Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sex Tips: Eye Contact

Every girl wants to feel like she’s amazing in bed.

Even though we firmly believe that you’re there to please yourself, not your man, we understand that the competitive spirit that dominates our lives makes us want to feel like we’re number 1 at all times.

And because performance anxiety makes some girls so nervous that they can’t enjoy sex, we’re willing to share a few secrets to male pleasure so you can be so confident enough in the boudoir to enjoy yourself at all times.

Today’s tip: unexpected eye contact.

This is less of a go-to move and more of an icing-on-the-cake to pull out (no pun intended) every once in a while.

Guys see eye contact as a sign of enthusiasm, and, like we’ve said before, enthusiasm is the number one thing that turns guys on in bed. When you lock eyes mid-coitus, it makes it seem like you’re so focused on how good it feels that you’re not thinking about anything else.

This is especially effective with blowjobs. Most guys know that blowjobs aren’t a girl’s favorite pastime. But the more enthusiastic you seem, the more they enjoy it. It’s hard to moan when your mouth is focused on other things, but staring into his eyes is an easy way to make him feel like you’re getting off by getting him off.

Locking eyes is also a turn-on in unexpected positions. Try turning around and making eye contact during doggy style or reverse cowgirl. He won’t be expecting it, and that further validation will send him over the edge.

But be careful: this trick is easy to abuse. Too much eye contact gets creepy, especially in plain-vanilla positions where eye contact is kind of inevitable. Don’t stare at him too much if he’s on top (missionary-style) or if you’re on top in cowgirl. That kind of eye contact could make him feel uncomfortable, the way you start to squirm when someone stares directly at you throughout an entire two-hour meeting.

We’re taking off early for New Year’s. See you all next week!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Survey the District: When Are We Hanging Out?

Dear Date the District,

I have noticed recently all the guys interested in me won't physically ask me out! All they say is "When are we hanging out?" I don't like that they put it in my court. It's very passive aggressive! HELP!

We don’t like it, either.

It sounds like these guys are both lazy and afraid of rejection. If they ask you out, you can say no. But “When are we hanging out?” isn’t a yes-or-no question, which makes it harder for you to flat-out turn them down. It also means they don’t have to come up with a plan or put in very much effort.

It sounds like these guys are testing the waters.

Guys sometimes try to see how little they can get away with. We’ve talked about this before: guys are more likely to prioritize the physical aspects of a relationship and see everything else as “work.” So when it comes to hooking up, the less they have to do, the better.

But, nine times out of ten, if a guy is (soberly) attracted to you enough to hook up with you, he finds you attractive enough to date you.

Guys aren’t always as picky as girls are when it comes to physical attributes. They’ll talk a big talk, but, when it comes down it to it, every girl has boobs and a vagina. And guys are way more interested in those two body parts than they are in your eyes or the shape of your nose.

It’s the way you act, not the way you look, that’ll determine whether or not a guy wants to date you. Plenty of hot girls throw themselves at every guy that looks twice. That doesn’t mean that guys won’t hook up with these girls. But after the hot girl sends the third, “I’m starting to really fall in love with you :)” text after just as many dates, the guy’s going to stop responding.

So when guys ask you when you’re going to hang out, they are putting the ball in your court. And you can either throw yourself at them, or you can play cool.

If you say something like, “I dunno, you never call me!” or “Whenever you ask me out,” you’re making yourself look very available. And that’s going to make you look less attractive in his eyes.

Instead, say something like, “I know, sorry--I’ve been really busy.” That makes it look like the ball’s been in your court the whole time, and you’ve been the one who’s been trying to see how little you can get away with.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lessons in Love from the Jersey Shore: Part 2

Yesterday, we talked about Snooki’s not-so-smooth moves on the MTV is-this-really-real? reality TV show Jersey Shore.

Today, we’re going to talk about Sammi, a somewhat cuter version of Snooki who gets involved with a fellow castmate, Ronnie, who’s determined “not to fall in love at the Jersey Shore.”

So isn’t it so cute/surprising that he ends up hooking up with Sammi?? It’s so meant to be, it’s almost like the producers planned it.

Anyway, so Sammi and Ronnie start hooking up, and Ronnie takes Sammi on a date, and he pays, which is how Sammi knows “it’s for real.”

But then they all get wasted and go to a club, where Ronnie (who, by the way, is the only character without a nickname) starts dancing with another girl. Sammi is obviously pissed, so she decides to flirt with a firefighter (yes, a firefighter) and give him her phone number.

This sends Ronnie storming out of the club. The two have a teary reunion a few hours later (yes, Ronnie cries), which seems to signal that this fight is a thing of the past.

When Sammi saw Ronnie grinding up on some random chick, she could have confronted him on the spot. She could have told him what an asshole he was and threatened to break up with him.

And here’s how Ronnie (probably) would have reacted: He would have accused her of making a big deal out of nothing. He would have dismissed it as “just fun.” He would have used this as an excuse to bring up things like, “Well, I’m not sure we’re ready to be exclusive.”

Ronnie did try to play down what he did in the confessional. But that wasn’t (the bulk) of what he said to Sammi. Because she showed him what it’d feel like not to be with her, he was suddenly reminded of how much he wanted to date her (remember, he cried). And so he would do anything to get her back—including apologizing for what he did and swearing he’d never do it again.

While this whole back-and-forth isn’t the healthiest way to approach a relationship, Sammi got what she wanted. And Snooki didn’t.

This isn’t to say that you can learn much about dating from watching Jersey Shore. In fact, few of their relationships (or even male-female interactions) are healthy, let alone enviable. But the show does let the audience spy on 20-something mating rituals from both sides. And a careful viewer might learn a thing or two about how to tame someone who’s just looking for sex.
Or not.

OK, we can’t believe we spent this much time analyzing Jersey Shore. Back to the real world tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lessons in Love from the Jersey Shore

While we were snowed in this weekend, we somehow ended up watching a marathon of Jersey Shore.

We don’t usually get sucked into reality TV, but Jersey Shore is like eavesdropping on your neighbor’s divorce—or slowly watching eight 20-somethings develop skin cancer.

Anyway, we weren’t watching that closely, but we did notice two female characters (castmates?) had dramatically ways of approaching the summer fling.

