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July 2009

Dos and Don'ts of Online Dating

1.  DO be honest.  You're going to have to meet in person one day (or at least you hope to), so tell the truth early rather than having to face an awkward conversation later. 

2.  DON'T reveal too much about yourself until you become better acquainted.  You want to meet online, not have an online relationship. 

3.  DON'T use your last name or give out your personal information until you've known the person for a while.

4.  DO dial *67 before dialing their phone number.  It will block your phone number and name from appearing on a recipient's Caller ID unit.  You also can use your cell phone so your address can't be tracked.

5.  DO get a separate email account that does not give away your real name - some email providers allow you to create multiple addresses or names for free.

6.  DO post an up-to-date photo, and ask if their photo is recent.  Many aren't.

7.  DON'T spend too much time emailing before talking on the phone or meeting in person.  Nothing can replace face-to-face chemistry.  Better to find out if you have any before you get too involved.

8.  DON'T jump too quickly into sexy talk; it may send the wrong message.

9.  DO meet in a public place.

10.  DO make every word count.  Keep your descriptions light hearted, to the point, and add a little teaser.

11.  DO expect a flood of emails.  Longtime users will jump at the opportunity to meet someone new.

12.  DON'T be ambiguous.  Be clear about what you want, your goals and desires. 

Man Up and Date: Summer dating tips from It's Just Lunch

Hey guys, it's summer.  Time to relax and have some fun.  (One word: bikini.)  maybe in the past, dating has seemed to you more like a chore or at least a challenge, but trust us, done properly, dating can and should be relaxing and enjoyable.

The following are a few tips from the team at It's Just Lunch that should get you out there - and successfully dating - this summer.

  • Leave the house!  It's time to admit that she isn't going to find you while you're sitting on your couch watching summer reruns or surfing the online dating sites.  Find innovative and unusual places to meet people.  Join a club, volunteer or take up a new sport.  Summer provides a great opportunity to engage in the outdoor activities that you wouldn't have the chance to do during colder weather

  • What, are you blind?  There are many opportunities throughout your regular day to meet someone.  Interesting people are all around us, but most of us are so consumed with out busy lives - ourselves (you know who you are) - that we rarely take the time to notice.  So, while it might take a little practice, look up; consciously try to turn your radar on.

  • Don't smirk, smile!  Yeah, yeah, we know - you're a tough guy - but trust us, this works.  Whether you are at the clubs or the park, be aware, consider flashing your pearly whites once in a while.  Heck, you might even occasionally say hello.

  • Embrace your singledom.  Don't you realize how insanely jealous of you your married friends are?  Think about it:  You have the freedom to do anything you want, mingle and meet everyone you want, and learn new things about yourself and others.

  • But pity the playa.  Dating is, and should be, fun.  But it is not about playing games with other people, using clever tactics or making sure you come out on top.  Seriously -pick another summer sport.  Dating responsibly will make it a more enjoyable and less stressful process for everyone.

  • Own it. Everyone gets nervous, especially when meeting someone for the first time.  But have faith in yourself, or at least try to fake it until you make it.  Self confidence produces the most amazing results in dating because this positive energy attracts an abundance of people who want to meet them.

  • Earn it.  Most people know exactly what they want out of their careers and have a clearly defined set of goals.  But when it comes to finding a partner, it's often left to chance.  So be proactive.  If you really want to find that special someone, make dating as important as your career.  Getting out there and meeting new people is the perfect thing to put on your Summer "To Do" list.   

What's the biggest mistake men make on first dates?

Andrea By: Andrea Syrtash, Host of "On Dating"

Men try to impress too much rather than being impressed by the woman across from them.

One of the top complaints I hear from women about men on a first date is that men talk too much about themselves, they don't listen well and they don't make an effort to get to know the women they are out with.  One woman adds, "...and trying to get to know my sexually doesn't count!"

Bottom line:  If you truly want to impress a woman on a first date, be impressed by her.

1. Be (genuinely) curious

Ask your date questions that are both open-ended and specific.  Rather than saying "Do you like living here?" which may lead to a conversation dead-end, try "I heard you grew up in the South.  How's the lifestyle and culture there different from here?"  An open-ended question is more likely to start a dialog and make your date feel like you are interested in learning more about her, which generally increases her interest level.

