Undressed: A lesson in accelerated intimacy

This was written on the train back up to Manchester. I would love to post it but I signed a non-disclosure agreement and I’ll have to wait till it’s shown. From my reading, it might also have to be later due to the legality of it being shown on encrypted subscription cable/sat.

So as some of you know, I took part in a dating show called undressed. The concept is quite simple, but not for the fearful. Think of it as First dates with balls.

Meet a blind date in a studio for the first time, take each other’s clothes off down to their underwear then lie on a bed next to each other while a big screen suggests a few of those 36 questions for you to ask each other. At the end of the time, make a decision if you would like to see each other afterwards.

Yes I just did just say striped to your underwear, by a stranger.

This is intense and rocket fuelled accelerated intimacy. You can’t really get much more accelerated than this? It certainly makes channel 4’s first dates look like a snail crawling across the floor. The whole experience lasts all of 30 mins.

My experience

Today started for me early as I caught the 9:35am train to London, then the northern line all the way to South Wimbledon, where I grabbed a coffee before the cab came and took me to the studio. The studio was a bit like the Pie factory in Media City UK, bit old and worn but functional. Sara the researcher who had been my main contact through the process was there to greet me and finally give me a giant hug. Other staff ran around doing their thing while another production researcher sat with me and led me around.

There was a man already in the changing room, who obviously already gone through the experience (he was wearing a night-gown) and was saying nothing about what it was like. After looking at my selection of clothes (I decided to pack most things (deliberately over pack to be sure, as the criteria for clothes which could not be worn was vast) so tomorrow I could just change a couple of things and hop on a plane to Berlin)

NO LOGOS OR BRANDING ON UNDERWEAR or CLOTHES, NO MATTER HOW SMALL
No thin or see-through fabrics as studio lighting emphasises transparency
No small polka dots
No checks
No small thin stripes
No busy /detailed patterns
No black clothes
No white clothes

Turns out the white shirt and plain-ish boxers I bought, was fine with the new summer jacket. I did have to pick the lighter trousers and not wear my striking blade trainers, due to the Adidas logos. But everything else passed the camera test. Then came the question about what to call myself, as the title of producer was too closely related to TV and they were worried about this. So in the end we settled on futurologist, which I only said as a joke. I shouldn’t have joked because likewise my firestarter title, got picked up on too.

After a bit of food, carefully chosen to not cause problems with my allergies and not drop any on my white shirt. Some make up, removing the hair oil I applied earlier. It was time for a the pre-interview.

The room was small, very hot and the whole process was tricky with the producer (Katherine?) rewording what I had said into more simple sound bites. I would reply to her question and it would be quite wordy, and she would boil it down quite a lot. Sometimes she would make it sound almost comical, and I wouldn’t repeat it because it was quite distorted from what I was trying to say. In the end, I would say what I was thinking or happy with and she would go with it or say the question in another way. I’m sure it will be taken out of context, which will be a shame but alas I knew it would.

During the interview, a couple of things stuck in my mind, which she dug deep into. feminism, bi-sexuality, red hair and curvy women. I didn’t know then but it turns out my blind date was most of these.

Afterwards, we waited for a bit before being taken to the actual film set. It’s worth saying I also had developed a cold this morning and was very stiffly. I was taking cold & flu meds and blowing my nose quite a bit, especially in the air-con controlled rooms. When showed the set and shown what I will need to do, I had the opportunity to stand by an open fire exit and breathe some fresh air; this did wonders for my nose, thankfully. While explaining to the onset production team, they had me put tissues under the pillow just incase I needed them in the middle.Of course I wouldn’t have access to my clothes, once in my boxers. Although they did say, I could find a way to pause the date and blow my nose. I was cursing myself for developing the cold on a critical day.

As I waited full clothed behind the scenes, looking out of the fire exit on a lovely bright blue sky. I couldn’t help but feel quite calm about everything. My biggest worry was actually my nose and since that seemed to be getting better, I thought more about who I was about to meet. What incase the team had got it all wrong, what incase she was the total opposite? What incase it was a setup like previously? I considered it all in that time at the fire exit. I also considered fact I hadn’t really thought too deeply about who the other person was? The casting producer, Anouska who was with me most of the day was lovely and honestly wanted the best for me. She had been involved in the production and choice of who was matched; and I could tell she had really high hopes for this match. She didn’t say anything but you can just tell (well at least I felt I could) when people are guanine about these things.

