Kathryn's Blog

Cuddle Parties Go Commercial

Wouldn’t you know it? Either someone has figured out a way to make money off Cuddle Parties., or Cuddle Parties were invented to make money first, then marketed. See my earlier posting. Here’s a site that both describes Cuddle Parties and also lists upcoming ones. AND you can get training to be a Cuddle Party facilitator—Just $700 for a weekend-long session.

I can’t believe that this is not a commercial venture. I couldn’t find anywhere on the site what it costs to go to one of these parties, but it MUST cost something, if you have to pay to get trained to facilitate them.

Okay, now I really want to know: Has anyone over the age of 10 been to one of these? Have YOU? What’s it like?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Going to Maine!

Drew and I are heading off to our Maine house for a couple of weeks.  We haven’t been there in too long, so are really looking forward to being there.  I may post here some, but don’t expect too much from me before we return on Labor Day.  And enjoy the rest of August!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Love Love Stories! They Keep On Coming!

Now that Internet dating has entered the mainstream, we hear more and more stories of couples who met via cyberspace. This story is about Margot Carmichael Lester and Steve Peha. Both had suffered and lost before, big time, and were pretty jaded. Margot is now the advice columnist at Love.msn Nothing like making a career out of you success at online romance—after all, that’s what I have done!

Blaine Greenfield, 56, and Cynthia Greenfield, 52, met on Match.com, where Drew and I met in 1998. The happy picture of them with the story is worth the visit to the article alone. And Tracy and Jason Dacko’s wedding picture is there, too.

Jeff Taylor and Tammy Paolino Taylor dialogue back and forth about their experiences in Internet dating in this article. Bonus: You get a picture of them both with their 13 month old baby Jonah.

Annette Mayhew and Thomas Krucina met online in 2004. See their cute picture with their story here.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Sounds Good, But Worth the Price?

Marketdata Enterprises has just released I thought about getting a copy, but the jaw-dropping price of $250 for 57 pages drew me up short. I went to the site to check out the Table of Contents and was not impressed: “Your Odds of Success — Finding A Match” was dealt with in one page. “Types of Dating Services” got four pages. At almost $5 a page, that type better be pretty teensy to get your money’s worth.

The news release for the report has some juicy tidbits though, and here are some of them:

Some Major Findings:

* The Better Business Bureau reports that in most complaints received about dating services, the consumer is at fault because they did not thoroughly read the contract.

* A number of dating services have been sued by state Attorney General’s offices or by consumers. Do you know which ones?

* Research shows that members of minority groups, unattractive or overweight people, those with rigid religious beliefs, singles with more than two children living with them, and chain smokers will have limited success.

* Singles have an equal chance of finding their soul mate no matter what kind of dating service they use. A higher-priced service is no guarantee of better results, although many will claim that their match rate is superior.

* Off-line chains such as Together or Great Expectations typically charge $3,000-4,000. Independent matchmakers (which are growing in number in the U.S.) charge anywhere from $500 to $100,000 for their services. The top ones usually cost $10,000+.

* Virtually anyone can call themselves a matchmaker — no license or certification is required. They are also hard to find, since most do not advertise. Word-of-mouth referral is used instead.

* Matchmakers today may offer many other services to make you more marketable: image makeovers, personal training and weight loss, wardrobe assessment, hair/skin care consulting, professional photos, written profile editing, etc.

And related to my earlier post on dating and matchmaking services:

“In many ways, dating services is a wild west environment, where ‘let the buyer beware’ is very much the rule. The number of services, both on the Internet and companies with physical offices, has exploded since 2001. Each type of dating service has its own positives and negatives. Prices for services vary tremendously — from $20 per month to $50,000+. Consequently, it’s more important than ever for dating singles to know what they are getting into before signing contracts,” according to John LaRosa, Research Director.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Complaints About Dating Services

My clients and readers often ask about other resources than Internet dating sites for singles. Matchmakers (people who maintain a list of eligible singles and pair them up for a fee) are favorites with both men women, I think because it allows them to stay relatively passive while someone else (the matchmaker) does the work. Matchmakers charge stiff fees, and also, you are restricted to the people that they have on their lists. You can read more about what I have to say about matchmakers on one of my earlier blog postings.

