We live in enlightened times, our constant connectivity firmly rooting us in the 21st century. And yet when it comes to dating, old habits die hard. Take the notion of women asking men out or initiating first contact on Lavalife.com, Canada’s leading online dating site.
Conventional wisdom dictates that men should get the proverbial ball rolling, as if proactive women are somehow unfeminine or less mysterious or – gasp! – less sexy. Yet it appears that, in the minds of men at least, the exact opposite is true.
In a recent poll, Lavalife.com asked its members: ‘Women asking men out: hot or not?’ A staggering 95 percent of nearly 1,000 male respondents answered ‘hot,’ while 64 percent of women also answered in the affirmative. Clearly there remains a gulf between perception and reality where women, men and dating are concerned.
“Like women, guys are five kinds of flattered being asked out. It’s not intimidating, it’s exciting,” offers Kim Hughes, Lavalife.com’s Singles and Dating Expert. “With Valentine’s Day around the corner, women are well-advised to take matters into their own hands, sending a single guy an email on Lavalife.com or simply striking up a conversation with a sexy stranger on the bus.”
Women know that even a (polite) date offer from a guy they’re not interested in boosts confidence. It works both ways. Plus not every email or coffee has to lead to the altar. Making new friends and acquaintances – thus widening your social circle – enhances opportunities to meet more singles online and beyond. It’s a win-win.
Ladies, this Valentine’s Day, our message is simple: Pipe up and make the first move, asking that cute guy on Lavalife.com if he’d like to grab a coffee or glass of wine on February 14... or any other day of the year. You’ll not only vastly increase your chances of getting a date; you’ll push your ‘hot’ status into the red. What could be more affirming than that?
New Year, New You
By Kim Hughes, On 12/31/12 10:50 AM
The arrival of the New Year always inspires change. But a laundry list of resolutions can be daunting. Experts, from fitness to finance, suggest setting realistic goals and taking small steps toward improvement. With this in mind, Lavalife.com, Canada’s leading online dating site, offers simple but highly effective ways for singles to improve themselves and their dating lives – instantly.
“Right after the holiday season we see a spike in our membership numbers,” explains Kim Hughes, Lavalife.com’s Singles and Dating Expert. “During the holidays, people tend to reflect on the past year. Singles especially are inclined to look back and relive relationship mistakes, bad dates and the ones that got away. We want to encourage singles to not dwell on the past but to be proactive about the future.”
The 10 Golden Rules are tried-and-true tips that will lead to new relationships, new friendships and a stronger, better sense of self.
Cyber Resolutions: Five Tips to a Better Online Dating Profile
Add more photos. We may not like to admit that looks matter but they do: research shows profiles with pictures get eight times the response of those without. Plus, in the age of digital photography, there is simply no excuse for not having multiple images of your fine self engaged in your favorite hobby, traveling or on the town. Use pictures to help tell the story of you.
Be specific. Generalizations such as 'I like to have fun' or 'I love hanging out with my friends' tell prospective dates nothing since everyone likes to hang out with friends and notions of fun depend on the person. Instead, describe your ideal Sunday morning or best-ever vacation - tangible scene-setters that capture your likes and provide an icebreaker for those wanting to contact you.
Use a trusted friend as an editor. It's hard to write about yourself but a pal can make constructive suggestions about where to add detail (your humor/athleticism/killer celebrity impersonations) and where to back off (presenting a rigid list of dating must-haves).
Use Spell Check. You may not think a misspelled word is a big deal but it broadcasts an overall lack of care. Sloppy is never sexy.
Make it Your First Time. We tend to gravitate towards certain activities, leading to dates that are same-old. You may even end up at the same bar with different dates. Switch it up. Organize dates around new things such as indoor rock climbing or author readings. Activities like these become great bonding experiences while illuminating your date's character.
Live Feed: Five Tips to Better Real-World Single Living
Lose the grocery list. We all have core needs and values that must be met before we can look at a partner as a long-term prospect. But until that stuff is nailed down, open up your criteria. You may prefer dating blondes but Ms. Redhead might be the wittiest gal ever. The more flexible you are, the wider your dating circle will be. Plus not every date has to lead to marriage. Loosen up and view dates as fun nights out, not big events.
Don't Avoid Couples-centric Events. Nobody likes to feel like a fifth wheel but no one can diminish you without your consent. Couples have friends, acquaintances and co-workers, some of whom are bound to be single. So get out there and circulate. Accept every invitation you possibly can - from post-work cocktail mixers to community clean-up days.
Volunteer. It doesn't matter what you do (dog walking at the local shelter, serving soup at the homeless kitchen). Volunteering will put you in the path of like-minded people with good hearts and a strong sense of community. What's hotter than that?
Make people smile. We like to think attraction is all personal taste but in reality we take our social cues from others and from our sexual competitors. Use this to your advantage by getting everyone to like you. That way, when someone of interest comes along, you're in the perfect position. And you know one thing that makes people smile? Smiling yourself.
Keep it in perspective. Yes, dating can be a grind but so can housework and we still do that every week (every month?) Take good dates and bad dates in stride, try to remain optimistic, extract humor from any source and remember: the moment we're not searching for love is usually the moment we find it.
