Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A guy's dating profile photo: DO POST!!

Great Photos Guys Should Consider Posting
 1) At least one picture that shows you socializing or interacting with people in a friendly, casual way. 
This serves as a great conversation starter, and it makes us think "Could he be a hot model?" less and "Would I hang out with him in real life?" more.  And usually the latter is what you want us thinking....I think. Even a picture with you with a dog shows that you are good at incorporating others into your life.

2) Include at least one, but no more than two "travel photos."
 Maybe you've never left the state.  Chance are, you have trees, seasons, water, sunsets, sunrises, downtown architecture, or something else of visual interest near you.  Consider this to be your travel photo.  It shows that you get out and about.  And not just at the bar or at a sporting event.  And those out-and-about pictures might be you with the ocean, mountains, Eiffel Tower, etc. behind you, making perfect sense why you needed to capture the moment and not way for a trusted photographer to walk by.  Make it interesting by drinking a cup coffee, striking a yoga pose, or inviting some goofy tourists to join you if you must add something.

3) Let us see your: eyes, teeth, hair.
I get it, people are self-conscious.  Just do it from a small distance (no more than 12 feet away, though) if that makes you more comfortable.  If a guy never shows his eyes, teeth, or hair, I'm going to assume he's missing all of his teeth and hair, and that his eyes scare little children.  I get wanting to get people to give you a shot before you reveal that you didn't get to have braces and that male-pattern baldness runs in the family, but really, that worst of all is when a guy doesn't present himself with self-accepting warmth and confidence.  It's like he doesn't feel good in his own skin.  You don't even have to show all three in a single picture.  And really, a guy who doesn't smile a full smile, well, he just seems sad/hurt/angry/cynical/upset/touch.  But granted, some guys might be going for that. 

4) A real smile.
Be sure to include a picture of you laughing at a friend's joke, smiling huge with your nephews, or grinning ear-to-ear with friends at a football game.  Whatever it took, include that picture that shows you not really posing as much as brimming with cheer.  You look hot that way.

Why else smile? Women smile almost 50% more frequently than men do.  And over 60% of men's photos are unsmiling. Stand out and look attractive by owning that smile.

5) Your style.
Are you the blurry-guitarist-on-stage type?  Are you the guy who likes to geek out with a dorky pose and a huge grin with your computer in the background?  Do you find your element teetering on rocks alongside a river or up a snowbank on a Colorado February morning?  Then do it!  Maybe it's with your motorcycle, with your hunting buddies, or with your chopsticks and rice.  Forget all of the rules just this once and include that picture that really just makes you think "this is the me that I've learned to love, own, and be."

Others that should go without saying:
Make sure you have least one sober picture.

Have five pictures with identical smiles? Switch it up by doing a "I have a secret" smile, doing a "I'm about to tell you a great joke" smile, or a "I just stopped laughing" smile.  I know those sound so contrived and cheesy, but it helps us go past the "school picture day, I look handsome this way" smile and really imagine wanting to sit down for drinks with you.

Keep your pictures current and realistic.

Interested on more regarding this?  I really liked OKCupid's study on the trends they've noticed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/online-dating-profile-pic_n_465227.html

A guy's dating profile picture: Don't Post!!

This is Part II of a 3-Part Series.

Photos that Guys Should Avoid Posting
1) By the computer's warm glow.
Okay, get rid of all sketchy lighting, please. A dark room.  A pillow shot with only the flash of the camera.  A computer screen bringing out the green of your skin.  Good lighting will make you look good, warm, approachable. Avoid all others.

2) All suited up...for work.
Are you going to a friend's wedding in a suit, or are you wearing a tux for a night out with the boys?  Go for it!  But if you have a professional "I'm a solid bet for your investment" picture--suit or not--you will be attracting women who are looking for a guy with a certain kind of a job.  They may also be excited to see the warmth of your personality.  Now, some professional photographers do great, more relaxed professional shots.  But please, don't include only those pictures.  It makes us feel like we're flipping through a 17-year-old's senior picture photo session.

