Kathryn's Blog

Your 1% Towards Making the Internet Safe

With all the talk lately about whether there’s a need for protection for Internet daters (I’ve written quite a bit: See one sample here), I’ve been thinking about the role of personal responsibility. The Internet is nothing more that a huge collection of folks just like us, sitting at computer terminals and typing away. So we all have a piece of responsibility in makeing what happens here safe and reliable.

I talked to a man the other day on the phone, an experienced Internet dater. I was explaining to him the advantages of the level of membership: to get a Premier seal on your profile, you have to be a paid member. (Knowing that someone has paid is an important piece of information, because paying implies seriousness. Also, on most sites, if you aren’t a paid member, you can’t respond to emails from prospective mates.) He retorted that he had no problem scamming Yahoo!, Match.com or any other dating site, because they all had plenty of money.

Frankly, I found his attitude appalling. To start out what you hope to be a life time loving relationship by cheating the business that is making it possible for your to meet possible mates seems designed to undermine your best efforts.

If you are a child of the 70’s like I am, you may remember the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s efforts to get the world meditating. The Maharishi believed that if just 1% of the world’s population were regularly meditating, we would have peace, or at least more of it.

Each 1% of us at those computer terminals, like meditators, can make a difference. How? If we all take it on ourselves to be honest, kind, and polite in our Internet dealings, 1% at a time, think of what a difference that could make overall. When might we reach the Tipping Point that Malcolm Gladwell describes, when honesty and reliability on the Internet would be so much the usual practice that one could simply assume that people were who they said they were?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


In a Family Way

And here’s what I am looking at: That’s a hummingbird sitting on a nest. It’s about one foot from my face. The nest was smaller than half an egg shell.
Posted by Hello


Drew and Kathryn Go Bird Watching

Well, we are back from a week in Tucson, and was it fun! Work, too—Drew was at a conference at the U. s. Institute for Enviromental Conflict Resolution there, and then we took a couple of more days for sight-seeing. And were there sites to see!
Here I am, closely inspecting a Tucsonian relationship… Posted by Hello


Where have the Obscene Phone Calls Gone?

When I had a mental health private practice in Tallahassee, Florida, my ad in the Yellow Pages included the line “Alternative Lifestyle Issues.” Gays and lesbians understood the coding to mean that I was a therapist friendly and informed about issues particular to them. But the line also seemed to attract some people from the more fringy edge of the sexual continuum, and I often got what amounted to obscene phone calls, under the guise of these men looking for therapeutic help.

One fellow called a number of times to make and reschedule appointments. He’d put down the phone in the middle of the arrangements and then come back on the line. It always sounded as if there was a washing machine thumping away in the background. Finally I thought to ask “Are you masturbating?” Silence. And then a ghastly “How did you know?”

Those kinds of phone calls, most identifiable by thumping and deep breathing on the other end, have ceased, even though here in Mississippi I still have “Alternative Lifestyle Issues” in my Yellow Pages ad. What’s stopped them?

It’s not that Mississippi has less phone masturbators than Florida. It’s caller ID and answering machines. I don’t know about you, but I virtually NEVER answer the phone when “Private” or “Unknown” comes up on the ID. I use my caller ID all the time to decide who to talk to and what calls can wait until I have finished what I am doing. And do you know what? Those “Privates” and “Unknowns” never leave messages. So an obscene caller has no way of reaching me directly and staying anonymous.

That’s my experience, and I don’t hear of obscene phone calls being a problem with others any more, unless the caller is so stupid or wanting to be caught that they go ahead and talk dirty anyway, even if they know they are being taped or identified. What’s yours?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Sugar Momma’s?

Here’s an interesting piece about the emerging trend of men looking for women with at least the same earning power as they have, or even more. And it’s even got a video clip of interviews to support the story that’s worth watching.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Long Distance Love

Here’s a lovely story about long distance romance, facilitated by Internet dating, or course! See how Don Valenta of Dallas got to live in Hawaii—even though he hadn’t thought about it.

