Breaking The Mold With TENGA

Noted public health expert Dr Joycelyn Elders once said “We know that more than seventy to eighty percent of women masturbate, and ninety percent of men masturbate, and the rest just lie.”

When you market yourself as the guy who’ll talk about anything, there’s very little you can say no to. This week Japanese firm Tenga put that notion to the test when they asked me to examine the topic of male masturbation, a new one for me but a piece of cake in comparison to what Marie Claire have asked of me in recent times.

I guess masturbation is probably a more interesting topic than I first realized, particularly when it comes to the male species. To me it’s always just been ‘one of those things’ that was of no relevance or interest to anyone whatsoever – although try telling that to those poor celeb boys who were caught out on the old webcam recently! As it turns out, when you delve into the topic more you’ll find a whole host of key discussion points.

A common misconception about males who masturbate often is that there’s a problem with their relationship, but ladies (and men) that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact masturbating has a number of interesting health benefits and no not in the way that you will live longer (sorry lads) but as a stress reliever, clearing your head or even just to help you sleep at night.

I was glad TENGA reached out to me, it really opened my eyes to the fact that there is a distinct lack of discussion when it comes to male masturbation whereas for women, global phenomena like Sex and the City has really broken the mold. Many assume that male masturbation involves guys going at it five times a day pulling a face that can only be described as ‘ungodly’, which is wholly untrue (well the five times part anyway). Female masturbation on the other hand I’ve heard being described as everything from sensual to even ‘art’ on one occasion – but that of course is no fault of the ladies, it just is what it is.

This however led me to do a bit of digging. I asked several males why they never spoke about masturbation and the answers were glaringly similar. It seems that some men think they will be deemed as ‘dirty’, ‘rude’ or just being a ‘typical lad’, whereas in truth it’s just a natural, everyday part of life that shouldn’t be shied away from – in the right context of course.

So where do TENGA come in? Well TENGA have been described as ‘the Apple of the sex toy industry’, the company uses a consumer stylist and aims to do away with the obscene imagery related to sex toys to instead focus on design, technology and functionality. In essence they want to bring male sex toys to the mainstream and FINALLY open up the lines of communication amongst men. So without further ado let me introduce you to some of the groundbreaking products that landed on my desk this week.

 

The TENGA Onacup – Deep Throat £13.99

That woke you up didn’t it? The TENGA Original Vacuum CUP’s hourglass shape provides a sublime tightness. Special valves create a virtual vacuum inside the CUP to deliver an amazing sucking sensation – yes that’s right guys it basically replicates a blow job (don’t all rush off at once).

 

 

The TENGA Flip Hole – £63.99

One of the hottest selling sex toys in the world today, the TENGA Flip Hole was designed by an engineer to be both stylish and efficient. Once you have experienced the TENGA Flip Hole, simply flip it open and clean ready for the next sexual encounter.

 

 

 

The Eggs by TENGA – Original Variety Six Pack £44.99

Proving that great things really do come in small packages! The TENGA Egg now has seventeen different varieties and are available as single units or in half dozen boxes to bring you a little bit of random excitement each time.

Want to see how it works? Check out this video https://youtu.be/W_zKPRhZe-w

 

For more information on all of these greats products and many more, click here.

My Reality Dates Experience With Match.com

So after all the hype I guess I should fill you in on my speed dating adventures with the folks at Match. As you may remember this was speed dating with a difference, instead of the usual face to face conversation, dates involved the construction of several items of furniture – and yes to my surprise I did return home with a pretty nifty bed side cabinet!

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the event given that I despise flat pack furniture and the mere sight of an Allen key, but ultimately, the night was a whole lot of fun. I always think the people are what makes these nights and this event was no different. The Match team were absolutely spot on and my fellow participants who ranged from Entrepreneurs, Marie Claire Writers and even a Nuclear Engineer, were so interesting that I ended up having a night out on the town with them – and yes whilst still carrying the furniture through London!

The event itself took place in Camden Town’s Gilmagesh, the restaurant’s artistic features were out of this world and the food was equally incredible, even if I did choke on a sausage (no jokes please). The most important thing, however, was of course the quality of the dates and I’ve no doubt every single person left having had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Initially I got super competitive and my only goal was to build better furniture than everyone else, but once I reminded myself that I wasn’t on an episode of Changing Rooms, I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my perfectly lovely date.

I still find it fascinating in these situations how we subconsciously judge people based on looks alone, not in a malicious way of course, but it’s incredible how much people can prove you wrong or contradict your first impression and it’s something I rather welcome. My past experiences of hosting speed dating involved a lot of complaints about the quality of men on offer, however on this occasion there were certainly no complaints from the ladies. I was so intrigued by the Nuclear Engineer and hearing about his work that I had to remind myself that I was there to meet women (and that I was straight). My point being I could’ve chatted away to him all night, it’s a rare thing for someone to feel so comfortable with strangers in these situations. I’ve literally had people turn up to events shaking like a leaf, it’s really not that uncommon, so huge credit to the organisers and my fellow participants for making everyone feel so welcome.