First, there’s everyone’s favorite housemate, Snooki. Snooki is like the ugly friend of all the popular girls who thinks flirting means getting black-out and acting like a total ditz. We say “like” because the other girls aren’t much better. But Snooki is definitely the least attractive girl in the house, and she acts like she knows it.

Snooki blows it with every guy she hits on. She makes out with a girl in a hot tub full of people (and admits that she’s doing it “for the guys”), and then, two seconds later, makes out with one of the guys, who seems to recoil in disgust. She manages to get one guy to spend the night with her on the beach, but he seems to regain dignity as he sobers up, and they don’t do anything.

Snooki seems to approach things with a “this is who I am, deal with it” attitude. This makes great television, but does little for her lovelife.

Lesson 1: Getting sloppy is never sexy. For whatever reason, some girls don’t get this. They think it shows that they’re fun, or that they can keep up with the guys. Or they just think they need to get that drunk to make a move.

But there’s nothing less attractive than a drunk girl. If you don’t believe us, check out the “Drunk Girl” skits on SNL. We’re not saying you should abstain from alcohol all together, but don’t get plastered in front of a guy you like.

Lesson 2: Don’t be too aggressive. We’re not saying guys aren’t turned on by girl-on-girl make-outs. But forced girl-on-girl make-outs (i.e., making out with your best friend to impress a group of guys) don’t make you look good.

When the guys went back to the confessional, no one said, “The way Snooki grabbed that chick, yo, I dunno, I’d never realized how sexy she was before, yo.” They kind of said, “That was wild,” but they didn’t sound that excited about it.

Then there was the way Snooki literally grabbed The Situation (because we refused to call him by any other name) and shoved her tongue down this throat. He kind of pulled away at first, and, again, we didn’t get a confessional like, “Oh man, yo, when she grabbed me I was all, ‘Damn girl!’”, which roughly translates to, “I wasn’t interested.”

Check back tomorrow for our review of Sammi’s successes (and failures).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

International Make-Out Artist: Sufjan Stevens

So what, exactly, is the international make-out song?

The summer before college, a lot of guys who spent their high school years dry humping pillows anticipate the transition to bro-dom and decide to learn guitar. Most Dispatch songs can be played with only one or two chords, so the training isn’t especially difficult, and a guitar coupled with shaggy longish hair is the shortest way into a girl’s heart (and pants).

International make-out songs, in theory, are songs that are so easy to play that 1) any bro can learn to play them with Google and a half hour, 2) said bros can sit on their beds in their freshmen dorms with their doors open and play said songs over and over until the cute girl from down the hall comes in and says, “Ohmygod, I love Dashboard!”, and 3) said girl will immediately begin to make out with said bro, and the songs are so simple that the bro doesn’t even have to stop playing while swapping spit.

Famous international make-out songs include Dashboard’s “Screaming Infedilities,” Dispatch’s “Out Loud,” and Oasis’s “Wonderwall.”

International make-out songs, by definition, have to be slightly obscure. Not so obscure that people haven’t heard of them, but obscure enough that they’re hard to find on the radio. But now that the “bro” identity has taken a definite turn towards hipster, we’ve noticed that international make-out songs are more and more likely to be found on Pitchfork.

The newest international make-out artist? Sufjan Stevens. Beloved by hipsters and evangelical Christians alike, this guy makes girls want to take their pants off (even though he’s probably saving it for marriage).

Bros, ready your tabs.

And of course, the one everyone’s heard:

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Girl's Guide to Getting Off: In Bed

Coming is easier for guys.

It’s not fair, but it’s true. It probably has something to do with social constructs: the fact that it’s more socially acceptable for guys to jerk off and to start masturbating at a younger age. It might also have something to do with the fact that a male orgasm is necessary from an evolutionary standpoint. A woman doesn’t have to come to make a baby. A guy does.

It often takes women longer to learn how to have an orgasm. And when they do finally figure out what gets them off, they can’t always climax during coitus.

Some girls expect to orgasm the first time they have sex. And some do, but, for the rest of us, it doesn’t come that easily.

Maybe you’ve never had an orgasm before. Maybe you can only have one when it’s just you and your vibrator. Maybe you only come when a guy goes down on you. And maybe you come from just thinking about sex and have no idea what we’re talking about.

The fact is (and we know you’ve heard this a million times), it’s all normal. Orgasming is much more of a (for lack of a better word) skill that takes some women longer to learn.

And it really is something you have to teach yourself how to do. There’s no magic do-this-and-you-will-orgasm-every-time technique. It takes a lot of experimenting to find a way to reach climax with a partner. And it takes even more work to orgasm from plain vanilla penis-in-vagina sex.

Why do we bring this up? Because the more we talk to women about sex, the more we realize that there are a lot of post-pubescent women who’ve never even had an orgasm. Or they’re not sure if they have. Or they want to have them more regularly, or from sex, or on their own.

This is something that’s not always easy to talk about with friends. And it’s not something that’s easily cured by masturbation, no matter how many virgin sex columnists write their first column about how “outraged” they are that female masturbation is such a taboo subject, and the fact that they masturbate all the time (and are in fact probably masturbating to their own perceived profundity while writing said clichéd column), and how every girl’s sexual problems would all be solved if she simply had the courage to introduce herself to everyone she met by saying, “Hi, I’m Jane, and don’t worry about shaking my hand, because I always wash them after my frequent masturbation sessions.”

If that gets you off, great. But if it doesn’t, and you’re looking for ways to amp up your orgasms, read on. We’re going to talk a lot about orgasms a lot in the upcoming weeks, but today, we’re going to talk about girls who know how to orgasm but have trouble climaxing from intercourse alone.

First, figure out what does get you off. What’s the quickest, easiest way for you to come? Whatever that is, try to incorporate it into intercourse.

Maybe your nipples are the key to peak arousal. Maybe you get off when a guy strokes your inner thighs. Either stimulate those areas yourself during sex, or ask your partner to do it for you.

This is where some girls start to feel shy. They think a guy will be turned off if he finds out that they have foot fetishes or like getting a finger in their back doors.

But here’s what they don’t know: guys love it when their partners get off.

For guys, orgasms are a pretty regular occurrence. Most guys that we know jerk off at least a few times a week, some do it daily. They pretty much have a routine down and can get off fast. And while the sensation might be different in a mouth or a vagina, at the end of the day, an orgasm is an orgasm.