I am a big fan of exploring out of your home territory, if moving is at all possible for you. Drew and I were 482 miles apart, door to door. I moved, and it was worth it.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Identifying Potential Cheaters

Here’s a terrific resource if you are worried that you might pick or be dating someone who has the potential to cheat on you. The website is oriented towards women who are worried that their husbands are cheating, but this questionnaire applies to potential as well as actual mates. Be sure to scroll down and read the entire page.

The other slight weakness of this questionnaire is that it is written for women assessing men, but I think that the questions and answers equally apply to potentially cheating women. Just change the pronouns.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Seven Years Ago Yesterday

This time of year is when Drew and I first met online. Last night we were reminiscing, and Drew asked me to pull out the notebook we have kept which has nearly every one of the emails we exchanged before we met in real time and space, ten days after that first contact.

The big surprise was that yesterday marked seven years exactly—May 21, 1998, was the date on the first email I sent Drew. I had been thinking that the anniversary date was May 25. So we started reading through those old emails, starting with each of our profiles.

We had the best time. What a treasure that notebook is! Fortunately, we both printed off the emails as we sent and received them, so we have an almost complete record of that part of our courtship. The emails are so SWEET, poignant, wistful, and true! And funny! We laughed and laughed.

What really struck us both is that in the very earliest communications we had foretold our lives today: Fascination with color and glass (we have a stained glass business together); Mutual interest in cooking (we had just eaten a wonderful meal—Drew rotisseried a chicken on the grill, I made lemon rice and the fresh vegetable sides, with hot date filled cookies for desert); reading, gardening, dance lessons. It’s all there, in the first emails we wrote. And every single word that each of us wrote was and is the absolute truth.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS Print and save every piece of correspondence! It’s a future treasure.


God’s Gift to Women: Rachael Lorenz

Here’s a woman with a job I would LOVE: Rachael Lorenz is a personal sylist who works with guys who need to shape up their presentations. See before and after pictures of one of her clients and get an idea of the magic she can work.

Here’s a quote from her website:

Lorenz finds that the most common styling errors are those that evolve from a general lack of focus on detail. The top ten are:

1. Ill fitting suit/sport jackets - sleeves too long, shoulder seams droop off the shoulder (resulting in a baggy back of the jacket or riding up around the collar).
2. Short socks.
3. One pair of comfortable shoes and his favorite belt worn with everything.
4. A cell phone as an accessory clipped on belt.
5. Eyewear that mimics the shape of his face (i.e. round face/round rimmed glasses).
6. Nose hair, back hair, moustaches, and goatees.
7. Weekend clothes that look as if he borrowed them from a six-year-old (i.e. ball cap, slogan T-shirt, and sneakers worn with gym socks).
8. A windbreaker or anorak jacket worn with anything dressy.
9. Brown belt/black shoes or vice versa.
10. A sport watch with a suit.

Lorenz is like your own personal “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” makeover. According to her website, she’ll help with:

-Personal Shopping
-Wardrobe Consultation
-Basic Nutrition and Personal Training
-Skin Care
-Hair Styling
-Etiquette and Comportment
-Media Training
-Cooking and Wine Selection

Unfortunately for most guys, Lorenz is in San Francisco. And it seems she works only with men. Guys are not the only ones with presentation problems, so male or female, if it’s been awhile since you’ve been out in the dating world—and we know a lot rides on how you look—then consider getting help, or at least another opinion.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Tucson Next Week—Any Suggestions?

Drew and I are going to Tucson Monday for a week. He has a workshop, and I am piggybacking again. Going along on his trips mean short vacations for us both, and concentrated work time for me while he is in sessions. I’ve got a couple of books in the tube that need finishing up, and I’ll be Romance Coaching, too, since my clients and I work together on the phone and via email, and I can do that just about anywhere.

So here’s my question to you: Neither of us have been to Tucson before, so we are open to suggestions. If you have a Tucson area favorite—restaurant, excursion, or something worth a visit—let me know, either by leaving a comment here or emailing me at . Personal recommendations are always best.

Thanks in advance, from Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


From the “What Will Dating Sites Think of Next?” Department: Golfers and Skaters

Here’s the latest in the move towards tailor-made mates: Two new dating sites, one for golfers and the other for skaters. Really, now, how many people can there be, even in a place as large as New York City let’s say, who fit all your criteria (gender, age, height, religion, etc., etc.) AND your favorite sport?

