There is a difference between how married people party in Brazil and in the US. In Brazil, there is still the old fashioned separation between the sexes. When married or dating people go to a party, the women sit on one side and talk children, recipes and nowadays beauty treatments. Men talk business, politics and cars. Of course things are changing. Couples mingle and interact more, but there is still a distinct division of interests. I have found myself in these kind of parties always preferring to be with the men, since I found their conversation a lot more interesting, somehow “betraying” my fellow women. In the United States though, some couples spend their time at a party separated and talking to different people. This poses some problems though. Sometimes a man thinks a woman is single and starts talking to her with the obvious purpose of chatting her up, until the peeved husband comes along and plants himself next to his wife, forcing the surprised suitor to jump away. Long one on one conversations between a married man and another woman can also irritate his wife. Therefore, I think a middle ground is the best. To avoid sticky situations, couples should try to stay close to each other in parties, and talk together to both men and women.
Another American habit: in formal dinner parties, some people like to sit a husband and a wife apart. I always hated this “etiquette” formality. I do not want to be forced to chit chat with another man, I prefer to be seated next to my own husband! At my wedding, I seated couples next to each other. They were able to interact with other couples. And thirdly, the habit of asking someone else’s wife to slow dance, it does not bode well in Brazil. Too much physical contact! These are little cultural differences that we Brazilians have to get used to while living here.
I have tried online dating myself, and as a Sociologist, I find it to be a very interesting dating tool.
Based on male and female pyschology and years of observation of how it works (for myself and for my friends), I here offer some pointers to both men and women. And for a reasonable small feee, I will modify your profile and make you a lot more attractive to the opposite sex :). Just kidding. Call it Online Dating Marketing (ODM), ha ha. Let’s begin:
General Tips for both sexes:
-You do not need a large array of pictures. The more pictures, the greater the chance that you do not look so great on one of them :). You basically need two good pictures: one a close up of your face and the other one a body shot (fully dressed, please :)). The reason is that you do not want to see a face shot that looks nice only to find out later that the person is 300 lbs…
-As an advertising, you need to put your best foot forward when it comes to your picture.
Hair: Women need to look neat. Their hair needs to be clean and styled and current. Your make up needs to be tasteful (not too heavy). SMILE. A smile goes a million yards. There is nothing less inviting than a pretty woman looking sullen or too serious in a picture.
Men need to look groomed. A good haircut. If you have a beard, keep it trimmed. A good dye job if you are too grey. Remember that hair that is too grey adds 10 to 20 years to you. Do you really want to look like grandpa when you are only 45? Salt and pepper is nice if you are a darker man like Ram Emanuel and have good skin and a fit body.
Glasses: for both men and women, make sure they complement your face and are modern looking. The wrong glasses can make you look dated or dorky. You’re wearing the same glasses from 1985? Time to change them.
Clothes: Beware of looking too casual or sloppy just to portray an “active lifestyle”. Remember you need to look good. Wearing baggy shorts and sneakers and big t-shirts and caps will NOT make you look good! Your future BF or GF will have many chances of seeing you looking casual or in workout clothes in the future.
Women: in your body picture, wear a nice dress or well fitting pants with a nice top. Not a ballgown which will make you look like a high maintenance woman. A dress that shows your curves and enhances your body. High heels if your feet show. Nice accessories but not excessive.
Men: wear a nice shirt tucked in nice pants. A suit is also good (women are attracted to power :)). Please do not post any picture of more than 5 years ago. Make sure you did not change much since the picture you posted. And I cannot stress this enough: SMILE! You need to seem like a happy person. No one wants to date a depressed and negative person. We all have enough problems!
Pictures with other people or pets: NO NO NO. I cannot emphasize that enough. I have seen many profiles with women who think it is ok to post a picture with all her best friends. Problem is, many times you don’t know which one is the woman with the profile! Second, many times the best friend is better looking than her, which prompts the man to ask her who her friend is 🙂 Your cute dog or cat just makes you look like an old maid who lives with 10 cats, so be careful with that (unless you want someone who also looooves pets). Women who post pictures holding other people’s babies: do I have to explain this one! Hello!
