Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How Disney and Playboy Keeps Us Single

Dating can be difficult! We learn a lot of about the dating scene and how to do it through media and other social outlets. All in all we're highly influenced by what we see, read, or hear regarding dating and what works and what does not. We even go into most dates with certain expectations and make judgments before the first conversation. It's interesting to take a step back and think about what influences our dating habits the most.

As kids we watch a lot of movies and TV that incorporate the “happily ever after” ending which we all so desire and find hard to acquire. Disney has done a great job of encouraging women to work hard and do what their heart tells them because their prince charming is out there waiting and looking for them. Now ladies, I'm not saying you can't live happily ever after or find your prince (I mean, I'm over here with an army of toads waiting for the right kiss), but I want to point out the fact that Disney has instilled this belief that you shouldn't ever change/settle and just keep waiting, looking and working hard until he comes to you.
On the other hand we have men being influenced by their dirty little secret – Playboy, who has done a great job of showing us what we should be looking for in a woman and there's no reason to settle for less. I mean come on, they can fill a whole magazine on a monthly basis with these women, it can't be that hard to find them. We see these sculpted bodies and beautiful curves and forget what is really important. Through these influences, men are encouraged to be a little more aggressive, confrontational, and direct in order to find their trophy wife.

The takeaway is that we're all affected by media and movies and it's important to get away from those preconceived ideas that have been forced into our minds over the years. Instead of going into a date with a preconceived notion of “the one”, take the time to get to know the person and give them a chance. Accept them for who they are, the good and the bad, their strengths and weaknesses (we're only human after all). They may surprise you.
As one of my favorite sport coaches used to tell us, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
Happy Dating!

Arthur G. Bahr, guest blogger

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Your Car Says About You to Women

Some people view their car as an extension of themselves, while others view their car as a practical means from point A to B. Whatever the camp you’re in, there’s no denying that people make quick judgments based on the car you’re driving. To many people, the car you drive says more about you than your clothes.

Economy Sedans (Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagon Jetta)

Driving one of these cars says that you’re practical, fiscally responsible, probably college-educated and not very conscious of image, a total family man. Out of any car you choose, this is the one that says you’re ready to settle down.

Luxury Sports Car (Jaguar Type F, Porsche 911, Ferrari F450)

If you’re lucky to be driving one of these cars, you probably are in a good place in life financially. Some women will think you’re a bit of a show off as a lot of them will assume you got the car to attract women, but they will be impressed nonetheless. You might attract the wrong kind of girl, but you’ll still attract them.

American Muscle Cars (Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger)

This will tell women you probably grew up in the Midwest eating a lot of potatoes. You’re probably a pretty happy go lucky guy who loves a good time and maybe aren’t quite ready to settle down but will adjust for the right person. This tells women you can probably put some Ikea furniture together, anything but a baby’s crib.

Hybrids (Toyota Prius, Honda CRX, Ford Fusion)

This tells women you’re socially conscious of your carbon footprint, fiscally responsible, quite possibly a vegetarian and definitely educated, albeit a bit boring. According to the NY Times, women tend to find hybrid drivers the least attractive out of all cars.

Pickup Trucks (Ford F150, Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado)

In a survey done by the Washingon Post, 32%(majority) of female respondents said that they preferred men in Pickup trucks. This is because driving a pickup truck tells people that you’re handy and can probably fix a leaky faucet, have more than $100 in your bank account to get a full tank of gas and you’re probably a manly-man who eats meat which appeals to many women.

In the end, the car you drive doesn’t matter. Although you give off certain impressions with your car, if you find the right person, they wouldn’t care whether you drive a luxury sports car or a beat up jalopy. But if in doubt, just save the introduction to your car for the 2nd or 3rd date. By then, they’ll most likely know you’re more than just “what meets the eye.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Success Stories: Linda 2014-07-10

Hey Dao, 
Just wanna let u know that I'm leaving your meetup group because I have found my partner thru your group! I actually met him last November when your group had a meetup at a wine bar in Redwood City. I didn't think much of him then and only chatted with him briefly. Flash forward 6 months later and I see him again at the Memorial Day picnic in Golden Gate Park. We talked a bit more and just recently started going out, but everything seems to be going in the right direction. I just wanted to send you this note because I don't know if you get many success stories. So thank you, Dao, for giving me the opportunity to meet someone whom I believe is meant to be in my life! 

