Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tough Love

People love to make excuses, especially when it might hurt someone's feelings not to. On the other hand, I've seen altogether too many of my female friends lately getting themselves hurt because they chased after a guy who gave them an excuse without reading between the lines to understand what he really meant.

We're simple creatures. A guy's desires are not that tough to figure out, and we're extremely motivated by sex/lust/attraction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If a guy is into you, he will climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, and move heaven and earth to spend time with you and possibly get into your pants.

We're also pretty damn flattered when a girl seems to be interested, even if we don't feel the same way. Here's where the excuses come in. Most guys I know don't like to hurt a girl's feelings, especially if they know she likes them, so we think of we think of a way to tell you that doesn't come out as "you're unattractive," "I thought you were cool but you turned me off with something you did," or "dear god no."

If you've ever heard the following phrases and taken them at face value, chances are what he was really saying was one of those potentially hurtful sentences above:

"You know, work's really busy right now and I don't have a lot of time, but it'll calm down in a few weeks." No way. I don't care how busy work gets. Unless I'm out of town, I will definitely find time to hang out/hook up with a girl I think is attractive.

"You're a great friend, and I really don't want to mess up the friendship." I've definitely said this before. Several times. And every time, what I've really meant is "I'm just not attracted to you, but I don't want to hurt your feelings." If I was, I would totally risk the friendship, and I've done that before a few times, too. In fact, my best relationships have come from close friendships, so if you're an attractive friend, that already gives you a headstart. Sorry.

"You're too old/young/far away for me." Ok, this one can sometimes be legit, but it depends on how extreme the difference is. Keep that "highest mountain, deepest ocean, heaven and earth" thing in mind, and you'll be able to tell what he means.

"I don't date girls without college degrees." Again, digging for excuses here. A college degree really has no impact on how intelligent or well-read you seem.

"I don't think we have very much in common." This really doesn't matter too much to guys, unless your goals and/or outlooks on life are very different. Example: He's a conservative christian who's waiting for marriage and you're a hooker, or vice versa.

So if you hear any of these, or something similar, read between the lines. This guy is not worth any more of your time or energy. When he says "I think we'd be better off as friends," what he means is "when I imagine you naked and underneath (or on top of) me, it's not a pleasant thought." Obsessing over or pursuing him will only result in you getting hurt. Especially if he decides not to pass on a sure thing, sleeps with you, and then bails. There's only exception to this rule that I know of: sometimes he'll disqualify you to save face if he thinks you're not feeling it for him, but if that's what's going on, you're not going to pursue it anyway, so you don't need to hear this.

Don't waste time on things that just won't happen. And even though I've written this about guys for women, it works in reverse, too.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Like" Actually

Ok, I've started about to write about about a bajillion different topics today, and none of them seem to be coming out right, so I'm going to go ahead and break my "no personal details" rule for you guys. Rules were made to be broken, right?

I have a date tomorrow night. Now, I've had a lot of dates lately, and most of them haven't exactly gone the way I'd hoped they would. This one, on the other hand, seems to be a contender. She responded to the same ad as the "adult entertainer," which was virtually identical to my tribute to The Onion y'all read here (wow, have I used enough links in this paragraph???). She's also most likely reading this (hiya! Don't let it go to your head ;-) ), so maybe I shouldn't be saying anything. Oops. Oh well.

We've both passed the picture test (with flying colors), and seem to fit all the right demographics stuff, but the thing that really intrigues me here is the conversation. As I've mentioned before, people seem to feel at ease around me pretty quickly and easily, and I'm a flirt, so the awkward silence is pretty rare when I'm getting to know someone. That said, it's been a long time (like years) since I've had conversations that work this well with someone I barely know. People are usually good in area or another, but it's tough to find someone who "clicks" on all of them. One person's extremely intelligent and we have a lot in common, but isn't so great in the flirting department. Another can be good looking and flirty, but our goals in life are totally incompatible or the timing's off. This one seems desperate, and that one too far to the other end of the scale. It really amazes me to find a person who covers all the bases, and when the sparks are flying like it's after dusk on Independence Day... well, I'm officially intrigued.

I love the "getting to know you" game. It's such an intricate little dance. You take turns showing a little bit of interest, volunteering information about yourself, asking questions about them, flirting a bit, and so on. It's also pretty delicate -- since you don't know each other, neither of you has very much invested at first, and if one person tries to move ahead without being certain that the other is on board, it can fizzle out quickly. Conversely, if one person doesn't send out the right signals, it can be over before you know it because the other one assumes they're not interested. When everything happens in just the right balance, though, the process is almost invisible. All we tend to notice is "wow, this person's great!" That's kind of where I'm at right now.

I think I'll end this with one of the most creative and interesting compliments I've recieved in quite a while. It's also pretty darn mutual. Goes a little something like this:

"I don't get it. Something must be really wrong with you and I haven't caught it yet, because you just can't be as great as you seem."

Good Stuff:

I recently found new blog, and Jo wrote the awesomest thing ever the other day. I'm smitten. If she wasn't already taken, she'd definitely be in trouble from this direction...

Monday, January 29, 2007


This is the best idea ever.

Wish they had that when I was younger.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ask LMNt Friday -- January 26, 2006

Hey guys, you know what day it is. This week's guest is Jamy from Grateful Dating. She's a real pro at this stuff, with great perspectives and a very interesting blog. If you haven't read it, check it out. Now let's get to the question.

Feeling Betrayed writes:

I met a guy online, and we've been seeing each other for about two months. I really like him. The other day, I logged in and saw he's been active in the last 24 hours. We've been sleeping together, so it really bugs me. What gives?

Jamy says:

It's ok to ask him about it, but keep in mind that you will have to explain why you were online. He'll probably give an answer like, "Oh, I was just curious to see if I'd had any responses." If you've kept your account alive, this kind of curiosity is understandable, but, even under the best of circumstances, it means he's not fully engaged in his relationship with you.

It's time to set some ground rules about what is and isn't acceptable behavior. Think about it before you talk to him. Make sure you don't set ultimatums that you won't keep or that don't really matter to you. I'd say after two months of dating and sleeping together, it's time to hide your online profile. Actually, the last time I started dating someone, I hid my profile the day after our first date...but that's because I knew we were going to keep seeing each other. Your guy should know this by now and it's time to stop logging in. That goes for you too.

LMNt says:

Great points, Jamy. I don't know that I agree that he's definitely not into her, though. I think she should cut him a little slack, and here's why.

The way I see it you've actually got two issues here -- his activity on the dating site, and his commitment to you or lack thereof. Let's start with the online activity.

I wouldn't necessarily assume he's out there on the prowl for women. He very well may be, but it's just as likely that he's not. I've been known to sign in to delete "winks" or emails, to window-shop with no intention of actually contacting anyone, or to give a friend an opinion on her profile. Hell, he could have even been looking to see if you have been active. You never know what's in his head unless you ask, but be very careful not to start the discussion in a way that implies you've been checking up on him. That's red flag territory. Remember, you've signed in recently yourself, or you wouldn't be asking about this.