5 Foolproof Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues
By Kim Hughes, On 12/4/12 1:11 PM
Christmas has been dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many this simply isn’t the case. The holidays can and often do bring the blues. Whatever the reason for feeling down during the festive season, Lavalife.com, leader in online dating, offers five quick tips for lifting your spirits right now.
Experts agree that the holidays seem to magnify personal and professional frustrations. Whether people are single and feeling lonely, stressed or just overwhelmed, the relentless ‘joy’ of the season can really dial up the downers. But there are simple solutions for lifting spirits during the holidays. Follow these five super-easy, can’t-miss tips.
Don’t wait until January 1 to start your resolutions. Nothing makes people happier than a sense of accomplishment. Start small with something you know you can do – take a spin class once a week, read a new book from start to finish and if single, sign up on Lavalife.com and start dating. All of these things offer instant gratification and inspire confidence. Say goodbye to the blues and ring in the New Year in better shape, a little smarter or with a bevy of dates. You may even meet The One and say goodbye to being single for good.
Volunteer. It may sound cliché but when you help others, your own problems are put into perspective. Whether you decide to host a toy drive, walk dogs at the local shelter or ladle soup at a soup kitchen, you are making a difference, which will instantly boost your spirits.
Become a morning person. Studies have shown that people who start the day early feel better about themselves. Set your alarm 30 minutes before your regular wake-up time and get out of bed as soon as it goes off. Whether you tidy the house, catch up on email or simply meditate, the extra time will help you focus and maybe even change your life. Really.
Take advantage of holiday offerings. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that you just can’t afford the holidays but a little creative planning (and website sleuthing) can reap significant freebies at this time of the year. This is a great time to take advantage of free tree-lighting parties, cocktail events at local galleries, complimentary classes at your local gym, a free make-over at a department store make-up counter… you get the idea.
Make a new friend. The holidays are a great time to widen your social circle which is never a bad idea. If you are single, go to Lavalife.com and get chatting with hot singles; the flirting will do wonders for your ego. Or consider joining a group – a charity organization, a running team, whatever. Nothing is better for killing the blues than forming a new bond.
5 Unique Dates for Fall
By Kim Hughes, On 11/5/12 1:19 PM
As those lucky ducks in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy the long days and gentle nights of their approaching summer, we here in the Northern Hemisphere are bracing for the onset of winter, a point underscored this past weekend as we set our clocks back one hour for so-called Daylight Savings Time, which essentially just seems to mean it gets pitch-dark at 5 o’clock. Sigh.
For non-ski bunnies or devoted snowboarders, winter sucks. And it can be a hard time to date: everyone swaddled in parkas and other figure-obscuring garments, perilous cold and the ensuing reluctance to even leave the house let alone getting out there to party and mingle.
But as we gird ourselves for what’s coming, let’s be sure to pause and enjoy where we’re at right now – autumn, and all the loveliness that can bring. Grab a date, tug on a scarf and revel in the moment.
Herewith, we present…
5 Unique Dates for Fall
#1 - Go Sweater Shopping Together
Believe it or not, shopping can be sexy. While a cozy new sweater is the season’s wardrobe staple, few men enjoy shopping for it. Guys will appreciate a date’s input on color, fit and what looks great. Women, meanwhile, can also get feedback from their dates. Is he turned on by your favorite cozy, oversized boyfriend sweater? Or would he really prefer a body-hugging angora that hugs your curves? Shopping inevitably sparks laughs (reindeer jumper anyone?) and no trip is complete without a café pit-stop for hot chocolate.
#2 - Stroll a Cemetery
If you’ve ever cycled or jogged through a large urban cemetery, you know they are often landscape marvels exploding with colour during fall. Plus, tombstone entries (to say nothing of statuary) can spark amazing conversations about life, love, family and what’s really important to you. Sites like Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery or Montreal’s Notre-Dame-Des-Neiges house important historical figures, providing even more conversational hay.
#3 - Farmer’s Market Visit & Dinner Prep
No matter where you live, something delicious, local and seasonal is available at a farmer’s market nearby. Spend the late-morning browsing stalls for root vegetables such as turnip, carrots or squash, then head home to whip up a simple but hearty stew or savoury pie. Easy-to-follow recipes abound online – your farmer friend probably has some suggestions, too – and you can pair your proud creation with a local craft brew.
#4 - Visit a Winery
Don’t just go for a drink, make your own. An afternoon visit to a winery or brewery is even better when you can get in on the action. In early fall, take part in the stomping of the grapes. You can literally kick off your shoes and step into the barrel. Or visit a local urban brewery, where you can make your own beer, guaranteeing follow up dates to track the progress and taste your signature ale. For guidance by master winemakers and brewers, try Fermentations in Toronto or Brewhaven in London.
#5 - Attend a Reading
Is it just us or does listening to an author read from his or her book make you feel all swish and sophisticated, yet hip at the same time? Not only are readings cheap and cultured ways to spend a few hours but the book in question – purchased, signed then read later – becomes fodder for future debates and discussions over fireside mulled cider… sounds ideal.
