Friday, August 31, 2007

Fun Friday!

No, I haven't talked to Cute Neighbor yet. I'm pretty good at procrastinating, huh? I will do it. I promise. Hey! Why don't you believe me??? :)

Oh, and remember how Hot Neighbor and Hoochie McSkankerton supposedly broke up? Yeah, she was over at his house last night. So he can bite me. I am over it. All efforts will now be focused on Cute Neighbor, as Hot Neighbor apparently has no clue what the hell he wants. Either that, or he's got Jerry Maguire syndrome, ie, he cannot be alone.

For Fun Friday today, I present to you some videos from this cool show my coworker, LK, has gotten me hooked on. His name is Derren Brown, and he is this magician/psychologist/hypnotist type of guy. He does the most amazing things on his show. Check out two of my favorites.

If this guy is for real, he's totally amazing! His show is nothing but crazy mind-f**ks like this.

This series of videos (there are 5 total, I think) are the silliest, most random things I've ever seen. And they make me howl with laughter every time I watch them. MJ and I love to sing the theme song.

And if you love hot pockets as much as I do, then we have something in common with Jim Gaffigan.

Have a nice, long weekend, guys! Hopefully, this time tomorrow, I'll be tailgating at the game with CN...

Can someone remind me to post the story about dinner last night??? Preview: I am apparently a trend setter, Rob Thomas is a douchebag...and I discovered a Man Buffet. So, um, stay tuned.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Before & After

My backyard: before....

And after...

Everyone yell "Thanks, Czarina, for getting VB's yard to resemble usable land rather than a toxic urban rainforest!!" -- Ugh, seriously, it was bad, y'all. This was the best early Xmas present ever. My yard is pretty. Full of fire ants which bite the crap out of me, but pretty nonetheless. Thanks, Mom.

My hair: before...(and no, that is not me in the pic)

and after...(again, just to clarify, not me.)

Needless to say, it is taking some getting used to. My hair has never been one color before (and only this dark one other time) and I am not so sure about it. I also cut off more than I wish I had. But, oh well. It grows back. Before I die. Sometime.

For now, I am a bobbed brunette.

But I'm going right back to shoulder-length blonde ASAP!! I do not feel like myself!

In other news...

Thanks to the wonders of myspace (shut up, you know you're guilty of it, too), I have gotten some scoopage on Cute Neighbor. He'd been gone for about a week, so I just thought he was on vacay. But one week turned into almost 2, so I began to get curious. Cue the myspace stalking.

Ok, remember how his dad has cancer? Well, it turns out CN is not on vacation. He's been with his parents at some hospital somewhere out of town. His dad is getting tests/biopsies for the cancer that is spreading all in his body. (Ugh. Depressing AND stressful!) He stayed with his parents in a hotel room for about 2 weeks. I don't know about you, but I myself would have to assassinate The Czarina if forced to be within such close proximity to her for that amount of time. Aside from mentioning that he really wanted a beer and seemed to be bored and restless, he was taking it all in good stride.

What a great guy, huh? Loyal, patient, caring....*sigh*

He came back today.

I may or may not be tailgating for the USC game on Saturday.

I may or may not be inviting Cute Neighbor to come with...

...after all, the guy needs a beer and something to get his mind off of all of that. And I'd be more than happy to oblige.

Let's hope he doesn't find my new hair as hideous as I do.

Let's also hope that he lets me borrow his lawn mower. My backyard needs a trim!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm amazed at how difficult friendships become after college. Until the day you graduate, you have been assured of meeting new people or seeing familiar faces every fall when you walk into the classroom. For hours a day, you have friends nearby or potential friendships waiting to begin. It's wonderful.

But upon your last day of school, you get a rough wake-up call. You go from being surrounded by people who are close in age and similar in goals and the Real World, where you're lucky if you work with someone within 15 years of your age. Who has anything in common with you. And if you move away for that first job, your chances of knowing a soul in your new town are slim. You feel the first pangs of loneliness. For the first time in your life, you have to really start making an effort to meet people and make friends. They are no longer waiting in a classroom for you. Nothing you've ever done before has prepared you for this. It's a difficult skill to master, actually: making friends as an adult.

Now you have to approach strangers who seem cool. Hope that small talk turns into that wonderful moment in a new friendship where you're convinced you were separated at birth. You never turn down a single social opportunity, no matter how lame, because it is all you have. It's either that, or spend more time alone, and you just can't bear it anymore. You long for your old group of friends and the comfort that network had brought you. You begin to wonder why more people are not friendly. You begin to question who you are -- are you fun? interesting? nice? Why aren't you surrounded by wonderful, loyal friends who care about you? Has something besides your zip code changed?

It's a very difficult time, at least for me, anyway.

And as The Czarina has so astutely pointed out to me: "The only cure for loneliness is people."

In theory, making friends sounds easy. But throw an adult into a town where they know no one, and it is suddenly a momentous task.

As if that's not bad enough, the new town is probably just the first of several. Most people in their 20s move around a lot, and maintaining friendships becomes very difficult under these circumstances. I have lost several friendships because one of us has moved far away. And since friendships are often based on shared experiences, there is little hope for survival once one person moves away. It makes me sad to think about my old friends. I miss them very much sometimes. But at the same time, I understand. They have taken new jobs, gotten married or had babies. Or I have moved away. Or we just didn't visit each other to maintain the friendship properly. Soon, our experiences are no longer shared, and then it feels like you're talking to a stranger. Eventually, one person no longer sees the need to continue making an effort. Their life has gone on. They have, without any malicious intent, replaced you. As much as you can be replaced, anyway.

These, in my experience, have been the most painful friendship losses. To see them withering away and being powerless to stop it. "Why does it have to change? How can I stop this?" you might wonder. Desperately clinging on by your fingernails only delays the inevitable: the friendship is dying. For me, it feels like a milder version of grief.

An optimist would say that when one friendship closes, another opens. That the loss of one friendship opens up spots in your schedule for you to find new and maybe even better friends. I would have to agree that yes, this is luckily what has happened to me, for the most part. As I've aged, my friendships have grown healthier and deeper. The older I get, the more I can truly be myself around my friends, because I know they accept me despite my flaws. It is wonderful.

But a pessimist would point out that when one friendship ends, you are left with a hole of loneliness, because people are not interchangeable. To an extent, this is true as well. The inside jokes, the memories -- these are all gone. You will have to start over from scratch with someone else. If only people were like computers, and all you had to do was download the old files onto the new that those memories never have to fade or lose relevance.

I am forever grateful to the friends who realize when the friendship is going nowhere. The mutual apathy which sometimes happens is such a blessing. There are no hurt feelings, no awkward conversations. Both parties just gradually stop trying. And both people are happier as a result. No one wishes the other ill, and therefore, running into each other is not terrible. The friendship has turned into what it always should have been: a friendly acquaintance, and nothing more.

There are other challenges as well. As we move and start over, gaining and losing friends, we will find ourselves with limited friendship options. Sometimes, all you can do is hang out with anyone who is sort of close in age and who is semi-interesting. Sometimes, you have to settle for average friendships. Maybe the other person is new in town, too. Maybe they have a schedule that meshes well with yours. In any case, the two of you begin to hang out a lot. And although your heart's not in it, you continue on, hoping to ease your loneliness or suddenly realize that you enjoy the friendship more than you thought.

Unfortunately, this rarely happens to me. Instead, I find myself growing weary of the average friendship. My loneliness has not been fully abated. My need for a great friendship is always lurking below the surface. But now, it's too late. They behave as though we have been friends our whole lives and that this is the best friendship they've ever had. Meanwhile, I am tired of trying to remain interested. It's exhausting, making sure you have fun with boring people or people who are very different from you. They think the friendship is great, whereas I am feeling drained. It is like friendship kryptonite. And since they do not see what I see, it makes ending the friendship extremely difficult, unless I want to be blunt or harsh. I could always start to lie about why I can't see them. Which is no way to treat a friend. Thus, they are rooted into my social life, and they are not going anywhere.

This is when the tables turn, and I now find myself trying to fade away. I feel trapped and I want the friendship to wither. In a way, I have moved on with my life, if not out of town entirely. We just do not have enough in common to make it last, and honestly, I'd rather be alone. The friendship is now a burden. And I can't seem to find a way out.

Gosh, this was kind of a depressing post! Sorry! I'm not sad or anything. I'm fine. My social life has been very busy lately, and so I've been thinking about my friends (old, new, good, casual, etc.) a lot lately. A lot of my friendships have changed in the past couple of years, and it's been on my mind a lot for some reason. I miss a lot of people I used to be close with. In some ways, it's my own fault. I have let them down. But there are other friends I want to stop being close with, and just cannot seem to do it. And I am so very grateful for the super fun friendships I have made in the past year or so -- MJ & KT in particular. This post may or may not make sense....take it for what it's worth. I'm sure we've all felt like this at some point, right?

Ugh, maybe I'm just crazy today! :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Shirley Temples

"You know what? I'd actually like a Shirley Temple, please," I said to our favorite bartender (OFB).

Surprised at the change from my usual Diet Coke, he threw in some extra maraschino cherries for me. I thanked him.

It was nice to have something different to drink. I stirred it with my straw, watching the Sprite and the grenadine swirl together. I had fun digging the cherries out from the bottom of my tall glass. I sipped away, enjoying the old familiar taste. It made me remember one of my favorite childhood memories.

