- About Us
- Professional Development
- The Corporate Edge
- BlackJag Lifestyle
- BlackJag’s Den
- Industry News
- Career Advice
Sex & Dating
Dating & Sex on AskMen
Here’s one thing you should know about women: We all love romance. We love it when you do something thoughtful. Because, really, that’s what romance is. It’s not necessarily about sweeping us off on holiday, renting out the Piano Suite of Claridges for our anniversary or sending 24 red rose on our birthday. Don’t get me wrong, those are pretty nice gestures. I mean, that’s going to guarantee you a few weeks of spontaneous sex. But you do need to know your girl’s tastes. I know plenty of women that would feel embarrassed by such grand gestures, regardless of how well-intended they are. For some, the simple act of taking us to our favourite restaurant on an otherwise dull Wednesday night is considered the height of romance. Or sending macaroons to our office when we’re having a terrible week at work. You see, true romance is when thought goes into a gesture, not cash.Whilst we girls know exactly how we want to be treated, I can see how men can be misguided on 21st century romance. We don’t expect you to help us out of a carriage, hold an umbrella over us when it rains or hoist us over a puddle so our petticoats don’t get muddy, but romance still counts. But at the same time we don't want cheesy. See, we totally appreciate how tricky it all is. So, here are my romance pointers:First Date RomanceYou don’t know her well enough to know what she likes, so stick with being well mannered and chivalrous. Holding the door open is lovely, but pulling the chair out is too much. You’re not our dad and we’re not three years old. Or 93 years old. Top our glass of wine before top your own. This is often overlooked by blokes and one thing I always notice. Offering to get her cab home, or at the very least making sure she gets in a cab safely, is romantic. Offering to walk her home is a little full-on. You're a potential boyfriend, not bodyguard. Casual Dating RomanceYou’re still getting to know each other, but you can step up the romance slightly. When I first started dating my boyfriend he’d write little cards and leave them on my bed. So cute. Then came playful yet personal presents, such as the Skinny Meals in Heels cookbook, because of what he considers are my ‘weird’ eating habits. Since when was cold pizza for breakfast and carrots dipped in peanut butter for dinner weird? Sorry, I digress. That kind of thing: good romantic.Relationship RomanceYou should know her well enough by now to know what will make her cringe or grin. An ex-boyfriend I briefly lived with a few years ago used to run bubble baths for me for when I got home from the job I hated and always made sure the fridge was stocked with Pinot. By now, emoticons, petrol station flowers -- yes, we can tell the difference -- or text messages on our birthday are unacceptable acts of romance. Step it up. What are her hobbies? What’s her favourite film? Who has she always wanted to see play live?To be truly romantic and thoughtful requires great deal of actually listening to your girlfriend (sorry about that, boys).My own forms of romance aren’t quite as inventive when compared to the lengths some gents I know have gone to. Although I am proud of a few efforts. Soon after my last ex-boyfriend gabe me a set of keys to his flat, I let myself in when I knew he was working late and filled his fridge up with beer. What’s not to love, right? I’m currently trying to demonstrate a romantic streak in my current, long distance, relationship by compiling a scrap book of our times together: a ticket from our first Broadway play, a photo taken on our first Valentine’s Day and matches from the bar he first carried me out of when I drank too much. Who says romance is dead?
Modern dating in Britain is very different to that of our American cousins. And that is no more evident when it comes to online dating.Whilst everyone in the US has an OKCupid profile, online dating in the UK has its own etiquette for e-meeting potential dates.Naturally, we Brits feel more comfortable with the subtle pick-up. Online dating profiles can feel so brash, so in-your-face, so I’M HERE TO DO ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY. AND THAT THING IS TO FIND ME SOME SEXYTIME. Of course, when that is all you really want, a dating site is an efficient way to find someone who is looking for the same thing. But putting yourself out on that platform to be judged is a nerve-wracking endeavour. And then it can be incredibly challenging to develop a meaningful relationship with someone when your initial shared interest was simply simply desiring a relationship.That’s why social media opens up a whole new world of online introduction, flirting and dating opportunities, and is our panel’s platform of choice. Facebook is a bit too personal for meeting people first-hand, but the casual, open nature of Twitter means that anyone can strike up a rapport with anyone, jump in and out of conversation, get a much better impression of that person’s personality, and talk to people you have no mutual friends with without any of it being creepy.And then for traditional, just-like-the-movies online dating, there’s online profile etiquette - in our experts’ experience, and as Cosmopolitan’s Rosie Mullender points out in our panel, statistics show that both men and women exaggerate and lie on certain aspects of their profile. The average man will add three imaginary inches to his height (an OKCupid study recently showed that men with taller heights on their profile do get more replies from women, wheras shorter women received more messages from men, so the temptation to embellish is perhaps justified), whilst women will shave years off their age and dress size -- so when using dating sites, it’s important that you allow some leeway for the figures you’re reading.The best dating profiles are engaging, interesting, and make people want to get to know you. You should be honest and upfront -- but sell yourself on your personality and charm rather than by exaggerating your measurements. There’s no point being dishonest online, because as soon as your date meets you, they’ll realise you were a bit too liberal with the truth.So then, how should one go about finding a partner, be it casual or serious, online? Enjoy some witty exchanges on Twitter, agree our panel, but never ask to be followed. It’s weird in real life and it’s weird on the internet. When used correctly, both social media and dating sites provide a brilliant opportunity to meet dates that you connect with, who you wouldn’t have by hanging around bars attempting to ‘pick up’ women.In episode two of AskWomen UK, watch our panel of professional lifestyle authors and editors -- Charleen French, editor of SoHairObsessed, author Daisy Buchanan, Cosmopolitan’s deputy features editor Rosie Mullender and myself, AskMen’s own -- are here to help you by discussing the true, honest-to-God key to transforming an online relationship into a real one.
So, here’s a thing. I don’t know what the key to a man’s heart is. I thought it would be a snappy intro to this column to get the ball rolling. A quick how-to on unlocking a man’s heart. But I don’t know what the punch line is. I’ve tried to remember how I have unlocked the hearts of my ex-boyfriends, how I reached the moment that swung me from being a girl they were seeing to a girl they wanted to be with and I cannot pinpoint the thing that did it. Was it the night I made the béarnaise sauce from scratch? Or when I fell in love with his stinking, slobbering dog? Was it the black dress with the spaghetti straps? Or when I nerded out about the John Martyn discography? I’m not sure. Sometimes the key is hung on a man’s dick, sometimes hidden under his stomach, sometimes it’s nestled on his shelf next to his Arrested Development box sets. I don’t think I’ll ever know the definitive key to a man’s heart – where he’s left it, how to find it, whether it is Banham, Yale or otherwise. However, here’s a thing I know to be fundamentally true -- the key to a woman’s heart is through her friends. If you impress the friends of a woman you are seeing. Oh boy. You’ve got the key, alright. You’ve got the key, the number of the landlord and the name of the neighbours sorted. Charm her friends and you’ve got the thing sorted in one swift manoeuvre.There is nothing that confirms the guy you’re with is a heaven-sent, 14-carat, solid-gold Adonis than watching your friends get on with him. A woman’s close friends are the best judges of character she knows and they understand her better than anyone. They’re the ones who got her all hooked on the new Phoenix album and who made sure she didn’t get a pink dip-dye when she was dead keen on the idea last summer. They are the voice of power. And that’s not an opportunity you want to be missing out on.But there’s an art to it. A very fine art indeed. If you go too friendly, you’ll appear pervy. Or over-familiar. Or like an enthusiastic Newsround presenter. But then if you go too cool you’ll seem cold. Rude. Like you think you’re, what, BETTER than her BEST MATES who have known her for, like, YEARS??!!No, no. There is a balance to be struck when you meet the friends of the woman you’re seeing. Here are the basics:1. Ask their names. Remember their names. Do not shorten their names unless everyone else is doing so.2. Ask questions about them. Lots of questions. Even the really, really boring one who’s whining on and on about her annual appraisal. You ask her questions about that appraisal. You feign serious interest in that appraisal. In fact, you make out that knowing all the facts and feelings she has about that annual appraisal is the most important thing you’ve ever heard in your whole goddamn life.3. Tell them how great their friend is who you’re seeing. Caution: do NOT gush. If you go too over the top, they’ll all talk about it later and decide you are too keen and she needs to be with someone less needy. Talk about what an “interesting woman” she is, describe her as “a real stunner” and how “the more I get to know her, the more I like her”.4. Be complimentary. This is a VERY delicate one. Keep in the safe zone. Compliment their clothes, job or taste in something. Not their face or body. If you do, you’ll be known as that creepy bloke who was shamelessly cracking on to her mates all night, right before her eyes.5. If you’re out with them, offer them drinks. If she lives with friends, bring a bottle of wine round when you visit her. This means you will be referenced as a “real gentleman” in years to come. Yeah. For real.It’s really important to impress a woman’s friends, because -- ok -- here’s the truth. When you start going out with our friend, we’re really happy she’s found love and everything, but there is also a teeny tiny possibility that we could sort of really fucking hate you. Because our friend is really brilliant and you could come along and ruin it all. She might not be fun anymore. She could just stop seeing us. She might stop replying to all my LOLcat emails because she’s just been too busy with her new boyfriend. And she may well stop having coffee with us and listening to our boring problems. She might just start hanging out with all your friends and all their girlfriends. You might be rude. Or mute. Or you might not think we’re an important part of her life. We’ve seen it happen before with our mates and no doubt it will happen again.But then, more often that not, she’ll pick a good one. And he’s funny and charming and she lights up when he sits next to her. And he’s easy to talk to and he’s asking good questions and he’s being lovely about our great friend. Then he’ll go to the bar because he’s so kindly offered to get the next round in for us. And we can see he’ll make her happy and won’t be a total ball-ache to hang out with. And we’ll turn to our friend and smile. “We love him, mate”, we’ll say. And in that moment, be it fleeting or forever, so does she.
