Category Archives: Dating News

The Valentine Guide 2015

Lucy and I would never steer you wrong

No early Christian Martyr’s feast day has quite taken off like that of the hapless – er, make that headless – St. Valentine. The third-century Roman priest was supposedly executed on the orders of Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II, aka Claudius the Cruel, not to be confused with the one Derek Jacobi played). This bummer of a Claudius – convinced that Roman men weren’t joining the Imperial Army he was keeping busily engaged fighting foreign wars because they were too into their wives and girlfriends – banned all engagements and marriages in Rome. Valentine, a Christian priest, continued to perform clandestine ceremonies for young lovers, and was put to death for his treason. Legend has it that before dying, he left a note for his jailer’s daughter, with whom he had become friendly, signed, “From your Valentine.” The rest is considerably less bloody history.

So, how best to honour his sacrifice tomorrow? Well, other than buying lots of stuff – consumers in the U.S. alone are on track to spend a record $18.9 BILLION this year – or complaining loudly about the day’s observance or existence (please just STOP, you’re boring me) – you could:

It feels so good, you won't even notice my friend Ken taking your picture!

Grab your sweetie (or any willing participant) and make out! Kissing releases powerful hormones and brain chemicals – apparently even just puckering your lips for a smooch can remind you of blissful babyhood, and bonds you to the face you’re sucking. According to the clever YouTube channel It’s Okay to Be Smart, there are more links to the lips in your brain’s somatosensory cortex than there are to your genitals! Dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and waves of endorphins boost your mood, and the longer you kiss, the less cortisol (stress hormone) you’ll produce. Check out this entertaining five-minute video on exactly why kissing is so awesome and get inspired!

Unless he's Dr. Arthur Aron, that is!

Forge a deeper connection with someone by asking the right questions. A very popular New York Times column, Modern Love, recently published this account of how a pair of acquaintances moved their relationship out of the “friend zone” one night by following the advice of Dr. Arthur Aron. I’ve already written about the SUNY psychologist’s work claiming that any pair of people wishing to fall in love with each other could do so by asking this particular set of questions before, and am happy to have my firm belief that there’s no such thing as “the one” (in a predestination sense) confirmed yet again.

I don't think being in the first half of the alphabet could help this guy

Give your online dating profile a makeover! According to a recent study, patrons of dating sites who choose a username that begins with a letter in the first half of the alphabet achieve more success than those closer to Z. While I am familiar with the concept of alphabetical discrimination, I am not aware of a single dating site that presents its search or match results in alphabetical order, so I’m inclined to disregard these “findings” entirely. I have my own thoughts about usernames, wearing red (do it!), and the three must-have profile pictures. If you’d like my help building a better profile, do get in touch.

Umm, does it have to be about an experience with YOU?

Turn bad come-ons into adorable Valentines! Still steamed over all the cheesy unsolicited messages your profile gets you? While my honest advice is to ignore them, if you need more closure than that, check out the excellent new tumblr Okay, Cupid. They’ll turn that embarrassing opening line into a sweetly primitive, hilarious valentine you can send to yourself, your friends, or even the doofus who thought that was a good approach in the first place!

Grab your single friends and have a swingin' party!

Focus on friends and family, or meet new people! This week the New York Times is reporting on the growing trend I like to think I pioneered back in my own single days in New York City two decades ago: the Valentine’s Day party! According to a recent article, New Yorkers “are taking back the day and reimagining it as a time to spend with friends and loved ones — plural — rather than one special person. They are hosting cocktail parties, informal gatherings… and even running happy-hour mixers masked as charitable events. While the prospect of romantic love is still likely to hover in the ether, many of these singles parties emphasize getting out, having fun and not fretting too much about one’s solo status.”

However you choose to celebrate (or not), remember, you’re all having a better February 14th than the good old saint for whom the day is named. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Mad respect for the good old patron saint of illicit love

So who’s single? The Total Package puts a number on it

I made this especially for you!