That said, it seems to me that the real issue here for you is commitment, and that can be a sticky subject these days. Have you all discussed whether you're seeing other people or not? For a lot of guys out there, dating other people is absolutely fair game until you've had "the talk." In fact, I tell my female friends that they should always assume their guy is seeing other girls until he's actually said he's not. I actually know a few guys who will keep going on dates when their heart's not really in it because the girl hasn't brought up commitment yet and they don't want to be too available or easy-to-get. In most areas of dating, men take the lead, but when it comes to commitment, the L word, or other areas that women are traditionally more concerned with than men, guys usually sit back and wait for her to bring it up.

So my recommendation to you is to forget about his online activity and start a discussion about not seeing other people. If you've been hooking up for two months, and you want to be in a relationship with this guy, it's definitely about the right time to get it out there. Hell, if you've been seeing a lot of each other (say three or four times a week), the discussion's probably overdue. He could be just as confused about the situation as you are, if not more so. If he is that into you, chances are he's probably not dating other people and he'll jump at the opportunity. If he doesn't, it's a good sign that it may be time to drop him and move on to the next one. But I think you should give him the benefit of the doubt. In general, guys aren't as good at subtle things as women are, and he probably doesn't know the rules if you two haven't verbally spelled them out. Have the talk, but don't crack the whip -- make sure it's a two-sided productive discussion around how both of you feel about your relationship and commitment.

Don't Forget!

If you've got a question you'd like me (and possibly a pretty cool female blogger) to address, send it in to lmntalattraction (at) gmail (dot) com. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mr. Clean

One of my favorite things in the world is a group shower (and by "group," of course, I mean "me and my girl"). Not as a sexual thing, although sometimes it can be, but more as a bonding ritual or what-have-you. It's an awesome way to start your day if someone spent the night at someone else's. It saves water, and it's nice to have someone else around who can reach that damn spot on your back that's so hard to get to.

I'm lucky to live where I do, because my shower is absolutely perfect for it. It's a little wider than most of the standard shower-head-in-the-bathtub setups, and a little shorter, too. What this actually means? Two people can be in the shower together and comfortably share the hot water -- nobody has to be out in the cold, and no taking turns necessary. No accidentally knocking someone over when you reach for the soap, either.

The real beauty of the coed shower lies in the simple things: contact, touch, massage. A warm, private, shared moment together before you go out and face the real world. Like I said, it's a bonding ritual. I think it's important for every couple to have their own private ways of enjoying each other's company, touching base, and closing the rest of the world out for a moment or two that they look forward to on a fairly regular basis. For some it's doing the crossword, others like commuting together... some couples like to curl up on the couch and read. For me, a shower is usually on the list.

When I win the lottery, I'm totally going to have a huge hot water tank and one of those nifty two-headed showers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oh. My. God.

Ok, so I know I said I probably wasn't going to entertain y'all with the exciting tales of my personal life, but this is just too good not to spill.

I got an email last night in response to a personal ad I'd placed recently from a prostitute. Not a prostitute who wanted to make me her customer, but a prostitute who wants to go on a date. I'm sorry, an "adult entertainer who also has a massage service."

Ew. I really don't even know what else to say about it. That's just gross.

No thank you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't Talk to Strangers?

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear someone complain that they're single and unhappy with it, but they're not out actively trying to be a social person. They sit at home when they're not at work, maybe they've got a profile online somewhere, but they don't really make an effort to bring new people into their lives.

If you want to be surrounded by fun, interesting people, you have to be a fun and interesting person yourself. You also have to meet a lot of them. I believe in making an effort to become a people magnet. Not just for cute girls, but people in general. I'm the guy who talks to the person behind me in line at the checkout or asks someone in the bookstore if they like the one they're reading. I flirt with cashiers and befriend waiters or waitresses. In short, I try to be an outgoing, friendly person.

The thing is, you never know where you're going to meet a really fun new friend or date. That frazzled woman at the grocery store who's trying to figure out how to tell if a mango is ripe? Her eligible brother could be perfect for you. The guy at the bar rooting for the opposing team? He could be your new workout partner or best friend. He may also be having a killer party on Saturday night.

Seriously, if you look at the people around you in your daily life as friends you haven't met yet, the world becomes a better place. Sure, sometimes someone is having a bad day and/or more afraid of strangers than the average, and you get a bad reaction. But in general, humans are social creatures -- we're pack animals -- and most people are pleasantly surprised when a friendly stranger starts a conversation. We all like the attention. Most of these brief interactions don't lead anywhere, but every once in a while you run into someone who you really have a ton in common with and make a cool new friend (or sometimes more).

Everybody's got a bit of an introverted side. I used to be a loner to the extreme. I think it starts when we're little and "don't talk to strangers" is pretty damn important. We're also pretty terrified of rejection in most cases. But the thing is, I realized that humans are happier when they're around others, and worked hard to overcome the attitudes that were holding me back. Now it's become habit -- I run my errands at the times when other people are doing the same, instead of trying to figure out when I can get in and out the fastest. If something interesting happens, I comment about it to the person next to me. When I see a girl I find attractive, I don't hesitate to say "Hi, how are you?" I try not to turn down social invitations whenever possible, even if I think I'm not in the mood. I'm usually in the mood by the time I get there, anyway. In short, I look for opportunities to interact with others.

Changing my outlook this way has done really great things for my social life, mood, and self esteem in general. Have any of you made the switch? How did it change your life?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Breaking News: Area Man Still Single

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA Jan 22 -- LMNt L. Attraction, 27, an attractive local man, is still single, sources close to the eligible bachelor tell us. Area residents are shocked to learn that since ending a two year relationship in early May of 2006, Attraction has had several dates and a few short-term flings, but nothing that has developed into a substantial, lasting relationship.

"I'm amazed. He's a really great guy -- cute, funny, genuinely interested in others, and he always has these cool little stories about what he's been up to lately," says neighbor Emily FromNextDoor. "If I wasn't already married, I'd probably try to snap him up myself. Sometimes I even wait to get the mail or pick up the newspaper until I see him out there, just so we can chat for a minute."

That sentiment was echoed by women from Attraction's past. When reached for comment, ex-girlfriend Melissa MovedAway, 26, who dated Attraction for ten months in 2001, she had this to say.

"You mean LMNt is single? Seriously? He was a great boyfriend, and really good in bed. And he can play the guitar, that's totally hot. Tell him to call me. Moving back to DC wouldn't be so bad."

When asked to speculate on why he hasn't settled down with anyone lately, friends and family seem conflicted. Howard Roommate, who shares a five bedroom house with Attraction, says, "he always seems to have beautiful women around, but I guess he's holding out for the right one. His last girlfriend was a total catch, and people used to tell him at least once a week how lucky he was to have found her. I think he wants to feel just as lucky with the next one." Close friend Tiffany DrinkingBuddy adds, "he's made a lot of new friends in the past six months, and he goes out socially a lot more than he used to. I think he's enjoying the single life. Sure he'd like to meet a great girl, but he's happy with his current situation. He definitely doesn't need a girlfriend."

It seems they're both right. When asked to comment, Attraction said, "Why am I single? I don't know, I guess I'm holding out for the 'total package.' I've met some girls with real potential lately, but they either had something going on that was a dealbreaker for me, or the timing wasn't right. I'm having a lot of fun right now, and having a great girl who can enjoy that with me would be really cool, but if she's going to make my life less interesting or fun, I'm going to keep looking. It's not like taking some time off and waiting for the right one will kill me or anything. Life is good, and I want someone who makes it even better."