Remember that every time you specify a criteria like age or height, it cuts out EVERYONE who does not fit that criteria. For instance, women will often state they want a guy 6 feet tall or more. Only 15% of guys are that tall. Ladies, beware that you are cutting out 85% of potential candidates with the over 6 feet specification. Do you really want to cut out every other non-golfer or non-skater? Just think how small your numbers would be.

And maybe, just maybe, there’s a very nice someone out there who you could teach your love of your sport to.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Has Janet Kornblum of USA Today Been Reading My Blog?

USA Today posted an article last night by Janet Kornblum that looks as if it was researched right here on my blog. If you are a regular reader, you know that I have been writing about my reservations about eHarmony for awhile (5/10, 3/13). Kornblum’s article “eHarmony: Heart and soul” captures succinctly just what I have been saying: Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony’s founder, has roots in the Christian community that he is now trying to distance himself from, and discriminates against Gays, Lesbians, and 16% of those who take eHarmony’s personality test—those determined by eHarmony to be “unmatchable.”

Here’s some clarity I had not seen before:

Warren started out marketing primarily to Christian sites, touting eHarmony as “based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family author Dr. Neil Clark Warren.”

The connection may come as a surprise to today’s mainstream users: Nothing in Warren’s TV or radio ads ($50 million spent last year, $80 million projected this year) hints at his Christian background.

And while it’s no secret, the Web site doesn’t play it up, either.

eHarmony increasingly is seeking out secular audiences through online partnerships, including promotions on USATODAY.com and other news sites owned by USA TODAY’s parent company, Gannett. As part of that effort, Warren is trying to distance himself from Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson, a longtime friend.

Warren says he will no longer appear on Dobson’s radio show, and he recently bought back the rights to the three books Focus on the Family published—Finding the Love of Your Life, Make Anger Your Ally and Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life - so he can drop Focus’ name from their covers.

“We’re trying to reach the whole world—people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds,” Warren says. “And if indeed, we have Focus on the Family on the top of our books, it is a killer. Because people do recognize them as occupying a very precise political position in this society and a very precise spiritual position.”

eHarmony is NOT looking for Gays and Lesbians, though. I guess Warren doesn’t consider them part of the whole world.

What’s particularly interesting is this article appears in USA Today, and on the web edition, in the banner across the top, is an eHarmony ad. I’ve always thought of USA Today as a bland, middle of the road or right-ish publication and probably have never even bought an issue myself. The only times I have read it is when it is left at my door in hotels, or when I am bored in an airport and find a discarded copy in the next seat.

Yea for USA Today to publish this article, and Yea for Kornblum to write it.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Questions to Ask: About Children

More good questions to ask, this time about children—

From a reader:

I would thoroughly explore kids, and the relationship to kids. Probably more important to men. I mean, who wants to be #2 in a woman’s life, to her (perhaps grown) kids?

Grown kids? Moving in and out of her house? Sucking resources? Yours, if you marry her?

Also, does she get child support $$$ reliably, or are you going to support three folks instead of two if you hook up. And if you do so, are you gonna get input?

From Your Romance Coach:

Do you want children?
Do you have children?

How many? With whom?
Describe your relationships with your children and the other parent(s).
How often do you see your children?
If you have had children, how do you feel about having more? Why or why not?
Tell me about how you’d like to raise your children.
Should one parent stay home with a young child, or is it okay for both to work?

What are some questions you wish you had asked?

From Kathryn Lord


Questions to Ask: About Divorces

My last posting has gotten me thinking about the important questions for singles to ask potential partners.

From a reader:

Twice I’ve been caught by, “My wife and I are in the process of getting a divorce, but she’s living upstairs and I’m living downstairs.”

“Hey, big guy, before we go out, can I see the divorce papers?”

From your Romance Coach:

Here are some more—

When was your divorce final?
Where are you living?
Where is your ex living?
How long have each of you lived there?
What is your current relationship with your ex?

