Top 5 ways to get a smooch by the end your first date!

kissagain

Let’s start at the very beginning.   Show up on time! Showing up on time begins with the choices you make leading up to your date; prioritize the date and avoid planning important work meetings, family gatherings, your appointment to the DMV, etc.  before your date. You don’t want to start off apologizing, do you? Showing up on time helps to gain trust… Did you know that trust is the #1 quality singles list as a requirement in a partner?

Now that you arrived on time, say something nice. Keep it short and sweet with  something like: “ You look wonderful! “,”You smell great!”,” I really like your hair that way.”,” You did a great job planning this date! “,Hey there, handsome!”…The saying flattery will get you everywhere really means something.  Going on a date makes you vulnerable, so validating that you like what you see and that you are happy to be on the date will set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Be positive. Don’t get upset if you can’t find a parking spot or if you find a hair in your french fries. The way that you treat other people and react to the unexpected reveals a lot about who you are as a person.  No one wants to be in a relationship a with loose cannon! Embrace your inner optimist! When the environment is fun and lighthearted, your date will see you the same way.

Be curious about your date. Ask them genuine questions about their hobbies, interests, and things that they are likely happy or proud of in their life.  Just don’t ask about exes or their dating life! When you share things about your life with someone, you begin to build a bond.  Make sure that bond is built on your secret love of disco music, not that you both had to file a restraining order on your ex.

Wrap it up with a bow.  Pay for her valet, hail her a cab, or offer to walk her to her car. Ladies, you can also make this easier by taking him up on the offer!  When you make sure that your date is on her journey home safely it shows that you care about her well-being.  From there, go in for the smooch! She’ll be glad that you did!

Want to date real quality people more often? Email The Real Matchmakers at info@therealmatchmaker.com and tell us a little about yourself!

Before You Join That Dating Service…

There are tons of dating services out there, and all of them come with a hard sell and promises of finding you your one true love. I know that there are plenty of services out there that truly have the best intentions of uniting you with your soul mate. And then there are a handful of shady companies/would-be matchmakers that are in it solely for the money.  So what exactly is a “good dating service”?

A good dating service will provide a viable way of making the dating process easier for you by facilitating actual contact via phone or in-person dates with your selected matches. There should also be an option for coaching and guidance through the process.  Most importantly, the company/matchmaker will be proactive about finding matches specifically for you, not just relying on their marketing to bring in appropriate matches.  Before you sign up for a service you should be sure that you have a clear understanding of how the company fulfills these three components. Trust me.

Once you have established that the company isn’t run by Cruella DeVille, you must know that you have a part in making the service work for you. Joining a gym doesn’t make you skinny (darn.) If you are not willing understand and take the following advice, you might as well flush that money down the toilet. Better yet, spend it on a therapist or donate it to a charity.

Don’t expect that because you pay for a service, that your matchmaker will be able to hook you up with someone exponentially better than what you could find on your own. A matchmaker is there to weed out weirdos  gold diggers, players, black widows, and con-artists. It’s likely that the people you are matched with have high expectations too, so if your matchmaker is honest you are going to date in your league. Granted, the likelihood of getting in front of a model or a millionaire is higher, but it still doesn’t mean that they will actually go for you if you don’t measure up.  Fortunately, this advice doesn’t apply to most people I have worked with, but then there is this guy, so yeah.

Ever heard the saying, you get more bees with honey? It’s true, especially when it comes to your matchmaker.  If you invest a lot of money in your service, you have better odds of getting the most out of it if you treat your matchmaker well. Unfortunately we can’t wave a magic wand to make your dreams come true… although we do a lot of back flips, sweet talking, and haystack sifting on your behalf. Make yourself available (don’t make me call you more than twice to set up your date!!), be receptive to their advice, and be open-minded about the matches they come up with for you.  Thank them and let them know when your date goes well or tell them what they have really helped you with. This is more than just customer service; it is a personal-professional relationship, so create a friendship with your love guru! If your matchmaker likes you, you are almost guaranteed more dates than you paid for. Think of it this way, would you want to set up your unreliable, judgmental, fault finding boss up with your sweet, funny, good-looking best friend? Exactly.