On that note I think Match deserve a huge amount of credit for being brave enough to try something a little outside the box. In recent months I’ve realised that people have grown steadily weary of traditional dating; too much swiping, wasted money, wasted outfits, wasted time – singletons have been crying out for something new. Match’s event was an absolute breathe of fresh air and I can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the table in the future – so long as it doesn’t involve me choking on a sausage.

As for speed dating, it amazes me that more people haven’t tried it! Imagine going on a date and you don’t like the person after 5 minutes and yet still need to spend a good couple of hours with them, well go speed dating and when those 5 minutes are up you get to meet someone else. Surely it’s a no-brainer??? If your usual dating habits aren’t working for you then don’t be scared to follow Match’s example and shake things up a bit, you might even meet a handsome, well-paid, chatty, funny Nuclear Engineer! Still straight, I promise.

For more info about Match’s Reality Dates series get in touch here.

Going Speed Dating? Don’t Forget Your Screwdriver!

After reading my stories for the past three years you’ll all know by now how much I love the world of dating, right? Well for every memorable mishap and love story that’s happened to me many of you (understandably) still grumble that dating has become tedious, boring, predictable and ultimately a waste of time. Well as it happens those lovely folks at Match are here to rescue you.

In the past you’ll have heard me talking about ‘online dating vs offline dating’ and how I’m a big advocate of rediscovering the lost art of conversation whether online or offline. Well Match are once again making all the right waves with the introduction of their brand new speed dating night. Now I myself used to host a speed dating event which take it from me culminated in a fair few stories of it’s own, but throw in some flat pack furniture and what do you have? Well you have Match’s very own, very original brand of speed dating of course!

Tomorrow evening Match is launching a speed-dating event with a difference. Following on from their own research which found that a third of all couples feel most stressed when doing DIY, singles will be paired up and challenged to construct their very own piece of flat pack furniture – an activity thought of as the ultimate test of a relationship (Amy Poehler even joked that Ikea is Swedish for ‘argument’).

The event takes place at Gilgamesh in Camden on the 12th April from 6.30pm – 9pm and at the same time and place on the 19th – which is when I myself will be there! Singletons will receive a free drink and toolkit before meeting a fellow dater and being given a piece of furniture to assemble. Pairs will be given 30 minutes to complete the task before teaming up with a new date with a different item to construct. I know what you’re thinking – what the hell do I wear to build!?

This might sound like hell on earth to some people, but in all seriousness a Taxi Driver (pearls of wisdom that they are) once told me that the problem with dating these days is that people spend too much time sat face to face in a pub running out of things to say. What they really need to be doing, he continued, is introducing an activity into the date (behave) to break up the conversation, and I agree wholeheartedly.! So why not make that activity flat pack furniture?

Statistics say that romance is most likely to bloom when a male tries to show off his DIY skills but ultimately the female ends up being the real brains behind the project – I’m not sure what statistics but they’re out there somewhere.

Fancy signing up? Just click here. Ikea will never be the same again!

Happy Dating!

PTB

Matchmaking…The Instinctive Way

Over the past few years online dating has very much dominated the industry, but as much as I feel apps have earned their place in the dating world, I’ve long championed the use of more face-to-face alternatives. Much of my blog stems from past dating experiences, and although still only 30, my most memorable stories come from a time when online dating hadn’t really taken off yet and as a result, I have an almost emotional attachment to the more traditional methods of meeting people. With this in mind it was my distinct pleasure to spend some time with Yorkshire-based Instinctive Introductions where I would re-discover the (slightly) lost art of Matchmaking.

Headed up by Lead Matchmaker Shirley Hopkinson, Shirley has been trained and certified by award-winning dating and relationship expert, Caroline Brealey, at the Matchmaker Academy in London.
Shirley was a delight to spend time with and being so personable herself, it was quickly obvious to me what prompted her decision to go down the Matchmaking route. Her previous career has seen her travel the globe as a Television Producer where she worked with Rolling Stone Journalists, Stunt Men and Women, Politicians, Architects, Supermodels and even the infamous Jo ‘Supernanny’ Frost – fair to say then that she’s dealt with all manner of colourful characters!

What really struck a chord with me was the agency’s commitment to building their own philosophy on matchmaking and doing right by each and every individual member. I guess that’s the beauty of being an independent company, with franchises many are governed by guidelines which on paper sound okay, but simply aren’t fitting to the individual personalities on their books. As Shirley went on to explain “we are very much dedicated to finding our clients the best possible matches, we meet absolutely everyone in person, this allows us to gain a full insight into who that person is and who they would be suited to, and of course, allays any security concerns.”

Instinctive Introductions are one of only a handful of agencies in the Yorkshire area and pride themselves in working with the very best in the industry. So what can you expect if you sign up with Instinctive Introductions? Well, full membership includes a professional photoshoot with renowned Photographer Saskia Nelson of Hey Saturday, as well as a coaching session with your choice of three coaches including BBC featured James Preece. What better way to boost your confidence before finding that all important match?

