The App That Could Save Your Relationships

Ever had that one relationship where you love someone deeply, but just don’t see eye to eye no matter how much you try? Well Dutch tech entrepreneur Johan Hagenbeuk has set out to change all that.

The free PersonalityMatch app does what just about every over-priced therapist in the country does, so personality-match-app-banner-sotperhaps it’s time we started saving our money? Users of the app can take the personality test given and then invite loved ones to do the same, at which point the app will assess your compatibility with one another. Perhaps it will lead to the revelation of a few home truths, but on the flipside maybe the outstanding kinks in your relationships will at long last be ironed out?

Reminiscent of the world famous ‘Myers-Briggs’ test, the app asks around 20-30 questions relating to your approach to: people, to working life and to how you might handle certain situations. The result? A detailed personality profile which you can then use for everything from a chuckle with friends to progressing your professional development.

As much as this is a social app, what struck me most was how useful this tool could be in business. My own team recently completed the Myers-Briggs test and to our surprise found out we were a room full of extroverts with high emotional intelligence. But what we are often guilty of in business, is approaching every client in the same way, when in fact their personality type is most likely very different to your own. So imagine the results you could achieve if you had a way of understanding your client’s personality type and what makes them tick. You wouldn’t even need to ask them to fill out the questionnaire, simply using the app with loved ones will progress your understanding of the many personality types out there.

“What is the one thing most people do every day?” Hagenbeuk asked me. “We spend our lives trying to understand the people around us and figure out ways of ensuring we all get along. I decided to create the PersonalityMatch app to facilitate this complicated process and offer everyone a fun and easy solution. If you want to develop a clear understanding of where your partner, friends, colleagues, fellow students or others close to you are coming from, then give PersonalityMatch a try. What do you have to lose?”

23-female-bosses.w529.h352And Hagenbebeuk has a point. How many times have we heard of people putting up with insufferable partners or tolerating colleagues who just won’t listen to reason? PersonalityMatch could help determine if that relationship should grind to a halt, or, it could teach you exactly how to fix it!

Strictly from a dating perspective, it could signal the end of apologetic cards and flowers. With an app like this us men might just get it right first time!

Of course I too have signed up! If you’d like to connect just click here.

PersonalityMatch, the innovative new way to assess compatibility with those around you, is available now in the App Store at:https://itunes.apple.com/app/personalitymatch/id1098507017

A dedicated Android version is also available via Google Play at:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.personalityperfect.app

Further information can be found at: http://www.personalityperfect.com/app

PTB Meets Frank Turner

Singer-Songwriter Frank Turner will soon release new LP ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’, but before that I grabbed a quick chat with the famed folk singer to discuss finding success and his ultimate deal-breaker.

Frank you’ve enjoyed success in the music business for a number of years now, at what point did you really feel like you’d made it? That’s a tough question; in some way I’m still not confident that I have – this is a very fickle business to be involved in. In other ways, I think I made it when I stopped having to have another job which was a long while back now.

How did your every day life change after finding success?  Touring has been my life for more than half of it now and I was on the road before and after being successful. I guess the buses just get more comfortable (laughs).

Musicians are often perceived as living particularly hectic lifestyles, do you ever find personal relationships and projects taking a back seat for the sake of your music? Yes. I don’t have much luck in the relationship field but it’s part and parcel of the live I’ve chosen to lead so you get used to it. No one makes me do what I do.

Are you ever conscious of ‘hangers on’ who be interested in you for your fame as opposed to who you are as a person? Yeah you have to keep an eye out for them but it’s not overly challenging filtering out the d*ckheads.

Any dating horror stories? Yes, but none that I can share (laughs).

Looks vs Personality? Personality, every time.

Teen Pin-Up? Uh, probably the bass player from White Zombie haha, or Kim Deal from The Pixies.

What are the most important qualities you look for in a partner? Honesty and Loyalty.

Any Deal-Breakers? Astrology!

Does our perception of love change as we get older? Yes, as with everything else in life.

What’s next for Frank Turner? A new record and much, much touring.

Would you do it all over again? Of course, I’d definitely do it all again.

Main Image: Sarah Louise Bennett/Upset Magazine

Online Dating Success Stories…With A Twist

As I was doing my usual rounds of networking within the dating industry, one name kept cropping up that I previously hadn’t been too familiar with – Badoo. Whether it be dating, friendship or business related I’ve always preferred meeting people in person, but who knows, maybe that’s about to change?
I may be showing my age here, but what I always found off-putting was the lack of reliability in online dating. Between catfishing, fake profiles, two-timers and on a more extreme level, sexual predators. badoo 3What I loved about Badoo was discovering their commitment to safer dating on a level that I hadn’t quite seen before. Online dating no longer has the stigma it once had, and as its popularity continues to grow, safety for its users becomes all the more important. This is where Badoo goes the extra mile. As recently reported in TechCrunch.com, the company with over 300 million global users has introduced photo and profile verification as part of its dedication to keeping women safe online. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, particularly as younger age groups have started to adopt the online trend. Corporate responsibility like this is what will open my eyes to the online dating world once more, and perhaps the so called giants of the online dating world should promptly follow suit? Just swipe right if you agree.

With my new found curiosity for the online world firmly in place, I decided to ask some of my readers about their own online success stories, and to my surprise stumbled upon some very interesting results:
“I was using a particular dating app and I spotted this girl I really liked the look of, but when I went into her profile it turned out it wasn’t her profile at all, she was just a friend who had been in13625288_1048004385248552_933055941_n the other girl’s profile picture. So I wondered if I should take a chance anyway and just send her a message, which I eventually did. I tried to be really polite, particularly knowing what I was about to ask her but the girl wasn’t overly impressed by my message and pretty much told me where to go. That was the end of that I thought. But then the following day I was astounded to find a message from her that included just a name and a phone number. She’d shown her friend my picture who thankfully had approved and passed on her details. We dated for a couple of months, in the end it was nothing serious but it just goes to show what can happen when you take a chance in life.” Aidan, 23, Dublin.

“I was pretty new to online dating, it was really just a case of ‘well everyone else is doing it’ and so I thought ok let’s give this a bash. I actually really enjoyed it at first, but my big mistake was agreeing to go on a date with the first guy who asked. My approach was all over the place, it just seemed like a bit of a free for all. He was reasonably good looking, seemed a tad shy but I was open-minded and was interested to know more. As it happens he was extremely shy and had turned up pretty 13625065_1047999811915676_1027037733_nmuch inebriated as a result of trying to calm his nerves. One drink, I couldn’t understand why he was so nervous? His behaviour culminated in him swearing at me and dropping my phone, smashing the screen in the process. Thankfully the barman asked him to leave and escorted him out of the door. I hung back so as not to bump into him outside. Anyway, that very barman is now ‘my Kev’ and has been ‘my Kev’ for three and a half years now. In the most roundabout of ways, online dating very much led me to the man of my dreams.” Kerry, 33, Bristol.