When I was very young, there was a bar/restaurant near our house. They made great pizza, and when my dad wanted a late night snack, he would go there and get carry-out pizza. Knowing my mom hated bars and was not a night owl, he would wake me up instead and take me with him to wait on the pizza. I would sit next to him at the bar, in my red footie pajamas. He would drink a beer. I would drink a Shirley Temple, footie feet swinging in the air. I loved the feeling of being a kid, hanging out with the grown-ups. It felt like a secret we were keeping from The Czarina -- me out way past my bedtime, drinking sugary drinks and eating pizza. I don't remember how the pizza tasted, or if the bartender would talk to us. But I do remember how special Dad managed to make me feel, even from a young age.

I smiled, recalling the vague memories, and missing my dad. Lost in my thoughts, I suddenly realized I'd been sitting there, undisturbed, for quite some time. Unfortunately, Wild Wings was pretty dead. Not nearly as fun and crowded as the night before. This time, it was just me, two girlfriends and OFB.

Normally, the three of us can carry the whole bar, laughing, flirting and carrying on with anyone and everyone. But tonight, I was on my own. My girls were otherwise occupied with their respective boyfriends. Both of them sat on their cell phones, arguing with their men for most of the evening. And when they weren't on the phone, arguing, they were bitching about their men to me.

One couple has been dealing with jealousy/family issues. The other couple has been together since they were teenagers and have never really dated anyone else. Their relationship expired about a year ago, yet they have been hanging on for dear life, out of convenience, comfort or terror. Or maybe all three.

"Wow, I sure am glad I'm single right now. I definitely don't miss any of this crap!" I thought. In the middle of their venting, I looked at OFB and just rolled my eyes. He laughed.

Later, when the girls were both in the bathroom, I said to him, "They fight all the time. I wish they'd just break up already! It's so ridiculous!" He laughed again.

After another Shirley Temple, I called it a night and escaped to my stable, calm and wonderfully boring Single Girl life.

Last night, I went out with another group of friends. We went to dinner, despite the obvious absence of one of our core group members. I almost asked why she wasn't with us, when I remembered: she has a boyfriend.

Do you have a friend who disappears on you once they start dating someone? Yeah, that's her. She does this every time she's got a new man.

Her name was brought up, and we began to discuss this new guy she's dating. I met him briefly a few months ago, and I was not impressed-- I thought he was boring and drank too much. But that was really all I had to go on. It turns out that my instincts were right. One of us, through mutual friends, found out the scoop on this guy:

1. He is about 35, and is still smoking pot.

2. He got a DUI a few months ago. This has not curtailed his drinking at all, just his driving. So now our friend is driving his drunk ass around everywhere.

3. Because she's hanging out with an alcoholic, her already slightly elevated alcohol intake has doubled. So now she is driving around like this. If she gets a DUI, it would seriously affect her career. Like, permanently.

4. She is so hung over nowadays, she has stopped going to the gym. (How much drinking do you have to be doing to be hungover that often???) And I'm sure she's been hungover at work, if not calling in sick entirely.

5. This boyfriend of hers doesn't have a job. Oh, he kinda "helps out" with his friend's home business. Whatever that means. He has no benefits at all from this "job".

6. She has been saving up money to buy a house. He is going to move in with her when she does this. And apparently, continue mooching.

7. He has a child that he he doesn't support or see. We do not know if he has informed our friend that he has a child. We happen to know about it through a random coincidence. As far as we know, he is hiding this fact from her. (We wouldn't know, because we don't see her anymore.)

8. The mother of the child, described as a "psycho drug addict", told him she doesn't want to have anything to do with him until he "gets his act cleaned up". WOW.

9. If they do get married (as I'm sure my friend wants to do -- she has marriage on the brain, to a fault), I am worried that the Baby Mama will hear about it and suddenly want some child support money. And since he's a freeloader, it will have to come out of my friend's paycheck. Not to mention, I know she would also add him on to her health care benefits.

What a winner, huh? I think he's got every single red flag a guy can have, short of physical abuse.

The worst part about it is, my friend is the kind of girl who doesn't respond to concerned friends. If we approached her to express our concerns, she would become defensive, make excuses and justify everything. So we are helpless. All we can do is sit back and watch her screw up her life.

I just hope she's using protection, because he is not the kind of guy you want fathering your children. But knowing her, she would use an unplanned pregnancy as an excuse to get married.


Maybe being single isn't that bad. I can enjoy my Shirley Temples in peace.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Social Butterfly

Holy cow, this week has been a big blur. I have gone out every night except Tuesday, and that's because I had to work. I've had a good time, but last night was especially fun. I don't know if it was because both neighbors have (in theory) asked me out or if it was my good hair day or because I listened to my official "Going Out Tonight" CD (which always gets me in the mood) or what, but I had confidence oozing out of my pores. I was ready to party it up with the Happy Hour Girls: E, Talker and KittyKat. (Butter & S couldn't make it.)

You will be glad to know that the only voices I took with me were Confident and Pervert. :)

It was going to be a good night.

We started with a neighborhood block party in Talker's neighborhood. Unfortunately, I showed up about 20 minutes before my friends did. Ugh. I hate it when that happens. Considering I am naturally very shy, I could feel my confidence slipping away as I sat at a table, alone. True to form, everyone was dressed in their finest preppy attire and didn't talk to any "outsiders" such as myself. So I sipped my water and read a brochure while I waited. Usually, Southerners are really friendly, but in situations like this, where I'm wearing Express instead of Lily Pulitzer, they can get snooty pretty fast. I felt like the Whore of Babylon. "Note to self," I thought. "The next time you see someone sitting alone, go talk to them. Don't be a snooty Southern Belle."

I hoped my friends would hurry up before I let my shy, reserved side come back out. I was tired of being shy. I was ready to be crazy and have fun and flirt! I could feel my old College Self coming back, and it was great! (College VB is the most super fun side of my personality!!)

Luckily, my friends arrived en masse, and brought along 2 more girls I met briefly the week before: Teacher and Sweet Cheeks. Old friends and new friends -- my favorite mix of people! Yay! We caught up and had some food before heading to our usual hang out, Wild Wings.

That's when the craziness started! Beers clinked, shot glasses emptied, eyes winked and laughter filled the air around us. We had so much to discuss: Talker and her boyfriend had recently broken up, KittyKat was thinking about dumping her boyfriend, I had to tell them about Hot Neighbor semi-asking me out, E needed to talk to me about moving in this weekend, Teacher needed to get drunk and we all had to tease KittyKat about her huge crush on our favorite bartender. We were a party in and of ourselves, and even roamed all over the bar, but we also ended up talking to a lot of guys.

A guy E used to sorta date ran into us. None of us had ever met him, so that was interesting. He was fine for a while, but then he got drunk....and started invading personal space. That's when I found out he had onion breath. Yuck!

I saw a lawyer I know. He used to sorta date Blonde, one of my nursing friends, so I went over to say hello. He ended up asking me out, which I found very inappropriate, considering he used to be involved with one of my friends. So he got shot down.

Then he introduced me to his friend. He seemed nice at first, but when I told him I am a librarian, he said, "Oh, my ex-wife is a librarian!" ...and then he proceeded to launch into a condensed version of why/how his marriage fell apart. He finished the story, and then proceeded to ask me out. Good grief. What is with these guys? I do not want to date a Davy Downer! He was too depressing. The thought of making it through a meal with this guy seemed unbearable. He needed to check his baggage. He got shot down, too.

Another guy that was with them tried to come over and talk to me later on. But I was on my way upstairs. When he whined about having just come all the way downstairs just to talk to me, I said, "Honey, I'm a social butterfly. You gotta keep up!" and continued on my way.

I was on a roll!

When I got upstairs, I saw that Teacher was in the process of getting plowed and was on the verge of making out with a guy by this point in the evening. Sweet Cheeks and I giggled as we watched them falling all over each other. I'm sure she'll be incessantly teased tonight.

Then I was talking to Talker when a guy she knew approached us. I had my back turned to him as he came over to us. When she introduced me, he turned around and I saw: The Banker.

Backstory: One night, way back in January or February, I was at WW, waiting for the HH Girls to show up. The Banker approached me and we hit it off. I gave him my number right before my girls arrived. Then I said goodbye and went to join my friends. For months afterwards, he would randomly drunk dial me in the middle of the night and ask me tons of mundane questions: What do I do for a living? What part of town do I live in? Do I have any siblings? etc. Needless to say, it got old. After asking him several times to just call back during daylight hours and getting no compliance on his part, I eventually had enough and told him to leave me alone. That was several months ago. I deleted his number, and I assume he deleted mine.

"Oh, yeah. I've already met Virginia. I'm sure she remembers who I am," he said, bashfully. I could tell he felt uncomfortable.

"Of course I do," I said, smiling. I had forgotten how adorable he is! Before I could really start flirting with him, he bolted. While I understood his discomfort at the situation, all I could think was, "Dammit! Come back here! I want to give you another chance!"

I turned back to Talker and gave her the backstory about The Banker. She told me he's a really nice guy who probably just got nervous. I saw him again, just as I was leaving, grabbed his hand, smiled and said, "Bye..."

I'm sure I'll see him again. Maybe tonight. Maybe 3 months from now. It's ok. I didn't need to give anyone my phone number last night. I had something far more important going on: I got my mojo back! No more shy & reserved VB! WOOT!!

I'm such a heartbreaker, huh?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Voices Are Back

It's 11:30pm. I am walking from my car to my house. I have just gotten home from hanging out with E&B and Butter and some other people. Because SC is currently under round-the-clock heat index warnings, I have on a sundress. It's the only thing in my wardrobe that can stand the steamy, 83 degree evenings. Out of the corner of my eye, something moves.