What I also find rather appealing about Instinctive Introductions is that members have just about zero online presence – what a refreshing throwback! Over the past few years I’ve met countless individuals who either lack the confidence or simply don’t want to plaster themselves all over the internet and there was something about this environment that just felt extremely safe, comfortable, professional and yet ridiculously fun. You really couldn’t feel like you were in safer hands and having witnessed firsthand the stresses that come with endless swiping, the matchmaking process was quite simply a breath of fresh air.

Thinking of joining? Well if you’re a professional person, single parent, divorcee, retired, reentering the dating world after some time away or simply want to try something different… keep an eye out for the agency’s Spring offer of Complimentary Membership for a limited time only. To find out more get in touch by clicking here.

My day at Instinctive Introductions really did take me back to a simpler time. It put the smile back into dating, I guess as well there’s something in the name ‘Instinctive’ for someone who has spent her career working in the madcap world of Television, Shirley really is a natural at this stuff.

It’s important to remember that applauding matchmaking isn’t about criticizing online dating, it works for many, but as I always say if something isn’t working for you then don’t be scared to change it up. So if you have grown a little tired of the digital dating world then give Matchmaking a go, in Shirley and her team, you will most definitely be in safe hands.

Happy Dating

PTB.

Why I Still Love Dating

So according to the statisticians at Buzzsumo.com the most popular dating article online at the moment is ‘Why modern dating makes me want to punch myself in the throat’ which you can read here.

Wow, yet another bash at the dating world. I honestly don’t know when everyone became so miserable about dating and why being single seems to be considered a traumatic experience these days, but frankly it’s starting to get a bit old. Although I’ve had many happy memories dating, believe me, I do understand why struggling to meet someone is difficult. In the past I’ve felt as low as low can go when it comes to dating, but it seems to me that too many people take the easy option of blaming ‘modern dating traditions’ for being single, with little or no effort to change it. I cannot stress this point enough – Tinder is not the only way to meet someone.

How many people do you know that consistently berate dating apps and websites and yet continue to spend more time swiping strangers than talking to the people they actually know? Well I to used to be one of those people.

Author of the aforementioned article, Melissa Moeller, states “I’m pretty much living in the thickest part of the modern hookup culture – perfecting the art of getting the right guy to buy you a drink at a bar, crafting the perfect response to a text to make you seem just interested enough, taking the proper five seconds to adequately judge a person and determine whether or not to swipe left or right on Tinder. That’s the world I live in now and I have to confess: I hate it with every fiber of my being.” Personally I enjoy the madness and over-thinking of crafting the perfect text (it reminds me of being a teen again), but the rest I agree with, I’m well and truly on your side Melissa Moeller! Except there’s one little thing you said that’s niggling away at me. “That’s the world I live in” – I disagree.

As much as I love the influx of technology and how I can have my food shopping delivered at the push of a button or find out who crossed paths with me that day (although I still find this a bit weird folks at Happn) it doesn’t mean I let technology dictate every aspect of my life. As a society we’re constantly looking for ways to make everything…simpler, faster, easier…and that’s what dating apps do, but the ways of old, they haven’t gone anywhere Melissa, they just don’t have big marketing budgets.

I was recently paid to review an award-winning dating site. I signed up, I did a search, I promptly sent them their money back. Why? Because despite the site’s popularity and despite the fact I live in a major UK city, there must’ve been about four people on the site who lived within 100 miles of me. So Melissa you’re not the only one sick of ‘modern dating’, in fact I would go as far as to say that most dating sites are filled with fake profiles to boost the numbers. So where is everyone? They’re all gathered in that little place we forgot about – ‘offline’.

Online dating has earned its place in the world, a nuisance to many but the source of success for countless others. However, no matter how many people you find online, there will always be more people offline and this is where my problem lies – no one has to accept these so called modern dating traditions if they don’t want to.

So why do I still love dating? Because my attitude changed. I’ll say it one more time – Tinder is not the only way to meet someone. I’m a big believer in not necessarily looking for someone, but putting yourself in situations where you might meet someone. For example, a friend of mine went to a night class in the city – Italian cooking for beginners. He went to that class to learn and to have fun but as a singleton what he actually did was inadvertently put himself in a situation where he might meet someone. If you do something where your sole purpose is to meet someone and then you don’t have success, that’s when you start to beat yourself up and hate the dating world. He left that final class with a homemade Carbonara and a future fiancé

If you enjoy online dating, brilliant, crack on with it! But what was it Melissa said about modern dating? “I hate it with every fiber of my being.” If this is you, put the phone down, give the seedy bars a miss and stop repeating what clearly isn’t working for you. You’ll never know until you try.

and please, oh please…don’t punch yourself in the throat.