Then the moment came. In clearing my nose, I kinda forgot what I needed to do, once I marched along the spotlights and reached the end of the bed. The floor managers reminded me quickly. The crux was to meet at the bed look each other in the eye with some distance so the camera could see us and the big screen behind. Then she will take my clothes off and I’ll do the same. Once in our underwear, we need to sit on our side of the bed and questions will flash up for us to ask each other. The amount of questions and type of questions will depend on the conversation and how things are going. Aka we won’t answer all 36 questions and photos from our past will pop up for us to talk about.

Stepping out

Ok I can remember this, as I waited to cross the back of the screen, I saw her name. Jessie. Nice name I thought, must not forget her name (people who know me, will know I tend to forget names quickly). As I crossed behind the screen, and waited at the other end the impact of what I was about to do hit. I smiled as I was held and thought about all the people who told me don’t do this, its insane. I thought about Jane who originally sent me the email, saying this sounds like your kind of thing. This was going to be an experience which I will have fun telling people about in the future, so its time to experience accelerated intimacy.

I stepped out and my eyes were transfixed on Jessie who was standing there at the end of the bed dressed in a purple dress. I’ll be honest, when I say holly crap they got just the right looking woman. She was cute but the smile on her face was so warming and put me at ease straight away. I’m sure my face was a picture too. We embraced with a hug and if I remember a bit of a single kiss on the cheek. Stepping back to our marked spots.

Time to undress

We stood facing each other smiling in a slightly coy way, unsure what was going to happen next. The production staff told me they wouldn’t interject unless things went quiet and to just carry on normally. As normal as standing in a black TV set with mood lighting and a bed can be? Slightly unsure, we talked about undressing and Jessie walked over to me, as the production staff said before; I get undressed first then her afterwards. I wasn’t meant to help but Jessie was having a bit of problem with my shirt buttons and my slip on shoes. I honestly started feeling self-conscious when sitting at the end of the bed with her pulling on my shoes; it felt a little wrong so I helped a little. I remember thanking Jessie for nicely folding up my clothes on the end of the bed. The whole undressing wasn’t as painful as I’d first imagined, but I feel that was because Jessie made it so.

Anyway, once I was undressed we stood back at the spots looking at each other. Then I moved across to undress her. I was having a slight problem with the buckle on her shoes and the only way to solve it was to get on my knees and pull quite a bit. We laughed about it a little and finally it was done. Stepping around the back of Jessie to unzip her dress I was surprised to find there was no zip. Jessie told me I would need to pull the whole thing over her head. I tried to be gentle but firm about it but it was tricky and not very elegant. Finally we did it and I stepped back around the front to see Jessie in her underwear. Yes I was impressed but honestly I was focused on her face and that warm smile.

Its bedtime

We climbed on to the bed from our respected sides. Jessie was sat up a little more than myself. I noticed around the set there was quite a lot of cameras in the black background, it was obvious but not as painful as first imagined. Anyway, it didn’t matter because my attention was firmly on Jessie. The big screen in front of us, finally kicked into action with pictures of Jessie’s past as a young child. She talked about her past and the pictures changed a little. I asked questions of her and frankly we just had a nice conversation; while lying on a bed in our underwear.

Then it became my time to have pictures of my past and places I had been.

I don’t know how it happened but we just kept talking and talking. The screen would somethings jump in with some probing questions. For example, at one point it just said… “Feminism.”

Jessie instantly said this must be her; and to be fair I just sat back and let her chat. There was a slightly apologising tone but I jumped in and said how impressed I was with her rich history around feminism. We then talked about how I would only date feminist and the problems I’ve had previous around women who don’t identify with being one. It was a great discussion which was only cut short by the screen throwing out the word… “Sapiosexual.”

