Kathryn's Blog

Merav Knafo of LookBetterOnline on Photos and Profiles

I’ve dealt with Merav Knafo of LookBetterOnline for some time now. I love to refer my clients to her for professional photos to go with their spiffy Internet dating profiles that I help them write. I saw this letter that Merav posted on Mark Brooks’ OnlinePersonalsWatch.com, and I thought it was so good that I emailed Merav for her permission to post it here.

What Merav says applies to getting a good profile essay and total package, including a LookBetterOnline photo. I do profile reviews and rewrites all the time, and my clients rave about the results. But more about that later. Here’s Merav’s post, slightly shortened:

...[Online Dating] doesn’t work for some people because they don’t put the minimal effort presenting themselves property. If you get the opportunity to “meet” millions of people and you insist of posting a crappy photo and a badly written profile, don’t be surprised that you don’t get any quality dates.

It’s like going to a party with a lot of attractive singles wearing a dirty shirt and smelling like garbage. It won’t work! :-)

From experience with thousands of people who took professional photos with us, I can tell you - it makes a HUGE difference. As a matter of fact, this Saturday I’m going to a wedding of one of our first customers who met her husband of match.com within a week of posting the new photos she took with us. She is 47 by the way. Like I said before, you don’t have to be young or look like a super-model. You just gotta have a good photo.

Best regards,
Merav KnafoCo-founder


If you need a great photo, check out LookBetterOnline. And tell Merav I sent you!

And if your total profile needs work, !

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Not as Scary as It Sounds

Did you know that Halloween didn’t get really started as a holiday until about the 1870’s? And then it was celebrated by young adults with parties and games designed to tell the future (think Ouija boards, right?). Divination was thought to be particularly powerful on Halloween. And of course, what do young adults want to know about their future? Who they are going to marry, what else?

Modern folks are less content to sit back and wait for the results of a parlor game for information about their future. Both men and women now take an active hand in making the future they want to happen.

Celebrate Halloween tonight by telling your own future: Get online and look for your best mate! And it’s not as scary as it sounds. I promise.


From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Houston Dating Services Has Odd Practices

Houston Dating Services sounds like they ought to take a few lessons from the Australian matchmaking service Millionaire Matchmaker International. Houston Dating Services charges more than Millionaire Matchmaker International ($4000 vs. $2995) and it sounds as if Houston Dating Services doesn’t even bother to go out and find dates for their fellas: They set them up with their own employees!

Isn’t there another name for that sort of business, like “Escort Service”? (That’s the polite term.)

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Email etiquette for online daters

The question I always get from Internet daters is “Why don’t they answer my emails?” I’ve written about this before, about how something dating sites DON’T make clear is that a very large proportion of those with profiles posted on most sites are not paid members (as many as 70-90%), and only paid members can respond to emails unless they pay up. Beyond that obstacle (which is formidable), even if there has been one or two email exchanges, it’s not uncommon for one side of the correspondence to suddenly stop.

Just like with the regular mail, occasionally mail gets lost. Computers and cyberspace can break or do wacky things, we all know, and devouring email is one of them. So the first place to start is to re-email your last communication and ask if it had been received when you sent it ??? days ago.

Here’s some more guidelines:

1. Once you start communicating, respond in a timely manner. Check your email at least daily, and give yourself a 24 hour limit for writing back. Relationships that start online need to be fed, and the energy you put into your emails will pay off. Feed daily, at least.

2. The tone of your writing should be respectful in language and content. Do not try to be something you are not, but do be polite. Make your emails look like you care about what you are writing. Use good grammar, full sentences, your spell check, and keep the tone positive. Give your reader something to look forward to.

3. This is the time to ask the questions that are important to you—while trying not to be too harsh or intrusive. It’s perfectly appropriate to ask marital status, relationship history, or what your writing partner is looking for with online dating.