PTB

5 Online Dating Alternatives

So this one isn’t about bashing online dating. As apps become more and more progressive, I’ve learnt to see the benefits – so long as they’re used in the right way of course. However, what I’ve come to learn even more so, is that online dating isn’t for everyone. So here are my five alternatives for those sick of the swipe.

Singlepin

Probably the most controversial option, Singlepin sparked a mass of debate in 2016. This one grabbed my attention purely because well, I’ve never come across anything quite like it. Singlepin is the work of London based Artist Dianne Harris and has already been adopted by both men and women up and down the country. Harris after growing increasingly frustrated with dating in the digital world decided to introduce a sterling silver pin worn to indicate that you are both single and that you are a true believer in the lost art of face to face conversation. Praised by some, derided by others, there was something about this concept that appealed to the ‘old romantic’ in me. Check out www.singlepin.co.uk and make up your own mind.

Smudged Lipstick Events

Calling all single Londoners, if you aren’t familiar with the brainchild of my fellow dating blogger Jordi Sinclair then you are seriously missing out. Putting the fun back into dating, Smudged Lipstick promote having fun first and meeting someone second. This philosophy is something I’ve been championing for years now and finally, someone has nailed out. Go out with the sole purpose of meeting someone and more often than not you’ll either meet no one, or you’ll meet the wrong fun. Go out with ‘having a good time’ your top priority and the outcome may be altogether very different. Highlights include ‘Dirty Scrabble’ and ‘The London Spelling Bee’. Who says dating needs to be a struggle? Check out http://smudgedlipstick.co.uk/ to find out more.

Speed Dating

As the stigma of online dating has worn off in recent years, I’m hoping the same will soon be said of speed dating. When asked to review an event by a newspaper, I threw myself into the process and had so much fun I ended up hosting the event for 6 months. Even if you don’t meet someone it’s great just to be back out there in social situations – perfect for building confidence with the opposite sex. Also, it’s not uncommon to go on a normal date and realise you don’t like them within the first 5 minutes, well at speed dating you can just move on to the next person after 5 minutes. If you do like someone, catch up with them at the end. Still completely underrated, but speed dating in my opinion is a no-brainer. Company I recommend – http://www.speeddater.co.uk

Meet-up

Something I’ve heard a lot of good things about, meet-up is rapidly growing in cities all over the UK. It’s something I can really throw my weight behind and relates back to the idea of putting yourself in situations where you might meet someone without necessarily going out with that intention. No matter what your interests are, you’re bound to find a group for you, in fact I only discovered Meet-Up when I found a group relevant to my social media work. The beauty of meet-up is that the pressure is well and truly off when it comes to meeting someone, meet up in a group for drinks, a gig or even just a quiet coffee. If you hit it off with someone great, but if not, you’re at least guaranteed a good night out. Check out www.meetup.com for more info.

Grab a friend and hit the town

Stop reading dating blogs, grab a friend, down a glass of wine and see where the night takes you. Controversial I know.

My First Kiss Went A Little Like This

So I was walking through town the other day and I spotted the girl I shared my first ever kiss with. It was really strange as I literally hadn’t clapped eyes on her for what must have been about 17 years. At the time I was twelve, had just started first year and she was in third year – something which scored a few cool point with my new classmates.

It was one of those early relationships where you don’t talk much, dates were to the sports centre and every kiss was planned at least three days in advance. We’d been on a so called ‘date’ to play badminton – romantic I know. About halfway through she said to me “let’s go and see what’s up there” which confused my innocent young self as all she was referring to was the back of an empty sports hall. I followed on regardless then as we reached the wall she turned around, grabbed me and just went for it. I was a bit startled to say the least, I stood completely still the entire time, in fact I still had my racket in one hand and the shuttle cock in the other. Afterwards, barely one word was spoken. When I got home I became increasingly mortified about how utterly motionless I was, why didn’t I at least put the racket down?

Reminiscing about my youth got me talking to a few other people about their own first kiss experiences. Whether it was their first kiss ever or their first kiss with a new partner, it seems I wasn’t the only one who made a bad first impression.

“Don’t judge me but I was actually only about six or seven at the time. It was summer and I was obsessed with Grease the musical. I was always running around singing and pretending to be Sandy, then one day the boy who lived next door to me said you be Sandy and I’ll pretend to be Danny. This basically culminated in the two of us climbing onto a car bonnet and kissing, no tongues though haha.” Michelle, 21, London.

“I had arranged to meet this boy in the park, I was nervous as hell and there was an unusually big build up. Anyway, we finally got around to it and only a few seconds in one of his friends kicked a football and smacked him right in the side the face. He bit my lip and made me bleed and cry. Welcome to kissing!” Tracey, 31, Newcastle.

“This boy just started licking my lips from side to side, I don’t know what else I can say?” Alice, 25, Glasgow.

“I was on a first date which had went terribly, this however didn’t put him off going in for a kiss! I was actually trying to say goodbye and as I went to turn around he flew in for a kiss at about a hundred miles an hour, I trying to dodge it and he ended up head butting my ear. A terrible end to an even more terrible date.” Wendy, 35, Glasgow.