Jessie had not heard the term before but I explained and yes Tom, I did say it was heavily dismissed as a sexuality. But as we talked about it, the deeper the conversation became. Not that I’m saying it was wasn’t already deep. We just kept chatting and chatting, we shifted position a little (I tried to sit up a bit, sure mum wouldn’t be happy with my lying position). Every once in a while we would go on a tangent and the screen would ask one of the 36 questions.

From memory we got…

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Tell your partner something that you like about them already

Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner and tell your partner something that you like about them already came up

Rocket fueled intimacy

I was feeling very comfortable with Jessie and the whole thing, and the production staff could tell. The questions got more about physically smelling and touching each other. So at one point Jessie was asked to describe how I smell and me straight afterwards. The only way to do this was to really get close, and it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. After a quick chat about how smell is important, the next question from the screen/production staff was to hug each other for 20 seconds. We kneeled in the centre of the bed and hugged. Jessie was warm and very huggable. I was trying to keep things polite for TV (if you know what I mean), which was tricky but I think it was ok. We moved back to our lying down positions on the bed and talked about what just happened. But things were short-lived when the screen interrupted with the next question

Would we kiss each other?

Now honestly as the question echoed in my mind, I looked at Jessie and there was a voice reminding me of my 2016 new years resolution

Make some bold moves with my love life

But the biggest factor by far was the honest & open look on Jessies face. She was ever so lovely and I wanted to kiss her. I always said to myself, I wouldn’t do what I’m not comfortable with, even if that means walking off the set. Especially if the chemistry wasn’t there. Honestly I would have declined or gave her a peak on the cheek. But no, I wanted to kiss her and so we did.

Yes, lying on the bed kissing and cuddling for a short while. I’m sure the production staff must have been so happy with themselves, but not as happy as I was. (ironically last year, I mentioned something about the escalation from eye contact, free hugs and to kissing a stranger, wonder what Elizabeth would think now?)

The experiment/show was coming to the end and like the italian version, we had 60 seconds to ask any more questions we may have before answering the question, would we want to see each other again by pressing on tablet screen yes or no. We both pressed yes (it was obvious) but the production staff couldn’t help but add tension to things (unknown to us at the time). The big screen spun between yes and no on both sides (same as the italian version)

Jessie’s yes was set but my side kept spinning and spinning. It was painful and we even talked about it out loud. I had said yes and pressed it again on the tablet to make sure it had registered correctly. Finally after a few more spins, it was a yes | yes. We shifted back on to the bed waiting and chatting between ourselves as the lights went down.

End of the experiment

We then were separated off and gave another interview about how things had gone. The interview had to be done in our underwear, to show it was after the experiment. There was quite a few questions about what Jessie had said including her feminist answer, the smell and of course the kissing.

I was also told to reflect on her looks and some of the questions I answered. This went on for quite sometime but it wasn’t as bad as the first time. I’m sure there will be some slicing and dicing for the show.

There was one last thing to do after getting dressed getting my things and having Sara and my production runner express how much they loved it and always hoped it would be a great match. I congratulate them on such a great pick.

I waited in a room for Jessie to finish her exit interview and I was joined later. We embraced quite a bit and after some pictures taken together including a bunch of those ones you do at weddings. Swapping numbers, we shared a cab to South Wimbledon station together. It was a shame to leave early, but I have a flight to Berlin booked tomorrow morning (5am). We travelled together discussing what had happened on the show, till Clapham, where Jessie continued her journey on another line home. I hadn’t quite clocked it was still a Tuesday and I couldn’t get on a train till 7pm (due to London peak time hours). But by the time I could text Jessie, it was too late.

It would have been great having some more private time together, but I went to our Euston Square offices, got changed in the bathroom and caught the first off-peak train home to Manchester. The train I’m on now.

In reflection

I was very pleased with the way things went, except the questioning which I know will get manipulated. Being in my underwear on TV still isn’t a thing I would do again but it really worked out. It’s a shame I had to go straight away but I am going to stay in touch. Even if things don’t work out, the experience we shared was so unique and the chemistry was pretty electrifying.

I always did say… The drive to push my limits socially, is fun to me. This was fun but honestly without Jessie, it would have been far less fun and enjoyable.

Watch this space….