Being a psychic is not synonymous with being a matchmaker. Those clairvoyants get pissy when we take liberties with predicting the future, so don’t expect your matchmaker to read your mind, or anticipate your every need.  If you don’t feel like you are on the same page, then communicate as you go along and avoid an epic meltdown. Just be candid and constructive. If you have a matchmaker that cares, she will listen to you and lend some suggestions on what you both can do to make you feel more satisfied. Everyone wins when your matchmaker has your best interests at heart.  Your mind set going into your dates should be 110% positive, so if you are harboring resentment or don’t trust your matchmaker the date will most likely fall flat.

Always be kind and considerate to your date-even if they are not remotely what you are looking for. Make the best of it.  End of story.

Online Dating 101

I must be in the holiday spirit or something, because I gave you my famous Prime Rib recipe and now you are getting a quick user guide to online dating. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!!!

While you can’t control the fact that there are some wackadoos online, there are also plenty of (somewhat) nice and perfectly normal single people using dating sites too. What you write in your profile and the way that you pursue potential dates is the only control you have in determining who you attract.

Your profile

I always say “let fun be your guide” when dating, and writing your profile should be no different. I emphasize fun, because even if your content is 100% positive, if your tone is not somewhat playful you will come across as arrogant or too perfect.  So, don’t take your profile (or yourself) too seriously. Be candid about your life; Include where you grew up, what you do for a living, a few of your hobbies and interests, and a fun piece of “trivia” about yourself.  DO NOT mention anything resentful about your work, family, relationship history, etc.   It’s like an office party… you’re there to have a good time, but you have to keep all of your clothes on!

When describing what attributes you seek in a partner, list no more than 5 preferences. Don’t be too abrasive when writing this section either. You want to avoid saying “Don’t bother writing if…” or labeling with words like “criteria”, “requirements”, or “must-haves”.  In allowing some wiggle room, you will give yourself more options.  In general, children and religion are the only two defining qualities that can’t be negotiated, so be true to yourself when describing your preferences on these subjects. Focus mostly on your relationship goals as opposed to tangible characteristics like a bangin’ bod or a fat bank roll. This way you don’t come across as shallow, narrow-minded,or judgmental.

It’s important to leave some mystery, so be sure to not go into too much detail about your life and who you think you are. Your profile should not be your autobiography, it is the Cliffs Notes version of the person you are today.

Photos

It is imperative that you use photos that give an accurate visual of what you look like currently. Think of it like this: If you show up looking better in person than you do in your photos you will have exceeded the expectations of your date once you meet face to face! You should have at least four photos posted. Be  sure to include one that is a close shot of your face, one full body, and the others can be a silly/playful photo or of you doing something you listed as an interest like hiking or traveling to an exotic place. If you don’t have any recent photos, grab a friend and ask them to snap some of you. In this age of modern technology there are no excuses for grainy bathroom pics!

Joe's profile pic when I spotted him online. How could I resist such a handsome hotdog?

Joe’s profile pic when I spotted him online. How could I resist such a handsome hotdog?

Reaching Out

It all begins with punctuation. Yes, punctuation. When you initiate contact through an online dating site, write as you would in English class. No abbreviations or writing in all caps. No misspelled words either.  For heaven’s sake, do not address them as “hottie”, “sweety”, “baby”, or any other cutesy pet names.

Why is this so important? It shows that you are mature, intelligent, respectful, and thoughtful. The content of your email is crucial as well, and should be reflective of the characteristics stated above.  You can be complementary in your first exchanges, but be sure to compliment something specific about their interests or if they mention a physical trait, you can co-sign. You have to be careful with the compliments you choose in your first exchanges, so do not focus compliments on appearance or anything remotely sexual.  Safe physical attributes are: hair, facial features, and style. Also, comparisons to famous people are very tricky, so avoid them altogether unless they mentioned a specific resemblance. I once told a guy he looked like Farva from Super Troopers. Learn from my mistakes, people!!

Next, look for what the two of you have in common.  The more specific the commonality the better, be it a favorite musician or a place you have both traveled  even better if you reference it in your profile. This is because when you write to someone they will undoubtedly visit your profile to make sure you aren’t a creeper. Highlighting your commonalities can tie in to the most crucial element of initiating contact online, which is….