Dating services are similar to matchmakers, except they seem to function more like business, not relying on one person (a matchmaker) and their intuitive skills, but on employees who change, sometimes rapidly. Dating services are also expensive, maybe somewhat less expensive than matchmakers, but still pricey, starting at a low of about $1000. You can buy a lot of months on a dating site for $1000.

Dating services have poor reputations. Here’s an article about a Houston dating service called Together Dating, poor service they gave one of their customers, and the dozens of complaints that had been filed against Together Dating with the Better Business Bureau. Together Dating appears to be a franchise, not unlike McDonald’s. If you are interested in buying a business, here’s how to get more info on how to purchase a Together Dating franchise—price $98,400 to $254,900.

I’m far too tight to spend that kind of money to have someone else do the picking for me. I want to see what is being offered, have LOTS of choice, and save my money to fix myself up to go on a date. What about you? Anyone out there tried matchmakers or dating services?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


I’m Quoted in the Clarion Ledger

Cori Bolger of the Clarion Ledger called me Monday. She was doing a story on “no more blind dates” and said I was the dating expert in Mississippi, so she got in touch. And sure enough, I’m quoted, right at the top of an article in August 16th’s paper: “Forget the Pickup Lines, Go Online.” Click on over and see what I had to say and what Cori wrote. Essentially, the article is about what I have been saying: Don’t lie online, because it is so easy for potential dates to get accurate info on you. Or not so accurate, which is why it’s a good idea to keep track of what comes up when your own name is Googled.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Anybody Been to a Cuddle Party?

Here’s a Dr. Brothers exerpt from the Seattle PI that grabbed my interest. I remember reading about these “Cuddle Party” things a couple of years ago. Anybody been to one that can give us some feedback?

DEAR DR. BROTHERS: I read a lot of stuff on the Internet, and everyone is buzzing about these new events called “cuddle parties,” where 15 or 20 people get together in someone’s apartment or house. They put on pajamas, pull out their special blankets or stuffed animals, and hug and cuddle one another. There is supposedly no sex allowed, and all the people are virtual strangers. What the heck is up with this? It sounds ridiculous!—V.K.

DEAR V.K.: Well, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and there are probably many people who find the idea of cuddling without commitment or fear of sexually transmitted diseases the best idea since cybersex—only with lots of, well, stroking included. If it’s a ploy for meeting other singles, we’ll just have to wait to see if the technique works out well. I frankly don’t know if many men will be persuaded to don pajamas and pay someone for the privilege of engaging in group hugs. On the other hand, it’s probably not any weirder or more unnatural than those lightning-round dating nights where you have less than 10 minutes each to evaluate a series of new dating prospects.

Seriously, there are many people for whom touching and non-sexual cuddling are basic needs, and who aren’t getting any (of these!) in their daily lives. We do tend to be a culture where touching and hugging stop pretty much as we enter adolescence. And yet it is well-known to psychologists that these types of interaction greatly increase our feelings of belonging and well-being. If that satisfaction can overcome the feeling of infantilism that could be brought on by jammies and teddy bears, and the whole thing isn’t taken too seriously, then perhaps cuddle parties will become the wave of the future. In the meantime, I suspect that most people will prefer to confine their cuddling to their spouses, their kids and their dogs, and keep their emotional “blankies” stuffed in a corner of the closet.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


More Reasons to Always Tell the Truth

Just about the biggest and most frequent complaint that I hear about Internet dating is that people lie, distort, omit, and in general do not present themselves accurately online. Yet very often, these same folks who complain will shave a few years or pounds off their own descriptions, or use a very old photo.

I tell my romance clients to ALWAYS tell the truth. The simplest reason is that it is easier. You don’t have to remember as much. And you don’t have to worry about when the truth will come out. At the very least, you should never lie about something that will be obvious in the first meeting, like height, looks, or age.

The second big reason for telling the truth is that you are trying to start a relationship, and relationships are built on trust. What does it mean if you start out lying? It’s only natural that your date will be wondering what else you are lying about too. That’s a terrible way to start out, and it doesn’t bode well for the future.