I’m excited beyond words to give my Canadian friends, fans, and well-wishers an extra special Singles Awareness Day treat this year! For the last several months, Alex Makes Apps has been working on a top-secret project for me: The Total Package, a shiny new Junia app for Android users.

Find out how many people actually exist who meet your terribly discerning dating criteria! As long as you’re not this guy – I don’t think anyone would ever be good enough for him.

Using relevant data from Statistics Canada, Health Canada, and the National Household Survey, The Total Package will calculate exactly how many people (living within as few as 5 or as many as 200 km of your home) meet your standards. Then this incredible app will astonish you further by projecting how many of them are already online dating!

Okay, so it is really just a nifty little reality check for those who have ever wondered, “is it just me?” If you’ve ever worried that you’re setting the bar too high, then this is your chance to find out. Maybe your friends are right and you’re far too picky. Or maybe you’re right, and you can triumphantly wave your phone in their faces to prove it! It’s also designed to be used over and over again, so you can amuse your friends, or simply adjust your parameters if you don’t like the numbers it’s giving you.

And if you need help choosing someone from all these possibilities, you know where to find me!

Perfect for everyone whose friends think they're too picky! Or not picky enough.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Alternative Valentine’s ecards for the last-minute lover

If this card doesn't make your whole year, you may have lost touch with your humanity.

Now that we’re all clear on the Correct Valentine’s Day Procedures for Couples and Singles, you know it’s only polite/mandatory to make sure that no one feels left out. As we all know, Valentine’s Day / Singles’ Awareness Day is the most romantic and drastically important holiday of the year, by which all of our worth shall be measured. If you fall short of societal expectations, let’s face it: you might as well start digging your own grave now. I’m sure someone will feel sorry enough to fill it in for you.

If you’re not ready to give up that easily, the best defense is a good offense. Here are some excellent ecard options you can proactively send to all your single and coupled friends, thus guaranteeing an onslaught of return greetings. Because people feel guilty about stuff like that. In fact, I recommend sending one to at least one of your least favourite acquaintances (or better yet, sworn enemies), just to confuse them and make things awkward. Doesn’t everyone deserve that experience?

For the DEEP OF THOUGHT:

"Nietzche." Get it? Get it?

Critical Theory Valentines! “Valentine’s Day is coming, and people everywhere will soon be bombarded with calls to engage in an orgy of consumption and heteronormativity. While some may prefer to rage against the machine and boycott the holiday altogether, even the most revolutionary of significant others will often expect some sort of spectacle to memorialize your affection.”

For the SAPPHIC SET:

If this doesn't make every single one of my lesbian friends spit their wine out all over their cat, I don't know what will.

Irreverent Lesbian Valentines! “Lesbian e-cards you can send to people on Valentine’s Day. They’re by Dattch. Dattch is a lesbo dating app where you could meet new lesbians if you had time for that kind of shit but you don’t. FOCUS. E-CARDS. These aren’t subtle, which is something I’ve always liked about you.”

For DIGITAL DUDES WHO LIKE DUDES:

Could this card be any more gay?

Classic Gay Men’s Valentines! “Send free unlimited Gay Ecards.”

For the PRAGMATIC PARTNER:

I'm pretty sure I had this exact conversation with my boyfriend the day before yesterday.

Depressingly Realistic Valentines! “17 Brutally Honest Someecards To Send To Your Valentine.”

For the HIGHLY ANIMATED:

My boyfriend hasn't seen this yet. Shh, don't tell him!

Singing Dancing Valentines! JibJab’s song choices this year include Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe: Cast the one you got in this hilariously retro and cheesy Starring You® ecard.” Paid site currently offering 25% off for a total of $18/year, which may be worth it if you know people who like this sort of thing (or have children). JibJab also features a healthy assortment of anti-Valentines, if you like that sort of thing!

For the HIPSTER WHO CAN’T COP TO REAL FEELINGS ABOUT ANYTHING:

I think we can all relate to this on some level. It doesn't mean I think you're special or anything.

