Bumble For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. I’m a bit fascinated by Bumble and the back story that comes with it. Bumble to date is the closest challenger to Tinder’s dating crown, so you might not be surprised to learn that Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe is in fact a disgruntled (with good reason) co-founder of Tinder. Wolfe left Tinder in acrimonious circumstances in 2015 and since then has set out to take the dating world by storm in her own right, and as it happens, she isn’t doing too badly at all. Bumble is near enough identical to Tinder but where it differs is the way in which it puts women back in control. Once matched, the woman must make the first move, something which as a man I’m not at all adverse to, but maybe I’m just lazy. What has really impressed me is Wolfe’s commitment to promoting the right kind of feminism. “I’m so tired of this notion that women only need to support women, why can’t we all support each other?” she says. “I’ve run into women who can be highly problematic, detrimental and mean, just like I’ve seen in men.” She adds: “We as women, (with) this modern feminism, I’m worried we’re alienating the good guys. It’s not really living up to true feminism, which is really equality for everyone, right?” An outlook on feminism which has proven to be a breathe of fresh air for many.

So how does it work? Much like Tinder, connect Bumble through your Facebook profile which will in turn populate a number of your profile pictures, set your location and age range and simply start swiping. Apart from the female control element there is one major difference between Bumble and Tinder – no swipe limits. For anyone familiar with Tinder you’ll know that after a certain number of swipes you will not be able to swipe for another twelve hours – Bumble has no such limits.

The no limits feature is interesting, at first I thought it was a fantastic idea and was a remedy to what has been considered a major negative of Tinder, however, over time my thoughts have drastically changed. When you have no limits you find yourself swiping endlessly to the point where your decision-making starts to go out the window and your thought process goes down the drain. with Tinder, you know your swipes are going to run out and so you carefully consider each and every swipe.

Another popular feature, however, is your three chances per day to swipe back if you decide you’ve wrongly swiped left – we all make mistakes after all!

Location. Bumble is growing everywhere, North and South of the border, so much like Tinder you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a few matches irrespective of your location.

Casual vs Long-Term. Again it varies, this may be a controversial opinion but I find the users on Bumble to lean more towards long-term relationships, they just seem to be that little bit more ‘proper’ for want of a better word – sorry Tinder girls. Although to completely contradict myself, you will find a lot of the same people on both apps.

Security. As with most apps you have the option to unmatch, block and/or report.

Cost. Free for the most part, with some paid options. If you’d like the opportunity to extend matches beyond 24 hours on an unlimited basis and rematch with expired matches, these features can be yours for £20.99 for one month or £7.50 for six months – completely unnecessary in my honest opinion.

There is also an option to ‘super swipe’ for £1.99, much the same as Tinder’s ‘super like’ although Tinder’s option is free to use once every 24 hours.

How to delete? Simply go to settings and scroll to the very bottom where you will be given an option to delete. You will also be presented with the option to pause your account which will make your profile invisible to other users.

Bumble Alternatives – It’s head to head with Tinder for this one. The two apps as you’ve heard are near identical with a few minor differences.

My Top Bumble Tips

1. Guys, be patient when waiting for the ladies to make the first move. If you match someone you are particularly interested in, keep an eye out on the expiry time, if they don’t message you within 24 hours and you miss your small extension window then you have no way of getting in touch again.

2. If you like someone try and move it offline as soon as you feel the time is right, Bumble should just be an introductory tool, it shouldn’t be the basis of your relationship – a common trap to fall into with any dating app!

3. Stay away from the paid options. The sheer volume of potential matches and unlimited swipes makes the paid options completely unnecessary.

Happy Dating!

Tinder For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. Where do I start with Tinder? The fact that it took the industry’s most successful app two years to make a penny demonstrates just what a tough industry this is. Nonetheless, Tinder was the game changer for the world of dating and is consistently the benchmark to which other dating apps aspire to reach.

For me Tinder is the ultimate convenience. What I would look for in a dating product is something that solves problems originating from other platforms. For my own lifestyle Tinder would destroy the need to use more traditional dating sites such as Match, Plenty Of Fish and E-Harmony. As someone on the go all the time I need something quick, fast and to the point, and contrary to popular belief I don’t agree that such features means a compromise on quality. Whilst conducting past research on online dating it was consistently fed back to me that there was an element of ‘over-politeness’ on the more traditional sites. For example you may message someone on Plenty of Fish and they reply just to be nice, as opposed to replying because they have a genuine interest in you. For people intent on finding love this is time-wasting that they really don’t need, what Tinder does is confirm at least an initial attraction on which you can build on, what more can you ask for?

Of course Tinder isn’t without flaws of its own. The app has been known to crash on occasion but I guess that’s common of most apps. The biggest problem I have, however, is my suspicion of fake profiles which I can only assume have been inserted by Tinder themselves (it’s not uncommon of dating apps to do this when they first start out). Living in Glasgow I was surprised to see users who studied at ‘Telford College’, and not just one, more and more started appearing and I’m pretty sure Glasgow isn’t heavily occupied by Telford College alumni. I understand why apps might do this but I do find it quite misleading and dishonest, although Tinder is most definitely not alone in this practice.

So how does it work? Download the app and sign up using your Facebook profile. This will pull through your age, location and a few profile pictures (these can be changed if you want to use something different), it also means you’ll be able to see if you have friends in common with other users. Once you’re decided on which photos you wish to use, write out a short bio, choose an age range between 18 and 80 and choose the distance within which you wish to search. Once that’s all done (shouldn’t take more than two minutes) you’re good to start swiping. To indicate that you are interested in a user swipe right and if not interested you swipe left, if you swipe right for someone and they return the compliment then that is what’s called a ‘match’ and you are now free to message them.

Location. Tinder will prove popular just about anywhere in the UK, so no matter where you are you’ll never be short of potential matches, irrespective of sexual preferences.

Casual vs Long-Term. There’s no getting away from the fact that many people use Tinder for hook-ups, each to their own of course, but if you are looking for something long-term then just make sure and establish expectations early on in the conversation – it’ll save a lot of time.

Also try not to judge anyone too harshly for looking for a casual relationship (so long as they go about it in the right way of course). Tinder is very popular amongst millennials, many of whom are very career focused and simply don’t have the time for a serious relationship. Likewise, don’t judge anyone looking for ‘the one’ – everyone deserves to find it.

Security. Always do your utmost to stay safe on any dating app, trust your gut and never meet anyone you have even the slightest concerns about. If someone is sending you inappropriate messages you have the option to unmatch them and in extreme cases report them to Tinder.