This reporter thinks he's right. To learn more about this story, contact Mr. Attraction via email at lmntalattraction (at) gmail (dot) com.

Other Notes:

These two posts are well written, thought provoking, and pretty awesome in general. They also cover a subject that's been on my mind a bit lately. Check'em out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ask LMNt, Take 2

Not Faint-Hearted writes:

What's up with 20-something and early 30-something guys wanting to date "older" women. Like 45 year old women. What do they think they're getting into? Are they looking for a mommy figure or a "teacher," if you know what I mean. As a woman of a certain age, I'm just wondering.

Here's what I think:

First of all, I can't pretend to speak for anyone but myself here. That said, I'm in my late twenties, and more often than not, I find myself dating women who are around my age or slightly older. The people I've dated range from 6 years younger than me (sorry girls, 21's my absolute limit) to 14 years my senior (I was 22 at the time), and I tend to find that older women usually have themselves figured out. They know what they want and what they don't, and our goals and lifestyles line up much more closely than I've found with the young'ns. In short, we're more compatible.

As far as the sexual side of things goes, I definitely don't want a mommy figure or a teacher. I like sexual relationships to be pretty equal. That said, older women have the experience to know themselves much better than the younger ones do, which usually makes for more fulfilling relations in the bedroom. You girls seem to really get it, and you're usually uninhibited and awesome in the sack.

I guess what I'm saying here is that not every younger guy is interested in older women for just one thing. We fall into a much wider spectrum than that. Sure, like any other group of men, some of them are just looking for sex or an interesting new notch on their bedpost, but some of them may be seeking you out because you're truly a better match for them. I wouldn't necessarily rule them out immediately. Give them a shot, and maybe you'll land someone wonderful you never expected. Not to mention, having a hot young stud as arm candy can't hurt, right?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Skin Deep?

This post comes with a warning label: The following essay is not politically correct. If you are easily offended, especially by harsh truths concering superficial topics like weight and/or physical appearance, you should not read it. Perhaps you'll find something more to your liking here.

There's a saying we've all heard about people that goes something like "it's what's on the inside that counts." When it comes to dating, though, it's only half true. While your personality is definitely the most important factor in building a good relationship, in the real world, your looks are what open the door to that possibility. Humans are visual creatures, and unless you've got something else going on like fame, money, power, or what have you, it's what's on the outside that people initially notice and use to make that first "would I or wouldn't I" decision.

Let me put this another way. Looks matter. They're very important. If you don't look your absolute best when you meet new people, you are most likely severely limiting your options in the dating world. If you're out of shape, overweight, poorly dressed, sloppy in the hygeine department, or have any other number of appearance related faux pas going on, you've got some work to do. And don't give me that crap about how they should like you for your personality, because, while you're right in the long-term view, you're not giving them any incentive to get to know what that personality's like in the short term.

Now that I've said that, I believe just about everyone can improve their natural look by at least two notches on the one-to-ten scale by making a little effort to look better. Some people need more work than others, but the only thing you can't improve with a little effort is the way your face is put together. If you're a five, you could be an seven (or better), a six can become an eight, and so on and so forth(keep in mind there's no such thing as a ten -- they only exist in movies, television, and magazines). So here's a few tips on what you can do to improve your chances with the opposite (or same, if that's how you work) sex.

For Guys:

- For chrissake, learn a little bit about fashion. I'm not saying you need to hold your breath at the newsstand for the latest issue of Vogue or watch Project Runway every week (although it's an awesome show that features sexy model chicks), but pick up an issue of GQ every few months or check out the back of Maxim sometime. Yes, the back... you know, the part that features guys in cool clothing instead of scantily clad women or snarky articles about high tech gadgetry? Check out what's in, figure out what styles best express your personality, and pick up a few similar things at Target or something. No need to break the bank to look good. Keep in mind, it's less about the pants and the shirt than it is the complimentary pieces. A cool blazer, interesting necklace, or a ring or two goes miles. Also, don't get designer jeans and a white button down with blue stripes. Your goal is to express your personality in a fun way and stand out from the sheeple. If you look just like them, you're doing it wrong. Having trouble? Lots of girls love to help a guy shop for cool clothes. If you have any questions, bring a female fashionista friend. Chances are, she'll not only be a huge help, but she'll have a blast doing it.

- Get a good pair of jeans. Maybe two. If you're a jeans and t-shirt guy (like I am 90% of the time), that's fine, but make sure the t-shirts fit and the jeans are bangin'. Again, you don't have to drop a couple hundred bucks on something designer -- mine are levis. Just check out all the different cuts and styles available, find the one that looks the best on you, and pick them up. Make sure you've got the right size, please. I don't want to know what your underwear looks like.

- Shoes. Women love shoes. Again, look at some magazines, find something you like in there, and go buy something similar. Classy shoes are a huge date-booster.

- Get yourself a sexy haircut that fits your face. If you know what that looks like, great! No big investment required here. Go to a good barbershop and have them do it. Then go back when it stops looking good, usually once a month or so. If you don't know what works for you, you're probably going to have to spend a bit more on the first one, with a little "Queer Eye style" help. Here's how you do it. Find a really high end fancy shmancy hair salon in the city. Visit long enough to figure out who the gay male hairdresser is. Make sure you get a gay one -- he'll be a lot more help than the straight guys. Don't worry, gay hairdressers usually fit the stereotypes pretty well, so he'll be easy to spot. Once you're in the chair, tell him you want the ladies to wet their pants when they see you and it's up to him to style your hair so that happens. This will be expensive, but when you're done, you can snap a picture and just take that with you to your favorite $8.00 barbershop from then on.

- If you're out of shape or overweight, learn a little bit about nutrition and get yourself a gym membership. Can't afford a gym? No sweat, there are plenty of ways to get a good workout without one. Run in your neighborhood or do step-ups on the stairs at home. It's not nearly as hard to lose weight or get into shape as most people like to make it seem -- when my metabolism kicked in, I woke up one day 30 lbs over where I should be, and I dropped it in a month and a half, even though I'd never picked up a weight in my life before that. People like to make it seem hard because it gives them an excuse to be lazy.

Men, I know you hear all the time that guys are visual creatures and women are more into what's on the inside, but it's crap. Trust me. I got a lot more popular once I learned these things, and you will too.

For Girls:

- I'm not going to talk to you about fashion... chances are, you get it better than I do, and if you don't you've got a friend who does. That said, please, for the love of god, wear clothes that fit. If you're sporting the muffin top or your ass grows two sizes when it's no longer restrained by your jeans, that's bad. If you're carrying a little extra weight, don't wear skintight tops -- I'm sure you've seen someone who's got her rolls hanging out, and it's not a pretty sight to us manly types, either. On the other hand, if you look like a high school goth girl with oversized clothing that hides your curves, you're wasting a precious asset. Bottom line, wear the right size for your body.

- Learn to put on makeup so that it appears you're not wearing any. It can definitely be done. I've known (and/or dated) several women who are masters at this. While most guys prefer the natural look, for about 60% or more of you (yes, I pulled that number out of my head -- best guess), the natural look is more flattering than completely natural.