 Ask questions! This is vital and it takes paying attention to what they share about themselves in their profile. Don’t ask anything too personal about their back ground or relationship goals. Keep it light and on point with something they mentioned about themselves in their profile. For example, if they say that they grew up in Memphis ask what BBQ restaurants are their favorite locally. That will open a dialogue to set up a date…sneeky, huh? In asking questions you are not only being attentive, you also leave the correspondence open ended. When your questions are thoughtful the person will feel compelled to answer you-and that, my friend, is your IN.

With these simple guidelines you are much more inclined to get a response, and if you get a response, you are almost guaranteed a date!

My Beef with Wine…

The holidays are here and I am feeling particularly optimistic about the season. My new job as a wine broker is going very well and I am having a lot of fun learning more about wine and sales. To be honest, while I love the world of match making and I miss it a lot most days, It feels good to go back to my roots in a way that I had never envisioned. That is what I love about the culinary and hospitality industry. If you are passionate about it, you can always find a way to make a living even if you don’t want to cook in a kitchen or work for a hotel.”Find a job that you love and you’ll never a work a day in your life” is just the truth.

Modeling a gorgeous 2009 Cab

Modeling a gorgeous 2009 Cab by Jim Olsen called Wagner.

As an early Christmas present I would like to share one of my favorite holiday recipes with you. You see, when Joe and I were dating he curtained his disdain of many foods very well. It’s a good thing too, because had I known that he hated seafood AND Steely Dan before date three I don’t think Team Powdilla would exist today. As a result of his persnickety palate we do not make turkey for our holiday feast. Instead, we make prime rib. Okay, not a bad substitution I have to admit. I think this is a fine tradition that should be adopted for a few reasons: Prime Rib is delicious, it is way easier to make than turkey, and it’s paired with red wine. I really don’t think I need to convince you any further than that. Without further ado, I give you…

Team Powdilla Holiday Prime Rib with Cabernet Mushroom Gravy

For roast:

  • 1 (4-rib) prime rib roast with ribs
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

For sauce

  • 2 small onions (1 left unpeeled and halved lengthwise, and 1 peeled and chopped)
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped shallots (about 3 large)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup veal demi-glace
  • 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
  • Juice from slices roast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook roast:

Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Trim all but a thin layer of fat from roast, then rub roast all over with herbs, salt, and pepper.

photo 1

Transfer to a rack set in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan. Roast beef 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 250°F and roast until thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 110°F, 2 and a half hours. Transfer to a large platter and let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes. (Internal temperature of meat will rise to 130°F for medium-rare.)

Begin to prepare sauce when you reduce the heat on the roast:

Cook halved onion, cut sides down, undisturbed, in 1 tablespoon butter in a 2-quart heavy nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat until browned well, about 4 minutes. Add chopped onion, shallots, carrot, celery, garlic, and 2 tablespoons butter and reduce heat to moderately low, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chopped vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add herbs, peppercorns, and 2 cups wine and boil, uncovered, over moderately high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 25 to 30 minutes.  While wine reduces, sautée the shallots until translucent then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms have a jammy consistency, about 7 minutes.

photo 2

Using a fine mesh sieve, pour the reduced wine into the mushrooms using a wooden spoon to release all of the liquid through the sieve.  Add in demi-glace, and remaining 1 3/4 cups wine to reduced liquid in saucepan and boil, uncovered, over moderately high heat, skimming off froth occasionally, until reduced to about 2 cups, 20 to 35 minutes. Stir in currant jelly, then reduce heat to low and whisk in salt and pepper, any juices from meat accumulated on platter, and remaining 3 tablespoons butter until incorporated. Slice roast across the grain and serve with sauce on the side.

photo 3

This Prime Rib will pair wonderfully with the wine show cased above. It is a 2009 Wagner Cabernet Sauvignon meritage from Mendocino and Lake County grapes. It is hand crafted by Jim Olsen who was the professor of oenology at UC Davis for over 20 years. This cab is fruit forward with lots of black cherry and has a light, dry finish with silky tannins. It is PERFECT for food pairing or on it’s own.

Bon Appétit!

The End of an Era

A few of weeks ago I was talking with a good friend of mine about (what other than!?) dating and relationships when I mused “I honestly can’t imagine ever doing anything other than being a matchmaker.” Well, as the saying goes if you want  to make God laugh tell him your plans.