Cost. Tinder is free to sign up to but now offers an option called Tinder Gold. Being a gold user allows you to immediately see who has swiped right for you without having to browse through the app’s many users. There’s no doubting this to be a very useful feature but at £11.67 for 12 months is it worth it? I’m not convinced. In my honest opinion Tinder gives you more than enough to work with without having to resort to its paid features.

How to delete? Simply go to settings and scroll to the very bottom where you will be given an option to delete. You will also be presented with the option to pause your account which will make your profile invisible to other users.

Tinder Alternatives – The one true contender to the swipe format at the moment is Bumble. To read my review on bumble click here.

My Top Tinder Tips

1. Don’t hide away in your profile pics with group shots, grainy images and obscure angles. The stigma of using online dating is very much a thing of the past and has been for a long time now – there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!

2. Don’t be negative in your bio. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen bios that have nothing but a list of ‘Nos’. I realise we’ve all had bad experiences in the past that we wish to avoid but it’s extremely off-putting to potential matches.

3. Don’t have any major expectations. No app is the answer to all of your problems, enjoy online dating and keep an open mind but don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

4. If it isn’t working for you switch it off. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to dating apps. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for then give it a break, try a different app or another form of dating. If you leave it too long, you start to question why it’s not working which can be detrimental to your confidence and even your mental health.

5. If you are going on a Tinder date, please always use common sense for your own safety. Be sure of who you are meeting, add them on Facebook, Instagram etc and always meet in a public place.

Happy Dating!

Happn For Beginners

Personal Thoughts. Happn launched in the UK in early 2015 and proved particularly popular following a widescale social media campaign to promote the app. However, I have to be really honest from the get-go, I am NOT a fan of this app. This may be a tad harsh but I think Happn sounds like every stalker’s dream and no matter how good it may be for those with the most innocent of intentions, I can’t help but feel like the security concerns more than outweigh the positives. What I don’t like is the lack of control users have, it’s not like Tinder and Bumble where you can choose who you want to interact with, with Happn other users can see where you are or where you’ve crossed paths whether you want them to or not. For example, as I write this on a cold wintery evening I can see that there is a young woman who has just crossed paths within 500 metres of me, possibly walking home alone. I just can’t shake this feeling that in the wrong hands this app could present some serious safety concerns to people.

The founders of course have the very best of intentions. They want you to be able to find out who the guy or girl that gave you the eye on the train was, and yes, there’s something slightly special about that, but does it outweigh the safety concerns? I’ll let you make your own mind up on that.

So how does it work? Happn is similar to Tinder and Bumble in that it creates your profile by linking up to your Facebook profile, after that it’s just a case of selecting the gender you’re interested in and the age range.

The next bit is where I get concerned. The app uses GPS tracking to show you a list of people within 500 metres of your present location. It tells you if you’ve crossed paths with them, gives you a map of roughly where you crossed paths as well as all the usual personal info. Alarm bells ringing for anyone else?

Location. Happn originated in France before moving to the UK, so naturally it’s pretty big in France. In the UK you’ll find a sufficient number of users in all the major cities. The quieter the area, the less users you’ll find. Due to the short radius on offer as opposed to the hundred miles of Bumble, it’s a bit of a common sense approach with Happn.

Casual vs Long-Term. Although not the intention of the founders, Happn has proven most popular for hook-ups.

Security. Don’t get me started.

Cost. Free for the most part, coins can be purchased to access additional (but unnecessary) features. Coins range from £1.49 for 10 to £23.49 for 300

How to delete? Great question. The option given is ‘deactivate your account’ which will make your profile invisible and log you out. When you log back in should you choose to, your old details should still be there.

Happn Alternatives – just about any other app. It’s a very unique idea but is it better than using Tinder or Bumble and changing your settings to the minimum distance? I don’t think so.

My Top Happn Tips

1. Just be careful. There are some odd people out there and although the app won’t tell someone the ‘exact’ spot your in, it could certainly send danger into your path.

2. Swap numbers ASAP. It’ll save the need to purchase coins for future interactions.

8 Dating Concepts You Probably Didn’t Know About

Over the past year I’ve researched the many forms of dating. From online, to speed dating and even the odd blind date, everyone seems to have mixed opinions about what works best. But what are some of the more alternative ways people meet prospective partners? This week I’ve been looking at some of the more unusual ways people find love with a mix of interesting, funny and downright ridiculous results.

Shhh Dating – This is an organisation who have introduced an event whereby you are quite literally not allowed to speak – silent speed dating if you will! I really love the idea of trying different things and I admire people who try and shake things up a little bit but for me personally there is absolutely no way I could keep a straight face for five minutes of ‘eye-gazing’! shhhdating.com

Meddlers of Honour – As featured in Grazia, this event is all out dating war. Imagine trying to impress someone whilst trained ‘meddlers do everything in their power to sabotage and even steal your date. Insecure about your receding hairline? Expect it to be publicised to everyone in earshot. Anything goes in this event with the end of goal of retaining your date until the end. You certainly need a thick skin for this, but to me it sounds like bags of fun! meddlersofhonour.com

Adult Baby Dating – I can’t help but shiver as I write this but yes, ABDLMatch, a website for adult babies really does exist. To be more specific these ‘adult babies’ are basically adults who dress and act like babies in each other’s company. “We love helping adult babies connect with Mommies and Daddies and vice versa”(shiver, shiver, shiver) Each to their own and all that but I couldn’t bring myself to investigate this any further than reading the initial description. Sorry but you aint getting a link to this folks.

Lock and Key Parties – This is basically a party consisting of anything up to fifty participants. The girls have padlocks attached to their wrists and the guys are given keys to start working their way around the room. With enough people I think this could be really fun, just don’t lose your key! Sign up here.

Dating In The Dark – Some of you may remember the TV show on UK Living a few years back, I LOVED this show! Well now the Original Dating Company have introduced this event to their roster. Imagine forty people sat in complete darkness dating, I did wonder how they move from table to table in such darkness but the confusion perhaps makes it even more hilarious. This is an event I would love to see introduced to the Glasgow Dating scene, even if you don’t meet someone I think the comedy value would be tremendous! originaldating.com

Zombie Passions – “A 100% free online dating and social networking site for zombies, zombie lovers and people who have been working in a dead end job too long.” Need I say more? zombiepassions.com/

Gluten Free Singles – I guess this one is all about convenience for when the time comes to do a weekly shop – although I still maintain most people don’t actually know what gluten is. Basing your dating preferences on having allergies in common seems crazy but I suppose for some people it makes perfect sense. glutenfreesingles.com/

CanDoBetter.com – This one really is bizarre and I’m not quite sure what the purpose is nor do I understand why you would let your partner use it. Basically, you and your partner upload a picture of you both allowing members of the website to vote on which one of you can do better! Whoever wins gains full access to the site. Strange stuff but people are going for it. candobetter.com

 

Dating Just Got Brezaa!