Panic: Jeezus! What was that?!!

It was Hot Neighbor. He scared the crap out of me. What the hell is he doing, checking his mailbox at 11:30 at night?

Confident: He's trying to talk to you. Duh.

Me: Good grief, you scared the heck out of me! [ed. note: He apparently goes to church. I gotta watch my F-bombs. It feels strange to say "heck" and "good grief".]

HN: Oh, hey neighbor!

Cynical: He doesn't even know your name. How pathetic. Has he even spoken your name once?

The Voices shake their heads and look at the ground. Shy whimpers, "It's all my fault!" and runs away.

HN: Look at you, all dressed up! What'd you do tonight?

Panic: SHIT! What do we do??

Confident: Sweet! He noticed the dress! Good call, Single Girl!

Single Girl: I aim to please.

Shy: Oh, I knew that dress was too short! And did you have to wear the heels?? Now we have to talk to him!! Ack! We are not prepared for this!!!!

Cynical: I love how he doesn't know your name, but suddenly wants to talk to you when he sees you in a short dress. Classic.

Practical: Dude, I'm tired. Clayton kicked your ass at the gym. Can't we just go to bed? Your arms and shoulders are aching.

Single Girl: Quick! Think of something to say! Something witty! And go walk over to him! Cue the flirting!!!!

Shy: What are you smoking, Single Girl? In order to flirt, we need adequate mental preparation time. We should just say goodnight and go to bed.

Horny: Oh, shit! Did he just come back from the gym? Because he's all......sweaty!

Pervert: Quick! Take a picture!

Single Girl: Damn, he looks good in that tshirt. Nice biceps....

Space Cadet: I'm hungry.

Pessimistically Paranoid: Wait a second. It's 11:30 and he's just now getting home? Where has he been? I bet he was at Hoochie's house all night! I bet those beads of sweat are from--

Overly Analytical: Dude, don't go there. We do not need to be adding to her inferiority complex. He was probably out with some friends and then went to the gym.

Shy: Yeah, it's hard enough just standing out here and talking to him. Don't put ideas in her head.

Me: Oh, just to hang out with some friends. It was my friend's boyfriend's birthday, so we all got together.

Single Girl: Why are you still standing on your steps? Go over there!

Inner Mom Voice: No, he should be coming over HERE. You are worth some effort. Don't make a fool of yourself, wandering across the yards to go talk to him. And stand up straight.

Cynical: Excellent flirting. Maybe you can go down the list of what he got for his birthday. That's hot. He'll totally ask you out if your friend got cool stuff for his birthday.

Me: Yeah, he got a grill and an apron and...

The Voices: SHUT UP! What are you doing????

HN: Oh. That's great! Did you guys go out to eat, or...?

Me: Yeah, well, they did. I got there too late. But we had fun. *smiles*

Cynical: OMG, it's 11:30pm and you two happen to run into each other, and THIS is all he can think to talk about?? Wake me up when he's asked you out. *snores*

Panic: Dude, this is not going well. Abort!

Good Point: No, Hot Neighbor needs to step up to the plate and see what you're doing on Friday night. This small talk is just wasting everyone's time.

The Voices nod in agreement. "Wait, why are we out here?" someone asks.

HN: *just kind of stands there*

Panic: RUN!!!!!

Me: Ok, well, have a good night! *runs inside*

I shut the door behind me. Sammy greets me. He has no idea how pathetic his owner is, so he wags his little tail stump in approval.

Shy: Oh, thank God. It is so good to be safe and inside.

Cynical: Another fabulous performance. Way to go.

Single Girl: You are dead to me.

Horny and Pervert are kicking Panic and shouting, "Stop doing that! Stop doing that! You ruin it every time!!!" Panic is on the ground, rolling in agony from the pain of their pointy shoes.

Stupidly Optimistic: Maybe he'll come over and knock on the door and ask you out!!

Cynical: Are you high? She just blew him off.

Practical: Well, really, what was the point? He wasn't going to cut to the chase.

Impatient: It's 11:30. Some of us have to work in the morning. We can't go over every detail of the evening, hoping he'll ask us out sometime before 3am.

Overly Analytical: You know, you've really got to get over this fear of dating or you really will be alone forever.

Me: *sighs* I know.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Q & A: Pick-Up Artist

I have been reading some questions from men posted on the discussion board for VH1's The Pickup Artist. Aside from being highly entertaining, they ask some good questions! I am presenting my favorites, along with my answers, here for discussion.

Question #1:What's better??

Guy #1

Good looking/Very good looking
Shy at first
Not a partier/or club/bar goer
Not a big drinker
Nice guy
Laid Back
Likes sports
Cultured (likes the arts,museums.etc)

Guy #2

Avergae looking
Party animal
Attends clubs/bars regularly
knows how to spit game/talk to you
big time drinker
super outgoing/almost obnoxious
not too smart
not cultured. Idea of fun is going to a concert or to the club.

Answer: Well, Guy #1, obviously. Who wants to date a stupid, obnoxious alcoholic? But here is the key: Guy #1 won't approach or ask me out. He never will. He might try to half-ass his way through it or enter into TFZ, but this kind of guy will rarely put himself out there and go for it. But Guy #2 will. And since he likes to get out of the house and be social and is probably fun, I'm probably going to go out with him, or at least give him a shot. Then I will date him for a few months, and probably complain about him most of the time before I dump him. Or catch him cheating on me, whichever comes first. (Hey, I'm trying to be honest here, guys!) So if "Nice" guys ever whine about how they finish last, THIS is why. #2 Guys win by default. Women's choices often come down to: date a jerk so you aren't alone alone. Neither is easy. And charming goes a long way.

Question #2: [And I paraphrase.] This PUA method seems to rely on deception and lies to get women. Why do I have to become a monster to get women to like me? Why do I have to lie? Can't a woman just like me for who I am?

Answer: Well, what do you think women do when they leave the house? Do you think our hair is really that blonde? Our boobs that big? Our lips that shiny? Please. Women do it all the time, and it's probably something we are "lying" about which is making you want to talk to us! Don't you think it works both ways? Successfully approaching a woman has little to do with lying and deceit and much more to do with coming off as non-threatening, confident and un-needy. Yes, you may feel desperate or lack confidence, but this is about faking it until you make it! Do you think that just because I wasn't born a prodigy pianist, that I'm being fake by learning how to play the piano? News Flash: The girl isn't going to think you're a big, fat liar unless you are actually lying about something. If you choose to put on your most confident attitude, much like choosing to wear a certain shirt, then more power to you! I think the PUAs are just showing men how to do that. It is within every guy. They just show you how to bring out that cool, confident version of yourself. It's sort of like getting a personal trainer at the gym. You weren't born that way. But someone showed you how to to be your best. Just because it's not natural doesn't mean you're lying. Once you have started dating her, you can show her your soft, little underbelly of niceness and vulnerability. Until then, you are competing with Alpha Males who are born knowing how to do this naturally. If you can't beat them, join them.

For many of the same reasons, being in The Friend Zone (TFZ) and then trying to "take it to the next level" doesn't work, either. It's not being your most confident self. It broadcasts desperation ("Well, if I can't be her boyfriend, at least I can be her friend...") and shows a lack of belief in yourself. And guess what -- you're still competing with Alpha Males. The only thing being her Hopeful Friend accomplishes is being non-threatening. Only, it's to the point that you've totally eliminated yourself from her idea of a desirable guy. You've gone too far.

Question #3: [This is one which Mystery answers himself on a little video on the site.]: Should you buy a woman a drink as a good opener?

Answer: No! There are women who try for the Sucker Drink. They are out to get drunk for free, and once she's gotten the drink, you're right back at square one--she's done with you, unless you're going to buy her another drink. These girls are called "Gold Diggers". I know girls like this. You don't want to date them, trust me. Mystery brings up a good point in his answer: It may be unnecessary to buy a girl a drink. She may have just been wanting you to talk to her, and so you just wasted $5 on a drink you didn't need to buy in order to impress her. This is true. Many women can buy their own drinks these days, thankyouverymuch. And some women do not want to get wasted. And do you really want to talk to a woman who is one drink closer to being sloppy? Don't answer that. The thing is, you'll never really know if she's talking to you because she feels obligated to (I have felt this way before), or if she's talking to you because she's really interested in you. Do you want to guess at these things? I didn't think so. I would think you're probably tired of guessing and you'd rather know.

But this is where I end my agreement with Mystery. He also states that some women are not "worth" a free drink. WHOA, Nelly. That kind of attitude will NEVER get you far with women. So you can just tank that idea right now. Look, if you don't want to buy a drink, then don't. But don't EVER have that kind of an attitude and expect women to like you. Ok, your target may like you and not pick up on your attitude, but her friends will smell your attitude a mile away. And they hold a lot of influence.

Mystery suggests instead that the target buys the first round, and then the guy buys the 2nd round. "This is what my friends and I do," he states. First of all, down here in the South, I can tell you most Southern girls would either laugh in your face and walk away, or they would be insulted if you presented that idea to them. Unless she's a drunk 21 year old co-ed. In which case, none of this stuff applies, anyway, because they are dumb college girls. No offense. I was once a dumb college girl myself.

But if he's going to suggest we alternate rounds like he and his buddies do, my first thought will be, "Well, I have plenty of friends. I'm looking for a guy to date. Thanks, anyway." And I will probably leave.

In all honesty, unless he inadvertently spills my drink, he NEVER has to buy me anything. He can wait until our first date to do that. Until then, he is under no obligation. Put your wallets away, gentlemen.

