Category Archives: Dating

Keeping your own secret garden

secret garden

In France young ladies are taught by their mothers and grandmothers about decorum. We learn about seduction by watching other women behave. We watch how they tilt their head a certain way, how they sit with their legs crossed at an angle, and how poised they are, when engaging in the art of flirtation. This may seem old world, but if you observe the interaction between men and women in France, or most European countries, you will notice the seduction plays out before your eyes.

One thing that does not happen, and will never happen, is to share everything with your mate. Even if a woman is with her partner for life, she will keep some secrets, le jardin secret (fr), from her mate. These things will include things like farting, shaving, plucking hairs from unfortunate places. These secrets do not limit themselves to physical things either. They can include past secrets, yes, the obvious past lovers, where such history could directly interfere with the success of your current relationship. It can also be some things about herself that she shares with no-one at all, a book of poems that she needs to keep private, a talent that she doesn’t want to share.

Some of these can be embarassing, or humiliating, or if divulged could affect the outcome in the new relationship.

One of the most wondrous experiences a couple can share is to know without a doubt that the bond of the affection is solid, and yet that they each have secrets that neither need to know, as it won’t affect their love and it actually makes you feel strong.

Mystery is powerfully attractive. Sometimes knowing someone too well also breeds over-confidence and, sadly, complacency in your relationship.
It’s a fine line to have the confidence of a solid romantic relationship, without knowing absolutely everything about them.

Leave some mystery.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Be mine!

kiss

It’s been quite a while since I have actively engaged in romantic behaviour for Valentine’s day. During my teenage years, when I fancied the popular, handsome boy, who I never actually had the courage to talk to, I thought it would be fitting to send him a Valentine’s message. I was more mortified of being caught out than actually using my creative juices to declare my affections and doodle a romantic image of my heart entwined with his.

Now, with Valentine’s looming, I started wondering what is the correct behaviour for our modern romantic day? Is it as simple as buying a Hallmark card, and waiting to have the reciprocal card back, along with a restaurant date, a box of chocolates or a bunch of roses?

I have always thought that a relationship with two individuals is in itself individual and unique. So there really shouldn’t be a set formula that garners romance with food, flowers and a pre-fabricated card.

Etiquette does dictate that sentiment and timing play a big part of Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a new relationship, it’s the perfect time to share with your partner how much you care – which sometimes is awkward in the early days. When you have been seeing each other for several months, it’s a way to highlight how much you cherish them. And during long term relationships, when life, children, work and all the other time consuming distractions can make less time for your relationship, it’s clearly a time to bond.

For me, i think it is least about the giving of physical things like flowers or chocolates, or going out on a date… as all these things I hope to perform regularly with him, it’s more about sharing with him why the uniqueness of your relationship also has affection, warmth and caring. It’s a time when you can think of things that make him feel valued and loved. Like surprising him with tickets to his favourite football game, when he knows that it’s not really your thing. Or organising a masseuse to your home to treat your lovely girlfriend or wife because you know how much she loves them.

I believe that the possessions we give are always less precious than the experiences we share.

But then again, the feeling you get when sending a token of affection to the unknowing man, never to be revealed. That still makes me feel like the giddy teenager.

Tagged , , , , , ,

and God created woman (part 2)

bardot

Yesterday, as I walked in the city after an early theatre performance, I was commenting to my male friend how people were dressed. It was a warm Saturday night and people were very casually dressed. Yes, we live in a city by the sea, and the culture is a relaxed beach-type culture. More importantly I noticed how skimpy were women’s clothes. It seems that women are displaying all their wares for males, and women, to see. There’s nothing new here, it’s natural to try to attract the opposite sex with visual cues. But have we gone overboard? What is the right dress etiquette to stay attractive without being vulgar?

My friend admitted that women who show too much have no appeal to him. Men are still after the challenge, and a woman who bares too much also leaves nothing to the imagination, nothing for the chase.

There is etiquette on the lengths of skirts, but I do think that it’s really determined by the tightness of the clothing. And, sadly and unjustly, by the shape of a woman’s body. A dress that is worn too tight and short on a portly frame is going to more unsightly than a hugging dress on a very skinny girl. This does not mean that women with curves are unattractive at all. We all just need to learn what is attractive for our body shapes.