Cute ironic valentines! “21 Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards for your Confusing Modern Relationship.”

Note: Some of these aren’t actually ecards, but considering that it’s probably too late to order the physical versions, you can always do what I do when I’m feeling cheap or under time pressure: rip them off and create your own version by hand; take a screen shot or right-click the image and “save picture as” to make your own ecard! And if you need some help working up the gumption to send a card or even just a message to somebody special, contact me at Junia Matchmaking Services – because I can totally help. Or even do it for you, if necessary.

Hello, Dali: Why Mustachioed Men Make Better Lovers

The Dread Pirate Roberts may have grown the lip tickler, but Buttercup wasn't about to make Westley shave it off.

I’m often amazed at how many women of my acquaintance – both clients and friends – are particular about men’s facial hair. “NO FACIAL HAIR” is a fairly common dating parameter for people I know; “Goatee or scruff ok but NO STACHES” is practically universal. What on earth could be so offensive about a little bit of hair on the upper lip?

As a woman, I’m naturally aware that a pretty distressing majority of men feel entitled to pass judgment on women’s body hair, and this is one way for us to sort of even that score. But I’m still a little disheartened that we do it. Just as every woman who can’t be doesn’t care to shave her legs, underarms, or “bikini zone” isn’t a lesbian (or even European), a man with a moustache does not necessarily sport one to identify himself as a creep or a disco fan. (He could be either, or both, but so could the clean-shaven guy next to him.)

Movember is a totally fun idea to raise money and awareness for a very important cause, and if you haven’t already given to a “MoBro” you know, take some time to do that. But while you’re at it, do take note of any of the gents who actually look good – or better – with a moustache, and encourage them to consider keeping it after the month is through! A small part of me has quietly mentally objected to the campaign’s ironic adoption of a legitimate form of fashion expression for men – an area in which we as a society particularly repress boys from a young age – into something “kitschy” and only temporarily cool.

The faddishness irks me, as does the notion that we’ve already apparently decided as a culture that a moustache in conjunction with any sort of beard is perfectly acceptable – but a moustache solo makes you some sort of deviant. Why? As someone with a lot of bearded-and-goateed friends, I can tell you that it’s the bottom half of that follicular facial arrangement that takes the brunt of the leftover meal bits, not the top. My dad had a moustache for almost the entire decade of the 1980s. He was fastidious about checking and combing it after meals, and I never saw a crumb in it. (Can’t say that for some beards of my acquaintance.)

This – amongst many other mostly imaginary issues – is one of the reasons women claim to be distressed at the mere idea of kissing a man with a moustache. In support of the head of the UK Handlebar Club‘s claim that “kissing a man without a moustache is like drinking champagne without bubbles,” I can tell you that one of the best kissers I’ve ever encountered rocked a full-on waxed-and-twirled moz, and the many pleasurable sensations of kissing were actually heightened by its presence. My friend Nicole says, “I love mustaches! I have a hard time even making out with a “man” without facial hair; it seems so much more masculine to have a stache.”

Without further ado, then, here are several very good reasons to date a man with a moustache:

No damns given

HE HAS INNER STRENGTH: Moustaches are not the easiest organic accessories to grow, never mind maintain. Then there’s the constant ogling and even fielding of questions from strangers – those with large visible tattoos and pregnant woman can probably also relate to this – who seem to have no compunction about offering opinions on one’s appearance. Moustaches require patience, endurance (as any man currently growing a Movember ‘stache right now can attest) and most of all, strength of character. He frankly doesn’t give a damn what’s currently cool; he has a more timeless sense of self, which is always in fashion. A man with a well-groomed moustache is a man of substance, who embodies the qualities we admire in others.