And no, you cannot use the money to buy yourself an extra drink, either. Don't re-allocate your bar money. Have you ever heard a woman say, "Yeah, he was nice, but he just wasn't drunk enough. He should have chugged a couple of Heinekins before coming over and talking to me." ? Didn't think so. Put. Down. The. Confidence. Juice. She's going to have to see you semi-sober at some point. You might as well get her used to the idea now.

The Pick-Up Artist is on VH1 tonight at 9pm, EST. Won't you join me?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Almost Girl Strikes Again!


I open the door. It's Hot Neighbor.

"Thank effing God you did your hair today," says Single Girl.

"AND you're wearing a top that makes your boobs look good!" says Pervert.

"Good job! Because he's here to ask you out!!!" shouts Stupidly Optimistic.

"Yeah, right. Didn't you see how Hoochie McSkankerton and her little blue convertible were camped out at his house ALL DAY today? Exactly how stupid are you? They probably spent the whole day in bed, which is why they ordered a pizza instead of going out to eat. He probably wants to ask you about something neighborly," retorts Cynical.

"Hi," I say.

"Hey," says Hot Neighbor. He looks hot. Obviously.

Then he sort of mumbles something along the lines of, "I need to ask you something...I was wondering if you'd ever want to go to church or dinner sometime...with me..."

"Church??!" shout all the Voices in chorus, utterly confused.

"Who cares about that. We need to know the Hoochie status," states Practical, flatly.

"Um, wouldn't your girlfriend get kind of upset about that?" I ask.

"Oh, who cares about her? There's no rings on any fingers. Jeez, will you let the man ask you out?" says Inner Mom Voice.

"Oh. Um, well, it's not really like that. She's not my girlfriend. She and I are kind of....pulling apart," he explains. I have caught him off-guard. His face is red now. Too cute.

"Pulling apart? What, like dinner rolls? WTF does that mean? Six months into something, you're either together or you're not," says Good Point.

"Obviously, this means they're not! Now, squish your boobs together!" shouts Single Girl.

"Oh. Ok," I reply.

The Voices are cheering and doing cartwheels. There are rumors of a party being planned in my honor. The phrase "ice sculpture" was mentioned, and then vetoed.

"See?! I knew that stupid Hoochie McSkankerton wouldn't last!" exclaims Stupidly Optimistic.

"Yeah, she looks like a South Beach hooker!" blurts Gossipy.

Hot Neighbor continues: "I mean, if my status with her ever changed or anything, I would definitely let you know...just like if our status ever changed, I would let her know. I mean, can't a guy and a girl just hang out as friends?" Hot Neighbor mumbled.

[Insert that party-interrupting record-scratch sound often heard in awkward movie scenes here.]

"WTF does that mean????" shout all the Voices together.

"I'm sorry, what was that?" says Space Cadet. "I was still thinking about how Hoochie looks like a stripper."

"Aha! Did you hear that? 'Friends.' I knew it. He wants you to give him advice on how to mend his relationship with his girlfriend. He wants a shoulder to cry on. And you're going to do it, because you're a big fat sucker," says Cynical, snidely.

I have no idea what to say. Friends? Status? Huh?

The Voices go into overdrive.

"Is he asking you out? Because you don't have any plans next weekend, " says Single Girl.

"It sounded like it, didn't it?!" shrieks Stupidly Optimistic.

"Or is he lonely?" wonders Overly Analytical.

"Is he looking for a re-bound? Because we might want to go for this idea," says Horny.

"OMG, does he want a threesome or something???!!!" squeals Pervert.

"Dude, SO not happening," states Prisspot.

"That's it! He just said it! You're in The Friend Zone (TFZ). Because really, there's no way he's actually asking you out right now." states Pessimistically Paranoid.

"Does he honestly think you are unaware of Hoochie & her weekend sleepovers? Is he trying to pull a fast one on his girlfriend? Or have his cake and eat it, too? Who the hell does this guy think he is?" huffs Bitch Mode.

"Easy, Bitch Mode," warns Logical.

Obviously, my brain was rapidly approaching system overload. I cannot think of what to say. Did this guy just admit that he is currently with her........or not? And does he want to date me....or not? Is he saying he wants a "trial" date or something? This is all very strange. I have never been asked out by a guy who admits to still having a girlfriend. Usually, it's single guys who ask me out. Go figure. I guess I have to give him points for being honest, right?

Luckily, he keeps talking:

"I mean, I know you aren't from here, and you don't know a ton of people, so I thought that well, we could hang out sometime, I mean, we live right next to each other and we don't know each other that well...." he trails off.

I am still dumbfounded.

"I cook!" Hot Neighbor declares, lighting up. This made me giggle.

"Ok, sounds good," I said as I smiled.

"Alright, well, don't be surprised if I knock on your door sometime to see if you want to grab some dinner," he said.

"Ok, I'd like that," I said.

He says goodbye and walks back to his house. I'm standing there, absorbing all of this, with my door open.

Good Point asks, "Wait, he never actually made a date, did he? Does this mean you're Almost Girl again?"

The Voices all groan together, "Oh no! Not 'Almost Girl'!!!! Not again!!"

And that's when both my dogs flew out the door. Great.

I have no shoes on. Great.

Hot Neighbor has his sprinkler going. My dogs make a beeline for it. They will be wet. Great.

Actually, it ended up being good, because Hot Neighbor and I talked for another 5 minutes while he helped me corral my dogs and get them back inside.

No, not like that. Don't get all Stupidly Optimistic on me. Just small talk. Then I got my dogs and went inside.

Remember, he didn't actually ask me out. He ALMOST did.

This guy is trying to date two girls at the same time. I think. Or else he's stringing along his ex while he decides if he wants to date me instead. Like I'm his backup plan or something. He won't let Hoochie go until he's sure he wants to be with me. And I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.

At least, I think that's what's going on.

For the first time, I actually feel sorry for Hoochie.

So, what do you think? Did he ask me out or not? Why didn't he set a date? Do you really think Hoochie McSkankerton is totally out of the picture? If so, then why has she been over almost every day for the past week--even seemingly spending the night? She must have a key, because she's been inside his house, waiting for him to get home from work a couple of times. I mean, she's obviously still in the picture. Am I in TFZ?

More importantly, why am I not excited about any of this? I have had a crush on him for so long, but now that it has seemingly happened (both MJ & KT think he just asked me out on a date), I don't even have butterflies or feel excited. I think it's because I'm sketched out by the girlfriend. If he's still with her in any way, I just don't know how I feel about that. I am really not up for being part of Hot Neighbor's harem or being The Other Woman or anything like that. I'm not saying that I need to have him all to myself, but he needs to be fair to both of us. Which, I guess he just said he would do....ugh, I am TOTALLY confused!!!

And is it bad that I think less of him for not just making a clean break with her? I mean, if it's not working, be a man and break up with her officially, you know? If he's sleeping with her, I would NOT feel right going out with him. AT ALL. I just don't think that would be right. Besides, if she's as possessive as NS says, she's probably a psycho, too. And I definitely prefer my life to be drama-free.

I need help, people. Ugh, I HATE being Almost Girl!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday 13? We All Want Ice Cream!

This is a combo Fun Friday/Thursday 13 post.

I'll be alone most of this weekend, so I have been thinking of fun things to do. Most of them involve eating ice cream. I pretty much have ice cream on the brain. There should be a 12 Step Program for people like me. It must be the heat....we have had a really bad heat wave here for about 2 weeks--we have broken a few records, actually. We have been approaching 120 degrees, if you include heat index. Yowza. We are cooking to death down here. It makes me want to lay around and eat ice cream.

Thirteen Ways I Can Incorporate Ice Cream Into My Weekend

1. Sleep in! Woo Hoo! No plans means I don't have any reason to get up early! Hmmm. Vanilla ice cream for breakfast......I could put um, granola on top of it. That's kinda breakfasty. Ooh! I know! Coffee ice cream!

2. Continue reading The Game and The Mystery Method so I can learn more about all this Pick Up Artist (PUA) business. (See last few posts if you don't know what I'm talking about.) This may or may not involve a solo trip to Starbuck's. I've been craving my vanilla latte. Or maybe I could go to Bruster's Ice Cream and read there....hmmmmm....Cookies n Cream sounds good...

3. Finish watching Season 2 of HBO's Big Love (thank you, HBO on Demand!!!). While eating the new Ben & Jerry's flavor: Creme Brulee. I just found out about it. And creme brulee is my ALL TIME favorite dessert, so to put it into an ice cream format pretty much just blows my mind right now.

4. Hit the gym. I have been stuck at this weight for at least a month. I wonder if my recent ice cream addiction is playing a role in this.....

5. Stay cool: long cold showers, drink Perrier lime (THE most refreshing drink ever), see if I can find a friend who has lake/pool connections, enjoy being scantily-clad as I lay around in my air-conditioned house...and of course, eat more ice cream. I think I'm out of caramel sauce...wait, don't I have some leftover toffee bits laying around somewhere??

6. Continue NOT being a smoker. Three weeks and counting. Go me! I believe I have replaced nicotine with frozen dairy products in my life. Aargh. (Seriously, why can I not stop eating ice cream????) Coping with this makes me want chocolate. Ooh, brownie the ice cream...*drools*

7. Oh! This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite comedy skits! (from Eddie Murphy's Delierious -- if you have never rented this, you MUST!)

8. I could go to the Art Museum here in town. I cannot believe I was practically an art major and have never been! It's free on Saturdays....yay!! FINALLY! And it's near the downtown branch of Marble Slab Creamery. Since I always have "ice cream order envy", I will get what MJ got last time: Swiss Chocolate with peanut butter cups in it. Note to self: always order AFTER your friends do. You always wish you'd ordered what they got.

