweight, Too old, Too lazy, Too prejudiced, Too Criminal.    Then add "and I am not willing to wait around till you change."  Otherwise what you get is some poor gal/guy believing your lies and not learning anything.  They never change, get older and die alone simply because no one had the guts to tell them the truth that they are cheap.  Yeah, you have to deal with a confrontation - grow up and deal with it.

        I've already talked about the fake "I'll pay my share".  Its a trick and a lie.  If you are trying to trick me, then I don't want to date you, anymore than a woman should screw a guy that has already decided he doesn't want a relationship with her.

        The trick question bit is a problem because the wrong answer will cause a fight.  So don't ask it, ask something that will give you the same benefit.   (women) "Is this dress better than the red one?" or (man) "Was there anything you particularly liked?"

        Not calling is simply a liars way to cowardly avoid admitting that you lied.  Don't give people false hope by pretending you will call them - or pretending you would call them back.   You can waste a LOT of there time.  The woman sitting by the phone, or the guy not making any plans for Friday night because he left a message on a girl asking her out for Friday is pathetic.  But it's not them that is pathetic, it is the pathetic loser that deceived them in the first place. 

        The final one is something a good friend of mine did with their spouse.  The spouse was right, they were wrong, and they had finally figured it out.   They spent about 5 minutes asking me how to avoid admitting it.  Finally I said, "People love being told that they were right.  Why don't you just tell him."  Don't get caught up in winning, tell them they are right. Doing so makes the other person so happy and they respect you more.  Yeah, you might have to take some ribbing, but trust me, the date will like you more for admitting that you were wrong than if you had been proven right.

        P.S.  I've read the book "Games People Play", and while it made some good points, I seriously disagree with it's main thesis that almost everything is a game or that games are bad/unhealthy.  Crime is not a game.  Nor is homosexuality.  Common cocktail conversations are not games and they are not unhealthy.  Flirting might be a game, but it is not unhealthy.

        Sunday, February 20, 2011


        First, let me state that there is nothing wrong with being shallow.  Everyone has the right to date someone they find attractive.  If you don't want to swim in the deep water, there is nothing wrong with wading.  But if you choose to be shallow, you give up the right to complain about hitting your head when you dive in to the dating pool.

        The advantage of being shallow is that you get to date hot people - if, that is, you yourself are attractive enough to pick them up.   You look more impressive and everyone is jealous of you when you have a smoking hot piece of eye candy on your arm.  Also, if you are dating someone for their money, the lifestyle advantages are obvious.  In either case, it gives a great boost to your ego.

        But unfortunately there are many, many problems with being shallow.   For many reasons, it is very hard for a shallow person to date someone that is not themselves shallow.   While there are attractive "deep" people, they tend to be snatched up quickly and don't get divorced.  Shallow people end up dating/marrying shallow people.

        This often means:
        1. Your date is more likely to cheat.  Tiger Woods is a perfect example.  Mr. and Mrs. Woods were both very shallow people.  He married a supermodel, she married a tall, rich, celebrity athlete.   Surprise surprise, he cheated on her. 
        2. Your date is likely to have serious issues.  Perfect people get married early and stay that way.  If they are attractive, chances are they have issues.   Remember Tiger Woods?  His wife was no better than him.  When she found out about the cheating, she physically assaulted him.  Think about what people would have said if the genders were reversed.   If he beat her with a golf club after he found out she cheated on him, he would have gone to jail, even if she stoically refused to testify.  I am not going to say Mr. and Mrs. Woods got what they deserved, but they each got exactly what they pursued.  Neither of them have the right to complain about the other.  If you go chasing thunderstorms, don't complain when you get wet.
        3.  Your date is not only likely to screw up, but also less likely to do good.  Shallow husbands don't buy flowers just because it's Thursday.  Shallow wives are less likely to fulfill their husbands' bedroom fantasies.  Frankly, those of us with a little more depth work harder at relationships - in part because we have a bit more anxiety about the prospect of replacing the relationship.  It's harder to find a new soul mate than it is  to find a new bed mate.
        4. Your date is more likely to  drop you if times get tough.  Gain 30 lbs?  Get disfigured?  Lose your job?  Whoops, you no longer qualify as worthy of them.

        I don't care if you are shallow.  If you enjoy it, go for it.  But if you start complaining about the quality of people you date, if you say something like "All men are pigs", or "Women just care about money", then the problem is NOT the opposite gender.  It is you and who you choose to date.

        One more thing, some people don't know when they are being shallow.  When you care about anything except mental characteristics, geographical incompatibility, STDs, or children, then you are being shallow.

        Rejecting someone over their job is shallow, while caring about their ambition is not.
        Rejecting someone over their body (yes that includes man's height as well as woman's breast size) is shallow, while caring about their vegetarianism is not.
        Rejecting them over a non-transmittable health condition (missing limb, diabetes) is shallow, while rejecting them over AIDS is not.