HE HAS A STEADY HAND: Most moustaches aren’t just upper lip hair left unattended: they are shaped, combed, even waxed and sometimes dyed to match the hair on the head. (Yes, men know it alarms us when the welcome mat doesn’t match the drapes.) The tools to maintain a moustache properly are very tiny. Anyone who’s ever had a paper cut on their lip knows how sensitive that whole area is, and trimming and plucking and shaving around it is delicate work. A man who can do that and not end up lopsided, cut, or having to shave the whole thing off and start over probably has a lot of manual skills. And those come in handy for so many things….

Magnum P.I. (left); Magnum C.A. (right)

HE LOOKS SEXY WITH WHISKERS: This is basic biology. Men evolved to have facial hair to attract the ladies. Full stop. You can deny it all you want, girls, but we’ve all seen Tom Selleck without his signature flavor saver, and it just doesn’t work, does it? Men can – and do – grow moustaches for the same reason lions have manes, and peacocks are more flamboyant than peahens. While so-called hipsters have lived to regret the trucker hats and PBR fetish culture they unwittingly created, I’ve known more than a few of them who started off with a moustache they grew for a gig or a costume, and were subsequently unable to bring themselves to shave it off because they knew it looked good. There are plenty of unremarkable faces out there, but precious few unremarkable moustaches.

HE CARES ABOUT HIS APPEARANCE: On a related note, my boyfriend, poor sport that he is, ended up shaving off his Movember growth three weeks into the process last year because he was getting too many compliments on it. My personal theory is that he did this to avoid having to pay more attention to what he wears, because a moustache does demand that the wearer bring the whole look up a notch. Unlike his barefaced peers, a mustachioed man does not care to blend in with the crowd. A man with a moustache in contemporary North America is no more asserting his boring machismo than a man in a dress. He’s asserting his fashion sense!

HE CAN ADAPT: I don’t know any men (besides my dad in the 80s) who have had a moustache and never changed it. There are so many exciting variations to experiment with, and being generally more adventurous than most, men with tea strainers tend to change up their styles with more frequency than their clean-shaven contemporaries would even consider updating the hair on their heads. While I was researching this piece – yes, I take my job seriously – I came across this anecdote in a men’s forum, and I contacted the author for permission to quote him on the subject:

“I rock an awesome Clark Gable mustache. Once while in public a young woman suddenly addressed me saying, “Oh my God! I hate mustaches, I would NEVER date a guy with a mustache!” I regarded her calmly for a moment and then replied, “Well, that’s good information but ponder this. If I meet someone who I’m interested in, and the mustache kills it for them, I can excuse myself, find a restroom and a razor and come back in ten minutes mustache-free. If you meet someone who you are interested in and being an overly opinionated, over-sharing twit kills it for them, what are YOU gonna do?”

Eddie Murphy has never had any trouble attracting the ladies, has he?

HE HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR: And he can laugh at himself – because if you’ve ever hung out with a (non-old) man with a moustache, you’ll quickly learn that he has to because the world does, all too frequently. This is not to be confused with jaded hipsterism, either. My awesome (and single) friend Robert, an artist, author and performer who has been mustachioed more of his adult life than he has not, was kind enough to share with me a brilliant essay he wrote on the topic not long ago. If I had the space I’d make you read the entire thing, but here he is addressing why he was first inspired to grow his:

“I needed an antidote to the drab, frumpy goateed 90s. The only other person that I knew with a moustache was under-rated musician Evan Symons who paired his un-ironically with a mullet. Moustaches were a rare breed: when they were sighted, eyebrows would arch.

And what of the phrase ‘ironic moustache’ that came to rise? Personally I have never been one to enjoy emotional distance; if I so much as veer towards such isolating behaviours, a chat with my therapist is in order. Perhaps there was a tad more irony in the early days. One should never misconstrue humour with irony. I wasn’t deadly serious about my moustache, but I wasn’t a deadly serious person. The moustache helped to visually define my tastes and personality.”