Cleavage also is predetermined by the shape of the body. Voluptuous women with ample breasts can sometimes have a sex appeal that a skimpily clad busty woman can not muster.

So, there are a few basic rules of attire etiquette. Most importantly, if you’re going to show off your legs with a short skirt or shorts, then cover your breasts. It’s one or the other… not both. In any case, rare is the woman who has fantastic legs and cleavage, so stick to your most favoured feature, and highlight it.

Unbeknownst to most people, your posture is most likely to by your best asset. Think of people who slouch. They send a message of weakness or sadness. Whereas a person who stands tall, with their shoulders back gives off an air of confidence and strength.

Smile. Yes, I can’t tell you the number of times a man has approached me and told me that he was drawn to my smile. Joy is very seductive.

Clothes that are clean and well pressed are much more attractive than crumpled dirty clothes. And least of all smelly ones.

Wear clothes appropriate to the season. It is ridiculous to see women in skimpy clothes in winter months, and just silly seeing women in thick winter wear during hot summer nights. It doesn’t matter that the clothes figure as the latest craze in the northern hemisphere.

If you’re going to wear men’s clothing (for effect), then make sure that you mix it well with a feminine piece. Great accessories, or fantastic high heel shoes. Or inject colour and contrast.

If you wear white, it invites trouble. You’re either going to display cellulite (easily masked if you had chosen black) or display more than you intended when lighting hits it at the right angle (recall Lady Diana’s early photo shoot in long white flowing skirt).

Oh, and my pet peeve. Never, ever, (ever… though a past write-up offers one recent occurrence for this etqt author), take off your shoes when going out at night and wander with them in your hands. If you can’t bear to walk, then take a pause and recover a while. Walking in high heels, like any skill, must be learnt. Practice wearing them at home for lengthier periods each time. Choose the right shoe for the event you will attend. Extremely high heels at a dinner party is fine when you’ll find yourself seated for most of the evening. Not so fine if you’re going to be dancing or standing all night. Cocktails are tricky. It’s always more appealing to see legs lengthened by heels, but sometimes it’s a painful price to pay. Once, again, practice it over several days, weeks if possible.

As to alcohol and it’s effects on appearance and attractiveness, I recall driving passed a pub with my pre-teen daughter a year ago, and thanks to the perfect timing, a very drunk, scarcely dressed, woman with smudged make up (I think you get the picture),  meandered in front of my car, with sandals in her hands. I pointed out to my daughter that this woman was “cheap” (yes, I was being extremely harsh and judgmental, but please bear with me as I extoll the virtues of this tale), and sadly that this girl would only attract one of two men; a cheap man (slovenly and without virtue) or a fine man who was seeking a temporary fix (ie not a good man either). The moral to this tale is that you get what you put out. This applies to men too. Women are least attracted to drunks, bullies and overtly loud, obnoxious men. It served as a great learning device for this mum. Now, my daughter makes a point of showing me “cheap” girls all the time. Goodness, have a created a monster?

On a more contemporary note about attire for modern woman; if you’re confident that you know what message you’re sending with your appearance, and do not shy away from comments that could be made, then wear what you like. Good etiquette, above all, is about being confident without offending those around you. And fashion is all about expressing yourself on the outside.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The tall, and fat, lies of online dating

tall date

I don’t lie. Well, I don’t think I lie. I think I’m the type of person who would rather hear the truth, even if it’s bad, and then try to work through the pain and get on to finding the good things in my life. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes or change my mind, or have whimsy. It’s just that I want to solve things fast.

This tends to be paradoxical to lots of the behaviour I’ve encountered during online dating. Some of it’s comical, some of it’s just plain ridiculous, but sometimes it’s so wrought with half truths that it’s nearly impossible to find a real person at the other end.

Online dating has been a huge learning curve for me, it really is like one of those things that you don’t have to do, but see others enjoying success through, so join the hopeful set, something akin to the jetset, all glamour and success, hiding all the hard work it took to get there.

These past three years I’ve actively managed my romantic life, and left chance and opportunity to a past life, I’ve discovered that there is, or at the least should be, very clear etiquette for online dating. Just as dating, new relationships, going on dates all have weird and wonderful rules of etiquette, there too are rules for successfully navigating through online dating.