- Keep your hair in good shape. Yes, most girls are pretty good at this one, but I'll mention it anyway. Wash it regularly, condition, and pick a style that works for you. I'll let you in on a little not-so-secret here: pretty much every guy I know prefers it long. If you cut it shorter than, say, your jawline, you're probably missing chances.

- Look up at the guy's list and read the one that starts with "if you're out of shape or overweight..."

It's no big secret that most guys want a hot girlfriend. The bigger secret is that almost every girl is fully capable of being hot girlfriend material. Try it out, and you'll probably be quite surprised that how men react to the new you.

I think deep down, there's a shallow part of all of us that really wants our significant other to be someone everyone else is jealous of and wishes they had. Looks, while by far not the only part, are a pretty darn big part of that.

Sound good? Anyone have anything to add? You know how to do it...

See y'all at happy hour. Oh, and don't forget to send your romantic dilemmas to lmntalattraction (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dear LMNT, take one.

Not-So-Frigid Bitch Barbie writes:

mr lmntal.

please excuse me for being so forward. i've enjoyed your recent and fast ascent to blog fame. anyhoo, here's my uber important question for your guy perspective:Is Steak and BJ Day the same day as valentine's - feb 14? or is it one month later, March 14? the bf and i are fighting over this. hope you can help settle the matter.

hugs and kisses,
Not-So-Frigid Bitch Barbie

LMNt Says:

Dear Miss Not-So-Frigid,

Steak & BJ day is definitely in March. I must confess, though, I have a somewhat personal bias in this matter. Not only do I really enjoy Valentine's Day as it is, but my birthday is March 25th. As I'm sure you well know, a boyfriend's birthday should be handled in a very similar manner to Steak & BJ day, so when it's celebrated in March, it's a quite a good week and a half for me. ;-)

~Mr LMNt

Kathryn Says:

Wait, WHAT? BP's bday is Friday... uh oh. ;)

Not-So-Frigid Responds:

so this is interesting... march, you say. b/c i called Ray's the Steaks AND Buck's Fishing and Camping yesterday to make reservations for feb 14 but neither place takes reservations. but obviously it would be easier to walk-in to those places on march 14 than feb 14, when they will likely be mobbed. although what if we walk in to Ray's on march 14 and find that it is STILL mobbed with hot, sexy young couples. men chomping at the bit to get through their steaks. women ordering their 4th cosmo. haha.

LMNt Says:

My Dear Not-So-Frigid,

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you're completely missing the point here. Steak & BJ day is all about performing your "womanly duties," which of course means you should absolutely be cooking the steak yourself. Going out for it is a cop-out. You should be in the kitchen, barefoot, and chained to the stove unless you're bringing him his next beer, darlin'. Oh, and pregnant, if possible. Naked would be a plus, too.


Don't worry, guys... I'll post a real question on Friday. Crazy day at work today.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Who Could It Be Now?

Warning: Introspective Stuff Ahead

I'm finding that in this latest phase of dating (i.e. since the big ex), my standards have gone up in a big way. I was discussing this with a friend recently, and it seems to be a fairly common phenomenon when you reach a point in your life where the pieces are all in place and settling down with someone for the long haul actually starts to be a feasable possibility.

On the other hand, sometimes I think I'm expecting too much. I've been on more than a few first dates lately, and my second date ratio is going way down. It's not necessarily that they're not into the idea, just that I'm not so into setting one up. When I do pursue it, it's definitely in a more half-hearted, "I'll give her another chance to impress me" mindset.

I guess I'm looking too hard for the "wow" factor. The last girl I dated seriously definitely blew me away on every level when I met her. Maybe I'm spoiled because I had that for so long, but if I'm going to seriously consider committing to someone for the long term, I'm not going to settle for anything less than a girl who I feel I won the lottery with. And I don't see the point in dating someone right now if the possibility of the long term isn't there. Does that "wow" happen over time? Could it be that I'm not giving people enough of a chance?

The last girl I went on a date with was perfect on paper. I had quite the crush on her, and was definitely expecting to be super excited about date 2 when I got home. She was absolutely beautiful, down to earth, sweet, funny, an exceptional conversationalist, and overall it was a good date. I liked her, but I still felt like something was missing. The "wow" just didn't hit me. I would have done a second date, but her life's in a different place than mine right now, and we decided to do the friends thing. That's cool -- we have a lot in common, mutual friends, and similar interests, and she'll probably make a much better friend than she would a significant other, but I'm still a little bummed that someone I had such high expectations of didn't give me chills in the real world over a few glasses of wine. I mean, if she didn't, who will?

I guess what's causing the issue for me is that I'm a firm believer that if a problem repeats itself regularly, and the only thing all the occurences have in common is the person involved, the problem probably lies with that person. Maybe I'm approaching things the wrong way.

I think I'm going to take a new approach to my social and/or dating life. I'll keep my first date standards where they are, but I'm going to go after more second dates. I should try to refrain from making judgements quite so early and give things more time to develop. At the same time, I'll make friends a bit more indiscriminately, and try to stop putting people into boxes so much (i.e. stop thinking of this person as "romantic potential" and that one as "platonic"). They're all cool people and they'll all be friends. Who knows where things will go from there? I guess "friends" will just have a broader definition.

I'd love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this, especially from those of you who are in really fulfilling relationships. Honestly, the last one lasted so long, it's kind of hard to remember all the details of how it started. I've always done well in the dating department, but where I really shine is RelationshipWorld, and I still feel a little out of practice on the getting-to-know-you end of things. Maybe you guys can help me out there.

In other news:

1) The response to yesterday's poll was an overwhelming yes. Unfortunately though, while I had several female bloggers volunteer to give their input, I didn't get any emails asking questions I could use. If this is gonna work, y'all are gonna have to write me, so send any romantic advice issues you've got on your mind to lmntalattraction (at) gmail (dot) com. Don't worry, I'll keep you totally anonymous. I'm hoping to have the first one up on friday.

2) I just got listed on the dcblogs live feed. In order to make it work properly, I had to play with the time zone settings on blogger. What that means to you is that the timestamps on my posts and comments are all effed up and inaccurate now, which may affect you if you use some sort of feed reader to access the blog. My posting pattern in the past has been that I put something new up every weekday between 10am and 2pm or so, and I'll do my best to continue that, unless of course it's a non-working holiday. I don't get many off, so that won't come up much. But now you know when to check here for the new stuff. :-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Random Announcements/Housekeeping/Etc.

*** Auction Update ***

The auction is over. Congratulations to DCWeddingPhotog, who won a date with yours truly on a winning bid of $110.00. That was quite a healthy stroke to my ego, and I'm sure we'll have a great time.

If you bid on me, but didn't win, there may be a few consolation prizes available. To win one, shoot me an email with a picture, a brief summary of why you think you should get one, a few words about yourself, and/or a link to your blog, if you have one.

Thanks to everyone who participated -- we made a serious amount of money for V-Day, and it was a lot of fun!


Next up,

I-66 is hosting a blogger happy hour this Thursday. Yes, I'll be there. No, I won't be posting a recap. If you want to find out what LMNt is like in the real world, say hi, and have a drink or two, be there. Should be a blast, and I'm looking forward to meeting everybody.


Finally, I've noticed several of you have either 1) mentioned how much you like having the guy's perspective on dating matters you read here, or 2) asked me about my thoughts on certain aspects of dating.