So why are guys obsessed with sex? For them, it’s less about the orgasm, which they can get whenever they want, and more about the other things that come with sex: namely, getting to see a real live naked girl, and feeling sexually desired.

Guys can’t make themselves feel sexually desired with their hands. And that’s why the love it when girls are really into doing them, because it’s the one part of sex you really can’t fake. Every guy wants to feel like he’s amazing in bed, and the louder you are, the more he can believe he’s a sex god.

So if you know something that’ll work for you, don’t be shy. Don’t say, “Um, so, I was wondering if you could, like, finger me while we’re doing it.” Instead, provide clear directions, and say something like, “You know, if you rub my clit while I’m fucking you, it’ll really make me scream.”

Of course, some of these conversations will feel more natural if you wait till you’re in the middle of the act. You’re both hot and bothered, your inhibitions are lowered, and most guys get turned on when women are assertive in bed.

But if you don’t know what works for you, here’s a hint: clitoral stimulation.

For most girls, the clitoris is the shortest path to orgasm. The problem is, standard positions (like missionary, girl on top, reverse cowgirl, etc.) usually don’t do anything for this sexual organ.

If you can find a way to stimulate your clitoris during penetration, you have a better chance of having an orgasm.

Women’s magazines always ntell you that if you rub your clitoris during sex, you’ll come. That works for some people, but it’s not a guarantee.

Here’s a trick one of our friends taught us: if you get on top and lean really far forward (so that you’re almost lying on top of your partner), you can rub your clitoris up against his penis as you’re moving up and down the shaft. It takes some positioning, and you may have to hold the lips of your vagina apart to make sure you’re getting full contact, but once you’re set up, the sensation is similar to what you’d feel if you were grinding up against him in a naked make-out (only more intense).

We’ll share a few more easy-to-orgasm positions later this week. But let us know if this one works for you at

Friday, December 18, 2009

Follow Friday

We still don’t really get the point of “Follow Friday” on Twitter, but we did want to take today to share two cool dating blogs we found this week.

The first is a post from And That’s Why You’re Single, an interesting, if brutally honest, relationship blog that favors the question-and-answer format.

I have always been attracted to Caucasian men, considering I’m a black female it makes it harder for me to approach them or strike a conversation. My question is which would be the best places for me to hang out to increase my chances of meeting one, and are there any social gatherings for people with this interest in DC.

I don't know of specific organizations that cater to bi-racial dating. I do know certain speeddating events that offer Ethnicity X Female/White Male events. I rarely see any Ethnicity X Male/White Female Events. For some reason, the white male is "the get."

When I used to organize speeddating events for another company, I never liked the idea of planning these types of events. I felt it was feeding in to a fetish. I mean, I'm sorry, but there just felt something skeevy to me about hosting an Asian Female/Caucasian Male event. And I was always unsettled by men and women who who "only" dated men/women of a specific ethnicity other than their own. To some degree there seemed to be a level of stereotyping going on with that.

There's also quiet a bit of controversy amongst each individual race/ethnicity when it comes to dating outside that specific ethnicity. Many feel betrayed if someone chooses to date someone else outside of their race. But, again, my knowledge of this is limited and am anxious to hear what others who have experienced this have to say. My niece and nephew are bi-racial and I do wonder about when they get older and begin to date. Will they only date white men and women because that's what they are surrounded by? Is who we are attracted to based on our environment and what we know?

I'm also intrigued by this idea that people who don't date outside of their race are deemed racist. Is being attracted to a specific ethnicity racist?

I wonder if some women (caucasian and non-caucasian) who will only date caucasian men do so because they attach some level of status or accomplishment to such relationships. I don't find anything about the caucasian male that stands out or is "better." But then, I'm whitey white girl who grew up in a white town and have only dated white guys. So, of course I'm not going to find anything exotic or unique about them because I see them all the time.Plus, I've dated so many and seen/met some many that are less than stellar that I just don't get the appeal. But again. I'm white and I was born and raised here, so my understanding an experience is limited to my narrow little world view.

Here's what I think: I think white men are bigger Equal Opportunity Daters than white women. Meaning, white men are more open to dating women of other ethnicities than white women are. But that's just my opinion and certainly not fact. So, if you are attracted to caucasian men, I don't think you need to go to events specifically targeted events. I think you'd have the same success rate at any open/multi-racial event than you would a targeted social opportunity.

Here’s our take:
For the most part, we don’t think you can help who you’re attracted to. But some people place restrictions on who they’ll date that are purely based on race and/or religion (i.e., only dating Jews, Catholics, blacks, whites, Asians, etc.).

If you grow up surrounded by people who all look a certain way, you’re probably more likely to develop a very specific definition of beauty that doesn’t have much range. Like when guys say that they’re only attracted to blondes.

We definitely think you’re limiting yourself if you’re only attracted to people of a specific race, but it can be hard to overcome deeply embedded social norms. But only being attracted to people of a specific race and only wanting to date people of a specific race are two different things—although we’re not going to fight that battle on this blog.

The religion thing is more perplexing. While we understand that some people want to raise their children a certain way (and would therefore not want to date someone who wants his children to have a different upbringing), the “I only date Catholics/Jews/Muslims/Episcopalians” starts years before anyone should be thinking about marriage (i.e., in high school).

The more restrictions you place on the “type” of person you’re willing to date, the harder it’s going to be to find some version of “The One.” And while these types of decisions are intensely personal, we hope that you do some serious thinking before you decide to exclude an entire group of people from your dating pool.


Our second pick is a blog called Dating with Disabilities. It’s written by Melissa Blake, who, as the title suggests, is navigating the dating world with a visibly physical disability.

Ms. Blake, a freelance writer by trade, is quick to admit that she’s somewhat of a novice in the dating game. And while we didn’t always agree with her advice, we did appreciate her fresh and unique perspective on male/female interactions.

Her best posts chronicle her own dating adventures—mishaps and all—and what’s perhaps most fascinating is her positive outlook. Ms. Blake is looking for love, and she’s not as jaded about it as most 27-year-olds.

Ms. Blake throws rules out the window. She’s very against mind games and manipulation. That’s because she doesn’t operate on the date-as-many-guys-as-I-can-to-find-The-One, occasionally-randomly-hook-up-so-I-don’t-go-crazy schedule that the urban 20-something seems to fall into.