        Finally, people often fool themselves.  People pretend they care about ambition, when they really care about money.  What if he/she inherited $500,000,000 would that change your mind?  How about if they went bankrupt - or all their ambitious ideas failed?   Similarly, people often claim "chemistry" when they really mean "he/she does not meat my physical standards of beauty".     If you have to lie to someone else, that's one thing.  But don't lie to yourself.  Admit when you are being shallow and pay attention if your shallowness is ensuring that you only or mostly date shmucks.   Don't blame the shmuck because when you get down to it, you choose to date the shmuck.

        Friday, February 18, 2011

        Scents, rings and cats

        Make no mistake, I love cats.  They are low maintenance, pretty, social, and very pet-able.  But cats, like perfume/cologne and rings, can seriously impair your dating life.

        The problem with rings is that in addition to being jewelery, they are a symbol of marriage.  I have two nice rings - one I made myself out of silver (third attempt - first two were not acceptable), the other a tasteful (no gem) gold college graduation ring.   I like the way they look, but any ring can get mistaken for a wedding rings.  Worse, while Americans traditionally wear the wedding ring on the left hand, many other countries use the right hand (Greece, Russia, Spain, India among many others).  So even if I never put the ring on my left hand, some people may still misinterpret it.   Frankly, it is simply not a good idea for anyone, male or female, to wear any ring on either hand while they are trying to get a date.

        Scents are worse.  Unfortunately, as you age, your senses start to fail.  Some go deaf, some need reading glasses, and some can't smell anything.   This explains why every once in a while you will come across an older person reeking as if they bathed in perfume/cologne.  But just as some people lose their sense of smell as they age, other people are blessed with a particularly accurate sense of smell.  Additionally, some people like smells that others dislike.  Frankly, no one ever decides to date someone because they smell nice, but I have rejected women because I disliked their perfume.  I am sure many women have similar problems with men that dunk their bodies in cologne. 

        I dance tango, and over the past decade have become very good at it.  If I ask a woman to dance, I always dance a full set of three songs with her,  no matter how bad a dancer she is.  Pretty much the only reason I ever stop before the set is over, is if she reeks of perfume.  Perfume and cologne are not a good idea if you are trying to get a date (or dance with me, for that matter).

        I have dated women with cats - one of them is still a great friend of mine.  But it was difficult.  I don't think I ever slept at her place.  There are lots of reasons to have pets, particularly when you are single.  Being single can be very lonely and a pet's unconditional love can keep you sane. Pets love us better than we love ourselves, better than we deserve, better than we can hope to be loved by anyone else.  Pets spoil us, which is why we spoil them right back.  Cats are much lower maintenance than dogs, making dating easier for you, but unfortunately they also make it harder for people to date you.

        I, like 10% -30% (estimates vary) of the population, am allergic to cats.  While some people are allergic to dogs, it is a much lower percentage - about half as many.    Before you decide to get a cat, you need to seriously consider how it will affect your dating life.  Would you be willing to give the pet up?   Are you willing to simply not date men/women that are allergic to your pet?  Would you force your date to live with the problem?  Of course, this issue is less important if you are not looking for a long term relationship.

        For someone seriously looking to get a long term relationship, you need to ask yourself if these choices are worth it.   It makes zero sense to were perfume/cologne or rings before a 3rd date.  After a 3rd date, they should like you enough to ask you about the ring or to not wear the scent.   While there are good reasons to get a cat, it can severely limit who you date, no matter how long you know the person.

        Wednesday, February 16, 2011

        Walk the Line

        People vary.  We are all very different.  Most probably you don't want to date every woman, just a certain type.  But if your type consists of less than .001% of the population, perhaps you are being a bit too selective?

        Normal people are willing to date a large range of woman. (or men).   That means that you may be willing to date a woman that, for example, despise men that insist on paying the bill, while at the same time be willing to date women that insist that men pay the bill.  If you have strong feelings about the check, you may be willing to date a woman that, for example, likes to run 10 miles in the morning, then after work goes to the gym for an hour every day.  While at the same time, you may still be willing to date a woman that is a total couch potato. Or maybe you are willing to date a republican or a democrat, but they might only date someone with their politics.

        The point is, that you can never please all the people, all of the time.  Worse, your date will be judging you on things you don't know you are being judged on.  Clothing, money, politics, how you treat the waiter, if you are on time, etc. are just the obvious ones most people know.  Every action gets interpreted.

        Hence "First Date Behavior".  You have to walk the line, being perfectly in the middle of what you consider to be acceptable behavior, at least until you determine where your date's values are.   You can't just be yourself, because the date will think this is your extra good date behavior.  He/she will assume that if you are a tiny bit rude today, that you will be much ruder in the rest of your life.  If you get angry over anything, you get pegged as angry all the time.

        Now, for things you really care about, don't "walk the line".  If you are a rabid Democrat/Republican supporter, make sure your date knows that as you certainly don't want to hide your strong beliefs.   Walking the line is for things you don't really care about, not core personality traits.

