Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What to Wear

Nothing adds to the stress of a first date like the pressure to pick out the perfect outfit.

And when your roommate’s out of town, who’s going to help you comb through your closet without inducing a nervous breakdown?

You might remember last year’s advice on what to wear on a first date .The author just launched his own fashion blog, and even those of us who’ve sworn off shopping until we get a raise can learn a thing or two.

With a Sartorial Mind has tips on building your wardrobe, which isn’t necessarily our favorite hobby, but it does kind of make sense.

Think about this: how many times have you freaked out the night before a date and rushed to Forever 21 to buy a dress, and the minute you take the tags off you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake?

A recent post discusses the virtue of saving up for a killer pair of heels that you can keep for five years. Because we all know, for every one great pair of shoes you find at DSW, five more get banished to the bottom of your closet because you can’t walk in them without falling over.

There’s a whole smorgasbord of info, including recipes, and while this blog is still in its infancy, we definitely recommend that you check it out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Should I Come Bearing Gifts?

Dear Date the District,

I’m seeing this guy, and he wants me to meet his mom. We’re going out to dinner next week, and his younger brother is coming along. In the past, I’ve always met the bf’s parents at their houses, and I’ll bring wine or dessert or something. Should I bring anything to the restaurant? And, if so, what should I bring for the brother?

If you’re eating a meal at someone else’s house, you should always bring a gift—regardless of whether or not you’re sleeping with someone at the table.

But these gifts should be more edible and less specific, like the bottle of wine/dessert. If you show up with gifts for Mom and Little Joey, and, unbeknownst to you (and possibly even the bf), Grandma decides to come along, you won’t have anything to give her (which will just make your situation worse).

But when you’re going to a restaurant, you can’t really bring a hostess gift (unless it’s BYOB, which we kind of doubt will be the case for you).

Yes, it makes you feel less awkward when you can show up and hand the person you’re trying to impress a trinket of your affection. And it certainly makes for a favorable first impression.

But you can’t really bring a neutral, please-like-me present to a restaurant, and the family certainly won’t be expecting one.

In fact, a gift might make you look like too much of a kiss-ass, and no one wants to feel like her approval can be bought.

Our advice? Show up empty-handed, and let your personality win them over. When you ask people questions about themselves and really listen to what they say/follow up with more questions, they’ll be just as charmed as they would be if you showed up with a $30 bottle of wine.

Friday, March 12, 2010

How to Get Over a Guy

Whenever a relationship ends, we always wish things had played out exactly the opposite of how they actually did.

If you had to break things off, you think about how easy it would have been if the guy had pulled the plug.

If you were dumped, you wish youcould’ve been the one to say, “I don’t think this is working…”

Earlier this week,we talked about what you can do to ease the sting if you’re the one doing the dumping.

But what if you’re the one who’s getting burned, and it’s coming out of nowhere?

It’s easy to fantasize about how you could have responded (which is always perfect and the exact opposite of how you actually did respond). It’s nice to imagine running into him a few months from now, and having him apologize/beg you to take him back.

When most people get dumped, they spend a lot of time waiting for the explanation and apology. They convince themselves that if the guy could only tell them why he wasn’t interested and apologize for any wrongdoing, they’d be over it in a second.

But the justification/apology rarely has this effect in real life.

Let’s say your ex-boyfriend calls you up to explain what went wrong. He could say, “Look, I really like you, but I’m not over my ex.” And then you’ll wonder why you couldn’t help him get over his ex, and you’ll look back for the warning signs, and maybe you’ll even convince yourself that you can win him back with this knowledge. This revelation didn’t heal all wounds—if anything, you’re probably going to become more obsessed/emotionally invested.

And the fact of the matter is, you’ll never know if he’s telling the truth. He could say it’s about his ex when it’s really about your webbed feet.

But the biggest issue is, when you convince yourself that you’re not going to get over a guy until he apologizes, you’re putting all the power in his hands. And how can you get over someone who holds so much control over you?

That’s why the apology also rarely has the calming effect we expect it to. You’ve probably had at least one guy apologize for dicking you over. And did it really change how you felt?

The best way to get over someone is to do it on y our own terms—to take control of the situation and move on because you want to, not because he gives you permission to.