That's awesome. Seriously, I like it a lot.

My favorite blog of all time was First Date DC. I'm a huge fan of advice columns, and I'm known among my friends as the one who not only likes to give his input when you have a situation, but who almost always has the right idea on how to handle it. I'm definitey the dating coach in my crew.

Looking at both of those things together, I've got an idea, but it will only work with enough participation from you people, so I figured I'd throw it out here for y'all to vote on. Would you be interested in a weekly "Ask LMNt" (or maybe "LMNtal Advice") feature on this blog? Basically, if you guys think it's a good idea, once a week I'd post an email and give my take on the answer. Of course, the identities of any emailers would be kept strictly confidential.

There are three possible answers here: "Hell yeah, I'd write you emails and look forward to reading the answers," "I'd enjoy reading it, but probably wouldn't have the balls/desire to send in a question," or "no way, man. Don't do it." Leave me an answer in the comments or send an email my way.

If y'all like it, and I see enough interest to sustain it, I may have a few special surprises for you -- I've mentioned the idea it to a few "celebrity bloggers," and you just might see some interesting guest advisors adding their opinion to my own.

That's all for today, folks. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Fo sho (in my head, that's totally in the 40 Year Old Virgin voice).

Friday, January 12, 2007

How to Write a Good Email

*** Auction Update ***

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6 bids, huh? Not too shabby, but if you bid on me, there's an 83% chance someone's beating you... Are you gonna let her punk you like that? Are you gonna let that Neil guy in California show me up? Where's your competitive streak? We're halfway through (the auction ends tomorrow at midnight), so let's get it ON!


This is for the online daters out there. Just because I'm falling off the wagon doesn't mean I can't share my expertise, right?

Ok, so you've signed up for an online dating service. You've put together a witty, lighthearted profile that highlights your strengths. You've had your friends take a look at it and you're ready to go. After a few searches, you've run across some undeniably attractive members of the opposite sex that you'd love to get to know better.

What now? How are you going to make contact and what are you going to say? Here's how I handle it.

First off, never send a "wink," "flirt," or whatever the hell it is your preferred site offers as the "I have no guts" option for initiating contact. Would you want to date someone who didn't have enough backbone and originality to even write you an anonymous email? Didn't think so. I wouldn't either.

Next, I know how strange this may sound, but you should actually read their profile. Yeah, really. Figure out what you like about them, and why you think you'd actually be an interesting match. Found a few? Perfect. Now you're good to go.

Open up your email, and write an interesting subject line that ties in to the things you like. Please, please, PLEASE don't write "Hello." Be creative. Chances are, any attractive target gets a decent amount of email. I know I do. You've got to stand out from the pack.

When you write, keep it light, slightly flirty, and tell them why you think you'd get along. It's not tough. A couple paragraphs on your commonalities, one more on what you'd like to do together, throw in a few questions, and you're done. And while putting together one generic email you can cut and paste is definitely a no-no, it's ok to have some material you re-use. It's not exactly rocket science, folks.

Oh, one more thing: good spelling and grammar is key. No one wants to date someone they see as uneducated, that's why everyone's looking for college grads. The degree doesn't really matter, but the intelligence does.

Here's a real life example straight from my "Sent" folder.

Subject: Cons??? Not at all...

[in her profile she'd listed her pros and cons, the cons being that she doesn't like sports, enjoys chick flicks, eats healthy about 75% of the time, and expects a partner to do the same]


I'm MUCH more of a music guy than a sports guy. I watch the Superbowl (mostly for the commercials), but I'd have a hard time naming 10 pro players. Chick Flicks in general are pretty awesome -- just saw Love Actually for the first time -- but if you try to force me to watch Riding in Cars With Boys again, I may puke. Worst movie ever. I eat healthy, but am creative enough to make it taste good. What's your typical healthy dinner?

Vices can be wonderful. Tell me about yours, and maybe I'll let you in on mine.

[She said something in the profile along the lines of "everyone should have their vices -- they make life interesting."]

Anyway, you seem like someone I'd totally get along with... fun, cute, and slightly dangerous. At this point, I'm sure you've already checked out my profile and made a decision, so if you're in, I say you throw on your "I'm kind of a big deal" t-shirt, I'll wear my "Chick Magnet" one, we'll raise a glass to our mutual t-shirt narcissism, and possibly even flirt a little bit. Deal?

[Everything here is pretty standard, "use it in every email" stuff, up to the specific suggestion of what to do, which is based on her profile and our commonalities -- she's wearing that t-shirt in one of her pictures.]

~[my real first name]

Don't expect a response. The very best online daters I know get around one response for every five emails they send, so don't get yourself too invested in a single result. On the other hand, don't send out 20 emails a day for a week, either. It really sucks to have more attractive, interesting people wanting a date than you can realistically deal with, and it's a major cause of ODS.

Hopefully this will please a few of my "please tell guys to read my damn profile before they email me" commentors out there. Thoughts?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breaking News from the CDC!

*** Auction Update ***

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It's on! Right now, I'm doing well, but my local blogger friend I-66 is only $5.00... Come on, girls, we gotta do better than that. I want to see bidding wars and catfights. Tearing at each other's clothing is highly encouraged, but biting, hair-pulling, and other dirty fighting tactics are frowned upon.

A startling new disease has been discovered, affecting scores of young people nationwide. It infects women at a higher rate than men, but if you are single and have internet access, you are at risk.

It's called Online Dating Sydrome (ODS), and it could completely ruin your chances of finding a rewarding relationship.

ODS is characterized by a fascination with the sheer volume of attractive members of the opposite sex who are looking for love online, coupled with a tendency to grossly overvalue the thrill of the unknown above making a connection with a known entity. Patients exhibit relatively low standards for a first date with disproportionately high requirements for a second. They seem to believe that every potential date could be the 100% perfect partner and forgo a second date if the slightest flaw is exhibited on the first one. If no flaw is present, the patient will make one up in order to avoid a second encounter. The root cause of the patient's dating appears to be to boost their own ego through high volumes of romantic attention, instead of to find a potential mate. ODS most commonly effects patients who are recently out of relationships, although people new to online dating are also at high risk.

The negative effects of ODS often take a serious toll on a subject's life in many different ways. Their friendships suffer because they spend more time with total strangers than they do with people who know and care for them. Patients are less productive at work because they have to keep a constant eye on their email in order to avoid missing an opportunity with a new suitor. Subjects also seem terminally unhappy with thier romantic lives -- although it's fun to go on lots of dates, the lack of any semblance of a deeper romantic relationship often leaves them feeling empty and alone. Because they fill any empty space in their schedules with new dates, patients deprive themselves of "me time" to relax, decompress, and process the normal stress in their lives, leaving them harried, frantic, and wound tighter than a fundamentalist's asshole. They deprive themselves of necessary sleep by staying out late nightly on the latest date and getting up early to fulfill their professional duties.

ODS is currently infects as many as 1 of every 5 online daters (1 in 10 males and 2 in 5 females). Here is a simple quiz to see if you may need treatment:

1) Do you check your email more often than every 3 hours (if you are a blogger, disregard this question)?

2) Do you go on more than 2 first dates per week?