HE IS GIVING: Especially if he is doing this for Movember, which believe it or not, many people still know nothing about. (Not everyone is as cool as we are, what can I say?) But beyond the excellent fundraising initiative this month, a man with a moustache is doing it for your pleasure. Or so says my (male) friend Sandy, who is currently clean-shaven, but has sported some of the best moustaches the world has seen this century:

“It’s not simply a lifestyle choice, rather an accessory for the delight of others. It takes time and effort to grow a successful ‘stache, especially one that is kissworthy (i.e. trimmed so as to not obscure the lips).”

Touché, my friend! Whether or not you “celebrate,” enjoy the Movember display, for the plumage is gone all too soon. And as always, for help finding the man (or woman) of your dreams, please get in touch with me, or visit my Junia Matchmaking Services website.

Have yourself a Ten Boy Summer! June Dating News

Equal marriage supporters rejoice as DOMA is struck down. (Photo: Washington Post)

Congratulations to our friends in the United States of America! “Lawfully-married couples living in marriage equality states will soon have equal access to all the federal rights and benefits based on marital status,” according to a statement from the equal marriage advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. The organization will continue to lobby hard for changes so that all Americans may eventually marry the person they love, should they choose to do so.

No matter who you wish to marry, Scientists have been looking into whether your chances of doing so happily are increased if you’ve met your love on the internet. At the beginning of the month, I personally rejoiced at the finding by University of Chicago researchers that couples who met online had a slightly higher – but statistically significant – chance of staying married than those who had met in “traditional” circumstances. (If someone can accurately describe how I’d spot those in the wild, I’d love to hear it.)

Then yesterday, some spoilsports over at LoveLearnings had to ruin my celebrations. (That’s a terrible name for a company, by the way. I really can’t stand that plural gerund, but I guess “love lessons” must have been taken.) These self-styled relationship experts conducted their own research, which found that online dating does not offer users a better chance of establishing a long-term relationship.

However, even that “study” found that, “Despite the fact that online dating fails to increase the odds of finding a lifelong partner, it still offers several welcome benefits. For one, it allows users to interact with other singles quickly and easily. Secondly, the presence of niche dating websites allows people to narrow the focus of their search to a very specific subgroup. But perhaps most importantly, internet dating websites offer a new place for single people seeking companionship to meet and interact, which is a welcome alternative to traditional meeting places such as bars and nightclubs.” And yes, I’m putting “study” in quotation marks. Because despite getting Dr. Harry Reis of the University of Rochester to cough up a verbal blurb at the end, there were no actual Scientists involved.

You could also have a ten girl summer, or something in between

Of course, even if you spend time in such traditional meeting places as bars and nightclubs (really?), your chances of someone actually asking you out are apparently slim. Just ask the sad, beautiful, lonely millennials, who recently lamented to UK tabloid The Sun that “Men never chat us up!” They blame online dating for this, incredibly. Amongst others, this article details the tragic tale of Becca, a 32-year-old “client relationship director” from Leeds who has never been asked out in her entire life. (Despite having had two long-term relationships, which I guess must have begun when she suddenly found herself in someone else’s bed.)

Guess what, Becca? I’ve got ten years on you, and I have only ever been asked out in person by confused foreigners in the subway. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is (mumble mumble) years younger than me, and has been on more dates than he’s had hot dinners, or so it seems. Why? He uses the internet. It isn’t a mystery. The days of people asking people out on actual dates were over before I even hit adolescence, from what I can tell. I don’t have a single friend – male or female, straight or queer, younger, or anything but a lot older – whose story is any different. Dear reader, I’d love to think that my friends and I are anomalies, so please share your tales if you disagree.

Since it’s finally here, I would like to be the first to wish you all a Ten Boy Summer! Feel free to substitute your noun of choice for Boy, but make it your goal to go out with – or at least kiss – ten new people this year. It’s a tradition that my brilliant trainer and friend Eleni started many years ago, back before I helped her find her husband. It will make you feel better. I promise! And if you need my help finding ten people to kiss, visit http://junia.ca/.