What we love most about “Dating with Disabilities” is when Ms. Blake describes the giddy, “I-can’t-believe-he’s-sitting-in-my-bed” feeling that we’d almost forgotten about. When you remove sex from the equation, it’s easier to remember why we’re doing this. It’s not to trick the best guy you can into sticking around, it’s to find someone who makes you feel like you’re thirteen again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Not to Do: "The Talk"

When a guy’s behaving badly, it often feels like grand gestures are in order.

After one of our friends received two 3 a.m. texts this weekend (which she didn’t return), we had to restrain her from jumping on the Metro Sunday morning to go “yell at him and explain that I don’t play games.”

But threatening bodily injury isn’t necessarily going to scare him into inviting you to be in a relationship on Facebook.

So what can you do to encourage a guy to treat you the way you want to be treated?

The key is not to be too direct about it.

No one likes to feel that he’s being forced into doing something. The worst thing you can do is tell your guy that you need to “talk.”

In an ideal world, we’d all sit around and talk about our feelings and expectations and no one would ever get hurt.

But the real world, as we know, is far from ideal, a truth that was reaffirmed the other day when we overheard the following conversation in a coffee shop:

Bro 1: My girlfriend keeps bugging me to hang out with her.
Bro 2: Dude, that sucks.
Bro 1: She’s all, “We never hang out.”
Bro 2: Yeah.
Bro 1: But, it’s like, the more she tells me we have to hang out, the less I want to.

People don’t like being told what to do. That’s why teenagers break every rule their parents set and young adults spend a good deal of their 20s rebelling against everything their upbringing stood for (which explains why we studied economics for three years… oops).

So when you start telling a guy, “You have to introduce me as your girlfriend,” that proclamation becomes another chore that immediately seems as unappealing as spending a Friday night doing laundry.

If you call him out on doing something wrong, he’s going to get defensive. It’s human nature. When a friend calls you and asks you to explain why she hasn’t heard from you in two weeks, you’re immediately on the defense. The whole interaction is very uncomfortable, so you begin by listing excuses, and then you start wondering what right she has to attack you like this, and so maybe you lash out at her—but regardless, you don’t think, “Hm, that was a bitch move on my part—I’ll make sure I don’t do that again.”

When a guy does something wrong, the reason you want to confront him to make sure he doesn’t repeat it.

But confrontation isn’t going to get you what you want, and he’ll be more likely to get angry and start thinking you’re a crazy bitch.

Asking nicely can be tricky too—especially in the early stages of a relationship. If you’ve been casually hooking up with a guy for a few weeks and you tell him, “Look, I really like you, but I want you to start taking me out with your friends once a week,” he might do it. But chances are, he’ll be acting out of a sense of obligation.

There’s nothing sexy about an obligation. That’s why housemates always fight over who has to take out the trash.

And the mystery is gone. He knows he has to do X to get Y. Like we’ve said before, mystery can be a powerful force of attraction. People tune into CSI because it keeps them guessing until the end. If the CSI version of Las Vegas installed closed-circuit cameras in every hotel room, no one would watch the show. Instead of calling the crime lab, the detectives would head to a projection room. It might take them a few minutes to pull the tape, but, even on a lazy Friday afternoon, the case would be solved in ten uneventful minutes.

It’s the same way when it comes to sex. The less you know about someone, the sexier they seem. Have you ever been out with a guy who laid way too much on the table on a first date? You probably didn’t agree to a second date.

On the other hand, you know the cute guy in your office that you’ve only talked to a few times? You don’t know him at all, but you spend the 3 p.m. slump daydreaming about all the cool things he does on the weekends and how good he’d be in bed. But you’d rather go through a 6-month dry spell than hook up with your best guy friend who constantly talks to you about jerking off.

The more you get to know someone, the more you notice their flaws. But when there’s a lot that you don’t know about someone, you can imagine them as being a lot closer to perfect than any real person could ever be. These ideal mental images are a lot sexier than the real guy that you know, from experience, gets really bad gas after he eats ice-cream.

When you tell a guy exactly what you want, you also run the risk of exposing insecurities. If you have friends and a life, why do you need him to call you every day? The more you start demanding he do, the more needy and clingy you’re going to seem.

So, if you’re not going to confront him, what should you do to make sure he treats you right? We’ll talk about that next week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seeing Where It Goes

“I just want to see where it goes.”

We hear that a lot when our friends start seeing a new guy. And while it’s good not to get ahead of yourself, it’s always better to approach a relationship with a clear understanding of your own expectations.

Like we’ve talked about before, the words “boyfriend” and “relationship” are really vague, empty terms. When one girl says she wants guy X to be her boyfriend, she might just mean she wants to exclusively hook up. But when her best friend uses the same word, she could be talking about nightly sleepovers and conversations about what to name their kids.

So while it’s fine to “see where things go,” you better have a clear picture of what you want the final destination to be.

Otherwise, it’s easy to end up as just a friend (with benefits).

When you come up with your own definition of what you’re looking for, it’s easy to nip negative behavior in the bud. (We’ll talk about how tomorrow.) You’ll also be more motivated to make sure you get what you want.

If you’re just “seeing where things go,” you’re more likely to keep things casual. Who cares if he never invites you out on dates or only texts when he’s wasting? You’re just testing the waters.

Once you’ve established a pattern of late-night hookups and sketchy communication, it’s harder to transition into “In a Relationship” on Facebook.

So while it’s fine to take things slowly and get to know each other, make sure you set certain standards and boundaries. Don’t tell him about them, but if you know you’re not looking for 3 a.m. booty calls, it’s easier to ignore the text when it comes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

News Round-Up: Ashley Dupre

You’ve probably heard that Spitzer’s femme fatale, Ashley Dupre, found a new job in the sex industry.

When you’re looking for advice, it makes sense to turn to a professional. You’d think that someone who makes a living doling out blowjobs would have something insightful to say about sex. But after reading her column, we’re not so sure her services are worth $4,300.

We’ve posted a few of her words of advice below, along with how we would have answered the question.

How do I know if my daughter may be getting into trouble? -- Meredith, 40, Queens

What she said:
It's all a matter of having the right perspective and approach. Most teenagers will do stupid things. What were you doing when you were a teenager? For a long time I was actually an honor-roll student and a great kid. I respected my parents and my elders.

Things really changed for me when my brother ran away when he was 15 and my parents were terrified that the same thing would happen to me, so they were incredibly strict with me . . . and that caused me to rebel and go the opposite way.

