Kathryn's Blog

Mom’s Worst Advice

My mother was great at teaching me the womanly arts of housekeeping. I can cook, sew, iron, and clean with the best of them. But she was lousy at teaching me about attracting boys and men. Her advice? Don’t let them know you are interested. Pretend you don’t care.

(Regular readers know that Mom got married last year at age 81. Believe me, we were all surprised—happy for her, but surprised nonetheless. My mother is definitely not a babe.)

I thought she must be right, so I perfected my stance so well that it is simply amazing that I ever attracted anyone at all. I did get married at age 19 (yes, we used to do that in the Olden Days), but that poor guy had to be really persistent.

I finally learned and changed my ways, but it took me forty years. For goodness sake, what’s wrong with being interested in love? What a crazy message! Putting a profile up and online is a huge matter for lots of singles. And I’ll bet a lot of that worry is that it goes against some lesson like I got from my Mom.

You’ve got to put out some kind of interest. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, there’s even more to be proud of. Don’t let letting your interest show stop you from getting moving.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


What Are the Numbers Anyway?

eHarmony released some eye-popping numbers on January 31: According to an independent survey by Harris Interactive, 16,630 marriages between September 1, 2004, and August 31, 2005, resulted from eHarmony matchups. Since each marriage consists of two people, that means slightly more than 90 singles per day get hitched because of Dr. Warren and company. (16,630 times 2 divided by 365 = 91.12) Those are some numbers by anyone’s calculations.

These are the “hardest” numbers that I have seen so far, at least gathered in what appears to be a legitimate effort. Up until now, the only number I have seen have been from Match.com, and those are self-reports: From my website—“In 2003, more than 200,000 members reported that they were resigning from Match.com because they had met the person they were seeking.” And “ Match.com claims to initiate over 130 engagements and marriages each month.”
There’s a big gap between 130 engagements and marriages a month (3,120 a year at that rate) and 200,000 satisfied resignations. Even eHarmony’s numbers are only 33,260 happy singles a year.

Probably the truth is somewhere inbetween. Or maybe not, since those figures are a year or two old. We know that Internet dating continues to grow as an industry, though not as fast as the 75% growth rates of a few years ago.

Regardless, that’s a lot of happy people, or at least we hope that they are all happy. If “The proof is in the pudding,” that’s quite a set of plums.

I do wonder if Harris Interactive asked about couples who met on other dating sites like Match and Yahoo! And I also wonder how many couples, total, got married in the time frame specified. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Though a survry in mid-2004 indicated that about 15% of marrying couples met online.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Pina Coladas And Dating Your Mother

Remember that horrible song about personal ads? “I love pina coladas...” where these two people meet and it turns out that they have been communicating with their spouse? Well, here’s that nobody could make up: Daniel Arceneaux of Marseilles, France, traded emails for months with “Sweet Juliette” as “The Prince of Pleasure.” Finally they arranged to meet on a remote beach, and understandably were shocked to find out that they were mother and son. And then, to make matters worse, they were arrested for being on a restricted beach after dark. They blurted out the whole story, the cop wrote up a report, the local TV station got it, and now they are famous.


From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Oprah, Truthiness, and Internet Dating

Did you happen to catch the “Oprah” show on Thursday when Ms. O (live) took on James Frey, the author of “A Million Little Pieces,” an Oprah Book Club pick in late 2005? If you don’t know it already, getting Oprah Book Club stamp on a book cover is worth millions to both the author and publisher in gigantic sales. Unfortunately, Mr. Frey’s riveting “memoir” of sobering up from cocaine and alcohol addiction contained more fiction than the label memoir should allow. Basically, the author fabricated incidents and details which enhanced his image of big bad tough guy. (You can see clips and read transcripts of the show on Oprah’s website.)

I was sure glad that I wasn’t James Frey. For about 1/3 of the program, Oprah drilled him to the wall, then in the rest of the show took on Nan Talese, his editor, and interviewed and showed clips from other prominent journalists on the topic of truth. It was a stellar performance and a profound strike for literary and journalistic truth. For the victim, such a public dressing down was worse than “60 Minutes” and Morley Safer. And three times longer.

Oprah and some of the guests talked about a term that I had not heard before: “Truthiness.” Here’s the definition from the American Dialect Society, who gave “truthiness” the award for “Word of the Year”:

truthiness: the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.

Now you tell me: Is truthiness the word of choice to describe most Internet dating profiles or what? Unbridled truthiness results in angry dates. Maybe as angry as Oprah was, though likely, not as good with words. Truthiness makes people feel duped. Played for a sucker. Cynical—after all, what and who can you trust anyway?