Thx again, 
July 10, 2014

HowAboutADate meetup groups: Our goal is to provide a fun low-pressure environment/activity where singles can meet and mingle and make friends... and who knows, maybe even find something more.  Do what you love... love will find you. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Show Cupid How it’s Done: The Mastery of Love and Archery

Ladies, waiting around and/or having a negative mindset will most likely not attract Mr. Right but rather Mr. Whatever. Instead, picking up a more positive attitude, adjusting expectations and detecting destructive patterns regarding your partner choice might just do the trick.

Start thinking positively and open your mind 

If you haven’t found the perfect partner yet it doesn’t always mean that you’re stuck in cupid’s blind spot. Maybe - to quote a famous poet – there are two souls dwelling in your breast: although you would really love to be in a relationship you fear closeness and commitment since you’re afraid of getting hurt (again). Thus, your subconscious will lead you to pick the wrong guy over kind hearted Prince Charming who is right for you and right in front of you. And when you do that over and over again the sum of your bad experiences will leave you with an even more negative mindset and more insecurities when it comes to falling in love. To blame men as a unitary group or a third party (cupid, fate, God(s), your zodiac sign…) is much easier than taking the time to assess your own morale on the dating field. Forget your chemistry classes where they taught you that a negative charged particle (you) ultimately attracts a positive charged one (Mr. Right). In life and love, a positive attitude will eventually attract positive people, good people. Also, don’t get caught up in an overly detailed description of your dreamboat concerning his looks and status: height, eye and hair color or his profession, etc. they don’t really matter if he shares your passion for horror movies and holds your hand during the scary (and non-scary) scenes. Many singles tend to exclude potential partners if they don’t match the exact vision they have created in their head, nipping unexpected love in the bud.

Look out for similarities 


"Two birds of a feather flock together“ or  “opposites attract”  - which one is true? Most of the times, both apply at the same time. People tend to feel drawn to people that are different from them. Subconsciously, they’re looking for someone who completes their personality - that is, somebody who features qualities that they might lack or that they admire. If you are a lively and adventurous woman, you might need a calm guy who is less likely to take risks and brings you back to earth. Sometimes, however, differences can also cause conflicts. If basic attitudes, life styles and life goals diverge greatly, the relationship may have little chance of survival. Someone who leads a life style that is very foreign and new to you might appear more exciting than the guy across the hall who uses the same eco-friendly laundry detergent and watches the same TV channels to fall asleep at night. As much as you’re attracted to your opposite, partners who share a lot of similarities and equal beliefs will lead a happier and healthier relationship in the long run. Little differences that don’t disrupt the overall harmony can be inspiring and refreshing but be sure that your decisions are driven by the same core values and that you agree on the direction you’re headed into. 

Create opportunities and become more active


Let’s be honest, waiting around and expecting him to knock on your door one day only happens in movies. You have to leave your house/work in order to meet him. Even if you are a notorious homebody, you should pick up as many (fun) activities as possible. Nonetheless, the chances that you meet Mr. Right in a yoga course or knitting club are rather low. Thus, choose activities that you love and that are most likely to attract all kinds of genders. Maybe a wine tasting event, a sailing course or joining a hiking group would be a good idea. Start going to networking events and join workshops that deal with topics that interest or move you. You could also take your four-legged friend to a dog park (borrow one if you have to) and socialize with other dog enthusiasts. People usually start bonding over a common passion or hobby which usually serves as a great conversation starter. Even if you just extend your circle of acquaintances – most couples  meet through mutual friends. At the end of the day you’ll enjoy what you do and attract the right kind of people…and maybe even fall in love. 