If your daughter is getting good grades, shows you respect and has a good head on her shoulders, give her room to go out, grow and make mistakes. And be there when she falls. I would definitely educate her on what is out there in the world to be wary of.
Sometimes instilling a little (but not too much) fear into her is not a bad thing. It validates your concerns so she won't think you're just being an overbearing, overprotective parent who isn't ready for her to grow up.

She is growing up, whether you like it or not. I suggest you be able to talk to her about boys, sex, alcohol and drugs, because they're around and kids do experiment. Would you rather educate her or have her getting alcohol-poisoning at a party? I'm not saying that you should condone that behavior, but you need to help her manage peer pressure and you do that not by saying "don't do any of it, it's all bad." We all know that sometimes we're attracted to the forbidden fruit.

What we would have said: This is a sex column, not an episode of Maury.

Are there telltale signs a man isn't happy in his marriage? -- J. Marshall, 37, East Village

What she said: Guys are primal. They're proud and need to be treated like they're proud and special.

Girlfriends do that for the most part. But I think that wives with children have so much pressure on them, the natural thing is for the kids to take priority. The husband feels secondary and in one form or another may seek out that required special attention outside the marriage.

Guys are so easy to please and I don't just mean sexually. We all need to feel loved and appreciated. Ask yourself, when was the last time you did something to make your husband feel loved, special and appreciated . . . and if you can't remember, then that's your sign right there.
The children are a product of your love for each other. Your relationship should always be priority. Always. Remember, happy parents usually means happy children.

What we would have said: You know, when I’m looking for advice on a marriage, I generally turn to a woman who’s destroyed one.

My boyfriend wants to know how many men I've slept with. Do I give an honest answer? --Anonymous, NYC

What she said: You don't give him an answer at all. It's really none of his business (and vice versa).

It's like you asking him how many lap dances he's gotten in his life. You know you've each slept with people in the past. It's part of being an adult and has nothing to do with your relationship now and your possible future together.

Some things are better left unsaid.

What we would have said: For once, we actually completely agree.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday News Roundup: Making a Connection

Two articles about sex/dating caught our eye this weekend.

The first one comes from the Lavanya Ramanathan at the Washington Post. It’s called “Making a Connection,” and it discusses the unique challenges of dating in three decades: your 20s, your 30s, and your 40s. You can read the full article here, but here’s an excerpt from the section on dating in your 20s:

What we're about to say may infuriate you. It may prompt you to send us angry missives about ageism. But here goes:

The rest of us could learn a thing or two from the dating habits of 20-somethings.

Our dating experts all suggest the same approach to dating at any age: Relax (or at least appear to be unaware of the incessant, pounding tick-tock of your internal clocks) and your charms will shine through.

No one does this better than people in their 20s. (The first dates that can make the rest of us so nervous? A 25-year-old will casually call them "hanging out.")

Of course, 20-somethings have good reason to be relaxed about love. Their dating pool is a virtual ocean, still teeming with cute, smart, upwardly mobile types. And they often have the opportunity to dive right in: There are bars, work outings, social groups and even strange, retro sports leagues that can all serve as venues to meet that special someone…

Twenty-somethings get out there. If a relationship doesn't work out, they keep optimistically forging ahead -- a strategy everyone should try…

Washington does pose some major challenges for 20-something daters, not the least of which is trying to go out in the city on a ramen-noodle budget…

At any age, first and second dates should feel organic and low-pressure. Hit the zoo, a festival or an art event. Check out a jazz club. Walk there if you can.

Our verdict: We like the idea of taking each date one step at a time and not worrying about whether or not he’ll make a good husband just because he ordered pâté on the first date. We also agree with the article’s take on breaking things off and moving on as soon as you realize that it’s not working, and its suggestion that meeting guys in bars is a terrible idea.

But we don’t think they got everything right.

While dating in your 20s might not be as hard as dating in your 30s and 40s, it certainly isn’t easy. We’d love to find Ms. Ramanathan’s “virtual ocean” stocked with an infinite number of “catches.” In our experience, the problem with dating in DC isn’t the price of an entrée at 1789, it’s finding a person you actually want to spend an entire dinner with.

Yes, there are probably more single 20-somethings than there are single 30-somethings. But that doesn’t mean that your future partner is going to be a cute guy in a suit who asks for your number at Potbelly’s (or posts about you later on Missed Connections).

You have to wade through a lot of ex-frat boys with huge egos and significantly smaller potential to find the one guy who’s worth investing in. And if you sit back and wait for it to happen, your chances of finding someone you can start thinking about a future with are going to drop.

This doesn’t mean you should approach guys in bars. It doesn’t mean you should lower your standards or freak out because you’re not going on enough dates.

But it does mean you should act in a way that’ll make the good ones want to stick around.

Ms. Ramanathan complains that:

Books tell us the only way to master dating is to approach it like chess players: He makes his move, then you make yours. Then no one calls anyone for three days.

But those of us who have attempted to find The One know there's about as much strategy involved as fumbling for a light switch in the dark. You try bars, friends-of-friends, the Internet. You consider arranged marriage.

Yes, it’s hard to find eligible bachelors. But what she seems to argue is, when you find the right guy, you don’t have to worry about playing games, because all the cards will fall into place. The problem, according to the author, is finding that guy.

But if finding that guy is so hard, why do things that will set you back in the dating game? Why bring a guy home for a naked make-out because you’re only 25, and there are plenty of guys out there who could turn out to be “The One?”

The thing about The One is, you usually realize he’s The One after you’ve already started engaging in less-than-girlfriendy behavior, like going over to his apartment at 2 a.m. for sex and thinking that will encourage him to make dinner plans with you.

First dates are awkward and nerve-wracking, and it’s hard to decide if you click with your date when all you can think about is whether or not you have food stuck in your teeth. You might write him off because he blows his nose in his napkin, put him on the “hook-up only list,” and three weeks of booty calls later, realize that he shares your love of French poetry.

While it’d be great if the pressure could somehow be lifted from first dates, it’s not going to happen as long as the fear of rejection keeps third-wheeling. And if you start approaching dates as “hanging out,” most of them are going to take place in a tiny studio in Georgetown, and there’s going to be a lot more hooking up than hanging out.

Because good dates are so hard to find, you don’t want to blow it. And while it may seem silly and immature and unfair, playing hard to get will get you more second dates than texting him five minutes after he drops you off.