Speaking of last words, this is ours for the next two weeks. We’ll be on vacation until March 29, but check back in then.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Walking Down the Street

Back in the good old days, when girls went to finishing school instead of high school, they might not have learned basic math, but they definitely learned how to walk.

This skill has somehow slipped of the syllabus in recent years, but it’s definitely worth knowing. Guys probably aren’t going to notice that you have a nice stride, but they will notice you if you know how to carry yourself.

Let’s start with the basics: When most of us walk, we lead with our shoulders/upper bodies. This leads to hunched shoulders and slouched postures—although it does make for a more efficient pace.

Let’s compare:

Even the freakishly beautiful look better when they’re standing up straight. (And it’s probably better for your back or whatever.)

The key to a good stride is leading with your hipbones (those two bones that jut out from the place where your thighs meet your torso). The hipbone should move first, and everything else follows. This should automatically make you straighten your back and push back your shoulders (and add a few inches to your bustline). But if it doesn’t, fix your posture.

Think of the stride itself as emanating from your hips, not your feet. The hips are what move you; the feet follow. Place one foot in front of the other, like you’re trying to pass a sobriety test. Your hips should naturally swing from side to side, but don’t overdo it. (We’ve all seen those girls on the Metro.)

When your feet land, try to keep most of the weight in the ball of your foot. It might feel like you’re walking your tiptoes, but it prevents you from dragging your feet (especially in heels).

When you master your walk, you project confidence. And everyone is attracted to confidence, mostly because they associate with success/power.

We tested this theory for you, dear readers, the other night. We were walking home from yoga in our sweaty yoga clothes and stiletto boots, so the outfit made no sense but kind of went with all the sweat/general grossness. We walked for a few blocks without putting any effort into our stride, and, as we expected, no one paid attention. Then we walked for a few blocks using the techniques outlined above, and almost every boho (bohemian hobo) said something to the effect of “damn girl!” except for one (who, in his defense, may have been sleeping). And this was after 1.5 hours of solid sweating (interspersed with long periods of lying on the ground, but whatever).

If your hips walk you into a room, guys notice. We’re not saying that this is the best way to go about meeting your future boyfriend, but in these challenging economic times, couldn’t we all use a helping stride?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meeting Guys in Bars

There’s one piece of dating advice that most women agree on: it’s rarely a good idea to meet guys in bars.

But they’re often hard pressed to explain the rationale behind this age-old adage.

There’s the obvious if-a-guy’s-looking-to-pick-up-girls-in-a-bar,-he’s-probably-not-looking-to-date-them argument, but it rarely feels like you’re being picked up (because when a guy starts dropping lines, you start making the secret come-save-me signal to your friends).

There’s also the added difficulty of making a good first impression when you’re drunk. One (or both) of you is going to end up looking like an idiot.

And there’s definitely a social stigma against meeting guys in bars. Drinking establishments are acceptable places to meet one-night stands, but if it’s anything more, how are you going to explain it to the kids? (See yesterday's post for an answer.)

But this weekend showed us, not the downsides to meeting guys in bars, but the advantages to meeting them elsewhere.

We went skiing with a group of girls, and we met up with a group of guys that we kinda, sorta knew.

These guys all ended up being perfectly dateable. At first we thought this was a weird coincidence, but then we realized that these guys had all gotten up at 8 a.m. to make it to the mountain by 10. Which means they probably hadn’t gone out the night before. Which means they thought some things were more important than drinking. They had also opted to spend money on recreational activities that didn’t involve killing brain cells. Which means they have interesting/enriching interests and hobbies. And finally, they had at least one thing in common with all the girls there: they enjoyed skiing.

When you meet a guy at a bar, the only thing you know, with absolute certainty, is that he enjoys drinking. He can tell you that he’s a lawyer, and makes a ton of money, and loves going sailing on the weekends, but he’s still choosing to spend his Friday night at a bar.

Which is fine. But when you meet someone, say, skiing, they’ve already been vetted in the ways we outlined above. You already know, going into things, that you share certain interests.

When you meet someone at a bar, the only thing you have in common is the fact that you both enjoying drinking.

A relationship founded on a bond forged by alcohol probably won’t be as successful as one based on a shared love of Wes Anderson movies.