When it comes to online dating I’m always looking for a Tinder alternative and I think you’ll agree that I’m by no means the only one. But I’m not just looking for any old app, I’m looking for something original, something that both grabs and keeps my attention and ultimately something that brings the spark back to online dating. In Brezaa, I think I may just have found it.

Brezaa is a free app (good start) that completely revolutionises the concept of ‘the introduction.’ Bored of the old ‘hey, how’s it going?’ Well in participating in your very own personalized ice-breaker, Brezaa offers a fresh new alternative to those dreaded moments of awkwardness.

So are Brezaa on to something? Absolutely! You may remember in 2017 I conducted a research project across the online dating industry looking predominantly at the complaints of dating app and dating site users. The second biggest complaint behind only ‘the pen pal trap’ was the lack of effort put into opening messages and introductions. In fact, a whopping 42% of women who were asked commented on their growing frustration at lacklustre opening lines and a general lack of effort when it comes to that crucial first encounter. Brezaa, resolves that problem.

In the words of the founders themselves: “you are more likely to meet people whom you are actually in tune with. Meaning more time for you, and less time on lousy dates. The difference between Brezaa and others is, we have added a twist to the dating experience by integrating games into the interface.”

Originality is everything when it comes to the dating industry and Brezaa offers thos in spades. So many apps (literally hundreds) fall by the wayside because they try and copy what’s been done a thousand times over, but Brezaa, they’re doing their own thing and frankly, I love it. Brezaa has a little bit of everything and that’s something that not even the Tinders and Bumbles of this world can claim to offer. Online dating has become boring and tedious again and that’s not something I say lightly, but through Brezaa the single population may just have been reawoken. Having spoken with literally hundreds of singletons over the past year, I’ve come to the conclusion that we have to start breaking old habits. Old habits whereby you’re stuck in the worst dating rut of your life and ultimately are making the same mistakes over and over and over again. If something isn’t working for you then surely it makes perfect sense to change things up? Stubborn and sceptical, that was me once and if it sounds like you then I think you know exactly what you need to do.

Revitalise the way you date and download Brezaa now from the app store and google play.

Yoti: Bringing Security To The Dating World

In an increasingly digital world, the issue of security is becoming more and more prominent. When we think of digital security the world of online banking is probably what springs to mind, and take it from me as someone who has had their entire wage lifted the day after he was paid, this is a very real problem for many. However, it has become apparent that the problem is of equal importance when it comes to the dating industry.

Why? Because in the world of dating what starts as a digital issue can very quickly become a physical issue in all the wrong ways, and it’s imperative that we stop this from happening. Over time the dating industry has become dominated by dating sites and apps as the more traditional methods of matchmaking and speed dating fall by the wayside. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing, but it has unfortunately left us susceptible to catfishes and scammers from all walks of life.

The harsh reality of dating is that some people are lonely and with loneliness comes vulnerability and far too many people out there won’t think twice about taking advantage of this. One such woman, known only as ‘Nancy’, has come forward to the national press in recent times to share her story in the hope of raising awareness to the dangers we face online. Nancy, in her 50s, had recently come out of a bad marriage when she decided to dip her toe in the water and sign up for Match.com. She fell for a man living in Turkey and in her own words was completely swept off her feet. However, within just 14 months Nancy had taken out several loans and lost both her house and her business as a result of falling for a fraudster.

“I just connected with what seemed to be a very attractive-looking person who was really keen to talk to me. There’s a term for it – ‘love-bombed’ – where you’re just bombarded with affection and compliments. When you’re with someone who tells you how awful you are every day for ten years, then someone pays you some compliments…of course you’re going to be swept away.”

Nancy’s case, however, is anything but a one-off. Countless others have been scammed for thousands of pounds and many more the victim of catfishing – something that is becoming part and parcel of the online dating world. So what is the solution? How can we protect ourselves? How can we keep ourselves secure in an increasingly digital world and in all aspects of our digital presence?

Step forward Yoti. In my honest opinion, Yoti are on the verge of revolutionising online security for a number of industries but particularly dating. They’ve identified a problem and offer a failsafe solution which in truth is a complete no-brainer for anyone with these concerns.

The world has moved on digitally, but one area in which we haven’t progressed, is how we identify ourselves. Our system of carrying around passports, driver’s licences and in some cases even birth certificates is not only inconvenient, but makes the lives of online fraudsters a hell of a lot easier. Yoti has set out to help society work together and finally make proving your identity safe and secure for all, something which the dating industry is crying out for – just ask Nancy.

You can create your Yoti in under 5 minutes by adding your selfie and ID documents using your phone – Yoti will then transform your details into a digital identity with bank level security keeping it perfectly safe – it’s as simple as that. You can then use Yoti to easily swap verified details with another person – just choose the details you’d like to swap, such as your name and photo, and receive the same

information back from the other person. Swapping Yotis is free and is the simplest way to know exactly who you’re meeting online.

On a wider scale our government should have been exploring the same idea years ago, but I guess sometimes society needs an organization with the right system and the right intentions to come forward and take the lead, and Yoti should be commended for that.

Take it from me (and Nancy) online security should never be taken lightly, don’t let yourself get caught out. Yoti is available NOW from both the Apple Store and Google Play.

Want To Get Back On The Market? The Time Is NOW!

Recently you may have read my feature in the Telegraph where I named my top 5 dating apps for men. Number 1 on that list was NOW and I thought it would be good to take a closer look at the dating industry’s new kids on the block, after all, they made the number 1 spot for one very specific reason.

As a dating blogger I get approached to review dating apps on an almost daily basis, but this was the first time (ever) that an app caught my eye so much that I approached them. This year I spent around 3 months revisiting my past research on the subject of online dating. I wanted to know where we’re all at with it, what’s working and why and more importantly what isn’t working and why. Throughout those months, I noticed there was one complaint from women which cropped up over and over again – regardless of what site they were on.