If it is in any way not clear that the divorce is final—

What are the divorce laws in your state?
Has your lawyer advised you about getting involved with another person before your divorce is final?
Have you thought about the possibility that your soon-to-be-ex (we hope) could use your romantic involvement with me or anyone else against you in the divorce? A few states still have"Alienation of Affection” as grounds for suit against the romantic partner.

This poses a real dilemma, particularly for women. Soon-to-be-divorced men (women, too) will often “Jump the gun” and try to date before the divorce is final. In their minds, the marriage is over, but not in the eyes of the law. Divorced men often really like being married and are great candidates for re-marriage. They will be looking for, as well as be looked over by, single women. Insisting that the divorce be completely over may mean that the guy (or gal) is already paired up. I interviewed a woman just yesterday who was in that exact dilemma, and chose to"soften” on her own rule of “The guy must be completely divorced.” They sound like a committed couple after 3 years together, but she was sure if she had waited until he was fully legal, he would not be available. On the other hand, you risk getting caught up in the fray.

What are other questions you’d like to ask a potential partner about his/her divorce?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Tom Blake and Avoiding Being Taken for Ride by Asking the Hard Questions

Tom Blake is an interesting guy and a more interesting author. In 1993, Blake was 53 and divorced again, I believe for the third time. Based on his dating experiences, he started writing a newspaper column, and later collected fifty of those columns together in a book “Middle Aged and Dating Again.” I read two of his books (the second is “Finding Love After 50”) when Drew and I spent a week at the Don Cesar Hotel on St. Petersburg Beach a few months ago, and Tom and I exchanged a few emails as a result. If you want to get a good peek inside the mind of a single 50 something man, “Middle Aged and Dating Again” is a “should read.”

(The Don Cesar deserves it’s own posting. Regis Philbin is always giving away weeks there to contest winners on his morning show. The Don Castro must need the exposure. It’s a big, old fashioned hotel trying hard to become a modern beach spa attraction. BTW, that’s not our choice for a great place to spend a week: Drew needed to go to St. Petersburg for a week’s training, I went along for the ride, and the Don Castro is where the workshop participants were to stay. I spent most of my time in our room, working on another book and reading others.)

I cam across a couple of Blake’s newer columns yesterday worth looking at and writing about here. The first “Beware the Bloke” tells about a Palm Springs woman who hosted a man from England she met on the Internet. It’s not clear from Blake’s article how long the fellow stayed in Palm Springs, but essentially it seems that he treated the woman’s home as a hotel and her as a tour guide (without paying for any of the services), then left for parts unknown. Blake’s second column “The Men Who Disappear” tells more stories with the similar theme, guys who come on, engage the woman, and then at some point vanish into thin cyberspace.

The history of these disappointing encounters that Blake provides in the columns is rather thin, but all have one theme that pops out to me: These women did not ask the men the hard questions. You can’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots of them. And pay attention to the answers.

I have a hard time understanding why people are shy about asking potential love partners important details. Of course, I have had almost 30 years of experience as a therapist, asking hard questions and delving into intensely personal material. And I remember that in my first year of graduate training, I really struggled with my right to ask. But as my supervisor assured me, asking and finding out was my job. That was what I was being hired to do. And how could I help my clients if I was shy about finding out their story? Even parts they were reluctant to tell.

If you are a single looking for a life mate, give yourself permission to ask. See asking and getting the information you need as your job. After all, you are essentially interviewing these potential partners for the right to sleep in your bed for the rest of your life. You need to find out everything you need to know NOW so that you can make the best decision.

The converse is true, too, of course: You need to be ready to answer hard questions as well, or even to volunteer the information before it’s asked for. All of us have something we worry about telling. Our job is to get comfortable with our own story and be ready to tell it. If you are wondering about your own story, or if you don’t ask “the Hard Questions” yourself because you don’t want to be asked them, either, my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” could help you. Chapter 13 “Driver’s Test” tackles “How do I tell him about…?” and helps you be ready to do just that: tell him or her what they need to know about you.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Internet Safety Guidelines for Men

Usually when I write about safety for online daters, I address the concerns of women. Men tend not to worry about their safety like women do, although they should. Here’s an article out of Australia about a guy who either was very dumb or needs a course in basic safety—even though he is a guy. Or maybe because he is a guy.