Here are another set of reasons not to lie: Like anything else, when a need is identified, someone will step in to fill it. Since Internet daters are concerned about if their dates are lying, sites are popping up where you can report those kinds of inconsistencies and general bad behavior. TrueDater.com is one such site. Bop on over to TrueDater.com and see what’s coming down the pike. It’s a little chilling. Click on “Browse Reviews” and you’ll get a sense of what people are writing. Some of the reviews are linked to active profiles, so you can read the review, then check out what the person reviewed posted. On a positive note, some of the reviews are good, in fact, a lot seem to be.

You can also select a dating site (they currently include five major sites), type in a screen name, and see if there are any reviews of the person. Like Googling yourself, it’s probably going to be a good idea to check your own screen names here from time to time to see if anyone has reported on YOU. Here’s an article with more about what you can find there.

Clearly, as online daters become more sophisticated and learn about how to do background searches and utilize resources like TrueDater.com, it’ll be harder and harder to get away with lying. Good. Pay attention now, tell the truth, and you won’t get caught.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


eHarmony’s $110 Million

Here’s an interesting article about what eHarmony’s doing with the $110 million in venture capital it raised last winter. It’s a complicated financial story that I won’t try to sumarize here, but suffice it to say, a good proportion is not going into improved services for their clients.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“Hooking Up” Episode #5

Oh, my goodness. Are five episodes of harrowing date stories one too many? Maybe. Though TMI (Too Much Information) may be just what we have needed to really see the patterns. Here we go on my take on Episode #5:

Christen is new to New York and wanting to meet people. She feels a lot of pressure from all the other skinny, gorgeous women that Manhattan seems overly blessed with. Her date #1 flashed by so quickly that I didn’t even catch his name. But he was not interested in going further with her, and she knew it.

Date #2 Brian: Seems like he and Christen hardly communicated at all before meeting—at least, she had not seen a picture of him. On his way to the date, he said something about women and dating—that they are either whores or dinner girls? Did anyone catch that? Yikes. Brian did not take his hat off the whole time (What was he hiding? Message to men in hats: Bald is better than hats. Take ‘em off.) He had a wild plaid sports jacket on with the collar partially turned up in back that looked sort of pitiful. These things happen, but Gawd! This was TV. I suspect he came that way, and the producers let him go ahead as he was. If any guy ever needed a helpful friend to get him properly dressed for a date, Brian was one. Brian also gulped a little bottle of bourbon before meeting Christen and ditched the bottle in a dumpster. In an aside during the date, he said something like that maybe as they had more to drink, that some sparks would fly. They didn’t.

Date #3 Rob: This guy seemed to meet Christen’s “type” of rugged and good-looking (she grew up as a “Military brat”), but he revealed beforehand that they had barely communicated before the date. Christen went on and on about her 20 minute rule—that she meets fellows “just for a drink” for 20 minutes to assess future possibilities. Rob was clearly interested (frankly, a very attractive trait in a guy), pushed for a little more time, and while he accepted her limits, by the time the check came, his irritation was showing.

Note to Christen: SCREEN! By just using online dating sites like a phone book, you are heavily weighting your dates towards failure. Take some time from the safety of your apartment to communicate with potential dates and get to know them a little before you go to the trouble of arranging a meeting. Then maybe you’ll be able to allow more that 20 minutes. You would not have gone out with Brian, and not given Rob so many reasons to get ticked.

Sonja: We first see her going for an overnight at Mitchell’s, and it seems so sweet. He buys her a ring (pre-engagement, he calls it) and Sonja is smitten. Close the curtains with them giggling in bed. Then…Mitchell calls her and breaks up, says it’s “not working out” and cites not enough emotional support. Like Sonja, I sat “WHAT HAPPENED?” Just when he gets her, he drops her? Well, I guess that’s what Mitchell does. Great seduction, then nothing. At least he did it on the phone and didn’t just drop out off the face of the earth.