“I’ll be honest, I was absolutely terrified of using dating apps. I’ve no idea why actually, I just always had a bit of a barrier with the whole thing. A close friend of mine finally managed to convince me to do it together on the proviso that any dates would be double dates. Fair enough I thought, so we both got talking to different guys. Funnily enough, it was the guys who were more hesitant about the 13624815_1048001011915556_1737809261_nwhole double date idea than we were, but after what happened next I probably can’t blame them. Basically I really liked my friend’s date. She liked him too, but her date liked me instead of her. Whilst my date didn’t seem to like anyone! After the double date, he asked me out and we met up behind my friend’s back, which in no way am I proud of but there was just something between us that I couldn’t put my finger on. I lost a friend, but gained a fiancé.” Ellen, 25, Slough.

So online dating, not always what you expect it to be but it seems at the very least you’ll gain a bit of life experience from it. If you are dating online or are considering signing up, then listen to people’s stories. As boring as it may sound, your safety is the most important thing and that goes for the guys as well! My advice? Be cautious but never negative and most importantly have fun! Who knows, you might just create a few stories of your own?

Fancy checking out Badoo? Just click here

PTB Meets Big Brother Legend Nikki Grahame

Would you believe me if I said it’s been ten years since “who is she? who is she?” bellowed from our TV screens? Well it’s true, a whole decade has passed since Nikki Grahame left her mark on Big Brother 7 and such is her longevity, she is still hard at work whilst other contestants fade increasingly into obscurity. Although still busy with media duties and her never ending Big Brother legacy, Nikki has learnt to appreciate the quieter side of life and even spent time in living in France where she used Tinder of all things to improve her language skills. This week I caught up with the 34 year old to discuss love, dating and of course what’s going on in Big Brother.

Hi Nikki, you’ve been in the public eye for a full ten years now, how has fame affected your approach to dating and relationships? Before I did Big Brother I used to go for really elite guys. I dated a couple of footballers and some really good looking guys, but since Big Brother its been harder to meet people. A lot of guys think that because you’ve been on TV you’re completely unapproachable which isn’t the case at all. I think some people are a little put off because of how I was in Big Brother, but you need to remember what an exceptional circumstance that was. Living in a house with so many strangers is never going to be easy, I’m definitely not like that all the time of course I’m not. These days as busy I am, I do like the quieter side of life and I’m more focused on enjoying my downtime.

Would you be put off dating a fellow celebrity now or would you prefer someone who is away from the limelight? I’m always open-minded I mean never say never, but I’m an extremely good judge of character so whether they’re a celebrity or not I would never waste my time on someone who wasn’t worth it.

Are you conscious of people wanting to date you for your public profile as opposed to who you are as a person? Well I’m actually really attracted to gay men and believe it or not I’ve met a couple of guys who have pretended to be straight to spend time with me. Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice compliment, but unfortunately I have absolutely nothing to offer a gay man in the bedroom.

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? Sense of humour! I’ll tell you what if you can make me laugh you’re on to a winner. There has to be a physical attraction though of course, I really like guys in glasses. Generally my taste is quite varied though, I love that classic look that Leonardo DiCaprio has in films but I also like Johnny Depp’s kind of alternative style.

Any deal-breakers? Bad breathe.

Worst date? Bad breathe guy (laughs). No, I went on a Tinder date once and I was actually on a girls night out when this guy messaged out the blue to meet him so I went and he was just so dull, I actually fell asleep and he just sat there. It was actually a friend who came and woke me.

What are your thoughts on the increasing popularity of online dating? I don’t think there’s that stigma with online dating anymore. This is the generation we’re in and i think it’s quite normal now, I’ve been on Tinder and I’ve just signed up for another one with my friend and we’re going on a double date from it so yeah I’m all for it. I do prefer using online dating abroad however, just because of the Big Brother thing it’s easier to use it where I’m less known.

Teen Crush? Oh Duncan from Blue. He’s actually a really good friend of mine now and I’m a huge supporter of everything he does, he’s wonderful and extremely good looking.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self entering the world of showbiz? Just to keep your eyes open and be very aware of who’s around you and the company you keep. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve had the same group of friends for about 16 years now who’ve always been good to me and kept me grounded, but I’ve also had a lot of people tag along for the fancy parties and then when the sh*t hits the fan they’re nowhere to be seen.

Do you think our perception of love change as we get older? Yes definitely, it becomes much more meaningful as we get older. People know exactly what they want from a relationship, whereas when you’re younger you’re really still learning and getting to know yourself.

Big Brother has gotten off to a fiery start this year, what do you make of the new batch of housemates?
It’s insane isn’t it, I really don’t like Marco he’s just awful! I think him and Laura are taking the raunchiness too far, it’s actually really distasteful. It’s too violent as well and there’s far too much confrontation. I think some of these people are on the wrong show, they need to get themselves on Love Island.

To catch up on all of Nikki’s adventures around the world, check out her official YouTube channel by clicking here

PTB Meets First Dates Star Fred Sirieix

He’s everyone’s favourite chiselled Frenchman and the man who has welcomed dozens of potential couples to London’s swanky Paternoster Chop House Restaurant for a bash at finding love on Channel 4’s First Dates. The straight talking maitre d’ does the show in his free time having been approached by producers as a result of his charismatic reputation on the Hospitality scene. This week I grabbed a quick-fire chat with the man himself:

You’ve become something of a heart-throb for viewers of first dates, how have you dealt with the attention? My feet are well and truly on the ground and I am a very well balanced individual. For one I am still working as General Manager at ‘Galvin at Windows’ at the London Hilton on Park Lane so nothing much has changed for me.

Do you think people often put too much pressure on themselves to meet the one? Sometimes yes, as such love can become overrated and this can lead to unnecessary feelings of loneliness and possibly nostalgia.

What’s the strangest date you’ve encountered during your time on the show? The strangest dates are the ones when people are not quite sure why they are there or when they do not make the necessary efforts.

What advice would you give to young men struggling with confidence issues? Work on yourself and condition your mind like a Champion, just like Mohamed Ali did.

Your idea of the perfect date? Caribbean, beach, a cocktail, nice music and the hot sun.

What are the key qualities you look for in a partner? A partner that is good at heart. And also kindness, reliability, loyalty, good judgement, a sense of adventure and responsibility.

Teen crush? A few. They all ended in tears.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Sent flowers and bought nice shoes, unexpectedly.

Do you think fame and a happy relationship can successfully co-exist? For sure, but you should ask people who are famous to know the answer. (so modest)

Do you think old school romance has become a thing of the past in a world of technology? Old school romance is well and truly alive, but technology in fact, enables much more romance.

Do you believe our perception of love changes as we get older? Not if you are always young at heart.

Fred also confessed to me that he’d never had a bad date – maybe he can teach me a thing or two then!

 

At What Point Do We Take Things To The Next Level?

