Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let's Play Matchmaker

The biggest hurdle sites like face is that people have an incentive to paint an overly favorable picture of themselves. You’ll get fewer responses if you mention you have a fear of commitment, but it’s harder to find other people who have trouble settling down when you can’t advertise that facet of your personality.

Because of this, we’d like to try a matchmaking experiment in the DC area. It works like this: you email in your responses to the ten questions below (to, and we’ll match you up with someone we think you’d like.

1.     Do you have any post-secondary degrees (i.e., anything higher than high school diploma)? If so, from where and in what subject(s)?
2.     Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
3.     If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you spend your days doing?
4.     Describe your most recent relationship.
5.     What are you looking for in a partner?
6.     Why have your last three relationships failed?
7.     What are you most proud of?
8.     If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
9.     What could you spend all day talking about?
10. What could you spend all day listening to?
11. Anything else you want us to know?

Entries will remain strictly anonymous, but if you’re super paranoid you can send in the first round of responses from a fake email address. If we think you’d make a good match, we’ll ask you for a picture. Neither the picture nor your answers will be shared with the person we match you up with. We’ll e-troduce you (awww) and leave it up to you guys to schedule the first date. After the first date, we’ll ask you to send us a write-up of how the date went (what worked and what didn’t) and whether or not you’d see the person again (and why). No write-ups will be published, but we may use some of your insights in an upcoming post, but any identifying details will be disguised beyond recognition (if you want proof, ask our friends, whose love lives we’ve been writing about for more than a year now).

The more brutally honest you are, the easier it’ll be to match you up (and remember—no one else is going to see your responses).

For the time being, we’re going to limit entries to the DC area (sorry Bmore).

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why Two Dates Aren't Always Better Than One

When two 20-somethings go on a first date, it’s probably safe to assume that one or both parties has other similar outings lined up for later in the week.

After all, the vast majority of first dates won’t work out, and you’d be crazy to cancel on that guy you met at kickball just because your friend’s cousin finally asked you out, and you’d be just as crazy to say no to the cousin just because you’ve been on two dates with the kickball guy, who, now that you think about it, is 27 and still interning on the hill.

There’s nothing morally reprehensible, or skanky, or even just icky about dating multiple people at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with giving a guy your number when you’ve been on a few great dates with a guy from OK Cupid.

If you put yourself out of commission any time a new guy comes up, you might give up a lot for a guy you could lose interest in after a few more dates.

It only becomes an issue after you hit that murky double-digit date mark where you don’t want to DTR, but you’re thinking this is headed toward exclusivity. You hope he’s not seeing anyone else, but you’re not sure, and the impulse to ask is getting harder and harder to ignore.

There are all kinds of ways to overcome this urge to launch into a “where-is-this-going” conversation, which, as we’ve discussed, is a bad idea.

But one of the worst solutions is filling up your free nights with more dates.

It’s not because it’s unfair to the guy or unladylike—it’s because it’s unhealthy for you.

When you’re seeing someone you like and filling your social calendar with guys who asked for your number, you’re using these dates as a way to protect yourself if it doesn’t work out with the guy you like.

Rejection stings each and every time it happens, but when you try to preemptively ease the pain by giving yourself more than enough backup options, what you’re really doing is curing rejection with validation from other people.

The problem with this remedy is that it makes you dependant on what other people think of you. You can’t be happy unless someone else likes you, which is a really inefficient way to find personal satisfaction/contentment. If you can’t feel good about yourself unless someone else is showering you with compliments, you’re going to waste so much time seeking out people who otherwise wouldn’t be worth it.

When your sense of self-worth relies on other people, you’re setting yourself up for unhappiness. People flake out for no reason and lose interest over things you can’t control. The more weight you put on their validation, the bigger the letdown.

When you deliberately line up other dates when things are going well with another guy, you’re also setting yourself up for bad dating habits.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go out with a friend of a friend that you’ve met a few times, who seems really great, and who you think might be a better match than your current prospect.

But when you’re handing out your number to anyone who asks and getting drinks with guys who set off warning bells before they even ask you out, you’re establishing a pattern of behavior that sets relationships up to fail. You’re learning to keep your distance, sneak around behind someone’s back,  and stay as far away from monogamy as possible.

We should say that most women don’t have this problem—if anything, some could use a lesson in not getting attached at the drop of a hat.