Modern dating is tricky. Are those tired old clichés actually getting anyone anyone anymore? No. Of course they're not. Should you take advice from mates or go with your gut? And are there any rules we can ever apply to emotional, elastic human relationships, really?When it comes to dating and relationship advice, there is one way to get foolproof, to-the-point, no-holds-barred honesty. And that is by going to the source. What do women want? Let’s ask them themselves.So, delivering no-nonsense, honest and frank dating advice are our panel of expert women -- qualified for lady advice-giving by not just their sex, but by practicing professional lifestyle advice, too. Here to help you negotiate the perils of today’s dating world are Cosmopolitan magazine’s Deputy Features Editor Rosie Mullender, author Daisy Buchanan, Charleen French, editor of So Hair Obsessed, and myself, AskMen’s very own Staff Writer.For episode one, we’re starting from the very beginning: how to approach women. See someone you’d like to get to know? Here’s how to start a conversation without terrifying her. And that means absolutely no shouting from cars or ambushes at the gym. Instead, our panel reveal the perfect place they’d like to be approached. Each week, we’ll be delving into dating dilemmas across the whole relationships spectrum. Have you got a question for our panel to answer? Leave it in the comments below, and we’ll see you next week for more candid dating discussion. In the meantime: no chatting up on the treadmills...
In what is probably the greatest film ever made, there is a scene where a pair of best friends called Harry and Sally lie side by side in a bed after they have had sex for the first time. She nuzzles into his neck like a kitten and purrs at him, asking him if he is comfortable. A high-angle shot captures Harry staring at the ceiling with eyes as wide as saucers, his leg flung out of the bed and poised on the floor, ready to get the hell out of there.The next day, he tells his male friend about sleeping with Sally: “Most of the time you go to bed with someone, then she tells you all her stories and you tell her your stories,” he explains. “But with Sally and me, we'd already heard each other's stories.”I have always thought this line perfectly articulates both the best and worst thing about sleeping with your best friend. On one hand, you don’t have to bother staying up all night discovering everything about each other. You don’t have to exhaust yourself trying to impress them. The heat is off. They’re impressed already. That’s why they’re friends with you. But on the other hand -- it’s confusing. There’s no seduction or pillow talk when you have sex with a friend and so it’s hard to know what to do or say afterwards. You can’t really BE sexy. Because there’s no fooling your best mates.In my experience, if you are close with someone single and of the opposite sex, inevitably there will be a moment when sex is discussed. At one point in your friendship, you’ll stop the car and suddenly find yourselves with an option of turning off into a remote village that you never knew was there. Sometimes you get to that junction out of drunkenness, sometimes out of boredom or loneliness. Sometimes you just find yourself there, very quickly, for no traceable reason at all.Here’s the first question you want to ask yourself -- do you really want to have sex with this person? Or is it because you’re a man and she’s a woman and you can’t be bothered to find anyone else? Is having sex with this person a bit like when you open the fridge and realise there’s nothing in there other than a out-of-date jar of pesto but you eat it anyway? Are you really going to scrape the non-mouldy bit of pesto out and put it on some bread? That also required a mould removal effort? Do you really want to eat this? Or do you think you should just have a cup of tea and go to bed and go shopping in the morning?Then if you go ahead with it, here are the potential outcomes to prepare for:1. You decide it was a one-off thing that doesn’t have to be a big deal and your friendship can recover from it.2. You decide you cannot get over it and it has shifted the gear in your friendship too much to go back to normal.3. You realise that having sex with them was the most awkward, silent, uncomfortable experience of your life and you wonder why you ever did it. Of course it was going to be like that. You fucked your best mate.4. You realise that having sex with them was the most bed-breaking, head-board-banging, gorgeous, amazing experience of your life and you wonder why it took you so long to do it. Of course it was going to be like that! You fucked your best mate!5. You think you can get over it and then you see them with someone else and realise, actually, you can’t.6. One of you wants to keep sleeping together and the other doesn’t.7. You wake up, freak out, leave without saying goodbye, go home, pack your bags, take your passport, leave the country and send them a Facebook message five to ten years later explaining that you just felt a bit weird about the whole thing.8. You both realize you should be having sex all the time. You start dating. You fall in love.8b. (optional) You buy a house. You buy a dog. You buy some furniture. You get married. You have a baby. You start fighting about the dog and the furniture and the baby. You get divorced. You wish you’d just stayed friends in the first place.And my final word of warning is a reminder that proper, close, male/female friendships are quite hard to come by. If you’ve found someone who makes you laugh, who gives good advice, who’ll be there for you at your lowest ebb, I would proceed with caution. That’s a lot to potentially lose on account of an orgasm.…But then, on the flipside, it’s just sex isn’t it? Happens every day. Your neighbours do it. Your parents did it. Every person on the bus has done it. People do it with whipped cream and up bottoms and with five other people and Monica Lewinksy did it with a cigar and Boris Becker did it in a cupboard. It’s just sex. There are entire iPhone apps for people to organise and meet up to do it. It doesn’t have to mean everything. And sure, it could go wrong. But it could also be sort of great. You just have to assess whether the outcome could be good enough to warrant the gamble. And here I leave you with a quote from Peter McWilliams, who worded this argument in a quip far better than any of mine. “What if it doesn’t work out?” he asked. “Ah, but what if it does.”
I’ve been in New York for the past two months. As you’d expect from a city 3,000 miles away from home, things are different. You can go to the cinema at 1am and drink at a bar until 4am, but cab drivers hate you and good luck finding a corner shop that sells beer. Oh, and the dating scene is brutal. If you’re a woman, that is. Single men probably have it better in New York than any other city in the world. Why? The 5-1 woman-man ratio means you’ve got five times more chance of pulling than in Britain. And the women here are ballsy -- they’ll think nothing of chatting you up at the traffic lights, approaching you in a bar or instigating a talk on OK Cupid.comDating is a serious business in New York and 'Multiple Dating' is the standard. It’s perfectly common -- if not expected -- for men and women to have three or four people on the go before deciding one is serious enough to make them monogamous and everyone is alarmingly open about it. A man would think nothing of blurting out at dinner; ‘You know what, can we just get the cheque? I have a drinks thing with someone after this.’I don’t know whether to be offended by or admirable of this brutal honesty. Multiple dating certainly happens in Britain, but the stark difference is that we don’t talk about it. We’d worry what the other person thought and fear rocking the boat too early on. Best to just keep schtum until something gets serious, eh?During my last year at university, I remember having three casual dates on the go. It was all harmless, really. I wasn’t sleeping with any of them and thought this made me wildly cool, modern and powerful. Frankly, I couldn’t keep up. Juggling three text conversations, re-telling the same anecdotes, not to mention the sinking feeling that maybe I was a bit of a tramp. I’d be out with one, get texts from another asking what I was up to and totally panic. ‘At home! Sick! Don’t call!’ would be my hasty response. I gave up after two weeks.After my last breakup I decided to throw myself back in the game and set up two first dates. Both lovely, attractive guys who I juggled for a couple of weeks under the premise that it was completely innocent, until I fell for both of them and wound up with neither. Turns out I wasn’t Multiple Dating anymore; I was cheating.And, let’s face it, multiple dating takes up a lot of time. What with work, parties, Pilates and Googling ‘Ryan Gosling Tumblr,’ I can barely find time to maintain one relationship, let alone two or three. Yes, multiple dating may mean more sex, more excitement and one hell of an ego boost. It will also set you back a few quid and take up most of your spare time -- and will take over football Saturdays and pub Sundays.Here’s my advice: Keep it simple. A few casual dates don’t make a relationship. Do what you want, as long as you’re not lying, cheating or leading anyone on. As soon as sex is involved, the game changes and you need to be upfront. Of course there are more traditional Brits who wouldn’t dream of dating more than one person at a time. Respect. But perhaps we can learn something from our transatlantic pals. Their approach to dating might be ruthless, but there are no games or expectations. Then again, isn’t all that part of the fun of dating?
