Archive for September, 2009

“solid shirt white cuffs douchebag”

They must’ve been looking for this:



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Check it out.

Not surprisingly, good grammar and spelling will take you far. Few people would want to go out with someone who types “wats up.” This isn’t middle school.

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No matter how necessary it might be, no one likes to break up with another person. Even if you just about hate them now, you feel a sense of obligation. At some point, you liked this person, maybe even loved them, so hurting them isn’t going to be easy. I’ve had a few conversations with friends who’ve recently been through breakups and are in varying stages of getting over it, and I’ve realized that breaking up with someone doesn’t just take courage. It takes a tremendous amount of self-confidence.

Here’s why:

1. It takes confidence to be selfish. Dumping someone is a selfish act. Haven’t you ever been on the receiving end of the “How could you be so selfish?!” line? Yeah, thought so. But being selfish is a necessary part of life. It’s self-preservation. It allows you to take care of yourself so you can better take care of others. Often one gets roped into remaining friends with an ex out of guilt, but a confident person realizes that this would not be a true friendship, so out of self-preservation (no offense to the other person), they cut ties completely in order to properly get over the relationship and move on. Being selfish can be damn smart.

2. It takes confidence to think you can do better. When you realize what a catch you are, and how you deserve a great relationship, and how the person you’re with is not the last datable person on Earth, you gain the ability to let go of a relationship that’s no longer serving your needs.

3. It takes confidence to think you’re better off single and alone than paired up in a cruddy relationship. Really, people put up with a lot of crap so they won’t be lonely. A confident person is okay with going through a period of being single and will enjoy that stage of life (or whatever stage they happen to be in). A person lacking confidence will assume a relationship will help fill some void. It won’t. You will always have that void and even with a relationship, you’ll go on trying to find other things to fill it.

So, there you have it. If you’re contemplating breaking up with your S.O., or you’ve just been through a breakup and the ex is playing the we-can-be-friends-so-I-can-secretly-try-to-get-you-back card, put yourself first. Get this person out of your life. It’s hard to do, but it gets easier as you begin to realize how much you’re really worth.

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Hello, my lovelies. I took some time off from blogging during Rosh Hashanah (shana tovah to my Jewish readers!) but now I’m back! And I return inspired by a conversation I had with a guy I know — let’s call him B — and also inspired by something I’ve been going through.

We’ve all been on either, or both, sides of this story. Two people meet and go out a few times. One would like to take it slow, possibly see other people, and the other thinks, “they’ll do!” and latch on like a parasite until the other person commits. Well, maybe they don’t literally latch on, but the reek of desperation is evident. B told me about how he tends to like to take his sweet time getting to know a girl before he commits, and if the girl seems to be in a rush so as not to “waste her time” with him, he backs away. If he told me this even three months ago, I would have scoffed. Love is a battlefield, why wait too long and risk watching a girl you like date someone else who beat you to asking her out? You have to lock it in! But I’m beginning to think B’s onto something.

I’ve gone out a few times with a guy who seems to be way more into me than I am into him. I suspect I fit into his mental list of things he looks for in a girl, and he thought, “she’ll do!” and has been perusing me valiantly ever since. This should be exactly what I want, right? A nice guy is showing interest! I know where I stand with him! And yet, I found myself shutting down. I sensed desperation, and a false sense of closeness on his part. Not one to take the passive-aggressive route, I called him and told him plainly what I had been thinking, and to my surprise, he took it really well. So, he’s getting another chance!

Based on these conversations and my recent experience, the best advice I can give is this: Take your time. If you’re desperate, it will show. There’s always another potential date out there, so don’t think this is your last chance. You’ll blow it if you come on too strong.

Lesson #2: Taking criticism well will work in your favor.

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Apparently it’s fashion week here at CHO.

At a brunch, my brother met a guy who was dressed from head to toe in biker gear, and I’m not talking of the Harley variety. He was clad in a jersey and padded shorts, and kept his yellow-tinted, non-prescription protective glasses on throughout the meal. I imagine he removed his helmet, but no word on whether or not he limped around on those shoes made for clips.

Listen, I get that all that stuff serves a purpose. I own a bike, I’ve ridden long distances on it. I’ve felt pain in NSFW locations that was alleviated by padded shorts. But there is a time and a place. Riding in a metric century? Fine, look like Lance Armstrong. But if you’re just heading out to brunch, you will look like a douchebag. There were single women at this. You can bike in jeans.