Do not lie. Not telling whole truths is not the same as lying, but obvious lies about your age or height, or yes, your weight, are untruths that will come crashing down very quickly. I met a man who lied about his weight. The evening we met I couldn’t spot him at the bar, and called to find out if he was late, and he said that he was just walking through the door. I saw a man who was at least 20kgs heavier than his profile picture. I was more upset about the lie than the actual size of him. It made me think that he’s either deluded and still thinks himself thinner, or he’s not confident enough to be happy in his own skin.

The lies come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve heard of women who reinvent themselves. The haggard 55 year old woman who portrayed herself as a nubile career woman in her 30’s. She would meet up with her dates in skimpy skirts and high heel stiletto’s and work the sex kitten on her mate, so as to try to capture him through his libido. I do wonder how much success she has? Or even what she thinks success is.

It does make me wonder what we’re all looking for in relationships. But that has nothing to do with etiquette.

Like all romantic relationships, especially relationships that begin with people who don’t know each other well, it takes time to relate things to each other. Some things, most things, are easy to share, like all the practical things, where you work, and what you’ve done during the day. It’s the scary things that are difficult to share, and that takes time.

One of my family members is gravely ill at the moment, and each day, each week is a blessing to have. But for the first few months I didn’t share with my new partner about the gravity of the situation, as I wasn’t sure he could take the enormity of the loss I would have if I had to deal with the loss.

I did meet one man last year who was so accommodating, and always said yes to whatever I suggested, and then would let me down by not showing up, or canceling at the last hour. I found out that he was such a lonely person, with such low self esteem that he would rather have an appointment with anyone then to stay at home on his own. He was also never satisfied with the girls he met, so just kept lots of dates running concurrently. Not my idea of honesty. But it worked for him… not me.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Dating (and) your mobile phone

couple-texting

So, there are two parts to this story, one about a relationship that only exists thanks to your mobile phone, and the one that shouldn’t even figure on a date.

I know that all you single guys and girls, and those who have been single in the past 15 years (does that mean 90% of the population?), can attest to waiting for the text message or response from an interesting other. Yes, you know the way it goes;

You 7pm: “Thanks for a terrific time last night”

Him 10am: “Yes, it was fun”

You 10:45am: “We should do it again some time?”

Him (2 days later) 3pm: “Love to”

This is a brush off. You may interpret it as anything other than a brush off… but nonetheless, it is. He is potentially going to contact you at a later date for a hook up (if hook up means sex). But he is not interested in you for a romantic loving relationship. If he was, he would do any, or all, of the following things:

1) use the phone as it was originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell to talk with you;

2) call you to see if you had a good time together;

3) make an appointment to see you again;

4) want you to feel special.

My fella and I went on our first date, and though we went to a very special restaurant by the harbour overlooking the magnificent views of Sydney, and had a very relaxed meal getting to know each other by chatting about our respective lives, there really was one slightest moment when I felt the hook of affection grab me. As we walked out the restaurant, he paused, and asked me, “Have you had a nice time tonight?” It was the simplest question, and yet it struck me that he showed concern that I had enjoyed his company. It was the smallest sign of vulnerability that he shared, and I reflected that if he hadn’t shown it, I would have found him rather indifferent and detached.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that he has a healthy ego and displays confidence. But the detachment that single men, and women, display when dating makes me wonder why they date at all? When did romance become so wrought with bravado and wariness that displaying warmth and desire gets confused with dependency and neediness?

I digress… the point here being, showing someone that you enjoyed their company should not be done by text, it should be done face to face, or at the very least by phone. And by the same token, asking someone if you can see each other again should not be by text. Your relationship is not with your phone. It is with a real person. It is a little nuanced, but text messages in early stages of relationships, especially in dating, should only have practical content, not be emotionally loaded. A text to confirm a time or place is acceptable. A text to state that you’re running five minutes late is also acceptable. But a text asking “Are we ok?” is far too loaded. Not only will the recipient feel cornered, but you will also feel weakened by the cry out.

Know this, people will always behave the only way they can. That means, if a person doesn’t fancy another, he can’t force himself to care. If he doesn’t care, then he will do things that display that lack of affection, ie, he will not call.