Oh who am I kidding. I love their lemon custard. I'll probably get that.

9. Stare at Hot Neighbor and Cute Neighbor through my front windows. I may or may not put on clothes to do this...although, they might not want to look at me, because if I keep eating ice cream, I will look like this guy:

10. Enjoy what will hopefully be my last scantily-clad weekend, as E is probably going to be my new roommate soon! YAY for not being extremely poor anymore! Now I can buy more ice cream!

11. Ok, this one has nothing to do with ice cream. I just wanted to share. Have you seen these videos? Hilarious! Long live Will Ferrell!

Video #1
Video #2

12. Continuing on with my ice cream theme...check out this list of 101 disgusting ice cream flavors. They really exist! And now I want to know what the hell is wrong with Japanese people. Can someone please explain to me how anyone could like this stuff??? Salad flavored? Curry? Mustard? Squid Ink? Raw Horseflesh??? EWWWW

13. Like me, this lady seems to be substituting her love life with an ice cream addiction...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Interesting Development

I got home from work early yesterday, and was walking to my front door, when I was approached by my neighbor's son (NS). I love his mom. She is an older lady with a rascally dachshund. Anyway, NS is always over at her house, working on her yard. He wanted to see how I felt about our lawn service, because everyone on my street pays $35/month to have our front yards mowed, edged, etc.

Well, to be honest, the service sucks. So he and I were griping about that. We talked about how much we like the neighborhood otherwise. Then NS told me about his family (he's married with kids) and I told him about my job and my future plans and how I don't know if I'm going to live in Columbia forever, since I don't have much to keep me here. I said that if I ever moved, I'd probably rent out my house rather than sell it.

"No boyfriend?" he asked.

"Nope," I replied. "But if I had a guy who I could see myself staying with, I probably wouldn't be thinking about ever leaving." I explained.

"You know, if you were dating a guy like Hot Neighbor, you'd have a reason to stay," NS winked, gesturing towards HN's house. (HN was not home.)

"Um, he's got a girlfriend." I stated flatly.

"Oh, no he doesn't!" NS said.

"Well, she spends the night," I said, skeptically.

"Trust me, nothing is going on," said NS.

I didn't know if I believed him or not, but I was willing to hear what he had to say. That's when I realized I haven't seen Hoochie McSkankerton around much lately. I'd seen her maybe twice in the past month-- a big change from a few months ago, when she practically lived there. Maybe NS is right....

NS proceeds to give the the scoop on Hot Neighbor (not to be confused with Cute Neighbor, the source of so many Conversations with My Brain). Apparently, NS and Hot Neighbor have known each other for years and are friends. NS told me that Hot Neighbor has been talking about moving, too-- to a bigger house in another part of town. I already knew about, since HN and I had talked about it one day.

Well, according to NS, this is all Hoochie McSkankerton's idea. NS told me that she and Hot Neighbor went to high school together, but she is about 4 years older than Hot Neighbor (which puts her at about 35 or so). They started dating about 6 months ago after bumping into each other at a party. And at first, Hot Neighbor was head-over-heels for Hoochie, but eventually, she exposed herself as possessive, demanding, jealous and pushing for marriage ASAP.

"Whoa," I said.

"Yeah, I know. I didn't want to say anything to him, because it's not my place, but I just didn't think she was the kind of girl he should be dating," said NS. He continued on with the story.

So eventually, a light bulb went off in Hot Neighbor's head, and he realized she's pushy, so he has basically broken up with her. But according to NS, he's too nice and she's too possessive for them to just break it off cleanly. Supposedly, there isn't much going on between them physically, either. (I don't know if I buy that part....NS said Hot Neighbor is not like that and is very Christian, but....I just don't see it....) But they are not boyfriend/girlfriend, according to NS.

Then NS tells me he's going to put in a good word for me and try to get Hot Neighbor to ask me out. He shook my hand, said it was nice to meet me, and went back over to his mother's house, leaving me dumbfounded and standing in the middle of my yard.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Last night was Episode #2 of my new favorite show, VH1's The Pick-Up Artist. (Yesterday's post covers the basic concept behind the show and provides links, if you are playing catch-up.)

For this episode, all the guys were first challenged to get make-overs. They were instructed to try and "peacock", meaning they had to try and dress outlandishly. According to the PUA method, this is important for attracting women's attention. In theory, the crazier you look, the more attention you will receive. Your goal is to stand out from the crowd. Which is funny, because there were recurring themes in this effort to be unique. Here's what I observed:

1. Lots of hair-dying and trendy haircuts.
2. piercings
3. tighter pants
4. entirely too many accessories
5. black painted nails
6. hats
7. funky jackets

What was funny to me was that for the most part, the guys all came out in outfits similar to Mystery's and the other judges' outfits. is that standing out? They basically still all looked the same. Only now they just looked like PUAs. Any girl who watches the show will be able to spot imitators instantly -- they are the ones with the tight pants and fur-lined coat on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying all guys are great dressers who never need makeovers. Lord knows I am SO SICK AND TIRED of seeing the Southern Guy "uniform"* I'm about to scream. So the occasional fedora or green shoes is refreshing, I have to say. And I'm all for bringing tighter pants back! WOOT!

I personally wish guys would wear tuxedos when they go out, but that's just me...

Most girls like a guy who is fashionably aware. Most girls are not totally against a guy dyeing his hair or putting gauges in his ears. Some girls are probably not against a guy wearing goggles. But some girls are. (Remember, every girl is different!) So I fail to see how this will be a fail-proof method of attracting women. Mystery, according to his interview with Conan O'Brien (see last post), claims that if a girl tells him she doesn't like what he's wearing, he will zip back at her, "Oh yes you do! Otherwise you wouldn't have said that." -- I beg to differ. If you are wearing a crazy outfit, and a girl is telling you she doesn't like it, she means just that. It was probably code for, "Ew. Go away. You're weird."

If all guys start dressing like Mystery, then every guy will eventually look the same. They'll all look like Mystery.

I like a little variety, is all I'm saying. So guys, my advice to you would be this: If you have been wearing the same clothing style since high school, wear the SAME outfit every day or if you dress EXACTLY like all of your friends, it might be time to make some small changes. Do what girls do: hit the mall, see what's new. Talk to a trusted female pal or your sister to see what she thinks. Look at a couple of current fashion magazines. Try a slightly different hairdo. Guys have so many facial hair options these days. Live a little! Don't be afraid of hats or shoes. Buy the stuff you can see yourself wearing. If you feel weird wearing it, that will come across when you're trying to talk to a girl in a bar. Feeling comfortable (ie, like yourself) in your outfit is obviously #1. But there is something to be said for the confidence you can acquire from knowing you look fashionable. So I would encourage guys to try small changes. Girls do notice a guy who looks nice. And we REALLY notice it when your pants show off your cute little butt. ;)

But don't overdo it. Looking like a caricature or a rock star will make you seem like you're trying too hard to be cool. Piling on the jewelry and scarves (yes, I said scarves) and sporting a spiky hairdo which makes you look more like Sonic the Hedgehog than Ryan Cabrera can be overkill. Actually, on second thought, Ryan Cabrera looks like an idiot with his hair like that. But you know what I'm saying. Again, I say to you, look at fashion mags and talk to gal pals. That's why they exist.

I didn't like that the show assumed all of the contestants needed makeovers. Most of the guys were actually good dressers already: they were unique, not afraid of color, fairly contemporary and wearing things which looked good on them. Really, there were only 2 or 3 I thought needed help in the wardrobe department. So why were they all forced to dress so theatrically? I mean, let's be honest, here. These guys don't live in Manhattan or LA. They are from Portland, Oregon or Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dressing like Mystery in these small, American cities will make them look like total freaks! How will being a one-man freak show boost their confidence and self-esteem? I think the judges should keep in mind what sorts of people and places their contestants are dealing with in real life. Girls in these towns are not going to find a guy with a green mohawk or a fur coat to be desirable or fashionable. It's just not going to happen. Unless she's 16 and wants to get back at her parents by freaking them out. It's better for the guy to stick to what's being sold currently in Banana Republic or Gap, to be honest.

Although it's nice to talk to a guy who knows how to dress, I can assure you it's FAR FAR more important to a woman that you come off as interesting, confident and funny. What comes out of your mouth outweighs anything you can wear. As long as you don't look like Urkel or wear something super sloppy or dirty, you're probably ok. And of course, the reverse is also true: if you are the best dressed guy in the room, but you come off as a cocky asshole, a total idiot or totally insecure, you're in the same boat. Good dressing can get you some bonus points, but really, it's a much more minor deal to women. We know you'll let us dress you later on, anyway. It's kind of moot to us.'s a theory. Is it safe to say that if you want a girl who is a trendy dresser, you should, in turn, dress in more current styles? I'm sure there are guys who don't give a rat's ass what a girl wears--they just want to know when the clothes are coming off. So is it necessary for them to try and be fashionable men? Hmmm. I have to chew on that for a while. What do you think? Does dressing fashionably only apply to guys who want to attract fashionable women? Do guys even notice if a girl is "fashionable"? Or do they only notice if she is half naked or dresses like their mom? Do guys care if a girl dresses in a unique way? Or is it enough to just look like other girls? To be honest, I don't even know if men are aware of women's fashions at all. I need feedback from my male readers on this one. I hadn't really thought about it. I guess girls tend to dress for other girls....and I always assumed that the only "fashion" guys cared about was how much flesh I was exposing or how tight the jeans are. Am I wrong?