“I went on a blind date once, we’d barely said two words to each other all night, I didn’t dislike her or anything it was just obvious weren’t right for each other in any way. If I’m honest I really wasn’t attracted to her at all and I know this sounds awful but she had really bad breathe. As we were saying goodbye she closed her eyes, pursed her lips and just leant forward waiting for me. After a few awkward seconds I felt like I had no choice but to reciprocate, the whole thing was like a comedy sketch. Worst kiss of my life to this day.” Tony, 31, Glasgow.

“My first ever kiss was after school at the back of the P.E hall. My mum was picking me up as usual but I’d kept her waiting because I was very anxiously waiting for a girl in my class to come and meet me. As we started kissing my phone started vibrating, it was a heavy duty Nokia 3210 with an even heavier duty vibration setting. It felt like it went on forever, starting and stopping as she got to voicemail then calling back over and over again. Eventually I tried to switch my phone off whilst we were still kissing but all I managed to do was answer it. All we both could hear was my Mum shouting “Sean, Sean! Where are you Sean! You think I’ve nothing better to do than sit here waiting for you!” We both awkwardly carried on as if nothing was happening. Who knew my Mum would play such an active role in my first kiss.” Sean, 26, London.

and my personal favourite…

“We were kissing in the street and someone rode a push bike right into him.” Lainey, 23, Brighton.

Be Careful Who You Sleep With

We’ve all had dalliances we’ve regretted and usually for very different reasons. Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with an old friend, Alice, who was back in town visiting from her new Barcelona home (jealous much). Naturally we got reminiscing about some of our old shenanigans from back when we were just a pair of emo kids living off KFC buckets, super noodles and Green Day.

At the time I was living in a ridiculously expensive flat that I couldn’t afford, I had no job, no money and even less furniture. I’d moved into the flat with a friend who had equally little money but a large inheritance with which he had agreed to fund us both for a couple of months until we found jobs. That agreement turned sour all too quickly when he blew all the money on turning his bedroom into an Ikea showroom to impress his new girlfriend (the things we do for love). Gradually the situation worsened and I came home one day to find he had moved out, I was heartbroken, no I wasn’t really it was quite the relief actually. I decided in the following days that before I moved out I would throw one last party.

I didn’t throw parties that often but when I did, I made sure it lived long in the memory. I turned the living room into a dance floor and later a wrestling ring, my friends and I took turns at both crowd-surfing and then later throwing each other across the room (oh to be 18 again). The next morning I woke up in my bedroom to find my plain white wall had been turned into a surprsingly detailed comic strip with nothing but a permanent marker. Alice waltzed in surprisingly fresh-faced telling me of two confessions she had to make. Firstly, my wall. Secondly, “Paul, I slept with your friend Ben”. If there was one person I would have reccomended she don’t sleep with, it was Ben. She hadn’t known, but Ben was engaged. They were both mortified, as it turns out bumping into one another in the bathroom had quickly turned into bumping uglies.

Over the coming weeks Ben and his fiance broke off their engagement after he reluctantly confessed. Then one night myself and Alice found ourselves at another party where I spotted a familiar face, it was a young guy who had been looking over at me quite sheepishly. I went over to him, patted him on the back and said “I’m sorry about Ben” before unintentionally leaving him alone with Alice. The young guy asked Alice, “so how do you know Ben?” Alice very casually replied “oh, I slept with him at Paul’s party, how do you know him?” After a long pause he replied, “he was engaged to my sister but he slept with someone else.”

To my surprise they both laughed it off (eventually), it helped that Alice wasn’t malicious in any way and hadn’t known of Ben’s impending wedding. That wasn’t the only story we reminisced about last week, but it was certainly the most memorable. Lessons learnt all around I guess.

PTB

 

The Single Resolution

So we’re just over a week into the New Year and I wondered how many of us have already broken our resolutions? Yes, my hand is up. Understandable of course, it’s never easy but good on you if you’re smashing it. Resolutions I’ve found are often influenced by our relationship status and during a dinner conversation over the festive period, I was surprised to hear of a refreshingly different kind of resolution.

“My resolution this year is to stay single” proclaimed a friend of mine. At 35 years old he’s drifted from one questionable relationship to the next, many of which have compromised his personal and career goals year after year. I had to applaud him (not literally). I rarely hear relationship resolutions from singletons that don’t end in finding the love of their lives. However, sometimes we forget to make the most of aactuallly being single and remembering that being single does not make you a leper. I’m a big believer in being happy by yourself before being happy with someone else, being in a relationship isn’t always the answer to life’s problems. What happens when you pressure yourself or rush into the wrong relationship? You find the wrong person, simple as that.

Being single isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide away from. No matter what age you are and what the opinions of your friends and family are, there’s no shame in living your life, not the one people expect you to live. Sure relationships can at times be incredible, but so can career development, friendship and travel and all the other things that sometimes aren’t possible when you’re in a relationship – particularly when you’re with the wrong person.