3) Surrounded by hot girls.
If it's with your best girl friend on her wedding day, rock it.  If it's with the wholesome girl next door who is near and dear to your heart, be careful.  If it's with your relatives, go for it.  And if it's with the hot girls who let you and your roommate stand next to them to take a picture while out at the bar, don't do it!!!  It comes across that you're trying to prove that you interact with hot girls.  Or it scares off other "don't consider themselves to be comparably hot" girls because they think that the women in your photos reflect your expectations.

4) Disproportionate number of self-taken pictures.
This makes it seem like the only person who wants to hang out with you is....you.  And that you're the only one who knows how to make yourself look attractive.  We envision you getting ready for a beer at Applebee's with your best guy bud at 9p.m., catching yourself in the mirror, and then thinking, "Man, I don't get more cleaned up than this."  You then proceed to take 20 mirror pictures, and we see the supposed best.  Just doesn't paint a pretty picture.  Cap yourself at ONE self-taken at home picture or in the car, and TWO self-taken out-and-about pictures (assuming you're having some other pictures mixed in, too).  See travel pictures below.

5) Post-bet or post-winter pictures.
Maybe you placed a bet to grow out your moustache as long as possible.  Maybe NoShave November turned into a GrizzlyMan contest.  Whatever it is, you got furry and sordid, but your mom and your friends all commented on how great you looked once you shaved.  So you hold onto that picture.  The picture to show that you once did honor your inner beast, and now you're posting it to attract ladies.  Different suggestion.  Love that photo, print it out, frame it, put it on your fridge or in your bathroom.  Own it, man, and commemorate away.  Just not on your "hey, let's meet up" picture.   (Caveat: if that's the one picture of you making it to the top of Everest or of you meeting an important politician, sure, go ahead, take a gamble and post it.)

6)  Letting your tongue hang out or throwing signs.
I hate that this needs its own category.  Notice that women who are in the pictures where men are sticking out their tongues are rarely looking charmed or happy to see that.  It might be hilarious, though! I might just not understand it because I have never met you and I don't know you and the friends in that picture!!!  Well, that is all correct.  And the people who are looking at your profile don't know you yet or know the context of that photo's moment.

7) Looking off in the distance.
So, if there's even the suggestion that you're looking at friends, at the sunset, or at something else, it's not a big deal.  But when you're looking at the wall to give us your profile, when you're looking off-center at your computer screen so you can see the webcam's image, or when you're

And a couple other hints: 
Stop blurring or black-boxing out your ex-girlfriends and other people who were in the picture with you.  Either crop or use a different picture.  It's kind of 2005 to blur/black box a person out.
Avoid the "does this make me look hot?" screening for your photos.  Focus more on the "does this make me look approachable enough that a person would want to interact with me?" angle.  After all, we have to talk with you before doing anything with your hotness.  Now, if you can be hot and approachable, all the power to you.

You are currently in Part II of a 3-part series.
See the starting logic of this series here in Part 1.

See more about what you SHOULD post here.

Guy's pictures for online dating...a few words

Oh, online dating...
I have done the online dating thing off and on for years now.  Let me take a moment to absorb the truth of that statement, remember that it it's no longer the stigmatized lion's den, and remind myself of the great guys I've met because of it.

What am I talking about?
Okay, ready to move on.  If you are a guy wanting to post a picture for women to seriously consider dating you (or just safely engaging with you in public or in private), your choice of picture is important.

No, I'm not just talking about your hotness factor.  I'm talking about your approachability, social presence, warmth, etc.  I get it, it's superficial in many ways, but that's online dating for you, that's dating for you, and that's representing yourself with a picture for you.

What makes me an expert?  Just real life experience.  I have sat with friends over the years, and we just walk away baffled by the pictures some guys post.  Sometimes, they're attached to the picture.  Sometimes it's in the BestFace or HotorNot vein.  While these opinions are just mine, I've definitely consulted with many other friends about these ideas.  The statistics below are pretty much all made up on my speculation, but I have a diverse group of quality friends, so just consider all of this food for thought.

Also, this is really focused the heterosexual-woman-looking-at-a-guy-who-likes-women population.  It seems like that's huge enough of a population to generalize for, I don't want to overspeak for LGBT preferences, too.