I had a really interesting question put to me this week and it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked this: “under normal circumstances, at what point is it OK to take things to the bedroom?” Now sex has always been a fascinating topic, in modern society sex often comes with a degree of judgement. It’s such a normal part of life, everyone does it and everyone enjoys it, and yet still eyebrows are raised at anyone considered even remotely promiscuous. As every female I’ve ever known will agree, it seems even more judgement is saved for women. A girl who sleeps with multiple people is called every name under the sun and a guy who does the same, is simply a lad. Is it fair? Well obviously not.

It’s almost disappointing to hear women ask me this question because deep down I believe the main reason for asking is due to that fear of judgement. This expands into two key points: are they going to scare a guy off by rushing into things and giving off the wrong impression? Or are they going to scare a guy off by doing the complete opposite – waiting too long?

It’s always difficult to generalise men (or any other group in society for that matter) because naturally everyone is different. There is a general assumption about men that we quite literally want sex as soon as physically possible. Sure it is true of some guys and yes it’s most likely crossed our mind within two minutes of laying eyes you (don’t hate the player, hate science), but fewer than you think would actually act on such an urge.

The important thing to remember, however, is that the decisions we make when it comes to relationships shouldn’t be dictated by numbers. 1 date, 3 dates, 5 dates, how much does it really matter? Should we really deny the inevitable just to save face and feel a little bit more lady-like or gentlemanly? I’m not saying throw yourself at the next guy or girl who comes along, I’m just saying don’t stress about it. At the end of the day it’s the individual circumstances that matter and how your individual relationship transpires, not the number of dates you can count on your left hand.

For me personally I would rule out anything beyond a kiss happening on a first date, not because I would be judgemental in any way, but because it’s nice to leave something to the imagination and ultimately have something to look forward to. The start of a new relationship is always the best bit in my opinion, and I’d want that to last for as long as possible. So it’s never ever about judgement for me, I just prefer a build-up.

After the first date try and let things take its natural course, over-analysing things will only send you round in circles. Any reasonable, down to earth guy or girl should have the common sense to judge a situation on its own merits and not jump to the conclusion that their partner automatically must have a few hundred notches on their bed post. So never worry too much about what your new partner is thinking. When it comes to how you’re perceived, the right people will always make the right call.

PTB

 

PTB Spends The Day With Channel 5's Strip Date

Over the last few years I’ve been crying out for some originality when it comes to dating shows. When I was growing up ‘Blind Date’ was the dating show, which unfortunately makes me ever so slightly older than I care to admit. These days the pinnacle of television dating is probably ITV’s Take Me Out, my thoughts on that? Too much of a game show feel and to be quite honest it’s had its day. So, much to my delight I was invited down to Birmingham to spend a day on the set of Channel 5’s exciting new show, Strip Date. Now this particular episode was screened last night and so finally I can reveal all!

What instantly grabbed my attention with Strip Date was really simple – it was fun! Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it. For those who haven’t yet tuned in, two people describe their perfect crush and each undergo a makeover to look like the other’s dream date. For this particular episode I met Rihanna fan Isaac from Cardiff and Sinatra loving Emma from Kent – no contrast there then!

First up was Emma. When I first met Emma all I could see was her make-up free face surrounded by a Untitledchunky white dressing gown and a similar thing on her head which as a guy I have no idea what to call. Emma was understandably a tad nervous, but still very bubbly and excited for what the day had in store. Her enthusiasm did however wane when her outfit was revealed piece by piece and who could blame her! Nothing against Rihanna, but ‘stripper on a night out’ springs to mind with this particular outfit. As she was surrounded by a crack team of make-up artists and stylists, I grabbed a few words with Emma to get her thoughts on dating and how she felt about the evening ahead:

Emma! so what made you come on the show? “I split up with my boyfriend and I just felt like I needed to do something really different and I came across the show and thought I’d go for it.
What are your expectations from tonight’s date? I don’t have any major expectations, I think the date will be a fun experience but I’m open minded to finding another relationship.

Untitled3The dating industry is very online based at the moment, what are your thoughts on dating apps? I am on Tinder but I just use it as a way of curing my boredom, it’s just easy but I don’t take it too seriously and I’ve never been on any dates from it.

Ok so a little scenario for you, you’re going on a blind date tonight and you’re not remotely attracted to them, what do you do? Tell them you’ve got to go to the toilet, ring your mate to pick you up and leg it haha.

Up until this point your day has very much been focused on how you’re going to look, how are you feeling about now seeing Isaac’s transformation? Too be honest I’ve not even had a second to think about him after being so distraught by what I’m wearing, so I couldn’t care less about him right now haha.

How do you think he’ll be feeling about the outfit you’ve chosen for him? I think he’ll be thinking I’m seriously old fashioned.

Do you think there’s a chance he’ll adopt his new look? I think he’s going to look great actually but when we go out there’s going to be a bit of a pretty woman feeling to it, he’s going to look really suave and I’m going to look like Julia Roberts.

Untitled7Two hours later and Emma was fully transformed. Her unease was clear for all to see but still she embraced her new look and seemed to be enjoying the experience, even if her vintage granny chic style had been demoted to a thing of the past.

With Emma raring to go, albeit a little apprehensive, I moved on to Isaac and his impending transformation.

Isaac was an interesting character to say the least. In fact Isaac was a perfect example of never judge a book by its cover. A rapper from Cardiff with a little bit of ‘gangsta’ in him, he did in his own words look like someone who might steal your purse, but in truth you couldn’t meet a nicer, more chilled out individual.

At this point it really hit home how sincere and genuine this show was. The entire building had met both Emma and Isaac, except Emma and Isaac. There was no fakery with this show (apart from the wigs), no Tattoo Fixers style setups, every single person was totally dedicated to ensuring Emma and Isaac had the best possible experience and that included not clapping eyes on one another until that one pivotal moment. So what you see on screen, is exactly what you get.

Untitled1Back to Isaac, no more Goldie Lookin Chain, Emma was after a Frank Sinatra/Lord Disick look for her man and poor Isaac in for something of a shock to the system. The style was suave, the hat was was on fire, the cane was so money and the wig was horrific – but still all part of the fun of course!

As I sat down with the man himself, I posed a few questions about dating and of course his upcoming date:

So what made you come on the show Isaac? “Well I saw a status on Facebook that I replied to and they called me for a Skype interview and here I am.”

What attracted you to the show was it the chance to meet someone? The chance to be on TV? “I’d say a bit of both really, the chance to meet someone and just have a laugh and a relaxed date and be on TV, I like to be the centre of attention haha.”

What expectations do you have from your date? Would you be open to a relationship? “It’s more just the experience to be honest, you’ve got to go into it with an open mind but yeah I’d say what drove me to taking part was the experience more than finding love.”

I mentioned to Emma that the dating industry is very online focused at the moment, what are your viewsUntitled2 on apps like Tinder? “Yeah I have used Tinder in the past, I’m not really very good at it I prefer being face to face that’s what I thrive on…meeting new people, talking to girls…it might not even be more than a chat but I just prefer talking in person. I just like being myself and having the opportunity to let people get to know me properly and I don’t think you can always do that online.”