4. If you decide to end the communication after you have been having an email dialogue with a potential mate candidate, say what you are doing, with an explanation. Rather than wait for the email that never comes or wonder what could have happened, you can also tactfully and respectively ask why your correspondent stopped communicating. Whether and how your email contact answers will tell you a lot about them and what happened, and if you did do something that caused the breach, you can learn from the new information and make necessary corrections.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“Mail Order Brides” for American Guys

Three different takes on the moves of American men to find “foreign brides” via the Internet or “international matchmaking companies”: The most positive by Craig Harris of The Arizona Republic (focusing on the Phoenix-based A Foreign Affair), a decidedly more mixed take by Erwin Lemuel Oliva for INQ7.com about Philippine matchmaking, and then a poorly written review by Gina Cadavid of a “mockudrama” called “Mail Order Wife” that nonetheless got my attention. (I went looking for what others had to say about “Mail Order Wife” and got links to 41 links for other articles and reviews at RottenTomatoes.com.)

I’ve written about before about this—not new, for sure—phenomenon. I was even sent a book by the author about his own experiences. I’ve conveniently forgotten both the book name and his. He fit right in with what Texas attorney Lisa Schwankrug described: “Many of the men who use such services have become disillusioned with American women, believing they are too career-oriented and not as submissive as foreign women.” The author (I do remember his first name: Sebastian) interviewed scads of women all over everywhere, eventually decided that a Chinese woman less than half his age and size was Ms. Right. Well, okay.

Sounds like “Mail Order Wife” examines the nasty underside. Has anybody seen it? Give us a first-hand review. I’ll have to wait until I am in the same place more than a week at a time (I’m going back and forth between Mississippi and Tallahassee for the next few months) before I renew our Netflix membership so that I can see it, too. The reviews are so mixed that I hope I can manage to sit through it….

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Match.com has Helen Fisher

eHarmony has Neil Clark Warren. I don’t know if he designed eHarmony’s testing himself, but the site sure uses his Dr. status up front. Pepper Schwartz designed the matching tests for PerfectMatch.com. I’ve followed Pepper Schwartz’s work for years, ever since her landmark book “American Couples” in the late &0’s. And now Match.com has Helen Fisher.

Who’s Helen Fisher? She’s an anthropologist and researcher at Rutgers who wrote the terrific book “Why We Love” that I reviewed in my enewsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* some months ago. I’ll copy the review below for your enjoyment.

What’s Helen Fisher doing for Match.com? Looks like she has designed the matching test for Match’s new site Chemistry.com. Fisher takes the angle in the test that she took in “Why We Love,” using questions to ferret out your brain chemistry to help in the matches. You can read more about it in Love that title.

And here’s another reason to read the article: At the very end is a test on how to determine how much testosterone you were exposed to before birth. You’ll be carrying around a measuring tape, and not to find out the length of what you are thinking….

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

Here’s my review:

“Why We Love” by Helen Fisher

I’m always interested in what’s new on the romance and love front, and get my best leads from my eMAIL to eMATE readers and my romance coaching clients. Sure enough, “Why We Love” joins my “Recommended Reading for Romantics” list. Thanks for suggesting it, Doreen! This book is a goodie.

The author Helen Fisher does a terrific job of presenting the latest information on the biochemistry of emotions and love in a fascinating and readable style. Her own theorizing on falling in love, the facts that support and lead her ideas, and poetry, literature, and contemporary examples are woven seamlessly into a readable whole. Understandably, with my psychotherapy and now romance coaching clients, I’ve done a lot of thinking and talking about love and romance myself. And I’m pleased to see that Fisher’s thoughts and the research support and parallel my own theorizing.

Fisher thinks (and the research she quotes agrees) that romantic love has played a vital and important in human survival and development. “Normal” romantic passion lasts between one and two years, which, when you think about it, is just enough time for a new couple to get pregnant, set up housekeeping, and start raising a new infant - not necessarily in that order. Then a new kind of attachment develops, hopefully, that keeps the family together to raise the child. As we well know, that is not a foolproof arrangement.