New Around Here? Dating Sites and Apps You Haven’t Met Yet

Bored of the usual offerings from POF, OkCupid and Match? Grindr no longer turning your crank? With spring finally really here and wedding season hitting its stride, now is the time to act if you don’t want to be stuck at the weird cousins’ table again. Fortunately, technology continues to conspire in favour of getting you a date, no matter how specialized your needs. I’ll go wherever I must to help my clients find love, so I’ve been doing a little research, and am pleased to present this short primer of some of the newest niche offerings in the online dating market. Please note: a mention here should not necessarily be interpreted as an endorsement!

"Hey, you look just like my...." Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs, married since 2003, do indeed resemble each other rather strongly

The idea that we unconsciously seek out partners who look like ourselves is creepily well supported by science. I’ve been alarmed to note (many years later) how much some of my former partners resemble my young dad in photographs, and in high school, my first terribly serious boyfriend and I were often mistaken for siblings. So this is totally a thing, and that means there is totally going to be a dating website just for people who are into it. Find Your FaceMate purports to match you not based on a bunch of questions, but a bunch of points on your face, and how well they correspond to those same points on other users’ faces. Apparently the geniuses in charge of this site can even attach personality traits to your facial features, but considering that I uploaded a pic of my not-too-uncommonly-featured self and got no matching results, I’m not sure they’re trying very hard yet.

Of course, if you live in Iceland you ought to have no problem. The country’s population of just over 300,000 are all related by blood – it’s just a matter of how closely. So there’s every chance that when you pick up in a bar, you may be about to commit incest, and most people would prefer to keep the degrees of separation as far apart as possible in that scenario. Enter IslendingaApp, which handily enables registered users to “bump [phones] before you bump in bed” (their joke, not mine) and find out just how freaky any resulting children might be. As one user comments, “If I would have had this app last year I probably wouldn’t have gone home with my cousin.”

Ready to meet Ms. (or Mr.) Right Now?

Proximity is the name of the game with the incredibly popular iPhone app Tinder, which uses a “hot or not” style rating system as opposed to useful things like biographical information to help you decide who you’d like to meet. It’s probably the closest thing to a heterosexual Grindr that’s ever going to be popular, even though it’s led to more than 70 men descending upon a one frozen yogurt shop in pursuit of the same (fictional) woman.

Less likely to lure a bunch of unsuspecting wannabe Romeos is the travel-themed Meet At The Airport, which promises “Romance, travel companion, friendship, networking. The possibilities are endless.” Presumably the people using this site wouldn’t be desperate enough to buy a ticket unless they were actually going somewhere, so it may in fact be a handy way to find a mate who also likes to see the world – or has to do so for business. At the very least, mile-high-club membership numbers should surge as a result. As the site breathlessly suggests, “Meeting someone new at the airport is fun and exciting. We’ve all thought about it while waiting for our flight. It’s a bit of adventure that adds spice to your everyday life. MeetAtTheAirport.com can now make a fantasy a reality. Find fellow travelers that are looking for that added sense of excitement that you only get when meeting someone new. Share a drink with an attractive stranger in the totally safe environment of a public airport.” (I’m not sure why, but that last bit – while probably very true – actually inspires very little confidence in the reader.)

Have you met Ted?

Like Tinder, Grouper is a Facebook-reliant members only site (and app) that allows you to set up “dates” between social cliques, in groups of 2 or 3. The obvious benefits to such an arrangement – having your wingmen (or women, or both) on the premises will keep awkward conversational pauses to a minimum, and hopefully stop you from doing anything too stupid – could be offset by the type of issues that haven’t plagued us since high school. “My BFF and I both like the same person!” Still, if I were single, I’d probably give this one a try. And if you’re ready to look for love online and find it, get in touch with me! I’d be happy to help.

Looking up your Internet date: a handy infographic

Looking Up Your Internet Date
Presented By: BackgroundCheck.org

Click here to see a slightly larger version.