When I was younger I was in a relationship with someone who I’d wanted to break up with for about two years of our three year relationship, but I just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I made being single out to be a much scarier prospect than it actually was. Eventually, she broke up with me – it was the best thing that ever happened to me. For around a week I was inconsolable, but once I was past that initial shock, everything changed for the better. I genuinely believe that had she not ended our relationship I would still be working in a call centre, would never have travelled and generally would be a shell of the person I am. Ever since that relationship I’ve always sworn to never underestimate the benefits of being single. I firmly believe to this day that if you use your single time in the right way, it could very well be the making of you.

So this post is just a little reminder – never ever beat yourself up for being single. Relationships can be great, magical, whatever you want to call it…but life shouldn’t depend on it.

Happy New Year,

PTB

 

Winning Back The Single Women

Something’s not quite right and I can’t quite decide who’s to blame. When you chat to anyone about dating – guy or girl – they seem to instantly hone in on the negative aspects as opposed to the good. Perhaps the bad experiences are just a tad more memorable or maybe the good experiences are just fewer and far between? Not to sound all Family Fortunes on you all, but over the last few weeks I’ve spoken with exactly 100 women across several different dating platforms and I’ve noticed one rather alarming trend – more and more women are getting seriously fed up of dating.

I couldn’t help but recognise how women are becoming increasingly sceptical about what you tell them. Admittedly, I’m probably quite annoying asking question after question about their love lives, but so many women simply don’t believe what you’re telling them and I think it’s important to ask ourselves why…

When I said I was a dating blogger, I was called a liar. I sent them a link, they said “hmmmmm”. I said I wasn’t online looking for a relationship, they called me a ‘cheater’. They even suggested that I wasn’t using my real picture, but I’ll take that one as a compliment. As frustrating as all that was however, I couldn’t quite blame them. I was surprised to find that the more honest I tried to be, the more my every word was deemed either ‘a line’ or a lie, HOWEVER, do us guys only have ourselves to blame? Perhaps platforms like Tinder have given men way too much freedom to do and say whatever they please? Maybe the temptation to be someone we’re not is a little too appealing to turn down and maybe most women have simply just, had enough?

I spoke with one lady who told me of the countless times men had commented “if only I wasn’t married” or “if only I didn’t have a girlfriend” and yes fair play to them they’re being honest that they have a partner, but more often than not that sentence continues into “if I didn’t have a girlfriend…I’d do this to you…” so it’s not really OK after all is it?

This may sound a tad strange but consider the ‘friend zone’ early on in your conversations online. It’s the best way of showing you’re not just after one thing, but you also don’t know each other well enough yet that the friendship to can’t turn into something more. If women are cynical, nine times out of ten it’s some other guy’s fault, but just be a friend (at least initially) and you can’t go far wrong.

Listen to what she has to say. Speaking to a cynic can be a bit off-putting, in fact it’s tempting to end the conversation almost immediately. However, if you can get past that early negativity and listen to what they have to say, you tend to find that behind even the harshest of cynics is someone who just wants a little bit of a love story – allow the idiots of the past to make you look good.

Don’t push things. Being pushy doesn’t work in any relationship situation never mind trying to win over the toughest of cynics. I suppose this comes hand in hand with being a friend and a good listener. Seriously though, don’t overstep the mark by being a friend, listening and then a week later invite her for a late-night Netflix session!

Be funny. You don’t need to be Glasgow’s answer to Chandler Bing, but have a sense of humour about things, make them laugh. As odd as it may sound, being a cynic won’t win over a cynic, in fact you’ll both just end up rather miserable together. Learn to laugh at your past experiences and life will most certainly become that little bit easier.

All in all, let’s remember that dating is supposed to be fun. Whether you’re a guy or a girl try and take everyone at face value, otherwise dating is going to be a long hard slog that we could all do without – life’s too short as it is.

PTB

Five Dating Mistakes (I Made)

As a recovering serial dater I’ve had my fair share of stories to tell, mistakes to make and lessons to learn. Naturally, much of the above has been of great inspiration to my writing (even if it does mean revisiting some of my most embarrassing moments). I’ve always found dating to be fascinating. I understand why some people see it as quite a daunting experience, but I really wish they wouldn’t. Dating did wonders for my confidence as a teenager and if anything, really helped shape my sense of humour when it comes to relationships in a really positive way. So without further ado let me share with you all the top five mistakes made by a much more youthful PTB…

1. Don’t get so drunk at your friend’s flat-warming party that you ask her goth roommate out on a date. I of course have nothing against goths, I’m a former emo kid after all, but certain extremes of goth culture aren’t to my personal taste when it comes to girls. So why I asked out my friend’s roommate I’ll never know – she looked like Marilyn Manson had been shopping at Halfords. Nice girl though. This was the same night I stole a beer keg from a local pub and rolled it all the way back to the party, the police even gave me directions, but that’s another story.