Friday, December 11, 2009

When You Can't Ignore a Text

Like we’ve said before, a weak-thumbed texter is usually not worth your time.

But when you really like a guy and don’t hear from him for two weeks, it can hard to ignore the text he finally does send.

If you can’t stop yourself from responding, at least try to communicate on your terms.

Take our friend’s latest conversations with one of her hookups. They’ve gotten into the habit of hanging out at his place, but she wants to spend time outside of the bedroom.

He texted her on a Monday night and asked her if she wanted to come over. She replied, “I have plans tonight. Friday would be better.”

Her schedule was actually wide open that night, except for her regular spin class. But because she hadn’t heard from him in a while, she didn’t want to make it look like she was ready to drop everything to see him. And she didn’t say, “How about Friday?”, which would give him the final say. Instead, she told him what the plan was, which it seem like she was calling the shots.

As it turns out, he had a dinner Friday evening, but would be back around ten. He asked her if she wanted to come over then. She replied, “Ten would probably be too late to go out and do something. Some other time.”

She didn’t say, “No thanks, I’m only going to hook up with you if you start taking me out.” But that’s the message she sent. He ended up canceling his dinner plans.

This isn’t to say that texts like this will work every time. If a guy has already been flaky with communication, he’s not necessarily even going to respond to your first text. But it’s better than getting a “Wanna hang out?” text and jumping in a cab and to head over to his place before you’ve even hit the send button on your reply.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of the District: The Best Place to Pick Up Prostitution: The Four Seasons

In the mood to mingle with Z-list celebrities and congressmen you’ve never heard?

Neither were we when we found ourselves sipping champagne at the bar at the Four Seasons Tuesday night.

To our surprise, it was packed, and while we have to hand it to them for making a weeknight feel like Friday, the scene was so sleazy that we thought we’d walked onto the set of an 80s DC thriller.

The bar itself had the whole dim lighting, minimal décor, and low couches that practically scream, “We don’t sell beer for less than ten dollars.” (Although our date was happy to learn that an Amstel was only 6 bucks.)

The crowd was decidedly older: a mix of thirty-somethings and really old men who looked like they’d snuck out of their nursing homes for the night. Men (who far outnumbered women) clumped around the bar in sharp suits and watches you don’t wear when you’re in it to help people.

The women all looked like aspiring actresses. They’d lost their natural youthful beauty, and they all seemed to have independently decided that the best way to get it back would be to flat-iron their hair and then go back in and curl a few random clumps. (We seriously didn’t know people wore their hair like that outside of TV.) Their skin-tight dresses all stopped two centimeters below their vaginas. We were a little worried no one would be able to tell any of them apart.

We watched a New England Senator hit on a very pleasantly plump lush who was having trouble mixing gravity with a barstool. Every so often, we’d see one of the women help one of the octogenarians shuffle upstairs. And then we started wondering: are these women prostitutes?

While they probably weren’t charging by the hour, they definitely weren’t working pro bono.

We needed a break from the busboys in tuxes (who, by the way, were all black), so we headed out to forest of Christmas trees lining the lobby. Our momentary nostalgia for New England holiday traditions was quickly shattered by the plastic placards next to each tree.

Each one had a picture of the tree’s decorator (who coincidently owned some over-priced boutique in Bethesda) hugging a young child. Underneath the picture, there was a brief blurb promoting the store and then a longer section with stats on the child’s horrible illness. This included details like how the illness was progressing. We’re not really sure that little Tommy would want all the guests at the Four Seasons to know that he only has five months to live, but someone apparently decided that this was relevant information.

This was when we knew it was time to pay our bill and leave. And when the check came, we finally realized why those women were blowing grandpas for kick-backs. They were probably just trying to pay their tabs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Missed Connection of the Day

We almost didn't post this. Almost.

You farted in Trader Joe's - m4w (Rockville, MD)

You were the tall brunette with the near perfect body that farted in the bread section last night. I was the tall guy next to you that looked over and asked, "Was that you?" You quickly replied "No...Wasn't me!" You almost seemed insulted I would ask. As the stink grew you continued to deny your flatulence, but it was evident. I tried to get rid of the stench by waving 2 loafs of Ciabatta bread. You proceeded to storm off in an angry manner. You are beautiful and even if you are a liar and fart like a Clydesdale, I'd love to meet up sometime. Call me Eric M.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Survey the District: New Year's Dilemma

Dear Date the District,

Ok, so here's my conundrum for New Year's Eve. Two friends that happen to be attractive women are coming to visit over New Year's Eve. I told one of these girls that I'm attracted to her. She was 'shocked', 'didn't know what to say' at that time, etc. This happened three months ago. Now, I'm involved with someone around the area. Definitely not exclusive, but she's starting to get attached.

I don't think I could nor want to spend NYE with all three. Then again, nothing may ever come of me and this friend visiting. What do I do?


We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when you tell someone you have feelings for her and she tells you she’s “shocked” and speechless, it’s usually not a good sign.

It’s probably not worth wasting too much time on this girl. Even if she was interested, when you start out as long distance, you’re usually don’t get very far. Why waste your time pining over someone who’s a train ride away when it sounds like you’ve got something within walking distance?

On to your New Year’s problem: why are you so afraid to put these women in the same room? It sounds like the second friend doesn’t even know that she’s your third-favorite crush, and your new hook-up shouldn’t know about your out-of-town dream girl (unless you told her).

Causing drama and/or acknowledging the awkwardness are the two worst things you can do in this situation. Even if it is awkward, you’re the only one who feels it.

If you call this not-so-mysterious visitor and say something like, “Hey, I just wanted to know that I’m seeing someone, and now you’re coming, and I don’t know what to do!”, it’s gonna be a major turnoff. Most girls aren’t attracted to guys who seem like they’re not in control or emotional basket cases.

On the other hand, if you e-mail her and say something like, “Hey, my date for New Year’s suggested that we do X, what do you think?”, you’ll eliminate a lot of the “What ifs?”

Even if you’re trying to seduce these two “friends,” the best way to do that is to appear unavailable. And you’ll definitely send that message if you show up with a date.

But we’re guessing that seduction is a lost cause at this point, at least with girl number one. If she’s known your intentions for three months and hasn’t done anything about it, she’s given you a pretty good indication of how she feels.

