Smart about love

Samantha told her cheating lover good bye.Did you ever notice that in Sex and the City, Samantha — the girl who never wanted to get married — ended up with a gorgeous loving guy who wanted to marry her? When she had a love affair with a rich man who cheated, she left him. “I love you,” she said on her way out, “but I love me more.”

Samantha may not have had all the answers, but she was smart about love when she chose herself over a cheater – even if she loved him.
 
Nice girls are often treated badly
Samantha is, of course, a fictional character, as are Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte. But I had reason to think about the show as I recently met two attractive single women who had been treated very badly by men. Both women are lovely to look at and be with. They have it all, just like Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte — the friends who worked so hard to find Mr. Right all those years on our TVs.
 
Women expect too little
I also have to wonder why women get treated this way. These women were in extreme situations, but I also hear all the time about women who put up with bad men who lie, cheat, don’t call, or just aren’t all that nice to them.
 
Darlings, too many women expect too little. Steve Harvey, the popular comedian and radio talk-show host, thinks so too. He has written a dating book called Act Like a Lady and Think like a Man. If the title of this New York Times bestseller offends you, stop reading now, because I probably will offend you too.
 
Mr. Harvey says he wrote his book as an expert on “manhood,” not as an expert on relationships, and as a 52-year-old black male with male friends from all cultures and walks of life. That sounds good to me. I think it is worth noting that he and I agree on many things. I am a white woman from a nice East coast suburb. I have had one marriage; it has lasted almost 30 years.
 
Men will take what they can get
Mr. Harvey’s contentions are simple. Men are simple creatures. They will take what they can get. Women, he argues, have lowered their standards. They accept less than they want really want from men. It is one of the reasons so many women, who wish to be, are not according to Mr. Harvey.
 
“Here’s what’s happened over the years,” he says. “Women’s standards and requirements have lowered. And as men, we know that. We have taken advantage of it. We’ve created terms that we feed to women that allow us to exist as we do. We created the term ‘nagging’. There’s really no such thing as nagging. As soon as a woman starts registering her complaint, we call it nagging. We let you know it will drive us away. We created another term. When you first meet a man, so you don’t ask a lot of personal questions and questions about his business, we created the term gold-digger. Now, why would a woman not be concerned about her financial future — for herself and her children? But we created the term gold-digger, so now, because you don’t want to be known as a gold-digger, you never ask a man anything. You don’t require anything of a man. So many standards have been lowered by women that now a man doesn’t have to climb over a very high bar to get to her. So now you have more men who can get away with more things with more women without any repercussions.”
 
Place a high value on yourself
I couldn’t agree more. Even before I started to date, my father made it crystal clear I should place a high value on myself. He extended this principle to everything that I did: work, socializing, and dating. He never for one minute implied that I should be snooty or think I was better than any one else. That sort of thing doesn’t go down too well in Maine, where my father was born. But, he was very clear that I should act like a lady and expect to be treated like one.
 
It stuck. I am a lady and that means behaving with kindness and courtesy. It also means that I expect any man I meet to treat me in a certain way. It’s also telling that my father, a man whose understanding of the world was shaped in New England as a boy during the depression and then later in the U.S. Navy during WWII, had exactly the same understanding of male behaviour as Steve Harvey. Darlings, some things don’t change.
 
Never let anyone treat you badly
I have made some mistakes, as has everyone. I dated a few wrong numbers, but they never lasted long. I never developed a tolerance for being treated shabbily, never mind badly.
 
Married, for most of my life, to a man who definitely meets Mr. Harvey’s standards: he provides, protects, and professes; I am appalled at what some of my single friends are expected to put up with. And my advice is don’t.
 
Men court the women they love
Steve Harvey contends that when a man really flips for a woman he will: “Profess love; that is he tells everyone you are his lady. He will provide to the best of his ability. Ladies, this means some generosity and wooing. Men in love like to buy things and pay for them. It’s in their DNA. You can be a helpful partner after the ceremony or in a long-term dating deal. If a man doesn’t pay for you in the beginning; you are just friends, a booty call, or he is a cheap-cheap man. He will also protect; do not confuse this with crazy jealous stuff. In its acceptable form, it can mean buying you a better lock, picking you up when it is late, or making scary faces at other guys who check out your butt.”
 
I have friend whose lovely man is in love with her. He bought her two new floors for her house this Christmas.  Are floors a romantic gift? Well maybe not to everyone, but she adored it.
 
Men in love are giving
Different men have different styles, but if a man doesn’t call you – not text you –forget about him. If he is into you, he’ll want to hear your voice. Even men admit the texting alone is a way to keep you at a distance. If man is in love, he does things for you. Some men buy flowers, others may get your car washed for you, but as Steve Harvey says, he will want to protect and provide – and you will see it early on.
 
I have written about Mr. Harvey’s book before because I think women need to get smart about love.
 
Be smart about love
Love makes life sweeter, but don’t think it will change anyone. Your love won’t stop a cheater from cheating or make a “bad boy” good.  Love is valuable, and so are you. Don’t squander your love on someone who doesn’t love you back or love you well. The answer isn’t to become a man-eater like Samantha, but to get smart about love.  
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Dining for love

Babe Scott, the author of Delicious Dating: The Single Girl’s Guide to Decoding Men by Their Wining and Dining Styles thinks that a man’s choice of restaurants and his “dining style" offers clues to his love style. She identifies what she calls “10 Male Food Types”and explains what they mean at the table and in the bedroom.If your dinner dates has left you hungry for love, check out Scott’s unique perspective in our exclusive interview.

