Monthly Archives: March 2011

We’re big on Do’s and Don’ts around here, in case you haven’t already guessed…

“Do spend time dating yourself. Take yourself to dinner, spend the day enjoying your own company, pop into a museum alone and sit down and have a glass of wine by yourself. Too many women are afraid they’ll look pathetic, but in reality a woman who does what she wants to do when she wants to do it looks confident (read totally sexy) to the opposite sex.”

[Via]

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Nerd Love

For those of you who don’t already know me, I’m kind of a huge nerdatron. Not so much on the technology side (for someone who took her SAT’s in the 6th grade, I am unusually dumb when it comes to technology), but I tend to geek out the most when it comes to stuff like fantasy, pop culture, trivia, science, etc. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I started Cyber Dating Sidekick in the first place…dorks? You are my people. And I want to see you happy and in love with other dorks (or, as one client recently found, former cheerleaders who can appreciate the Dork inside of you).

And this weekend was unusually epic for Cyber Dating Sidekick in terms of Nerd Love. First, I got to hang out at The Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge (#webchallenge) which was basically a mind power explosion of awesomeness. I also found this article on Nerd Love, which got this girl psyched for the upcoming Script Frenzy in April (the script is getting FLIPPED, ya’lls!). Then later that night, myself and few others made a pact to bring back The Geek Prom. In case you’ve never been, it’s like a dream come true for all geek souls (not to mention a super sweet opportunity to meet other super sweet pieces of dorkatron hotness)…but after an unfortunate catastrophe a few years ago involving streaking and pepper spray, it has been solidly stationed in Duluth. Yet an All Hands In Pact was made to bring it back, in some incarnation, to Minneapolis/St.Paul for our local brethren in 2012. First, however, we must organize a field trip to Duluth for this year’s 2011 Geek Prom.  THERE’S GOING TO BE AN AIR SUPPLY AIR JAM. Which practically means that the organizers sat down one day and said, “How can we get Amber to come to our prom this year? Oh, by making all of her dreams come true with an AIR SUPPLY AIR JAM.”

And then, in probably the most awesome moment of nerds coming together for the greater good, I learned about this from my friend Mike during our chat at The Profile Party yesterday.

So pretty much it was one of the most amazing weekends ever, you guys. The only thing that could have possibly made it more epic is if if the owners of the DeLorean came and picked me up at my apartment and offered to let me blast Huey Lewis & The News while speeding around mall parking lots in it all night.

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“I’m sorry, but I can’t dance with you. I just got this new wooden leg and I need to break it in slowly.”

Today we’re going to be talking about Do’s and Don’ts of Online Profiles for the Ladies.

But don’t get too comfortable, guys – there’s stuff in here for you, too.

I am far from perfect; because of that, I’ve had to learn some lessons in the areas of Male Hunting & Fishing. I’d like to share these lessons with others, if only to spare them further pain (see? I’m nice.). Some of these lessons came from my own extensive field research and others were learned from work with others. And, of course, there are just some things that scream “Run away! RUN AWAAAAAY!!” and require no background experience.

For help with my dissertation on Do’s and Don’ts, I had my friend and former Online Dating Diaries cohort Luke to offer his insight into the dramatic world of Online Profiles. His tips will be in bold italics.

So on with the show –

1. Do put some thought into your headline.

“Don’t use a headline that says, “OMG, look here!! im hott! lol!” because that’s just stupid.”

Here’s a tip – if it’s a saying that’s been on the back of people’s cars or stuck onto their backpacks since you were in high school, it’s not cool anymore. Any type of saying that can also be found on paper-weight rocks or inspirational posters are also gag-inducing. I have waxed on and off about guys’ profiles being cliché, but girls, you are soooo much worse when it comes to this shit.

If you have a hard time coming up with something random, sarcastic, or clever, pull a line from a favorite, obscure song because it will make you look hip and creative, or pull a line from an old cheesy song and pray that it comes off as ironic and/or fun. Or you could just use “I need to get laid now”, a recommendation from my friend Katy. You will so score with that one.

2. Don’t state the obvious.
Examples –
* “I enjoy a night out as much as a night in, cuddling on the couch with someone special.”