But for the rest of us, successful relationships usually don’t come from keeping as many options on the table as possible.

And if you stop relying on other people to tell you how great you are, rejection won’t sting as much in the first place.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Romance for Less

One of our astute readers sent in this money-saving tip for those of you who like the paid dating sites.

This reader’s account had expired, and she was trying to unsubscribe to sing up for a different website. Unsubscribing was a multistep process, and when she got to the end, they offered her the option to resubscribe for 50% off.

So if your match (or any other account) is about to expire and you do want to keep your account, it’s cheaper to pretend that you don’t, go through the process of unsubscribing, and then resubscribing at the end when you get the 50% discount.

Or, if you want to try out a site for the first time, it might be worth it to sign up for one month, try to unsubscribe at the end, and use the 50% discount to snag the 6-month subscription for less.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday News Roundup: Background Checks and Online Dating

While this article had a few good tips on safety (like always meeting first dates in public), but for the most part it felt like sensationalized nightly news, painting the world as a much more dangerous place than it actually is.

Yes, some people on these sites might have spouses, or criminal records, or dangerous intentions, but so do people that you meet at coffeeshops, bars, night classes, work, even house parties.

We seem to have this idea that rapists and criminals are drawn to the internet. It is, after all, easy to hide behind an assumed identity when you can post whatever picture you want, but it’s equally as easy to lie in person. Sure, you can’t fake your weight or age when you’re having a face-to-face conversation, but when was the last time you asked for ID when a guy gave you his name?

People you meet at bars have no incentive to disclose a criminal record, and just because someone said it to your face doesn’t mean it’s true.

The fact is, rape wasn’t invented by the internet, and you’re at just as much risk when you go around meeting people in “real” life too.

Unfortunately, this article provides no numbers, and it doesn’t seem like there’s been extensive research comparing criminals who target dating sites instead of deserted alleys, but we’d bet that the percentages are about the same, if not lower in favor of online dating. If there’s anything CSI’s taught us, it’s that a lot of criminals get their kicks from the challenges.

But the main issue with this article is that it fails to discuss the biggest potential hurdle for these companies that offer background checks on online users, which is that they rely on accurate information. If you want a background check on SurfBoy212, you’d need his full name and date of birth. But if someone’s trying to conceal a criminal history, he’s probably not going to offer up honest answers to your inquiries.

Even if they’re not trying to hide anything, how are you going to go about obtaining a DOB? It reminds us of the date-rape kit David Cross always carries:

That’s not to say that you should have to feel embarrassed/apologetic about looking out for your safety, but the main issue is that you’d probably have to be upfront about it to get the correct information. This probably isn’t going to create the most favorable impression for your date, which again, would be OK if the results would be accurate.

But because a guy with something to hide is probably going to lie in the first place, you’re risking a lot for a very unlikely payoff. The fact is, you never know when someone’s telling you the truth, and if meeting guys in real life gives you a false sense of security, that’s probably more dangerous than skeptically online dating.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Having "The Talk"

Sometimes, starting a new relationship can be more frustrating than perpetual singledom.

Obsession climbs to new heights, and so much feels open to interpretation. Is he seeing other people? Should you be? When is he going to start calling you his girlfriend? Should you ask?

We’ll address dtr (defining the relationship) first.

Simply put, it’s never something you should bring up. Nothing’s less sexy than starting a conversation with, “We need to talk…”

The problem with dtr is that it makes you look insecure and needy, like you can’t be happy or satisfied until you have a label. Who would you rather spend time with—a guy who’s cool and funny and laid back, or a guy who asks you to be his girlfriend on the first date?

And at the end of the day, a label means nothing. He could call you his girlfriend and spend his business trips macking on everything with a vagina, or he could insist that you go out to dinner with five of his friends before he’s started using titles.

The way he acts is much more important, and if he’s taking you out, calling to check in, and doing things that make you happy, it’s heading in the right direction.

And whenever one person tries to dtr, it automatically gives the other person the upper hand. The person looking for a title is going to seem more invested, more eager, and more interested in the other person. Why not give yourself the upper hand by waiting for him to initiate the proceedings?

OK, you say, but what if he’s seeing other people?

This is a very distinct possibility, especially at the beginning of a relationship. If he’s dating, it probably means he’s trying to meet as many women as possible, because most relationships don’t work out.