 
DD: Why did you write this book?
BS: I was inspired to write this book to solve the riddle of my disastrous love life, and in the process, the conundrum of men, saving myself and women everywhere from unnecessary heartburn. I was a woman who had spent her life focusing on feeding male appetites rather than satisfying my own. Consequently, I had become increasingly frustrated in my relationships with the less-fair sex, and beyond this my life lacked relish.
 
If you think about it, women have been conditioned to put men’s appetites and needs before their own for centuries. As a result, I think we have enough collective frustration to light the energy grid. We are not encouraged to embrace our sensual selves or to put a value on our subjective pleasure. Delicious Dating will enable women, as it did me, to change their romantic destiny and celebrate themselves through the staples — and to choose partners accordingly. Women do not live by beer alone. We all need poetry.
 
DD: Were you able to identify different types of dining daters based
on food or restaurant preference?
BS: Over the course of my research, I discovered 10 Male Dining Types. They run the gamut from Transfat Types to Low-Carb Cowboys to Pretzel Players to Food Sensualists. These dining types are revealed from a man’s food and restaurant preferences, his deportment at the dining table, and also by his whole approach to the date. It is all about how a man seduces a woman’s taste buds (or not). Understanding a Male Dining Type will help you discern a man’s character from his salient traits, to what he is likely to serve up as a partner and lover.
 
The Dining Types will enable women to work out what flavor of guy is right for them. It will help them make discerning choices that will satisfy their needs, whether for love, or lust, or both. Let’s face it: sometimes we want to sow our wild oats and sometimes to eat rolled oats. It will also help women avoid relationships that will leave them not only dissatisfied but suffering from dyspepsia.
 
DD: If you have opposite tastes in food, is the relationship doomed?
BS: It depends how far apart you are in the culinary spectrum and how much each of you is prepared to compromise. If your date is a Transfat Type and your preferences are more of a Food Purist or Sensualist persuasion, then I think it’s doomed. That is, unless one of you is prepared to make drastic changes. A Transfat Type, by the way, is as allergic to compromise as he is to collard greens, so you’ll be the one making allowances for his dietary habits — not to mention doing a double share of the housework.
 
Food goes so close to the heart of who we are and reflects so many other fundamental values that a man whose food preferences are in opposition to your own is likely to make you miserable. Even if you could make it succeed, a relationship shouldn’t be an endurance test. It’s all about being able to take pleasure in each other’s company. Take it from me, as someone who used to compromise my culinary values to please a man, the latter approach is not a recipe for sensual satisfaction. I prefer now to find partners that please my palate, my senses, and my soul.  
 
It’s a shared enjoyment of the staples that binds a relationship, so it is very important to consider how you bond over a shared meal. A man who doesn’t whet your appetite at the table is very unlikely to whet your appetite away from it.
 
DD: What is the worse dining mistake a man can make on a date besides the obvious bad table manners?
BS: I think the thing to be on guard against is if a man doesn’t try to woo your taste buds at all. This is an indication that he has no interest in investing in you as a person or getting to know you. This guy just wants to get his basic needs met. This man is most likely a Pretzel Player, a Dining Type only interested in sexual conquest rather than connecting with you. He is only interested in getting you drunk enough to comply with his advances, rather than diluting his efforts with anything that resembles dinner. This Type’s totem food, the pretzel, is the most nutritive content you are likely to get from this date.
 
A dining date signifies a man’s willingness to get to know you. By serenading your taste buds he is hoping to arouse analogous appetites. He is also demonstrating how he would perform as a lover and partner. This is why the dining date has always been such an historic part of courtship. We all know a man’s brains are hardwired to his penis, and dining together forces his neurons to take the scenic route rather than the express route. The romance of a shared meal forces him to engage his head and his heart, not just his loins.
 
Even if a guy is lacking in finesse but makes an effort to excite your palate, he might be a keeper. The men to watch are the ones who couldn’t give a kebab about courtship.
 
DD: Are men turned-off by women who don’t eat or who are too picky or critical?
BS: Men are really turned off by women who are picky or critical. Guys find it a real turn-off when a date orders something that’s not on the menu or only orders a salad sans dressing, which she then picks at as if it was as appetizing as lint. There is nothing alluring about a girl who eats nothing and doesn’t take joy in her appetites. They are also turned off by women who are overly critical. No one wants to go out with someone who has all the animation and appreciation of a waxwork.
 
It’s nice to express appreciation if a guy is making an effort to woo you over dinner. Even if a date is not to your taste, there is normally some kernel of deliciousness you can salvage from the evening. And it is always an opportunity to learn more about what you do and don’t want. Dating is a journey of self discovery, and every date brings you closer to finding out what your perfect male dish is.
 