2. Don’t turn up to meet a girl dressed in the same outfit as her. You’ll be surprised to hear this one follows on from the previous point. I was held to that date by my friend, which was definitely fair enough. I knew she was a nice enough girl and I just reminded myself not to judge anyone, particularly as I’d gotten my ears pierced sat in the window of a Claire’s Accessories a week before. However, we met up to discover that we had both come dressed in the same outfit. She’d tried to ‘goth down’ and I’d tried to ’emo up’! We were both wearing identical black hoodies, black skinny jeans and similarly scuffed white Converse trainers. Together, we looked like a dare. What made the night worse was her preference that we went to the cinema where it was so busy we had to sit in separate rows! There’s nothing more romantic than distance is there? Nice girl, strange night, funny to look back on.

3. Don’t laugh at their accent. It was hard, really hard. I once went on a date with a girl from Finland and the only time she seemed to speak proper English was when she was mocking Scotland. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, I love all that banter as much as anyone, however it was when she kept pronouncing ‘coke’ as ‘cock’ that really took the biscuit. She insisted we go to KFC where she promptly ordered a Zinger Tower Meal with a large cock. Then as she drank her large cock, she told me all about how she doesn’t normally like cock because they use cock to clean the car park at the hotel she works at back home. Even after everything she’d said about Scotland she was fuming when I tried to correct her pronunciation. If you can’t laugh in that situation, you’re not human.

4. Don’t get their name wrong. Going back to my past life as an Insurance Underwriter here (shivers). I’d been working on a one-off project with a woman named Kelly which basically involved us being locked in a room all day trying not to kill each other. There was just a serious personality clash and we were the last two people who should’ve been working together. This woman was grating on me all the way up to my date that night. I called my date Kelly six or seven times and to this day can’t remember her actual name because I still think ‘Kelly’ when I picture her face. I hate Kelly.

5. Don’t ditch her for The Backstreet Boys. So I was on a date in a quiet hotel bar and my seat is facing the door and as she’s talking in walks the bloody Backstreet Boys! Turns out they were playing a concert in the city and this was their hotel. Don’t get me wrong they’re not exactly my favourite band (although I did once serenade a girl with ‘I want it that way’ when I was 13) but they’re kind of legends aren’t they? To cut a long story short, she wandered off to the toilet and I wandered off to meet the Backstreet Boys and returned to my seat an hour later. No excuses, I totally messed up on this one – totally worth it though.

So what did I learn? Don’t drink too much, don’t correct Finnish girls and don’t fanboy over grown men when you’re on a date with a gorgeous girl. We live and learn.

Happy Dating!

PTB

Dating: Have We Been Doing It Wrong All Along?

The concept of dating stretches back to a time I know absolutely nothing about. In fact I often wonder what the very first date was like (can you imagine a time when we didn’t have our phones to check every five minutes?) but as times change and as people change, perhaps our dating habits need to change as well?

In the two years I’ve been writing about dating, the majority of feedback I’ve heard about individual dating experiences is vastly negative. As the world of dating becomes increasingly digital, with it has come a raft of creepies, cons and invites for ‘Netflix and…’ – I can’t even say it.

In fact the interference of technology altogether, seems to have slowly diminished the human aspect of dating that was once more prevalent in years gone by. The more bad Tinder experiences we have and the more people who hound us to reply to their last message all of three minutes after it was sent, the more we become that little bit more cynical towards the next person. I’ve lost count of how many profiles that say: “no hook-ups, must drive, must have own place, must be employed, must be over 5’8. How bad have things gotten that the first thing we read about a person is a list of demands provoked by bad experience? It all just seems a bit bitter to me – dating should be fun! So what is the solution?

When I was on my travels last year I met people from just about every country you could possibly imagine, the most intriguing being my wonderful South-American friends. The more I got to know people, the more we began to discuss life, relationships and interestingly, how we went about meeting people back home. In the UK I suppose the most generic way I could describe a date is to meet someone for a drink or dinner, chat and spend an average of around two to three hours in each other’s company. In South America however, things couldn’t be more different.

In Brazil, a guy may invite his date to more of a gathering as opposed to some one on one time. It’s not uncommon to meet in a bar and find the guy surrounded by friends, their partners and other individuals accompanied by first dates of their own. During the small gathering you might not even chat to your date for all that long, instead you gain just enough insight into each other’s personality within a group setting to allow you to decide whether or not you want to see each other again. This isn’t the norm for every date of course but it was extremely common.

On the whole, everything is very brief but relaxed which people seem to have a strong preference for in that part of the world. When I explained to my friends how in the UK you may spend anything up to three hours alone with a first date, I was greeted with both strange looks and what verged on hysterical laughter. “What if you don’t like them? You’re stuck there!”

Maybe we’re just a little too polite on this side of the world, but I suppose on some level they may just be right.