The shoe fits for both sexes. It’s not unusual for me to cease communicating with a man if I don’t feel a warm connection. It’s not that I’m particularly heartless when I’m disinterested, it’s just that I don’t want to encourage them or send the wrong message. Yes, if I cared, I’d communicate. I don’t mean that I’d send messages all day, every day, but the messages would leave no doubt that the person mattered. Yes, I’d pick up the phone and make a call.

Onto the more practical part of this article, when is it acceptable to use your mobile phone on a date?

The short answer is, as you already know, it’s unacceptable to use your phone on a date.

If, for example, you have children, or are “on call” due to your profession, then it’s polite to let your date know, and then ask him/her if they won’t mind if your phone is accessible. I’ve yet to meet a person who would deny such a request.

You should always leave your phone screen visible, as you don’t want your date to think that you’re hiding the identity of your caller. And should you be expecting such a call, then leave your phone in your bag, and make the ring tone just loud enough to hear it. Yes, be polite. Your date will appreciate your mobile phone etiquette.

Should your phone ring, then it is polite to leave the table and take your call in the restaurant lobby or in a more discreet place. Our old world had powder rooms in the toilets, and it might be time to reinstate them to give us a venue to rush off our text messages and upload and download.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Public displays of affection… or publicity?

pda1

Touching… one of the great senses, along with sight, sound, taste and smell. Who doesn’t like to be touched? I love it. And also enjoy to feel the flesh of others against mine. It’s not only a sensually intimate thing, it’s as simple as the warmth of a familiar hug always makes me feel good.

I like the endearing feeling I have when I see others holding hands, or hugging. The vision of people embracing at the airport arrival hall is one that I find so affective, and makes me warm inside, even though I’m witnessing total strangers share their love and happiness.

To watch an elderly couple holding hands makes me think of the long, loving relationship that they have shared, with enough romance and exclusive connection that they can lock hands whilst strolling, for the world to see. Rare is a love that displays this longevity, affection and solidarity.

Having said that, there are definitely limits to how much I’d like to witness of a couple’s physical intimacy.

I’ve had giddy love in my youth. One that would make me behave inappropriately in public. My hope was to be told to “get a room!”

So, when are displays of affection acceptable, and when are they publicity?

There are definitely times when you share a warm moment with your partner, and without even knowing it, you innocently reach over and stroke his face, or share a loving hug. Even a kiss.

But these simple, innocent, fleeting moments of affection are very different from the groping, tongue lashing, lap dancing displays that we occasion to see around us. Of course, mostly seen by couples who are loosened by alcohol or more. But there are also those couples who confuse affection with decorum.

Romance is between two people, no-one else. If you look closely at very loving couples, you will know that they are a couple, even if they are not standing together. That quality of bond and caring that they share is exclusive and vital. I know that the eye locking between me and my partner in a crowded room can make me go weak at the knees. That kind of intimacy and affection is more powerful than anything that I will share with others. No need to publicise.

Yes, I admit that if my partner strokes the small of my back whilst I’m talking with a friend, it sends electricity through me. Just as his breath on my neck when we’re queuing at an ice cream stand. But our restraint adds to our romance and heightens our intimacy.

If you absolutely must take your physical affection outside your romantic sanctuary, then follow the following guidelines by keeping away from children, away from restaurants, or where you may block another’s path, and above all, no straddling. Unless of course you’re under one of Paris’s famous Seine River bridges where anything goes, especially if you’re in little else than high heels and a trench coat. But that’s another topic altogether.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The slow dance to your first date

date pic

The dance for romance between men and women today is wrought with questions and doubt. In this, times have not changed at all.

It is different in that we have been pressured by technology. This is a shame.

Joel, a handsome and articulate, young gentleman of 25, I met recently, shared with me how he was saddened that romance is lost today. He explained that if he asked a woman out on a date, he normally did so with at least 4 or 5 days notice. He thought that during the lead up to the date, he and his date would have giddy expectations, and build up, without much, if any, communication till the actual date. That “distance” and time would actually enhance the desire and romance, and start the date with a wonderful innocence and hope. Sadly, the reality is, that each day prior to the date she or he would send each other text messages stating what they were doing, and how they felt – potentially dozens of texts per day. It left nothing to the imagination or anticipation… and by the time the date occurred there was not as much excitement and giddiness as he wished. For Joel, the romance was already dissipating.