Dating Horrors in Time for Halloween
By Kim Hughes, On 10/15/12 1:25 PM
Our weekly polls never fail to reveal interesting things about online daters in general and Lavalife members specifically. What’s also really interesting is how often answers vary along gender lines. Often… but not always.
A recent case in point. Last week, Lavalife members were asked who their dating story should be written by, and were then supplied with the names of three very different types of authors: William Shakespeare (indicating “high drama”), Stephen King (indicating “horror”) and 50 Shades of Grey scribbler E.L. James (indicating “sexy”).
This time out, both men and women voted in very similar ways, with “horror” emerging strongly (43 percent of men and 38 percent of women) followed by “high drama” (26 percent of men and 23 percent of women). “Sexy” is where a key divergence occurred, with 31 of men and 38 percent of women voting that way, this rendering “horror” and “sexy” equal in the experiences of women.
All of which begs the question: with whom are these women having this awesome sex? Or are the results simply an extension of the fact that the 50 Shades phenom is largely a female thing? Hard to say, but one thing is clear – not everyone is having the time of their lives being single and seeking mates on the good old interweb.
Which means this is as good a time as any to remind would-be paramours that dating IS hard – both online and offline – and that optimism and positivity (even in the face of disappointment) might be the best weapon against defeat in the dating toolbox.
Call that a deep thought for October. And Happy Halloween.
Mars/Venus Archetypes Still Reigning on Earth
By Kim Hughes, On 9/17/12 2:01 PM
There’s a reason the whole Mars/Venus debate never gets old and it’s this: just when you think men and women are tuned to the same wavelength, something emerges – a survey, a crazy anecdote or a cautionary tale – that proves conclusively the sexes are miles apart in thoughts and actions.
To wit: two recent polls conducted by Lavalife. One pretty much shows that, true to popular mythology, most men will bang just about anything they can get their mitts on, intellect and chemistry notwithstanding. A second poll, meanwhile – which found both genders voting along very similar lines – suggests that neither sex has the other even fractionally figured out.
The first poll can only be described as a Mars/Venus classic. When asked, “Great sex, dull person. Stay or go?” the male respondents (nearly 1,000 in all) voted thusly: “Stay” 30 percent, “Go” 26 percent and “Um, how dull exactly? 44 percent. Sorry but no surprise there… save maybe the “stay” response wasn’t much higher.
That same question put to 335 women not surprisingly netted different results: “Stay” at a puny 9 percent, “Go” at 47 percent and “Um, how dull exactly?” also at 44 percent, just like the guys. Still, setting aside the third answer pool – which presumably includes those responding with tongue firmly planted in check – it’s clear women prize more in a partner than mere functionality.
Illustrating the other end of the Mars/Venus spectrum was this question: “Who's pickier about their date's looks?” Guess how that played out? Yup, that’s right: men said women were definitely pickier (62 percent) while women insisted it was the guys arching a cynical eyebrow (63 percent).
Really? Isn’t it more likely that in dating – where the stakes for hotness are incredibly high all round and could mean the difference between raging success and abject failure – that EVERYBODY is picky? We’re talking about no less a possible outcome than human reproduction here so of course men and women are taking the looks thing seriously. And yet the urge to polarize remains intact.
Which just goes to show that men and women really do navigate their relationships (not to mention their queuing tendencies at the supermarket, their lifestyle and furniture choices etc) in vastly different ways. Lucky for us and for basic evolution, opposites attract. Onwards and upwards as the battle of the sexes wages on. See below for a classic example:
Swag Lounge Brings the Swoons
By Kim Hughes, On 9/11/12 3:06 PM
People often talk about air travel, vaccines and personal computers as being great inventions. Yeah… I guess so. But I am prepared to go one better: the swag lounge may be the greatest modern invention of our times. Especially any swag lounge organized to coincide with the swanky Toronto International Film Festival.
And so it was last week that the fourth annual Bask-It-Style Lounge – co-founded by the way-excellent Jumol Royes of Royes Public Relations and Jessica Glover of GLO Communications – unfolded at a jaw-droppingly beautiful, multi-million-dollar 52nd story penthouse in downtown Toronto just ahead of TIFF.
Killer views in all directions were the least of it.
We lucky attendees walked away with gorgeous moisturizer and tinted lip balm from Mèreadesso; a bottle of 2009 Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet from Wolf Blass; Organic Balsamic Vinegar from Louianna Inc; a tube of PC Black Label Umami Paste from Loblaws; an absolutely stunning piece of original artwork from artist Donna Koster; hair care products from John Frieda; gorgeous fashion-forward earrings from Foxy Originals; men’s dress socks from haberdasher GOTSTYLE and many, many other amazing goodies.
Beat that, crappy old polio medicine.
So many things made this year’s Bask-It-Style Lounge exceptional: the quality of partners (and their unfailing affability and generosity), the charitable aspect (via the cheeky and utterly heartfelt FUCK Cancer; read all about it here), the grace of the hosts and the sheer loot. Add in a delicious spread of sweets and you’ve got yourself something to write home (or blog) about.