 
DD: What are most and least romantic types of restaurants?
BS: This depends a lot on your own preferences. I don’t believe love or romance is a generic formula but, like cooking, it’s about working out the recipes that work for you. Some women might be totally excited by the idea of going to an unknown bolt-hole and enjoying a cuisine they’ve never tasted, whether it be Ethiopian or sautéed silkworms (a dish I tried on one of my more adventurous dates), while others might be find the thought of more unusual dishes completely unappetizing.
 
Some women like sampling extravagant fare and telepathic waiters at renowned restaurants with Five Star Men. Others like reliable mom-and-pop restaurants that feature traditional dishes with a Steak and Two Veg Type. And others prefer organic fare with a Purist who preaches the same food creed. This is why it is a good idea to taste-test the testosterone smorgasbord to find your own version of romance. It’s all about what tickles your own palate when it comes to men and menus.
 
DD: Should you cook a man dinner – and when?
BS: I believe that a woman should let a man woo her palate before she starts feeding his. The sexes are wired differently. Men are hunters and women are nurturers. It is important to let a guy demonstrate his caring side, before you start playing the role of homemaker. Remember, your courtship is a portent of things to come, and if you mother him from the start, you will probably find yourself fetching beers and vacuuming under his feet later on.
 
Let him put his best fork forward and find out who he is before you even think of cooking — and then make the food about sensuality, not domestic servitude. Many women make the mistake of trying to cook their way to four carats, but this is only the way to become part of the wallpaper very quickly. Let him win you, and decide if you want to invest in him.
 
Beyond this, I wouldn’t advise cooking for a guy or letting him cook for you, unless you are ready to go to bed with him. It is a very short trip (or a three-course one) from the kitchen to the bedroom. If the food is delicious, it’s pretty hard to resist the appetites that are aroused. If you do invite him home, be prepared for the sparks to fly.
 
DD: Who pays for the date and why?
BS: Again, there are no hard and fast rules. A Five Star Man will insist on paying, but a Gourmet Gigolo will look out the window while you pay. It depends what you are looking for in a man and a relationship. These are important things to flag early on. I think it is less about the amount of money a man spends than the effort he puts in that is really worth noticing.
 
Having said that, I think that if you are romantically interested and the man has asked you on the date, it’s fine for him to pay. It’s all part of his investment in getting to know you. My own rule of thumb is to pay for myself if I’m genuinely attracted to him. I also pay for myself if I’m not, so that I won’t have to try and elude his puckered lips later.
 
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Obsolete?

Kate Middleton and Prince William: marriage is not obsolete for  themTwo in five Americans surveyed, or 39 percent, say that marriage is becoming obsolete, according to the latest poll by Time/PEW. In 1978, only 28 percent felt this way. I really wasn’t surprised; so many things I adore and value are going the way of the Dodo. But to call marriage obsolete seems so bleak, especially to someone who has so enjoyed it.  

But it is hard to ignore the numbers. Various experts have opinions as to why attitudes are shifting.  According to Statistics Canada, the trend is much the same for Canadians, with the percentage of married couples declining, and common law unions and single families on the rise.
 Actually, divorces rates have fallen for those with a higher education and income. In the same PEW poll, only one in four Americans say they don’t want to get married. Experts point out that marriages have the best chance of succeeding when couples have a stable source of income and similar goals. Women no longer need to get married to have children or to support themselves. The stigma of single parenthood no longer exists, and many women earn as much or more as their partners — or potential partners.
 
So is marriage becoming obsolete?
 
I don’t think so. It may not be for everyone, but it still has its fans. When I interviewed Dr. Memhet Oz recently, I asked him what advice he would give his three daughters. He talked about marriage. He said people wait too long to marry these days. “… I think getting married at an early age is a very wise thing to do. It gives you a lifelong partner, before you started getting jaded and change your mind, and start feeling the pressure of getting married and start to think that you’re going to marry the perfect person if you just wait long enough. And then you feel the time pressure because you never found that person. Just recognize that there is no perfect person for you. You’re going to find someone that you have an emotional and physical connection to, that you love. But for good or for bad, they’re not the perfect person for you. You’re going to make them the perfect person for you either by changing yourself or changing them and it’s that coming together that makes marriage a remarkable event …”
 
I agree. I have been married since I was 23. These days that makes me a child bride, but I had graduated from university, lived another country, and been to Europe. I knew my husband for five years before we married. We waited until I finished school and we certainly knew each other. And it has been an adventure. I think Dr. Oz was right when he talked about having a life partner. At its best, that is what I think a good marriage is about.
 
Bill and Hillary --through thick and thin --a power coupleSome of my very smart women friends are not married. They have their reasons –and they are good ones. These days more often than not, it may women who shy away from marriage. There are now quite a few successful women in the public eye have chosen not to marry –thus far. Oprah and Condoleezza Rice come to mind.
Yet powerful, brainy women, such as Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama are both very married.
 
The stunning solo actMost of my married friends — with or without children — have very close relationships with their husbands. For all of us, marriage is very much about a partnership and having “someone to be in it with, through thick and thin.” We have all laughed at jokes about husbands who don’t talk to their wives. Our husbands are always talking to us and we are always talking to them.
 
I have a friend who married later in life. She is a lovely woman of independent means. She didn’t need to marry, but she has told me several times how much she enjoys her marriage. She loves her husband, and she also she enjoys having a partner for all of life’s exotic and mundane adventures. She relishes marriage – but she doesn’t need it.
 