Just remember:  A date isn't a job interview.  There's no need to play 20 questions without contributing your own thoughts.  After you ask a question and hear her response, join the conversation!

2. Listen actively

Make eye contact with your date and make sure you are genuinely listening to her, rather than anticipating the next thing you will say.  I understand that in some cases, we ladies use a lot of words (on average, double the word count of you guys!) - but we really notice when a man stops listening to what we're saying or looks around the room while we are talking.  In fact, many women I've interviewed have complained that men will ask them something they have already spoken about moments before.  Turn off! 

3. Be naturally confident

When men are trying too hard to impress - by sharing their resume and earning potential or by ordering food for a woman without asking her what she would like (another complaint from women I've polled) - women deduce that the man they are out with is insecure.

Stay upbeat on a first date and always show your funny side - those are two qualities that rank very high in attracting a woman.

Most of all, be yourself (unless yourself is naturally self-involved!).  When you are relaxed, putting your attention on the other person and having fun, you will exude a quiet confidence.  And - there's nothing sexier than that. 

What’s the biggest mistake women make on first dates?

Evan By: Evan Marc Katz, Author of "Why You're Still Single: Thing Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad" 

It’s a common perception that women dissect men on first dates.  Some dating screw-ups that my women friends have written about men include:

 “Do not look at her and say, ‘Why’d you get so dressed up?’” 

“Do not say, ‘Wow, did you just wolf that chicken down?’”

“Do not mention that any other girl is hot, even if she is hot.” 

But when you ask men what women do wrong on dates, you get mostly shrugs and silence. Therefore, it’s easy, as a woman, for you to think that the only thing you need to do on a date is to show up and look cute. And, yes, it definitely helps.  

However, there’s a lot more to being a great date than simply being attractive. 

What often gets lost by women – especially smart, successful, busy ones – is that your second date depends on how you make the guy FEEL on the first date. 

See, men don’t value women for the same reasons women value men. They’re not as concerned with what you do professionally, where you live, how much you’ve traveled, how much real estate you own, or how many other plans you have that don’t involve him. 

What they want to know is that you are fun, easygoing, and appreciative. In other words, they’re putting on a show, and they want to know that you’re enjoying it. Yet some of the most impressive women emasculate their first dates unintentionally – just by trying to run the date like they’d run a meeting at work. 

I was just talking with one of my clients, an attractive 35-year-old lawyer. She’s sweet. Has a big heart. A couple of homes. And yet she couldn’t help overruling her date when he suggested they meet at the Olive Garden. He let her have her way, but then, on the date, she couldn’t help asking him what he was thinking when he suggested a chain restaurant. It’s not that my client was wrong for feeling like he could have been more creative or generous; it’s that she made her date feel bad about himself. 

And what guy wants to be with a woman who makes him feel bad about himself?  

Understand – it’s not that he doesn’t care who you are or value your opinions. It’s that he cares far more about how you react to him and make him feel when you’re together.  

So put away the Blackberry, look him in the eye, compliment his shirt, ask him questions, laugh at his jokes, gently touch his knee, and thank him for picking up the tab. 

If he’s putting on a show, the least you can do is let him know he’s doing a good job.

View more information at 


The (not so) hard and fast rules of dating

By: Sarah Boesveld of the The Globe and Mail

If you want to date Marisa Di Bari, get ready to play by her rules.

Rule No. 1: no action before the third date. Rule No. 2: no dating guys five years her junior. Rule No. 3: no dating guys who live more than 100 kilometres away (or further than a 45-minute drive).

But of course, rules are made to be broken. In fact, Ms. Di Bari has broken all three, most recently when she dated someone seven years younger.

“Guys that age, they're not ready to commit, they just want to fool around and party,” says the 33-year-old Toronto events specialist. “It's Murphy's law, right? You make this rule and then of course you meet the one who is the epitome of the rule.”

Rules are ubiquitous in the dating scene, and have both helped and hindered potential couplings for generations. They're the driving force in I Hate Valentine's Day , a soon-to-be-released romantic comedy with Nia Vardalos playing Genevieve, a Manhattan florist who likes to date but would rather skip the rejection, heartbreak and complicated mess that is the real dating world.