So I’m going to put to you the same scenario I put to Emma…you’re going on a date and the second you see her you realise you’re not attracted to her in the slightest. What do you do? “Do you know what, I’m not the type of person who would just ditch out on her, I couldn’t do that and would feel so bad so I would just carry on. There’s a chance she might be thinking the same thing so you can still be adults and go out and enjoy a meal with someone without having to be attracted to them.”

What’s the most important thing to you when it comes to a girl? “I’d say sense of humour is key, I like to say a lot of random stuff and one-liners, I laugh a lot at my own jokes and I don’t want to be the only one laughing haha.

…and your biggest deal-breaker? “Live, Laugh, Love on their bedroom wall hahaha”
And so on to the big reveal. Having spent time with both Emma and Isaac I wasn’t at all sure they were each other’s type, however both were tremendous sports and lovely people so I was confident that they could at least have a fun night together.

Untitled4The way the two clapped eyes on one another for the first time, shocked and startled, anyone would’ve thought Frankenstein’s monster had just awoken. However, they both looked great– in spite of their contrasting styles. The whole room held it’s breathe as they spoke for the first time, was it love? Absolutely not! Were they polite and chatty? Of course they were. Did they have a new-found respect for one another having gone through the same process? I’d say so. Most importantly, however, everyone had fun and that’s exactly what dating is all about! From myself to the director to the camera crew to the awesome stylists, the whole experience was a breathe of fresh air and everything I’d been craving for in a new dating show.

Emma and Isaac kitted out in their new looks hit the town that night where they enjoyed a sushi making session at a swanky restaurant. Did they hit it off?

No. Isaac threw up.

You can catch Strip Date every Tuesday, 8.30pm on 5Star.

Singlepin – Challenging A Phenomenon

The Dating industry as booming as it is, is notorious for churning out new ideas and concepts that very quickly fall by the wayside, sometimes at record speed. Even Sir Alan Sugar seconded this notion when Apprentice finalist Vana Koutsomitis tried to secure his investment for a new dating app, speaking at length of the difficulties she would face establishing herself in an already over-crowded market. So what exactly was the problem with Vana’s app? Where do I begin: time consuming, over-complicated, irrelevant, the list goes on (sorry Vana). What the dating industry craves is simplicity, which is precisely why I was overjoyed to stumble upon Singlepin.

I asked myself what is the opposite of being single? The answer of course is being married, and what discreetly symbolises being married? A ring. So why not have something that discreetly symbolises being single? Well now we do. No one wants to wear a sign around their neck that says “I’m single” but why not a small, tasteful, Sterling Silver pin complete with Amethyst or Onyx stone and an admirable purpose to go along with it?

Most importantly, however, Singlepin has provided (at long last) a viable alternative to online dating. As times change, more and more aspects of life have become technology based. Technology by all accounts will always be welcome in my life, but do I want my relationships to revolve around it as well? I’m a bit of an old-romantic at heart and sure certain apps are good for a quick chat etc, but if I were actively seeking ‘the one’, is that something I’d want to find online? I’m not so sure.

I don’t believe in the stigma that was once attached to online dating and by all means it serves a purpose, but I still feel there’s a lot to be said for 13149872_1010874688961522_1035650014_nmeeting people the old-fashioned way and frankly I’m not sure I’m ready for a harmless flirt to become a lost art (not that I’m particularly good at it). For example, I love to travel and some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met have been in French cafes, line-dancing in Texas and even when I walked into a Spanish pub and mistakenly ordered “some donkey meat and a big toilet.” These are all moments that I’ll never forget, but can I say the same about my online dating experiences? Unfortunately not. Online dating is overwhelmingly convenient and there are of course some amazing people out there using it, I just think I’d rather meet these amazing people somewhere else.

What Singlepin does is bring dating back into the real world, it represents not only your single status, but your belief in meeting people through more traditional means. To explain better I caught up with the creator herself, Artist Dianne Harris.

 

Hi Dianne, tell us in your own words how you’d describe Singlepin? I like to think of Singlepin first and foremost as a reaction to the influx of online dating sites. I wanted to create something to represent meeting people like we used to, to create a wearable icon to empower those who wear it and bring back the charm and excitement of meeting people face to face. Singlepin represents being in the moment, being open-minded and embracing the idea that you could meet someone at any time. No individual should have to rely on being ‘logged on’ to find love.

What was your inspiration for introducing such a concept? I suppose from my own personal experiences and surprise of the world going completely online and that it had fast become the only option, also more simply I realised there is absolutely no chemistry to be found from a photo. Plus, I’ve never met anyone who’s raved about their experiences online. I understand why people use such sites, but I’ve always felt there needs to be an alternative, something different to bring people together again. For me, the idea of ‘being in the moment’ and experiencing face to face connection is becoming a thing of the past and that sort of thing should never be left behind. There’s a certain buzz created from spontaneity which so many of us underestimate. I want to bring back that natural excitement of liking someone you meet and being able to identify who you can connect with, it’s a great ice breaker and if you see someone wearing a Singlepin it will instantly make you smile, you will have an instant connection with them – that’s the point. On an even simpler level, it’s exciting and playful and people can have fun with it, you never know who you may meet and where, that’s the beauty of it.

How do you feel about the prospect of taking on some of the giants of the online dating industry?
I’m not particularly looking at it as competition, my goal is to create something that allows us to take back control of how we meet people, something that isn’t governed by corporations. Paying a monthly membership to meet someone, It just doesn’t make sense.

13140854_1010874678961523_2111377585_nWhat’s next for Singlepin? Well we’ve certainly got people talking about it, the realisation that we shouldn’t be restricted to online dating has at last surfaced and to offer Singlepin as a new alternative was the aim. It’s been very well received and people are saying they’ve been craving for an alternative to online dating. There’s also been some healthy debate and great support from industry experts. People have started to wear the pins and embrace the concept. Upcoming plans are to continue awareness and to extend the growing Singlepin community. We’re also planning Singlepin events and panel discussions about online vs offline options in Bristol and London, with more to follow in the run up to the summer which is really exciting.

So there you have it, a wonderfully creative alternative to online dating that’s simple, stylish, and inexpensive. Singlepin well and truly eliminates the possibility of being ‘catfished’ once and for all and more than anything, puts us right back in the moment.

You can pick up your Singlepin at www.singlepin.co.uk or follow the team on Twitter @getsinglepin.

Preparing For A First Date in Glasgow (One For The Guys)

Usually I recommend just going with the flow, but for many, preparation is everything. As I walked into the office the other day I saw an array of new women’s magazines neatly spread across the reception coffee table. As I looked a little closer at the usual celebrity faces gracing the covers, I noticed how incredibly similar most of the undercard articles were:’what not to wear on a first date,’ ‘5 ways to impress your new man,’ ‘5 talking points to avoid on a first date.’ So I thought to myself let’s do one for the guys, but let’s keep it really simple and focus on three key areas: before, during and after.