I see this a lot on What Not To Wear: People who have a serious hobby or a job that involves special clothes start dressing for that activity or job all the time. They work in construction and dress casually, for example, or yoga instructors who only wear tank tops and yoga pants, even when out in bars. You need to dress for the place you’re at. Then go home and change before the bike ride.

Or if that’s not an option, take off the damn yellow-tinted glasses.

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How to be a good date

You can’t get to the second date if you bomb the first one. Dating is a skill that, like any other skill, needs practice. Most people are not naturally good at making conversation in a high-pressure situation with someone they might not know well. Most people also don’t marry the first person they ever date, so anticipate having several year’s worth of good and bad dates under your belt by the time you meet The One. Those past dates are your learning experiences. Here’s what I’ve learned:

For both parties:
Show up on time and be polite. Keep your cell phone on silent and ignore it. Dress well. You don’t have to avoid talking about religion, sex, or politics, but try to gauge how your date will react if you bring those topics up. Smile, be engaging, and don’t stick to some script (often the case on blind dates). Be the best version of you. Don’t be rude to the waiter.

For the guys:
Don’t let feminism lead you to believe otherwise — women totally dig chivalry. Open doors for her, pay her a compliment, and be a gentleman. On a very basic level, we love the big strong man taking us out for a night on the town. To that end, have the date planned. Know where you’re going and how to get there. Be open to your date’s ideas, and then take the lead. It’s hot. At the end of the night, don’t say you’ll call when you’re not going to. Just say it was nice to meet them and leave them safely in front of their house.

For the ladies:
Be gracious and thank the guy if he pays for the date. Don’t shoot down your date’s plans in a bitchy way (unless you have severe food allergies and he suggests a restaurant you can’t eat at or something, and even then be nice about it and suggest something else). Let him make the plans and surprise you! It’s fun! And if you’re not interested after getting to know the guy better, being direct is better than leading them on.

Remember that most dates won’t turn into your future girlfriend or boyfriend. Just relax and enjoy the adventure. All you’re finding out is if you’d like to see them a second time. Don’t think beyond that point.

Do any of you have any tips?

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A male friend IMed me to chat about my post about men’s fashion. He had some follow-up questions about stuff I didn’t cover (Such as: t-shirts — tucked in ever? I say no). Then came the line I hear a lot: Why is it so damn important to care so much about this crap, anyway?

Let me tell you, I don’t like that question. It’s not just because there’s no easy answer (fashion, really, is quite frivolous compared to a lot of other things), but because it’s hard to convince people — even people who know I’m right — that your appearance is paramount. I get that “we should get beyond all of that surface stuff,” but…we don’t. We, as human beings, as animals, don’t. How you look plays a role in how you’re treated. Enough people have done experiments where they dressed nicely for a few hours and then dressed shabbily for a few hours and gauged people’s reactions to prove that. When you interview for a job, when you attend a formal event, when you go to religious services, when you go on a date, the way you look matters. It shows that you pay attention to social norms. It shows that you take care of yourself. It shows respect for yourself and those who are around you or with you. Not only is underdressing a bad thing, but often overdressing can make people just as suspicious of you.

Long story short, looks fucking matter. Get over yourself.

Not only does this kind of question bother me for the reasons above, but it bothers me because of this: The same people who make no effort to dress appropriately still judge the appearance of others. It’s human nature! So, slobby people of the world, you think the rules don’t apply to you? You think you can look like you haven’t showered for days, and then expect some really hot person to be interested in you because you’re a nice person and they should see through the layer of grime? But you wouldn’t want to touch an unattractive person with a ten foot pole because you can do better! It doesn’t work that way.

If nothing I’ve said hits home for you, think of it this way: If you’re single and looking for dates (or, say, job hunting) wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to give yourself the advantage? If all you have to do to make a major difference in how you’re perceived by others is wear clothes that fit you better, clothes you can probably acquire in a one-day shopping trip, wouldn’t you do that?

Don’t think of caring about fashion as having to follow lame social conventions. Think of it as adding one more tool in your arsenal. Grooming is a tool. Humor is a tool. Knowledge of current events is a tool. You are creating the impression of yourself that others get. Create the right impression.

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