This is Part 1 a 3-part post.

See more about what NOT to post here.
See more about what you SHOULD post here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sus nombres.

I cringe at the feeling a guy must have two months into a relationship.  I can just picture it. 

"Jonathan," she says and smiles.  Jason looks at her and wonders why she repeated the name of the store clerk.  He asks her why she smiled at his name.

"Oh," she says, slightly embarrassed and caught off guard.  Well, she might as well just tell him.

"You see, it's one of the names I know I would name my [or perhaps she dares to say "our"] son."


Why spend my whole life picking out names for the children I have yet to have with the man I have yet to meet?

Well, it's happened. Maybe it's because the countless wedding invitations have been replaced by countless baby showers.  Or maybe it's because I have a clock that ticks just as loudly as every other 29 year old woman.  Either way, baby names are a hot topic amongst my friends whose stomachs have swollen to the size of watermelons.

And I have my list.  I realized that so many names have been nice, but not for me.  And there are certain names I'm always drawn to.  So, without further adieu, I thought I'd record the names that keep popping into my mind.  While plenty of variables (a disagreeable father, a clashing last name, a sudden realization otherwise, etc.) may change my mind, these names are the ones I like rolling off my tongue, in no particular order:

1) Elizaria ("Elly" or "Ria" or "Zadi")

2) Eladio ("Lawdee" or "Elly") ---really loving this one, although I've known one person with it who isn't someone I'd really want my kid to be associated with.  Also, it means "Greek" which is a little underwhelming.

3) Rogelio ("Ro") ----this one surprises me, but I don't see myself liking it long term.  It means "famous spearman", which, like Eladio, doesn't impress me much.

4) Trujillo ("Truji" or "Tru") ---doesn't really have a meaning, as it's a traditional surname.  However, it's a common last name in my family, so it makes me like it all the more.

5) Lope (pronounced low-pay) ---shoot, now that I spell it "low pay", it seems terrible.  I like it as a derivative of "Lopez", a common and important surname in my family, but I think it'd be mispronounced forever and ever as "lope", which isn't great.  Maybe I'll just stick with "Lopez" as a first name (means son of a wolf).

6) Praxedes ("Prax" for short) ---this is a favorite, too.  For a man or woman.  Means "active," which I really like.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hey kids, go talk to strangers!

After reading this post by Ali Goldfield, I felt obliged to reply to her writing.  She hit upon an idea that I suggest might make modern day parents a little uneasy, but that I love.  The idea of talking to strangers.  While she emphasized the role of safety, I see it as being necessary as simply being helpful in raising capable, communicative, and independent adults.

I work with college students.  That means I also work with college students' parents.  I just commented to my own mother last month simply this: "Thank you for teaching us to talk to strangers."

She always taught us to talk to the waiter.  To make conversation upon a new meeting.  To learn about a person's story, despite that person's role in our lives (crossing guard, neighbor, teacher, priest).  To help someone who appears sto need help.  When she needed something at a store, she would encourage us, even at the age of 5 or 6, to ask the store clerk.  And she taught us to smile, shake hands, use "Mr." or "Ms.", and say "please" or "thank you."

Working with college students, and with a history of working with high schoolers, I'm increasingly disappointed and worried at how few are able to talk with strangers.

One student just told me she might need a room change because her shy roommate isn't the friend she was looking for.  A week into school, I asked her what her roommate is majoring in, and she said she didn't know.

Each year, we have most disagreements arise amongst students simply because they don't want to talk to one another.  Parents call offices in their stead.  They complete their forms for them, they answer questions on their behalf, and they "protect" their child (at ages 18-23) of never encountering an uncomfortable situation.  Heaven forbid their adult child needs to learn to walk to an office, make an appointment, and inquire about a policy, a fine, a rule, a decision, a question, an answer, etc.

I went on a trip to the Yellowstone, where people are commonly standing side-by-side getting a glimpse of wildlife.  I was shocked how often my very kind counterparts would be surprised at the fact that I'd offer to take another group's photo for them, ask where someone was from, or ask what they were using a telescopic lens to view.