With Bask-It-Style, Jumol and Jessica actually made the world seem like a better place. For that, we are eternally grateful.
Online Dating: Ideal for Autumn
By Kim Hughes, On 8/27/12 2:05 PM
So here we sit on the cusp of autumn, roughly three-quarters of the way through the year. How is your dating life going so far? Well, if you are reading this – and presumably still in the swirl of the online dating world – it’s probably safe to assume things could be better.
Then again, summer is the time of strings-free footloose fun, so maybe the past few months have found you having the greatest time of your single life. But with the longer nights comes more serious thoughts about ramping up your online dating profile and getting down to brass tacks.
Without further ado, may we declare…
Five Reasons Online Dating is a Fantastic Idea
1) It’s Affordable: With online dating, a small monthly fee - less than the cost of one glass of wine with tip if you sign up for six months or more - allows users to peruse 1,000s of profiles of eligible singles while exchanging unlimited emails and IMs. And you don’t need an extensive wardrobe to do it.
2) It’s Available 24/7: Lavalife is ‘open for business’ every hour of every day all year long. So whether your daily “you” time falls first thing in the morning or last thing at night, you can communicate with like-minded singles keen to make a connection based on shared interests, values and goals. And you can flirt in your sweat pants with no one being the wiser.
3) It’s Customizable: Whatever criteria is foremost in your search for a date or mate - distance from your home, languages spoken, faith, ethnic background, age range, even astrological sign - you can custom your search to find exactly who you’re looking for, while eliminating those who just won’t cut it.
4) It’s Safe and Private: Because Lavalife members use nicknames to correspond with each other inside a closed, proprietary email system, your personal information is concealed until you choose to share it. You can limit who sees your photos, cease communicating with anyone at any time for any reason and get 24/7 assistance from trained customer services reps. (As in actual, live people handling your call.)
5) It’s About You: Lavalife allows you to reveal as much or as little information as you would like in your online dating profile. Creating an awesome online dating profile is easy:
1. Be specific and detail-oriented. Rather than relying on generalizations such as “I like having fun with friends” describe what fun means to you. It is horseback riding or baking? Movies or hot yoga?
2. Post lots of photos and use them to tell the story of you. Profiles with images get eight times the response of those without. Avoid pics dating back 20 years. Instead post recent pics from a great vacation, night out with friends, etc.
3. Be honest. If you fib about dress size or age, your date will notice when you finally meet and nobody appreciates deceit.
4. Lose the lengthy wish list. Only declare absolute relationship deal-breakers (smoking, religion, etc.)
5. Be positive. Stay focused on what makes you happy.
6. Use spell check and a trusted friend as an editor. She can remind you to emphasize traits that make you special.
7. Never list highly personal information such as your address, personal email or phone number.
8. Leave some stuff to the imagination. A profile is a launch point for discussion not a memoir.
Five Tips to a Better Online Dating Profile
1. Add more photos or video. We may not like to admit that looks matter but they do: research shows profiles with pictures get eight times the response of those without. Plus, in the age of digital photography, there is simply no excuse for not having multiple images of your fine self engaged in your favorite hobby, traveling or on the town. Use pictures to help tell the story of you.
2. Be specific. Generalizations such as 'I like to have fun' or 'I love hanging out with my friends' are meaningless since everyone likes to hang out with friends and notions of fun vary with the person. Instead, describe your ideal Sunday morning or best-ever vacation - tangible scene-setters that capture your likes and provide an icebreaker for those wanting to contact you.
3. Use a trusted friend as an editor. It's hard to write about yourself but a pal can make constructive suggestions about where to add detail (your humor/compassion/killer stroganoff recipe) and where to back off (carping about exes, clinging to a rigid list of must-haves).
4. Use Spell Check. You may not think a misspelled word is a big deal but it broadcasts an overall lack of care. Sloppy is never sexy.
5. Make it Your First Time. We tend to gravitate towards certain activities, leading to dates that are same-old, same-old. You may even end up at the same restaurant or bar with different dates, making it hard to remember who really showed you a good time. Switch it up. We all have a checklist of things we want to learn or accomplish. So, when searching for date, bear these in mind. If you've never been windsurfing, rock climbing or to the opera, seek a single experienced in these areas. How to find them? Read their online profiles closely. Learning something new on a date is a great bonding experience and reveals lots about your date's character.
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy…
By Kim Hughes, On 7/30/12 1:48 PM
So here’s a burning question ideally suited to the dog-days of summer: in your humble opinion, how do you measure up on the hotness scale? Are you on fire? Filled with self-loathing? Maybe it depends on the day? (Never underestimate the power of a good bra and great night’s sleep. Also two martinis).
The hotness question is one singles grapple with more than most, simply because their attractiveness is a) the only perceived gateway to potential dates in the online dating world and b) the thing being sized up the minute they go on one of those dates.
And like any audition, the feedback from a would-be paramour (or deafening lack thereof) can be crushing.
Of course, most of us are tougher self-critics than anyone else out there in the real world (except maybe for that stuck-up blond chick in my hot yoga class who moves around with such an undeniable air of superiority you just KNOW she looks in the mirror and sees “Awesome” flashing in shiny lights where most of us see “Meh, at least there’s no sign of leprosy.”)