“I didn’t come here for a pen pal”

I eventually lost count of how many times I heard this. Streams of women explained to me how men would chat endlessly but never seem to want to actually meet or they would agree to meet but then reschedule again and again and again, before an eventual return to being the best of pen pals.

So why do I love NOW? Because NOW is the solution to this problem. NOW is about connecting people and places in the moment, it brings back a spontaneity which I strongly believe has been missing from the dating industry for far too long. Okay, so how do I explain this…ever been hanging around London with a few hours to kill but have nowhere to be and no one to see? Then jump on NOW, tell users how long you’re free for and whether you’d like to grab a beer, a cocktail, a bite, a movie, whatever floats your boat and just, well, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

I almost feel excited just writing about it, what’s not to love about this? Back in my early dating days I loved going to meet someone and not knowing where the night may take you and some of the dates I’ve been on have been the funniest and most memorable nights of my life – the very reason I started writing about dating in the first place. NOW reminds me of all of that, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to say that about a dating app. Imagine sitting in Trafalgar Square killing time and then a wonderful opportunity presents itself to swap the pigeons for a fascinating stranger? NOW does that for you, meaning any old weekday could turn into something quite spectacular.

Founder Cameron Woodford is a man with a plan (and one hell of a back story I might add), at the company’s recent launch night in London he spoke passionately about what NOW brings to the table. “We are unique. We fit into people’s busy lifestyles. We enable real experiences. Remember the days of going up to someone in a bar and starting a conversation? We’re bringing that back and with the help of technology it is simple, effective and effortless. Get online to get offline.” The app also looks to support local business ventures through promoting the venues where dates can meet. Cameron continued “We are bridging the gap between online dating and the hospitality industry, we want to drive traffic to these venues and hopefully make a few memories for people along the way.”

Trust me when I say this app is one to watch out for, particularly for the fussy Londoner in you. NOW is available to download NOW on the app store, NOW go download it, NOW, like right NOW.

The Biggest Mistakes Made By Online Daters

It’s no secret that the stigma once associated with online dating has well and truly disappeared. Once labelled desperate now just the norm, there are but a few singletons out there who haven’t tried some form of online dating. My own experiences of online dating have been few and far between, but having immersed myself in this industry, I’ve found that I’ve learnt far more as an outsider looking in. This summer I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying the biggest names in the industry and without further ado, here are my observations as to what not to do when online dating.

Choose the wrong site – no sponsored posts today folks so I’m not going to mention names of who I’d recommend (although if you’d like some do get in touch) but yes so many people criticise online dating when so often it’s been a case of ‘right time, wrong place’. Online dating is all a bit of a numbers game, you have to look at the key factors of meeting someone and think about which site will maximise your chances of finding the one – or someone. Let me give you an example, I had a look at one particular site after it won two awards at a ceremony I was attending. Two awards, I thought that’s pretty impressive. So I signed up only to discover it was like a ghost town – well at least where I lived. In spite of all the accolades and fancy branding, there didn’t appear to be a single user who lived within 100 miles of me. So lesson 1, play the numbers game, if no one in your area uses a particular app or site then what’s the point? Remember, that’s not to say compromise on quality, but location is a much bigger factor than people realise.

Put all your eggs in one basket – I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve encountered who feel like they’re at the end of their tether with dating and that they need to find the one LIKE RIGHT NOW. This can be a huge problem when online dating and can often lead to you throwing yourself into something with the first available ‘acceptable’ person. Don’t settle for acceptable, take your time and wait for remarkable. Remember, online dating is not a last resort and wont be the immediate answer to all of your problems. Don’t shut yourself off to finding love in other places.

Be too needy – ‘Desperate’ sounds like a harsh term to use but we’ve all spotted those profiles that absolutely wreak of desperation – please don’t be that person! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to find love, of course there isn’t, but if you try too hard then you might be waiting a lot longer than you’d hoped. When constructing your profile try and not give too much away, there’s plenty of time to tell someone your life story on the many dates you’ll be going on together.

Be negative – This has to be the number one thing that pissed me off during my research. I realise everyone has had tough experience but that doesn’t have to be the first thing you tell people about; “no one under 5ft 6, no single parents, no workaholics, no gingers, no no no………..” I saw it time and time again and yeah it’s fine to be picky, but I wouldn’t dare have contacted any of these people – it was draining to read. Plus, it also makes you think, well what makes you so special?

Be someone you’re not – it’s very easy to be someone you’re not online and it’s even easier to start believing your own bullsh*t. My ex lied to me about everything from her parent’s names to her birthplace to her job to the number siblings she had, all things that she was going to get found out for. Don’t put yourself in that position in the first place, it’s a sure fire way of ending the relationship you spent so long looking for in the first place.

Get stuck in a rut – A lot of negative feedback on online dating actually comes from its most avid users. I only ever recommend using online dating as a short-term solution, the harsh reality is that you will be rejected at some point (no matter who you are) and if you’re online for a sustained period of time then the rejection may add up which in turn could do severe damage to your confidence. Don’t be online every second of every day, get on with your life and check it now and again. There’s a trap with online dating where over time you start to expect negative results and all of the above points will eventually all roll into one. You have to be better than that –  make sure you get away from the keyboard and out into the fresh air from time to time!

So these are my top ‘dont’s’ but there are of course plenty of ‘do’s’. DO have fun, boost your confidence, get back out there, meet people, have coffee, dance, watch movies, walk in the park, eat good food, laugh the night away. Most importantly, get online to get offline.

What mistakes have you encountered?

PTB

Who Says Being Picky Is A Bad Thing?

Recently you may have read my Telegraph article in which I named my top 5 dating apps for men, and with so much garbage floating around at the moment I promise you, they weren’t chosen lightly! With this in mind I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at a few of the names mentioned which I think are ready to tear up the dating industry.

CLiKD is the brain child of tech entrepreneurs Michael Blakeley and Rupert Coney and firmly stands against the swipe culture of modern dating apps. I’ll admit, it’s a bit hipster but at its core it focuses on personality and individuality instead of selfies and aesthetics.  Visually impressive through it’s clever use of photography, CLiKD is challenging people (through a London wide billboard campaign) to ‘discover the person behind the photo’ – ain’t that sweet!

In essence CLiKD lets users build their own short personality quiz, using photography.  Any potential date has to pass this test in order to match with them.  So users can be really upfront and ask the questions they would typically ask on a first date. If people don’t pass each others tests then they don’t match and will never never know what might’ve been – *makes sad face.