When we go on dates we’re often guilty of putting the whole occasion on a pedestal, perhaps it’s just the hopeless romantics in us or maybe it’s just convention to an extent? Go abroad however and a date is often considered no more than a simple, social encounter with someone you may or may not be interested in. In fact it’s so simple it’s almost considered irrelevant until you’ve established if there’s a connection.

It seems almost heartless to think a date should have to earn relevance, but on the other hand has dating perhaps become so fickle that this idea now makes sense? I think one of the reasons people’s cynicism is because even one or two bad dates can feel like so much wasted time, wasted money, wasted outfits, the list goes on. But if dates were more casual and I suppose shorter, you may feel like you have a little less to lose. As result, you might just remain more positive and open-minded to future ‘meets’.

This approach may not be suited to everyone and as I’ve written before I’ve had some really memorable dates, but having heard the feedback, read the bitter Tinder profiles and listened to a fair few tales of heartbreak, it might just be the way forward. I’ve long been a supporter of Speed Dating because I feel it’s the closest thing to this philosophy. Having once hosted such events I’ve realised I’m not particularly a fan of overly organised social interactions (try telling 25 women only 4 men have shown up) but the actual concept itself is definitely on the right track.

So if you are genuinely seeking love, why not consider changing your own outlook? There’s nothing wrong with still getting excited about the dating traditions we’ve all grown up with, but if what you’ve been doing just isn’t working, what do you have to lose by mixing things up a little?

If it works in South America and places like New York where this kind of dating has also taken off, then who says it can’t work for us Brits? I don’t think getting a date to bring all of his friends and family along is necessarily the answer, but the philosophy of approaching dating with more of a laissez-faire attitude, could potentially offer a more positive outcome.

Happy Dating!!

PTB

Dress Well, Feel Good, Date Better

Confidence is essential when it comes to successful dating. No, life isn’t all about looks, but it is about feeling good about yourself. When Fashion trendsetters Noose & Monkey asked if I would help them spread the word on how to accessories the biggest staple of every man’s wardrobe, I of course welcomed them with open arms. Check out what they had to say below:

nm3“For fashion newcomers and less confident dressers, menswear can sometimes be a muted affair, often falling in to which suit or shirt you should wear. Most style articles generally recommend smart suits that don’t break the mould. However, if you’ve chosen a less daring look, you can still add interest to your outfit through some carefully chosen accessories. While most think of accessories as something reserved for a full suit, your shirt itself can be made far more interesting with some very subtle additions. Here’s our guide to some of the hottest men’s accessories the girls will surely love.

The Tie
The first thing that comes to mind when accessorising a shirt is a tie. Whilst more and more people seem to be ditching the tie, this classic accessory is absolutely timeless and should always be at the forefront of every man’s collection. The tie should be worn for formal events to break up the block colour of your shirt. For a bold look, choose a tie that’s far brighter than your shirt or suit jacket and match to other accessories or your shoes. Unless you’re wearing a short suit, make sure your tie is worn so that the tip hits your beltline. Opt for a slim tie to match more modern cuts of suit and shirt. A tie can either spark interest by being flamboyant or it can be an ‘anchor’ for your whole outfit. Speaking broadly, you should match your tie with the primary colour of your shirt.

Collar Bars
Collar bars and collar pins are a true gentleman’s choice for accessorising a shirt. The collar bar is a nm2simple add-on that won’t attract too much attention, but will catch any seasoned eye for fashion, scoring you instant style points. Worn by the Dandies in the 18th century, collar bars make you feel elegant without detracting from your look and help make your tie knot appear more refined.
They’re a mark of a true gentleman – but ensure you buy a shorter collar bar so it pulls your collar closely together to show off your tie knot. Keep it simple with a barbell-shaped silver bar.

Tie Bar
A tie bar/tie clip adds some style to your tie with just a subtle touch. It clasps your tie to your shirt and keeps everything suave – but wearing it right is very important. Silver and gold tie bars are the most common colour variants; whatever colour you choose, you should aim to match it to your watch and belt buckle. Like a tie, your tie bar should be narrow. It should be worn mid-length, near where a pocket square should sit. Don’t place it too high or too low as the effect is lost. Never wear a tie bar with a waistcoat, as it defeats its purpose of pinning the tie to the shirt.

Cufflinks
Cufflinks are a gentleman’s best friend, sadly falling out of favour in an age of work shirts and casual
dressers. Designed as tools for fastening the cuffs of your shirt, they are an alternative to buttons and add a touch of style to any shirt. There are lots of styles of cufflink which have different fastening methods, from a bullet back styles to chain links. Cufflinks are a formal option, so opt for buttoned shirts at work. Depending on your position, cufflinks can be a good symbol of authority but you need to be careful not to be overbearing. Cufflinks worn to social events are versatile, coming in a huge range of designs. You should try and match them with your tie, watch or other accessories to help accentuate your shirt. “

Thank you Noose & Monkey, think I’ve got some shopping to do! Over to you guys.

PTB