Chris Barker met “Sally 69” on a dating site. They established that she was into bondage and would like to tie a guy up. Chris invited Sally 69 (Katie Broomhall) to his apartment, and she duly tied him to his bed. Then she brought in a masked man and together they cleaned out his apartment of the typical stuff: TV, computer, DVD player, etc.

Moral: Guys, just because you are a guy does not mean you are safe. Beware of anyone with a screen name like Sally 69. Do not invite her to your apartment, and most especially, do not let her tie you up until you know her well and can trust that she does not have a burglar accomplice waiting in the wings. No one wants to be robbed, and you were lucky you weren’t killed. And now, here’s your name out in public in a most embarrassing way.

female online daters: Use similar caution.

And potential Sally 69’s: You need to do a better job covering your tracks.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Are You Safer at Home with Your Family, or on the Internet?

Well, I don’t know of any figures that compare the risks of the Internet (which gets a lot of play these days) or the risks of living at home and in a family, but just a few minutes ago, I was listening to the news on TV while I got dressed.  Three stories in a row described recent murders of family by family.  The little girl and her best friend who were stabbed to death by one of their fathers.  The family in California (five of them) who aparantly were shot by the husband/father, who then shot himself.  And then a third story, right in the spirit of the first two.  I forgot the details of the third, I was so overwhelmed by the first two.

Does that kind of risk—that living in a family can kill you—mean we should not live in a family?  That we should all live alone, barracaded in our bedrooms?  Of course not.  Similarly, we need not avoid the Internet because some risk is involved.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“Focus on the Family,” eHarmony, and Same Sex Couples

If you really want to have chills run up and down your spine, take a closer look at James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family“site that I mentioned in my last posting about eHarmony. Follow down some of the link you’ll find there, like to Dorothy Patterson’s article “The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective” or to Gary Bauer’s website “American Values” and his Op Ed piece on “The State of the Union” Yeowee Kazowee. I don’t know if it will curl your hair, but it did mine. EHarmony, you are just too close to those guys for my comfort. I find this steady creeping towards the religious far right that our county is doing terrifying. I really worry that eHarmony is just another facet of that frosty trend.

Here’s another twist that I came up with: Neil Clark Warren (Dr. Warren to eHarmony fans) says he doesn’t understand enough about Gays and Lesbians to pair them. However, Warren rates compatibility of partners as being highly important for relationship success.

What I have found to be both a blessing and a curse for same sex couples is their sameness, rather than their differences, and if Warren really sees sameness as a virtue, he needs to take another look at same sex couples (Same sex couples: Note “same” in the very phrase, Dr. Warren). Warren can learn a lot from same sex couples, as can we all.

Two women or two men together have an unstated understanding of each other because of their “sameness” that a man and woman can never have. That sameness can be a blessing in the form of a natural agreement and understanding of the other, but also a curse, in a lack of differentiation and erotic tension arising out of the inherent gender differences.

Warren seems oblivious of the sameness he values so highly that exists naturally in Gay and Lesbian couples. And oblivious of the converse: Sameness can cause problems too. What I have found necessary for long term relationship success is a balance of sameness (compatibility) and difference: enough that you agree on for relative calm, and enough that you differ on for excitement and variety.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


EHarmony Again and “Focus on the Family” Connections

I’ve written about eHarmony before, and I sure do wish that I could feel better about recommending the site to my clients. I like what eHarmony has carved out as their market—serious daters looking for serious relationships. I even have a link to eHarmony on my website, because a proportion of my clients sign up there, even after I tell them my misgivings. But eHarmony does not work with everyone, and that I find disturbing.

What’s even more disturbing is eHarmony and it’s founder Neil Clark Warren’s evangelical Christian roots. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being being a site associated with a religion. There are plenty of sites like that, some very popular, like JDate.com for Jewish singles. What bothers me about eHarmony is that they play down this connection, and now seem to be actively trying to dissociate themselves with that base.