A series of events occurred, not more than a month ago, that opened the door to another exciting opportunity for me. I am taking a tremendous risk. It’s kinda scary and I almost can’t believe I went for it. I have faith that this is a move that will bring a lot of good fortune and life changing experiences with it. I have been encouraging people to take risks and follow their hearts for the past 5 years. It is time that I take that advice once again for myself, for Joe, and for our future. So far, I am very happy with my decision and feel more and more confident that I am doing what is best. Plus, I am having a lot of fun; and fun should always be your guide, right? RIGHT!

I had very mixed emotions about my choice initially. On one hand,  I love being a matchmaker. I am eternally grateful for the growth I have had both personally and professionally. I am grateful for the trust and friendship I have earned from everyone I have worked with.  To my clients, I care about you and know that you are in good hands.  Table For Six is an amazing concept and a wonderful way to meet some of the most accomplished, down-to-earth, NORMAL single people out there.

I am not hanging up my hat as a dating coach, I have some big plans for moving forward and continuing to “Make the Love Happen!” . I want to make myself available to anyone that wants to stay in touch,  so feel free to reach out! I mean that!!!

Thank you to all of my friends, family, and Joe for your enthusiasm, support and encouragement with the news. Your words and gestures mean the world to me.

A Womens Girlfriend Manifesto

Wow. A month sure does fly by! What with the election, some craziness at the office, and a case of the Mondays that ran into the Tuesdays, etc. This poor little blog has taken a back burner…But here I am! I HOPE YOU’VE MISSED ME 😉

Tonight I was waxing nostalgic over some posts from what feels to be another life time. I decided to include the following post because I feel that it is so relevant for women who are single and dating, newly attached, or in the throws of wedded bliss (or not-so-wedded-bliss for that matter). I hope that this post is especially helpful; That it puts your friendships in perspective, or it salvages a friendship that is struggling and that you cherish, or allows you to recognize that maybe it’s time to walk away from a friendship that is no longer healthy.

Mean Girls

I have often struggled with female friendships. Women put so much responsibility on each other to be a safety net from the treachery of life. We seek solace in each other. When the relationship is going well, a sense of solidarity and understanding causes an extreme bond. When a rift develops (and inevitably does) we feel abandoned, betrayed, and misunderstood. Here is my take in a nutshell:

I have had many different types of friendships with women in my youth and adulthood and have found an undercurrent of co-dependence and competition in all of them at one point or another. I have been the less-pretty wing woman for a particular girlfriend with daddy issues who needed the attention of men in order to feel validated. I have been the stronger, supportive friend who is relied upon as the “shoulder to cry on”. In either situation, one woman is in a position of power over the other. It takes a highly evolved person to maintain female friendships because of the constant power struggle. In my late 20’s I have found these relationships challenging because the different life stages women find themselves in. This is where I have found the statement “birds of a feather flock together” to be true. Married women and single women have a more difficult time relating to each other and resentments can stem from jealousy. Likewise, with women with and without children. Priorities are shifted. In order to bridge the gap there needs to be more compassion for each others lifestyles and priorities. Since female relationships rely heavily on the support system, trying situations cause us to take things personally and seek validation from other friends which lends itself to cattiness, gossip, and exclusion. Just like any relationship, ebbs and flows will occur based on circumstance. Being true to yourself, having an open heart, and cultivating self worth from within and not from the opinions of your girlfriends can lend itself to maintaining long lasting friendships with women.

Like a game of Survivor, I have been voted off the island more than once. It’s hurtful and infuriating. What I have learned through these experiences though, is that each person who comes into our lives serves a purpose. Friendships do not have to last forever. If we are fortunate, they do last a life time, but not without bumps in the road a long the way. Choose to stick with friends who make you feel good about yourself and be sure to nurture them to ensure you make them feel the same way. Give each other space to lead your own lives and don’t meddle or be too opinionated about the other’s life decisions.