First of all, saying that you enjoy a night out as much as you enjoy a night in is like saying that you like to breathe air, and also enjoy drinking water. This does not set you apart. Almost all people enjoy going out sometimes but are also okay with staying in sometimes. It’s called variety. It’s called life. It’s called, “every day is different.” If you are an incurable homebody who never wants to go out or a highly social person who’s almost never at home, then that’s something you should mention.

I also just kind of have a thing about people talking about cuddling, much like I have a thing about the word “panties” – if LL Cool J says it, awesome, but if anyone else does, I get the heebie-jeebies. But that’s just me.

* “I’m looking for a guy who knows how to spoil a girl and make her feel special.”

This also reads as: I’m a high-maintenance princess who will suck your bank account dry and will basically never do anything great for you, ever.

Every girl likes to feel special. I don’t know any girl in the history of the human race who didn’t (even secretly) want to be swept off her feet. But honestly, when you state this as one of your criteria, it makes you sound whiny and needy, like those girls who won’t talk to their boyfriends for a week because he didn’t pick up on their hint about how Lisa at work got roses from her boyfriend last week.

Girls, spoil yourselves and make yourselves feel special. Stop looking to other people to give you those things. If a man sees how well you treat yourself, he will rise up to the challenge.

Also, something else I noticed – tons of girls’ profiles insist that their date “knows how to treat a girl”, but I have yet to see a profile that states they know how to treat a man. It should go both ways.

3. Don’t be vague.
There is one profile I read where she stated absolutely nothing specific about herself – she wasn’t a big reader, songs didn’t put her in the mood, she didn’t lie, she gets humbled every day – then, when it came to talk about what she was looking for, she stated “someone who has similar goals and values in life.” Like, being boring? Like refusing to answer a question with a detailed answer? Super.

But….at the same time…

4. Do keep it light.

You might be thinking, “But Amber, what was it exactly that made you want to post about what we are sure will be an invaluable source of wisdom that we will be able to use for the rest of our lives, and what is even more important, a non-sleep-inducing distraction from work?” Why, thank you for asking! It was a particular girls’ profile…

Even from the tiny pictures that appear in the search results, you could tell right away that this girl was beautiful – the kind that makes you wonder how you’re ever going to get to make out with any guy with her around. After staring at her picture for about five minutes, I scrolled down to read her profile.

Basically, from what I can gather, I know that she reads self-help books, she spends Mondays and Wednesdays with her psychologist, she thinks she resembles Camryn Manheim even though she’s only 103 lbs, and songs that talk about sleeping with body pillows make her sad. Which brings us to our next point:

5. Don’t talk about your weekly sessions with your counselor.
Personally, I think everyone could do with a little regular therapy. However, this is not something that I would want to hear about on the first date with a guy, which is kinda-sorta what these profiles are like. Guys often think of the worse-case scenarios when it comes to dating a girl – no one wants to envision an empty bottle of pills on your nightstand after he forgets to call you on Tuesday night. This is something best saved for when you start to get serious with someone, and he has had a chance to see that you’re going to therapy to help you become a more balanced, emotionally healthy person – not because you were ordered by the state to do so.

6. Don’t post “Is it possible to fall in love again?” or anything remotely related in your headline.
Women, if you have been hurt before in a relationship, join the club. So has everyone else. However, feeling the need to talk, at length, in your profile about the asshole who cheated on you at least twenty times is not going to get the guys to come a-runnin’. There are a few guys out there who would gladly show you that not all men are assholes, but if they suspect there’s pressure on them to heal all your hurts – they are going to run screaming down the street.

I could go on and on about this topic…but I won’t. All I will say is that if you are still hurt from your past relationship, resolve that first before jumping into a new one. Rebounds are talked about with negative connotations for a reason.

Which brings us to our next tip –

7. No mentions of ex-boyfriends. ANYWHERE.
Here’s what Luke had to say “Don’t use pictures with guys in them. We’re going to assume that they are ex-boyfriends whom you’re still in love with even though they cheated on you with your best friend’s mom. Especially if they’re wearing white baseball caps.”