Fisher’s booked is crammed with riveting detail about the physiology and biochemistry of love and attraction. Fisher also extrapolates from her data and gives advice on how to use the findings in real life. She writes about how to make romance last, how to negotiate the end of a relationship quicker and easier, and even how to encourage someone to fall in love with you as well as make yourself more receptive to the in-love state.

Some of what she says sounds terribly familiar - men like to do things together, women like to talk about it, for instance - but Fisher goes ahead and explains why. She also adds some brand-new, contemporary details, like the role of serotonin in the falling-in-love process, and how elevated levels of serotonin inhibit your ability to fall in love. For those of us (and there are millions!) who take anti-depressants that are SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, prozac is the best known), take heed. Your medications that are helping your feel better may be getting in the way romantically.

If you’ve wondered about romance and why men and women do what they do - and who hasn’t? - Fisher has a lot of the answers. And if you want to be “in love,” this book will explain the whole process. This is a “must read”!


Chemistry.com, Helen Fisher, and OnlinePersonalsWatch

Mark Brooks of OnlinePersonalWatch posted the following recently, and I (along with masses of others) posted comments:

Pssst! Check this out. www.chemistry.com. Match has 8 patents on this new relationships site. Their answer to TRUE, eHarmony…and Yahoo Personals Premier. -Mark Brooks

Here’s what I posted in response:

Hmmm. Looks like Chemistry.com has taken what has been a big seller for eHarmony (the matching test/instrument), harnessed a great name (chemistry, which everyone says they want), gotten a solid name to add legitimacy (Helen Fisher), and the best part: figured out a way to combine “serious users only” with must-pay members, a la Yahoo! Premier. It’s a smart move to call it something entirely different than Match.com. I have been pushing Yahoo! Premier lately (after years of promoting Match.com solely, since that is where I met my husband) because of the “paid members only” seal that cuts out the huge percentage of non-paying (and non-responding) members. But it is hard to get my clients to understand the difference between Yahoo! And Yahoo! Premier. Chemistry will be far easier to pitch. Does anyone know if the entire Match.com membership is available to Chemistry members, with some kind of identifier like the purple P of Yahoo! Premier? So that other Chemistry folks can identify each other? Or will they be limited to only Chemistry subscribers? It’ll be a while before a good number base is built in Chemistry.com only.

Kathryn Lord
Romance Coach

If you are interested in what goes on behind the scenes of the dating sites, OnlinePersonalsWatch is a good blog to keep up with. Just with this post alone are comments from Merav Knafo (who runs LookBetterOnline, which is where I refer all my clients for GREAT photos for their profiles) and James Houran (who did the work on the matching test that True.com uses—interestingly, it comes out in these postings that Houran is no longer associated with True.com, and his presence was the one good thing I had to say about True. I wonder what the story behind that is.)

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Stats About Singles 45 and Older

Of the 97 million Americans 45 and older, almost 40% are single (from U. S. Census figures).

Membership at Match.com of people 50 and over has grown 340% since 2000.

Visitors 55 and over to Yahoo! Personals went from 767,000 (July 2004) to 1,072,000 (July 2005)—From Nielsen/NetRatings.

A little over 1/3 of women over 50 who are dating are dating younger men. (AARP)

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Australian Singles Look for Love and Money

Rich men in Australia are now signing up for dates with “stunning and savvy” women—at up to $2995 per year. Millionaire Matchmaker International has claimed the territory that the 4M Club and the Millionaires’ Club here in the states is working: busy, very rich men and the women who want them.

Sounds like being rich does not necessarily mean tall, dark, and handsome, because Millionaire Matchmaker International also counsels the guys, if necessary, on wardrobe, dating skills, and the need for dentistry and plastic surgery, even. Short on the romance? Millionaire MatchmakerInternational will even do the creative work on the date, complete with ordering flowers and the limo.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Expanding Horizons—We Love Love Stories

Here’s a story that combines themes that are close to my heart: Finding love online, finding it on Match.com (that’s where I met Drew), women taking the initiative and doing the picking, daring long distance love, and both taking risks when the details do not seem perfect.