It's a safe assumption that we all find it easier to meet potential partners when out with friends. Being amongst those you are tight with improves self-belief, confidence, and in someways, increases your attractiveness level. I mean, being part of a social group is surely more appealing than being the weirdo sat on his own in the corner. Hence the continued importance of a high end wingman. I've found that when you are back on the dating scene and lack the confidence to go it alone, a wingman is that support unit that can coax you in the right direction. Not always, but often. Depending on the kind of girls you want to meet, finding the right-hand man for the job is an important stepping stone to get your mojo back. Urban Dictionary defines a 'wingman' rather succinctly. "A guy you bring along with you on singles outings that helps you out with women." This is true, and so much more. I'm not talking about the outmoded wingmen you've likely read about in Neil Strauss' The Game. The dudes I'm talking about are the friends who offer the genuine, hard but fair advice and possess the requisite charm to chat amiably with a group of girls. Without being creepy. The wingman must be an equal, the type of character who knows what you are about, what you are after and what you have to offer. Be it on a bus, in a bar, walking through the park or shopping in a convenience store, the wingman in question is the back-up to help you get you over the top. Someone you trust to have your back.Ordinarily you will find this person from within your friendship group. They could be single themselves and provide a valuable source of solidarity and understanding. Alternatively, they might themselves even be attached but signing up to your mission with purely selfless motivations. The wingman should be aware of your intentions; the type of woman you want to date, the characteristics you'd like her to have and most importantly, the ability to wax lyrical about why you are such a catch -- from heroic deeds and funny anecdotes to. Translation: he should be a good liar. I jest, reader. Additionally, they will require skills in reconnaissance to find out what your object of desire might be interested in, what sort of approach she favours and crucially, if she already has a boyfriend. Essential information.Don't be shy of asking your female friends to assist either. Women can be a great partner-in-crime. Their generosity tends to know no bounds and girls can provide priceless insider intel in relating to a targets wants and needs. They're able to read body language far better than your male counterparts. Often able to elicit conversation that connects you with the beliefs and values the girl you want is searching for.Ultimately, you need a selfless comrade who'll pull you out of your comfort zone and help you to the finish line. A friend who has no issue in helping you approach potential partners. With you returning the favour if necessary. Fair's fair.
The three questions I get asked the most often are: how tall are you? How real is Made in Chelsea? And where is good for the first date? The answers are: Six foot. Perfectly real. And I have absolutely no idea. But bear with me. We're going to get there together, reader. I know my city pretty well. I know the night bus that takes you right up from Hampstead Heath down to Victoria (the 24). I know the name of the pit-bull terrier who sits on Shoreditch High Street (George). I know the city’s loveliest square (Bonnington) and I know the South London fish and chip shop that sells marijuana (I’ll let you find that out for yourself). I know my city’s pubs and parks and burgers and bagels, where to dance to Chuck Berry, where to smoke indoors and where to play pool at four am. But I do not for the life of me know where to go in it when I have a first date.People start thinking bizarre things when it comes to where to go on a first date. Like -- is it too quiet? Is it too boring? Is it too busy? Too generic? Too quirky? Is it enough of a talking point? Will he/she be satisfied with the variety of beer available? The only time you’ll ever be such a pedant about location is probably for your own wedding. Which makes it all come full circle quite neatly, I suppose. You begin dating a person by panicking about the price of wine at a venue and you finish dating a person by doing exactly the same thing.If you live in London -- or any major city -- “somewhere central” seems to always be the concluding location for a first date, despite the fact that absolutely no one goes out in central London other than suburban teenagers with a day return train ticket who head to a zone one Wetherspoons to soak it all in. I’ve been on dates “somewhere central”, I always advise people to go on dates “somewhere central” and yet I don’t really know why. This is the riddle of first dates, it makes you make weird decisions in an attempt at staying safe and covering all bases. “I can’t choose a bar in EAST London if they live in SOUTH London!” you suddenly realise. How will they get home?! What if I seem too bossy, dictating the area? No, no. I can’t do that. Not on a first date. Just say somewhere central. Central is safe. Central is fine. Everywhere is bound to be open. We’ll just find a casino or a Bella Italia or something.
I recently was tipped off about a dating site called Doing Something, which claims to take the awkwardness out of a first date. People advertise themselves with no other details other than what they fancy doing and people reply if they want to do it with them. A great idea in theory, but it offered up some pretty odd insights into what people think makes a good first date. “I wanna go squirrel hunting!” one man writes. “Ice skating” says another. I especially like the man who said he wants to see “a foreign art house flick at a Curzon cinema” and applaud his attempt at film-buffery.But I left the site feeling rather confused -- I’ve never done any of these things on first dates. I have not skated on ice, nor hunted beast. I haven’t been on bikes or in water or in the air. They have all very much been on dry land, in a pub or restaurant, talking and drinking. Anything too activity-heavy on a first date has always seemed to me like it gets in the way of the point of the evening -- getting to know someone.My best first date started with two vodka martinis then went on to a dirty blues joint then continued into a rickshaw and carried on in a hotel bar then drunkenly giggled its way up to a suite then finished with lunch on a park bench the next day. My worst first date was a set-up, aged 14 in a Costa coffee in a shopping centre that began and ended within 15 minutes. Here’s what I’ve learned about first dates:- Do not be scared of taking charge. Ask your date if there’s anywhere she had in mind and if she says no then it means she wants you to suggest somewhere. Don’t shy out of it – pick somewhere. Otherwise the pair of you will end up somewhere completely awful out of a well-meaning, polite awkwardness.- Wherever you go, make sure there’s another place that’s open until two am less than ten minutes away from it.- Don’t invite mates.- If you REALLY are set on doing something zany, make sure you have time afterwards to chat about it. So, I don’t know, zorbing followed by a coffee.- If you have a shared interest (particular music, food, booze etc), go somewhere that involves it. It’s a good bonding tool.- Don’t go anywhere too loud or busy.- Don’t do it at their house or your house. You’ll feel on show/they’ll feel on show.- If there’s somewhere you love going, take her there. You’ll know what to expect and feel relaxed.- Don’t go anywhere expensive.- Don’t go to Nandos.Still panicked? Look. It’s simple. Here’s what works -- talking. Drinking. Eating. Evening. Music. Walking. Dancing. Snogging. Footsie. Low lighting. Make it a long, relaxed, simple, sexy, pubby, laughy, big-bar-billy affair. If you really, really need to be “DOING SOMETHING” instead of TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING, then maybe your date isn’t right, not the date location.And if by any chance you’re in central London this weekend and you see a load of awkward couples wandering around Leicester Square aimlessly -- that’s probably my fault. I’ve probably sent them there and told them it’s the safe option. Round them up, tell them I’ve realised I was very wrong and send them all squirrel hunting or something.
You’d be forgiven for being insulted by the premise of this column. How patronising of me to assume that you, an accomplished and successful man of the world cannot do something as straight-forward as chat up a woman. You’ve probably got a degree and an espresso machine and use a Bag For Life. You’re a grown up, for God’s sake, you’ve been dating for half of your life.
That said, most of us haven’t got a clue how to ask someone out, have we? Women are no exception, hence why we generally wait for you to do it. I’ve sworn off chatting up men. I’ve done it twice before. Once in a bar, high on feminism and gin and the other over email to a man I was sure fancied me. Both attempts failed. The curt email reply -- almost a week later -- was one of those, "We should definitely hang out, as mates," responses and the bar guy pointedly looked over my shoulder at another girl as I was speaking. So, chatting up men may not be my forte, but I certainly know what works for women. In my book, there are just three steps to getting a date:1. Make her laugh2. Pick up on her signals3. Ask her out
It’s that simple. The signal thing is imperative and often overlooked. I was in a club with a couple of girlfriends recently when a bloke danced up next to us. Translation: modern man’s mute equivalent of asking a lady at the ball whether she’d do him "the honour of having the next dance," except with hip thrusting and a Will.i.am soundtrack. As a taken woman I can’t be grinding up next to strange men in a club, so I simply walked away. He, thrilled at the prospect of a challenge, followed me. How annoying. If a girl is interested in your she will let you know straight away. If I see a hot guy in a club I wouldn’t chat him up, but I’d definitely make eye contact, thus giving him the go-ahead to approach me without fear of rejection. It works both ways, see.A bloke asked me the other day if it was acceptable to ask a woman out on the tube. Why not? Asking for her number in the middle of a packed carriage during rush hour is overbearing, but catching her eye and flashing a cheeky, non-creepy smile is kind of sexy. We check out men on the tube all the time. If she’s looking in your direction and smiles back, it’s a good sign. To save you both embarrassment, get off at her stop and immediately introduce yourself. You can both laugh at the absurdity of the situation and, with any luck, swap numbers.Another example: yesterday, as I waited to cross a busy street, a man standing beside me commented on the sizable bandage covering my left hand, the result of a recent injury which required stitches in my little finger. He joked that he had just suffered a paper cut so knew "just how I feel." That made me laugh. By this point we were walking up the road in the same direction and it turns out, heading to the same party. During general work-related chit chat, he dropped in a compliment; "It’s an OK job but I don’t get to work with beautiful women like you." Kind of cheesy but rather sweet. When we arrived at the party he casually asked me for a drink "sometime." Casual, smooth and minus sleazy jokes or innuendos. Guys, that is the way to do it. Be self-assured without being cocky and direct without being pushy. And it she says no, take solace in the fact you’ll probably never see her again anyway.
I've embarked on a journey to work the dating scene. And that means not just going for dinner, but meeting interesting women, refining my conversational skills, increasing my confidence and ultimately, finding love. In order to do so, I've signed up to matchmaking websites, utilised my friends network for blind date set ups and most recently, ventured outside to a wealth of dating events that are going on all the time, with that aim: to aid the hopes of meeting a potential partner.Providing a rating for each, I've given a score for the points I value most. Hopefully they prove useful for you too. Like any date, it has to be fun, have the potential to evolve in to a second date, and finally, whether or not it's worth going again.