That was the end of the post.

Most of you are wondering what happened next? Well theres a blog and audio for that.

12th Aug, the date we’ve been waiting for…

I asked the question if anyone would want to see me date? But it was related to First Dates, now you get to see more than you expected… The undressed date some of you have been waiting for is… Friday 12th August. I got the email telling me it will be shown, and I will receive a DVD in the post after TX (transmission), which I was surprised about.

I still have not seen a whole episode from the start to the finish uninterrupted. The press coverage has been interestingly negative but it still seems to hold a reasonable user rating in places. Had hoped to have a few friends around for a live showing, but it’s not going to happen at least till the DVD gets sent out or my friends work out how to copy from their Sky+ boxes. Undressed is also now on TVDB and themoviedb.

Unreal TV show

I may have a surprise in store along with the blog I wrote on the train back up to Manchester. It’s all very fitting as I watch season 2 of unreal (undressed/unreal, similar right?) and been thinking more about the manipulation in reality TV. Most people are very surprised when I tell them, it was all shot in one go with no interruptions except the screen asking questions and prompting what to do next.

Is a truly blind date a real thing?

Blind Date 2

Mr30notsoflirty recently wrote about The magic of a blind date, which I had some thoughts about. Too many to put in a tweet.

These days, blind dates have become a rare commodity. In an age of social media, it’s so easy to share a photo or run a little background check on Google or Facebook. You can’t even search on Tinder without judging someone based on your so-called FB friends.

A truly blind date has become an endangered species… you actually have to try hard to maintain that mystique, that surprise, the opportunity to meet someone you know nothing about…. with no judgments or preconceptions, just the excitement of the unknown.

I read this and laughed a little, only because I was about to go one hell of a first date. No idea who she was where she was from or anything. However I do get mr30’s main point, it’s easy and very tempting to Google the person. I mean why wouldn’t you? Knowledge is power right?

Yes its power but it certainly encourages creeping thoughts too.

There have been women who have googled me, as I tend to use cubicgarden for most things.

I tend to prefer the this me, love me or hate me; although I totally understand identity is fluid and in certain contexts you may want to adopt a different identity.

Anyway sometimes I find out they have made up their mind on something they have read. No chance to reply just see you later. It’s a shame for them really; this is why I’m a little more flexible about these things. Heck I have ignored somethings as I don’t want to judge too harshly, giving the other person a chance at least. I know most people are not like me. That’s why I’m sympathetic to what Mr 30 has written.

Serendipity is great (it makes us so feel alive, even if we are living it through others I guess) and that’s what makes blind dates exciting.

I’m hearing Mr 30, but question how blind the dates are there is a someone/something doing some filtering and matching on something. Even if random, each person usually want to know why they should go along. Even if it’s the verbal/written equivalent of “she/he/they are perfect for you.” (I could delve into the match maker expert/algorithms problem but won’t today).

Can you imagine, the opposite? “Well she/he/they are a random single person, it could work?” No neither can I…!

I once went on a first date purely on the notion the woman needed to fulfill a dating quota for a wager. Never met her before, never ever heard of her… But it was the connection with the sister, which I had met before; which had me convicted. Any member of this family must be worth a first date. And no I didn’t Google her… I should put that date up on dating yarns.

Was it truly/totally blind? Well I guess, most would say yes but there’s always something connecting or a relation. How strong that is dependant on the threshold of the people/end points. If we are talking about truly blind then that threshold needs to be zero… ha! Now that would be interesting. Although I know friends who have contacted people on OKCupid with the highest enemy percentage for kicks and giggles.

I contest, there never was truly blind dates, there’s always something which connects you. it’s just hope low your threshold can handle.

Would you watch me date?

Dates in the past, have said I’m a very good dater, maybe because I like to ask a lot of questions and tend to spin from one thing to another quite naturally. Something to do with my dyslexia I think, or I’m just good at cocktail parties?

But would you want to ever see me date? I thought about this with channel4’s first dates programme, but didn’t get picked…

However recently Simon Lumb pointed me at the guardian’s watch me date

Each week, we’ve chosen two different people, given them two pairs of Google Glass and packed them off on a date (there is usually a lot of alcohol involved too). Filming begins the minute they meet, and that off-button is only pressed once they’ve said goodbye. The results? You’re right there with them, on these awkward, often funny and sometimes even romantic first dates.