So Ladies, shake off your insecurities, grab your love arrows and aim for Mr. “not so different but can make me smile” and go do lots of fun social things.   when you’re doing what you love, that’s when your personality really shines… that’s when love fines you. That’s the Mastery of Love.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Guy’s Guide to Better Gift-Giving

A guest post by Kyle Ingham of The Distilled Man.

Ladies, this one's just for the guys. But I promise, you'll thank me...

If you think you're already a gift-giving ninja, you can stop reading right now. 

But if you're like the rest of us guys, you might feel like every birthday or special occasion is a mid-term that you always end up cramming for—and usually just barely pass.

Whether you are newly dating or whether you are in a relationship, it's always challenging for guys to find good gifts. The ladies can attest to this.

How many times have you found yourself racking your brain for ideas just 24 hours before some special date? Or desperately running from store to store to find something, ANYTHING, that speaks to you and says, "I am that super-thoughtful gift she's going to love."

Or the worst part: when you end up just "phoning it in"—getting her something safe like jewelry or chocolates, when deep down you know you could probably do better. You know you could find something more personal, more special that shows you really thought about her.

Why is it that finding good gifts is so hard for guys? It's not because we're not thoughtful (at least usually). We're just uneducated in the "gifting arts."

Fortunately, gift-giving is a skill that can be learned and honed like anything else. Here are seven strategies for how you can improve your gift-giving chops:

1. Do Your Homework

When you're getting a gift, remember that it's all about her. It's okay to do some research at stores to find some ideas. But if you really want to be successful, do your homework first. Scientist Louis Pasteur famously said that, "Chance favors the prepared mind." Even if you've been dating awhile, there are probably all kinds of little details about her that you haven't noticed and that might help your gift search.

Make a list of everything you know about her, from the basics to the most obscure: What's her favorite color? What's her favorite flower? Know her birthstone. Know her ring sizes (for ALL her fingers).

What kinds of things does she like to do? Is she really active? Is she a bookworm? Even though some of it may seem obvious, sometimes just going over these little details can inspire you to think of an idea. At the very least, it will better prepare you to recognize a great gift when you're out searching.

2. Pay Attention

Sometimes great ideas will present themselves if you just keep your eyes and ears open. According to The Gift-Giving Handbook for the Inept Man, "Observation is the most important trait a gift giver can possess." If you observe her closely, she's probably giving you loads of potential clues for gifts.

Some women are pretty crafty about this—they knowingly plant seeds about things they want. But even if not, you can still get ideas from observing. Watch her as she points out things in magazines. Watch her when you're shopping together. What is she drawn to? What things does she comment on? "Hmmm…that's kind of cute...."

3. Ask for Help

Of course you can always just ask her for ideas, or do something like check her Amazon Wishlist, if she has one. The only problem is, (a) that's kind of weak, and (b) some of the best gift ideas may not have even occurred to her. Another option is to enlist the help of her friends. Ask them for some ideas---get their perspective.

Or if you want to really do it right, invite one of her friends out shopping with you—have her help pick some things out. It'll end up being a win-win: you can spend the afternoon together, grab lunch and get to know her friend better. You'll get some great ideas you probably wouldn't have thought of yourself. And you'll earn major points.

4. Think of Gift-Giving as a Year-Round Endeavor

Let's face it, most of the important dates in your life aren't a surprise. Birthdays. Valentine's day. Anniversaries. Christmas. They're the same time every year. Yet they always seem to catch us by surprise and we find ourselves cramming at the last minute. It’s ridiculous, when you think about it. There's no reason you can't always be on the lookout for ideas.

Start an on-going list of potential gifts in a notebook or (if you want a more 21st century option) a note-taking app like Evernote. Start a "gift closet" or gift cupboard or drawer, where you can store stuff you come across. Think of it as a savings account for your gifts.
It makes a lot of sense: with a savings account you don't wait until you need money to start putting money in. Ideally, you put money away a little at a time when you can. Then when you need it it's there for you.

Along the same line, there's no reason you can't stockpile greeting cards you like. At first it might seem impersonal to "buy in bulk" ahead of time, but ironically it has the opposite effect. By finding great gifts and cards without an impending deadline, you end up getting more thoughtful items than when you're down to the wire and you just have to grab something.