Wheel Of DateDoing SomethingI've also had a go at singles club nights and more interestingly, I went on the Doing Something takeover of the London Eye, where 500 singletons had the chance to meet prospective lovers in pods, immersed in silent discos to comedy, karaoke, live performances and even a petting farm [INSERT INAPPROPRIATE JOKE HERE]. Whilst the whole experience was a blast, all I fell for was how awesome London is, particularly when viewed at night from 440+ft over the city's skyline. Including an after party at the awesome Old Vic Tunnels, it was perhaps the biggest singles night I've ever been to.Fun rating: 4/5Second date potential: 3/5Return visit: 2/5
Last Night A Speed Date Saved My LifeThe Book Club. ShoreditchI've been speed dating lately, and preconceptions of it being like a Dragons Den sales pitch were kind of true: it is three minutes of showing your worth with a conversation as cut & paste as a Microsoft Word doc. The great thing is though, unlike a first date with a girl you might end turn out not hitting it off with, you needn't endure it for the rest of the night. Why? Because if it isn't for you, like Zack Morris, you're Saved By The Bell and can move on to the next one.Fun rating: 4/5Second date potential: 3/5Return visit: 4/5Laissez-Faire PartiesLovestruck, various UK locationsDating site Lovestruck offers a decent series of events -- with events like regular bowling nights which are free-to-attend. Providing the opportunity to meet new people in a casual setting, it's ideal for any dating newbie since it is in non-imposing venues which everyday folk frequent. Singletons are separated by the use of coloured straws so it's entirely up to you whether you approach or not. Otherwise, just have a good night.
Fun rating: 4/5Second date potential: 4/5Return visit: 4/5
#ManOfTheMonthSouth LondonLet's not forget my recent 'mass date' (it's a real thing). It's an informal get-together created by a bunch of South London's finest group of single women -- at least from what I've found -- where I dated nine women at once, just me and all of them. What's the score? Well, each girl will host a night every month selecting the meeting point and a male suitor for the rest to fawn over. Should the guy make a good impression he is asked to stay with a chance to carry the night on with a girl of his choosing, moving on to another bar to see if there's a connection there. I lucked out and continued the party with the lot. Check it out and see if you make the cut.Fun rating: 5/5Second date potential: 3/5Return visit: n/a (You have one chance to make an impression.)Now I'm certain there are plenty more I'm yet to experience -- get in touch if you know any worth checking out -- but that's the great thing, variety. There are a large array of opportunities available to aide our ability to legitimately change our Facebook status from 'single' to 'in a relationship,' if that's what you want, of course.The traditional model is becoming obsolete (unless you are up to the challenge then boy, you go for it!) The way I see it, long gone is the stigma of giving in to the set up situations, and hell, if you work it, it's worth it.Now go forth, a date.
A couple of weeks ago, my two friends invited me round to their house for Sunday lunch. Over pudding, one of them announced to the table that the other had a date that evening.“What?” I said, “on a Sunday night?”“I know,” she said. “Bit weird. But it’s the only night he could do and I really like him.”“Well, if you really like him don’t have sex with him,” a friend chipped in.“Yes, no sex,” I agreed. “But definitely some kissing.”“No, definitely no kissing.”“What? DEFINITELY kissing. If there’s no kissing then it’s not a date!” another barked through a mouth of banoffee pie.“Fine, kissing, but no tongues.”“What? You can’t kiss with no tongues.”“Or you could do what Catholics do and just have anal sex because technically they think that doesn’t actually count as sex,” I said.“Do Catholics do that? I don’t think they do,” and so on and so on. Sunday lunch had turned into a braying, late-night Channel Four discussion show, the sort that went on for five hours and aired in the late eighties. This week’s topic: sex – how soon is too soon? And the majority consensus was: absolutely not on the first date. I have long been an advocate for not having sex on the first date. Having sex on the first date is like reading the back page of a book before you’ve even started it. You get the instant gratification of knowing how it ends, but wouldn’t you prefer to wind your way through the pages to get there? Wouldn’t you prefer to discover all the other chapters of that person before you get to the best one?The question of sex on the first date is all too often discussed in completely mad terms of female power, like it’s a woman holding some sort of carrot in front of a rampant donkey. That’s obviously not what initially abstaining from sex should be about at all. I am sure you’re well aware that the woman you’re on a date with will want to jump your bones just as much as you want to jump hers. Waiting a few dates before sex is just a good mutual decision to make if you’re both keen to string the thing out. Because the general rule is, the quicker you have sex, the quicker you raise the question of what “you are” and the quicker it’s all over.Sex takes you to a place of comfort, of knowing someone really well. There’s something fundamentally coupley about having sex. Doing it too soon is a passion-quasher and a relationship accelerator. And why would you want to rush those first stages? When you think about it, the only thing sexier than having sex with someone is not having sex with them. Nothing fills you with lust like getting in a cab home after a spectacular date and lying awake all night because you can’t stop thinking about them.Plus there’s all the kissing, Kissing will never be as important in a relationship than it is on those first few sex-less dates. Enjoy the electric, adolescent sexiness of just snogging for hours on end -- of pushing someone against a wall and running your fingers through their hair and kissing and kissing and kissing until your lips are chapped. Kissing will never be the main event ever again. If you’re still with that person in five years time, kissing will become nothing more than a signpost that that person wants to have sex with you that night even though you can’t really be bothered and you’ve just put some toast in and you don’t want it to burn and also Jonathan Creek is on and apparently this time someone dies but also there’s some sort of twist.All the above said, it’s totally your judgement call. I know a couple of rare examples where great love has bloomed out of first date sex. And, hey. We are all grown ups. And being a grown up is hard, man. We need some perks. It is our god-given right to both party and have sex on the first date or indeed whenever we want to. Just be aware you run the risk of killing something before it’s even started.And as for my friend, I stayed drinking whisky through Sunday night with her housemate while she was on her date.“I’ve run out of all my good anecdotes” she texted me at 9 o’clock.“Do not fuck him,” I replied. “Think of better anecdotes.”But then, lo and behold, at one AM in what was now the wee small hours of Monday morning, we were onto port when they giggled and stumbled into the house. She has since told me that she had asked the landlady of the pub she was in whether she should take her date home or not. The woman told her that frankly she wasn’t bothered as long as they could finish up because it was past closing time on a Sunday and everyone had homes to go to.She corned me in the kitchen as we smoked out of her window and our other friend entertained him. “Dolly,” she hissed, her mascara smudged and her breath heavy with Sauvignon Blanc. “I think he’s the one.”“Ok yeah but DO NOT FUCK HIM,” I said.The port was finished and the working week was due to start in a few hours so we all called it a night. As I fell into my mate’s bed half clothed, we heard some tremendous crashing about upstairs.“Shit,” she said. “I think they’re definitely going to have sex. And on the first date.”“Yeah I think they are,” I slurred, my eyes closing as I drifted into sleep. “But on the bright side, I think I can probably get a column out of it.”
1. White lies are OK. (In moderation)There are moments of truth in every relationship. Questions such as "Is she prettier than me?" "Did I snore last night?" "Will I get that job?" "I dress better than her though, right?" are not those moments. Don’t hesitate, don’t think and definitely don’t say anything close to: "Not better, just….. different." Unless you’re looking for a fight.2. Arrogant guys come last Whoever coined "nice guys finish last" was deluded. Weak men finish last. Arrogant pricks who think the way to impress a woman is through name dropping and boasting finish last. Nice guys who are interesting, interested and make us laugh finish first, every time.3. If we ask for space, we still want you to callWe don’t always mean what we say. If you and your girlfriend have had an almighty row and she wants to be alone, obviously don’t follow her to her mum’s and wait by the front door. But definitely text her that night to check she’s OK. We like knowing you care.4. We like you to be a little jealousI recently made a joke about my straight, male roommate nearly seeing me naked, to which my boyfriend shrugged and said; "I’m sure he’s seen a naked woman before, it doesn’t bother me." BUT I WANT IT TO BOTHER YOU, I screamed. Turns out he was playing down his jealous streak because he didn’t want to seem controlling. Nice. And obviously we don’t want a horribly possessive man, but a little jealousy is healthy.5. You don't have to call every dayAt the start of a relationship -- you know, the first few months -- it’s nice to keep an air of mystery. We don’t need you to check in constantly and we certainly don’t mind you going out with the boys instead, just as long as you’re not cancelling plans with us in order to do so. Any good relationship has independence.6. Foreplay never gets oldI blame Hollywood. All those sex scenes where a guy unzips and leaps atop his partner to find her instantly writhing around in ecstasy are brutally misleading. And they don't even look sexy. They look stupid. It’s potentially very dangerous for male audiences. But you, dear reader, are wise and know that, like pouring the perfect Guinness, some things just can’t be rushed. 7. Pay attention to the little thingsBecause they mean the most. Her favourite chocolate, how she likes her coffee, even just picking up some bin liners from Tesco because you remembered she ran out this morning. So considerate.8. One week out of the month we’re allowed to be kind of a bitchPeriods suck. I’m not kidding, it’s like a crippling three-day hangover that makes us cry at the news and shout at the toaster. If Mother Nature can be a bitch, so can we. So cut us some slack. I know what you’re thinking -- "It can’t be that bad." How would you like it if we witnessed you being hit in the crotch by a football, but rolled our eyes as you cowered to the floor?9. We don't care about Adonis absWomen don’t like men calorie counting, protein shaking or sweating it out at the gym every single day. We like real men with real bodies and real appetites.10. What we are actually thinkingI know this is asking a lot so, until telepathy becomes a skill you can add to your CV along with ‘Power Point proficiency’ and 'high end micromanaging,’ just listen to us a bit more and perhaps try to pick up on the odd signal.