But still. Objective self-evaluation is HARD. And it appears not even sexy, smart, connected and engaging Lavalife.com members are immune to the demons of doubt. A recent poll asking members whether or not they think they’re hot yielded (possibly surprising) results.
The majority of men and women (50 percent and 56 percent, respectively) answered “Depends on the day.” A lucky 25 percent of men and 31 percent of women saucily responded with “On fire, baby” while 25 percent of men and 13 percent of women copped to “Ugh, not hot.”
So what does that tell us, apart from the fact that there are a bunch of self-doubting wrecks – and conceited chumps - out there? (As if we didn’t already know that was true).
Well, I guess it tells us that perspective really is everything, just like your Mom said. Some days we feel great, others make us want to stick our heads into ovens and gas our brains for want of a nicer face and a fitter body (or do I speak for myself here?)
The takeaway from all that, then, is that even though you might be scoping someone on the bus and thinking they are the hottest thing evah, that person might have a ticker-tape of antipathy running through their head, which at the very least evens the playing field among potential daters, right? You might as well go ahead and make the first move.
Worse case… you might make a friend who is as damaged as you are, which augurs well for a dependable drinking buddy. Sometimes in this life, that’s enough.
Hot Dates for Your Awesome Summer
By Kim Hughes, On 7/16/12 1:07 PM
There is no better time to be single than the summer. The weather is hot, the attire minimal and al fresco parties are abundant. Plus, people just seem to be freer and more approachable during July and August. That’s especially true in North America, where winter casts a long and nasty pall over much of the rest of the year.
“Summer plants a smile on everyone’s face which is exactly the kind of positivity singles should be broadcasting in their search for a mate,” says Kim Hughes, Dating and Relationship expert with Lavalife.com. “It follows that summer events can really maximize those good vibes, complementing an online dater’s itinerary.”
Recently, Lavalife.com polled its members about their favorite summer date. Of nearly 1,000 respondents, more than half – 61 percent – said “drinks on the patio,” followed by “music festival” (25 percent) and “outdoor movies” (13 percent).
With those stats in tow, Lavalife.com humbly presents our top five recommendations for can’t-miss summer dates. Even if you don’t end up meeting “The One,” you’re guaranteed to have a ball, create some great memories and gather some fun new pictures to add to your online profile.
OK, so we’re not reinventing the wheel, but few things in life are as consistently satisfying as cocktails and conversation on a well-chosen patio with great sightlines and good tunes. Plus, the advent of the mixologist means summer drink cards needn’t begin and end with boring light beers and sauvignon blancs.
You may not think a summer music festival is an ideal date but think again. If a date is going really well, you’ll bond over hot tunes while forging shared memories of just how well guitars pair with sunshine. On the flip side, a festival lets you shift focus away from an awkward date and onto something breezier. Either way, it’s a slam-dunk.
3.Cinema Under the Stars
From Washington State to Illinois, Manhattan to Montreal, outdoor movie screenings are a great summer tradition, pairing classic or near-classic films with cool breezes and twinkling stars. Usually free and thematically smarter than summer blockbuster fare, al fresco films are a great excuse for picnicking after dark; easy post-film conversation an added bonus.
There’s just something wildly romantic about amusement parks: the corny-but-sweet notion of a guy winning his girl a teddy bear at a game of skill; shared cotton candy or the heart-stopping thrill of a rollercoaster ride. Be kids again, if just for a day.
Shakespeare in the Park presentations abound in communities large and small during summer and few things are as cost-effective as taking in a play from a grassy knoll, picnic basket - or takeout sushi - optional. Honorable mention also goes to baseball games (think neighborhood teams rather than the major leagues) and early morning bike rides.
Single in Summer? We Have Advice
By Kim Hughes, On 6/18/12 12:01 PM
Ah summer, and the dating is easy. Or is it?
To some degree, summer dating should be a no-brainer. Everyone is walking around in revealing clothes feeling loose and comfortable, patios are hotbeds of action, films are screening al fresco and the days seem to stretch on forever.
Yet summer has its own set of dating challenges, as just about any single can tell you. For one thing, some industries (think advertising with long-lead deadlines, service industry etc) really pick up at this time of year, making it a challenge for lovelorn worker bees to carve out playtime.
Then there are those relentless marches down the aisle which can really depress the heck out of even the most intrepid single who gamely views weddings as networking opportunities. It’s hard to network with loneliness in your eyes.
As usual, the best advice for singles (and typically, it’s also the hardest to follow) is to try and keep things in perspective. Yeah, being single can suck at times, but so can being in relationships. It’s all a matter of how you react to things.
Plus, your single status means you can hop on a plane or train for a quickie getaway with pals anytime you please (finances willing). Every weekend, you are free to set your own agenda. You can hang out with friends anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
This is also a fantastic time to unleash your inner athlete (inspired, perhaps, by the advent of the Summer Olympic Games). Click writer Lola Brown rounds up some of the best sports you can play to meet singles; check it out and keep it in mind as you schedule weekend afternoons this summer.