        As you get to know your date, then you can explore off the path.   If you don't have very strong opinions about, say politics, avoid the subject until you get to know the person better.  Once you find out your date's leanings, then you can dare a joke about Glenn Beck/Obama, but not before.

        But you cannot avoid the 'who pays' issue.   If a man does not already have strong opinions about paying the bill, then one of his goals on the first date is to figure out his date's opinion on the subject matter.  To complicate things, our culture has developed the ridiculous idea that women should lie about wanting to pay the check.  

        I myself feel that at least on the first date, the guy should pay, but I dislike deception.  I respect a woman that insists on paying, but not one that perfunctorily asks to pay. Some people call this a white lie - but it isn't one. A white lie makes the person that believes it feel better, not be treated like a cheapskate.   Some women truly object to having a man pay for them, and some very generous men feel the same way.   But when a traditional women dates these men, the women blame the men for believing the woman's lie.

        If a woman doesn't want to pay for the first date, that's fine - I prefer it that way myself.  But don't offer something to a friend, let alone a boyfriend, if you will resent them for accepting.  Don't punish men for believing what you say.  We deserve to be treated better than that.

        Monday, February 14, 2011


        I have been dating for a long time, always looking for Ms. Right.  I have used on-line dating services, human matchmakers, friends, family, etc.  I have also read a lot about dating.  

        Probably the most common thing that people tell a man trying to date is:

        "Be confident".

        At first I accepted this, but the more experienced I became, the more and more I learned to despise this phrase.

        First, it is about as helpful as telling someone they should become rich.  Confidence is a mental state, not something easy to become.  It is easier for a person to become rich than it is to become confident - it takes less time, less effort, and there is much more valid advice about how to become rich.

        Second, it is an insult.  Hence the title of this blog.  By telling someone they need to be confident, you are stating they were not already confident.  I have seen the most confident men in the world get shot down, while people that don't have the guts to ask a stranger out without a shot of chemical courage, pick her up easily - after they get that drink.

        Third, it is not true.  You see, most people (men and women) are not very good at judging others emotions and mental states.   That's how con men make a living.   More importantly, most pickups occur either online or with the aid of alcohol.  I don't care if you are Dr. Cal Lightman (Lie To Me), The Martian Manhunter (telepathic superhero), and Deanna Troi (Star Trek, Next Generation), all rolled into one, there is no way you will be able to pick up on the mental state of someone from emails or while drunk.  In general, women will not be able to tell if you are confident, at least not until after you are on a date.

        Now that does not mean that all the "Be Confident" advice is totally worthless.  Instead, the advice has  been poorly worded.   When people tell someone to "Be Confident", they really mean "Be Suave".  

        This is not a meaningless distinction.  Telling someone to be confident and they work real hard at being confident - and fail.   Like I said, it is hard to be confident. 

        It is much easier to be suave.   Suave means "smooth, cool, agreeable and sophisticated".  You just need to:

        1.  Limit the expression of emotions.  It's alright to be happy or sad, but don't show it.  You are serene and tranquil.   You don't care if the girl says no, you don't care if she says yes.  If she says something you disagree with, don't argue with her, gloss over the disagreement.  Don't let  her know that you really like her a lot.

        2.  Do not qualify your words.   Everything is definite, with specifics - but not demanding (remember limit the expression of emotions).  There is no maybe, no perhaps.  No "If you like, we could maybe go out sometime."  Instead, it is "I know a great steak place on 50th and 7th.  Are you free 7 PM Sunday?".  If the time, place or food doesn't suit her, but she still wants to date you, she will give a counter offer.

        3.  Do not exaggerate, or make statements about subjects you are not very familiar with.  If she knows anything at all about the subject, you will look foolish.  Instead, ask questions and/or try to smoothly shift the subject to something you know a lot about.

        4.  You do not care about the right time, or right moment, or the perfect words.   Forget about lines, forget about waiting till a another guy is done, forget about waiting till she finishes her drink, etc.  "Hi, what's your name" within seconds of seeing someone, even after they just heard their parents died. is infinitely preferable to the best one liner at the perfect time.  Remember, you are limiting the expression of emotion, and the fact that you waited meant that you expressed too much emotion.  Note, don't interrupt her, you can wait till she takes a breath.  Also, if she is talking to another guy, be polite to him as well as her.  Talk to both of them, respond to things he says.  Everyone is working under the pretense that people are just hanging out and being sociable, not desperately trying to hook up /block each other.

        Now, everything I wrote basically applies to the first couple of dates.  After that, you can start expressing emotions, qualifying words, etc.  While it may seem silly, women prefer to be picked up by a suave and smooth man, but generally don't care all that much if their boyfriend is suave and smooth.  It's mainly about conforming to a cultural fantasy about the perfect guy, even if the woman in fact would despise living with him. Men have similar issues with fantasies they would despise living through, trust me.