Guys, this goes for you, too, but you have a little more room for forgiveness since we know that usually the only time you have pictures of yourselves dressed up and looking nice is when you had to go to a party or wedding with your ex-girlfriend and she forced you to smile for numerous snapshots. But dude, she’s probably burned all her copies of those pictures in a “healing round-circle fire” by now, so you probably should to.

Basically, any mention of an ex is just poor form. There’s really not any good reason to mention an ex, so just don’t do it.

Extra-Credit Don’t: When I read a profile that goes on and on about what they don’t want in a match – “I don’t want someone who never wants to go out, or someone who has a lot of drama in their life or whose favorite hobby is shopping” – I know that you’re actually talking about your ex and all the things that you now loathe about them. So stop doing that. Remember: Positive. Positive. People love pooositive.

8. “Don’t list your favorite book as Cosmo. Unless your favorite book really is Cosmo. In which case, call me, okay?”
Luke’s number is 867-5309.

9. Don’t write “Oh, these pictures are from Christmas of last year (I still have ten pounds more to go!)”.
First of all, if a guy says “I’d date her only if she lost 10 more pounds”, trust – he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to date anyway. Second, mentioning your weight anywhere in your profile is just poor form – it makes you seem shallow, and it gives the impression that you’re unhappy with yourself and obsessed with your weight. Unless, of course, you have Big-Beautiful-Woman pride and are backing it up by stating proudly stating that you’ve got a little more lovin’ to give than the average girl. If that’s the case, sing on ladyfriend, because the world needs a few more like you.

However –

10. Do be honest about your size in your stats.
As Lukey-Luke said:“Do fill in your weight. If you don’t, we’re going to assume you’re pushing 2 bills…Oh but it’s okay to lie about your weight, though. We’re totally stupid about stuff like that.

Back in the day, the ol’ sites had you actually list out your weight. As in, state your number, like on your license. Thus, it was probably one of the biggest things a girl agonized over when it came to her profile. These days things are a bit easier – most sites have grown wise to the fact that it might be easier to put weight into categories such as “thin”, “average”, “curvy”, etc.

But the general rule hasn’t changed:  Suck it up and be accurate about your weight. Yes, guys who mention that they only want to date a ” cute, petite, tiny girl” are probably not going to message you if you describe yourself as a voluptuous woman of model height…but these guys are usually total douchebags who deserve every unhappiness they get, so I’m totally fine if they inadvertently miss out on a fine piece like yourself.

But, most of all, please be accurate about this to protect y’ownself. It would break my heart for any girl to show up on a date and see That Look in a man’s eyes because she misrepresented herself and he was pissed/irritated/turned off by it. There are guys out there who are going to want you for you. But they’re not going to be able to find you if you’re too busy trying to be someone you’re not.

And since we’re on the subject, men…when writing up for what you’re looking for, very few girls with a healthy self-esteem are going to go after you if you list your dates’ weight requirements as “90-120 lbs.” Even if I was that skinny, I still wouldn’t go for you because you’re dumb and will obviously give me death looks when I’m stuffing my face with Cheetos after a hard week. If you really want to impress a girl here, don’t talk about a girl’s body at all. I know what you’re thinking – but Amber, then hundreds of incredibly unattractive girls will message me if I don’t explicitly state that attraction is important and lay out exactly what I’m physically attracted to!

See how stupid you sound?

11. Don’t list “being in jail” as your most humbling moment.
Again, kids, these are all true stories.

12. Abstain from demonstrating your high school Spanish.
Please, for the love of god – don’t use any foreign language anywhere in your profile. Unless it’s something that foreign-language-retarded people like me can understand from watching Taco Bell or Olive Garden commercials, it just looks pretentious and it’s irritating. I appreciate people who have a strong grasp on foreign languages, but demonstrate that in your profile some other way, such as simply stating “I can speak a foreign language.”

13. Don’t state “I am not going to try to sell myself.” in your profile.
First of all, Online Personal profiles are basically advertisements – and what are those advertisements selling? You. No one wants to come off as cocky or conceited, but look at your profile as akin to a job interview – why should someone want to date you? Bottom line, people are reading your profile to find out whether you would be a great potential date. If you can’t convince them of that, they’re going to move on.