Enjoy the sunshine and the long, languid days and remember: being single is a passage, not a life sentence. You will meet someone again someday and you will be happy.
For now, content yourself with also being free.
Single and looking? Try Alberta
By Kim Hughes, On 6/4/12 10:15 AM
This great story by Global News Ottawa reporter Rebecca Lindell takes a fun, playful and dating-themed look at recent census information. Rebecca was good enough to include Lavalife in her piece. It's great... enjoy!
OTTAWA – It’s a regular complaint uttered from the lips of many a single women: finding a man in their city is near impossible.
But according to 2011 census data released Tuesday, that complaint is a horrible truth in some of Canada’s biggest cities where women outnumber men.
The census release, which details the distribution of the sexes, confirms there are slightly more men than women across the country until the age of 25.
After that, the pattern reverses and generally widens with time. The proportions can spell a dating drought for women who are single and looking in female-heavy cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg.
They simply outnumber the men. In Vancouver there are just 97 men for every 100 women.
Rachel Greenfeld knows how tough Vancouver’s dating scene can be, where there are 97 men for every 100 women. The entrepreneur ran a social club called Campoverde in the city’s hip Kitsilano neighbourhood for seven years in an effort to help people meet friends and potential partners.
“Many people leave Vancouver because it is so difficult to find a mate,” she said.
Those joining the exodus may do well to head over the Rockies to Alberta where there are several cities boasting a stronger male to female ratio.
Calgary is split evenly down gender lines, while single women have a slight advantage in Edmonton.
The real difference comes in towns like Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray or Cold Lake where the resource industry or the Canadian Forces lure male residents. Men outnumber women 100 to 83 in Fort McMurray.
The census showed there are also more working-aged men than women in Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, where populations tend to be younger and full of male migrants.
But women shouldn’t assume moving to a small town with a male majority will mean love will be easy, said Sarah Gooding, a product manager at Plenty of Fish, an online dating site.
“Generally speaking, cities that have high concentrations of men or women tend to be small towns that are either very transient (resource-based towns) and/or occupied by a lot of people you probably already know,” she said. “These two factors can make it difficult when you’re trying to meet someone special.”
Gooding also cautioned about searching for love in male-dominated communities from afar.
“When we look at people who are going out on dates, location is really a big factor. People that are more than 60 kilometres between each other the likelihood of them going on a date is very low.”
Gooding’s observations point to the fact that the census numbers are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to how hard or easy it is to find love in Canadian communities.
The raw numbers don’t show how many of those men and women wear wedding rings, how many are gay and how many are looking for love.
For example, a man looking for love may think White Rock, B.C., which is 54.8 per cent female, is a good place to meet someone.
And it is, if they are looking for someone over the age of 65. The cities reporting the highest concentration of women in the 2011 census are all known retirement areas.
While the proportion of women plays a role, for Greenfeld, the culture of the city has more of an impact on finding love.
“What we are witnessing in Vancouver is a perpetual youth syndrome, with no pressure,” she said. “They are not necessarily surrounded by people who are getting married and having children like there are in Toronto.”
Greenfeld now lives in Toronto where she works as a business coach for high-performance clients.
Dating in Hogtown, where the ratio of men to women is similar to Vancouver, is a completely different ball game, according to Greenfeld.
“(In Toronto) the culture is different. When you meet a single man here the likelihood is high that he doesn’t want to be single, he’ll tell you and he’ll do something about it,” she said.
A survey done recently by Lavalife, an online dating company, suggests that no matter where people are looking for love, many don’t see their current home base as the place to find it.
Two-thirds of Lavalife users, both men and women, qualified their cities as a “black hole” in an informal survey last week.
“Even in cities where there is the biggest concentration of people, it’s going to be like: ‘No, no my city is a black hole,’” said Lavalife spokeswoman Kim Hughes.
Hughes said the distribution of men and women matters, but not as much as being proactive about love.
“You only need one single person to find someone. So it’s really not so much a numbers game, it’s how you are projecting out there,” she said
A Snapshot from the Dating Trenches
By Kim Hughes, On 5/7/12 11:42 AM
Few things in this world are as fascinating as polling Lavalife members on their thoughts, feelings and experiences as they navigate the frequently choppy waters of online – and offline – dating. Three recent polls really put things into perspective.
One recent survey asked Lavalife.com members what they consider their best feature, offering a choice of “my face,” “my body” or “my mind.” Both men and women clearly felt their grey matter was paramount, with 72 percent of guys and 60 percent of gals declaring their mind their best feature, with “face” a distant second (18 percent for males and 30 percent for females).
The truism that smart is sexy is one online daters are buying and that’s cause to rejoice. There may be the perception that online dating is a kind of virtual meat market but clearly those in the trenches are having none of it, instead putting their intelligence forward. To that we say: bravo.
Another poll that yielded interesting results was this one: when asked the question, “In my dreams, I'm dating… a celebrity/pro athlete or forbidden co-worker/pal/ex,” a huge majority – 71 percent of men and 63 percent of women – chose the latter, confirming that when it comes to our desires for a partner most of us are grounded firmly in reality, despite the constant reel of celebrity culture we are faced with daily.