Kristin finally gets interested enough in a guy to go on a second date and is excited about it. So is Mike, but a little too much so for Kristin. She keeps back-peddling, he pursues, and things go from bad to worse. Both have problems, because Mike seems out of touch with what’s happening (talks bravely through two bad dates about how well they are going) and chatters more and more nervously about their “chemistry,” but maybe this is where Kristin’s difficulty lies: second dates and beyond. Kristin seems good at bad first dates, and bad at what comes next. Yes, Mike’s interested and coming on strong. Kristin gets quiet, resentful, and withdrawn when he does, which makes Mike worse. If Kristin could have taken a step forward TOWARDS Mike and reassured him, but told him clearly to slow down, he probably would have relaxed and toned down. She does comment that maybe she shouldn’t be so quiet. Yup, Kristin. Speak up.

“Hooking Up” saved the wildest act for last: Shelly. Only loosely is Shelly an opera singer—she has a Julliard trained voice, but it sounds as if Shelly has pieced together a career that includes her voice, comedy and even working as a dominatrix!!?? I can belive it. Shelly has a huge personality. Shelly is looking for casual sex and is so clear about it that she scares guys off left and right. Anthony and Frank are clearly outdone by Shelly, and she is P. O.‘d and shows it. Why did they agree to a date with Shelly when they didn’t want to have sex right off? Shelly is so over the top that it is hard to believe she got on the show, but then again, she provides GREAT material.

Then ... Surprise, surprise! The show checks back with some of their intrepid daters a year later. And guess what??? Shelly is the most firmly attached to a Sweetie of all the women. Shelly’s surprised too, because she wasn’t looking for permanence, but by golly, she found it. Finally, a man who she wasn’t too much for. The cameras recorded their moving in together, and the “M” word was being tossed about.

Surprise #2: Maryam, who was so strange (and maybe drunk) on her dates that watching seemed horribly exploitive of her, has a boyfriend Adrus. They are in love, and she never looked better, as far as what we have seen on this show.

Kelly (who we last saw being dropped by Steve, when he thought she was coming on too strong and simply didn’t return her calls) calls Steve back after a year and we see them out on yet another of Steve’s overpoweringly glamorous dates. They both seem a little more settled and realistic, but I suspect that Steve is not the marrying kind that Kelly would like. Wish I could check in another year.

No surprise with Amy: She’s still running the guys through like a turn style. Each one is screened with “Could this guy be the father of my children?” At the very end, she’s shown dating Jeremy, who she met while on jury duty. They’ve been dating a month. Don’t hold your breath, Jeremy.

Okay, that’s the rundown of last night. Now I have to think about it and the first four shows. I’ll get back to you with more analysis when I’ve digested it all a bit more.


Marrying Felons: Runaway Brides of Another Sort

Why do women like bad boys? The extreme playing out of this old saw happens when women pursue and marry men who are in jail. And while we don’t hear about it so often, free guys also fall for imprisoned women. And of course, guys for guys, and women for women.

We’ve just been witness to this in the dramatic example of Jennifer Hyatte, who murdered a guard to bust her husband (of just a few months) George Hyatte out of prison. George was serving a 35 year term for several robbery and assault charges.

While this is certainly a very complicated phenomenon, here’s what strikes me right off the bat: Men in prison are the ultimate bad boys, yet contained, controlled, and “civilized” by the fact they are in prison. Just think about it: The percentage of single men vs. married men in prison must be much higher than in the real world, they are all concentrated in one place and can’t move, they are desperate for connection to the outside world, and they are super-skilled at manipulation of vulnerable people, with a prison full of tutors if they need a little help.

Here’s the “edginess” that lots of women crave, that sense of mystery and danger, yet also controlled. Like a caged lion. And these men have nothing better to do with their time than to focus on a woman who is vulnerable and charm her, if not her out of her pants, than out of her good judgment. A woman would feel as if she were in control of a relationship like this, and forget that it is the bars that are keeping her safe.

Sounds like Jennifer Hyatte fell and fell hard. But like most fairy tales, when exposed to real life, matters are quite different. Without the bars, the romance crumbled fast, and ended just the way you’d imagine, with the couple on the run, in a crumby motel room. Now they are both back in jail, and she is likely going to face her own life sentence for murder.

Remember: Danger is dangerous. Excitement usually comes from fear. Fear is supposed to keep us cautious and therefore avoiding dander. Sometimes we get mixed up: roller coasters are based on this mix-up. They make fear and danger “safe.” But sometimes even roller coasters kill. Certainly people do. If someone is in prison, they are most likely there for good reason. Pay attention, and at least wait until they are out of prison to see if they have learned their lesson and now can behave in socially appropriate ways.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Love Love Stories—Here are Six!