In many ways marriage is the adventure. It is not for the fainthearted. If you can’t fight or handle conflict, don’t get married. The best advice I ever got from one of my dearest friends and mentors when I got married was to learn how to fight. I would add that it is also important to learn when to fight, and when to let things go. My friend had a long and wonderful marriage until her husband died. I learned a lot just watching them in action. I have passed that same wisdom along to several younger friends who are newly-married or on the verge.
 
Another friend of mine has been married for 60 years. She and her husband are fabulous together. They have been everywhere and tell the best stories. But the magic is that she still thinks he is brilliant and laughs at his jokes. He still adores her.
 
Another of my friends met her husband in university. “We finished growing up together,” she says. They are definitely life partners.
 
And let’s not forget the romance. It may change over the years, but there is always romance in a good marriage. Recently one of my long-married friends shared that her husband of many years thanked her for being a beautiful woman. That is romantic after all those years together.
 
Darlings, marriage certainly isn’t for everyone. That’s obvious. But it can be a grand adventure, and it is far from obsolete. Many of our best and brightest still do it or hope to. Sixty-four percent of all college-educated Americans are married, and of those living together, 64 percent consider it a step towards marriage.
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Where the boys are

Marla MartensonIf you are single or have a few single friends who are still looking, don’t skip a word of our exclusive interview with Marla Martenson. She is the author of the very funny memoir Diary of a Beverly Hill’s Matchmaker, as well as two practical guides to finding love: Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate is Waiting and Good Date, Bad Date. Marla shares her professional tips for successful dating, and finding where the boys are, at any age.


DD: How did you become a matchmaker?
MM: It was a total fluke. In 2001, a friend of my husband took over the management position at a video dating service in Los Angeles and offered me a part time job. I worked at the video dating service for a year and a half. After I left, I answered an ad in the back of a newspaper that said, "Talent Scout, Fun Job, Beverly Hills." I showed up, and to my surprise it was an upscale, Beverly Hills matchmaking service. I was hired on the spot and the rest is history.
 
DD: What are some good places to meet single men, who might actually be interested in a commitment?
MM: Single men are everywhere. Typically a bar is not a good place, but even commitment-minded people go out to bars occasionally to socialize with friends. I met my husband through a mutual friend, which I think is a great way to meet a quality person, because your friends have your best interest at heart. You can up your chances in meeting men by going to where they are, such as, the Apple Store, which is teeming with men checking out the latest Apple computers and gadgets. The dog park is always a good place to strike up a conversation, just ask what kind of breed his dog is, or how he likes that certain breed since you were thinking of getting one yourself. Or even (at) a Sunday afternoon farmer’s market in your town, you can flirt whilst squeezing the tomatoes or picking up some fresh baked goods. The bottom line is to get out there and live your life. Try new things, and you are bound to run into some interesting people — and just maybe your soul mate as well.
 
DD:  How do you know if a guy is interested or not, if you don’t have a matchmaker for feedback? Some guys send such mix singles.
MM:  When a man in interested, he will "reserve" you for himself. He will not let three weeks go by after a date before he calls you again. He wants to pin you down for the Saturday night date.  He wants to make sure that someone else does not snatch you up.
 
DD: What is the best outfit to wear on a first date? 
MM:  Men are visual; therefore they want to see what they are getting. Avoid the baggy or puffy dresses. Wear something simple, elegant, and classy that shows your figure — but not too much. If you are wearing slacks, then you can show a bit of cleavage. Or, if you are showing your legs, then cover up the top. Women in Los Angeles tend to dress like hookers on a date, showing everything but their nipples. A man will look at a woman who dresses like that and think that she will be fun for a night, but not someone to take home to mother, or introduce to his business associates. 

DD:  Who is more work in a new relationship, men or women?
MM:  A lot of men comment about women being high-maintenance.  A woman who shows a man that she is easy to be with is a turn-on to a man.

DD: Who pays on first date?
MM: I still subscribe to the old fashioned custom of the man paying for the first date. However, if the woman asks the man out, she should pay.

DD: What are classic ‘first date mistakes?’
MM: There are so many little things that a person can do on a first date to ensure that there will not be a second, so remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression. First of all, show up on time. Arriving late to a first date sends the message that you don’t care and have no respect for the other person.
 
Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum. When tipsy, people tend to "spill their guts" and give way too much information. For example, your date does not need to know about your financial problems, tension with your ex, your horrible childhood, your fight with your mother, your creepy boss, or what medication you are on. Just talk about easy breezy subjects like what wines do you like, films you have seen, places you enjoy traveling to, etc. You want to find out if you have anything in common and enough chemistry to have a second date. Also, keep your BlackBerry or telephone in your purse. Unless you are a doctor of a parent, there is no reason to be constantly checking your phone or texting while on the date. 
 
DD:  Can you discuss the law of attraction and dating, as well as your belief in affirmations?
MM: My book Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting is all about using affirmations and the Law of Attraction to "pull in" whatever you want in your life, including your soul mate. The Law of Attraction works for health, love, career, relationships, or whatever you desire. What you think about expands. When you place your attention on something and back it with positive emotion, that is when things start to happen. I am a firm believer in affirmations and I use them myself on a daily basis. 