Before:

I always say don’t overthink dates, your lifetime’s happiness believe it or not isn’t dependant on the outcome of this one simple evening ahead. At the end of the day it’s a drink, a coffee, a meeting, a chat, whichever way you look at it it’s not a big deal, at least not yet anyway. It is however, important to feel your best. Looking and feeling your best will promote confidence, reduce any pre-date jitters and ultimately allow you to have a really good time. So what first? Haircut. Whether it’s three inches off the top or a trim around the sides, nothing makes a guy feel fresher and ready for the night ahead than a visit to the barber’s chair. So where to go? For me there is only one place. House Martin Barbers.

HM2Winner of ‘Best Barbers’ at the Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards in 2015, House Martin Barbers is fronted by Stephen Martin and his ridiculously talented young team. There’s a uniqueness to this place that I haven’t found anywhere else during my ten years of touring Glasgow’s best barbershops. From the reception area’s country pub feel to the bank vault and poker table through the back, a visit to House Martin is more of an experience than just a haircut. The most important thing of course though is the cut itself. These guys have cut hair for some of the biggest names in fashion, music and ahem blogging (thanks Michael) and you won’t leave disappointed. I’m also very pro-beard, but if like me you can’t shape your beard without looking like Ming the Merciless by the end, then these guys will of course do it for you. Alternatively, the cleanest of clean cut shaves is equally on offer.
Plus, if the moment takes you pick-up a Cuban Cigar on your way out. Located on Glasgow’s Bath Street, check them out at http://www.housemartinbarbers.co.uk

Next up is the outfit. This is where guys are most guilty of trying too hard. Leave the over-sizedDBArmani logo shirts at home and almost always keep it simple. For me, David Beckham is my style hero, post-sarong days of course. His entire wardrobe is based on simplicity and yet he always dresses impeccably. There’s a few ways you can approach this, let’s start with the feet, the one thing that seems to go with everything at the moment is a nice pair of brown Chelsea boots (my favourite purchase of the year so far). I recently picked up a second pair for a mere twenty quid at the Topman sale, no pressure! Jeans, I don’t think I own a pair of jeans that aren’t ‘skinny’ but if you’re not a recovering emo kid like me then a good pair of bootcut jeans should do the trick, but no white jeans, never white jeans! On top depends on your colour of jeans. Black jeans go well with the old, trusty denim shirt and blue jeans go well with a plain, tight-fitting (but not too tight) black t-shirt. Hopefully with the summer months approaching there won’t be any need for a jacket, but if you do need one you can’t go far wrong with a little leather number, but none of these ones with the big white stripe across them, I’ve never understood those?

During:

78So first off, location. This is one thing I do recommend thinking about because it’s the one thing that could ruin all of your other preparation. Go somewhere that will actually maximise your chances of getting to know someone and of course let them get to know you. Somewhere that you can get a seat and don’t have to shout over the music. One of the worst dating mistakes I ever made was allowing a girl to talk me into going to the cinema on a first date, not only did we not get to know each other, I ended up sitting behind her because it was so busy! Ideally you want somewhere that plays music but not too loud, is busy but not too busy, dark but not too dark, close enough to other places in case you decide to go for a wander and isn’t too expensive. Easier said than done? Maybe not, check out ‘The 78’ on kelvinhaugh Street. This is a place I stumbled upon on an unplanned night out with friends and wow what a place! Drinks, ridiculously cheap home-cooked food and a surprisingly enjoyable night of reggae music in the later hours. Throw in a coal fire, comfy armchairs, chunky tables and French windows and you have a place that might just lead to this date being the first of many. It’s different and girls appreciate originality.

Conversation is next on the agenda. There are certain things that you just don’t talk about i.e exes. Leave the past in the past, tonight, no one cares about who you’ve dated. So what do you talk about? I should mention that this advice is basic and it’s only for when you need it. The ideal scenario is that the chat flows from start to finish, you have a natural spark and every word is said without a moment’s thought and zero repurcussions. However some people are shy, it’s only natural, so be prepared to go the extra mile if it helps a girl open up. Show interest in them before you start talking about yourself and to do that you have to ask questions. Work, family, music, movies, food and travel, stick to these topics and you’ll be set. Politics and religion? Time for another drink.

After:

Whether you say it out loud or not, your only concern is that they get home ok. Never leave a girl by Young-Beautiful-Woman-Sitting-at-Bus-Stop-102513BA890BFDD9herself to make her way home, walk her to the bus, put her in a taxi, whatever it takes – even if you didn’t like them! Be caring but casual about it, you want her to get home ok, but you’re not her Dad. A quick text later on to make sure she made it and thank her for the night. Now let her make the next move. You’re now a dating machine, level completed.

Body-Conscious, Insecure, Emotional…Male.

Bravado is a curious thing when it comes to some men. It’s like our philosophy for life – don’t ever let people see the truth, bury your weaknesses in the deepest, darkest corner of your being and ultimately just pretend everything is OK. Men have struggled to show their cracks for centuries now, but why? Is it the way we are brought up? Are we too concerned with maintaining a presence of strength, power and masculinity? Whatever the reasons I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s mostly a load of rubbish.

My Dad was from a very working class background. Super tough and never one to be messed with. He was brought up fighting in a poverty stricken area of Glasgow. His best trait? The ability to throw a good punch. A man of many jobs he was a butcher, a baker, a window cleaner, a mechanic and a soldier before retiring with the emergency services. He was what I would call the true definition of a man’s man. My Dad did however have very poor hearing and yet point blank refused to wear a hearing aid. My family knew this would make our lives a lot easier, for him because he could actually hear properly and for us because we would no longer have to shout all the time (the neighbours mistake our shouting for aggression). Still, he would never wear it and avoided the subject at all costs. But why? Inconvenience? Laziness? Not at all, in his eyes it was a sign of weakness that he didn’t want others to see. Even the toughest of old boots can have their insecurities it seems.

At 29 I get by OK without too many problems. I’m very lucky, not because I think highly of myself but because over time I have learned to fully accept who and what I am. Over the years I’ve been described by people as confident, funny, a bit cheeky and a real people person who can chat away to just about anyone. But what was going on in my head was a very different story.

My honest assessment of myself went something like this: crooked nose, funny shaped head, squint teeth, 13866734_1059985577383766_821057246_ndouble chin, oversized brow bone, too skinny, sticky out ears (one of which is higher than the other), over emotional and deep down a bit shy. This was how I saw myself without exaggeration and as much as I’d like to think I’ve made the most of myself, the majority of those things are still true today. The only thing that’s changed, is my attitude.

A lot of men both young and old, suffer with similar self-criticisms on a daily basis but often bury them behind a mask of jokes, arrogance, over-confidence, sarcasm, rudeness and basically anything that will hide the reality going on in their heads.