So, if a user wants to connect with someone who’s outgoing, loves the gym and spending the summer at festivals, CLiKD lets them do that. Or, if they’re looking for a family orientated vegetarian who loves reading about quantum physics, they can do that too – I’m sure they exist right?

Ultimately, CLiKD says it’s okay to be picky and it is! I’ve found that ‘mass matching’ doesn’t really work anymore, in fact I have friends who swipe right for absolutely everyone and then makes a decision after they’ve matched (but still without speaking). Why is this bad? Well imagine the horror of matching with someone only to find they’ve unmatched moments later having had a proper look at you – *sad face again.

CLiKD is about quality.

Michael Blakeley, Founder of CLiKD says: “With CLiKD, we help you avoid wasting time on people who look nice, but just aren’t right for you.  No it’s not for everyone, but if you know what you want then CLiKD is for you. We will give you less matches but ones which are more relevant. And why is that? Well because it’s YOU who picks the three things that are important to you, and we only connect you with people who make the grade.”

So let’s break it down…

  1. CLiKD has designed a simple, creative, photo-based mechanism that lets every user decide what’s important to them, and then helps to filter people out accordingly.
  2. CLiKD only connects two people if they both pass each others personality tests
  3. This means that if users fancy someone, but don’t pass their personality test, they don’t match.

Yes it’s free!!!

The app is available on Apple and Android stores and is completely free to download and use.  Premium features, such as getting more daily recommendations, taking more testsand getting stats on your test will be available for a subscription fee of £4.99 a month. However, currently the app is usable for free.

So what are you waiting for? Clik off! Go get Clikd. I’ve not been Clikd in ages…..*sad face again.

The app is available now on Apple and Android stores. To find out more, click here.

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’ I thought, 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 such a traumatic experience these days and frankly it’s starting to get a bit old. Although I’ve had many happy memories from dating, believe me, I do understand why struggling to meet someone can be 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 route of blaming ‘modern dating traditions’ for their single status, 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 tiny bit weird 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 and easier and that’s what dating apps do. However, if you don’t like it Melissa, the traditional ways of old haven’t actually gone anywhere – they just don’t have the same 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 it seems you’re not the only one sick of ‘modern dating’. 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 and I applaud it, 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 with Melissa’s statements lie – 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 has 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 just 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 world of dating. 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

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 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.

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?

10 Things I Love About You

There’s a lot of difficult stuff going in the world right now and nothing I could ever say in a blog is going to change that, however today I thought it might be nice to focus on something positive. It seems on an almost daily basis we are confronted by the frustration and anger of relationship problems and if not our own, someone else is always ready to weigh in with theirs. This is an understandable part of life of course, but this week I spoke to ten different people and asked them to explain the one thing they love the most about their partners. The results, were just what I needed to hear.

“Do you remember the time we were all dressed up, I had a fancy dress on and you were in your bow tie. I was so nervous before the big event that I got blind drunk before we’d even arrived. You had to pull the taxi over so I could be sick and you looked after me even though for some unknown reason, I was screaming abuse at you in the middle of the street as dozens of people passed by. I ruined your big night, but you still made sure I got home ok, I was even still giving you abuse later that night when you called to check on me. I really didn’t deserve you that night.”

“I’d lost my job because of an absolute moment of madness, it was completely my own doing and it affected our entire relationship. Out of nowhere we struggled to pay the bills, our holiday was cancelled and we only just managed to scrape by. It took me three months to find a new job and you carried us through that entire time. Your patience and understanding was like nothing I’ve ever seen, in fact I don’t think you ever complained once, for that I love you.”

“There’s no great twist to our story I just love you and I have from the very first day we met. It seems too good to be true at times but I hope we never change.”

“From the first day we met you knew how important my family was to me and when I took you to meet them for the first time you were more nervous than I’d ever seen you. That night however, you worked your way around every single one of them, chatting, laughing, getting to know them. You even had a dance with Gran. I’d never loved you more.”

“He already knows how much this means to me, but from our very first conversation he knew I had a daughter and unlike a lot of guys he showed nothing but interest in her and couldn’t wait to meet her. I was probably more nervous about this than he was, but from the very moment they met they were like best friends. He never tried to be her Dad, he was just there for her as a friend. It’s a shame we didn’t work out, but I still love him for that.”

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“Sometimes it’s the simple things in life and to be honest I didn’t have much of a sense of humour before I met you. Without fail, you always make me laugh and you might not think much of it, but to me it means the world.”

“You are the quirkiest girl I’ve ever known and the first girl I’ve met with one of those colourful hair braids you get on holiday since about 1999. I was pretty content with life before you came along, but looking back my life was probably a tad boring. I fell in love with you the night I came home from work and you had lit lots of candles and prepared marshmallows for us. I thought you were totally bonkers, but I loved it and still think about that night constantly.”

“I’d been in an abusive relationship for more than four years. You were my best friend, I couldn’t have asked for any more from you during that awful time. On so many occasions I took his side instead of yours, I’d scared myself into loving him. I wish I’d realised you were the one all along so much sooner, I was an idiot. That was a long time ago and you’re there for me now even more than you were back then, that’s why I love you. You never ever left my side”

“I consider myself to be a complete oddball to the point where I never thought I’d meet someone. You are a very different kind of oddball, but the way you accept, encourage and support me is so very normal and as odd as we both may be there is something incredibly simple about our relationship. I can’t imagine finding that with anyone else.”

“We’ve been together since school, that was around 30 years ago now. I’ve always hated the term but high school sweethearts, that was us. I wasn’t the easiest person to be around, but you always stuck by me no matter what and today we have three amazing kids and have built a life together. It would’ve been so easy in the early days just to think we’re too young for all this and call it a day. When I think about what we would’ve missed out on if we’d done that, well it scares the life out of me. I love you because you were the energy that kept us going, you made all of this happen.”

To be perfectly honest this is one of my favourite posts I’ve ever written, purely because the research was so rewarding. In a time where we are so engrossed in the negatives of the world it’s such a refreshing change to go back to basics and see first-hand the extraordinary depths of love people have for one another.

Stay safe everyone.

PTB

 

 

 

An Unusual Case Of Online Dating

I’ve already sat for ten minutes trying to decide what to call this article, but in the end I decided to call it exactly what it is. This is one of those stories you read in magazines and you think to yourself there’s no way that can possibly be true, but this one, to my surprise, is.