In my continuing quest to bring you good news about Internet romances, here’s a three for the price of one story. See the side bar on the right for details.

George and Erika Eloff met on eHarmony. They got married last March.

Here’s a novel way to get married: At the office party! Terry Duso and Joe Emerson met on friendfinder.com

Robin Galiano and Art Russell met on Match.com. Art was the third person Robin met through online dating. And Art staged a proposal that you’ve got to read.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Much Ado About Nothing

Here’s a true life story that’s being played out as I write:

My client Sarah has been online dating for a few months now. She is a woman of a certain age (let’s say, over 55), and it has been many years since she dated. Sarah has had a several first dates and even more men that she has written and talked to on the phone. A week or so ago, she had the most wonderful first date she could imagine. Everything went perfectly, it was terribly romantic, and she and the guy generated mega watts of excitement.

Then nothing.

A few days went by, no contact from her date. At my encouragement, Sarah wrote a lovely, warm and simple “Thank you” note and emailed it.

More nothing.

A whole week went by. No contact. Sarah is devastated. Nothing made sense, what could have happened, was she a fool? Torment.

Then…a lovely note from her date, by regular mail! Sarah and her beau have picked up where they left off that evening, and the sparks are flying.

Here’s what we have pieced together:

  • The two of them were so blown away by the success of the date that they neglected to make plans for their next contact.
  • Sarah’s date thought that she was going to be away several days longer than she actually was, so he had no way of knowing that she was back home and tortured by not hearing from him.
  • He wrote the note shortly after their date, and snail mailed it to arrive when he thought she would be returning home.
  • She neglected to pick up her mail the day it arrived, so that delayed her getting it for another day.
  • His computer was broken—really! And Sarah did not know it. Therefore, he did not get her note to him. So he was as nervous about hearing from her as she was waiting.

The lessons:

  • If problems with contact CAN happen, it will. Practically EVERYTHING that could go wrong with Sarah and her date making a reassuring post-date contact did, with the exception of death or a serious auto accident.
  • Make plans at the end of a date on how and when future contact will occur.
  • Arrange at least two methods, and make clear either who will make the first contact, or that it is okay for either to take the first step.

Even if you already know that you do not want to see this person again, if you don’t say so at the time, then it is just plain good manners to say something like: “You know, I need to think about this. I’ll email or phone you within the next couple of days and let you know how I am feeling.” Then follow through.

Yes, it takes finesse and guts to say “Thanks, but no thanks” kindly and firmly. But if you haven’t figured out how to do that yet, maybe you have some work to do before you get out on the dating playing field. Nothing feels so cruel as nothing at all.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

P. S. BTW, I ALWAYS ask permission from clients or people who write to me to publish their stories or writings here. And usually their identities are protected, unless they give express permission.


Good First Date - Then NOTHING!

We’ve all heard ad nauseam the “bad first date” stories, but what about the “good first date” stories that then go nowhere?

We all assume that a great first date is the preamble to a better second date and third, maybe a life-long partnership. I’ve heard from my romance clients (and my own experience) of what felt like a fabulous first contact, then ... nothing. What HAPPENED?

Well, of course, if we hear nothing at all, we don’t know what happened. But here are some possible scenarios:

  • Your date died on the way home. Very slim likelihood.
  • His/her computer blew up. Somewhat more likely than death, but not much.
  • He/she had a panic attack at the possibility of a real live relationship and went into a major retreat. Fairly likely.
  • He/she is as overcome by the first date as you are. He/she is wondering if you liked him/her, and waiting to hear from you. Neither of you make the first move. If you are paralyzed, there’s a good possibility that your date is, too.
  • If you make the first move/contact, that makes the terror even worse. Yup.
  • Regardless of the good time, something in the experience “struck a chord” in the other that was disturbing, for their own reasons. I had an instant turn off to one of the dates I met, and it took me days to figure out that he walked like my ex-husband. This reason for no contact is highly likely.