So while going to bars might not be the worst way you can go about meeting guys, it probably isn’t the best either.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Finding "The One" Isn't Easy

When women look for relationships, they sometimes expect certain parts to come easily.

No one would sit around and wait for his/her dream job to come around. No one would say, “with the right career, I won’t have to work for it. I’ll just sit back and it’ll come to me.”

Instead, we go to grad school and take less-than-glamorous jobs and work our asses off to move up one (tiny) step on the ladder.

Yet most of us would say that finding a life partner is just as important as a good career, if not more so. So why, then, do we go out and ruthlessly pursue the latter but refuse to put any work in to finding the former?

Most of us wouldn’t think twice about looking for a job online. And if our friend said, “Yeah, I’m not gonna use Monster, because, I dunno, it’s not really as authentic—like, our parents used to look at the Help Wanted ads and mail in their applications. I think it should go back to being like that,” we’d tell her she was crazy.

But when our friends are opposed to online dating and events targeted at meeting guys, we see their points. (This isn’t to say that all dating sites and networking events are worth trying, but a lot of people seem morally opposed to even dabbling in these resources.)

It may seem unfair to compare “love” to a job search, but isn’t that what it’s really like? It’s about finding someone who both possess the qualities you’re looking for in a partner and finds traits in you that he wants in a girlfriend. You’re looking for a “good fit,” the same way you look for the best job that you’re qualified for.

(Not to mention the fact that an abstract idea about love is a lot less important than things like compatibility and similar values, but that’s a topic for another post.)

Of course, many of us grew up hearing stories about our parents, or grandparents, or friends of grandparents, who met when they weren’t looking for love and wound up being soulmates.

It makes for a great story, but it also makes us wonder. Back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, when most of these matches presumably took place, women depended on men for economic support the same way women today need a job to pay their rent.

At the same time, various world wars decimated the male populations in Europe (and, to some extent, the U.S.). So these women needed husbands to survive, and, at the same time, they faced stiff competition for eligible bachelors. And we’re expected to believe that the ones who found husbands sat around waiting for it to happen?

We’ve tested this theory before. We probed our grandparents on specific details of their courtship, and (without airing any specific family laundry) while one set did seem to just fall in love, one of our grandmothers very actively pursued our grandfather, but she leaves out most of those details when she retells the story.

Perhaps that’s because women were expected to be ladylike and wait to be pursued by potential suitors. And even though it’s been decades, our mothers (and grandmothers) still want to project these images when they tell their stories.

This isn’t to say that women should go after men the way they go after Tory Burch flats at a Bloomingdales sale. But when we tell ourselves that, with the right guy, everything will be easy and we won’t have to work, we’re probably doing more harm than good.

So if you are really looking to meet someone, and you aren’t have much luck at The Front Page, why not try kickball or OKcupid? If you do end up meeting your future spouse, you can take a page from our grandparents’ book and tell an alternate version of the truth when someone asks how you met.

Monday, March 8, 2010

When You're Just Not That Into Him

Most of the time, when you start seeing someone, it doesn’t work out.

It’s the depressing fact of dating that keeps Ben & Jerry’s in business. But what if you’re the one who’s making the decision to terminate, and it’s only been a few dates?

We usually advocate giving someone more than one chance to get it right. But sometimes you can see the writing on the wall on the second date, like when he asks for your SAT scores over dinner.

If you’re never going to see this guy again, you might be tempted to just drop off the face of the earth. You figure you could stop responding to his texts and never return his phone calls, and you won’t have to worry about running into him at your best friend’s birthday dinner.

We’ll get back to that in a second, but what if there’s a good chance that you will run into this guy in social settings?

You could still go the ignore route and hope that he gets the hint. And the next time you see him in a bar, you can spend the whole night talking about how awkward it is, and you’ll have good gchat material for a solid week (“Ohmygod, I ran into Brian at Whitlows on Thursday and it was soooooooooo awk!”).

Or you could just level with him. Think about all the guys who’ve blown you off in the past. It’s a really shitty feeling, and it always leaves you wanting an explanation of what went wrong.

We’re not saying you should tell this guy why you don’t want to be with him. But it is nice to give him a heads up that you’re not interested.