At a certain point, monogamy becomes the expectation, but that point is different for every person. You probably have crossovers you wouldn’t like to admit to in your past, but having a conversation isn’t the solution.

If he’s still seeing other people 6 months in, it’s probably not because you didn’t have “the talk”—it’s because he’s probably not that interested in monogamy in the first place. And a guy who’s still dating after half a year probably isn’t acting like your boyfriend or inviting you home to meet his parents.

That’s why it all goes back to actions. If he’s behaving in a manner that’s deserving of your affections, return his calls and accept his invitations. If he’s not, stop making plans with him.

And if you really want him to start calling you his girlfriend, the best thing you can do is act like he’s not your boyfriend. Introduce him to people as your “friend.” Don’t let your friends say, “I’ve heard so much about you.” Let him jump in and say, “Actually, I’m her boyfriend” or confront you about it later.

It might be that the dtr conversation hasn’t even crossed his mind. But when you do things like call him “my friend Derrick,” you’re forcing him to think about the issue.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You always find something when you’re not looking

When people are in the mood to dish out dating advice, many love to say, “You always find something when you’re not looking.”

The implication is that relationships only come along when you’re so frustrated that you stop looking, like the universe is taking pity on you or something. And the “advice,” if it can even be called that, is what—to stop looking for a relationship?

This relationship platitude is kind of like saying, “When you lose something, it’s always in the last place you look.” It sounds right until you think about it for .2 milliseconds, and then you realize this gives you nothing and you’d be better off burying a statue of Saint Francis upside-down in the backyard.

“You always find something when you’re not looking” also has some ring of truth to it—you’re more likely to find a relationship when you’re not spending 12 hours a day on—but it’s not because you’ve stopped looking.

The people who seem most attractive to members of the opposite (or same) sex are those who seem happy, well-adjusted, confident, and, most important—busy. When someone seems like she has a full and exciting life, other people want to be part of it.

When you “stop looking” (which we would translate as “stop looking desperate”), you’re sending these kinds of signals. Your life seems so cool and interesting that you’re not going to drop everything to look for a boyfriend, and that’s precisely why guys are going to want to be yours.

So the trick isn’t to stop looking; it’s to make it seem as though you’re not looking. To project a persona that seems too awesome to settle for just anyone, and to market your life as something that everyone should want.

This means not skipping your yoga class for a date with a guy you met at Russia House. It means not showing up for singles mixers (do they even exist anymore?) and not begging your friends to set you up.

It means building a life that’s totally fulfilling without a better half. And when one comes along, it means making sure he knows he’s not the center of your universe.

Side note: we’re doing some transpacific traveling from now until the new year, so apologies in advance if we’re not posting as much as you’d like. We’ll be back to our regular schedule as soon as we recover from our NYE hangovers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Survey the District: Online Dating Advice?

Today's question comes from one of our male readers (sorry if the picture was misleading for some of you).


Been searching for best way to meet new people for dating online. But is seems like there are so many losers out there and I just don' know where to start.

I've checked into dating sites like but they really don't seem to work that well.

What's your experience been. Any suggestion would be most appreciated.

Our regular readers know we’ve always been advocates of free dating sites.

The problem with Match, eHaromny, and other subscription sites is that, by requiring users to pay in, they attract people who are both so desperate to find someone that they’ll drop cash on the promise of potentially meeting someone they might like, and also more interested in cashing in their investment.

On the paid dating sites, everyone knows what you’re there for, and people are looking to make the most if it before their subscriptions expire.

This encourages unattractive behavior. People have an incentive to move fast, and, because they’ve paid money, they feel like they’re owed something.

On free dating sites, you’re more likely to get people who are just curious, testing the waters, and not overly committed to finding The One in cyberspace.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that users on the free sites will be more datable or desirable, but it does mean they’ll probably interact in a different manner. Their profile’s not going away if they forget to pay, so there’s no need to message you back immediately. They don’t need to arrange dates that week because they’re not even sure if this is the answer in the first place.

But it is important to realize that your zip code is probably the biggest factor in the success (or failure) in your foray into online dating.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, you’re going to find more potential matches than you will in a rural area. A bigger population means more options, whether you’re going to house parties or browsing the internet.

But why are you so quick to label other users as “losers?” In most cities, there’s actually a high percentage of “normal” people who have jobs, hobbies, lives, and, in some cases, dignity, that prevent them from attending singles mixers or hiring a matchmaker.