I heard about it via my collection of dating feeds but hadn’t checked it out till now.

The results are not too bad, I think there reasonable and quite interesting for 5mins of web video.

Would I sign up for it? Unlikely, although part of me is wondering if I should just give it ago. However this type of thing is what got me on the year of making love and how to have more sex… Harsh lessons to remember.

Beware the flying mistletoe drone strikes

TGI drone attackTom Morris drops me a message on Facebook.

Ian Forrester’s mission if he chooses to accept it.

1. Find a lady friend.

2. Go to this: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/love-air-manchester-restaurant-launches-8130613

3. Blog about it.

Although its tempting, the idea of going to TGI Friday for a date fills me with rage. As somebody said… Their food is death and sadness.

Flying mistletoe from a mini indoor drone strike seems more likely than any kind of love interest on a date. Then again you could have fun with it I guess, but its certainly not the kind of thing I would do on a first date.

Tell you what, if anyone wants to do it for a laugh and are female, I maybe interested for the sake of blogging. This always feels like the start of an adventure… Who’s up for it?

Who pays…? Remember It’s 2014 after all…

Dinner date - Day 122, Year 2

Rob pointed me at a piece by David Mitchell in the Guardian about who pays on the first date. He called it my favorite subject, although to be clear its not, I just find it fascinating the social, society and gender pressures at force. I’m not the only one to notice this…

Why do we cling to prehistoric dating rituals in a technological age?

The majority of us still believe that men should pay when men and women go on a first date. Is this a sexist throwback, or a necessary means of communication between the sexes?

. A survey published this month found that 77% of us think that, between a male and a female, the male should foot the bill. Of the 1,000 respondents, 73% of the women and 82% of the men said that it was for the bloke to get his card out.

What do you think about that then? Terrible? OK? Presumably about 77% of you agree that the man should pay, but then you may still think it’s terrible that you think that. Is it a harmless remnant of a more sexist age, an adorable antiquated tradition that benefits women and has survived the passing of many of those that disadvantaged them? Or is it a horrible sign of the patriarchy’s continued power? Money, the great capitalist symbol of strength, remains the territory of the penis-bearers (by which I mean possessors, not endurers).

Ok so I looked at the survey in question, what I found was slightly disappointing.

77.4% of 1,004 people surveyed across the country who are in a relationship – believe men should pay the bill on a first date. About 19% felt the bill should be split in some way. Only 3.7% said men should not pay the bill.

…study asked more than 1,000 people across the United States

Survey of 1004 people? Thats it? And its American…. In the random survey I did myself, it showed Americans tend to go with the man paying plus 1004 isn’t a lot. Moneysavingexpert did a poll a little while back and they had 13,000+ people vote.

Ok ok…! Enough… David later makes some good modern points.

Another aspect of society’s sexism is that we generally assume the man will always want to have sex with the woman. By convention, he will have asked her on the first date, and the purpose of the event is for her to see if she likes him – his approval is assumed. That’s not altogether PC. What if she turned out to be racist or talk with an interrogative inflection or constantly say “in any way, shape or form”? Is the man supposed to pay and then make himself sexually available to this harridan, purely out of gallantry?

Absolutely… Just because we’re on a date and I’m a man doesn’t instantly mean its a foregone conclusion. Trust me I’ve been on dates where the woman has wound me up so bad, I’ve just wanted to get up and leave. Certainly sleeping with them is the very last thing I’m thinking.

…we try and communicate using money. We fall back on our knowledge of ancient patriarchal conventions of what it means to pay, or be paid for, as a way of trying to send and receive signals through the fog of mutual ignorance. It’s not a good system, but it’s all we’ve got. Until we get back to our computers and can just click “like”.

I’ve heard this quite a few times in the past. The only way to tell if somebody likes you is if he (or she) pulls out his/her credit card and pays the bill. Its a clear sign of interest. In 2014, it shouldn’t be this way and I’m hoping with projects like the flirty weekend, the ability to express yourself and understand other peoples body language won’t be the complex puzzle it currently seems.