You don’t need to tell him to his face. You don’t need to call him and pour your heart out. And you also don’t need to jump the gun—if he drops you off at your place after the third date and you never hear from him again, there’s no need to tell him that you weren’t feeling it either.

But if he does seem like he wants to pursue the relationship (i.e., he asks you out again), you could send him a text that says something like, “I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with you, but I’m not sure I can get into something right now.” If it feels right, throw in something about friendship. If it doesn’t, don’t.

He might get the message. Or he might ask to meet you in person to talk about it. Or he might get pissed and send you a scathing text message (“w/e i’m 2 hot 4 u neway”).

At this point, you don’t need to respond. Remember, you don’t owe this guy anything, and you’ve been courteous enough to tell him the truth.

If you run into him after that, you don’t have to feel guilty. You’ll probably still feel awkward, but at least you won’t have to have that, “I haven’t heard from you…” conversation.

Sending a text is not a big deal. It takes less than a minute and requires very little actual thought/effort. And so the question is, why not do it in the case of guy number one, who you’re pretty sure you’re not going to see again?

Part of being an adult is learning how to navigate awkward situations. You’re not so much doing this for the guys as you’re doing it for yourself.

If you learn how to firmly, but politely, reject someone, you’re the one who benefits. You’re more confident in your social abilities, and you don’t have to worry about not giving someone a chance because you’re worried about hurting his feelings if things don’t work out.

Bruised egos are par for the course in dating. But you feel like even more of a jackass when you realize that the person you’re pursing has been blowing you off for the past few weeks.

You can spend your 20s running from potentially awkward situations. But if you’re upfront and direct with a guy you’re not interested in, most of your tension and anxiety disappears.

If you don’t tell him, you’ll agonize over each invitation you need to invent an excuse to avoid. You’ll worry about what to say if you run into him. And you’ll waste time worrying about a situation that isn’t worth the anguish.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Missed Connections Extravaganza

First, our missed connection of the day, which is hilarious 1) because the guy signed it and 2) more because of the last line than the content itself.

Threw up on you - m4w (Hard Times)

I threw up on you at Hard Times on Monday night. I was trashed (as you could probably figure out). I thought you were really hot. I think you had red hair and maybe a twin because I saw two of you but it might have been those 21 shots I had...We should meet up.


ps-if you're not 18 dont respond

And now for a little comic relief…
Nick Thune - Missed Connections
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

News Roundup: Destination: Marriage. Route: Anybody's Guess

We’ve been putting off posting on that book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough because 1) we refuse to spend 20 bucks on a book whose title is already putting women in their place and 2) everyone else is doing it.

But a reader sent us an article from The Wall Street Journal (of all places) that talks about the relationship between dating and marriage in the aughts.

The author, Hannah Seligson (who seems to have published her own book called A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It's Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door), argues that women in our generation have trouble tying the knot because the dating world has become a lawless jungle, and there’s no clear path that leads to the altar.

Here are some highlights:

Society's messages to young women are so mixed that the path to that goal has been obscured and, at times, blocked. Those of us in our 20s and 30s know that dating—and getting into a relationship that leads to marriage—is at turns ambiguous, arduous, perplexing and often heartbreaking.

So why are "Marry Him" and "Committed" flying off the shelves? Because they do what all popular books on the subject have done over the years, decades and even centuries: They lay out rules, treating love, romance and relationships as if they are quantifiable and controllable. To be a young, single woman looking to settle down today is to be in the Wild West of dating history. Daters are ravenous for advice to order the chaos.

Ms. Seligson eventually concludes that there are no hard and fast rules that can help young women conquer the dating world, and that these books only emotionally berate their readers so that when a girl’s done reading the book, she’ll jump on the next penis that looks twice, and, viola, success story.

We agree with Ms. Seligson’s latter point, but on the former, she’s dead wrong.

In concluding that the rules have changed, she perpetuates a pervasive misconception: that human nature has somehow evolved in the last thirty years.

In Ms. Seligson’s world, things were easier for our mothers. When our parents were dating, guys always had one eye on the altar. Now they see marriage as the first day of the end of their lives.

Things may have changed, but it wasn’t because someone hit a magical switch when we entered the new millennium.

Before women’s lib, girls were expected to be chaste and virginal. They went on chaperoned dates. And while they may not have described their behavior as “playing hard to get,” that’s exactly what they were doing. Most guys made marriage a priority because it was the easiest way to get their girlfriends to have sex with them.