I'm told that I'm quite friendly (maybe reference the other article about birth order, as I am the youngest?), but really, this was a taught skill.  All of my siblings have this characteristic, and our significant others love to point it out as a common trait.  And while it may make others blush or frazzled to see us talking to a stranger, it is this skill that I've used to befriend best friends, connect some who are disenfranchised, and more simply, found much more quickly what I'm looking for in a store.

The article mentioned the notion of safety.  Yes, let children know what is safe information to share with anyone.  Teach them to hone a gut intuition about people.  Teach them to have manners with encounters with any person.  But please, teach them to communicate, regardless if the person if familiar or new.

Friday, August 31, 2012

On dying.

I'm a hospice volunteer.  That means I hang out with people who are dying.  It makes you think, though.  Well, it makes me think.  These are the main thoughts rattling through my head right now:
  • You don't get to choose how you die.
  • You die the way you live.
  • You get to choose the way you live.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to make 30 count: things to do before I turn the three-oh.

In a couple weeks, I turn 29 and a half.  Today is August 24, 2012.  On March 19, 2013, I turn 30.  Between now and then, I'd like to do the following.  It might look like an ambitious list, but the next six months are going to pass either way, so it might as well be a productive stretch!
  1. Have lunch with 15 different friends.
  2. Do 100 sit-ups every day for one month.
  3. Go on an overnight get-away with the girls.
  4. Read 2 new books.
  5. Feel like every room in my house is “decorated.”
  6. Go to a dentist, doctor, counselor, and physical therapist.
  7. Run a half marathon.
  8. Get renewed in CPR.
  9. Throw a simple 30th birthday party.
  10. Write letters to ten relatives.
  11. Send homemade gifts to five friends who don't live in Denver.
  12. Lose 30 lbs.
  13. Don’t use any disposable grocery sacks.
  14. Read all of my homework.
  15. Send a care package to my brother.
  16. Go out of my way to make a friend.
  17. Go one month without eating out.
  18. Finish two quilts.
  19. Marry someone.
  20. Attend a Rocky Horror Picture Show with Mom.
  21. Become a Hospice volunteer for at least two people.
  22. Get rid of stuff.
  23. Watch all of Gene Kelley's movies.
  24. Do my own sprint triathlon.
  25. Go camping by myself again.
  26. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry.
  27. Organize my first 100-mile run.
  28. Make a significant donation every month.
  29. Pay off my car (three months early).
  30. Do at least 30 of my pinterest items...aside from my "before 30" board.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Lose Control.

Sometimes my friends remark that I'm the person who goes and actually does certain things.  I'll talk to the stranger.  I'll move out of the country.  I'll dance my heart out on the dance floor.  These don't make me heroic by any means.  They hardly make me extraordinary.  Yet, I never stop being surprised at how often it comes up.

I could chalk it up to a lack of impulse control, and I suppose there is enough evidence to wage a solid case.  However, I think that a lack of such control could behoove many people better.

It's powerful how often I think, "I should do _________."  Then, I take a moment--truly just a moment--to reflect, and unless there are a million "This is why I shouldn't" thoughts that race to my mind, I just do it.

It gets me to make new friends.  It helps me succeed at work.  It helps be authentic to myself, and in turn, with others.

From a 1 to 10, how much do you lose control?  How has that changed over the years?  What races through your mind?  Do you wish you overrode your impulse control more often?  Why or why not?

People who lose control should consider:
1) What is the worst that could happen?  What is the best?  I have a feeling that the former is not very likely, or if it is....and at least it'd improve authentic living.  I have a feeling that the latter is hard to imagine and the more likely result with a world of possibilities.

2) What am I afraid of?

3) Could releasing some control draw me closer to important people in my life?

4) What or who taught me to need this kind of control?  (And dig with that one.)

People who I think need to consider losing some control:
Anyone over 36.
Anyone who oversees another person in a job.
Anyone who has possessions.
Anyone who has a regular routine.

Loved these articles on the topic, too:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Date a Tall(er) Woman

In online dating, men can narrow down their women.  More easily than choosing a pair of shoes, men can figure out the perfect fit for the perfect occasion.  They can choose the astrological sign, the income bracket, the ethnic background, and even the attractiveness level.