Realistic expectations aren’t always easy to maintain when dating, especially when a minefield of lies by omissions, gentle fabrications and other red-herrings wait in the wings to dampen our enthusiasm. Singles have to be vigilant in order not to be carried off by hopes that amount to little more than email pipe dreams. Genuinely aiming to meet the guy or girl next door goes a long way toward keeping it real and maximizing the online dating experience for everyone.
Lastly, and just for kicks, we asked Lavalife.com members if they could recall every ex-lover's name. Again, both men and women overwhelmingly voted along similar lines, admitting that when it comes to remembering ex-lovers’ names, the answer is um… er… well… not so much.
Ha! At least they had the sex… all the better to stay positive until the day they find The One.
One love, multiple partners? LL members say… maybe
By Kim Hughes, On 4/16/12 2:26 PM
Every week on Lavalife (and here on Click) we run poll questions across our three communities. The polls serve as a quick window into what Lavalife members are thinking on a certain subject relevant to online dating.
More than that, though, the weekly polls offer a glimpse into how ideas and opinions split along gender lines.
And that is always about five kinds of fascinating.
Take a recent poll we ran in our Intimate community where we asked, “Is it possible to be committed and non-monogamous?” Think you can guess how the results broke down by gender? Actually, in this case you probably can. The majority of men – 65 percent – said yes while the majority of women (59 percent) said no.
Not exactly shocking if you subscribe to the stereotypes that guys invariably desire multiple partners while women like to zoom in on one person at a time to the exclusion of others.
Still, that also means that 35 percent of men and 41 percent of women actually believe it is possible to engage in sexual activity outside their primary relationship while still being deeply committed to it.
And isn’t that interesting? Sure, we must consider the context; this is a poll that ran on Lavalife, where couples can and do seek a third person to join their playtime. But I think the high number of women who responded in the affirmative suggests that partnered women see a panorama of possibilities within their relationships that they wouldn’t have seen a generation ago.
That’s healthy, right? I mean, obviously, it is healthy for an online dating business. But I think it’s also healthy for relationships overall. The less locked-in we feel – the freer we are to love who we love as and when it suits us – the more we can explore our sexuality without fear of judgment or reprisal. And the likelier we are to have more fun during our finite time here on Earth.
If that sounds hippy-dippy well… maybe it is a little. But it seems if two people in a committed relationship decide jointly that they want to explore some options, they should be absolutely free to do so. Judging by the Lavalife poll results, that is precisely where we’re headed. Having more options is always better.
Just for kicks, I have included the hokey but fun trailer for the 1982 cult hit movie Summer Lovers starring an impossibly young Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah about a couple on summer holiday in Greece who meet their ideal (and yummy and French) third. Guess we know where they’d fall on the committed-but-non-monogamous continuum.
Yup, good times indeed.
It’s Spring… Energize Your Dating Style!
By Kim Hughes, On 2/21/12 11:59 AM
We’ve survived Valentine’s Day and it’s now almost spring. For most singletons, that’s good news. Spring signals renewal, the return of color to our gardens, morning filled with sunshine and afternoon commutes that don’t happen in the dark.
It also serves as a handy time for self-reflection. What lessons have been learned in the past few months? Are you closer to the dating goals? As we allow the season to prompt our self-reflection, we offer some spring cleaning dating tips. Good luck.
Relationship Spring Cleaning Tips:
Lose the check list and try dating someone who is the complete opposite of your usual type. Men and women often get so wrapped up in superficial requirements that they miss out on who a person is at their core. Ditch the list. Then open your eyes. Mr. Right may have been next to you all along and you failed to realize it.
Make a point of contacting/meeting someone just outside your social circle, comfort zone or even city’s limits. It’s amazing how small the day-by-day circumference of our lives can be (office, gym, local library - repeat!) and how just a few miles can seem a world away. Become a regular at a new bar or coffee shop, take a class at the gym that is on the other side of town, go see a local band that you have never heard of… Change your search criteria on Lavalife and find a whole new crop of amazing people.
Enlist your best friend to help bust you out of your dating rut. Have her go online at Lavalife.com and suggest three or four guys to make first contact with based on what she knows and loves about you and what she perceives to be a promising match based on a guy’s individual profile. Chances are she’ll unearth someone you might have overlooked.
Make a conscious effort to speak to one stranger every single day. It may be a passing comment about the book your fellow transit rider is reading or a gripe about the price of fruit to the person standing in line behind you at the market. Whatever - just get chatting. It’ll boost your real-world confidence and you just never know… that girl on the bus might play tennis with The One.
This one is daring but novel: using social media such as Facebook, appeal to other Lavalife members to nominate an otherwise nice guy or girl they went out with but didn’t spark with as someone you should consider dating. Think of it as a 21st century spin on the old chestnut, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure.”
How to Beat the Valentine's Day Blues
By Kim Hughes, On 2/6/12 11:06 AM
For singles, Valentine’s Day is a glaring reminder that you are still solo – your colleagues receive bouquets of flowers, restaurants are reconfigured to seat only tables of two and Pepto-Bismol pink décor takes over. It’s no wonder the occasion is dreaded by singles. This year, Lavalife.com is offering singles the secret for surviving and even enjoying Valentine’s Day in five quick and easy steps.