Diving into the online dating pool usually requires an open mind—after all, those of us who grew up with the internet were always taught to be on the lookout for pedophiles and other dangerous criminals lurking behind a mask of deception and online anonymity. 

You have to get past that, and realize that most of the people who sign up for these sites are probably more like you—looking to meet someone, but not interested in dropping everything for your search.

Online dating’s biggest selling point is convenience—it’s easier than getting set up and there’s a bigger selection than you’d find at a random bar (and meeting people in bars is a terrible idea to begin with).

Simply put, our advice is to sign up for a few free websites and see how it goes. Message a few women and go out on a few dates. If it’s not for you, it’s not the end of the world. But we bet you’ll find it’s way easier than calling that girl your mother’s been talking up for years.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why We’re Just Not That Into He’s Just Not That Into You

We spend a lot of time throwing quick punches at the book all women were reading 5 years ago, He’s Just Not That Into You.

Today, we thought we’d finally explain why we don’t like this book, and why we think it does more harm than good.

Our problem isn’t with the message, which is, in its most condensed form, is basically this: if he’s not actively trying to make you his girlfriend, he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend.

That’s solid advice—too many of us spend hours obsessing about what a text means, trying to explain away the fact that he isn’t calling, texting, or telling you he wants to get serious. Sometimes we are wasting our time and energy on people who, for whatever reason, are never going to change their minds.

The problem is that this is where the message stops. He’s not into you, so get over it and move on to someone who is. And, most importantly, it’s not you—it’s him.

This isn’t always true. Sometimes it is you. Sometimes you’re clingy, or text too often, or talk about your ex, or tell him you’re on a diet, or engage in a variety of other behaviors that don’t reflect the awesome, amazing, self-confident person that you are.

HJNTIY would say, “Fuck him—wait for a guy who loves your neuroses!”

That’s certainly one solution, but a better one might be to behave in a manner that’s attractive to men. To make yourself less available. To project a friendly, confident, and independent personality. To make a guy work for your affection.

There’s definitely a point where you need to forget him and move on. But HJNTIY focuses exclusively on this point—not the before and after, which are usually the more important parts. The before is your chance to seduce, and the after is usually easier said than done. If getting over a crush were as easy as saying, “Oh well, he’s just not that into me!”, Facebook wouldn’t have expanded beyond Harvard.

It’s easy to obsess and hard to break the habit. It’s easy (once you know what you’re looking for) to figure out when a guy isn’t interested. But it’s much harder to avoid having to give yourself the HJNTIY pep talk in the first place.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Dating

One of our friends is going on a holiday dating hiatus. She’s locked her OK Cupid account until New Year’s and she’s postponing dates until after the ball drops.

When she first mentioned this to us, we were skeptical. It seemed arbitrary, and arbitrary rules are never the best way to make the most of a dating scene.

But then she explained her rationale. Holidays come with certain expectations for couples: awkward office parties, gift exchanges, dinner with his family. It’s tricky enough when you’ve been dating for a while, but when you’re still in the getting to know you stages, it can put a lot of pressure on both people (and the relationship).

Should he invite you to the holiday party? And if he does, how will he introduce you to his boss? Does he need to buy you a present? Are you going to buy him one? If he brings you home, will his mom get off his case? Will it freak you out if he asks?

If you meet a great guy at your friend’s ugly Christmas sweat party, we’re not saying you should tell him to call you after New Year’s.

But, if you’re like most people, this is probably the busiest time of your year. So if he calls you for a second date and you have to finish shopping, don’t be afraid to say so.

Don’t feel like you need to squeeze in too many first dates with a new person. If you space out your dates, there won’t be any ambiguity. He won’t show up with a gift, and you won’t obsess over what you need to get him.   

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making a Guy Jealous (Part III)

We spent the last two days talking about bringing up other guys in the presence of a potential partner, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the other side of the issue: what to do if a guy brings up his ex/other girls in front of you.

It’s a little more cut and dry, but if you’re seeing a guy, and he brings up a girl, it’s generally pretty bad news.

Let’s say, for example, that the guy you’re dating casually mentions going to a club with his friends last weekend and the hot girls who are “all over him.”

This is totally disrespectful, and while you might think you’ll look cool and nonchalant if you don’t make a big deal of it, you’ll also look like you don’t have a lot of self-respect.