Why surf the profiles of 100,000 women in your local metropolitan area if the search engine can pare it down to 50,000 women who fall into the age bracket of the woman you're supposed to meet?  I mean, a 32 year old man would hate to waste time sifting out 36 year old women when he knows that 35 is the cap of his love.  Technology is a godsend for streamlining love.

Well, then there is height.  I'm a good-looking person.  I'll even say beautiful.  I am heavier than the Calista Flockhart and Julia Roberts.  Nevertheless, I am beautiful and attractive.  Yet, I am surprised how often men want fit, small women.  They want fit, but they don't want strong.  I'm a strong woman.

Just as it takes a man confident and comfortable in his masculinity to date a taller woman, it takes a woman confident and comfortable in her femininity to date a shorter man. I have no doubt that it's society that ingrains this.  If a man truly wanted to create rockstar progeny, they'd all be flocking to the taller women. 

The other end of it is that men (and people in general) who are attracted to me as a strong woman sometimes, well, need that strength.  I want my strength to accentuate that of my man's, and vice versa.

Nevertheless, type in "date a taller woman" in quotes (finding exact matches only), and Google pulls up about 20,000 pages on the subject.  This is something that is clearly troubling men, so let's get to it.  How to do it?  So here's the set of directions:

1) Think outside the box.  Remember that sexy is surprising.  I'm 6'2, and I couldn't believe how sexy I found a boyfriend who stood 5'6.  Remember that we're usually in it for a man who has confidence, finds us attractive (inside and out), and wants to engage in a healthy get-to-know-you with us.

2) Find your sexy dance.  I'm reminded of John Cage in Ally McBeal who works his way up to be sexy for Portia DeRossi.  Find your sexy dance, think of the time you feel the sexiest, and channel that whenever.

 3) Don't let it be the elephant in the room.  Rather, compliment her on her height.  Remind her that you find all the bits and pieces (and lengths) of her sexy.  Heck, even splurge and buy her a pair of heels if she's the kind who likes to dress up.

4) You might turn heads, but in a way that will make people smile and think is crazy.sexy.beautiful.   I can't believe how many compliments we'd receive for being a beautiful, in love couple, although I know a lot of it was because we defied social norms and just stayed with the person we loved.

5) Realize this is the manliest you could ever look.  I see it, guys.  You find the woman who is smaller than you so you look like the manly one.  Well, it could just be me (and my friends), but a truly manly man owns who he is and doesn't need to be the towering 5'6 man over a 5'1 woman to find peace.  I know this is a little redundant, but I just can't stress it enough.

Well, good luck out there!  Let me know how it goes or how you stand on the matter. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

How to worry about a friend who has changed: I want my friend back.

For five days, I went on a road trip with one of my best friends who lives halfway across the country. We hadn't had talks like this for years, if not forever. In fact, I wonder if he knows I regard him as one of my best friends, but I think he does.

He has gone from a friend who BELIEVES in love and in life to a friend who isn't sure what he believes in anymore.  This made me want to stop the car, turn to him, give him a huge hug, and erase the pain away from his memory with a cool rag.  How dare someone (even if that someone is just reflective thought) corrupt someone who used to be so firm in his belief in love, relationships, kindness, and the goodness of others and life itself.  Life can be dark.  Life can be a bastard.  But don't get one of my friends like him.  Not him.

On the other hand, I can't stand that I was that upset.  Just as he and I discussed, he can't be swayed from these thoughts from a time like this.  He can't be told to snap out of it.  And it might not be the kind of thing a person snaps out of.  It might be that life has embittered him (or woken him up?) because that's the true nature of life.

He is making choices and viewing from a life that the earlier him would consider to be unacceptable.  He is a little dark and a little cynical, and a lot sad.  He is making choices and viewing life in ways that I don't like, in ways that make me uncomfortable, and in ways that just makes me sad.  And maybe it's because I'm living in a naive, ignorant, and pitiful existence, but I really like it here, and it's hard not having him here.