The only reason I say all this is because there's this one guy on the show who is just......oh, GAWD he is a total geek!! Seriously, I think this guy is a lost cause. And he did the whole makeover, complete with blue hair streak (which, I personally thought was both totally out-of-style and stupid looking). But he still reeked of geekiness. And all I could think was, "You can take the guy out of the geek, but you can't take the geek out of the guy!" Because he was JUST as nerdy as he was pre-makeover. He even referred to himself as "Scott 2.0" or something. I groaned. Did he need a makeover? Well, to be honest, hell yeah he did! He looked like Poindexter. Did it work? Not one bit.

You see, the thing about the makeover is this: it's not just making over the outside. To be successful, it has to boost confidence and make the guy feel like a more improved version of himself. Someone who feels worthy of a better life than what he had before, because he's not that "old self" anymore. For most of the guys on the show, you could see a difference in their confidence and attitudes after their makeovers. As for the rest of the could see they felt uncomfortable. I don't know if it was too much change all at once or if they were just too set in their ways. But their makeovers just didn' They behaved the same way and looked at themselves in the same way. Only, in addition, they looked uncomfortable.

Which led me to think, "This hasn't improved his chances ONE BIT." And if so, then the very pretty coeds in the bars were STILL going to shoot him down. He's just a geek in a cuter outfit. So is he trying to date out of his league? Or the bar scene just an extremely unnatural setting for a supergeek? Perhaps he should be using the PUA method in a comic book store or a Renaissance festival??? (No offense to my comic book or medieval festival readers -- I think having a little geek in you is both desirable and normal.) Is the show just creating unnatural situations, setting up the supergeeks to fail miserably for entertainments' sake? Is the problem in the guy or the situation? Is this show giving the supergeek skills he will actually use when he goes home? Or is their point that any guy can learn how to pick up a gorgeous 21 year old in a downtown bar?

Because the last time I went to a bar, I didn't see any supergeeks. Maybe they were disguised as PUAs.....

* Southern Guy uniform: horizontally-striped polo, khakis or cargo shorts, flip flops, croakies, usually a baseball hat. Sometimes a pastel tie, sometimes seersucker. Usually boring. I am not exaggerating when I say that 98% of guys wear this outfit when they go out here. *yawn* I mean, it's fine, it's just...overdone. They can check "Preppy J. Crew" off their lists already. Sheesh.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Pick-Up Artist

In case you cannot already tell that my personal life must be deathly boring right now, I will continue on with my dating topic....

So this weekend, I caught the encore presentation of a new VH1 show called "The Pick-Up Artist". Like most new shows these days, this is yet another reality competition show. They have gathered up a group of geeky, shy and/or insecure single men and this guy who calls himself "Mystery" is going to teach them how to pick up chicks. Each week, the weakest link will be eliminated, which will only serve to increase their insecurities, which makes absolutely no sense to me. (If they are doing poorly, don't they need to stay on the show??) The winner gets $50k, and I presume, lots of one night stands with unsuspecting 21 year olds. Anyway, here is the trailer for the show.

I don't know if you can watch episode one on the VH1 website for the show or not, but the site does provide a good background on the show's idea, as well as photos of all the contestants. I am going to summarize the first episode here in this post.

When the show first came on, I thought, "Sweet! This fits in perfectly with my blog!" -- which should really point out how much of a nerd I am. Then I thought, "I bet this show is going to be really bad. It can't be better than 'Beauty and the Geek'." [Note: If you have not watched "Beauty and the Geek", I highly recommend it. The geeky guys get coaching from real, actual women, which is how I think every dating coach show should go.]

There are about 8 guys on this "Pick-Up Artist" show. None of them are going to be SOL. Well, except for the token Ultra Nerd, who seems to be one action figure and 20 years away from being a real-life Andy Stitzer. But the rest of them definitely have hope. A couple of them are pretty cute, actually. One guy claims a lot of girls think he's gay. One guy feels he's too old to be doing this, another guy totally freezes up anytime a cute girl is nearby. But for the most part, they just seem to lack confidence, a surefire way to fail at picking up girls. Like I said, though, there is hope for pretty much all of them.

After "meeting" all of the contestants, I was expecting the coach to be a modern-day James Bond: suave, adult, classy and very masculine. I pictured an incredibly attractive and charming Armani-suit-wearing Calvin Klein underwear model. "Oh, PLEASE be Julian McMahon!" I thought. Who comes out? Some Goth version of Kid Rock. He calls himself "Mystery". My eyeballs almost rolled right out of my head. I think I may have laughed out loud. He had SO many strikes against him, right off the bat, in my book:

1. What's with the pseudonym? How pretentious!
2. The only guys who can wear eyeliner and get away with it are Johnny Depp and David Bowie. But that's IT.
3. Guys who paint their fingernails black? EW. Creepy.
4. What's with the goggles, hats and other costume-y outfits??? It looks stupid. Like he's trying too hard for attention.
5. Long hair??? Didn't that go out about 10 years ago???

So as you can tell, he failed to impress me. At all. "That guy couldn't pick me up if he paid me a million dollars. This ought to be good. I can't wait to rip this 'expert' apart. He's probably just as clueless as his students," I thought, as I settled into my couch, along with my diet coke and animal cookies.

But my eye-rolling wasn't done yet. "Mystery" had assistant coaches: "Matador", a cocky, swarthy, Latino-type guy in a leather jacket and "J-Dog", who with his platinum-bleached hair and black stripes down the side of his head (yes, you read that correctly), struck me as The Guy Who Tries Too Hard, rather than some dating coach. He claims he's an engineer by trade. "Yeah, right. I know so many engineers who sport fur coats and dog-spike collars," I mentally sneered.

"I wouldn't touch any of these guys with a ten-foot pole," I thought. "They are all pretentious, cocky and gimmicky. They look like groupies for some Motley Crue Reunion Tour." *more eye rolling*

I almost changed the channel to alleviate my nausea, but then the contestants started to get under my skin. If there's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's an Underdog Guy. Much like "Average Joe", I was hooked instantly and rooting for all of them.

After all the initial introductions, they threw these poor, unsuspecting guys as-is into a large bar in Austin, TX. It was full of beautiful co-eds. Each one of the guys failed miserably-- boring approaches, awkward comments, depressing topics and entirely too much staring ensued. One guy turned into a complete wallflower and spoke to no one at all, preferring instead to be the Creepy Guy Alone at a Bar (NEVER EVER be that guy. EVER. It is pick-up suicide). In short, they all crashed and burned. I realize it is important to illustrate to the audience how pathetic these guys are, but it's not like they needed to be reminded! My heart went out to them. They were crushed! One guy was crying! I had no idea it was so challenging and stressful for some guys to even just simply talk to a woman! WOW. My eyes have been opened, and I think I will be a lot nicer to creepy jerks and losers who try and talk to me in bars.

But I digress.

My next thought was, "Wait. These guys are all saying they'd like to have girlfriends, but it looks like this show is trying to get them hook-ups or one-night stands. I'm thinking there was a miscommunication along the way. These are Nice Guys who just need some confidence-building. This Mystery guy sounds like he's going to turn them into players! We don't need more players!!! I wish they would show these guys they don't have to choose between Awkward and Asshole!!!! There is a third choice, and it lies in the middle. It's called Awesome. THAT's what they should be aiming for!!! This show is ticking me off!!!"

I almost chucked my remote at the tv at this point (Ok, not really, but it paints a nice image, right?). Then it cut to a shot of all the guys standing in front of Mystery and crew.

"I'm going to ask you guys a pretty personal question right now," Mystery said.
The guys looked at each other nervously.
"How many of you are virgins?" he asked, bluntly.

I couldn't believe it. The youngest guy on the show is about 25, I think. I had no idea it was so bad. "Holy Shit! Forget girlfriends! These guys need to get laid!!" I thought. "I mean, they just need something to get them over the hump, so to speak. They do need this cocky asshole of a coach! WOW!"

This completely blew my mind, y'all. I mean, I could see firsthand how terrible they were at approaching women, but I thought for SURE they must have had some drunk night in college where they lucked out. Um, not so much! These guys need serious help. Some of them have never had girlfriends. Ever.

Mystery & Crew went over each guy's footage with them (the poor guys were filmed as they tried to pick up girls, as if they needed more stress added to the situation...). And although Mystery, Matador and J-Dog made me want to barf, I have to say, their critiques were DEAD ON. It was like they were taking the words right out of my mouth: "Why did you ask that stupid question? Why do you think that would work? Where is that conversation line even going? Why are you ignoring her friend? Can't you tell by the look on her face that she wants you to go away?" etc. Every criticism and comment illustrated the coaches' PERFECT understanding of how to approach a woman successfully. The best tip I heard? NEVER start out with introductions. Women don't like telling strange guys their name. You can get to names later. "Holy shit. That's absolutely right. I never realized that!" I thought.

To add insult to injury, for the last part of the show, Mystery and his Wingmen went into the same bar, about 30 minutes later and showed the contestants how it's done. The Nice Guys were blown away at their success. The Pick Up Artists (PUAs) were totally opposite in their behavior: confident, interesting, upbeat and fun. And although I cannot STAND the way they dress and look, I have to say that at least they would put me at ease. I can't say they'd be successful at getting my number, but I'd definitely rather talk to them than the insecure guys.

Needless to say, I'll be watching Episode #2 tonight at 9pm EST. Want to join me?

If you want more info about this Mystery guy, check out these websites:

Holy Cow, he's got a Wikipedia entry.