About 18 months ago I started a new job in Glasgow and in my training group I met an older gentleman who’d recently moved home to Scotland having lived in America since the age of 5. He was fascinatingly interesting and yet strangely peculiar, pleasant and odd all at the same time, but ultimately a decent bloke.

I came to learn he was the religious type. His views were at times outdated, even if he did always have the best of intentions. He had split from his wife some years ago, the epitome of a bitter divorce battle and yet he still spoke with such warmth and respect for women and longed only to find someone to settle down with. It sat well with me the way he spoke, a gentleman in it’s truest form even if it was a tad cringeworthy at times.

As I got to know him better however, I realized that his ‘longing’ to meet someone was verging on utter desperation. I’ve spoken at length before about desperation. It’s not a crime and it fleetingly happens to us all at some point in our lives, but desperation can be a very dangerous thing. It clouds our judgement and more often than not, leads to poor if not crazy decision-making.

A few months had passed by when he told me he’d signed up for an online dating site, no surprises there. It’s quick and easy and has become more and more commonplace than ever before. What did surprise me however, was the particular website he had singed up for. If you’re eager to meet someone and want to settle down as quickly as possible surely you’d sign up for a site that allowed you to meet people in your local area or your city or at least your country! Why on earth he had signed up for ‘RussianCupid.com’ I’ll never know. I’m convinced he’d fallen for a pop-up advert somewhere and genuinely believed Svetlana really was ‘waiting for his call’.

I asked him more about the website, I was curious as to how it all worked. It was then that his eyes instantly lit up as he told me with great enthusiasm that he’d already ‘met’ someone. He couldn’t believe his luck, a girl had messaged him within minutes of signing up, even though he hadn’t added a profile picture yet. I was mentally holding my head in my hands. He went on to tell me how lucky he’d been that she’d messaged him first because for men to make first contact it cost an extra £14.99. It was a scam in it’s purest form.

Thankfully, within a few days he realized this. Sadly though he was convinced that only this particular person wasn’t real and had decided to persist with the same website despite numerous warnings from anyone with a brain. A week later came Russian girl number two. This one less than half his age – naturally. I warned him to be careful this time, to keep in mind what had happened before, to tread with even just an ounce of caution and to recognize the usual warning signs. He didn’t – naturally.

‘Oksana’ was a nurse in the centre of Moscow who didn’t have internet access at home and so could only message him from work. She only ever messaged at the same time – 7pm, Monday to Friday. Warning sign? Of course it was. What 20 something living in a big city doesn’t have internet access? A few days later I asked how it was going and he gave me an almost breathless look of sheer joy. He stuttered for a second as he pondered where to even begin with his declaration of love for yet another fictitious Russian girl. Once again he’d been drawn in hook, line and sinker. By this point he’d become a scam artist’s wet dream.

I asked if he had any pictures, “oh I have 16 pictures” he replied in a fading American accent. Sixteen? Very specific I thought to myself. Sure enough he’d been sent a fair few pictures. What didn’t seem to alarm him however, was that every single picture was a poorly shot amateur modelling picturing. Photo after photo in fields, lying in grass, bent over a sink, on the train, at a bus stop, even in the frozen food section of a supermarket. No selfies, no photos with friends or family, just a steady stream of photos from what looked like a low budget Eastern European porn flick.

I must stress at this point I do not wish to be overly harsh on him. He was a nice guy after all, but the excruciating naivety of a man of his age was infuriating. How could he convince himself so strongly that this was real? He wouldn’t listen, no matter how many times myself or anyone else tried to tell him.

Eventually the messages dried up and he admitted his mistake. This realization was sheer relief for me, he wasn’t my responsibility but I seemed to be the only one with any persistence in trying to make him realise what he was getting himself into. His latest failed romance however, would not deter him. He was insistent that online dating was still the right path for him.

This time I was expecting him to join Match or Plenty Of Fish but no next up was ‘Christian Dating’ a site notorious for scam artists looking to capitalize on the naivety of generous Christians and sure enough more messages from Russians! Nothing against Russians, but If I were him at this point I’d be running for the hills at the sight of anything remotely Russian – unless it’s white and comes in a glass.

This one was a little more blunt, I almost respected her for it as it would save me weeks of watching him get his hopes up only to be let down again. Within two days she was asking for money to fly to Scotland and start a life together. Two days?! It seems online dating is serious business in Russia. My colleague, sadly, gave in to her request following a very creative sob story she drip fed to him over a series of late night messages. With the best of intentions, he handed over his entire three month bonus. I’d seen first-hand how hard he’d worked for that bonus. I was sad for him but also overwhelmingly disappointed – I’d warned him so many times. From this point onwards he was convinced she would be moving to Scotland. He went as far as to moving to a bigger house in preparation for her arrival and had planned to greet her at the airport in full Highland dress – honestly. As the days and weeks passed by I kept asking when she would arrive and was given the same answer for nearly two months “in two weeks”. As it turns out she had been demanding more and more money and when he refused, she stopped messaging.

I hoped this would be the final time he would fall for such schemes and thankfully it was. This wasn’t to be his final venture into the world of online dating, but at least it was the end of a pretty horrendous run. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known who’s had three successive relationships without hearing their voice or having any form of physical contact, must be a new record.

The final twist in this tale involved a Dutch woman, half a tank of petrol and a migrant crisis at Calais. One last bash at Christian Dating proved to be a bit more fruitful this time. He met a woman called Christina. They shared his religious beliefs, her love of experimental cooking and a mutual love of all things Bruce Springsteen. They talked for hours on the phone most days, not just at 7pm, Monday to Friday. After three weeks he flew to Brugges where she had been working to surprise her, not knowing that she had in fact already returned home to Amsterdam. Christina, touched by his gesture drove all the way back to Brugges with no money and half a tank of petrol to pick him up. What was supposed to be a spontaneous weekend turned into a three week holiday thanks to the ongoing ferry issues at Calais and in those three weeks it seems they both found a soulmate. It all seems a bit too much to comprehend even now, but it’s a true story nonetheless. Christina has now moved to Scotland, living in the house he’d rented for the Russian.

This is obviously an extreme story, a complete one-off. In the end it seems online romances aren’t the evil of the dating world after all, but my old colleague certainly made things difficult for himself. There are endless lessons to be learned from this story. Don’t let desperation make your decisions, don’t sign up to obscure websites, don’t date fake Russian models, don’t send strangers money and if you travel abroad to meet your new squeeze make sure you go to the right country. Ultimately though, don’t give up. You’ll find what you’re looking for – eventually.