DD: Do you think people wait too long to marry these days?
MM: I don’t know if people wait too long to marry. Actually, I think it is wise to wait until you really know a person, and until one is mature enough to handle a marriage. 
 
DD: When should you move on in a relationship? Are there clues it is going nowhere?
MM: You should move on in a relationship if you are not happy, or if there is verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. Oftentimes we know in our hearts when a relationship is not moving in the direction we want it to, or that our partner is not committed fully, but we choose to ignore the signs because we are attached to the person or relationship. If we listen to our gut feelings and act from that place, we always know what the score is and what do to next.
 
Marla’s books can be found on www.amazon.com or www.amazon.ca
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Would you date an ugly schmuck?

Joe DeLuca founder of Dating for Ugly SchmucksHave you heard about the online dating site dedicated to "dating for ugly schmucks"? I predict it will make its founder rich. 

According to a report on ABC affiliate KABC, Canadian Joe DeLuca says he wanted to create a community — don’t you love those Internet buzz words — “for people who don’t feel comfortable on traditional dating sites because they don’t feel good looking enough.” The KABC report also said that members can vote off anyone they feel is too good looking. On a CNN report, I heard a woman say she joined because she was sick of people who were too interested in “looks and material wealth.” Darlings, I wish her luck if she thinks a dating site where people vote off others is her protection against shallowness. I fear she’s about to be once again buffeted by the harsh reality of human nature.

 
I wonder if the Joe DeLuca considers him self an “ugly schmuck” and if the idea for this site was born from personal rejection in the dating pool. Or is he just another Internet sharpie looking to cash in on human loneliness and misery? The 21-year-old student created the site in his spare time and has already received a lot of media attention. And for those of you who may not know, there are many definitions of the word ‘schmuck’ and none are flattering. But most agree it means a stupid embarrassing person.
 
Some of the users interviewed liked the site. Others who tried it complained it isn’t so much for “ugly people”, but for underachievers and whiners. I guess that ugly like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 
Recently I saw the movie The Social Network about the creation of Facebook. Though the veracity of the story is hotly-contested, the film is fabulous. One part of film I find very believable is that a young awkward Mark Zuckerberg was inspired to create Facebook so he could shine socially and impress women. Why do I believe it? Because it what’s guys do if they can, especially young guys. Women do it too, but differently. University is about getting an education, but it is also a time to test your mettle socially. It is also a time to mate and pair up.
 
We are social creatures. The urge that drives us to mix, mingle, and mate never really goes away until we are lucky enough to find a mate or lifestyle that makes us happy. For some that is being single, but for most it is looking for Mr. or Ms. Right — or at least Mr. or Ms. Right-Now.
 
I have been married for years. Many of my friends have been too. Others are single and dating. A few have no interest in dating, but they are not the majority. I can’t say they envy those who are single and looking to connect. Dating today seems more fraught with peril than I remember.
 
When I watch popular talk shows I am always shocked at how harsh people are in their judgments of others and themselves. This new website, Dating for Ugly Schmucks just confirms it. I don’t see it leading to happiness for its members.
 
I can’t see those who describe themselves as ‘ugly’ or ‘schmucks’ as having a very up-beat or positive personality. I think anyone who signs up to date a self-proclaimed schmuck would find he or she comes with a lot of baggage.
 
I married before Internet dating was even conceived. The most hideous thing I have experienced was blind dates. I want on exactly two in my life, as a favour to friends. That was two too many for me, but then again the dates were not about me, but helping my girlfriends get the guys they wanted. It is probably best I married young, although I did enjoy dates of my own choosing during the short time I was single.
 
The whole idea of Internet dating is alien to me. But, several of my friends have had great success with it. One of my friends, a good-looking professional met his wife online. They are happily married with two children.
 
Another friend is seriously dating the man she met online. They are both outgoing and successful. They have merged their friends and families. It all seems to have worked out effortlessly.  Another old friend now in her late seventies and a dating veteran adapted to online dating by shaving 20 years off her age. Unflappable she told me: “The men always want to date younger, so what can you do? Look at me, I am fit and youthful (she looks great). I’m not ready to date an 80-year-olds. This way I get the guys in their fifties and sixties.” When I asked her what she did when she got to know them and truth would have to come out, she shrugged elegantly and said, “At my age I’m looking for friends and good company. Most of the time we go on few dates. It‘s not an issue, and if we click it’s not a problem”.
 
I have found resilient-realists are the best Internet daters. They can take the disappointments and lying (there’s a lot of lying on the web) and bounce back until they find the good ones or the right one. Romantics don’t do as well. They can’t take all the ups and downs in stride. Romantics need to be wooed and adored. They need the spark of someone saying: "I saw you from across the room and had to know you." They need the chemistry, the wow, the ‘za za za sou’. It’s the scene you have seen many times in Sex in the City and in such movies as Sleepless in Seattle. And darlings, you may have noticed not once have I mentioned looks. Not that gorgeous, adorable, and hunky doesn’t help, but in the game of love you can’t beat charm and chemistry.
 
Experts say being a romantic, sets you up for failure. I don’t believe. It makes it harder for sure, but if you are romantic — you are aromatic. I know I am one. And you can find you mate — I did. I know many romantic men too.
 