His "Venusian Arts" homepage [Insert eye-rolling here.] It claims to have free tips on there, but all I can find are descriptions of his seminars, which cost a SMALL FORTUNE and are SELLING OUT despite that fact. (This totally blows my mind that guys pay so much money for this!!!) I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all of the plugging. This guy is making a living doing this. This is America, after all.

There's also a blog, which has a video I presume is to illustrate the PUA lifestyle: an endless stream of random, half-naked and beautiful women in your bed. [Insert more eye-rolling and gagging here.] It's not really 100% work-appropriate, btw. I can't believe this is the "ideal" lifestyle for so many men. I would title the video "The Fastest Route to Herpes" if I had my way. Is this guy for real? Do men find this lifestyle fulfilling? Is this what men are honestly striving for?

I guess I don't understand men as well as I thought I did....

Anyway, make sure you catch the video of Mystery's interview on Conan O'Brien. (There's a link to it in the sidebar of the blog I just mentioned.) Conan rips him apart, and it's hilarious. As if I need another reason to love Conan O'Brien! I friggin love that guy. I was actually upset when he got married. That's who I want to approach me in bars! Where are the Conans of the world???

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fun Friday: Bad Dates

There's no point in talking about all of this unless we are going to have a good laugh out of it, right?

This is pretty bad....I can only imagine how uncomfortable the guy must have felt.

There's something to be said for being too honest...

Of course, halfway through all of these posts, I discovered that one of my favorite bloggers, Charming But Single, recently wrote similar posts. Only she's a much better writer than I am, so you might want to see what she says:

Five Things I Should Know by the End of Our First Date
Five Things I Should Not Know by the End of Our First Date

I thought this was a good article for guys to read -- Ten Signs You've Been Single for Too Long. Cute Neighbor has 4 that I'm aware of......yeesh.

Have nice weekends, everyone! If I don't post by Tuesday, that means I've been cooked to death in this horrible heat wave! Seriously, our heat index today is about 116. No joke! One radio station here in town is even playing Christmas carols today to at least attempt at helping people stay cool!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday 13: The Nice Guy

A couple of posts back, Kraig left me a link to a well-written blog post about the problems facing Nice Guys and what to do about it. (I know, Stuckey, I can practically see your ears perking up at this topic!) I really liked it, and would have left a comment, but I'm sure in the 150 or so comments left there already, someone else has probably already said what I would say.

Some of my male readers worry that the Southern Gentleman is dead. I worry that the Nice Guy is dead. Too often he is rumored to be a Nice Guy, when really, he is one of these:

The Doormat (definitely the most common!)
The Asshole who Just Has Nice Manners
The Mama's Boy
Issues Guy
The "All I Have to Offer You is Nice" Guy
The Still-In-the-Closet Guy
Nice for the First 6 Months Guy
Mr. Smoke & Mirrors

There are so many more. I can't even continue to go on and on about this, or else this post will end up being too long. Besides, my point here is not to describe what ISN'T Nice Guy, my goal is to describe what I think a Nice Guy embodies. I have based this list off of qualities I have admired in my father, my brothers, guy pals of mine, good friends of the family and boyfriends (mine and others').

Note: The following list is just my own, humble opinion. I have no idea if any other girl on Earth will agree with this post. If this list is absurd, then I guess we all know why I'm single, right? Ok, here goes.

1. He has a healthy relationship with his family, especially his mother. Note: He is NOT a Mama's Boy. There is a difference between calling her once a week and eating dinner at her house every night. The relationship with the mother is key, for that usually translates into all of his relationships with women. Nice Guys like women. They enjoy their company, their mannerisms and they find women very entertaining and nurturing beings to be near. They respect and enjoy women, even if it's not a woman they are romantically interested in. They are just happy that women exist. This plays a big role in why they are good husbands.

2. He is nice to strangers, animals, old people and children (not just women he is hoping to date, like the article seems to imply). He may even go out of his way to make their lives better: leaving a nice tip, helping them cross the street, getting the kitty down from the tree -- all without the hope of getting any sort of reward. Kind of like Superman. Just saving the day, one problem at a time. He has the ability to feel sympathy, empathy and concern for others. He is thoughtful and considerate. But he is not a Doormat or a Crier or overly emotional about it. He just realizes that we are all human (or living creatures) and deserve respect. He enjoys putting smiles on people's faces. He is a good father, neighbor, boss and citizen.

3. He has manners. Please and thank-you (and yes, door openings) don't happen as often as they should these days. Good manners are refreshing. Again, the manners are not done in order to get a reward. He would be behaving the same way if no one were watching. Total Assholes don't usually have manners.

4. He doesn't draw unnecessary attention to himself, instead preferring to remain low-key and un-flashy. The word "humble" comes to mind. He understands that it is possible to be confident and successful without shoving it in everyone's faces or bragging about it.

5. He is a hard worker with goals. He is not a moocher or a loafer. He doesn't live in his parents' basement. He hasn't been unemployed for a year straight. He makes the best out of bad situations, so if the economy goes in the shitter, and he finds himself frying french fries for a living, dammit, he's going to be the best fry fryer on the East Coast. Or whatever. He'd rather be making minimum wage and living in a shack than moving back in with Mom & Dad.

6. He doesn't think it's acceptable to break the law. Nice Guys are not into drugs, violence, shady business dealings, throwing bodies in the East River or "borrowing" things. Nothing in their house "fell off a truck". In fact, there's nothing sketchy about him at all. He's a regular, upstanding citizen. He's not even all that keen on strip clubs or porn. Too much of it makes him uncomfortable. This is because he respects women.

7. He is reliable and understands how to step up to the plate when the chips are down. Or whatever that phrase is. You know what I mean. The Nice Guy is the one who doesn't complain when the Boss asks him to stay late. He's the guy who volunteers to drive their neighbor to the airport. He does what he says he will do. You can count on him. He volunteers to go out of his way when he sees someone needs his help. (Again, he expects nothing in return!)

8. He is confident and knows who he is and what he stands for. He knows he's a good catch and a good person. He knows what he likes and what he wants. He doesn't need anyone's second opinion or reassurance. He seems to have an innate understanding of what is right/wrong and what he wants out of life. People have an easy time believing this, because it oozes from his pores. He's not boastful or full of himself. Just confident.

9. He expects to be treated in the same way he treats others: with honesty, dignity and respect. He is not a Doormat who puts up with abuse or neglect. He is not controlling, nor does he demand that people treat him a certain way. He does not shirk responsibility or try and pretend like no one's feelings were hurt. He wants to see problems resolved fairly, even if it means admitting his own faults.

10. He respects himself and holds himself to high standards. He's not going to be getting hammered every weekend like a frat boy. He's not going to turn into a fat slob. He doesn't think playing video games is the best way to spend a Saturday. He doesn't procrastinate or see what he can get away with in life. Nice Guys strive for self-improvement most of the time. (They aren't robots -- everyone needs ice cream and a nap now and then!) By having self-respect and maintaining his personal standards, as a result, he is both mature and interesting. Which makes people respect him even more.

11. He is wonderfully masculine. He is a guy's guy. He's not effeminate in any way, even though he loves being around women. In fact, he's very comfortable being manly. He is funny and laid-back and confident (gosh, I keep using that word!). He puts others at ease while still being a fun and energetic person. He usually has projects going on -- a new fun idea or hobby. He's never bored. He never expects others to entertain him. He enjoys manly things -- cars, explosives, sports, scotch, model airplanes, cigars, feats of engineering -- but is also cultured in some way. He reads. Or enjoys opera. Or likes art. Or can hold a discussion about philosophy. No one thinks he's gay or a wuss because he is cultured, because he also enjoys the stereotypically manly things. He oozes manliness from his pores. He's not afraid to pick up the reins and run the show if necessary or call people out when they have crossed the line. He's got balls.

12. He is living for something beyond himself. He possesses the ability to see the world as more than just HIM. He realizes how he can make an impact and leave the world a better place. He has a passion about it, actually. He has morals, ethics and believes in something, whether it's God or the kindness of strangers or just the perfection of Mother Nature. Whatever.

13. He is stable. And not just job-wise. He is the sort of guy you never have to worry about. He's not going to have a breakdown or suddenly change who he is. What you see is what you get.

I think the term "Nice Guy" needs to be changed. It implies he is nice, and nothing more. When women speak of wanting a Nice Guy, I think they really mean they are looking for a Good Man. So that is the term I will use. Because when women state they are looking for a "Nice Guy", they want so much more than just someone who isn't a jerk. They have dated jerks -- probably a variety of them. They want someone who is totally different.

So the next time a guy whines about how he IS nice, I think he should remember that there is so much more to it than just NOT being a jerk. Guys are looking for a "Nice Girl" -- but they don't mean she's ONLY nice. Right? There are plenty of nice sluts running around. Plenty of nice, ugly girls. Women are no different than men -- we are all looking for the total package.

Good Men are attractive, and I don't necessarily mean physically. They have this aura about them. Yes, they usually smell good or wear French cuff links. But sometimes they wear hard hats and smell like sweat. In any case, there is something about them that is incredibly desirable. And that makes them HOT.

Most "Nice Guys" complain about how women do not give them credit, or don't date them or treat them like crap. I think there are two reasons behind this feeling:

1. They are not dating Nice Girls. I think only Nice Girls recognize, appreciate and value Good Men. Girls who are too young, too inexperienced, too stupid, too selfish and too immature wouldn't be able to spot a Good Man if he slapped her in the face. You think a total bitch, a gold digger or a stupid slut would see a Good Man for who he is? And appreciate it? I seriously doubt it.