Mostly, you just don’t know what’s going on in the other’s mind. But here’s what you do know:

  • For some reason, they haven’t got the guts or the common courtesy to say “Thanks, but no thanks,” or to offer some kind of explanation. Unless they are dead.
  • Computer problems? Major mistake if the two of you have no other way to get in touch. Lesson: End the first date with some kind of plan to be in contact, with at least a couple of means to do so, like telephone numbers AND email.
  • Maybe they are terrified. Maybe they are cowards. Maybe they are rude. Maybe they are incredible actors and were faking the “first date” magic. But you are getting a huge piece of information: the closeness and good time you experienced resulted in your date’s major retreat. If he/she retreats at this point, then future closeness will likely result in further retreat.
  • While most singles are interested, ready, and capable for intimacy and closeness, not all are. After all, some singles are single because they can’t build or tolerate an intimate relationship. Even though they think they want one. Your date may have been one of those.

Use the information your date is giving you and say “thank you” to the universe for letting me know so soon.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Your Wackiest Dating Stories

Okay, if you’ve got a story worth telling, here’s a writer who wants it: From the Palm Beach Post

Question of the Week: What’s your wackiest internet dating story?
Saturday, August 06, 2005

Diane Lane found dreamboat John Cusak on Must Love Dogs, the new movie about online dating for the over-40 crowd. If you’re a woman of a certain age, tell us about your weirdest or wildest date that resulted from an online dating service. We’ll run the best in a future package.

E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or send to: Women of a Certain Age,
The Palm Beach Post, P.O. Box 24696, West Palm Beach, Fla. .

*Include your name, age, town and daytime phone number with any submission. Whenever possible, please send a recent photo of yourself.


The Effects of Cameras on the “Hooking Up” Dates

The always interesting (but sometimes over my edge) columnist Regina Lynn scored a coup this last week. She’s been writing about “Hooking Up” lately, and like me, she got lots of traffic as a result. The coup is that one of the contacts was from Amy’s date David Ross. Here’s what came out of that contact:

  • David and Amy only emailed twice before their first date. Their entire email relationship consisted of scheduling over their three months of dating.
  • Regina rightly notes that two emails before meeting means that Amy and Dave did not exploit one of the chief benefits of online dating: Finding out by writing what’s hard to do in person. Like whether your correspondent can write, for instance.
  • Every date with Amy meant Dave going through a 10 point list, 9 of which involved the producers of the show. Dave says that all the time and frustration eventually got to be too much, especially when Amy added the pressure to be exclusive and “on the marriage” track.

My dating coach buddy Janice Bennett speculated about the effects of the cameras in a comment on my post about Episode 4. I’m starting to wonder about that too, particularly after Regina’s column. First dates are nerve-wracking enough. What if you were also plagued with making that date good television? I’m guessing that the guys (with the producers) felt pressure to make that first date memorable and photogenic. And then the fellas had to negotiate the actual date.

I found myself wondering about how they ate all that food and kept their trim figures. And why there weren’t more walking around and talking times (too difficult to photograph, I’ll bet)? And what about the guys and women’s concerns about how they were coming across on the screen? Some seemed to want to be remembered as sexy as the devil. At least a couple of the guys were too barbered and perfect for words—is that what a metrosexual looks like?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Dating is Not For Weenies

I have lots of jobs as a Romance Coach, but one of the most important is to help my clients through the ups and downs of making contact with potential Sweethearts, then meeting, and if all systems are go, then negotiating the early steps of a new relationship.

As most people who have ever gone out on a date know, this is a very harrowing process.

There are good reasons why lots of singles are single. A big one is they tried once or twice or more and found the whole business so profoundly upsetting that they went into permanent retreat. But love (or sex drive, or loneliness) springs eternal, and even some of the fearful and traumatized gather up their courage and try yet again.

Lord knows, I know it HURTS. The yearning hurts, the risking hurts, the silences hurt, the “no’s” hurt. Everywhere you turn is the risk of hurt.

On the other hand…Being in love and building a satisfying long-term relationship can generate highs like no others in life. And you can’t get the highs without risking—and having—the lows. Even the best of relationships can have terrible dips and pain. Most people however feel that the gain is worth pain. After all, we keep doing it, don’t we?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“Hooking Up” Episode #4

Oy. How many more bumbled relationships can I stand to watch? I am now glad that there is only one more installment of “Hooking Up"left.