PTB

PTB Meets Jethro Sheeran

Some things run in the family. It’s a tough task sharing a name with your global superstar cousin but Jethro ‘Alonestar’ Sheeran has built a worldwide reputation of his own – credible artist, writer, producer and of course doting Dad. Personally, I have great respect for just about any type of musician, whether you’re the busker on the street corner or the chart-topping pro it takes grit and determination to follow a dream of any kind and Alonestar is the perfect example of this. But as much as I love music, today I caught up with Jethro to talk about dating, relationships and well groupies (I had to ask).

As a dedicated musician do you find it hard to juggle your career and relationships?

Yes it’s very hard being away a lot, especially working weekends and late nights in the studio it does put a strain on your relationship at times. Also, when you’re gigging or travelling there’s a lot of trust issues so you have to make your partner feel secure.

What are the main qualities you look for in a partner?

Trust and loyalty, being supportive of my career and total honesty between us.

Any deal-breakers?

If my partner cannot accept my daughter Skyla Rain Sheeran.

Are groupies a thing of the past in music or do you still find the usual cluster of people hanging around?

There’s always groupies around when it comes to musicians but for the most part they don’t know you as a person at all. They just see you walk off stage after a performance and jump at you, I think it’s weird. I’ve been in a club before a performance and seen a beautiful girl who didn’t bat an eyelid at me but when I performed she was right at the front staring at me and afterwards asked to buy me a drink. I accepted but thought she was a little fake.

Online dating: curse or convenience?

Online dating is awesome I think, for everyone. It’s like an online night club without the bullshit of dressing up, dancing, drinking, catching her eye then having the courage to chat her up. On dating sites your pictures represent who you are which can be both a good and a bad thing, but if we’re honest we need that initial attraction so we shouldn’t see it as a bad thing if we end up scrolling through until we find someone we like. A lot of my friends have met their wives online so I think it’s a great thing especially if you’re working hard and don’t get out much.

Any strange fan mail?

I’ve had lots of fan mail, mostly really cool letters about how my music has helped people get through some hard times in their life but also a few odd things. One time a girl threw a sex toy with her number attached to it on stage and my singer picked it up and kept it. Her face was priceless and she was frantically pointing that it was for me, was funny.

Looks Vs Personality?

For me it has to be both.

Teen Crush?

My teen crush was wonder woman.

Does our perception of love change as we get older?

I think so. My first love was so passionate, we were obsessed with each other, the love we felt was so powerful. I think it still does feel strong but you also put barriers up to protect your heart especially if you’ve been really hurt before. You also start looking for a relationship with someone you really trust where you can let the love grow and have mutual respect for one another as opposed to someone you are besotted with but they don’t treat you right and cheat or whatever. You yearn for them and it hurts – I’m not sure if that’s real love or infatuation.

Download Alonestar’s work at Jethrosheeran.com or on itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/real-life-feat.-ed-sheeran/id940742964#

Twitter: @alonestar1

24 Hours On Tinder

Many of you will know that I’m not the biggest fan of online dating. I’d describe myself as sceptical but open-minded. I’ve known so many people let down by the online process – conversations which held much promise quickly turning to bitter disappointment and regret. That being said there are many online success stories so regardless of my opinions of the online game; I fully accept its place within 21st century dating. So with this in mind I decided to try Tinder. I say try but I really just mean see what it’s all about. The growing popularity of the Tinder app has been rather astounding, in fact many people now have it in the same way they would have any other app irrespective of what if anything they are looking for. So in 24 hours here’s what I discovered:

1. Girls love baths. Tinder has introduced a new ‘moment’ feature simply allowing you to post a temporary picture with a message. Remember all those beach photos in the summer: legs or hot dogs? Well be prepared for lots of these except in the bath. They are of course legs this time I might add, no hot dogs in the bath – I hope.

2. Guys seem to (mostly) only want one thing. This doesn’t go for every guy of course but one of the most common complaints from girls was the vast amount of dirty messages being sent to them. It seems ‘would you like to see my penis’ has replaced the popular greeting known as ‘hello’ for many men. This is a similar complaint that I’d heard a while back from the women of plentyoffish.com so I was a tad disappointed to find a similar trend on Tinder. If you are only after a casual relationship there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but there’s ways of going about. I countered this with a ‘moment’ of my own: “Post dogs not d*cks” accompanied by a picture of my beloved Cocker Spaniel. The girls loved it, probably out of relief more than anything.

3. EVERYONE loves a selfie. The world has officially gone selfie mad. What more can I say?

4. Some people really are just lonely. This isn’t a criticism of course I genuinely felt a bit sad realizing this. There were girls posting their phone number publicly meaning just about anyone would have access to it, I found this slightly alarming. I decided to investigate this a little bit more and engaged in a few different conversations. It was incredible how each of these conversations took the exact same turn. It started with ‘oh I’m just bored’ but then slowly as they began to open up a sea of confidence and anxiety issues are revealed. I’ve written about this in some depth in the past, I wish people could see the good in themselves sometimes but easier said than done I know. They may not be who they want to be yet but that doesn’t mean they’re not a great person. I always say for every person who spurns you there are twenty others who would kill to be with you.

5. Looks are everything. Well at least on Tinder anyway. It’s incredible how often you hear people saying ‘looks aren’t everything’ and I agree looks may spark initial interest but it’s personality that determines the longevity of a relationship. On Tinder however that all goes out the window. It’s fascinating really and perhaps even a little bit of an ego boost but it’s incredible to see how quickly our every day rationality simply disappears.

So Tinder, I’m not yet convinced. I’m not sure Tinder quite knows what it is yet? I speak to so many people looking for love but I don’t think Tinder is the answer nor does it seem like a particularly good ‘hook-up’ site, in fact the mere suggestion of it is met with a barrage of hostility – but like I say there are ways of wording your intentions and it doesn’t begin with ‘do you wanna see…’ All just my opinion of course, I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Happy Dating

PTB

Great Myths About Men Explained

Being a guy, who knows a lot of guys, I unfortunately am all too familiar with some of man’s great failings when it comes to women. I could never claim to have been a perfect boyfriend, but every now and again friends, colleagues and often complete strangers will share their stories with me, and as much as I love to listen, every now and again my jaw hits the floor at some of the things we do and say. I could never judge anyone, way too many mistakes made on my part to do that, but are all the negative myths about men actually true? Or are they just that…myths?