Some of my most beautiful friends are terrible at dating. They hate it. They are romantics. (Not all beautiful women are romantics and they have an easier time.) They are fabulous at being in love; they switch on like light bulbs. But they have no interest in going out with the wrong men who assume they are high maintenance because they are so good looking. I don’t blame them. One of these beauties is now happily settled. A girl may get more dates because she is a beauty, but it doesn’t make the dating any easier.
 
As one gets older it gets harder to meet people — or so they say. Some of my older girl friends date non-stop. I think that is one reason getting re-acquainted with old friends on Facebook has been so popular with the over-40 set. As long as everyone is single, I think it is a great idea. At least you know what you are getting into and if, like my high school friends, many of you have stayed touch, you have a ready-made social group. It’s not for everyone, but it’s another option. 
 
Dating is tough at any age. You have to put yourself out there. That means you are, to some degree, vulnerable. But you can say the same thing about starting a business, a blog, or scuba diving.
 
No matter what your age, type, or looks, the best relationships are about some kind of chemistry. Not everyone likes or is capable of the dazzling repartee you hear in romantic comedies. Strong silent types want to climb a wall when faced with a chatty emotional Carrie Bradshaw-type. And while a talkative girl might salivate over a strong silent type’s physic she might soon long for some Woody Allen wit as the dessert served. Luckily, real people aren’t “types” in the strictest sense. There are plenty of wits who go the gym and fashionistas who are a little less intense than dear Carrie. 
 
Attraction is equal parts charm and chemistry. Relationships that stand the test of time are based on friendship, consideration and trust — a good dollop of chemistry.
 
 
So forgive me darlings, but I don’t trust a website where people see themselves as schmucks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I will put my trust in that elusive element, chemistry, and a goodly amount of charm — no matter how one meets a mate: online, across a crowded room, or in butcher shop buying a single chop.
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Facebook: The new meat market

Don't look for Mr. Goodbar onlineIf you’re single and not using Facebook to meet people, you may be missing the love boat, or so say most dating experts. For the past decade, university students and 20-somethings have been hooking-up, dating, and archiving their lives on the social media site. In the last few years people of all ages have clicked onto Facebook and Twitter looking for love, and causing many experts to proclaim online dating services passé. Facebook is the new meat market.

 
Using Facebook to meet someone is fabulous idea. It is particularly great if you are over a certain age (say 25) and finding it harder to meet “anyone good”. There’s a lot to be said for meeting people you can check out with your friends. Hopefully, they’ll warn you off the bad bets. A good friend is not necessarily good marriage material.
 
Why not pursue an unrequited passion or date some one with whom you share a history? A common past is not obligatory for a successful match by any means. I have been happily married for many years to a man from a different country and background. But at a certain age, it’s not necessarily a bad place to start. At least you should have some idea of what you are getting into — the good and the bad.
 
Dating coach Rachel Greenwald, author of Have Him at Hello, says she is responsible for 726 marriages. She wrote her book after asking 1,000 men in what she calls “exit interviews” why women were or were not marriage material. Ms. Greenwald loves Facebook as a dating tool. She takes a very aggressive approach, suggesting tactics that would make used car dealer blush. She suggests that dating on Facebook is a numbers game, so women should "friend" as many people as possible.
 
Wrong!
 
If you do not know these people they can hurt your personally and professionally reputation. Don’t assume they will want to help you — you don’t really know them. So-called Facebook friends can be as mean and unhelpful as people in the two-dimensional world. There are also people like me — perfectly nice people — who resent being Facebook fodder. I loathe being “collected” by those who are running a numbers name on Facebook, or who just want promote their businesses. I am more than happy to help my real friends promote their business or meet people, but I don’t like being used.
 
Greenwald suggests “cruising” friends’ pages for cute guys and then asking for an intro. This is fine with actual friends, but it’s dicey with mere acquaintances. Many women can be possessive of their male friends, especially ex-boyfriends. I’m not defending it or saying it’s healthy, especially with married or involved women, but it is a reality. And my darlings, this is a case when reality can bite, literally. Be cautious and diplomatic when asking other women to share any males in their lives. Express interest and wait to be offered. After all, you’d wait to be offered a cocktail, wouldn’t you?
 
Greenwald froze my blood when she suggested sending emails or posting your social activities and whereabouts.  I can’t think of a quicker way for a single woman who has friended a hoard of virtual strangers to end up on a slab in the morgue. This is just plain dangerous. It also looks cheap and desperate. And her suggestion to invite your friend’s cute male friends to join you and friends for drinks or a movie is dumb. The male hunter has finely-honed instincts; he knows when he is being chased, and it is not a turn-on. High school should have taught you that men pursue the popular girl. Be confident, happy and yourself – not some scary, needy nimbus.
 
I think Greenwald’s advice will work for women who are doing nothing now. She also talks about status updates, profile pictures, and using groups to reflect your best image. She takes one women to task for giving her age away with her school year. Please! Okay, no one, even 20-year-olds, should post their birth year for many security reasons. But unless the poor woman is going to dump all her real friends for ringer friends and younger colleagues, it won’t take any man more than five or 10 minutes to ballpark her age.
 