Paying with coupons on the first date

coupons 3

When I first read the post, the pros cons dating man pays coupons from Single Black Male, I honestly thought… you got to be s*itty me!

But Streetz makes some good points through out

Women, if you have a good guy treating you right, or a potential good dude who wants to spend time with you and treat you to dates, don’t judge him on how he gets it done. Focus on the experience itself. Some of the same people creating these standards of dating are the same ones who spend Friday night curled up with their laptops and copies of 50 Shades of Grey, listening to the latest Adele CD with no type of male companionship on the horizon. Given the choices, I would say the dude with the coupon would be a healthier alternative.

Agreed don’t judge on the payment… This is another reason why I think going dutch makes so much more sense that you can imagine.

In the end, I don’t think it’s wrong for a man to pay for a date with a coupon, especially if he is paying for the entire date! I would just caution against the tact used in applying that coupon on a date. No matter how much a woman would say that it was cool, I would have a feeling that some type of clowning would ensue either there, down the line, or to her homegirls. You don’t want to damage your brand, but you don’t want to front either

Paying for the whole date? Why put that pressure on yourself? Keep money out of the decision process, just split the bill…

Moneysavingexpert asks: Should men still pay on a first date?

Josh tweeted me today… Seems the moneysavingexpert Martin Lewis wants to understand if men should still pay on the first date.

Of course you know my views and to be honest its interesting to see the answers and the results.

Currently (19:27 on 18/3/2014) 1,556 votes have been received

I’m a man (506 votes)
Yes. The man should always pay – chivalry’s not dead yet! 125 votes (25%)
Yes. The correct etiquette is the man offers, the woman says “let’s go Dutch”, the man says no and pays. 131 votes (26%)
Yes. But only if he earns more than his date. 14 votes (3%)
No. It should be split equally. 136 votes (27%)
No. The person who invited the other should pay. 57 votes (11%)
No. In the modern world, the woman should pay. 6 votes (1%)
Don’t care either way. 37 votes (7%)
I’m a woman (1050 votes)
Yes. The man should always pay – chivalry’s not dead yet! 222 votes (21%)
Yes. The correct etiquette is the man offers, the woman says “let’s go Dutch”, the man says no and pays. 371 votes (35%)
Yes. But only if he earns more than his date. 22 votes (2%)
No. It should be split equally. 251 votes (24%)
No. The person who invited the other should pay. 132 votes (13%)
No. In the modern world, the woman should pay. 3 votes (0%)
Don’t care either way. 49 votes (5%)
This is of course kind of good news but I think the balance of males to females might be causing the sway. I expected a lot more people to be thinking the man always pays. However, it also shows we are driven by tradition and social etiquette more than the fear of rejection etc. Its also interesting that money plays less of a role in the voting that I would have thought on a site all about saving you money.
The last couple of dates I have been on, we have split the bill and theres been no issues or concerns. I’ll stick to that for myself…

When should you start paying??? Really?

Thanks to Hollie for sending me this… When I watched it I almost screamed at the laptop screen.

Seriously! I wonder which decade do we live in…?

How to get the guy worries me deeply… Anyone who says

…All Without The Risk Of Rejection…

Is frankly chatting out there ass. Rejection is a normal part of the process. The important part is learning to get over it and understanding how it effects you.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I speak about Matthew Hussey

One of the many worst profiles on OKCupid

The OKCupid profile you won't believe

I think this came from Tdobson or Technicalfault. (Really need to start using Diigo’s annotation feature)

First thing… Good on Cracked for doing this.

I figured any profile with photos of a beautiful woman would get a few messages from men whose boners were willing to overlook her personality. The captions on her photos were just as draped in red flags as her profile was, so there’s no way they were totally clueless as to how awful she is, but sure, I figured, maybe she’d get a couple of messages a day from people with especially low reading comprehension.

She got 150 messages in 24 hours.

With my social scientist hat on (not really, but I wish I did have one) this shows what a large portion of the online dating market is like. Think i’m joking? Look at the popularity of Tinder and the recently redesign of the local feature in Okcupid’s own app.