David Cober writing for the Los Angeles Times tells about Warren’s attempts to buy back publishing rights for his own book from James Dobson’s organization “Focus on the Family,” with whom Warren has been associated since the 1980’s. Dobson is also a psychologist, as it Warren, and active in politically promoting conservative Christian values. Pointing to the banner for “Focus on the Family” across the top of the cover of his book “Finding the Love of Your Life,” Warren says “That’s a killer for us.”

What’s not at all clear is if and how the conservative Christian roots of eHarmony may show up in it’s matchings of singles. One thing that they are up front about is that eHarmony does not work with Gays and Lesbians, and does not plan on changing that. From Warren: “I don’t know how to do those matches, the research has not been done.” What a weak excuse for blatant discrimination.

I wonder about how other biases may have crept into the matching procedures, like perhaps women are only paired with men their own age or older. Or men have to have equal or higher incomes or job statuses than women they are paired with. Or women are paired only with men who are the same height or taller. Who knows, because eHarmony’s not telling.

There’s also the weird Orwellian atmosphere that “Dr. Warren knows best.” Warren is about the only psychologist I know who insists on being called Dr. Warren, or even Dr. Neil Warren.  No matter how his name is presented, the Dr. is always there.  Even Phil McGraw is Dr. Phil, which while including the Dr.  seems much folksier.  It certainly seems that Warren is using his Dr. to the max.  And why would I want “Dr. Warren” making such important decisions for me, even if he does know best? I like to think I have some ability to think and decide for myself.

What I do know is that eHarmony attracts many more women than men, so the odds are very bad for women, especially older women. Warren also believes that the more similar people are, the more likely for success of the relationship.

So if you are male, heterosexual, with fairly traditional, conservative values, looking for the same in a woman, and you don’t mind someone else doing the picking for you or not seeing what the lady looks like until you have communicated for awhile, eHarmony would be a good place to sign up. If that doesn’t describe you, go somewhere else.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Richard Roe - The Movie - and SeniorBachelor.com

I wrote about Richard Roe (www.SeniorBachelor.com) earlier here (4/24, 4/29, and 4/29) and told that I discovered he and his son had made a movie about an earlier round-the-world trip they had taken together. (Roe was on “Oprah” on April 24, talking about looking for a woman for an around-the-world trip that he would finance.) The movie is called “Pop and Me” and I found it listed on Netflix and ordered it. Drew and I watched it last night, and here’s my promised report:

“Pop and Me” is quite a coup. Roe’s son Chris had not made a movie before, and when his Dad invited him to go on a six month trip around the world, Chris decided to film the experience. Dad Richard funded the venture and suggested adding the theme of interviewing father and son combinations. Chris thought the idea cheesy, but went along with it. That’s a good thing, because the interviews are so good that they save the movie.

If you like watching men share real and intense loving emotion, then this is the movie for you. Just about every one of the interviewed father/son combos are sweet and touching, some men using the film time to say words and feelings they might never otherwise. Almost every conversation brings participants and observers to genuine tears.

Beside these extraordinary interviews, Richard and Chris Roe seem rather shallow and self-absorbed. Chris is whiney and angry, Dad Richard alternately controlling and forlorn. The one scene with Richard that feels as rich and emotionally believable as the interviews is when Chris and Richard visit Richard’s father’s grave. Richard’s father was an alcoholic and institutionalized from age 44 until he died. Richard clearly dreaded the visit and just exploded with conflicting and overwhelming emotions at the grave site. Chris seemed embarrassed and hardly knew how to react, shuffling off to the side, and then awkwardly half-hugging his dad.

Both, especially Dad, love the camera and the attention, and the camera loves them both. Richard is a handsome man in his mid-fifties, clearly at a turning point in his life. Recently divorced after what he describes as a happy marriage (no telling what happened to bring about the divorce), Richard clings to his memories and connection to his three sons. He’s floundering, and using his life savings for this trip is an attempt to recapture a similar trip that the family made together when the children were young. Richard and Chris even visit some of the people they had spent time with on the previous trip years earlier.

As a movie about fathers and sons, “Pop and Me” works well and is a “should see” for men and women. Both will get a rare glimpse at the emotion possible in such relationships.