In my youth, I found accepting my ears to be an endless struggle. I would stare in the mirror for hours analysing them. One day after school I tried to stick them to the side of my head with double-sided tape just to see what they would look like flat – much to the amusement of my Mum I might add. I would also wear tight beanie hats to bed and hope that if I pressed my head hard enough against my pillow my ears would in time, stick to my head. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?

At the age of 18 I grew my hair long. It fitted in well with the whole indie and later emo culture, but in truth I’d grown my hair long to cover up my ears. The funny thing is, my ears aren’t even that bad (check my photos). I was just a paranoid, insecure, adolescent who was still growing into himself.
maxresdefault (1)Being skinny, that was another problem. I was a cross-country runner for many years which made it virtually impossible to put weight on. Even on the hottest of days, I would wear three t-shirts just to add a little extra bulk. I find it hilarious that my intention was to give myself the tiniest shred of self-approval, when in reality I was just a plonker in three t-shirts on a sunny day. All those t-shirts and my ears taped to my head! Can you imagine if I’d had my way?

Showing emotion is another touchy subject for men. Being emotional is actually one of the few things I genuinely love about myself. I find that if I allow myself the opportunity to really feel something then I can experience life’s moments in their fullest capacity. Don’t get me wrong, in the past I’ve mustered a tear or two for some pretty trivial things including football, home improvement shows and on one occasion even just looking at the moon! (Don’t ask). But for every cheesy American TV show there were emotional goodbyes, breathtaking scenery and the marriage of close friends – times when showing emotion served to enhance a life-long memory.

One of my close Australian friends is another of the ‘real men’ in my life. He’s from a very male dominated family and enjoys the simplicity of fishing, rugby, beer and his dog. I lived with him for a few months on my travels and at a time when he was going through some real personal turmoil. He wasn’t the type to talk about his feelings, but it was clear to see he needed to. I discreetly probed for weeks on end, gently encouraging him to open up and on a few occasions there was the tiniest glimmer of hope, but each time he clicked on to what he was about to do and promptly shut off.

He moved in circles that didn’t allow much room for emotions, it just wasn’t very ‘manly’. I really wantedrowan_atkinson_actor_tuxedo_gray-haired_brooding_27333_3840x2400 him to know that I was there for him, that I would listen without judgement and help him in any way I could, but it was all to no avail. I still wish today he would see the benefits of just, talking.

British actor Rowan Atkinson once said “I like to walk in the rain, no one can see me cry.” I think some men are starting to improve when it comes to showing emotion, it honestly is such a release to just let go and really feel something. And no it doesn’t mean falling to your knees and bursting into tears and it doesn’t make you weak, just human. Why wait for the rain to come?

I hope from this post women can gain a slightly better understanding of why men are the way they are sometimes, not because I excuse certain behaviours but simply to raise awareness…awareness that behind every arrogant pig there is a 12 year old boy standing in front of a mirror trying to tape his ears to the side of his head.

PTB

PTB Meets Emmy Nominated TV Chef Ching-He Huang

As we all know dating and relationships affects every single one of us irrespective of who we are or where we come from, as a result I like to try and interview quite a diverse range of people to share their experiences and advice. When the opportunity arose to interview culinary wizard Ching-He Huang I jumped at it. Emmy nominated and the pioneer of BBC 2’s ‘Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure’ alongside Ken Hom, Ching is globally recognised as one of the finest Asian Chefs of her generation. Married to actor Jamie Cho, I recently caught up with Ching to talk life, love and dating.

Hi Ching, you’ve enjoyed great success in your career so far, is it ever difficult to prevent fame interfering with your personal relationships? The media are more interested in my food than my husband so I’m lucky I get to keep that part of my life private. The only time I think fame can interfere with personal relationships is if there is an affair or a scandal and you’re in the public eye, but we (my husband and I) are quite boring so we’re ok!

Do you think people often put too much pressure on themselves to meet the one? I think there is a pressure in society for people to have the perfect ‘everything’ so not just work, life, but of course relationships too. This is too much pressure – better to just relax and ‘the one’ will find you.

You married husband Jamie in 2014, what were the key qualities that made you think this is the guy I FullSizeRender (18)want to spend my life with? We married after 12 years together and he has always been there. I knew he was ‘the one’ not long after we met, we just never got round to making it ‘official’ until recently.

Any funny dating experiences from the past? An ex once gave me his house keys for a date, I put the keys in and his mum opened the door! What an introduction!

Your idea of the perfect date? A good meal in a cosy restaurant, with good food, wine, and ambience – preferably in a quiet romantic corner. Now, finding the ‘the perfect table’ is tricky – so a sign of a good date is how much homework they do! After all, preparation equals success!

What advice would you give to young women struggling with confidence issues? I think most women are hard on themselves. I take my advice from my mum who is no-nonsense. Life is too short, there is no point worrying about what others think of you, only what you think of yourself – so embrace and celebrate who you are. Only if you are happy in yourself will you find true happiness and be able to give and share it. Without that, no relationship can fulfil you.

Beauty magazines are a major contributor to such issues, is there anything we can do to limit this? Beauty magazines are there to try inspire us, but remember beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. There is beauty all around us and mostly in our hearts. Don’t look outward, look inwards and find peace. Every flower wilts and that’s what happens to all of us. Life is fleeting and beauty is fleeting. It is better to focus on your skill, personality and charm, than on ‘looks’ because that won’t last. Limit what you expose yourself mentally to and detox what is not healthy for your mind, personal growth and inner development.

51a8e42a320cb71160Teen crush? Too many! Growing up it was Keanu Reeves, Brandon Lee, Robert Redford – anyone with a good mop of hair. Did I mention Johnny Depp too?

What’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? My husband carrying me everyday, in and out of the bed for 3 weeks when I had an operation and couldn’t walk. He was the perfect house husband.

Relationships can be difficult at the best of times, what do you think is the key to maintaining a happy home? Treating your partner like your best friend and communicating honestly without any blaming or guilt tripping. You can’t put a fire out with more fire.

Do you think old school romance has gotten lost in a world dominated by technology? Yes! Where have all the love letters gone? And that first nervous phone call…asking someone out…now it’s a swipe! Too fast and not enough build up – fire’s out before it’s started!

Do you believe our perception of love changes as we get older? Yes, I do. I think our needs change and instead of the attention that is exciting and self-fulfilling at first it evolves from self validation to true love for your partner. As you become a unit and more compromising, love becomes unconditional and selfless as times goes on the more that we give. We all want someone to love and to hold forever, and that means wanting the best for your partner and ultimately you reap the rewards you sow.

Ching’s Amazing Asia premieres on the Food Network tonight at 9pm, Freeview 41 | Freesat 149 | Sky 248 | Virgin 291. In her new 10-part series, produced by Sentient Films, Ching travels the continent and showcases the amazing diversity, innovation and originality of Asian food, placing delicious flavours at centre stage set against the rich and exciting backdrop of Asia.