Whatever you do, don’t hit on the other two girls if you all end up at the same party. It’s only going to piss off the new girl and make the other two really uncomfortable (and really turned off), leaving you with no one to kiss at midnight. There’s nothing worse than listening to tired clichés about how beautiful you look and how well you two would work together, especially after you’ve told a guy that you’re not interested. That kind of stuff only works in the movies, and if you’re still taking cues from chick flicks, we have bigger problems.

And if you get there and realize that the sight of all three girls at the same table makes you really uncomfortable, drink up. You have all New Year’s Day to sleep off the hangover.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Second Word of Advice

Last week, we talked about the dangers of asking your friends for certain advice.

But an even more dangerous source of misinformation can often seem deceptively reliable: your new guy’s girl (space) friends.

When you meet a guy’s girl friend, it’s easy to bond over the fact that you both have breasts and vaginas. And, since most guys have more guy friends than girl friends, his girl friend’s estrogen might provide a much-need break from the usual night out with his friends (e.g., Testosterone Fest 2010).

You might really hit it off with one of his girl friends. And after a few nights of xx-chromosome bonding while you’re playing s.o., she might seem like the perfect person to tell you what’s really going on with him. After all, she’s known him longer, and she probably has some good insight.

The problem is that his friends’ loyalties almost always lie with him. You’re his plus-one first, their friend second.

If you and your guy called it quits tomorrow, chances are, you won’t get an invite to his best friend’s holiday party.

It might seem like those rules shouldn’t apply when his friend shares your gender. But it’s better to assume that they do, especially at first.

Girls tend to be good at socializing. They can be super sweet and make great conversation, even when they don’t really like the person they’re talking to.

That doesn’t mean that all of his girl friends are two-faced bitches. But it does mean that shouldn’t be too quick to assume that she wants to play relationship doctor.

You never know what she’s going to repeat to her friend/your boyfriend. You share some of your insecurities about the relationship (“I mean, he invites me out with his friends, like, all the time, but he never takes me out on dates, and sometimes he forgets to call…”), hoping that she’ll reassure you. And she might do that to your face (“Oh yeah, he’s sooo into you”), but then later share that conversation with the one person you wouldn’t want to find out (i.e., your guy).

Or she might genuinely be misinformed. You might ask her something like, “So, is he trying to date me? Or does he just, like, keep things casual?” Even if this girl seems really close with your boyfriend, she wouldn’t necessarily have access to this information. They might have heart-to-hearts all the time, but guys aren’t always the best at sharing feelings, especially if they’re unsure of where you stand. Or they might never talk about relationships, in which case, her guess is as good as yours. Maybe he wasn’t so into the last girl he dated, and maybe he’s said some things in the past that make her think that he’s looking the play the field. That doesn’t mean he feels the same way about you. In any case, you have no way of knowing whether her take on the situation is right.

And let’s not forget the worst-case scenario: she could be into this guy. Girls fall for their guy friends all the time—even when they’re in committed relationships—and, if you’re dealing with a friend with a crush, she’s probably not going to have your best interests at heart.

The bottom line is: you never know. So why risk it when you can’t trust her opinion any more than anyone else’s?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Word of Advice

The dating world can be a dangerous place.

There are social scenes to navigate, assholes to avoid, and heartbreak lurking at every corner.

It makes sense that we sometimes need to ask other women for directions. But they don’t always offer the best advice.

While your friends can provide perspective on a situation you’re too embroiled in to evaluate objectively, they can also sometimes point you in the wrong direction.

Sometimes you ask your friends questions that you know the answer to. “Should I text Brian? He never responded to my voicemail from last Tuesday, but… I feel like I should send him one more text. Just so he knows I’m interested.”

If you actually thought this was a good idea, you would just send the text. But you’re asking your friends because you want them to tell you to do it.

And, most of time, they will. We all want to believe that things really are that easy. That you can text someone and he’ll magically be into you again. That he’s only ignoring you because he’s really hung up on his ex. And so we tell our friends to go for it.

Or sometimes we can see the writing on the wall, and we don’t want to tell our friends that their new crush is clearly not interested.

The outcome is still the same. If you’re asking “Should I do X?”, it’s probably because you’re looking for your friends to egg you on. And they will, because they’d want you to do the same.

If you have to ask, you probably already know the answer.

Breakup Babble: Deleting His Number

Breakups always hurt.

While newly single women are almost always looking to do anything to ease the pain, they don’t always go about it in the right way.

We’re not saying you should ditch the chocolate (in fact, we firmly believe that calories don’t count when you’re readjusting to the single life), but there are a few other important steps in the healing process that most girls overlook.

The first rule applies to guys with weak thumbs (i.e., the ones who don’t text back).

These are the guys you kinda, sorta date for a few weeks, but they’re never really that responsive. They say they’re going to call, then forget. Or you send them a text, and you don’t hear back for a few days. They only contact you in the middle of the night, and they rarely (if ever) invite you to do anything that involves leaving one of your apartments.

While it is sometimes possible to tame these guys (we’ll talk more about that in a later post), it’s not always worth it. No matter how much you crank up the game, it’s hard to transition from backup to first string. And, at the end of the day, is a guy who blew you off for three months ever really going to feel like he’s worth it?

When you decide you’re ready to cut your losses, you need to stick to your guns. Like we’ve talked about before, the more you ignore someone, the more they might try to win you back.

Sometimes the guys with weak thumbs are looking for validation. They love the power trip that comes with ignoring a perfectly tempting text from a cute girl. Other times they’re just lazy. In any case, if they really didn’t like the attention, they’d flat-out tell you to leave them alone (except they’d say something like, “You seem like a really awesome girl, but there’s this girl back in New York…”).

So as you as they stop hearing from you, they’re gonna throw a little attention your way to try and get you back into the habit of sending the 8 p.m. “What are you up to?”

When a guy’s been flaky and unresponsive ever since the first night you hooked up, it’s easy to get excited when he texts you out of the blue. But you need to take his advances out of context.

If you weren’t so attracted to the way he blows you off him, would his behavior seem that remarkable? Put another way, if you two had been dating six months, would whatever he’s doing seem worthy of your time and energy?

If he sends you a heartfelt letter (along with a dozen roses) that does more than dish up some lame excuse for why he couldn’t be bothered (e.g., “I don’t have unlimited texting!”), you might want to listen to what he has to say. If he texts you at 6 p.m. and invites you to go to the movies, ignore him. If you take him back that easily, you’ll be back to the abysmal response rate two weeks later.