Profile: Clearly, avoid any negative comments. Do not show any type of bitterness with the oppostite sex. Avoid headlines like: “Are there any good men left”? If you are a middle class average looking guy, do not ask for a hot looking woman! You will be always disappointed if you are looking for a Heidi Klum look-a-like.
Men should avoid profiles that indicate that they are not looking for a serious long term relationship. That puts women off. If you just want a fling, go to those secret encounters websites for hook ups. Most serious dating sites are for people who want a serious relationship with marriage as a possibility.
Women: I have noticed that many women who have never been married try to show their very active lifestyle. They climbed Mount Everest, swam from England to France, hiked in the Amazon, run 10 miles a day, ran every marathon possible, whew, it makes someone tired just from reading their profile! A man thinks: how can I ever keep up, and what role will I have in this woman’s life if she is that busy?
Children: If you are a parent, avoid saying “my beautiful daughter” or “my amazing kids”. Parents always think their kids are beatiful and amazing. That is not always other people’s perception! Also, avoid saying: “My kids come first”, or “My kids are my priority”. That scares the bejesus of many potential partners. If your kids will always come ahead of your GF/BF, what the hell are you doing trying to find a partner? Please first finish the job of raising your kids if you cannot manage being a parent and having a relationship. Never lie you do not have kids. Your potential partner needs to know upfront all about you. This way you avoid those candidates that have a problem with that.
What you are looking for: In this case, you need to be reasonable. Don’t write a whole list of attributes you need in someone. That will put off potential nice people who think they cannot measure up. If you want a man who is tall, good looking, rich, nice. successful and very smart, you need to be all those things yourself!!
Profile length: Do not make it too long. People do not have time and have to look at hundreds of others. Don’t make it too short which shows you just don’t care enough to write something. Make sure what you write is light and positive about yourself and your preferences. Use some humor; that goes a long way and shows you are easygoing and joyful. That can also distinguish yourself from thousands of other profiles.
Lies: Do not like about your age, height or income. Soon enough, these things will come out, and you are just wasting your time.
Be gracious: Do not offend people, and do not lead them on. If you are not interested in someone, just send a short but polite email: “Thank you for contacting me but I do not think we are a good match. Good luck in your search”.
Work hard: Remember that looking for a mate is similar to looking for a job: it takes a lot of work. Don’t be lazy. Answer all emails. Make folders with the people you have talked to or met and organize yourself so you know which Jim or Tom you are talking to.
How to proceed: After a few emails, suggest a phone call. Let the man call, always. Men like to be pursuers and that is not demeaning to a woman. I am a feminist, but I recognize that biologically speaking, men like to take the initiative. Let them. The phone call will give you a lot of precious information on what kind of man or woman he or she is and if it is worth taking the time to meet him or her.
Meeting: After the phone call, arrange for a meeting. Going out for coffee is the safe route for those who are not sure they will like the person. Problem is, why waste your time if you think that? Better to limit your meetings to those you think have a lot of potential and the least red flags. Going out for a drink after work is the best way to meet a potential date. For women, being in a bar atmosphere with the right lighting makes them look better. The setting is more romantic and makes the meeting seem less of a business deal. You can have a drink (or soda) and if the meeting goes well, dinner afterwards.
Women, never ask for food if you are not prepared to pay it yourself. And always, but always, offer to pay your share. If the man says no, don’t resist. Let him pay (as he should on the first date). Also let him pay for all dates thereafter IF he makes a lot more money than you, unless you want to be broke and unless you are meeting at fast food restaurants. Let him show some chivalry, it is also part of this male pursuit. Thank him graciously for it.