When you’ve just started dating a girl, here are some easy-to-spot confirmations that you really like her: You think about her an unholy amount. You cancel things to be with her and are unrepentant doing so. And you start wondering about who she’s been with. Translation: the dreaded Ex Factor.I refuse to believe there is one person who hasn’t quietly questioned their latest partner’s ex. We all do it. Are they better looking than me? More successful? Bigger? Thinner?It’s a hell of a lot easier if your girlfriend’s ex was a nasty piece of work she has zero interest in. No worries there. Slightly harder if they are still in regular contact. If she is still in touch with most of her ex-boyfriends -- and by "in touch" I mean the odd email here, hug at a social gathering there -- I think that’s a good thing. It proves she’s mature and capable of keeping healthy relationships with people she’s been close to. But let’s not pretend that isn’t a little intimidating, too.I dated this guy that was best friends with his ex-girlfriend. It didn’t help that she was beautiful and he was a bigger flirt than Russell Brand. That, rather legitimately, made me paranoid. Whilst our relationship ended for a few reasons, the close friendship with his significant ex was definitely a factor. I’m not saying he should’ve stopped being mates with her, but perhaps he should’ve given me more reason to trust him. He’d end phone calls to her, with, "OK, love you, bye!" Whilst I was sat next to him. I’d look at him aghast, to which he’d reply, "I just mean it in a friend way, babe." So not cool.If your girlfriend’s last relationship ended amicably, there’s no reason she shouldn’t still be in touch with him. But best friends meeting up for coffee every week? Just the two of them? That has We’re Not Over Each Other written all over it.Confession: I recently looked up my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend on Facebook. And please, before you judge me, I'm positive you’ve done it too. I know all women have. I couldn’t help but notice (OK, I purposefully scanned) at his wall just after we become online friends. You know, just to check it out. Someone had mentioned his ex on a wall post -- an unequivocal invitation for me to click on her name, surely?First up, she’s fit. Really fit. All blonde hair, perfect teeth and flawless complexion. Her cover photo featured her standing outside an African orphanage surrounded by laughing children. The last charitable endeavour I was involved in was an office bake sale for prostate cancer. And I didn’t even bake the cakes myself. His ex-girlfriend is out there helping children in Africa, probably saving lives and curing AIDS, whilst I’m interviewing Ryan Reynolds about his grooming regime ("So, you moisturise then spritz?") and shamefully presenting Marks & Spencer flapjacks as my own. Talk about a losing battle.I’m not alone in this. When you find out something about your partner’s ex you’re obviously going to compare yourself and common insecurities will dictate that you’ll come out the loser. But remember this: no matter how tall he is, how much money he appears to earn and how long he was with your girlfriend, he’s not with her anymore. And there'll be a very good reason why they're not together. You’ve won this round. The vital round. And you know what’s even more common than checking out the ex? The ex checking out the new person their former girlfriend is now with. So, gents, don’t be ashamed if you’ve had a sneaky Facebook glance at your girl’s ex fella, or if you’ve given him a few suspicious once-overs in person. I guarantee he’s doing the same to you. Probably right now.
Let me tell you a story. When I was 19, I was on a train from London back to university in Exeter. It was the coldest winter I can remember. Just outside of Bristol, it began snowing heavily, the train got stuck and was held in the middle of a field. I went to the buffet carriage and bought the largest bottle of wine the First Great Western train service had on offer. When I returned to my seat, I noticed a man with curly hair and the naughtiest smile I had ever seen sitting across the carriage from me. I gestured at a plastic cup and he came over and introduced himself. We sat for three hours drinking and telling each other all our stories. Eventually, the train started moving and it pulled into Bristol where the man kissed me on the cheek, picked up his bag and left.Two years later I was living in London. In the second coldest winter I can remember, I was drinking wine in a Notting Hill pub when a man walked in and stood at the bar next to me. I turned round to see a mop of curly hair and a smile even naughtier than I had remembered. Three hours passed, more stories were told and we finally left the pub to find that once again we had been trapped together by heavy snowfall. He glanced down at my five inch heels, raised an eyebrow, heaved me up over his shoulder like a well-haggled Persian rug and carried me up Portobello Road to his flat.The first night l stayed, I awoke at 6am desperate for a glass of water. Assured that no one was in, I rolled out of bed naked and wandered down to the kitchen. I opened the door to find a man in a suit reading a paper and eating a bowl of cereal. It was the Gumtree-sourced housemate he didn’t know that well. “Um. Morning,” I said, whilst preforming a bizarre modesty-protecting side-shuffle to the tap. “Sorry about this. Have a good day at work.”The next time I stayed, I made the man in the suit who had seen me naked breakfast. Whilst I scrambled eggs, he asked if I had any single friends. “Sure,” I said and gave him my best mate's number thinking nothing of it.The curly haired guy and I finished about a week after that, our relationship lasting marginally longer than the train’s breakdown outside Bristol. However, my best mate and the man in the suit who had seen me naked have now been together for three years and two months and are about to move in together.Now, this story brings me great hope. A broken down train, a bottle of wine, some snowfall and a naked chick in a kitchen brought what my best friend and the love of her life together. Two totally separate lives. From two totally separate parts of the country. With not one person, place or memory to connect them together, these two somehow still found each other. I’ve had a think about it and I’m not going to call this a guide, or rules. Because quite honestly this particular column is a bit like the blind leading the blind. I’ve picked up a few tips on where you are most likely to meet people, but by no means is this definitive. In fact, maybe don’t even bother reading it. Look up the video of the kitten and the hedgehog meeting on YouTube instead (now there’s lovely). Any way, here’s what I’ve learnt:- Your friends are the greatest, coolest, funniest people you know. Chances are, they have excellent taste in company and are a fantastic untapped source for meeting a potential date. Use them -- ask if they know anyone great for you and try mixing your friends with their friends. Although, don’t do it too much. It’s really annoying when your friend keeps pestering you to set them up. And you don’t want to be celibate AND have no mates. That would be terrible.- I think meeting someone in a club is a really bad idea. Unless you’re there for a specific night, your only common ground will be that you’re both really drunk and sweating a lot. I suppose this is OK if you’re looking for a one-night stand, but generally I don’t think you’re going to meet a soul mate in an Oceana. - There’s your office, of course. But then the problem is, no one is really sexy in an office. An office is a place for grey carpets, moaning and there is always one person with a really hacking cough. I don’t know if it’s a breeding ground for flirtation. Plus, there’s that worry that you only like them because they’re the best of a bad bunch. Like when I convinced myself I fancied Nick Clegg in the last general election.- Festivals? No, actually. Everyone will be dirty and off their face. Um. Wait. I’ll come back to this one.- Find a really, really good local pub. Somewhere that has great beer and excellent music. Start dating one of the bar staff. Then it means you get to merge hanging out somewhere really fun and also having a relationship. Although that also means you can’t go to your favourite pub when you break up. OK, maybe I’ll come back to this one too. - I think gigs are a great place to meet people. If nothing else, you already know they have fantastic taste in music and that’s a good place to start. Anywhere where you will have a shared common interest is great -- club nights, galleries, talks, museums. What am I talking about? As if anyone has got a date in a museum other than in a Woody Allen film. What can I say? I don’t know where we’ll all meet someone. I just know we all will. Sometimes there are no rules. Shave. Be brave. And hope one day your train breaks down and you’re opposite someone with a really naughty smile too.