But don’t tell him that you’re blowing him off. Don’t send him one final text explaining that you’ve had it with him, and it’s his loss, and you were always too good for him anyway.

These hypothetical texts (or phone calls) might feel like they’d be cathartic or empowering, but they won’t be.

Best case scenario: he won’t respond. And then you’ll feel like an idiot, because you showed him how much you cared, and he was so nonplussed that he wasn’t even stirred to respond.

Worst case scenario: he’ll throw back some insults that’ll take your best friends weeks of round-the-clock therapy to undo.

The hardest part of parting ways with a weak-thumbed man is forcing yourself not to communicate with him at all. While your intentions and willpower might be unbreakable after an afternoon bolt-of-lighting realization, it’s easy to second guess yourself after your third beer at happy hour. It’s easy to convince yourself that it’d be a good idea to send one more text—just to see what happens.

And, like we said before, he might respond. And you might be more likely to give that response more weight than it deserves.

Or he might ignore you. And then you’ll have to add one more point to his score, and take one step back on the path to getting over him.

So how can you avoid all of these pitfalls?

Delete his number.

That’s right: remove any trace of his existence from your phone. Delete old texts, e-mails, and any other traces of his contact info that might tempt you to get back in touch with him.

If you don’t have his number, you can’t drunk dial him.

And if he tries to contact you, the few minutes it takes you to figure out who that number belongs to will remind you why you deleted his number. And it’ll be easier to take everything he says with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Robert's Rules: The First Date Outfit

After last week’s post about what to wear on a first date, we thought it’d be nice to get the male perspective.

Our friend Robert worked on Newbury Street in Boston, which (for the uninitiated) means he’s never afraid to tell us when our outfit looks bad.

Here’s what he had to say about what a girl should wear on her first date:

“A first date outfit must be thought about carefully, because this outfit is essentially a first impression to your date of who you are. Ideally, it would be a sexy (but not too sexy) outfit that incorporates your personal style. In general, no matter where you’re going, I don't think that you should overwhelm someone with an outfit that overtly displays your personal style--say, for instance, that you love mixing patterns: I would recommend working in a few pieces with maybe your favorite print rather than having an outfit made up entirely of different patterns. You don't want it to be too loud, just like you wouldn't want your outfit to be too sexy. I think a good first date outfit would also tastefully show off your body (leave your oversized pieces at home--for tonight, at least).

I think there are two types of first dates: upscale and casual. You should have a different outfit for each occasion.

If you’re going out on a fancy date,:

I think a form-fitting dress would be appropriate. I would stay pretty classic with the dress--let it show off your body--in a solid color, and then punch up the outfit in the accessories. Maybe a pair of metallic stilettos or a really cool bag that introduces a print, or maybe belt your dress (a belt can do a lot to define a midsection and create an hourglass shape--all good things, right?). And don't forget about jewelry! You can also say a lot with a chunky necklace or a cool bracelet. I would stay away from blazers for a first date look, just because I think it may look a little too corporate, and we want a first date look to be more flirty than business.

If you’re going out for a casual night,:

Every girl should have a flattering pair of dark jeans in her closet. Whether you look good in wide leg, boot cut, skinny, whatever--get a pair of dark denim, it may turn into one of the most highly used pieces in your closet. This would be the perfect time to break out the dark denim and pair it with a sexy top--one with a little sparkle to it or maybe ruffles (they seem to be in style right now), and finish it off with a pair of strappy sandals. Or, if you don’t feel like heels, do a nice pair of flats.

And since we’re heading into the winter months, let’s address outerwear. No matter how cold it gets, stay away from the puffy jacket. You don't want his first thoughts of you to be that he's going on a date with the Michelin woman. A pea coat will keep you plenty warm while also being stylish.”

He also has some words of wisdom for our male readers:

“Regardless of where you are going, take this as an opportunity to dress up a bit--but not too much. I wouldn't wear a sport coat, but maybe go for a nice button down shirt. And maybe layer it with a v-neck sweater. I think every guy looks good in a white button down shirt with a navy blue v-neck sweater layered over it. Navy blue is a strong, masculine color that looks good on any skin tone, and the white shirt will frame your face really well. What I’m saying is: guys, put thought into this--don't just put on a t-shirt and walk out the door.

And please pay attention to fit. There is nothing that I hate more than when a guy with a nice body hides it under an oversize sweater. I'm not saying wear something incredibly tight, but make sure that the shoulder seams end at your shoulders and that you can feel the fabric against your body instead of hanging off your frame. With sweaters, what you don't want it hanging off your body. You also don't want it coming too far past your waist (because then it'll be too long). Look for something that is trim in fit--you don't want a baggy arm either. If it’s too ill fitting, you'll look like you're wearing your older brother's sweater, which won't impress any girl.

Now for pants. This is when I also recommend dark jeans--they will work with almost any color (so you won't have to worry about matching) and they are incredibly versatile (they work in both casual and more upscale settings, depending on what you wear above the waist).

Again, pay attention to fit--every guy needs a pair of dark, straight leg denim. They shouldn't be so baggy that you cannot tell that there are legs beneath the fabric. Or also if you want, maybe a pair of cords or khakis, but I think dark jeans are a really stylish choice.

When you’re shopping for jeans, go for a straight leg jean fit--make sure the waist fits well (not too tight and not so loose that you need a belt to keep them from falling down) and also make sure that they sit on your waist (you don't want them to be too high up or else they'll look like the men's version of a "mom jean"). Look for mid rise fits. If you ever are in doubt, ask a sales person at the store! That's what they're there for. And just make sure the legs of the jean don't have so much fabric that you lose your legs in them. Gap's new slim fit 1969 jean is amazing and very affordable.

Now with shoes, go with a nice brown or black loafer, or, if you’re one of those guys that goes crazy about sneakers (I know a surprising about of guys who collect sneakers and pay attention to no other article of clothing), go with a dark, more dressy sneaker (I have a favorite pair of PF Flyers that I pair with almost everything). Don't wear a running shoe. Please.

And in terms of outerwear, go with a nice coat to finish it off, and if you have a scarf and it looks nice with your outfit, consider wearing that, too. (I think it implies that you give thought to your appearance, but if you don't want to, that's fine too--just giving you options!)”