PTB Meets Former Corrie Star Charlie Condou

Veteran of a variety of challenging roles, Charlie Condou is perhaps best known for his portrayal of midwife Marcus Dent in Coronation Street. An ambassador for the gay community, Charlie is a proud supporter of Manchester Pride and a patron for charities Diversity Role Models and The Albert Kennedy Trust. Recently I caught up with Charlie to talk acting, marriage and his idea of romance.

Hi Charlie, you’ve starred in a number of vastly different roles over the years, at what point did it really click that you had made it as an actor?

I’m not entirely sure I have made it! I suppose Corrie gave me the fame side of the business but I’d worked fairly consistently for a good ten years before that. I guess when I realised that I could support myself and my family through acting without having to get part time work in between jobs, that was when I knew I was successful. I’m always convinced each part I get is my last though!!

As a profession, a jobbing actor can often be portrayed as a struggle, was there ever a time when you were tempted by the 9 to 5?

Oh God yes! Many, many times. Being an actor is HARD. Not the acting part – that’s the bit we can do. It’s the long periods of being out of work that’s the real struggle. I’m sure I would’ve jacked it all in on a number of occasions if there’d been ANYTHING else I thought I was any good at

You’ve featured heavily in a number of pride lists in recent years, what advice would you give to men young and old struggling to come to terms with their sexuality?

It’s very difficult to advise anyone in this situation because you’re asking them to confront their fears and that’s something people have to come to themselves. But in my experience (and the experiences of many friends), it’s not nearly as frightening as you think it’s going to be. Be true to yourself, lead an honest life as best you can and accept yourself as you truly are. The rest is easy.

Appearing on British soaps such as Coronation Street can often propel an actor into the limelight, how did your role as Marcus affect your every day life?

It’s very strange going from basic anonymity to suddenly being recognised by a huge part of the population virtually overnight, but that’s what happens when you’re on a show like Corrie. It’s been a good few years for me now so Im used to it, but like most of the cast, I found it quite overwhelming at first.

Congratulations on your recent marriage to the handsome Cameron, how did you know he was the one?

I’m not sure he is the one, I just wanted to get my first marriage out of the way early! Seriously though, I knew very early on that I was in love with him, but more importantly, that he was someone I wanted to spend my life with. We’ve been together 10 years now and while it hasn’t always been a bed of roses, I love him more now than I ever have. It doesn’t hurt that he’s fairly easy on the eye either.

Any dating horror stories?

Yup, loads, and none that I’m sharing! They all know who they are.

What’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?

It’s the small things that Cam does that I love. We’re not ones for big romantic gestures; we don’t buy flowers or even celebrate Valentines day. But he brings me a cup of tea and something to eat when I’m working hard or he cooks a meal that he knows I love. I suppose he thinks about me first and often knows what I need before I do. That’s the stuff I find romantic.

Online dating: Curse or Convenience?

I’ve been in a relationship for a long time so Grindr and the likes have passed me by. But I remember Gaydar and I think like all things, it’s fine if you know what it’s all about. Sometimes you just want sex, and that’s ok. But those sites can become compulsive and that can be a real problem for gay men.

Teen crush?

Rob Lowe, who I’ve actually just worked with. He’s a lovely man and still as sexy as he was when I was 15.

Does our perception of love change as we get older?

No idea, I’m still working it out. But I think what we want changes, so we look for different things.

What’s next for Charlie Condou?

I have two shows coming out, one for Channel 4 and one for Sky. Im developing a comedy series, working on a book, getting a treatment together for a documentary and trying to focus on my company Out With the Family. This, while trying to spend more time with Cam and the kids. So it’s fairly quiet at the mo!

Check out Charlie’s website www.outwiththefamily.co.uk, an organisation aimed at bringing together LGBT families to aid networking of gay parents and children of same-sex parents.

*main image courtesy of Magweb

At What Point Do We Say Enough Is Enough?

How many people are in relationships they shouldn’t be in? How often do we stay together because quite frankly, it’s easier than breaking up? Fear of being alone, fear of regret, fear of being honest…these are all reasons (or perhaps excuses) why we stay together, even when our gut tells us to run. We have to ask ourselves though, how much can we really take? How much happiness are we sacrificing with someone else? How many times can we use the same old excuses and ultimately, when will enough be enough?

It’s often difficult to make sense of our relationship problems, sometimes it’s near impossible. The struggles of every day life can often give these issues a back seat. Problems at work, paying the bills, making sure the kids are ok – there’s always something taking priority. But if we don’t address these issues one way or another then we allow them to fester, the resentment creeps in and before we know it we’ll be 60 years old wondering what might have been.

Often in an unhappy relationship we talk ourselves out of ending it. We obsess over hypothetical situations, how would I feel if I saw them with someone else? How would I cope without their financial contribution? You have to realize it simply doesn’t matter! All that matters is how that person makes you feel every day in the here and now, are you truly happy, are you content that this is what it’s going to be like for the rest of your life or deep down do you desperately crave an escape?

Still can’t decide? Ask yourself these questions…

Do you make excuses for them? Ok so you’ve been with someone for a while and you’ve had doubts for a while too. They mess up constantly and by messing up I don’t mean mixing the whites in the washing, I mean those times when they have quite literally punched a hole in your heart. But still, we forgive. We say to ourselves the next time this happens that’s it over… ok the next, next time it’s definitely over…and still it carries on, over and over again. Where does it end?

Does the thought of ending it fill you with relief? It doesn’t always have to be a bad or abusive relationship, sometimes it’s really simple. They’re great, they treat you with respect, they’d do anything for you…your Mum likes them. You’re just not in love.

Is the sex too good? That’s right I said it. Your partner is hot, really hot. You have an incredible, passionate sex life and in those moments you find them utterly irresistible, you can’t imagine your life without them. But the second it’s over, your doubts magically reappear. Don’t let physical attraction mask the obvious.

Are they compromising your life goals? You’ve always wanted to travel, you’ve always wanted to work abroad, you want a high-flying career that makes a white dress and a veil fade into irrelevance. Whatever it is that you want, don’t bin your bucket list because you were with the wrong person.

Are you scared of breaking their heart? You know how much they love you, you know it will destroy them, you’re a nice person and you don’t want to do that – does that mean it’s ok to break your own? Be fair, on both of you.

Feeling the pressure? Time is cracking on, you’re not as young as you used to be, you’re partner is nice, good, reliable, loyal, they’ll be great with kids…but they’re also boring, snore loudly and dress badly, there’s no spark and you feel more unchallenged than you ever thought possible. This is your life, not your parents, not the gossipers at work, you’re allowed to be picky, you’re allowed to look for that spark, never ever settle – ever!