5. Learn to Edit

Another benefit of thinking of gift-giving as a year-round endeavor is that it gives you the luxury of being able to edit.

There's a great saying, which I'm going to botch, but it goes something like this: one of the main differences between a great photographer and a regular person taking pictures is that a great photographer takes 500 pictures to end up with 1 or 2 amazing photos, while the amateur photographer takes only a handful of pictures and is disappointed with the results.

I'm not saying you need to get 500 gifts to find two good ones. But when you search for gifts earlier and pick up a few things along the way, it gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate at the end. Then you can select the "best of the best" to actually give to her. Knowing that you're planning to edit later will also help you cast a wider net initially. That means you'll agonize less over trying to find the absolute perfect thing right from the start. As long as you keep your receipts (or consider re-gifting) you can't lose with this approach.

6. Always Look for Ways to Personalize

Remember that a gift should be all about her---something that shows you thought of her. If it seems like you're getting her the same gift you would have gotten your ex-girlfriendthe card might as well say, "insert name here."  That’s why you always have to personalize.
A few years ago I wanted to mount a TV in my wall, so I got help from a friend who was pretty handy, and he helped cut a whole in the wall and run the wires behind it, etc. When it was time to actually mount the TV to the studs, my friend started sawing off part of the metal mount that came with the TV. I was pretty startled. I'll always remember what he said: "Everything's always just a starter kit. You always have to customize." This couldn't be any truer with gifts.

Just because you've found the perfect gift doesn't mean your job is done. Look for a way to make it more personal, even if it's something you've purchased. It goes without saying that if you buy her a book, you MUST inscribe it. Or instead of a regular box of chocolates, get her some monogrammed chocolates. You can can even get personalized M&M's now. These days, with the power of the Internet, you can personalize just about anything for not a lot of extra money. So there's no reason you should be going with a totally "off-the-shelf" approach.

7. Get Creative

Think beyond the usual: maybe she doesn't want more stuff. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The only gift is a portion of thyself." The best gifts aren't always the most expensive ones. 

Maybe you could give her an experience that would be special to her—a weekend away for the two of you or the cooking class she wanted to take.

You could make her something. You don't have to be a skilled craftsman or an artiste to make a great gift. In this case, the saying "it's the thought that counts" rings true. You can keep it simple and make something that really touches her. 

Write something—a poem or a song. Build something, even if it's just a box for her yoga mat. It might sound cheesy, but you could make her a mix CD or playlist. Maybe she goes to a kickboxing class, and you could make her an "Ass Kicking Mixfor her iPod.

Another fun idea is making a themed "kit.” When my girlfriend (now wife) got laid off a few years ago, we joked about her becoming a "lady of leisure" and enjoying her time off sitting in cafes all day, etc. To commemorate the occasion, I made her a "Lady of Leisure Kit."
It was a collection of things to help her transition from her old job to her new lifestyle: her old business card and a match, a mini-bottle of bourbon and some ginger beer, a gift certificate to Peet's coffee, a gift certificate for a massage, and a journal—so she could record her deepest, innermost thoughts like other people in the cafes.

If you're not feeling the creative bug, you can always delegate. Have something commissioned by a local artist. It doesn't have to be expensive. There are tons of (starving) artists you can find who would be willing to create something—maybe a sculpture or a painting—that would literally be one-of-a-kind.

I know all of this might seem a little daunting. Maybe you feel like you don't have any natural talent when it comes to gift-giving. I have news for you: you're right. You probably aren't naturally talented in this area. Which is exactly why you need to work at it and get better.

Remember, gift-giving is a skill that can be honed like anything else. All it takes is a little effort and the willingness to learn. And if you take the time to improve your gift-giving chops, you will reap the rewards, I promise. You'll get more thoughtful gifts, your significant other will be happier, you'll be less stressed, and ultimately, it will create what Guy Kawasaki calls an "upward spiral."

Originally published on www.TheDistilledMan.com.

Kyle Ingham is the founder of The Distilled Man, a website that features articles on essential skills every guy should know.