If you are at all interested in taking Richard Roe up on his offer of yet another world trip, this movie is not only a “should see,” it’s a “must see.” The film provides a close-up view of Richard that would be impossible to get otherwise, especially before even meeting him. But also, you’ll get a background of his trip-taking as well. It’s hard not to speculate that this next venture he proposes, of round-the-world with a willing female sweetheart this time, is yet another attempt to recapture what is long past. Frankly, it feels rather pathetic.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Good News Out of Tallahassee

Whew!  Looks like True.com’s efforts to legislate criminal background checks by Internet dating sites failed in the current Florida session.


Brother Bill, So You’ll Know Him When You See Him

Here’s brother Bill in a characteristic pose—with camera and talking—this time, with his soon to be step-father George. Posted by Hello  Bill is father to Rachel.


Brother Bill, Stephen King, Warren Silver, and Russian Brides

Sunday mornings at Romance Headquarters are pretty quiet, but a couple of interesting pieces came via email. The : Stephen King, who was president of my class at the University of Maine in Orono, spoke to the current graduating class yesterday. King, who is probably the most financially successful UMO grad ever, told graduates to read voraciously (I do), give 10% of your income away (I’m working on it), and stay in Maine (we’ll be there six months a year starting in 2006). I never met King, but I do have a signed copy of “Cujo” somewhere, and I hear that my debate partner in high school (Warren Silver) is his attorney. I guess that’s one degree of separation, right?

The other piece of interest was about Russian brides and fraud. Mikhail Vanin lives in Samara on the Volga River, and has made himself a business tracing down the would-be girlfriends of foreigners. “Vanin, a 44-year-old romantic at heart, said he doesn’t want to sound pessimistic, but ‘eight out of 10 times the women I investigate turn out to be nonexistent or even a gang of criminal Internet scammers.’‘’ I’ve written about Russian brides and Ukrainian grooms before, my advice is still the same: Buyer beware. Generally, that’s what you are: a buyer, and you will be putting up the money without any assurance of getting the goods.

Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS I just did a Google search on Warren Silver and see that he was nominated to the Maine Supreme Court ‘just last month. All right, Warren! And Warren, if you see this, I’ve got a different last name now. Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!


More on “The Tipping Point” and Playing Your Part

Here’s more of the relevancy of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing in"The Tipping Point”:

Gladwell writes about the Power of Context, how everyday signs of disorder like graffiti and subway fare-beating can help fuel crime, or how most people will lie, given the opportunity and context. That got me thinking about the Internet and online dating—of course! What else do I think about, right?

One of the biggest concerns online and what daters worry about most is lying. And the Internet provides just the conditions that make lying easy: You can be anonymous, create any persona that suits your fancy, and chances are good you’ll never be caught. Unless you form a relationship that leads to a meeting in real time and space.

A good part of the “fun” online is based on fantasy. Sometimes that’s clear, and sometimes it’s not. Role playing games on the net are very popular (that’s the total extent of my knowledge, right there). Most game-playing folks know when they are playing a role and have an awareness that everyone else is playing too.

On the XXX rated sites, it may be less clear that some of the “actors” involved are “playing a role.” The anonymity of the computer screen allows all kinds of fantasies to be projected and played out.

Years ago, I worked with a woman in therapy who earned her living talking hour after hour on the phone with men who fantasized and masturbated while she talked dirty. She had a wonderfully throaty and sexy voice and a terrific imagination that kept these guys going for hours, but I don’t think she could have been anything like the guys thought they were paying for. She weighed at least 500 pounds. That’s why she earned her money doing phone sex—she couldn’t do anything else that would earn her as much without having to go out of her house and be seen. Believe me, if she could have figured out anything else to do, she would have. That work took an enormous toll, and played a big part in her self-hate and self-destruction.

The point I am making is this: We all contribute to the whole that the Internet is. We can spray paint graffiti or jump the turnstiles or be deceptive about who we are or be rude, crude, or a cheat. Or we can contribute to “the greater whole” of the web by acting responsibly, by being kind and polite, by telling the truth and being willing to prove that we are who we say we are.