Her standards are stiff – if he hopes to sweep her off her feet, her suitor must consistently make thoughtful, romantic gestures and pull off a string of five flawless dates. He soon learns it's all for naught – she'll still ditch him after the fifth date and move on to the next unsuspecting bloke.

Genevieve thinks she's got it all figured out until a chance encounter with Greg, a dashing restaurateur played by John Corbett, makes her question her rule-making ways.

That questioning ripples through the minds of every rule-crafting dater at one point or another. While they are often made with good reason, rules can also shutter windows of opportunity.

“It's a superstitious kind of thing,” says Nancy Ross, a relationship counsellor in Toronto. While she says some rules are good, such as avoiding people with tendencies toward violence, finicky regulations can cause even the most discerning dater to miss out. “You close doors you don't necessarily have to, [which can] create difficulty or create pain.”

Bad experiences and damaged trust are often catalysts for rule-making, says Evan Marc Katz, the Los Angeles-based author of Why You're Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad . It's a natural defence mechanism, he says.

“We are a society of rules; we are a society of laws. We like to put labels on things. But life defies labels,” he says. “It's not that five dates for X or three months for Y is necessarily unreasonable – it might be a decent ballpark. You just can't live your life by the letter of that law as much as understand the spirit of that law.”

He says making rules based on numbers, such as Genevieve's five-date limit or comedian-cum-love guru Steve Harvey's rule of 90-day abstinence, is generally a bad idea.

Daters say rules have helped them maintain high standards and weed out undesirable suitors.

Kiwi Mohamed, a 25-year-old sales associate in Toronto, follows The Rules , a self-help dating tome gobbled up by women since its first release in the mid-1990s. She calls The Rules , which advises women never to make the first move, “a filtration system.” It's also a protective layer.

“I'm incredibly shy when it comes to the general boy matter,” Ms. Mohamed says. “So, I guess The Rules are my excuse to continue to be shy.”

Some daters' rules are more like deal breakers.

For Jessica Lockhart, the sight of a bad tattoo halts any blossoming romance in its tracks. She remembers having an intense attraction to a young man who'd swept into her small Alberta hometown one summer about five years ago. After admiring his visible tattoos at a bar one night, she made her way to a 7-Eleven with him and a few other friends. When one asked if the guy had any other tats, he lifted his shirt to reveal rippled abs and the word “biznatch” scrawled across his belly.

“Needless to say I never saw him again,” says the 25-year-old Toronto blogger. “Bad tattoos are definitely a sign of somebody who makes poor life decisions and probably poor relationship decisions.”

Liz Parker, a 39-year-old communications specialist in Toronto, says she's loath to date anyone who shows up late for an evening out or, worse yet, if they're inappropriately dressed. If they mention sex on the first date, the deal will also be off. Like Ms. Mohamed, she uses her rules to filter out duds, but says it's worrisome that many people don't have sound justifications for the rules they set and just follow what their friends are doing.

“Most people make these decisions based on what's expected of them, and a lot of people date that way,” Ms. Parker says.

Tearing up a list of physical requirements was the best decision Rae Ratslef ever made. Back in April, the 37-year-old single mom in Surrey, B.C., walked into the offices of It's Just Lunch, a dating service, with the aim of dating a guy who was at least 5 foot 10, who made more money than her and had dark features. She soon learned to loosen up and widen the pool.

But when it comes to dating, she says, The Rules' tenet of making the man do all the work has proven true. Once she had missed a man's call and she phoned him back – much to his surprise and, apparently, his displeasure. “It was really an awkward conversation and I never heard from him again.”

Though flexible, Ms. Mohamed says she breaks her rules every now and again. Earlier this week, she sent a soul-baring text to a guy she'd had a crush on for months. She scolded herself, but felt a heavy burden lift. “I felt incredibly liberated, I'm not going to lie,” she says.

Despite her single status, Ms. Di Bari sticks to her regulations. They help keep her standards high and maintain her dignity. But most of all, they protect her from heartbreak. Sometimes, she feels a little like she's missing out.

“There were times when having the rules actually hurt me because I might've missed out on an opportunity because of them,” she says. “I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.”