I agree with her that an attractive, softly sexy — not cheap or protective — profile picture is essential. Men are visual. But remember in our camera-happy culture, if you go out with snap-happy friends you may see less-than-flattering photos of yourself online. Ask friends to check with you before posting any new pics, and return the favour.
 
Using Facebook to date widens your pool. I don’t like any of the new Facebook dating apps because they involve meeting strangers online. It’s not the safest practice. An introduction from a friend is the gold standard. Failing that, I think it is safer to try an activity like meet-ups or even those 7- minute dating events. Be a human lie detector. Look for inconsistencies in speech and behavior; it’s funny how fast duplicitous people trip themselves up, if you listen.
 
A personal introduction is best. You may be surprised how many real friends and good acquaintances you have. Ask respectfully to meet another person’s friends; they are not communal property. 
 
If you meet some you like on Facebook, get the relationship offline ASAP. Men like to hang on online. A face-to-face meeting in a public place lets you access the person’s words and behavior. Be objective not hopeful. Be friendly, sexy, warm, and open — but not needy. If he likes you he will call or text you. Do not call him first! Do not let him endlessly text, email you, or Facebook you. Remember if he wants to see you, he will. Make it gently and politely clear he needs to start calling and asking you out. A cute way to do this, courtesy of the authors of Flirtexting, is: “Unlike Verizon I don’t have unlimited texting.”
 
It’s a brave new world of dating, but the rules for finding love remain remarkably the same.

Facebook may be the new “meat market”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, be enticing, and flirt. Just remember to be open and honest, and never sell yourself cheaply.
 
 
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Never settle

Wait for what you wantHigh school and college used to be the ideal time to find a mate, especially for women. The assumption was that women would work until they had their first child and their professional husbands were established in their well-paying careers. It’s an option many educated women have always liked having, always holding open the option of returning to work after their children enter school.

 
In the past 20 years or so, women have begun to outnumber men on campuses as well as in the workplace. During this past recession, women have suddenly replaced men in many families or couples as the main breadwinners. Now that women “have it all,” they often find they no longer have all the options the once counted on.
 
Suddenly, some college women find they may not even be able to find a date, never mind a help-mate. On many college campuses, women now outnumber men, in some cases by 20 percent.  This has changed the rules of dating. According to a recent article in The New York Times many young women can’t find men to date or who will commit to relationships. Many even feel they must turn a blind eye to cheating to hold onto a guy. 
 
 
Popular books such as, “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb, are even more depressing. In a recent Washington Post article Gottlieb pines for a partner: “Here comes another Valentine’s Day, and oh, how I wish I could spend it with a husband. Not an Adonis with the humor of Jon Stewart and the bank account of Bill Gates; just a good-enough guys.” I see her point and it seems reasonable, but as she goes on about her plight I think she is clueless and even a bit self-aggrandizing. She is a single woman who expresses her regret at not marrying, “but apparently, it makes me a throwback to the ’50s: pathetic, desperate, needy, immature, creepy, weak, Ann Coulter meets the Devil and a few other phrases I can’t print in a family newspaper. I know, because I’ve made this confession before”.
 
Really!? Who does this woman associate with? Obviously not happily-married couples or she would not encounter such outré opinions. Does she, I wondered, exaggerate her plight in a bid for attention and pity? At the start of another article, Gottlieb discusses how she and a friend — another single mother by choice — long for partners. So does this friend consider her a pariah for wanting a partner? It turns out she is referring to email messages from strangers replying to an article she wrote advocating “settling”. Please! You can generate hate mail on any topic, bar none. As I suspected, she exaggerates in a bid to make her point and push her book. How sad and misleading.
 
As I read through Gottlieb’s comments about herself and her other single friends, I found a litany of what these women thought they needed and wanted in a mate to complete and complement their lives. Not once did she paint a picture of women open to love, romance, and fun. Is it a surprise that fabulous men were not lining up to go on fun dates with these self-centered women?
 
My romantic soul was particularly offended by her statement “that husbands and wives actually spent little time together”. Wives and mothers, in Gottlieb’s ideal world, spend most of their time with the children and other mothers and children. The more I read, the more I wondered if she was looking or a husband or “breeder-provider”. It was off-putting. For the first time I understood exactly what men meant when they described how frightening it was to sit down on a first date with a ticking biological time-bomb.
 
I don’t have children. I didn’t want them. I know motherhood is a deep visceral drive for many women, and I respect that. Many men want children too. But does it justify taking love out of the equations of marriage?
 
Children are only part of marriage. Marriage is also about love, passion, companionship and many other things. Children do, after all, grow up. What bothers me about Gottlieb’s book is she talks about passion and chemistry — and then about doing without them. Gottlieb is more comfortable talking about learning to love than falling in love or loving.
 
As she advocates settling for “Mr. Good Enough”, I can’t imagine what would attract any man to a woman who sees love and marriage in such a light.
 
Ms. Gottlieb is the polar opposite of the young ladies who toss themselves too easily at young college boys on campuses where males may be scarce. She advises women to be realistic and use sensible criteria for choosing a mate before it is too late to breed. It sounds sensible, but it is cold and lacking in passion. I assure you there is more to love and marriage.
 