In early 2004, Cheryl and Joel lived 2,500 miles apart, Cheryl in Detroit and Joel in California. He was looking only 15 miles from home for a childless pet-loving woman under 40.

At least Cheryl was Jewish, because that fit when the other details didn’t. Cheryl was 41, had two children, and was allergic to cats. And lived in Detroit.

Despite the pesky details, they hit it off right away. And they got married this past August. Read their story and see how cute they are together by clicking here.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


A First Person Report On The Senior Bachelor

I’ve gotten a lot of traffic to my blog because of postings I did months ago ( (4/24, 4/29, 4/29, and 5/9) about Richard Roe, the Senior Bachelor. And guess what? One of the women who got to a face to face meeting/screening with Roe wrote a first-hand report. Here it is:


I would love for the hundreds of women that Richard Roe has taken pictures of to know that now the photos are on the web for other men to look at. We all knew and signed papers, but never did anyone of us think he was such a cad that he would start his web page on senior dating before he even picked the one he wanted.

This whole thing was about money and is a surprise to me at least.

I did meet Richard Roe and did have my twenty minute meeting with him. HE IS A CAD. Now he wants to meet with twelve women and then pick six to take on a trip, one month each. What happen to finding the one? Also, he has already invited someone that had something to do with Pop and Me to be on part of the trip. Like I was, these women are so wrapped up in the dream he is promising that they don’t see anything else.

Roe will not let you write on his blog if you do not identify yourself. There were people on that were telling how it really is and he would delete them as soon as he found them. The whole thing has been a scam from day one. He changed the rules every time we would turn around. Now you have to be God, which was never said before.

I just had this gut feeling when I meet him that he had a different agenda.


Doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve had my doubts from the start.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


More on TrueDater and Googling

In Tall, Dark and Lying, Kathleen Megan does some chatty dishing about TrueDater.com, a site I have written about before. Megan’s article is worth a gander though, because she gives a real feel for how singles are using the site as part of the screening process for new potential mates.

To continue my drum-pounding of “Don’t ever lie” online, TrueDater is becoming part of normal procedure for experienced Internet daters. Just like Googling, which no one had heard of just a few short years ago. In fact, Google just turned 7, so it wasn’t even a twinkle in its founders’ eye when Drew and I bumped into each other on Match.com in 1998. Google certainly hadn’t become a verb, as it is now.

Googling, for the uninformed, is the process of doing a search on a new date’s name using the powerful search engine Google. If you haven’t done so already, go to Google.com and type in your own name, in quotation marks: A search on my name would be “Kathryn Lord” and Google comes up with 932 different entries containing “Kathryn Lord”.

All are not me, though—there are some other Kathryn Lord’s in the world, it seems. However, the lion’s share of the entries are me: 619 of them. Hey, I’ve got some good coverage going on in CyberSpace, huh?

Here’s how I found out the 619 without counting every one: Scroll to the bottom of the page of any search you do using Google. Click the link “Search within results” and another Google window comes up. Add a key word likely only to be associated with your name—I added “romance” and that took out virtually every entry that was me.

I am very findable online, clearly. You will be, if you are not already. Keep your cyber nose clean: Monitor what’s out there under your name. Be careful what you post, and… Tell the Truth! And behave yourself, or you may find yourself unfavorably reviewed on sites like TrueDater.com.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Look at the Numbers! Research On Online Dating

I like seeing research coming out that looks into my favorite topic, online dating.

Eli Ashkenazi reported at haaretz.com on a study conducted at Tel-Hai Academic College. The authors of the study were Dr. Gary Treiger, Sharon Egozi, and Dror Tahan of the School of Social Work there.