You've probably already spotted the new Walkers ads. The ones where dutiful crisp peddler Gary Lineker tours the nation with his dad. Brilliantly, of course, Mr Lineker Sr. is called Barry. So, that's Gary and Barry Lineker. And he's a former market trader, thus making him the ideal road tripper when helping asisst Walkers with their move to home grown ingredients. Anyway, I digress. We were presented with the opportunity to sit down with Gary (sadly, Barry was unavailable) and discuss his latest Walkers campaign. And, seeing as the latest campaign focuses on father-son relations, we thought we'd quiz the iconic England goal king on some fatherhood advice. Having squired four boys (and now a stepfather to second wife Danielle Bux's daughter), he's rather well placed to dish out some experience-soaked knowledge. Check out our video interview above.- Gary Lineker can be seen on screen with his dad Barry Lineker for the first time as Walkers celebrate the tasty homegrown ingredients in their delicious crisps. Watch the video at youtube.com/walkerscrisps
You're on a bus, minding your own business. Suddenly, you make eye contact with a girl. A girl you immediately find attractive. You hold her gaze. She keeps yours. There's a strong chance she's not just staring at a rogue bit of toothpaste around your mouth. Yet you do nothing. This happened to me only last week. Even after she exited the bus and gave me a suggestive smile and hopeful wave, I still sat there comatose, quietly chastising myself for not jumping off the bus to introduce myself. I'm literally kicking myself at not taking action. I glumly shared my tale of woe of friends and received rueful, sympathetic looks of recognition. It seems men are united in our lack of decisiveness. If you're smugly separating yourself from our band of lily-livered mutes, picture this scenario and be honest. You're in a club, surrounded by merry friends and enjoying your evening. You spot a girl across the bar. Immediately thoughts start multiplying. She looks nice, she looks like someone you'd like to take out, she looks like a potential girlfriend, she looks like a future wife, she looks like the mother of your children. Both fueled and crippled by the faux confidence the evening's alcohol has provided, do you: a) Ignore the urge. She'll doubtless dismiss your clumsy advance. b) Employ a member of your group to approach and gauge interest. c) Throw caution to the wind and advance. If you're currently mumbling "a)" or "b)", you're not alone. If you're a "c)", congratulations. I hate your confidence. But I've started to consider the odds facing men in this situation. Since most men are likely to shy away from approaching a stranger for fear of rejection, is it not feasible to believe that an unexpected yet unobtrusive approach from a genuine guy could actually produce favourable results? After all, the guys who study at the 'Ask Enough Girls, One's Bound To Give In' school are usually the only guys that most girls are likely to encounter in such a situation. What if these nice, intelligent girls are thinking exactly the same as us? That they're just dying for nice, intelligent guys to make themselves known and sick of the cocky, boozed-up braggarts being the only potential suitors brave enough to step forward. Surely this could be an Actual Thing, right? Such is my belief in this crude formula that I've vowed to seize the moment. More proactive. Bolder. Braver. More productive. When I spot someone I like, I shall no longer allow the moment to fade and concede defeat to my pathetic fear.I can't claim to know this for sure, but in a city such as London, you seldom see the same person twice, let alone thrice so I'm making it my mission to be more proactive. When I spot someone I like, I'm no longer going to let the moment pass, giving in to the all-consuming fear. And if for some reason I do, I'll be sure to overcome this if by luck, I happen to see them again. I'm no believer in fate but coincidence, that's hard to knock. What's the most terrible thing that could happen? Well, she could laugh in my face, somehow discover my name and document my humiliation across various social media, but that's just my irrational fear talking. Don't listen to that, reader. Let's be bold together. Who's with me?
Economics is not the sexiest of topics. But could financial rules be more suited to dating than we might think? A new book, The Romantic Economist, proposes that unlikely argument. Author and economist William Nicholson, overwhelmed by the heady combination of numbers and a desire for a relationship, started to notice similarities between economic theories and the dating world. And so he set about applying them to real life.The idea of any sort of steps to dating certainly seems dubious. It means taking the most suggestible, emotional feeling we can have and applying the rules of one of the most black-and-white, clinical professions imaginable (bar medicine, obviously).The link, says the 26-year-old Nicholson, wasn’t so implausible to him when he arrived at the idea an Edinburgh Economics student, “My friends liked to discuss all things economics related. When we started discussing things like how to invest in stocks and shares for instance, we started noticing a few analogies that could be drawn from the theory that we were learning in the classroom to a dating situation at university. It was quite tongue in cheek,” justifies Nicholson.We’re sceptical. This theory sounds a bit like a Uni Lad gag that’s been blown all out of sane proportion. Nicholson explains his reasoning in building up the theories and applying them to real life, “I started thinking about the economic theories we were learning in relation to what being told you shouldn’t make yourself too available to girls. I started thinking if that’s the standard advice, it seems that ‘playing hard to get’ does have quite a lot of similarities to the theory of supply and demand. So I started kind of rolling with the idea of developing a series.”It’s a quintessential dating idea we’ve all been told before: that if we go against how we really feel and act a bit more aloof, the object of our affections will find us all the more irresistible. Nicholson explains why through the economic theory of ‘Restricting your supply’: the more scarce something is, the more valuable it will be. It makes sense when you think about why people play hard to get, says William, “in the January sales for instance, shops slash their prices to make them more attractive to shoppers, whereas when you’re in a relationship you actually want to increase it to make yourself more attractive. I realised that it’s because when we’re trying to market ourselves as a luxury item. I mean, a Rolex is far more expensive than it would cost to produce and one of the ways they can justify charging that amount is because they actually want to keep the exclusivity of the brand; it’s a status symbol. Playing hard to get is similar in many ways to how Rolex price their goods very highly; its so that the people they’re trying to attract feel like they’ve made it; they’ve somehow gained exclusive access to someone’s affections.” Being pleasant from the beginning, says Nicholson, is a problem for the same reason, “if your partner doesn’t have to put much effort into getting you, it makes them feel like anyone could have got you. They don’t feel special or unique to have won that person over.”Then again, restricting your supply isn’t a foolproof plan, says Will. Act all distant in a busy club, for example, and whoever you’re trying to attract the attention of will just move on to any of the other guys in the club. You haven’t yet identified yourself as an exclusive brand, “Playing hard to get when no one knows who you are isn’t going to work because you’re not a brand at that point, like you haven’t identified yourself. The reason Prada can charge so much is because everyone knows who they are, they’re unique brand and no one’s going to be able to replicate them. So it’s only once you’ve marked yourself out from the crowd that you can shift your brand from not just one where maybe you just want to be as easy as possible to one where people are prepared to put an awful lot of effort into getting.”The theory does stand up, no matter how cringeworthy the thought of actually using it is. Another is the thought process behind ‘signalling preferences’: in the area of information economics, it means working out the details on an environment where we don’t have all the information we need -- relying on signals from companies or individuals to make a more educated assumption and reduce uncertainty in a situation. In dating terms, this means getting across how you feel about someone , without showing all your cards and scaring someone off by being too forward. A signalling technique, says Nicholson, would be going on a lunch date rather than a dinner one. It implies that you’re not expecting to go home with that person that very night -- that you’re happy to be patient and want to develop a relationship over time, but without coming out and saying all that to someone straight away, “in dating situations, there’s so much uncertainty mainly because it’s against the rules to talk about how you feel in the early days.”As Nicholson explains the way the economic theories can be applied to relationships, it’s difficult to find flaw in the logic. They’re ideas we’ve heard before when it comes to dating, but laid out to explain the exact reasoning behind them.
But then reason these rules work is because they rely on playing a ‘dating game’. It’s putting in-depth labels on what is actually game playing. If you treat relationships like a game, there will be rules. But you’re ultimately finding solutions to problems that you’ve created yourself by doing so. “Restricting supply” to “increase demand” of yourself? Yes, that will have a certain effect. But if you don’t go into a relationship expecting to put theories into practice then the situation where you need to put into practise “signalling preferences” won’t even arise. You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you immediately try and follow rules and theories, reacting to all the complications that game playing brings with it. You’re pre-empting difficulties and ultimately fighting a losing battle.And besides, that is a completely colossal, fundamentally awful, absolute no-no of a turn off.That doesn’t mean they won’t have the desired effect. To begin with. The theories are solid, consistent and will most likely give you the result you were initially after. But what about when you’re a few dates in? They’re not sustainable. If you want a real relationship, at what point do you stop playing games and act naturally? Can you ever, if the foundations are on economic theory? What theory do you apply to What To Do When Your Girlfriend Wants You To Go To Her Friend’s Wedding With Her But You’d Quite Like To Go To The Football But Also Don’t Want An Argument?And then what do you do when those theories have worked, to a point, and then your more-significant-than-you-expected-them-to-become other discovers the games you’ve been playing? On the next page: The dangers of the dating formula -- and how it really can be put into practice...