Is the problem taking over your life? You know that way when you have a dentist appointment you’re dreading and every time you laugh or smile in the run up to it you suddenly remember sh*t I’ve got the dentist next week and the smile is instantly wiped from your face? Well that can be true of a bad relationship also, you might be laughing away with friends and suddenly you remember, oh dear I need to go home to him/her tonight. Imagine feeling like you have a dentist appointment booked every week for the rest of your life!

Are you scared of being alone? I’d rather be alone than be with the wrong person. Who is going to want me you ask yourself. Maybe, ‘the one’ was also with the wrong person but they’ve taken the leap, now you have to as well. One door closes another one opens, the one is waiting just around the corner…take your pick of tired cliches. All that matters is, it’s true. Besides, what’s so bad about being on your own? Travel, sit about in your pants, take those dance lessons…smile again.

I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done and I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Don’t forget to live the life you wanted. There’s always a way to make a change, irrespective of age. Just adapt, be brave and make it happen.

PTB

5 Things Guys Don't Want To Hear

As I’ve spoken at length about before, guys aren’t particularly great at sharing their feelings. In fact a lot of men are more accustomed to biting their lip than actually expressing their honest opinion to their partners. Now that might sound a bit harsh, but ultimately it saves us rather a lot of trouble, an easy way out if you like. So ladies, if you ever feel like your man is being uncharacteristically quiet when you bring up certain subjects there’s probably a very good reason why. Here’s my list of comments that guys never ever want to hear…like ever!

c50fc643a30a2fbc9f277dafb4db58f81. “I’ll always love him” – Everyone has a past, we all hate that fact but in the end we learn to accept that it’s a part of life and sure you might not be your partner’s first, second or even third love, but that doesn’t mean we want to hear all about it. A friend of mine was recently telling me about how things didn’t work out with her ex, but that he’ll always be the one and she’ll always love him no matter what. I said please tell me you’ve not said this to your boyfriend?! “Oh he just knows” was her response. No, no, no, no!! Whether it’s true or not don’t ever let your partner feel like they’re always going to be second best, no matter what they do. There should only ever be two people in your relationship.

2. “I like it when a guy does this…” – So this continues from point one but leans more to the physical side of the relationship. How many guys have been with a girl in the bedroom and she’s let slip a comment that leaves your stomach numb and your mind full of images? We know you’ve got a past, we’re already trying our best not to think about it, but please don’t give your guy sex advice based on your past experiences. After all, actions speak louder than words. Show him, don’t tell him!

3. “I’ve had bigger” – No explanation required.

4. “I’m outside” – So you’ve got a night out planned with your friends or colleagues and sure we’d spoken previously about you meeting them and maybe even going on a double date sometime, but please oh please don’t surprise us! It’s not that that we’re ashamed of you or that we’re up to something we shouldn’t be, it’s just that this is your man’s time to lead-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAhave some ‘me’ time. If he wanted you there, you’d have been invited. Tough love I know, but sometimes it needs to be said.

5. “We need to talk” – History dictates that this is code for ‘we need to break-up’but if you’re saying it just for effect, attention or to prove a point then please just leave it out. Guys can be sensitive souls as well (whether we admit to it or not) and well it upsets us more than you think. (I’m laughing at the sad face I unintentionally pulled as I wrote that).

Guys don’t think you’re getting off lightly though, these comments of course work both ways. But yeah be wary of what you say, within every burly builder is a sensitive Sally pretending that you are in fact untouched in every way…deluded aren’t we.

Confessions of a Cam Girl

Over the past few months I’ve done a lot of research into the pros and cons of online dating, with some surprising outcomes that I’d never previously considered. During this process I discovered that the biggest complaint of women was the quality of men on offer, but interestingly enough the biggest complaint of men was the plethora of ‘fake’ women on offer, i.e Cam Girls. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a Cam Girl is someone who strips off on camera and gets a tad playful for the benefit of willing participants and their credit cards. It’s a concept I’ve always been aware of, but naturally taken no notice of. However, the more the term cropped up in my research, the more I was intrigued to dig a little deeper. No I didn’t pay for one, but I did interview one. To protect her identity I’ll call her Sandy, it’s the least sexy name I can think of haha.

PTB: What made you want to become a Cam Girl in the first place?

Sandy: I quit my job as a Corporate Manager after ten years due to my frustration with unequal pay with my male counterparts who had much less experience. I wanted to do something that allowed me to be my own boss and provided me with unlimited earning potential.

PTB: How exactly does the process work?

Sandy: Basically the more the guy pays the more they’ll get within the means of a web cam. It isn’t always about taking your clothes off though, some guys just want to chat or will have more specific requests, I don’t do anything too weird though.

PTB: What does a typical day involve?

Sandy: Hair and make-up, picking out clothes and then sitting around trying to make small talk with people I don’t know. It can be surprisingly boring at times.

PTB: What’s the most money you’ve made in one day?

Sandy: $200 is the most I’ve made in a day, on average I’ll make $50 a day which doesn’t sound like much but remember that’s for only a few hours work and gives me a minimum of around $1500 a month.

PTB: And that’s better than your previous career?

Sandy: In terms of money it’s slightly less, but I have a much easier, more satisfying life and generally I suppose I’m happier.

PTB: What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?

Sandy: To crush mice with my heels, which I of course refused.

PTB: Any stalkers?

Sandy: There is one guy who I’ve never spoken with and he never pays for a show, but he’s always online. It almost feels like he’s watching me without properly watching me if you know what I mean, it’s really creepy

PTB: Is it hard to do a job like that and be in a relationship at the same time?

Sandy: Surprisingly no, my husband actually gets really turned on by it.

PTB: Do you see this as a temporary thing or are you in it for the long run?

Sandy: It’s definitely only temporary, there’s an age-limit to this thing, no one wants to watch an old chick writhing around.

PTB: Are you quite open about your job to family and friends or do you worry about people finding out?

Sandy: I’m not open about it with anyone except my husband. It’s not something I shout from the rooftops, but other than family I don’t really care who knows. At the end of the day I’m not actually having sex with anyone so I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to be ashamed of.

PTB: What is your response to people who call the whole thing a scam?

Sandy: Some guys might think it’s a scam because whilst trying to generate business we may copy and paste the same message to any number of different guys, however when you click on that link you’re always going to get what you pay for. It would be an extremely rare case where someone runs off with your money and credit card details, at the end of the day every girl wants repeat business, we all need to earn a living. I think some guys may label it a scam because they don’t like the idea of the girl not being interested only in them, but you have to remember it’s just business. It surprises me when people take things personally, when you pay for a cam girl you do it for a quick fix, not for love.

So there you have it, a little bit of insight into a world that’s entirely alien to most of us. Obviously it’s an industry that I can’t throw my weight behind, but I do respect everyone’s story regardless of their occupation. I don’t know enough about the industry to know if there is any scandal or fraudulent activity, but from what Sandy has told me it seems to be a little more straightforward than we may think. If you’ve had any experiences of cam girls or heard any stories please feel free to share. Is it really straightforward after all or is this an industry with a few dirty secrets to tell?