And that, essentially, brings me to my point – be yourself, with a little added glow. Everyone is looking for something different, but the top three things men have listed as most attractive in a girl (taken from a Cosmo poll) are confidence, intelligence, and humor. Use your intelligence to find out what makes you special. Become confident in that, and then add a little humor along the way. In doing so, you can guarantee that your profile won’t come off as boring, scary, or cheesy.

Still want some help? I’ve got your back.

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It’s like a time machine. But without the awesomeness of a hot tub.

So for some of you newbs out there who haven’t been following my every word for years and taking it as your gospel, I’m going to be taking some of the oldie-but-goodie posts from the old Online Dating Diaries and posting them on here. I thought about taking some of them and modernizing them to pass them off as posts that I sweated and slaved over just this morning!, but A. that’d be kind of lame and B. this will give you, dear readers, a chance to kind of get a feel for my own personal past experiences with online dating. It will also give me some extra time to focus on the Air-Supply-inspired advertising I’m mocking up…which could be useful from a business standpoint, but mainly I’m just doing it because I’m a huge nerd.

So y’alls ready? Then follow me, brave souls, into the dark and mysterious catacombs of Cyber Dating Sidekick past*…

*You did read that part about me being a huge nerd, right?

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The Renegade of Match.com

My friend Jeremy and I have both been part of the ol’ online dating scene for a long time…using it as the old faithful to jumpstart our dating lives, trolling profiles for late night entertainment, even going so far as to posting bogus online profiles and Missed Connections to Craigslist for our own amusement (that was actually the first time we ever hung out, as a matter of fact. Which should tell you something about the both of us.)

As some of you already know, when you do online dating you start to feel a certain connection with everyone else who’s done it. I won’t say that it’s like being a veteran of war…but it is like being a closet D&D player in high school. There’s a familiarity there…you’ve both been to places others haven’t. Some of them, well…some of them haven’t been so pretty. You’ve earned your stripes. You know what’s up.

That’s why this was so hilarious when Jeremy posted about it a couple of days ago.

As Jeremy explains:

Lately when I’ve tweeted something I liked, I sometimes copy that as my Match headline. Truth be told, I actually did blank out the profanity, but they still rejected it. LAME! It went something like “I like to stand near Shit Creek and watch stray paddles float by.” Apparently even “S— Creek” is still too spicy for them. Seriously!
You gotta give him points for originality (banned or not, it’s still better than “Where have all the good girls gone?” Gross), and for anyone who knows Jeremy…he’s just trying to be himself, Match.com. Why so judge-y?!

Jeremy will be writing a guest post for y’all about his online dating adventures, coming in the next week. We promise not to ban him for inappropriate content.

If anything, we welcome it.

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The Profile Party

When: Sunday, March 27th, 2-6:30
Where: moto-i, Uptown, Mpls

Merging the online and offline, The Profile Party is an event where you can mingle with other singles while also getting help in creating or updating your online dating profile.

Because if your profile picture looks like this guy’s, you might need our help.

The event will feature mini-photo sessions by local talented photographer Jenn Barnett, who will be offering 3 profile pics for the (seriously unheard of) price of $30. Everyone who does a mini-photo session will also receive a coupon for $100 off a future full session ($225 regular price) that includes complimentary 11×14 print (valued at $75).

Cyber Dating Sidekick (that’s me, you guys) will be there to help you up your pro quotient in the online dating sphere with The Golden Lasso (a profile critique) for $10 and/or The Invisible Plane (a profile revision) for $25.

Already got a #winning profile? Come out anyway! We still want to meet you…and we’re betting that all the other fine single selves at The Profile Party do, too.

RSVP here! Also feel free to re-post the hell out of this.

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Principles.

When it comes to things like profile creation, I’m a pro. I know exactly what to do and what not to do to make your profile shine like a scholar amongst the unwashed masses. When it comes to other things – like what to do when a date with someone you like goes off the rails – well, like most people, I’m still figuring some things out. Which is okay, since my flaws only make me more endearing and adorable.