I don’t really have a type anymore. Until not that long ago, I had a very definitive type. My type was absolutely anyone who didn’t fancy me. It didn’t really matter what you looked like or what your interests were, the only thing you needed to be the man of my dreams was to be totally unbothered by my existence. And I’m here today to preach to you about what a Colossal Waste of Life it is.Pursuing someone who isn’t interested in you is totally futile and yet it remains one of the most appealing challenges going. Why? Because that initial stage of dating is like two people dancing around each other, working out what the other one is going to do next. If the person is hard to get -- the dance can go on forever. If they confirm they really like you, the dance is over quickly.The long dance is the most exciting and keeps you on your toes, but eventually it becomes tiring. So you decide to give up the chase and date someone who really likes you instead. But now you find dating when the feeling is reciprocated a bit bland by comparison. The long, complicated tango of seduction you performed with the hard-to-get person suddenly makes the dance with the easy-to-get person who likes you feel as simple as The Agadoo. It’s boring and easy and over far too soon. So you decide that they’re “too keen” and you set your sights on a new dance partner who has absolutely no interest in you.Because here’s the problem -- people who don’t fancy you are just a bit sexier. If they’re disinterested, then it means you’ll think that they’re too good for you. And if you think they’re too good for you, that means you probably want to be with them. But this relentless, unrequited pursuing of someone can whittle away at huge chunks of life very quickly. Waiting for that tiny thing to hold on to -- the small clue that one day they might feel the same way -- it really does take up a lot of time. Plus it doesn’t leave much room for the poor sods who do actually like you.I wasted a lot of time chasing men who weren’t interested in me with the wild abandon of an Alsatian in a rabbit hutch. Then all of a sudden, I felt exhausted by it and my love for unrequited love grew rather, well, unrequited. I decided to only date men who I got the feeling wanted to date me back and I finally solved that basic equation -- if someone shows interest in you, it doesn’t mean they’re not exciting. Man, has it freed up a lot of time.So, reader, give up the chase. They’re just not interested and they really never will be. I know it seems challenging. I know you think they might just be playing a game. But here’s the honest truth of it. And this may hurt a little.If they don’t reply to your texts -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t call you -- they’re not interested in you.If they forget your birthday -- they’re not interested in you.If they’re hung up on their ex -- they’re not interested in you.If they’re obsessed with being single -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t want to meet your friends -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t want you to meet their friends -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t ask questions about your life -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t tell you things about their life -- they’re not interested in you.If they only speak to you when they want to have sex with you -- they’re not interested in you.If they only have sex with you when they’re drunk -- they’re not interested in you.If they say “should we just keep this between us?’ after you have sex with them -- they’re not interested in you.If they don’t have sex with you -- they’re not interested in you.If they can always find a psychobabble rationale about who “I am” or “you are” or “we are” as reason why you can’t be together -- they’re not interested in you.If they have said for more than six months that they would like to be with you “BUT” -- they’re not interested in you.And if you still need convincing -- think of it this way. Think of what the real day-to-day of life is taken up by. Life is birthday parties at terrible chain pubs. Life is losing your credit card and drizzle in February and the annual Grand National sweepstake in the office. Life is hen dos, stag dos, sitting on the phone for three hours to get Pulp tickets and not getting them, the flat upstairs flooding your house, interval training, calorie counting, cancer scares, illegal mini cabs, Secret Santa, rail replacement buses and Dido albums. Dogs die, cars crash, bin liners break, contracts end, curtain rails collapse, trains get delayed, football teams lose. Divorce happens and so do earthquakes and so does ITV’s An Audience With Michael Bublé. Landlords put rent up, phones get stolen and the supermarket often completely runs out of hummus. Now, taking all of the above into account -- you look me dead in the eye and tell me the truth. Do you really have enough spare energy to pursue someone who isn’t interested in you? Do you really want to waste any more time on top of all of that? No. Me neither. So give it up, my friend. It’s a loser’s game. Delete their number. Don’t go on any more dates with them. Stop lurking on their Facebook page. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now. How’s about you and me stop wasting our lives and go dance The Agadoo.
I'm in no way tight with my money, nor could I possibly be condemned as a flash git either. But despite my fairly paid job, I'm finding the price of dating, rather costly. They say you've got to be in it to win it, so brother, that's exactly what I'm doing. Still, the hard earned cash-money is not going all that far. Why? Well, I'm a traditional guy so when it comes to the first date, I insist on paying. I know, I know, we are in an age where perhaps I might be excused for expecting costs to be split. However, it's my belief that it's a man's prerogative to take care of the bill. Now, I'll be entirely honest, I do get a kick from paying, but I'll also admit to feeling genuine irritation when a date doesn't even pretend to try and provide a contribution. Hell, even just a shuffle of a handbag would be appreciated to which I'd happily respond with my thankful acknowledgement before insisting it's on me. Anyway, I digress.As my good grandfather says, "the art of courting begins with a good stroke of the brush, if you can't afford the bristled stick, you are unlikely to create a masterpiece." Whilst Warhol and Hirst may disagree, it's a fair point. You need money to eat, drink and in most cases, be merry so when it comes to the inaugural meet, for a dude, I think it's also important to be seen as a provider. I mean, you split the cost with your mates but surely when it comes to the person you wish to romance, you need to show your worth, right? Has a girl ever fallen for a thrifty or frugal guy? Unlikely and if it did, it was most likely a within the confines of a Disney film. Perhaps my argument is unfounded. I choose to pay so it's essentially my problem. But let's break this down. Even if you go dutch at a bar on drinks, and order an even amount, lets say four each, that's approximately £20-40 (each) right there. Perhaps you go for dinner. A meal at a date-worthy restaurant will cost you about £25-40 and with a decent bottle of wine, potentially dessert and service, you can add on nearly £40 extra. You do this once or, occasionally even twice a week, that's easily £100 gone, without variables such as cabs, impulsive shot purchasing and flowers. Factor in the socialising you'll do with mates in bars to actually try and locate potential dates and suddenly your wallet is being hit for around £600 a month, without even the promise of a second date. You see what I'm saying? Dating ain't cheap. Still, at least I'm well fed, eh?
So, you’ve been seeing a girl for a while now. You like her. Your mates like her. You go for real dates as opposed to having late night hook-ups. The thought of her sleeping with another man brings you out in hives, you spent Valentine’s Day together and there’s talk of a mini break at Easter. Newsflash: you’re in a relationship. Or, at least, that’s what she thinks. You know what comes next, don’t you? The Talk.The Talk sounds slightly ominous but it really isn’t. If you like the girl -- and this recent behaviour would suggest you do -- then I’m guessing you want her to be your girlfriend, but aren’t sure when/ how to bring it up. Maybe you’re freaking out and don’t want a relationship at all. In that case, The Talk is all the more urgent. You’ve headed into Couple Territory, so if all you’re after is a casual fling, you better tell her now. Otherwise you’re just giving way too many mixed signals.The Talk doesn’t have to be a formal, sit down affair. It also doesn’t necessarily have to come from you. With my ex, Mike, it happened fairly unremarkably. After three or so months of dating, as we held hands walking through a field at V Festival, I turned to him and said; "Um, are we a couple now?" He looked momentarily pensive, then confused, then he flung his arm around my shoulders, smiled and said; "Yeah," before kissing me right there in front of the Portaloos. Who says romance is dead?My Talk with the guy before him wasn’t nearly so smooth. We’d been ‘seeing each other’ (i.e. dating, sex and everything else that takes places before The Talk) for a couple of months. During the interval of a Stephen Merchant gig, high on serotonin and cider, I plucked up the courage to ask where he thought ‘this was going.’ I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say he ended it there and then.My most recent Talk was last weekend with the chap I’ve been seeing for the past six weeks. After many well-behaved dinner and pub dates, we boldly broke the ice one random weekday. We’d both been out drinking and decided to ditch our separate parties, meet up at midnight and go clubbing until 6am. The best kind of date. We confessed how much we liked each other, the next morning he turned to me and said, "Am I calling you my girlfriend now then?" And that’s all it took.So, what have we learnt? Don’t break up with a girl halfway through a comedy gig and don’t continue with couple-y behaviour if you’re not interested in being a couple. The way to have The Talk is to not make a big deal out of it. Casually, as you’re watching TV, cuddling up in bed or helpfully topping up her wine glass, mention just how much you like spending time with her. She’ll agree and the rest will come easily. You know if you’re into someone and, if she’s reciprocating the increasingly couple-y behaviour, then she’s into you too.Just in case you’re not sure, however, here are some other signs that it’s getting serious:- She leaves shampoo, knickers and mascara at your house, with claims to, "Pick up next time I’m over," though you both know she won’t.- You’re now Facebook friends with her friends- You’ve made plans for the summer -- and they include her- You went to a farmer’s market last weekend instead of watching rugby.
The average erect penis is estimated to be somewhere around six inches in length. If you’re one of the millions who fall a bit short of this statistic, you may have concerns about size in relation to your sexual performance. Fret not: While it’s true that size can have its advantages, it’s not really the length that matters -- it’s the width. Additionally, women don’t particularly enjoy having their cervices rammed into, which often happens when a man is overly endowed. There is nothing sexy about painful intercourse, and that’s precisely what many women complain of when a man’s penis is too large. If you follow some of our tips for having mind-blowing foreplay and combine them with the right kind of penetration, a small penis can give a woman even more pleasure than a guy who is well-endowed. Read on as we discuss the best small penis sex positionsand how to make the most of them.
before you make your entranceObviously, there’s a great deal more to sex than just penetration, and most men fully recognize the benefits of foreplay. The man with a smaller-sized penis should take even greater advantage of this, prolonging foreplay until his partner is fully and completely aroused; the closer she is to orgasm at the start of actual penetration, the easier it will be for her to climax via one of our small penis sex positions.
Focus on foreplayForeplay should include anything and everything your woman enjoys. Kissing and caressing are always appreciated, but don’t limit yourself to the old standbys. Not if you want to really rock her world. Toss in some sexy pillow talk to start, and be sure to have her favorite sex toys on hand. If she’s a bit kinky, you may want to try some sensual biting or even a bit of a spanking. The key here is to lavish her with the kind of attention you know she responds well to; you want to get her so hot that she can’t help begging for sex.
Stimulate the clitorisPrior to intercourse, you’ll want to spend as much quality time with the clitoris as she can handle. Whether you do this via oral sex or manual stimulation, make sure she climaxes at least once before you move on to penetration; this will help alleviate any performance anxiety you might experience once you’re ready to try the following small penis sex positions.