Amy. Amy, Amy, Amy. I knew it. She is too superficial to appreciate Matt, the only guy we have seen her with who wasn’t all flash. She dumps him, and it looks like by not returning his calls or messages. Rude. Then she gets bent out of shape when she drops playboy Dave and he absolutely follows her lead. In fact, he thinks he dropped her. Cool.

Sonja was on for the first time. I didn’t catch date #1’s name, but what a playboy he is! Starts out with a statement about living in New York, that if you want to be shallow and sleep with a lot of women, that’s the place to live. Though he allows that is getting old. He manages to get Sonja back to his apartment after dinner—bad move, Sonja! I have to assume that the only reason she agreed to go was because of the presence of the cameraman. Of course, he plasters the moves on, even though she clearly does not want it, and she later says the only thing that saved her was the safety pin holding her blouse together. Yea for safety pins. Ladies, do NOT go to a guy’s apartment, especially on a first date, without thoroughly expecting moves towards sex. Ironically, date #1 says afterwards something like he admired her for saying no, even though he pressed her for sex relentlessly.

But then Sonja does better. Date #2 Mitchell and date #3 Ken are serious contenders for first place. Mitchell does not make a good first impression, but really grows on Sonja. He is clearly quite taken by her and spurred on by knowing Ken is in the wings. Mitchell really scores big with Valentine’s Day, picking her up in a limo, with flowers, champagne and chocolates. AND he is dressed in a black velvet suit. In the flash forward to the next episode, he gives her pink pajamas and a pre-engagement ring. All right, Mitchell!

Reisha. Reisha keeps her “no sex” rule, and also wants to continue to see other guys, while keeping Acie on the string. Acie is being a very good sport, traveling to NYC from Atlanta to see her, and then hosting her back at his home in Atlanta. He sleeps on the couch at her place, in separate bedrooms at his. But understandably, he is getting antsy, and at least wants an agreement about exclusive dating. Nope from Reisha. The two of them go down the tubes.

Kristen also debuts. The camera takes Kristen rapidly through 6 first dates. Finally, Mike, #6 looks like a keeper. Hooray! Except… flash forward to the previews: It looks as if date #2 bombs.

If there is a lesson in this segment, it’s “Hang in there.” I can’t believe that if these dates were given more of a chance, more of them would work out. It’s unrealistic to expect perfection on a first date. Both parties are nervous and can easily become more so as they bounce off each other. Unless a first date is a clear"No way!” try a second or third in different settings to see if anything better develops. Like with Sonja and Mitchell.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Risking “Bad First Dates”

I had lunch the other day with Julie who is an *eMAIL to eMATE* reader and online dating veteran. She has a boyfriend now, happily, though not one she met online. While Internet dating sites provide the best possible way to meet lots of people who are single and looking like you are, it’s still possible to meet good mate candidates the old-fashioned way like Julie did.

Julie told me some great (or maybe not so great) first date stories. Since Drew and I went to “Must Love Dogs” (which also features rough first dates) just a couple of days later, Julie’s true life stories stuck in my mind.

One pleasant-seeming date went sour when the guy (who had good local family credentials) asked Julie if she had any daughters (she did, 17 years old), and then went on to talk about other women he had dated who had daughters, how much he enjoyed the girls, doing things with them. Especially the twins.

Another guy made it until date #2, when he told Julie that he had seven kids under 18.

Fella #3 seemed great—successful businessman, known in the community, and clearly interested in her. On that first date, he said he could see the two of them having a good time together, traveling, etc. (implying that he would be paying the bills), but that his relationships never went beyond 18 months.

The real point here is not disastrous date stories. What I think is so significant is that these guys told Julie just what she needed to know so that she could make an informed decision about proceeding in a relationship with them. AND Julie was paying attention. People tell you who they are. You just need to be willing to hear what they say. A skilled, close reading of a potential’s online presentation and profile essay and their email exchanges with you can yield a tremendous amount of information. Then careful listening and observing in your first meetings could very well give you all you need to know to decide.