The only way to avoid this kind of response is with brutal honesty. Maybe even some modesty. One of my clients told me yesterday that a recent date gasped and told her that she looked much better in reality than in her picture. Now isn’t that refreshing? Certainly, better than the reverse.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Under 35, Single, and Like to Travel?

If you’d like a subtle way to meet and get to know other singles over an extended period of time while traveling to interesting places AND affordably, check out Contiki. Read this article by Sheila Flynn which describes the experience of a Contiki tour. While not specifically billed as a singles’ tour (those in relationships can also sign up and travel), singles can identify themselves as available for dates with a red or green light designation. Romances can bloom while all are traveling in the company of like-minded others (well, travel-lovers, anyway). And I would think that the arrangement would be both safe for otherwise solo travelers, and potentially more fun with soon-to-be friends.

The tour options are world-wide, and better-known in Europe. But how about expanding to older age groups? Lots of us are over 35, ya know.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


A Cure for January 23 Worstness

For a lot of you, January 23rd being the year’s most depressing day may not be news. Dr. Cliff Arnall (this article is a year old, so the Worst Day date is different) has calculated a formula that tries to account for lows associated with this time of year. The M x NA part has to do with New Year’s resolutions and the tendency we have to fall off the wagon after about three week. Here are Dr. Arnall’s calculations:

Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples’ lowest point.
The model is:

[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA

The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

Now it’s not as bad as it seems. You can use the bleakness you feel to get yourself moving. If you are feeling yucky today as predicted, focus on that feeling and magnify it. Wallow in it. Write it down in glorious detail. Then create a similar paragraph or page about how you would like your life to be. The perfect version. Then post both prominently. This will likely cause even more unpleasant feelings and make you feel quite shifty. Use that agitation to get yourself moving again, TOWARDS where you want to be. If you lag, go back and read both of your statements. Use the tension between where you are and where you want to be for action.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Want to Get Rich?  Get Married and Stay That Way

You’ve heard the saying: It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich woman as a poor one? Well, it’s all over the media this week: , a person who marries and stays married accumulates almost twice the wealth as someone who stays single or divorces. One reason for the greater net worth of marrieds is simple: It’s cheaper to maintain one household than two. Another is that married folks feel responsibility towards each other and are therefore more careful about their spending.

It would also seem reasonable that it helps to be married AND happy, since folks divorcing start losing worth 4 years before the actual divorce. And getting divorced takes an average of 77% of a person’s worth. Most divorcing folks can testify to that.

I sat in on a lecture by Dr. Chris Peterson today. Dr. Peterson is a leading scholar in the study of happiness and is co-author with Martin Seligman of “CHARACTER STRENGTHS AND VIRTUES: A HANDBOOK AND CLASSIFICATION.” Peterson listed the five traits associated with happiness and life satisfaction across the life span: Love, hope, zest, gratitude, and curiosity. So if you want to increase your chances of happiness and wealth, find someone to love.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


A Hot Month for Big Name Alliances

Last week, it was Match.com and Dr. Phil. Today, Yahoo! Personals and Starbucks announced their new working-together deal. I’ve got to admit, both deals sound like genius to me. Four stronger brands are hard to imagine:Match.com, Dr. Phil, Yahoo! Personals and Starbucks. None can help but to benefit by the connections.

The Yahoo! Personals and Starbucks concoction is particularly cute: , linked from the . This Espresso Dating page is so adorable it hurts! The polar opposite of the too serious Dr. Phil FindMindBind business, you see a cartoonish drawing that looks like your typical Starbucks, with links to dating advice (Online or off? What to wear? Where to go? Navigating the dating scene is tough even with some experience.), ideas for dates (Picking the perfect activity for a first or second date is never easy. When it’s up to you to plan something special, take some pressure off by consulting this list of unexpected date options.), and character insights by coffee orders (My usual latte: Personality - Trendy, active, upbeat
Perfect Date - Rent a campy B movie and kick back with some popcorn).

And here’s the real coup de grace: If you subscribe to Yahoo! Personals, you’ll get a Starbucks card loaded with $10. WHAT A DEAL! Nobody loses! Pure inspiration.

Now my alliance is really split. Drew and I met on Match.com, so I feel a nostalgic loyalty to good ol’ Match. But as many times as I have told the powers that be at Match.com, they continue to ignore me and my resources. I would be at least as good an alliance partner as Dr. Phil, don’t you think? Come to think of it, Dr. Phil has ignored my overtures, too.