If a guy insists in meeting you for coffee or lunch, go for it, but try to meet him next time in a sexier or more romantic place, like a cozy restaurant. Some men have been burned b women who frequent those sites looking for free fancy dinners.
Good luck with your search! It is the modern way of finding a partner in this busy world, and especially good for older people who are not around singles all the time.
A post from a reader prompted me to write about this: the misconceptions that both sexes are having towards the other. Many young men are growing up hearing from other males that every woman is a gold digger, and many young women hear horror stories of all the jerks that are out there.
Yes, there are many horror stories, but you have to choose carefully who you date and eventually marry. You have to watch for red flags and signs. You cannot marry someone when your hormones are the ones doing the thinking.
Yes, there are some women who have low self esteem and who have dreams of a jet-setting life. These women will do anything to meet a rich man to support their Manolo-Louis Vuitton-Ritz Carlton lifestyle. The man can look like a rhinocero, but they will make him feel like Paul Newman in exchange for dining at the latest hotspots. A smart man who is looking for a date should be well aware that the sexy woman dressed to kill at the bar, with very revealing clothes, is not there to find love but to find a man with deep pockets. When she asks you how much you make on your first date and wants to check out what car you drive, do not be disappointed when years later she tries to take half of your money in the divorce courts!
Similarly, many women put up with the bad boys only to be severely broken hearted later. If the guy lies to you, cheats on you, is always late, disappears for days, treats your family with disrespect, forgets your birthday, ignores you when you are down and out or sick and avoids any talk of marriage after years of dating, do not be surrprised when he leaves you for your best friend or exchanges you for a younger model when your wrinkles start showing!
Of course nothing is black or white. The bimbo at the bar can become a nice companion. The bad boyfriend can become a loving husband. Hard, but possible. Some people mature and change.
The point I want to make is that even though there are many horror stories, there are even more nice and normal folks out there. Young women who are smart and want to find a good man, who want to work and develop their careers and be good mothers. Guys who can be faithful to one woman, who are serious about working and studying and can also be present fathers (see Obama!!).
In order to avoid falling prey to golddiggers and jerks, men and women have to:
1) Look at the earliest signs of problematic behaviors in the relationship. Trust your gut.
2) Men, women who are very hot but brainless and egotistical will probably not make very good wives. Yes, they are hot, but one day they will only be slutty. Alas, there is a difference between being sluty and sexy. You can be sexy and have class. If she is flirting with other men in front of you, be warned. Such women many times come from dysfunctional families and/or have emotional and pyschological issues.
3) Women, guys who are “exciting”, who like to show off, who stare at other women when with you, who are unreliable and who do not respect your needs will NOT be good husbands, unless they have a brain transplant. This is the way they are (some have ADD and other personality disorders or just grew up in dysfuncional and abusive households). Yes, I know the nice guys are not as exciting, not as challenging to “get”, but they will be the ones who will hold your hand when you have breast cancer.
There are many nice men and women out there. Please don’t generalize and think all women are golddiggers and all men are jerks. If you think so, maybe you need to expand your circles. You are hanging out with the wrong crowd!
He doesn’t call.
You find yourself making up excuses for why he doesn’t call.
He calls you only when he wants sex.
He doesn’t show genuine concern and care.
His buddies take precedence.
He doesn’t want others to know about your relationship.
He would rather play video games than be with you.
Your gut tells you he is not really in love with you.
You find yourself trying to deny feelings of being used.
You have a sense that you are one of many.
He lies to you about his whereabouts or behaviors.
He keeps making excuses for his uncaring actions.
He emotionally, mentally, or physically abuses you.
You feel you are a possession rather than a beloved.
I was in a priviliged spot at the last Obama Rally in Manassas, VA. Obama looked very tired (and very thin) and there was an underlying sadness from his grandmother having just passed away that afternoon. Still, he is electrifying. He exudes a sincere and genuine concern for changing the country for the better. He also has a beautiful smile. Even though we waited for hours standing on our feet, it was well worth it.