Darlings, if you think that I am telling women to give up on romance, nothing could be further from the truth. Respect and cherish yourself. Wait for what you want. If you are ready to meet someone, don’t necessarily wait in your room. It isn’t the best place to meet anyone. Get out and do interesting things that you genuinely enjoy. Be the intelligent, delightful, and compassionate person you are with everyone, including men. One of my friends met her husband at her own yoga studio; they were both over 35. Another friend met her husband at their engineering association.
 
Contrary to what you hear in the media, eligible men are everywhere. To weed out the bad ones, focus on what do, more than what they say. Players tend to talk a good game, but behavior is telling. Watch how men treat you and if they let you down or treat you badly, drop them.
 
If you or anyone you know got to a school where there are fewer men than women, focus on academics instead of joining the harem. You may excel as something that will give you a boost later. Consider a semester abroad or a transfer to an Ivy League School where the odds are better.  Darlings, most men are hunters — they value what they have to work for, but then again, don’t you?
 
Love really does come to those who wait and work it intelligently. I have seen it many  times. My husband can tell you the phrase “good enough” makes me crazy. Good enough is good enough for no one. So darlings, have a Valentine’s Day and never settle for less then fabulous!
 
 
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What men are really thinking

Whitney Casey Relationship expert, TV host, newspaper columnist, and former CNN journalist Whitney Casey interviewed 200 men and 150 leading experts to find out what men are looking for. In her book The Man Plan, Whitney delves into the major relationship deal-breakers for men. She spices up the book with real-life dating disasters. It’s an eye-opener. If you have ever been mystified by the opposite sex, don’t miss a word of our interview with Whitney Casey.

 
DD: Why did you write The Man Plan?
WC:
I was writing a weekly newspaper column and doing a live talk-show in Texas. I started getting a lot of email like this: "It is great to hear from other women. But, I don’t care what other women think about what I should do about men, I care what men think!!" Hence, the genesis of The Man Plan. After doing a lot more research, I found most women cared more about what men thought of their hair, shoes, scent,
job, salary, friends etc. than I ever expected them to!

DD: How many men did you talk you and what were their ages?
WC: 250 men, ages 20-50 from St. Louis to Soho.

DD: Do you think age makes a difference in what men look for in women?
WC: The only age men care about is your age, not theirs! The way men seek out women, flirt with them and ultimately decide on who they like and don’t like is the only thing "ageless" about them. They use the same techniques no matter what age they are.
 
DD: I was shocked that most men even notice a woman’s handbag and her shoes. Yes. But her bag? Can you explain how the wrong bag can turn a man off?
WC:
With the popularization of trendy hobo-style big bags, how can a man not notice your bag when it practically looks like you can jump into it and hide out in it for a few days. Men want you to look effortless and unencumbered. How can you look lady like when you look bag-lady-like? If your bag is bigger than the space between your wrist and your elbow it is no longer a bag; it is luggage. No man wants a woman with luggage or baggage.

The Man PlanDD: You book is wonderfully candid. Did men really tell you they went off a woman because she went to the bathroom on a date at the wrong time, or for too long? I can see why thinking about anyone in the bathroom for too long could be a romantic turn-off , but I find it strange that people couldn’t manage this for the duration of a date unless they were actually ill. What’s up with this?
WC: Too many trips to the toilet can mean only a few things to a man and none of them are good: You are a coke head; you have massive diarrhea; you are texting another man; you have a slew of kids at home you have to check in with. If you come down with something because you ate something bad, stay home. Going "number-two" can mean only one thing for a man, you are moving to number 100 on his list of datable woman.

DD: Men my age absolutely want a good meal. It makes them melt, isthis true of all men?
WC: The only time men will turn down a meal is when it is served with a side order of "commitment" talk! Men eat and then think. Actually men eat, have sex, and then think. Often sleep trumps thinking. To a man, a good home-cooked meal means you are capable of being both the sexual being you are while still being that nurturing "nanny or nurse" that will make sure he will be healthy and well enough to eat, sleep, have sex and sometimes think a little.

DD: According to your research, the old saying ‘opposites attract’ isn’t necessarily true, nor a good idea. Why?
WC: Opposites don’t attract. For men attractiveness attracts! Men see shiny things. They want shiny things. They smell something yummy. They want to eat something yummy. You will never attract a man by being the opposite of what he desires. But the good news is that most men desire the same things when it comes to women. The desirability quotient is an easy thing to empirically manipulate. A few tweaks with your scent, your wardrobe, your grooming habits and hair (everywhere) can turn the tables in your favor so quickly it will make your head spin and his head turn!

DD: After all the research you have done, do think it is far to say that looks, or at least a great package – clothes and grooming – is the key to attracting a great man?
WC: Men are sensory-loaded, sexually-loaded, and then emotionally-loaded. For example, it is rare you meet a man who says:” Well, at first I wasn’t attracted to her, but after she told me about how she is so sweet to her father and brother and how she takes care of her dog. I became attracted to her." No, that’s for women who are emotionally-loaded from the get-go and can easily "warm-up" to a man on an attraction based on how he treats his mom, sister or dog! Men are sensory-loaded: They see, smell, touch, and then take.  So pay attention to the attention-getters in The Man Plan. They are sure to be your key to getting him, and then you’ll get to decide if he’s worth wanting on your end!

 
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