3) Is your second to first date ratio lower than 1 to 5?

4) Have you ever said “If he gets a second date, it means someone else doesn’t get a first”? (Hi darlin'!! Love ya!)

5) Do you have enough potential dates that you can't keep them straight without the aid of organizational tools (spreadsheet, descriptive nicknames, taking notes, etc.)?

6) Do you find yourself passing up second dates with promising suitors because you simply don't have time (yet you have time for the new first date you have scheduled that night)?

7) Do you ignore potential red flags such as stalkerish behavior, conversations all about an ex, or narcissistic tendencies prior to the first date and go anyway?

8) Do you take pride in telling others how many people you're "dating"?

9) Do you go on first dates in sweats because it's not worth the effort of making yourself up?

10) Finally, have you ever accidentally called a first date by the wrong name?

If you answered "yes" to more than one of these questions, you may have ODS, and you should seek diagnosis and treatment from a professional immediately.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Too Soon?

*** Auction Update ***

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Ok girls, get your purses out. The auction starts at midnight. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on how this goes, so you should boost my fragile male ego and help a good cause all at the same time. ;-)

So I had a post all ready to go about the evils of Online Dating Syndrome (ODS), but you'll just have to wait until tomorrow for that, because Carrie M really got my brain going with this. I've been thinking about it pretty much nonstop since I read her blog yesterday. Chaco wrote a great post on the subject last month, and I completely agree with him, but I'm gonna go a little deeper on it here. In fact, if you're a girl who's ever wondered how soon is too soon to get physical, I'm probably either going to blow your mind or make you think I'm a nutjob with this:

It doesn't friggin' matter. Not a bit.

Honestly, I've never met a guy who said "oh, she was an awesome chick, the date was excellent, but I'm not going to call her again because she put out too early." I've never lost interest in someone because we got together too quickly. If a guy likes you, he's going to call you. No sane man would turn down the perfect woman because she liked him enough to get steamy. And if you hooked up and he didn't call you, he wouldn't have done it anyway. Basic "He's Not That Into You" theory. Seriously, I promise.

Now, everyone (male or female) is different, and we've all got different timelines. I'm not advocating sleeping with every guy you go on a date with here -- that's definitely not how I live my dating life. It's more that I think things should just flow. Do what you're comfortable with and don't do anything you're not. The problems come in when you try to plan things out. I don't believe in having any hard and fast rules. Every person you meet has a different vibe, as do your interactions with them. Sometimes you meet someone and it starts out lackluster but builds over time. On the other hand, sometimes you totally hit each other like a ton of bricks. On those occasions, I don't see anything wrong with taking advantage of explosive chemistry. It doesn't happen often, so why pass on it when it does?

I guess I just have a pretty modern, progressive view on sexuality in general. Sex is natural, good for you, and all kinds of fun. For the most part, I think the word "slut" is completely outdated. If a guy can be a stud, why can't a girl? I don't care how many partners my significant other has had, as long as I'm the only one she's got once we decide to go the committed route. In fact, I'd much rather date a girl with some experience under her belt than play teacher in the bedroom. I prefer a woman I'm involved with to be uninhibited and passionate. That's how I live my life, and it's how I like my relationships.

I've had 4 longer term relationships (I'm using the one year mark as my ruler here). Of those, two started rather quickly in the physical department, and two took a bit longer to get there, so I don't think it really has any bearing on whether we'll last or not. I didn't judge their "marriage potential" any differently based on how soon we hooked up or how dirty they liked it. In LMNt's world, compatibility is much more important than timeframe. The better our sex life was, the higher they rated in the sex portion of the survey.

Sleeping with someone you're interested in will usually make you more interested. It's a basic part of our biology -- when we have an orgasm, our brains release hormones that stimulate bonding. It's part of how we've evolved to protect our offspring. It won't make you less interested. Women get a much bigger dose of the bonding hormones than men do, but in my experience, sleeping with someone I'm attracted to will almost always build that attraction and leave me wanting more.

I think the reason this issue has become so big is that when you sleep with a guy who's not really interested but just wants to scratch the itch, most girls I know interpet it the wrong way. It's easier to say "I screwed up and slept with him too soon" than "he didn't really like me," because it's a rejection of your actions and not of you as a person. The question should be "how much does he like me" instead of "is it too soon?" That's why waiting longer can work to your advantage -- the guy who's just out to get some usually won't stick around. It's a screening tool, not a way to change how he feels.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is if you think he's the right guy, do what feels right. If you know he likes you, you're not going to lose him for being too aggressive or too "easy." You'll never lose the right person over "too much too soon," but you'll lose the wrong ones that way. I think we all tend to be a little too focused on what we can do to make them like us more than on how to best enjoy our mutual attraction. I'd especially love to hear thoughts from the guys on this. Back me up here.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

How NOT To Ask a Girl Out...

My friend Kara was a blogger for a long time. She had a few blogs for a few years, and although they were never big in the DC blog scene, she definitely had a reader or two. Now that she's got a great guy and the rest of her life is wonderful, she's boring (Hi Kara! Love ya!), so she recently decided to retire her last remaining blog. The perfect boyfriend was one of the major discussion topics on the blog in the final few months, so it wasn't exactly a big secret.

Over the weekend, she got this email:

From: Douchebag Extraordinaire* (jackass @ xxxxx)
To: kara @ xxxxx
Subject: Hi Karen

glad to see a blog is over.. there are wayyy to many of them.. anyway just wondering if you want to add me to the guys you try to date on the web.. I live in [Suburb], work in [City], and would love to meet for dinner or lunch...

I also run a Scrabble group in [City] if you are a Scrabblista...

Douchebag Extraordinaire


(*name changed to protect the guilty)

Now, I'd really love to go ahead and rip into this guy, but to be completely honest with you, Kara did it better than I ever could, so I'll just let her take over from here:

From: Cool Kara (kara @ xxxxx)
To: Douchebag Extraordinaire (jackass @ xxxxx)
Subject: Re: Hey Karen

Absolutely NOT. When will you get the hint? I'm pretty sure you're the same Douchebag Extraordinaire who has been emailing me occasionally on friendster and myspace for over two years. I have never responded to you because I have absolutely no interest. But I want you to know, now that you've emailed me directly, I'm blocking your address.

And, here's a few tips for you, out of the goodness of my heart. If you honestly expect to get a woman to go out with you, you might try:
- Getting her name right. I have never been a Karen.
- Not insulting blogs, when you were clearly on one she wrote for several years.
- Telling something about yourself, other than your location and desire to meet.
- Not asking a happily committed woman (which you could easily find out on Friendster, MySpace, or my blog) if she wants to add you to the guys she tries to date on the web. Patently offensive on many levels, from your arrogance to your ignorance and back again.
- Not email her every so often for OVER TWO YEARS, without ever getting a response, and thinking this time will be any different.
- Cleaning up your atrocious grammar and spelling. I'd mop the floor with you in Scrabble!



I really don't know what to say.... are people actually this stupid in real life or was this guy trying to be a troll and start some nastiness?

They say the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results, but I doubt this dumbass would get results even if he tried different things.

Morals of the story: 1) Don't be a douchebag and expect a woman to date you anyway. 2) If you're gonna try to ask out a girl you don't know, use the resources you have available to actually learn a thing or two about her and determine if you two would be a good match BEFORE you start typing.