1- The doggieWhen performed at the correct angle, the doggie can make even the smallest penis feel quite large. You’ll want her positioned in such a way that she’s able to comfortably place her head and shoulders on the pillow, while having her bottom raised in the air. To help create the most effective angle, her back should be arched and her thighs should be drawn together. Not only is this the easiest small penis sex position on our list, but it’s also one of the most popular. Little tip: Lean forward during penetration, maintaining as much physical contact as you can comfortably manage; this will keep things intimate, enabling her to reach her sexual peak as quickly as possible.
2 - The antelopeThis is a nice variant of the doggie. Both of you should kneel on the floor leaning over your couch or equivalent furniture. Open her legs from behind and enter. This position is especially great as her hands are free to self-stimulate, if she so chooses. Backdoor positions ooze power so add some light spanking or role-play to spice it up.
Since Valentines Day passed, I've found myself going into dating overdrive. Yep, I've headed online to check out countless dating sites in the hope of meeting a potential girlfriend. Since I was going solo on "The Most Romantic (see; Corniest) Day of the Year", I figured it might be nice to have a special person in my life for the next one, you know. So, I headed to Google. And typed "dating sites". The options were far, far greater than I anything I had ever imagined. Want to date people in uniform? How about people who are gamers? Perhaps you are looking for potential partners who are strictly vegetarians? Or maybe you fancy an illicit encounter with a stranger? Well, sir, there are websites that cater to such specifics and pretty much every other inclination you may wish to pursue. Gawd bless the internet, right?After signing up to several of the lesser (translation: free’er), broader interest range sites, I figured being on more than one would increase my chances. Whilst setting up my dating profiles, I opted to be as descriptive and honest as I could. Including an array of pictures that demonstrate various sides to me, I figured I had a decent enough online identity ready to entice the single ladies of London. And the results so far, have been encouraging. What do I put my relative success down to? Well, for a start, I appear to be among a tiny minority of men not opening correspondence with “you so sexy”, freely quoting Another Level’s Freak Me and standing in front of a mirror/ sports car whilst showing off perfectly sculpted pecs and a six pack. This apparently makes me a clear frontrunner, with around 60% of those I’ve been ‘chatting’ to online having made the first move. It appears by being relatively normal and possessing a tiny bit of self-awareness will stand you in decent stead. That’s a confidence booster right there...Luckily for me, the "douchebag: genuine dude" ratio is incredibly encouraging. As is the pool of great women seemingly after more than just a casual dalliance. Whilst online dating isn’t the way I’d hoped to meet a girl, it certainly offers the most concentrated group of single people ultimately looking for the same thing, making it the best potential route. Right? Online dating also forces you to slightly adapt your outlook. If I’m going to date, I plan on giving myself the best chance possible and with several dates lined up. I've found myself eschewing the old "it happens when you least expect it" maxim. It's all about being proactive.If there’s any advice I can give from what I’ve discovered so far, it’s this: be smart, be truthful, be bold and be online. It seems to be where the party's at. I’m bringing my dancing shoes.
The Friend You Fancy. We’ve all got one, right? This whole Men And Women Can Never Be Friends thing is nonsense; of course we can. However, to pretend that at least one party hasn’t thought about the other naked is naïve. In fact, sometimes, it’s good to just get the fancying part out of the way and stay mates.Take my close friend Chris. We’ve been mates for 10 years and at this stage know each other far too well and have seen each other in far too many states of (unattractive) distress to fancy each other. For context, I rescued Chris from a bush he’s collapsed in, mid-pee, one New Year’s Eve and he’s seen me vomit in his frying pan after too many tequila shots. Trust me, there is no attraction on either side. But, despite this, a few years ago we shared a bed after a house party. We snuggled up before looking up at each other as if to say; "Hmm, you are fit. And I am drunk. Might as well try, eh?" It was like having sex with someone you used to babysit and has now grown into a fully-fledged adult: technically not wrong but immoral on so many levels. Since then, my friendship with Chris is stronger because we’ve already tried the next level thing on and realised it comprehensively didn’t fit. Hey ho, no more awkwardness. But it was a risky move and could’ve easily ruined the friendship. It’s not always that simple when actual feelings are involved.I know a guy, Ben, who had a thing for his female flatmate but never told her. Over the years, both their friendship and his feelings grew, but he was always too scared to make a move. One day, she hooked up with a guy from her office and within a year was engaged. She never knew of Ben’s undying love for her and he, I'm sure, will always regret not making his feelings clear.If you like one of your female friends, I think you should do something about it. You have no idea how they’re going to react. It might be the best thing you ever do and your biggest regret if you don’t (sorry, Ben). Try a few tactics first to gauge her interest. For starters, you need to get her alone, away from the group to see if she flirts -- or how she responds to your flirting. Women like men to make the first move, so just because she hasn’t been forthcoming with her feelings yet, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Does she move in a little closer, playfully push your arm or pounce on your the minute you’re alone? You’re in!On the other hand, don’t push your luck. The last thing you want to do is ruin the friendship or make a fool out of yourself. If she avoids alone time and talks to you openly about other guys she fancies or great dates she’s been on, it’s her way of asserting that you are just mates.I’ve had a flirtation with one of my male mates for years. Six months ago, on a night out, the habitual flirty banter escalated. Suddenly, our arms were draped over each other on the dance floor before we snuck away from the group and headed to another, quieter bar. Nothing went further than a kiss (OK, a lot of kisses) but we openly discussed fancying the pants off each other and going on a proper date. That date never happened. In the sober light of day we both panicked. What if it got weird between us? Years of friendship and epic nights out down the drain because we stupidly took it too far. Is it worth disrupting the friendship? At this point, no. We still like that we can go out, flirt a little and secretly enjoy the question mark over anything happening in the future. No need to let sex complicate that.
There is a lot to be said for being single. I am a real canvasser for single life. If being single were a campaign, I would be the Moira Stuart of the drive. I would talk to camera with a stern expression, whilst wearing a terrible suit in a primary shade. “BEING SINGLE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE TAXING,” I’d bellow with conviction.First of all, there’s the bed thing. The first few nights after breaking up with my ex boyfriend, the absence of his warm body lying next to me was as tangible and painful as a lost limb. But then one night as I tried to doze off, I accidentally stretched out to his side. And it suddenly dawned on me -- I HAVE A WHOLE BED. I have vast stretches of untouched, empty sheet as cool and clean as a glacier right next to me! And it’s been there all this time! Just waiting for me to roll myself around in like a cocker spaniel in the snow. I can stretch my body out as far and wide as I like and ooh I can swoosh my limbs around like a snow angel and would you LOOK at all these spare pillows! The realisation that you have a whole bed is a triumphant moment for a single person and a thrill that I never grow tired of. In fact, I now sleep diagonally nearly every night, a luxurious symbol of the opportunities for selfishness that come with being on your own.Then there’s not having to answer to anyone. That’s pretty great. You can stay out until five AM. You can turn off your phone for the weekend. You can dance on tables. You can spend whole hours in the bath before you head out. You can stay in the office working until you’re the last one there. You can go away whenever you like. You can see the films you really want to see at the cinema. You can order all the extra chilies and anchovies and olives you want on your pizza. You can focus on your set of friends and all their birthdays instead of a whole other set of friends and their birthdays. You can flirt with the barman. You can flirt with the bouncer. In fact, you can line up the entire staff of every Pitcher and Piano in the country and flirt with every single one of them without anyone rolling their eyes and hissing at you that you’re showing them up.
Being single is a real gift, in truth. And we should be conscious to make the most of it before we all fall in love again. It washes your life with an electrifying shade of possibility. The possibility that each day could end wherever you want it to. No ties. No commitments. It’s just you and your hot date with the big, bad, sexy world.That said, there is one downside to all this. Sundays.Now, there are no two ways about it. Sundays were made for couples. They were designed for activities in pairs. If Monday’s child is full of grace, Sunday’s child is full of post-coital glow and artisan pastries. Sundays are like the reward couples get at the end of the week for doing their very best to co-exist. It’s a day for walking around naked and breakfast in the afternoon and limbs tangled up in a tiny shower together. The plight of the sex-less Sunday has to be the only downside to being single. In fact, I don’t even know how to fill them anymore. There are only so many chickens to roast and ovens to clean and walks to be had before the elephant in the room stampedes towards you trumpeting: YOU’VE RUN OUT OF STUFF TO CLEAN. WHY AREN’T YOU HAVING ANY SEX TODAY?It’s the only day that I tend to feel restless. Like something is missing. I know I don’t want a relationship -- but if I could just have one for that one day of the week, I’m sure I’d feel replete.So here’s what I say -- this Sunday morning, all of us single people gather in one place. A bit like a flash mob. (Whatever happened to those? It seemed to die in the late noughties. What happened to all those people who spent their free time doing the Macerena in the Windsor branch of DFS? What are they doing at the weekends now? Anyway, they’re invited, too). And we all pair off and we spend the day together. Some of us might go browsing for second-hand furniture. Some of us might spend all afternoon arguing about the Middle East. Some of us will sit in the pub swapping supplements squeaking “are you done with that, babe? Oh no, you read Culture first, babe” and kissing each others little noses. But there’s one rule -- we’ll all go home and have one great, big, long, headboard-banging, earth-shaking fuck. Then we’ll go to sleep and wake up on Monday morning, go our separate ways and get on with our lives. Independent. Happy. With endless oceans of lovely, free bed to swim in.