But here’s the basic takaway from every single lesson I’ve ever learned in this rollercoaster of a dating world:  No girl ever says, “Gee, I really hope this guy shows the least possible amount of effort.” This goes for all things, whether it’s profile creation, messages, planning a date, or just plain making out. And guys, I think if you thought hard about this, you’d agree that you feel the same way about us. If I had a dollar for every profile written by a guy that stated, “I want a girl who takes care of herself”…I’d have enough money to build my own Millennium Falcon. We may be looking for signs of it in different areas, but the principle of what we’re looking for is the same.

When it comes to dating, I don’t like to think of the date itself as akin to a job interview (why would you compare something super boring and anxiety-ridden to an opportunity to hang out and potentially make out with some super hotness?). But…I do think that some of the same codes of conduct may apply. You wouldn’t text your interviewer to tell them that you’re going to be a half-hour late because you fell asleep. You wouldn’t call your interviewer to say that parking in their neighborhood is a hassle, so instead you’ll be pulling up to the corner so they can just jump in and interview you in the car. You wouldn’t spend the interview texting back and forth with your best friend about what the interviewer is wearing and if he smells great.  Of course you wouldn’t – even just thinking about doing these things seems ludicrous. So why it is okay to do them when you’re making a go at impressing the potential person of your dreams?

We all make mistakes, and we can all be a bit clueless when it comes to the dating game. Which is okay…sometimes, intention wins the game more than anything else. But if I could give the world one thing, it would be to lock this simple principle into the mind of every single guy and girl…because practicing it can only keep you (and everyone else who comes across your path) in good stead. And it’s this: If you don’t like them enough to go out of your way, then you don’t like them enough.

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The Kissing Game

The end of the date can be one of the most awkward moments in the history of life. The quiet drive back to your place. The subtle popping of breath mints. The inner questions – Is he going to walk me to my door?  Or are we going to have to do that awkward reach across the car console? The “Soooo…I had a reeeallly nice time tonight” small talk. The slow nodding and prolonged eye contact.

It just never seems easy, never seems smooth. And then the worst happens.

“Can I kiss you?”

Aaand multiply the awkwardness by 1000%.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a staunch and vocal opponent of the “asking before kissing.”  Some people put their energy towards things like educating others against littering or secondhand smoke…I like to put my energy towards educating others against this particular dating trait.

There’s two main reasons why I hate this so much:

1) As previously stated, it makes the awkward moment that much more awkward. Now I know you’re going to. Now I have to just stand there and and wait and watch you while you pucker up and slowly come at me like a slow-motion bear attack. Now instead of a romantic, melt-worthy makeout moment, I now get to hold the memory of our first kiss as one that was awkward and polite and slow and weird.

2) It shows a lack of confidence. I know I go off on this a lot, but it’s all about the confidence, kids. Even if you don’t have it, you just gotta man up and act like you do. If you’re a girl like me, you want a guy to have the kind of confidence that propels him to go for what he wants. We don’t want to date the guys who wait for us to ask them out because they’re too “shy” to do it themselves. We don’t want to date the guys who ask us if they can kiss us because they’re too nervous to just go in for the kill.  We don’t want to date the guys who will never just pick us up and throw us down and ravage us because the mood has struck and they have to have us right now (aka, the Man-Handler, which is another name for “Totally Freaking Hot”). Why? Because dating that guy is a total drag, that’s why. And all of these things are inter-related.  They all lead to a circular pattern. If you don’t have the balls to take the lead in one thing, we’re going to assume that you don’t have the balls to take the lead in anything else.

The KISSSSING Blog also sums this up pretty well:
“Asking a girl if you may kiss her before doing it is an insulting way of laying all the responsibility on her.” — ‘Reflections of a Bachelor Girl’ by Helen Rowland

And I get it – sometimes you don’t know if a girl wants you to kiss her. Sometimes it just feels easier to ask so you don’t offend her or make a fool out of yourself. I totally get that. But here’s the thing – we’ll make sure to let you know if we don’t want to kiss you. And I’m much more likely to say no if you ask me and give me some time to think about it than if you just go in for it and surprise me with your overwhelming manliness. There have been several instances in my life where, if the guy had asked me first, I probably would’ve said no. But instead they just went for it, and you wanna know what happened? I literally swooned. And looked at them in a whole new light.

Don’t you want a girl to look at you like that?

[Follow the discussion on Twitter]

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These are my people.

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