I just don't know what to say. I'm stunned.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex, Bay-bee

*** Auction Update ***

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Ok girls, the site for the NotGirls Charity Auction is up. Wanna see what I look like? Check it out here. I'm counting on all my sexy internet girlfriends out there to help me make a respectable showing, so start planning your strategy now. The auction runs from Thursday through Saturday. As I mentioned before, I'll go anywhere in the greater DC area for this, so if you're on the other end of the world, bid anyway. I'm worth it. ;-)

Now on to the real post for the day.


I have a co-worker who's a pretty strict evangelical/fundamentalist christian. She's in her early twenties, engaged to her boyfriend, and yes folks... she's a virgin (I believe he is, too).

I don't get it.

I guess you don't know what you're missing if you've never experienced it, but marrying someone you've never had sex with sounds to me like a huge gamble. While it's not the most important factor in a relationship, sexual compatibility is definitely way up there on the list. I couldn't imagine committing to a life of sex with only one person when I don't have the slightest clue yet if we're compatible. What happens if they're awful? Can you really spend the next 50 or so years trying to teach someone how to get better?

Fortunately, it appears that the vast majority of Americans agree with me.

I understand that people have different timelines, and everyone looks at sex differently. Some of my best relationships have started passionately, others have taken time to work up to it, and I'm cool either way. That said, I don't think it's possible to have a deep enough relationship to consider spending the rest of your life with someone if you haven't delved into the sexual side of things. And while I'm willing to wait a reasonable amount of time if I think the girl is right, I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn't be able to date someone seriously if we weren't involved on a physical level.

(I don't want to get all political on you and talk about abstinence-only sex education, but for those who are wondering, I'm vehemently against it. I believe that young people need facts, not propaganda, to make good decisions about sex, and it's pretty well documented that these programs don't work. In fact, people who have been taught abstinence only are more likely to get pregnant or contract diseases than those who have been given all the facts and encouraged to make good decisions.)

I guess I just feel it's unnatural. Animals don't get to know each other for a few years before they decide to make a commitment, get married, and then mate. They mate because that's what their instincts tell them to do. Much like ours. The desire to have sexual relations with other human beings is programmed into our dna, and if we didn't have it (or enough people decided not to act on it), humans would quickly go the way of the do-do bird. Ever heard of the Shakers? They were a religious community, loosely based on protestant beliefs, who made excellent furniture and believed in complete and total celibacy. Interestingly enough, they pretty much died out. I believe right now, there are 4 left, out of what was once several thousand. Interesting lack of foresight on their founders' part.

I'll say it again -- I just don't get it. Is it really feasible to date and/or marry someone without having sex and have the type of relationship that will happily last forever? Can anyone explain this to me?

Friday, January 5, 2007

Non Negotiables -- Part 2

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a passionate guy. I'm also pretty damn affectionate -- I love kissing, touching, sex, holding hands, good foreplay, cuddling (hold on... yes, my man-parts are still intact. Had to check after saying I like cuddling) and so on. So it's pretty important to me to be with someone who finds the all the physical aspects of dating as key as I do.

Let me give you a little bit of background here. My parents have been married over thirty years, and they have possibly the best relationship I've ever been exposed to. They love each other very much and know each other well enough to use their individual strengths and weaknesses together in the best ways possible for both of them. When my mother is having a rough time emotionally (which happens when women are in "the change" age range, and we've had a rough year as a family due to deaths and illnesses and such), my dad is strong and supportive. When Dad's work is crazy and he's stressed out, Mom takes over anything that needs to be done so he can unwind and de-stress. They take care of each other when they're sick. They still flirt and banter together, and they're still very affectionate. When they pass each other in the kitchen, they'll stop for a kiss, a hug, or Dad will playfully slap Mom's ass. They still have sex (don't ask how I know... it's a disturbing story involving overhearing noises from their bedroom when I was visiting and they hopefully didn't realize I was still up). They truly are best friends and partners in (and for) life, and honestly, I think the shining example they've given me has ruined me for most women in a way.

They have what I want someday. When I'm in my fifties, I still want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie cuddled up with the woman who's shared my joys and sorrows for decades. I want to hold hands when we're out. I want to go on dates and have projects we work on together, while being able to pursue our own interests as well. I want to still sleep holding each other. I want both of us to have a great relationship with each other's families, so much so that the distinctions go away and it's all "our" family. To respect each other and put make each other's needs a top priority. And definitely, to keep all aspects of physical affection as strong as they've always been.

What I definitely don't want is to be one of the frustrated men who post on craigslist every day about how all affection disappeared in the first few years after they got married. While I'm very big on choosing the right woman and never getting divorced, that would be one of the few situations where I'd consider it. It's right up there with cheating, lying, or physical violence.

So I guess the real non negotiable here is love, and the commitment to keeping the fire going. I'm sure it's not always easy, but if I can be totally committed to it with the right person, I don't see a reason to expect any less from them. Fair enough?

Thursday, January 4, 2007


When I have the right girl around, I'm a total sucker for romance. I love the look on a woman's face that says she's excited and happy and it's totally my fault she feels that way (pretty similar to my enjoyment of certain aspects of sex, actually). The thing is, like we talked about here, when it comes to dealing with women, guys don't always get things right.

I mean, when most guys think about romance, the things that come to mind are flowers, sappy poetry, and candles. While I'm definitely not against those things -- I love to have random flowers delivered to her workplace and the jacuzzi tub in my bathroom goes great with a candlelight and champagne -- what most guys seem to miss is individualization. Sometimes the most romantic gestures that really make a girl weak at the knees are things that, on the surface, don't fit the classic stereotypes at all.

The best things are individually tailored to the woman on the recieving end. They reflect something that makes her unique and show your appreciation for her individuality. I know guys, this means you actually have to put some thought in it, but that's kind of the point. The right romantic move says "I was thinking about you and I want to make you happy," not "this is what my television tells me to do."

For example, a drum set can be romantic.

My ex and I were very good friends for a few years and dated for a few years after that. In all the time I'd known her, she mentioned fairly regularly how she had always wanted to learn to play the drums. Her standard reaction to good music was air drumming. She was already a gifted musician -- a classical piano player who could have easily majored in it had she decided to go that route, and she taught lessons for extra income. So I knew she understood the basic concepts and had the dedication to learn how instead of being excited over it for a month or two and then letting it go. She had also moved into a house with a basement in October, so the space was there. I decided to get her a drum set and lessons for Christmas last year.

She was going home for the week before Christmas and coming back a couple days before, so I told her I needed her keys while she was gone. I let the roommates know what I was up to so they wouldn't be surprised by my presence, and started working. Got a great set from a buddy at Guitar Center, lined up an oustanding local teacher, pre-paid a month's worth of lessons, made sure I had all the necessary accessories so she'd be ready to go, and assembled the set in the basement. I also brought one of my guitar rigs over so she'd have someone to jam with. When I finished with the construction, I used a big blanket to cover it up and attached a giant bow. From the bow, I ran the ribbon across the floor, up the stairs, and tied it to the doorknob. I took a small piece of the leftover ribbon and tied it into a little bow. This was attached to a note that said "Find the rest of me," which I wrapped up in a little tiny jewelry box and put under the tree. I also wrapped a "Drum Set Basics" book and dvd up and put it on top of the drumset. Inside was a card that explained I'd taken care of her first month of lessons and gave all the contact info to set them up. Finally, I moved a tv and dvd player downstairs so that she could see the dvd while practicing and/or play along with music.