All of the messages she gets is seriously screwed up. They are well worth reading for entertainment value alone. But every time I read them I can’t help but hold my head in my hands!

Seriously men of Okcupid.com grow some balls, what the hell are you doing messaging this woman!!!!! She sounds like a bunny boiler…  And even worst how can you contact someone so awful after she makes it so clear shes not interested. Worst still wants to do damage to you!

My faith in man kind is on the ropes (of course I’m only joking)

Who pays? Let’s see what the Japanese do

After my blog when I mentioned the programme where the Japanese were not having babies. Pete Aka @binaryape wrote a tweet to me a while back related to who pays on the first date…. Which you can see is related to the Japanese crisis in the lack of babies.

@cubicgarden You might be interested in this (Japanese perspectives on first date meal costs) http://www.tofugu.com/2013/10/25/should-men-or-women-be-paying-for-a-date/

Thanks Pete the reading was very educational.

In Japan, many people still believe that men paying for women is point of good manners and Koichi talked about this in What It’s Like A Dating a Japanese Guy as well. In fact, some guys even feel insulted, or that their pride was just given a ‘low-blow’, if a woman insists that she should pay for herself. This is standard dating-conduct for men in Japan. So, if you are a non-Japanese girl out on your first date with a Japanese guy, insisting to pay your half may be more hurtful than helpful to his pride.

But wait a minute! This has been changing quite a lot actually, especially amongst the newer generation of couples. Nowadays, many men wish more women would help pay for the date tab. It’s also more common for men to ask women to contribute somewhere between 20-30%. If at no point does the woman offer to pay for something, then the man may actually be lead to believe that she is not a generous or thoughtful person!

The whole thing is well worth reading as it goes back and forth with many examples from different cultures including the UK and China. I especially like the writers way of settling the bill with a game…

I had an ex-boyfriend who suggested that we decide who pays the bill by playing rock-paper-scissors. I accepted and from there on out we always decided that way. I found it pretty fair and kind of fun, too

First dates hacked

The Town is All Their's Tonight

The man who usually trolls me Josh sent me a link to the lifehacker article about first dates.

First dates are tough. You’re trying to make a good impression on someone, but you’re also trying to read the person you’re with and see if they’re worth your time. Dating may not be an exact science, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use a little science to our advantage during that first interaction.

Once again, anyone who says its no big deal obviously has no idea what there on about, or hasn’t been dating in the last decade. Lifehacker has your back…

Here’s what you need to know.

A perfect first date is different for everyone, but you can guess that anyone will want solid conversation skills and a good first impression. Beyond that, though, things start to get complicated. Statistics help, but to really craft that perfect first date you need to know exactly how to handle yourself. This is where that science comes in. A lot of the relationship research out there is pretty useless (with riveting studies about how an unpopular name affects your dating success or women find men more attractive when another woman smiles at them), but we went out to find some of the more useful studies to help us craft that perfect first date. Here are the more useful tips we found.

Without ruining the article it boils down to…

  1. Keep the Conversation Interesting (and Risky)
    Absolutely…! This is the part of the date I kinda of enjoy somewhat. Maybe another reason why I quite like speed dating? You start with the basic stuff and before long your in risky territory pouring over past experiences. Its slightly cathartic in nature.
  2. Use the “Right” Amount of Eye Contact
    The right amount? Well I tend to look at people mouths because I’m 25% lip reading and 75% listening. But I do tend to look around the face. I agree the right amount of eye contact is important, no one wants to be eyeballed for long periods of time, specially on a date.
  3. Watch for Mimicry (But Don’t Go Overboard)
    Ok this is something talked to death about in certain books. Its also called mirroring and its go to hear the downsides to mirroring as well as the good. I know certain people who mirror too much and it comes across as weird. No generally I don’t mirror much but I’m conscious of mirroring.
  4. Mind Your Body Language
    Another key one. I don’t generally make a lot of fast or close moves because I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable around me. I’m also not the kind of guy who gets super close at the very start. I know some people will sit side by side instead of ahead from the other. It seems cute but I think its too much.
  5. Be direct with plans
    Although I like the idea of this one, I’m not so certain its a good idea. That extra pressure at the end of a date seems like a bad idea, I mean who wants to go home thinking about how they were pressured into a 2nd date?