While respondents reported that they preferred to meet potential partners via friends or at work, in actuality, 76% of the women and 85% of the men use the Internet exclusively to find dates. Even though the Internet is less favored than other methods, it’s what everyone seems to be using, by a large margin.

Here’s one of the most interesting pieces of information from this study: 35% of the men—compared with only 25% of the women—prefer the passive approach and do not send out any introductory emails at all! Over 1/3 of the men (!!!) wait to be contacted.

This absolutely goes along with my advice to women: Don’t wait for the men to contact you. You are much more likely to get what you want if you do the picking. And look at all those guys who are waiting for you to get in touch!

The study also found that both men (94%) and women (83%) maintain multiple online relationships at the same time. This does not surprise me, and actually, I think it is a good idea. Relationships that start online have many points at which things can fall apart. Until you have met in real time and have a firmly budding relationship developing, including the “Let’s only see each other” discussion, keep your options open and don’t get too focused on any one person. You don’t have the time to waste.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Uh Oh. Match.com Singles, Check Your Profiles!

Looks like Match.com had mega technical problems last week that shuffled about 10,000 of their 15,000,000 profiles. If you are posted on Match.com, you’d probably better check out your own profile to see if it says what you think it does. You may need to re-write and re-post.

And if you do find major problems (or even if things are as you left them, but what you have could use some sprucing up), you may want to get in touch me for a major re-working. I do great profile work with my Romance clients, and they tell me so on a regular basis. Here’s a note I got just a week or so ago:

Hi Kathryn,
This may be a first for you, but you may have outdone yourself with my profile. I have more quality guys e-mailing me than I know what to do with. Recall also that I have a history of only being able to deal with one at a time.

No doubt you’re pleased with the predicament you’ve gotten me into, as well you should be!


From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Oooh, Those French Kisses!  Cook Dating!

If I ever find myself single again, I’m going to Paris. Actually, I’d just as soon not wait for Paris until I am single (Are you listening, Drew?), but a new idea for those looking for love is bubbling on the stoves in France.

French cooking schools have come up with “cook-dating,” cooking classes for singles only, three of each, male and female, and once a month, gays only. Yippee! Classes are booked up weeks in advance, and why not? Fun, food, and maybe romance. Who can beat that?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS If you want to find out more, you have to be able to read French. Do a Google search using “cook-dating” and you should find some links.


More Reasons Than Ever Not To Lie Online

It’s amazing how tempting it is for folks to shade the truth a bit online, particularly when looking for love. Beyond the old saw that if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember so much, it’s getting easier all the time to ferret out liars in cyberspace.

TrueDater.com is getting lots of press. On TrueDater, you can look up by their screen name (or report on) anyone on five of the major dating sites (Nerve.com, Match.com, JDate.com, AmericanSingles, and Yahoo Personals). TrueDater is free. LemonDate.com provides a similar service but charges $9.95 per month. You’ll need more info about your target to search there,too.

It pays to remember that lots of folks are looking at dating site profiles, some of whom may know you. I often hear others tell about seeing profiles of people they know. While that can feel awkward, online dating is getting so mainstream now that it shouldn’t feel embarrassing. Except…if you have lied. People who know you could pick that up. Do you really want to risk having someone in your social or work circle know that you are shaving years off your age, passing yourself off as single while you are still married, or using a photo from 50 pounds ago?

Writing on your computer and posting on the Internet can feel so private. But it is not. Protect yourself and your future reputation: Be truthful. A little modesty, kindness, and courtesy doesn’t hurt either.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Real Lemonade From Katrina Lemons

You know how I love Love Stories, and I really love this one! It combines Love Stories, Maine (which I also love), Internet dating, and Hurricane Katrina. Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it?

Well, no, it’s real life. Read here about how Henry Thibodaux of Louisiana, six miles from New Orleans (though with a name like that, he could be from Maine, too), and Becky Walker from Hartland, Maine, met on eHarmony early in 2005.