2. They only THINK they are a Good Man. In actuality, they do not possess (IMHO) all of the above characteristics. They are nice enough. They embody a lot of the qualities I've just listed. But something's.......missing. And Nice Girls know this. That's why it doesn't work out.

By the way, if anyone knows of a guy like this, and he's single, please send him my way. Thanks.

And I would LOVE it if a guy wrote a post describing a "Good Woman". What is the other side of the coin?

Have I missed any Good Man characteristics?

Alright, I'm sure I have ruffled enough feathers for one day. I am prepared to be ripped to pieces. Have at it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Proper First Date Behavior (Part 2)

Part One is below. I posted it yesterday.

11. If you run into a friend/acquaintance while on the date, it is polite to introduce your date to that person. Yes, it might be kind of weird and adult-like to say, "This is my date, Susie. Susie, this is Joe, my squash partner." But you will get points, trust me. You don't have to say "date" either. You can just say, "This is Susie." People can come to their own conclusions about what you're doing with Susie in public. So if she's dressed like a hooker, you might want to clarify. In any case, introducing her to everyone you run into will make her feel like you are showing her off, and that is GOOD. "Ca-ching!!" go the points. (+50 if you're just being polite, +200 if you make her feel like you're showing her off. -150 if you fail to introduce her. And no, "I'm sorry, I didn't introduce you because I didn't remember the other guy's name." is NOT an excuse.)

No one wants to feel they are a secret embarrassment to someone. Which is exactly how she will feel if you don't introduce her. Inside her head, it will go something like this: "Huh. I wonder why he didn't introduce me. Maybe he's embarrassed by me. I knew my ass looked fat in these jeans. Maybe he's got a girlfriend. Maybe he's got a wife. That bastard! Maybe he's just rude. In any case, I'm definitely ordering the lobster now." -- See? Being nice and polite and adult-like can save you money!

12. Do NOT talk on your cell phone while on the date, unless absolutely necessary. (-15,000-35,000, depending on the girl, dating privileges may be revoked.) Examples of absolutely necessary situations: you are horribly lost on the way to the fantastic restaurant where you're taking her, your mother just died, the world is coming to an end. Yup, those are pretty much the only 3 reasons you should be on your phone. This is starting to become a deal-breaker for a lot of women, guys. Just don't do it. Turn off your phone, if you are in the habit of just automatically answering it. No texting, either. (-500 per text) It's like whispering in front of someone -- very rude. Don't be Rude Guy. Feel free to hold Crush Girl to the same standards.

(Unless you're a horrible date, and her girlfriend calls her half-way through, and there's an "emergency", requiring your date to leave ASAP. Don't worry, she'll grab a cab, trust me. In which case, you should just email me so we can go over everything step-by-step, because you have royally screwed up somewhere along the line. Yeah, you're being ridiculed at brunch for SURE. She enacted the Emergency Phone Call on you. Yeesh. I don't even know how many points you've lost by that point. You're definitely in the black hole of negative points, though. Not only have your dating privileges been revoked, she probably won't acknowledge knowing you in public. Ouch.)

13. Do you pull out the chair? Tell the waiter what she will be eating for dinner? Help her with her coat? Hmmm. That is something you're going to have to ask her. (I know, I know! There's so much talking and asking going on! It's like you have to her. And stuff.) There's just too much variation from woman to woman on those sorts of things. It's ok! This is a first date! You're not expected to know what she likes yet. You're just trying to make a good impression and have fun. You will get points just for asking, actually. (+25 per courteous question) And really, you shouldn't have any points taken off for NOT asking these more difficult kinds of questions. It's just a first date. The girl isn't going to be all nazified on you. Yet.

14. DO NOT be rude to the waiter, waitress, hostess, cab driver or any other stranger you happen to encounter during the course of the date. Also, do not be a bad tipper on first dates. We're watching. Trust me. (-200 per rude/impatient behavior towards service workers, -200 for being a bad tipper.) Woe to the guy who is rude to the waitress when he's on a date with an ex-waitress, but doesn't realize it. (-20,000 and potential loss of dating privileges) However, if Crush Girl ordered her steak medium well, and it comes out like a hockey puck, feel free to stick up for her and demand better service -- politely. (+1,000)

15. Things NOT to talk about: medications you're on, family issues, ex-girlfriends, anything disgusting, kicking dogs, your criminal record, how you "hate people" (yup, I'm speaking from experience!), what your therapist says, how much money you make, how cool you are (bragging in general), anything too vulgar or sexual, politics, religion, any jokes in bad taste and anything too whiny/negative. (- 150 per inappropriate topic brought up. We know you're nervous, but watch it.)

Good things to talk about: travel, music, movies, books, tv shows, embarrassing stories, hobbies, childhood, college, goals for the future (but not marriage & babies), favorite things about where you live, anything that makes her laugh, how beautiful she is, how smart she is, how interesting she is, how funny she is......get my point? (interesting topics: +50 for each topic she seems to get into. +100 for each time you say something really funny. +1,000 if you say something so funny, she has tears rolling down her cheeks.)

Remember: The less talking you do, the more you can learn about her. Girls like to talk about themselves. A lot. People who let us do so get points. You want to be Points Guy. Besides, if you hog the conversation, she will think you're full of yourself. And then she'll order the lobster. (-500 for hogging the conversation.)

16. Do. Not. Get. Drunk. Yes, we know you are nervous. We are, too. But please, we don't want to feel you need to escape reality when you're with us. Limit it to two drinks on the first date, please. Again, we don't want to feel we are babysitting you. (-20,000 if you get drunk and possibly... dating privileges revoked) Do not eat Crush Girl's dinner unless you are invited (-8,000 pts.) and certainly don't eat half of it (again, I am speaking from experience!). Talking Crush Girl into dessert, despite her "protests": +1,000. (You see, girls almost always want dessert. But since we aren't paying, we feel weird asking for it. Smart guys realize this and order it anyway. Also, it's kinda nice if you share it with us. It's romantic and doesn't make us feel like we ate the whole thing.)

17. Regarding the bill: Overwhelmingly, women expect the guy to pick up the tab on the first date. Sorry, dudes. Consider it a small price to pay for having the privilege of being seen with us in public. I don't know about 2nd, 3rd or 4th dates--it can vary from girl to girl and situation to situation. But for the first date, you've gotta cough it up. (Paying for first date: expected, so no points. Not even tolerating the notion of the girl paying a dime: +1,000. Asking the girl to pay half: -5,000. Expecting the girl to pay the whole thing: death.)

18. Finishing up the date! Oh boy! I don't know how guys are, but for me, this is the most nerve-wracking thing about the whole date. I get really nervous, and start blabbing away about nothing. If Crush Girl does that, too, you can take the opportunity to pop a mint as you listen. No one wants to kiss Garlic Guy. (No points for having nice breath. We assume you want smooches, so it's expected that you will take proper steps to make yourself smooch-worthy. Complaining about lipstick getting on you during the smooching process: -100 pts. We put it on to look good for you, jerk.)

Ideally, how should it go? Hmmm. First of all, walk her to the door. This shows effort, consideration, protection (There could be a mugger in the bushes! You never know!) and manners. If you had a good time and want to take her out again, please, for her sanity, go ahead and tell her so. Something along the lines of, "I had a really good time. I want to take you out again, if that's ok. You look fanstastic, did I tell you that?" is good. You don't have to have date #2 all planned out in your head. You don't have to commit to setting the date's day/time, either. Just make it clear you want to take her out again. She will probably reply that she also had a good time and affirm that a 2nd date is in order. Unless you screwed up, in which case she'll probably say, "Uh...yeah, me too!" and then run inside quickly and never return your phone calls. But if you've been listening to me, you are probably golden at this point.

Walking her to the door: expected, so no points.
Not walking her to the door: removal of testicles. Just kidding. But it is pretty insulting, so -10,000.
Asking her out for date #2 at end of date #1: + 1,000
Saying only "I'll call you." : - 5,000 and you can forget smooching.
Saying only "I'll call you" and waiting a week to ask us out for date #2: by this point, she probably hates you. That's another post.

This is when the smooching may or may not occur. If there has been physical contact (her hand on your arm or shoulder, hand-holding, arms around each other) preceding this moment, you're probably cleared for a smooch. If not, you might want to hold off. This is not the end of the world. Anticipation is hot. Trust me.

Let's say the date went REALLY well, and she's invited you in. Do not assume it's to have sex. Sometimes coffee is really just coffee. But if she's been all over you and has put her hand on your thigh, you might just be getting lucky!

19. What if you think all the ingredients for a great date are there, but um, things just didn't go as planned? Don't worry. First dates are nerve-wracking. She's probably as nervous as you are. Most girls will give you the benefit of the doubt and let you have a 2nd shot. Or maybe you just royally messed up. Maybe she did. In any case, life goes on. Cry into your ice cream, or whatever it is guys do after bad dates, and then get back on the horse. Ask her out again, make a joke about your "practice round", and do better on round 2.

20. One last word about your appearance. Do not wear sneakers/athletic shoes or gym clothes, unless you're both going to a sporting event as the date activity. Do not wear flip flops or Tevas (do guys still wear Tevas?) unless it's a pool party or outdoor party. Please do not wear anything wrinkled. T-shirts with funny/vulgar sayings on them are also to be avoided. Ties are not necessary, but please, dress like an adult who is taking this seriously. We put forth some effort to look nice for you. Can't you do the same? Bonus points if you smell good, by the way.

Want more tips? This is a pretty good article.