Since this blog is dedicated primarily to dating I will add that sometimes our girlfriends don’t give the best dating and relationship advice. This isn’t to say their guidance isn’t well-meaning, but let’s face it, the people who love you are more inclined to be over protective or may not be brave enough to call you out if you are your own worst enemy. Your girlfriends may encourage you to game-play or tell you not to give a guy a chance because they don’t see them as dating material. So who do you turn to? You could hire a match maker for starters! Of course, we will always turn to our girlfriends for advice and support so I will give some basic tips for both perspectives

When advising:

  • Be supportive and ask questions. Don’t assume your friend is giving you an unbiased version of what’s going on
  • Don’t be judgmental, or poke fun. Your friend will get defensive and shut down.
  • Ask permission before giving advice. If she says she just wants to vent-zip it!  You will get to give her advice later, anyway.
  • Be solution driven instead of feeding into her anger and frustration. In doing so you will keep yourself from being too emotionally invested in her ultimate choice. If she ends up with someone she doesn’t think you like, she’ll avoid including you in activities with them and your friendship could suffer.
  • Don’t be offended if she doesn’t take your advice. NEVER say “I told you so!”
  • Don’t give ultimatums if you value your friendship. You will lose sooner or later.

When asking for advice:

  • Preface with if you are genuinely seeking advice or if you just want to vent.
  • If your friend is brave enough to give you constructive advice, count to 5 before responding. What they are telling you could have some truth.  Try responding with a question instead of a statement to avoid getting defensive.
  • Remember that your decision is yours. You should date people that make you feel good about yourself, not that make you feel good about what your friends think
  • Go to friends that are generally positive and who have similar goals or who are in relationships that you admire.

Every woman should be able to find a good man and keep her girlfriends!

Hope You’re Hungry!

You know the feeling. The nagging ball in your stomach when you think about your last date. The twinkle in their eye…the talk of getting together next week…that awkward goodbye hug. Oof. I cringe just thinking about it!  That knowing that you don’t want the follow up date. That knowing that, no, you don’t want to stay in touch-even as friends.

A cherished client of mine brought the following scenario to me the other day. He had taken a woman out that he met on his own and knew she was interested. At the end of the date they had talked about going out again the next week. He wasn’t really interested, but she called and they talked about it, but he didn’t solidify the date. The question is:

“We only went on one date. Do I tell her I am too busy and hope that she gets the hint, or do I flat out tell her I’m not interested?” 

Before I go on to answer, I will mention that match making isn’t just putting two people (or six, in my case!) together; it’s what happens after that teaches you how people react to each other-and to the process of dating as a whole. I have had hundreds (probably more like thousands) of conversations with people who are navigating a blow off. They thought things were going well, only to be met with the ominous “Things are really busy right now” line or maybe never even got a response at all. Most people don’t shrug that off as easily as you think.

So! You could tell her you are busy and hope that she takes the hint. However, from her perspective, you had indicated that you would be open to seeing more of her. This is the type of behavior that makes dating so frustrating!!!

In the moment you play along to be polite, “Sure I’d like to see you again! *Cough* let’s do that…sometime,” then it’s only a matter of time before she gives up on you and your busy schedule, right? If you’re lucky, she won’t call and you’ll never see her again. But how would you feel if you ran into her at friend’s BBQ a few months from now knowing that you blew her off? Awkward! Why is it awkward? Because you know that you had indicated a possibility of moving forward knowing that you weren’t interested. That’s called Game Playing. 

Since we’re assuming outcomes, let’s also assume how she may or may not be feeling about you. She could be lukewarm about you and is being more aggressive since she doesn’t really care as much whether or not you want to be her boyfriend, OR, she could be feeling pretty excited because you were exactly who she has been looking for so she’s swallowing her pride and making it easy for you to ask her out. So I am compelled to ask: Do you really want to risk hurting someone? 

I say, bite the bullet and let her know where you stand. I call this The Compliment Sandwich! This is composed of three simple parts:

  1. I had a very nice time getting to know you.
  2. I don’t see this moving forward
  3. You are a good person and I wish you the best

The art of delivering a compliment sandwich is to keep it brief and keep it simple. The above is in it’s purest form, so definitely warm it up and personalize it to your situation. If you have only been on a date or two, you risk making a bigger deal out of ending things than you need to if you over-explain yourself or apologize; which might end up offending the other person unintentionally.

There are two sources of anxiety when dating someone new: 1.) Not knowing if the other person likes you, and 2.) Not knowing when or if you will see the other person again. When the ball is in your court to provide the answer to these two questions, the only thing you owe the other person IS an answer.

While it is easier said than done to deliver a compliment sandwich, who wants to walk around wondering if they’ll have to dodge a call or feeling guilty that you may have let someone down? Plain and simple, it’s just good manners.