Becky and Henry had already met in real time and space before Katrina hit, so they knew that they had something special. But the storm and subsequent destruction of Henry’s home pushed their timeline a bit. Henry’s moved to Maine, and they are planning to marry next June.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I have my difficulties with eHarmony. But Henry and Becky seem to be just the kind of folks that eHarmony works best for: Heterosexual, Christian, and seriously looking for a relationship. If that describes you, than eHarmony may be just what you are looking for, too. And your Sweetie may be looking for you there, so hop on over!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

Hey, it’s now August 2009 and look what I got in my email box today—love to hear the followup, don’t you?  Thanks, Becky Thibodaux!
Let me formally introduce myself. I’m now Mrs. Henry Thibodaux (Becky Thibodaux formally Becky Walker).You wrote a blog about me and my now husband- “Real Lemonade From Katrina Lemons”.  I could not believe that I found a blog on it 4 years later. You got to love Google’s search engine. How heart warming to read your comments about our meeting and the wonderful story that brought us so close together. It’s nice to see others see the fairytale that we honestly live out every day. That picture taken of me and Henry for the article is in our living room with a sign over it that says,”…And They Lived happily Ever After”
I wanted to reward you for your work by giving you an update on our lives. Henry and I have been married for 3 years 8 months now. We bumped the wedding date up to January 14, 2006 after we realized that we could not make it to June of that year. I never once had one doubt that he wasn’t the one as I had time and time again in previous relationships. Soul mates was truly something that I did not believe in. But after finding him I’m so scared that I nearly married years prior without the love that Henry and I have for one another.  So many people settle.
I can never thank eHarmony enough for brining us together. Those 29 detentions really do work. The 500 questions may be a pain but the possibility to meeting your best friend whom you have the pleasure to grown old with is worth 5000 questions.
After nearly 4 years of marriage we still hate being apart and want to spend every waking moment together. After being single for so many years we both know what we have found in each other and never for one moment do we take it for granted. I have attached a photo from our wedding that we both cherish. We were dancing to our song, “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts.  He was in tears and I was just taking in the moment trying to remember it for a live time. Everyone at the reception was in tears watching us and knowing what we had been through and knowing that we had waited so long for this moment.
Enjoy and thank you again,
Mrs. Thibodaux


PrivateDateFinder Protects Cheaters

Mark Brooks runs a great bog and site focused on what’s happening in the Internet dating industry—OnlinePersonalsWatch.com. I commented on one of his blog entries the other day about PrivateDateFinder, a newly launched service designed to protect the identities of married cheaters who are cruising online dating sites. His posting stirred up quite a bit of controversy, which bears a read. Here’s what I wrote:

A big concern of mine (and my Romance Clients) is the surreptitious presence of married folks on mainline dating sites.

Before my metamorphosis into a CyberRomance Coach, I was a mental health professional with almost 30 years’ practice and a specialty in working with couples where there had been an affair. I am all too familiar with the destruction affairs wrought on all concerned. As the participants soon find, extramarital affairs are not the highly romantic, glamorous escapes portrayed in books and movies. They quickly become tawdry, agonizing messes from which no one emerges unscathed.

I’ve written often about “dating” sites for married folks on my own blog. I too am conflicted about anything that encourages such destructive behavior. But the positive I see is to get those who are married (and for some reason want to lie and cheat) off the sites where singles have enough to worry about and onto their “own” sites where they can pair up with each other and save the rest of singles from their actions.

If what the previous comments say are true, and that after registering with PrivateDateFinder, the married/wanting to cheat folks are then turned loose on regular dating sites… eeeeuw!What a nasty trick: The only one protected is the cheater. PrivateDateFinder makes it easier for the cheater to deceive his/her spouse, and then turns the cad loose on unsuspecting singles. Now if the cheaters were to be identified with some sort of a label ... Maybe a scarlet A next to their photo ... Wouldn’t that feel a little more fair?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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