It’s true that with technology we have eliminated all the gaps that patience and time had offered us. We have no more patience, and we all seem quite unravelled if we send out a text message, and do not get a response within the hour, if not immediately.

So what is the acceptable protocol with texting and dating?

Be patient. Yes, it’s worth it.

Asking someone out takes courage, whether you’re handsome, confident, smart, or shy, all people need courage to ask someone out. Rejection is always an option, and everyone hates that.

So, if you agree to go on a date with someone, have confidence that this person has thought it through enough to want to see you. There is absolutely no need to validate his or her invitation by constantly communicating with him or her until that date. It’s a wonderful, albeit sometimes scary notion to wait for that day to come. But it’s also a time when you can prepare yourself too. For girls, we can plan to get a manicure, pedicure or a hair styling. Maybe even buy a new dress. For the guys, get a haircut or  hit the gym and build those pecks that make you feel more manly!

Making contact prior to the date to make sure you’re both still available to go out is acceptable. But communicating too much leading up to the date will also leave less to talk about when you meet up.

Tagged , , ,

Chivalry curbside

stroll nyc

I recently started a romantic relationship with a lovely man. He is decisive, smart and worldly, practical and modern. We were strolling on the footpath. I was walking on the outer side of the curb. I mentioned that I’d heard that men are supposed to walk closest to the traffic to protect the woman from getting hit by traffic. He laughed, and said that yes that was how it was in the olden days, but today men should walk on the inside. Pedestrians were often avoiding horses and horse-drawn carriages, which had a tendancy to swerve off the road, or splash filthy water or sewage, or worse still, horse manure onto the curb, so a man’s role was definitley to protect his strolling mate. Today it’s highly unlikely for a vehicle to come off the road, and much more likely that things fall out of upper floor windows and balconies or get thrown out of shop fronts. And hence he would still be the protective one. I’m not sure if he was pulling my leg, or if he had actually been updated on the latest etiquette. But it got me thinking about how times have changed, and how etiquette needs to be updated.

So, I went on a mission to research his “facts”. Were they actually fact, fiction, or a version of both? And what is the current etiquette curbside?

Emily Post’s Etiquette states that “it used to be that a man escorting a woman on the street walked on the inside so that if waste were thrown out a window it would hit him and not her. Then when sanitation became recognized as important and people stopped tossing their waste into the street, custom changed and a man escorting a woman walked on the street side to keep her from being splashed by mud thrown up by carriage wheels or horses’ hooves. Technology has paved our streets and replaced carriages as the primary source of travel, eliminating the danger of splashing on all but rainy, slushy days, so men once again might walk on the inside, particularly at night in dangerous neighborhoods,in order to protect a woman from muggers and purse snatchers lurking in doorways.” So, he had most of it right. But, as Emily Post derives from the United States, I thought I might check out how they do it trans-Atlantic in the United Kingdom.

I discovered that in England, “In days gone by, a gentleman would walk on the outside of the pavement to protect the lady from the risks of the road and the perils of the gutter. Today, a man should still walk on the kerbside of the street. If, however, a woman naturally falls in step on the kerbside and seems comfortable with it, then it would be clumsy for him to start dodging around her to try and walk on the outside.” Deblett’s etiquette.

So, for the sake of putting this one to rest, I’d have to say, that it really doesn’t matter anymore. It’s more important that you walk side by side, as some people have a tendency to lead, or follow.

Tagged , ,
mbwhatsnew

NEW LOCATION: www.mbwhatsnew.com

The Patron Saint of Dogs

How far would you go to save the abused and abandoned dogs and cats you met?

Scarlet Says

Changing the way you think about etiquette

The Syncretic Soubrette

Snarky musings from an everyday woman

hotgirletiquette.wordpress.com/

A modern take on etiquette.

PWs at USF

Professional Writers Helping Professional Writers

50 Shades of Human Resources

ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HR, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK ---------- compiled by Rosemary Cardno, M.A., SPHR -- Today's Human Resources Executive & Consultant, Executive Coach

psychologistmimi

Food, Road Trips & Notes from the Non-Profit Underground

Leadership Development Programs

MMM Training Solutions

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.