Keep the gaming on the sites where the fantasy is clear, but when you are looking for a life mate, act like you deserve a good one. Leave the pretending where it belongs, where everyone knows the rules and understands the fantasy.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“The Tipping Point” for Internet Dating: 9/11/2001

I finished yesterday. I love Gladwell’s writing—I wrote about his newest “Blink” earlier. “Blink” is now #3 on the New York Times Bestsellers list, bumped out of first place by Jane Fonda. I’ve even scouted down Gladwell’s website and downloaded (for free) a bunch of his articles that were published in the New Yorker.

“The Tipping Point” does not have so much to say to singles looking for partners as “Blink” did, but it does have a few nuggets that apply. In “The Tipping Point,” Gladwell describes the process of how “ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.” He writes about contagiousness, little things having big effects, and that change happens in a big dramatic moment.

“The Tipping Point” was published in 2000, but if Gladwell had been writing it in 2002, he might well have picked Internet dating as an example of an idea reaching the “tipping point,” when suddenly looking for love online moved into the mainstream.

After September 11, 2001, everyone seemed to want to be connected intimately. Friends, and more importantly family, became highly desirable. And Internet dating, which had been quietly growing in the corners of the web, became The Place to look for a life partner.

The ease of connecting with eligible singles online was an extremely contagious method of meeting whose time in history had come. And while the necessary “little thing” was a very big thing—the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon—the happenings did provide the “dramatic moment” the upcoming online dating epidemic needed.

Suddenly advertising for love no longer seems rather sleazy. Instead, putting your picture and profile on the Internet is a very smart thing to do.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Farmer Drew and Our Southern Garden

Photo time! Here’s three nice things about living in the South: My Sweetie Drew, who I would never have met if I hadn’t left Maine, azaleas in the spring, and gardening almost all year. Drew loves to garden, and we both love to pick and eat the proceeds. Some of the larger plants you see in this picture were actually planted last fall.  They wintered over and then took off when things started warming up in February. Drew’s planting the last lettuce for this spring. It will soon be too hot for those tender greens. Then comes cucumbers, beans and tomatoes. Where I come from in Maine, it’s almost a waste of time to plant tomatoes. They usually don’t get a chance to ripen before the first frost. Posted by Hello


Are you a Runaway Bride, even if the altar is nowhere in sight?

Jennifer Wilbanks is currently making news as a la Julia Roberts in the movie of the same name. It’s too bad Jennifer couldn’t have said “no” long before she acted “no” out. Seems like Jennifer got a major case of the jitters and just hit the road.

Anxiety is a major problem for most folks contemplating relationships and marriage. As bad as you may feel about being partnerless, you know what it is. Singleness is comfortable and familiar, even if it is lonely, unsatisfying, and maybe sexless. Getting unsingle means taking action and doing things that make us uncomfortable. Some of those things may be the most anxiety provoking things we can think of, like getting naked with a new person, either emotionally or physically.

Wherever your anxiety kicks in, that’s where you’ll have a problem. For some like Jennifer, the altar a few days away did it. Others get right to the altar and then bail. Some never can get to the wedding planning stages, exiting when the talk turns to marriage possibilities. And some folks are so wary that they avoid dating and romantic situations all together.

When does your “Runaway Bride” mentality kick in? You don’t have to be a woman to have this phenomenon. How might you learn to recognize the fear and sit with it, bear it, until you could go another step towards what you say you want?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Super Tuesdays!  I’m giving away Profile Reviews!

What excitement today! This is the first Super Tuesday offer that I am giving all my blog readers. For 24 hours from right now (10:19 am Eastern), I am giving away Profile Reviews! If you are currently signed up with an Internet dating site and have a posted picture and profile that you are not happy with, here’s the deal: I’ll review your posting, give suggestions and help you rewrite your profile essay so that it is more likely to attract the kind of attention you would like. For Free. In return, you’ll give me permission to use your before and after results for educational purposes. I’ve got a book on profile writing in the works, and need some great examples.

This offer is good for up to 10 people, so get in touch, and do it soon! First come, first served!

BTW, I am really good at Profile Reviews. All my clients have been very happy with their results, as have their potential dates. And I usually charge $99! So what a deal, right?

Email me at to get in line for this great offer.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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