He might not be testing you, but your response does reveal how much he can get away with. Don’t laugh or play along or point out his total lack of manners—change the subject as quickly as you can, but, more importantly, unless he goes out of his way to make up for this gaffe, you should probably write this guy off.

When you first start seeing someone, it’s unrealistic to expect him to stop looking immediately. But when he goes out of his way to bring up his extra-curricular activities, he’s basically bragging about being an asshole, and if he’s doing that on the first or second date, you don’t wanna see what he’s like 6 months from now.

Ex-girlfriends are a different story. Yes, it’s tacky and bad manners to bring them up, especially in front of a new girl, but the intent is usually far from malicious in situations like this.

If a guy spent three years with a girl, he’s probably going to have a lot of anecdotes that start with, “My ex…”

And while you might be too savvy to make this mistake, he might honestly not realize there’s anything wrong with talking about a person who was a huge part of his life for a time.

If he’s bringing her up every five minutes or giving you the impression that he’s still totally in love with her, that’s one thing, but if he’s just mentioning her off-hand, you just need to take control of the conversation and remove her completely.

If he says, “Yeah, my ex turned me on to 30 Rock,” get off the topic of Liz Lemon immediately—say something like, “Yeah, did you hear about her lifetime achievement award thing at the Kennedy Center?”

Don’t let him get into a conversation about her—you don’t have to be rude or abrupt about it, and don’t say anything like, “Let’s not talk about your ex,” just ask him a question that takes the conversation in a totally different direction.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making a Guy Jealous (Part II)

Yesterday we talked about why it’s a bad idea to bring up an ex/other guys to make a new guy jealous.

But casually mentioning other men in your life can be advantageous when you’re unequivocally dating, although we’re still not advocating using it to inspire jealousy.

Let’s say you want him to come to something with you—your office Christmas party. He kind of balks at the idea and seems totally uninterested. You could nag, but it’s better to say something like, “It’s fine—I can just bring this guy Jeff.” When he asks who Jeff is (or even if he doesn’t), you say something like, “Oh, he’s just this guy I went out with a few times last summer—it’s OK, I’m totally not interested in him in that way, although I wish he would get the hint, but he’s a really cool guy and I’ve been meaning to hang out with him.”

You need to establish that this guy wants you, but totally desexualize the relationship on your end (i.e., assuring him that you’re in no way interested). That way, it looks like you’re going out of your way to prevent jealousy (because there’s no way you’d initiate anything with Jeff!), but you’re still allowing your S.O. to imagine the possibilities of you spending the evening with a guy who has the hots for you.

If you are going to evoke competition, you have to make it seem like you’re going out of your way to do exactly the opposite. If you say, “Fine, I’ll go with Jeff—we’re totally into each other!” it makes you look petty, spiteful, and overly dramatic. The trick is to present it as something that seems like the perfect solution—Jeff is totally in love with you, so of course he’ll go, but don’t worry, you have absolutely zero interest in him, so nothing will happen. Everyone wins!

Or let’s say you’ve been wanting him to take you to Komi, but he won’t take the hint. Say something like, “My friend Jeff’s taking me to Komi on Friday—I’m so excited, because I’ve been really wanting to go but it’s wayyyy too expensive for me to pay my own way, but I need some guy advice. A few months ago, he told me that he was in love with me—he’s really awesome and cute, but I just don’t think of him in that way, and I told him, but I think he still thinks there’s a chance—am I leading him on if I go? I mean, I’m totally, 100 percent, not interested, but I know he won’t let me pay because he knows that’s like the easiest way to make a girl stick around—Oh, you didn’t know that? Yeah, paying for girls is like the easiest way to have her eating out of the palm of your hand—not that I’m saying you should do it with me—I like not being totally under a guy’s spell.”

This looks totally innocent—after all, you’re just asking for advice, and he’s being paranoid if he thinks you’re going to end up at Jeff’s place at the end of the night—how many times have you told your S.O. that you don’t think of this totally sweet, cute, amazing guy Jeff in that way!

But if the issue is that he’s not calling, flaking out, whatever, you need to appear unavailable and uninterested. That means you shouldn’t even be in enough contact with him to drop other guys’ names.