And keep in mind: If you don’t risk “bad first dates,” you’ll have no chance at all to get a good second one.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


From the Citrus County Chronicle

Here’s a nice article from Citrus County, Florida, that explores the online dating action of singles in that area. The article is comprehensive in its coverage, with personal stories, facts and figures (almost 1800 Citrus County folks posted on Yahoo! Personals alone), info on dating sites, and general advice. No scare tactics, which is a welcome relief. Good job, Amy Shannon!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


DavidLA68"s UnPerfectMatch

I got this very amusing link yesterday from a reader, evidently in response to my review of “Must Love Dogs” and PerfectMatch.com’s rather blatant product placement in that film. The reader is Dave, the author of the linked article. It chronicles amusingly his experience last February with being matched on “Dr. Phil” by the PerfectMatch folks. Or at least he thought he was going to be matched, because it seems from the article that he never was. Dr. Phil and the show come across pretty well (see Dave’s “Editor Note” that prefaces the article), but PerfectMatch gets raked over the coals.

I saw the “Dr. Phil” show that Dave was on, and indeed, the guys looked pretty much like deer in the head lights. The show as a whole was not one of Dr. Phil’s best, to say the least. But I did again recognize the coup of PerfectMatch and product placement. See my review of “Must Love Dogs.” Somebody at PerfectMatch is doing a pretty terrific job with product placement. Follow through does not seem to be the strong point of PerfectMatch, however, at least according to Dave. Far from Perfect.

Dave is no longer on PerfectMatch, but he’s still looking for Los Angeles women on Match.com. You can find him there under DavidLA68 . I just checked. He’s cute!

Dave’s article also reinforces what I have said before: PerfectMatch and eHarmony are not the best sites for women. The odds are very poor—at least PerfectMatch is honest about it, advertising to men that the female to male ratio is 2:1. And likely, the older the women get, the more out of whack the odds. I think it is similar at eHarmony, though it’s hard to find that stated anywhere.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Kathryn Reviews “Must Love Dogs”

I love reading and going to the movies. But one thing that getting older has meant is that I know most of the common story lines and plots. It gets harder all the time for me to successfully suspend disbelief and immerse myself in the story.

Last night, I got Drew to got to “Must Love Dogs” with me. Drew does not like to go to movies in theaters—the noises distract him, and it is hard for him to sit still that long. But he indulged me on this one, because I said “This is work. It’s about Internet dating and I have to see it so I can write about it.” So we went.

I really wanted to like “Must Love Dogs.” As far as I know, it’s the first movie to really feature Internet dating as the way a couple meets since “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I hated “You’ve Got Mail”, because it was really about two people cheating on their spouses, and I have pretty strong feelings about fidelity.

Unfortunately, I found “Must Love Dogs” irritating. For two reasons that had to do with the movie and the third that had to do with me.

I thought that, except for the major characters that Diane Lane and John Cusack played, all the other characters (Diane’s had a huge and intrusive family) were shallow caricatures, just there to provide obstacles or silly amusements. Even Lane and Cusack’s roles were stereotyped (dumped, depressed, and newly single), yet more fleshed out and likeable. And even though I admire PerfectMatch.com’s coup of product placement—PerfectMatch was the site used to connect Lane and Cusack—it was done WAY too obviously. Several times, PerfectMatch.com was perfectly enunciated and projected by the actors, almost jumping off the screen and right into our laps. Other dating sites that we saw were fakes. Macintosh computers get a lot of product placement in movies, and a Mac laptop was in this one as well. But the product placement is much more subtle, with just the logo subtlely in evidence on the lid.

The part that had to do with me was I kept thinking “Why is this movie so predictable? Why do I seem to know half of what the characters are going to say and do a split second before they do it?” Finally, about halfway through, I realized I had read the book! Aha! And I remembered that I found the book shallow, unsatisfying, and the family members contrived and irritating. And clearly unmemorable, since I forgot I had read it.

All that said, it was a moderately entertaining film. We both loved the dogs. And the first dates via the Internet that the Lane character has are very funny and actually not too different than the stories I have head from other cyberveterans. So if you are trying online dating, give this movie a look. Like the ABC series “Hooking Up,” it’s fascinating in itself to see ourselves on screen.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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