After women started staying in school and pursuing careers, they probably put less emphasis on finding a husband. Sure, they might have partaken in free love, but they were also performing surgery and buying expensive cars with their own paychecks, and this was all huge. Marriage isn’t going to seem like the biggest priority to a generation that’s consistently shattering glass ceilings on gender lines, and so they, too, were making guys work for it.

But now most girls enter kindergarten expecting to have a career, and suddenly marriage is a priority again. But because chastity isn’t (and because the media’s constantly telling us that the best way to win a man is to fall in love with him), men have it easier than ever before.

They can sleep with a woman without promising to marry her (and without fear of impregnating her). Girls rearrange their schedules to give them blowjobs. Sure, they might want to get married eventually, but marriage doesn’t provide the advantages that it used to.

And so the “rules” for navigating this new world are actually quite simple. And women do need to hear them. They need to do what women have been doing for generations: They need to play hard to get.

While the books Ms. Seligson discusses certainly seem to offer terrible advice, the concept of dating advice for women is far from flawed.

We just need better teachers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Missed Connection of the Day: Wrong address, right time? - m4w - 25 (Bucknell St)

Me: Stopped by your house around 8pm trying to serve papers to the family who lived there before you

You: Very cute, came to the door in your pajamas, seemed interested

I drove away regretting not giving you my number, but I had other houses to get to. Reply with the name of the family I was trying to serve so I know its you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Online Dating for Smarties

Summer Heights High taught us that students from private school are more likely to go to college and make lots of money, while nearly all wife beaters and rapists are public school educated.

So what do you do if you’re one of the lucky few to graduate from a fancy university with $150,000 in debt? You can’t date just anyone—especially someone who went to a state school.

Luckily, you have options. Why scrounge around on when anyone with an e-mail address can message you?

Instead, try It’s, “an online dating and networking community exclusively for intelligent people.” And no posers allowed—you have to pass an IQ test to join.

Here’s the first question on the IQ test:

Find the image missing in the frame

No, this isn’t a trick question. So, on second thought, this might not be a horrible idea, as we’re not sure we’d want to date anyone who couldn’t answer this question correctly.

Full disclosure: we flukned this mofo. Twice. It gets harder, we swear.

But if you’re looking for the full package (i.e., high IQ and an Ivy League education), two dating sites screen users by alma mater. advertises itself as an “exclusive online introduction and dating service… to help Ivy Leaguers and similarly well-educated graduates and faculty find others with matching credentials.”

Acceptable institutions include, Harvard, Princeton, “Medical Schools,” “Law Schools,” and “Schools of Osteopathic Medicine.”

If all of this sounds too good to be true, wait till you see the sample profiles. One reads, “Hello, I am a 24 year old Italian male. I stand 5'9" tall and weigh 166 lbs. I work out 4 days a week and enjoy outdoor avtivities [sic]. I attend the Universtity [sic] of Medicine and Dentistry. Currently, I am a junior in the Dental program. I plan on graduating in May of 2001 where I plan on becoming an associate in an established practice.”

Joining is easy: simple fill out a paper application and mail (yes, mail) it in along with your check (this company doesn’t seem to have caught on to the whole electronic payment thing yet) and hard copy photos, which they scan in and add to your profile. Want to change your profile? It’s as easy as mailing in your revisions along with a check for $5.00. Because updating a profile requires a lot of manpower, it’s $5.00 each time you update your profile. Want to see another member’s profile? Mail in a check for $5.00. While might not make you pay to look at profiles, removes 99 percent of the population from your dating pool, so it’s definitely worth it.

The Right Stuff ( has pretty much the same setup. You have to mail in a paper application, and you have to mail in $5.00 every time you want to make changes to your profile or look at another member’s page. But they have 4,900 members nationwide—which is almost the size of one graduating class at an elite universitiy! And while there may not be any members in your city, it sure beats trying to pick up jailbait at Georgetown house parties, right?

You might be wondering why these dating sites targeted at the nation’s elite look like they were designed by 5-year-olds and seem to have the technological capabilities of a Web site built in 1991. To that, we say: if you even have to ask those questions, you’re probably not smart enough to join.