Let’s say he invited you to dinner on Saturday, but texted you at 3 p.m. to say that the restaurant lost the reservation and suggest just coming over to his place instead. You could either 1) head to his apartment and keep saying, “Wow, my ex used to take me to such great dinners!” while you’re making out on his couch or 2) say, “Ah no problem—let’s try for sometime next week!”

The problem with the first scenario is that, no matter how subtle you think you’re being, it’s not working. He’s either missing the point or totally turned off by how obvious you’re being—he gets it, you want dinner, but you’re giving him what he wants and he didn’t have to drop 80 bucks, so all he has to do is ignore your whining.

And Jeff won’t work in this scenario, because neither of you is committed enough for it to be an issue. If you’ve only been on a few dates, and he seems like he wants to keep things casual, it’ll look weird if you start talking about Jeff. He has no right to care if you’re dating other people, and rubbing it in his face makes you look a little skanky. And you don’t know him well enough to be asking him “guy” advice, and even if you did, his reaction probably wouldn’t be, “Wow, I need to take her to Komi,” it would be more like, “Wow, doesn’t she have someone else to ask about this?”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a Guy Jealous (Part I)

Dear Date the District,

Do you think there’s an advantage to talking about dudes/exes to make a guy jealous?

First, we’d like to commend this reader on her brevity (not that we don’t love those of you who write in with page-long questions).

And then we’d like to dash her dreams of one-stop seduction with a resounding and unequivocal no.

It sounds so good in theory! How many times have you seen your cute coworker chatting up the girl from accounting and spent the next two hours plotting new and improved ways to get there first? Can’t you use that to put him in the same mindset?

 Here’s the thing: when it comes to crushes, guys can be a little more practical. That’s not to say that they don’t pine over one-true loves or spend hours looking at their exes’ Facebook photos, but if they haven’t made an investment, they’re more likely to abort mission if you seem taken.

Girls are more likely to develop crushes and obsess, spending hours trying to analyze what that nod at happy hour meant, why he asked them about their plans for New Year’s. Once the train leaves the station, it’s not going to stop, and it becomes really hard, if not impossible, to hit the brakes on those feelings.   

Guys, on the other hand, usually don’t spend as much time fantasizing about their 60th wedding anniversary—they’re more interested in the here and now. If a girl’s cute and she’s single, great! If she’s cute and she’s taken, it’s easier for guys to nip a crush in the bud before he gets attached.

If you try to bring up potential competition too early on (e.g., before he’s even asked you out), you could scare him off—not because he’ll assume you’re not interested, but because he realizes the odds are not in his favor.

This doesn’t mean you should make yourself seem available—definitely don’t bring up the fact that you’re single, looking, whatever. He probably won’t assume there’s a boyfriend if you don’t mention one, so there’s no need to reassure him that he’s on the right track.

If you drop masculine names, you also run the risk of looking too focused on finding a relationship. We’ve already talked about why using the term “ex-boyfriend” isn’t buying you anything, but there’s also the fact that the most attractive people are the ones who seem totally self-sufficient, satisfied with their lives, and over any past relationships.

When you start hinting at guy friends in what you want him to think is coded language, you’re opening yourself up to interpretations that aren’t conducive to great relationships.

For starters, you’re basically inviting him to assume that you’re dating other people.

Yes, it’s probably advantageous for most single 20-somethings to be dating several people at once if the opportunities present themselves. But drawing attention to your jam-packed dating schedule is more sleazy than sexy. We hate to have to drop this line again, but it’s the whole lady-in-the-street-freak-in-the-bed thing.

If you take it back to biology, it’s really important for men to find faithful partners because that’s the only way they can be sure to pass on their genes (when a woman sleeps around, she still knows she’s the mother of her child). There’s obviously more to it than that, but the bottom line is that most men aren’t looking for women who seem promiscuous (regardless of how committed they might be to their own promiscuity).

So when you mention your trip to the movies with your friend who just happens to be named Adam, you’re implicitly giving him the go-ahead to keep things casual (and a lot of guys are looking for any invitation to do just that), and you’re also drawing attention to your own lack of innocence, which, as unfair as it may be, makes you seem less desirable.

The bottom line is, if he finds you attractive, he’s probably going to assume that other guys do too. Reminding him that your powers of seduction work on other people does more harm than good.

That being said, there is a but. After you’ve established a relationship (i.e., you’re officially “dating”), it can be advantageous to mention other men—as long as you take steps to desexualize it. More on this tomorrow.