1. We’re only after one thing. I get asked this question constantly and the truth is – a bit of both. I know someone who uses online dating and when asked what he’s looking for he is always completely truthful, “a bit of fun.” Hardly the romance girls are after but so long as it’s done respectfully is there really anything wrong with such honesty? This person’s explanation is “I travel a lot for work so it wouldn’t be fair for me to get seriously involved with someone, I just don’t have the time”. So yes sometimes guys are after only one thing but believe it or not, sometimes there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it. Guys do think about sex constantly, it’s in our DNA after all, but that doesn’t mean we’re all predators and you can’t argue with science! Girls, if it’s something you’re really concerned about look out for the early warning signs, some are more obvious than others – requests for dirty photos, innuendos, and the classic “I’m in bed, wish you were here” – we try and pass it off as ‘banter’ but that would be a blatant lie (guys you know exactly what I’m talking about). If you’re still worried sometimes the best thing you can do is actually the simplest – just ask.

2. We constantly lie. This isn’t true of all men of course but yes you’d be surprised at just how much men tell porkies. There is, however, a little method to our madness. Guys are too often guilty of saying what we think women want to hear rather than what we’re actually thinking. The peculiar thing is that guys are often berated for lying, sure it’s not okay but you’d be surprised how often guys lie simply to protect a girl’s feelings and I’m sure that works vice-versa as well. This is of course just your typical little white lies, the other kind of lying that we all know about is a different story altogether. If a guy thinks he can get away with lying, cheating and stealing then he’ll probably continue to do it, you’d be surprised at how quickly lying can become a habit as opposed to a one-off. On a more general level, learn to know when your guy is lying (he will have a tell) and nip it in the bud before it escalates. Don’t be a bunny boiler about it though, we aren’t always lying – believe it or not.

3. “Once a cheater always a cheater” This one drives me crazy, I cannot stress enough how much I wholeheartedly disagree with this. People change, people grow up! Obviously I don’t condone cheating but people do learn from their mistakes. I’ve known guys who’ve cheated and continue to cheat with numerous different women, it’s a sad fact of life, but I also know guys who were so wracked with guilt from cheating that they couldn’t eat or sleep for days and wouldn’t dare go near another woman ever again. It’s down to personal choice whether you forgive a cheater or not but when making that decision don’t assume that he will always cheat. Just keep a casual eye on him – time will soon tell if you’ve made the right decision.

4. Our feelings don’t get hurt. Definitely not true. Even the biggest, buffest guy in the gym can be a delicate little flower inside. Guys don’t express feelings very well but don’t mistake this for being made of stone. Sometimes we’re just as insecure as women. I’ve written in detail about this before but more recently I did a small photoshoot for a friend and you’d be surprised at just how much a good quality camera can reveal your every flaw. I almost cried myself to sleep that night – big softie that I am.

5. We hate all of your friends. Not true at all we just hate when you’re in a group together! I have this ex and individually I loved every one of her friends, but as a group? Don’t get me started! There are few words to explain the frustration of a man having to spend an evening with a group of hyperactive, babbling, ranting women. Yes we’ll be gents, keep quiet and politely listen to every one of your meaningless conversations about “that bitch from work” but sorry girls we just don’t want to be there – please don’t make us be.

So girls, yes we’re far from perfect but don’t always believe what you read and be wary of the words of a woman scorned. People can only speak of their own experiences but not everyone or every circumstance is the same. Try your best to be a good judge of character and never be afraid to ask questions. Failing that just come and ask me – I promise I’m not only after one thing (but I do not want to meet your friends).

PTB

Things Guys Say On Dates

In the spirit of the weekend I’ll keep today’s post on the funny side. Whilst doing research for my blog I spoke with a number of women on dating site PlentyofFish (work purposes only I promise) and have inadvertently compiled a list of the most shocking things guys have said to women on first dates, some of this may shock even the most avid of daters. Here’s my Top 50, enjoy!

50. “Would you mind if I touched your ankles?”

49. “Would you mind if I sniffed your arm pits?”

48. “You look a bit like Baloo the Bear”

47. “You look like a shoplifter”

46. “I’m a shoplifter”

45. “My Mum is making me move out after my 40th birthday next week”

44. “You are so sexy, remind me a bit of my sister”

43. “Do you mind if I quickly finish this game of solitaire on my phone?”

42. “I don’t really fancy you but I needed a night out”

41. “You look like a girl who loves anal”

40. “Did you make that dress yourself? Looks like it’s falling apart”

39. “Your hair is nice but your face could be better”

38. “Is McDonalds ok?”

37. “I had my first gay experience last night”

36, “I have a really tiny penis, I’ll show you under the table if you like?”

35. “I have the keys to a morgue if you’d like to see a dead body?”

34. “You must’ve been really fat when you were younger”

33. “I’m not really interested in you like that, I’m actually looking for a surrogate”

32. “have you ever made out with your sister?”

31. “I’ve made out with my sister”

30. “23? You look at least 40”

29. “You smell like cheese”

28. “I miss my ex almost every day”

27. “My shirt is actually part of a pyjama set”

26. “I’m completely racist, don’ talk to me about those people”

25. “I’m not paying for the wine you drank”

24. “Do you and your friends ever compare vaginas?”

23. “I’ve had over 500 sexual partners”

22. “Do you plan on getting your teeth fixed?”

21. “The woman behind the bar is actually my Mum, you’ve already met”

20. “My penis is crooked, it curves to the left”

19. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I’m in a wheelchair”

18. “I got caught pretending to have sex with a pavement”

17. “I think you’ve eaten enough”

16. “You should go and help with the dishes”

15. “no shoosh, shut your mouth”

14. ” You eat like a garbage disposal”

13. “I showed my Mum your picture, she thinks I can do better”

12. “yeah I’ll see you again, I feel a bit sorry for you.”

11. “I’ve had chlamydia six times”

10. “I’m actually married”

9. “Can we go somewhere else my wife’s best friend has just walked in”

8. “I can’t stay long I have another date after this”

7. “Can you drive me home?”

6. “I’m really into model trains, I brought this one to show you”

5. “Have you always had a double chin?”

4. “There was an incident with a ladyboy”

3. “My stag do is next weekend”

2. “Send me a picture from the toilet”

1. “I’m technically not allowed to leave the country”

Luckily most of the women I spoke to saw the funny side of things although a few did give out a slap or two. So to the women of Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and London I sincerely apologise on behalf of these characters and men, well I think it’s time we had a talk.

Happy Friday

PTB