What is there to do but keep being his friend?  He's the kind of friend that there is no option to do anything but just that.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Lose This Girl in Two Dates: Bad Dates Gone Worse

I'm a pretty forgiving girl, but when this all happened within the context of two dates, I had to put the kibosh on this winter-spring (29-25) romance:

1) Text that you aren't feeling so well a day before a date, and then say you're canceling the date an hour before we're supposed to meet.  But then don't reply for two days after I text you sweet "feel better" wishes.
2) Show up late (about 15-20 minutes per time), twice, and offer no explanation or apology (as I sit alone in your chosen fancy restaurants twice with no phone call or explanation).
3) Order an obscure drink for me without asking.
4) Ask when my dating you gets to be made public to my friends and colleagues. (?!?!?)
5) Give me five minutes of directions after I say I know where to go.

Done and done.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to Write a Bucket List: My List for Living

This list isn’t about counting down to kicking the bucket. Nope. That makes me think of the floors I need to mop. I don't even own a mop.  A wet rag on the floor usually does great.

I digress.

This is the work-in-progress list of things I’d like to count in while living my life.

  1. Get reiki.
  2. Get acupuncture.
  3. Start putting money aside for little ones in my life.
  4. Take a singing lesson.
  5. Run a half marathon.
  6. Do 100 push-ups.
  7. Take a class where I use pottery wheel.
  8. Lay floor and wall tile.
  9. Read Ulysses.
  10. Flash mob.
  11. Give a child a home.
  12. Return to Guam to show my husband and children.
  13. Make a quilt for each of my loved ones.

How to pick a woman up.

Picking up a woman is a lost art.  Here is how I think more guys should do it.

Look at Patrick Swayze's mad skills here, and note how failures are covered by laughs and zero complaints.


Learn from a guy who recently (Friday night) met me at a bar.  I left impressed, willing to give him my number, still thinking about him the next day, and willing to go on a date with him this week.

Five steps to picking up a lovely lady at an oh-so-innocuous bar:

1) Approach her.  

Whether she is talking to someone, sitting by herself, or even in a gaggle of girlfriends, be willing to walk up to her.  Maybe it is intimidating, just approaching her is a sign of flattery and chivalry in this girl's book.  Worst case scenario, she says no.  Best case scenario, you will meet one of the most impactful people of your entire life. 

Don't stress about what she thinks of you.  Rather, focus on how a) you know you are a good, quality guy, b) you're interested in learning good, quality details about her, and c) you want to foster a good, quality connection between the two of you.

2) Ask a question, and turn it into a conversation.

While you can simply approach her by saying "Hi, how are you?", you should have a couple follow-up questions in your capability. No matter what, from the hello to the good-bye, show the sincerity that hopefully exists.

If you are doing all of the talking, if you just fire questions at her, or if you are not sharing any thoughts or opinions, it does not count as a conversation.  You could try, though, something like, "So, my friend and I have a debate about _________ that I was hoping to get your opinion on."  Or, simply ask how her weekend is going.

The biggest thing is to listen and to respond. All the while, bring up cool things about yourself in natural, not braggadocios ways.

 4) Take interest in her friends.

Aforementioned phone-number-winner talked to all of my friends.  He didn't need to be babysat or monitored.  He took interest in their stories, in their connections to one another (and to me), and didn't look like he was trying too hard.  It was like he was genuinely interested in who I am.

And when he walked away to go to the bathroom, I looked for their opinions, and I realized he'd pretty much won everyone over.  I'm still impressed.

It also gave me room so I didn't feel like he was just hovering around me.  I could talk to others, go get a drink, or do as I pleased, and he was perfectly content talking to my friends.  Before I knew it, I was left wondering if he was ever going to come back and talk with me more, and it made me happy when he did just that.

5) If you're drunk, walk away.

If you are trying to meet someone of quality, you should hope that she would want you to be a quality state of being.  If she is really that amazing, stop drinking, have a bite to eat and a glass of water, and go back in an hour or two to strike up a conversation.  I noticed that said guy didn't increase his about of alcohol while talking with me, and it was simply refreshing.  It wasn't a drunken stumble.  It was a deliberate, sincere, and sober conversation.