Frankly, lately I have been pushing Yahoo! I like their Personals Premier membership, and my clients have been doing well on that site. And Yahoo! Personals discovered ME, for heavens sake. I didn’t even have to ask. Did you know that I was one of their dating experts/writers? I’m adorable. So there, Match.com.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Where Dirty Dancing Means Real Dirt

Now, if you’ve got an old fashioned back-to-the earth itch that wants scratching, FarmersOnly.com is building a head of steam. I wrote about this singles site way back in September, and at that time, when I did a simple search with no parameters, 421 men came up. This time, 5251 hunks of all ages showed up. And the ones with pics are not bad at all. You can tell they work hard, because I didn’t see any paunches. Lots of these guys are either on, near, or hugging an animal, so if you like critters, along with romance, this is the site.

Even more women came up, over 6800, and the same holds for the animals, though some of the ladies looked a little plumper.

FarmersOnly.com continues to get a lot of press. Not all of it is serious, like the one on webpronews.com (though I know farmers use computers, my fantasy of webpros is that they are pretty far from the potato field). But the Daily Record of Morris County, NJ, took a good long, serious look at FarmersOnly.com and the needs of ultra rural singles. Despite the site name, you don’t have to be a farmer to join. But it helps to know the lingo and understand the lifestyle.

This is what Jerry Miller, FarmersOnly.com’s owner, says:

There are basically two groups in America. Group one: their lives revolve around four dollar cups of coffee, taxi cabs, blue suits, high heels, conference rooms and getting ahead at all costs in the corporate world. If you fall into this group you’re probably in the wrong place. Group two: they enjoy blue skies, wide open spaces, raising animals, appreciating nature and truly understand the meaning of Southern hospitality, even if they don’t live in the South.

If you are in group #2 or would like to be, FarmersOnly.com is worth a look.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

PS Drew and I saw “Brokeback Mountain” the other night. I can’t remember a movie that had so much sustained sexual tension, along with all the gorgeous landscape and sheep. Yeowee. Maybe those farmers (gay or straight) are onto something.


Looking for Reasons to Try Internet Dating?

Want some great points to make with anyone who is shocked that you are considering Internet dating? Read this article. The writer interview Melanie who makes the best arguments for going online that I have ever read. Here’s a sample:

“You’re right, the Internet’s a cesspool. I’m going to stop looking for love online and go to that seedy bar down the road where all the smart, intelligent, good-looking single men hang out. Oh yeah, I forgot, all the men in there are drunk. And married. And not that intelligent. The only thing I know about them is that they’re at a bar, not on the Internet.

“Online I can Google them, I can do a background check, I can see their picture,” she continued. “Try that in a bar. Yes, guys can lie online. But guess what? Guys can lie to you offline, too. I dated a guy named Gus I met at a traditional Christmas party for three weeks before I found out his real name was Allen and his wife’s name was Maureen.”

There’s more. You’ll love it. Check it out.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Match.com Scores a Coup with Dr. Phil

I just logged on to Match.com to look up a client’s profile, and whose bright and shiny face stared back at me on the home page? Dr. Phil! Oooeee! Something hot is brewing. And sure enough, then I started getting links to articles about the newest—and potentially biggest—alliance in Net dating.

Seems like Match.com is going to charge an extra $12.99 for the premium service called “MindFindBind” (Gawd, who thought that one up???). Now the service has 50 video clips of Dr. Phil covering a variety of topics related to dating and relationships.

What a powerful partnership! If Dr. Phil says Match.com is okay, well, we guess it is.

I think Match.com is just fine. That’s where I met my Sweetheart in 1998.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Back to Work and Blogging Again

Okay, I’m back! Yeah, like you, I took some time off over the holidays. And isn’t it hard to get going again? Oy. But really, I love it. And I missed y’all!

Drew and I had a wonderful time in our new house in Tallahassee. He still has a few more months on the job in Vicksburg before he will move to Tallahassee full time, so this time will be the longest he has in his new home until then. When Drew and I met in 1998, I was living in Tallahassee and moved to Mississippi to be with him. So here we are, eight years later, heading back to familiar territory. We looked at lots of other options, but Tallahassee kept coming out on top. So we stopped resisting.

We had a nice visit after Christmas from my mother and new step-father George. They got married last April, and are the best example of “It’s never too late to find love.” Mom was 81 on her wedding day and George was 87. They are pretty goofily in love. Next weekend, they head off on a cruise through the Panama Canal.

So fasten your seatbelts, readers. I’m back to work.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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