I made sure I was at her house when she got home so we could do the Christmas gift exchange before she accidentally found anything she shouldn't, and her reaction was priceless. Not because I went the generic "romance" route, but because to her, this was the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for her. I'd put some serious thought into finding something that she really wanted, that nobody else would have given her, and took care of every single little detail. It demonstrated the most important part of any romantic gesture -- thought. When they say it's the thought that counts, it's really true. The actual gift meant nothing compared to the careful consideration, time, and planning that had obviously gone into it, and the fact that it was designed specifically for her. I'd paid attention to something that made her special. It may have been the most romantic thing I've ever done.

Another big key to making romance work is the element of surprise. Anything dependable or predictable loses its impact. As much as every girl swears they want romance, if she got flowers every day, every date, or on any kind of predicable schedule she'd get used to it. These things can easily be overdone or underdone, but it's being predictable that kills their value. To be truly romantic, you have to keep her on her toes.

I have a friend who has a brilliant way of handling it. He's a bit of a geek and used to play Dungeons & Dragons when he was younger. Apparently, a big part of the game involves dice with strange numbers of sides. He's a romantic guy who really loves his girlfriend, and he understands the concept of unpredictability. So what did he do? He went out and bought himself dice with 30 sides. He likes to make a small romantic gesture at least once a month, but in order to keep from becoming predictable, he rolls the dice every time he does something. The number that comes up is how many days away the next something happens. It's a little too systematic for me, but it works, and I think it was a really creative way of problem solving. Like a romance-nerd MacGuyver or something.

So if you've ever heard "you should be more romantic" from your girlfriend, keep in mind two things: individualism and unpredictability. Use them as a guide and you'll never hear it again.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Ladies, Start Your Engines!!!

Ok, so I was going to hold off until the NotGirls officially announced things, but since I-66 jumped the gun, I figure it's all good.

Seeing as how I'm already whoring myself out on the internet personals, when I was asked to participate in this, it didn't seem like much of a stretch.

Yes, that's right, ladies -- for a small donation (or maybe a larger one if things go well) to an extremely good cause, you can get yourself a hot date with this sexy piece of man-meat. When the auction site goes live, you'll even get to see what I look like... make sure to check it out, 'cause the picture's gone when the auction's over.

Although I live way the eff out in the boonies, I'll happily travel anywhere in the greater DC area for charity (and if we have enough fun, you could be the charity I travel for a second date with).

No, I won't wash your car, clean your toilets, or paint your toenails, but we'll have a blast, you'll make a great new friend, and you'll be helping women who really need it. So get your wallets ready, 'cause bidding starts at 12:00am on Thursday, January 11. I'll keep you up-to-date on things.

Ok, maybe I will paint your toenails under the right circumstances, but that could be fun for both of us. ;-)

*** Pet Peeves of the Day ***

~ girls who dodge the picture exchange
~ girls who are obviously very interested, but trying so hard not to appear too eager that they err too far in the opposite direction
~ that pesky "work" thing
~ blah days

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Oldest and Strangest Emotion...

In my circle of friends, I'm the therapist. I'm the one everyone comes to when they need advice. I like to think it's because I give good advice and know how to handle almost any situation, but what I think it really boils down to is simple -- I tell people to notice their fears and then ignore them and do what they really want anyway.

Almost every problem people seem to have is based in fear. They're afraid to be alone, afraid to get to close to someone (thereby giving that person the power hurt them), afraid of messing things up with someone they're attracted to.

Guys will have a million reasons why they didn't talk to that pretty girl or didn't make a move on that date. Girls say they really wanted to hook up with that guy but didn't think he'd respect them afterwards. In reality, the thing that's keeping them both from what they want is fear of rejection.

I have a serial monogamist friend who's been single for a little over four months now. She's subconciously picking all the wrong guys because she misses her ex and is afraid there's no one else like him out there. She's keeps dating them even after they've proven they're idiots because she's afraid to be alone, but the fact that they never make her happy reinforces what she wants to believe -- that she can't get a great guy except for the one she had. If she found the perfect man, she'd find some excuse not to date him because doing so would contradict her views of herself, views on guys, and views on dating in general. She's afraid to change her beliefs, and afraid to let go of the past.

I have another friend who dated an absolutely amazing man for almost two years. Prior to him, she was a 90-days-and-out dater... I'm sure you know a few of them. By the time she'd dated someone for three months, she'd have found something wrong with him and ended things. She's so afraid of choosing the wrong person, she makes bad decisions in the other direction. From all outside perspectives (and all she told me), she and Mr. Perfect had the ideal relationship. She ditched him at about the 3 month mark, too, but they stayed friends, and in time she realized she'd made a mistake -- that he was really a great guy who made her very happy. Luckily enough, he was single, so they got back together and things went well for a couple of years. But when he started talking about moving in together, she got scared again and convinced herself he wasn't the one. He'd had enough and they didn't do the friends thing again this time around. She moved on almost immediately to another really great guy who she'd been friends with for about a year. Surprisingly enough, he was gone by the time 90 days rolled around. At this point, I was tired of giving advice to someone who was too afraid to take it and I slowly pulled back from the friendship, but last I heard, she's sworn off men and dating and is living the party-all-the-time life. But she's thrown away men who most women would kill to date, and passed on several opportunities for the kind of romantic happiness most of us truly desire. Again, she's missing out on the right things because of fear.

A third friend is recently out of college, in a job she dislikes, and unhappy with her roommates. She's extremely dissatisfied with the big picture of her life right now, doesn't feel she's made enough progress since graduation, and is afraid she'll never be where she wants to be. My thoughts when she asked? Get a new job, find a better place to live, and start moving things in the right direction. She's afraid to fail, and afraid she already has. It's too scary and too much work to think of life as an ongoing project that can be improved. She decided over Christmas to leave all her friends behind and move back home to her parents' house halfway across the country. Somehow I don't think losing her whole support network to rely on her parents will make her any happier with her accomplishments in life. I honestly think it will make things worse once the nostalgia for home wears off. She'll be farther behind where she wants to be. She's leaving behind a boy she really likes, who truly cares about her, and in the period between the decision and the move, she's being very cold towards him, probably to ease her guilt about the whole thing. But she's scared of the real world, so much so that she'd rather go back to sheltered home life than be a part of it.

Fear. All of them. And in listening to their fear and letting it control their decisions, every single one of them has made (or is making) themselves unhappier and worsened the quality of their lives.

That's no way to live. I could go on and on with examples of people I've known over the course of my life who have acted on fears and only hurt themselves and others. We've all got fears -- god knows I've got plenty. And I don't believe in completely disregarding them. I think fear is a great reminder to be cautious in certain areas or indicator of the need to change how we approach certain things. But how much better would the world be if we all took note of our fears, gave them the consideration they deserve, and then moved forward as if we weren't afraid of anything? If we all simply did the things that would improve our lives?

I remember when I started handling myself this way, and I'm much happier in every single area of my life since. Thoughts?