Generally the advice is good and the links are excellent…. Good work Lifehacker

When to take a break from online dating

Online Dating. Oh Yeah.

Northen Lass 32 spilled the beans and part of her heart out in her latest article.

A few months down the line, it hasn’t worked out with Mr Facestalk and I. Sadly it seems our paths are not aligned and our future selves wanted different stuff. Rather than crying onto my laptop, which I’ve done in the past – straight onto the trackpad, sending the mouse on an independent clicking frenzy powered by nothing but my salty misery. No, I can’t afford to replace that again. So I’ll simply turn to the wise words uttered by the oracles that are Orbital in their 1990s dance classic Satan: “It’s better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t” How deep is that for a 90s rave tune?!

Deep enough I would say. The problem Northen Lass has besides the wicked tunes (don’t ever knock rave) is this…

Dating becomes less about getting to know one person properly, and more about dating the shit out of a 40-mile radius of your postcode, resulting in serial daters, on sites for years in a continuous state of “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT ONE?!”. It may not have been why they initially signed up, but the overwhelming urge to act like a kid in a sweetshop prevails and the paradox of choice sets in.

And just how do you choose who to date? How do you filter out those not suitable, ending up with your dream human? You know the one, the one that farts butterflies and rides a unicorn to work? With help from the website’s compatibility robot, it could be easy to discount someone you could really get on with based on some fairly superficial filtering options – and start to develop expectations of the perfect match a little outside the bounds of reality and good old chemistry.

We all go through it, start dating someone who really care for and invest heavily in. Maybe even introduce them to friends and family, you meet there friends and family. Its all looking good. Then… it all goes to pot, something happens and before you know whats hit you, its that awkward conversation about breaking up, and as I once said breaking up is hard to do.

Some think you got to jump back on the horse… I think not, grief comes in 5 stages. Each can blind you from what your trying to do. Aka find a partner who you will love and they will love you.

The moment you see the whole thing as a sweetshop, your not thinking correctly about this. Heck even if you do pick someone, you may end up picking that person for the wrong reasons. There’s been a lot said about rebounding and a lot of it is true.

Like I said the first time I saw her post

Chill and take your time, stop rushing and just let things wash over you as interesting experiences

Another reason for non-subscription online dating, but more to the point. When your ready, go for it.

I do wonder if online dating does contribute to that paradox of choice and illusion of the greener field beyond the gate. Wait didn’t I write a blog post about this? Oh yes…

On the side, I’ll be on BBC Merseyside again with Northern Lass talking about the issue of how much you share with someone your dating at what stage. This may become part of a single black male piece soon.

Should have gone dutch when I bounced

November 28th

I’m cursing myself for falling for the stupid mistake of paying for the bill in one of my previous dates in the last few months.

My mistake was paying for the bill in total, something which I don’t usually do.

So what happened?

Well we were having a good time, chatting away and I suggested how about having some food? (because we were in a place where we could switch from drinks to food without moving) she agreed, time had flown by and she was also hungry.

After eating and deciding yes its about time we actually went home, we asked for the bill. Bill comes and I can’t remember exactly what happened but I’m pretty sure I said “Hey no worries I got this one…”

Of course I never really heard from her again. Except shes actually a friend of friends (trying not to give away who it was)

Anyhow months later we bump into each other and I ask her what happened?

The crux seemed to be she wasn’t comfortable with being paid for… Something I can relate to, and something which I usually go out of my way to avoid. What had happened is I thought I’d try paying and seeing what happens, maybe things will turn out different if I listened to thoughts of Ngunan Adamu and others over time.

Well I was right! Her original thoughts of a modern gentleman, was dashed when I picked up the whole bill. And the only person to blame is myself… Yes it was a bit of an experiment on my part but it felt weird for me and I assume felt even weirder for her. Its a shame because although not my usual type of woman, I was certainly interested and would have liked to have gone on a second date…

Moral of this little tale… Should have gone Dutch…!