Valentine’s Day can create a gut-wrenching feeling… not unlike what you get from downing a whole box of chocolate in a pity-me frenzy. Singles need to keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is a greeting card holiday – and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. They should also take a proactive approach by following these five steps for guaranteed happiness on February 14. Who knows - they may even outshine their coupled friends.
Step #1: Write a Gratitude List. It may sound a little corny but it works every time. Wake up in the morning and write down the people and things in your life that you are grateful for… a recent promotion? A great relationship with your sister? Quitting smoking? Whatever it is, it will undoubtedly lift your spirits.
Step #2: Send a Valentine. Take a look at your gratitude list and pick one person (or a few) that is important to you. Send them a Valentine. It can be a simple card, e-card or even a gift. You will make their day and in doing so, feel great yourself.
Step #3: Make Plans. Put on a hot outfit, grab a couple of single friends and hit your local wine bar, karaoke dive or bowling alley. Tell funny stories of relationships past and enjoy your freedom. If you are looking for a night in, make it a movie night. Rent a bunch of romantic comedies or (better) horror flicks.
Step #4: Chat with Singles…online. Sign up FREE with Lavalife.com and connect with heaps of singles in your area. You can hone your search to find exactly your type and chat with a ton of eligible potential mates. The constant attention and possible connection will make you feel great. You can even set up a spur-of-the-moment coffee date for Valentine’s Day.
Step #5: Donate to Charity. Decide what you would have spent on Valentine’s Day - $50 on a flower delivery, $10 on a box of chocolates, $100 on dinner? – and donate that amount to your charity of choice. Then anticipate the good karma coming your way.
New Year, New You
By Kim Hughes, On 1/4/12 10:58 AM
The coming of the New Year always inspires change. For singles and couples alike, the laundry list of resolutions can be daunting. Experts, from fitness to finance, suggest setting realistic goals and taking small steps toward improvement. With this in mind, Lavalife, the leading online dating source, offers simple, can’t miss ways for singles to improve themselves and their dating lives – instantly.
Right after the holiday season, we at Lavalife see a spike in our membership numbers. During the holidays, people tend to reflect on the past year. Singles especially are inclined to look back and relive relationship mistakes, bad dates and the ones that got away. We want to encourage singles not to dwell on the past but to be proactive about the future.
The 10 Essential Rules are tried-and-true tips that will lead to new relationships, new friendships and a stronger, better sense of self.
Cyber Resolutions: Five Tips to a Better Online Dating Profile
Add more photos or video. In the age of digital photography, there is simply no excuse for not having multiple images of yourself engaged in your favorite hobby, traveling or out on the town. Need more incentive? Research shows profiles with pictures get eight times the response of those without. Face it: looks matter and no one is going to click on an avatar.
Treat Your Online Profile Like a Résumé. When you apply for a job, you highlight your achievements, competencies, and strengths while spelling out why you are the ideal candidate for the post. Do the same with your online profile, showing potential dates all you have to offer and why they choose someone else at their peril.
Set an Intention for Your Search: In yoga, practitioners are encouraged to visualize a positive intention for each class. Do the same with your online searches. For example, on Thursdays, vow to only browse profiles of people who are smiling, Make Fridays the day you reach out to someone who’s not your normal type but seems interesting. Make Mondays your 100-mile radius days and so on.
Be specific. Generalizations such as 'I like to have fun' or 'I love hanging out with my friends' don’t tell the story of you because everyone likes hanging out with friends and notions of fun are subjective. Be granular. Describe your ideal Sunday morning or best-ever vacation, guilty-pleasure reality TV show or secret nerd crush.
Use a trusted friend as an editor. It's hard to write about yourself but a pal can make constructive suggestions about where to add detail (your humor/compassion/killer stroganoff recipe) and where to back off (carping about exes, presenting a rigid grocery-list of must-haves).
Live Feed: Five Tips to Better Real-World Single Living
Lose the grocery list. We all have core needs and values that must be met before we can look at a partner as a long-term prospect. But until that stuff is nailed down, open up your criteria. You may prefer dating guys over 6 feet tall, but Mr. Five Foot Nine might have the best sense of humor ever. The more flexible you are, the wider your dating circle will be. Plus not every date has to lead to marriage. Loosen up and view dates as fun nights out, not BIG EVENTS.
Get a Hobby: The adage, ‘If you cultivate an interest, people will find you interesting’ really is true. Get yourself involved in something that will get you out the door and engaged while broadening your social circle. Take a cooking class, sign up for language lessons, learn to skate or join a book club. Hobbies also provide handy conversational fodder for first dates.
Don't Avoid Couples-centric Events. Nobody likes to feel like a fifth wheel but no one can diminish you without your consent. Couples have friends, acquaintances and co-workers, some of whom are bound to be single. So get out there and circulate. Accept every invitation that you possibly can - from backyard BBQs to community clean-up days.
Volunteer. It doesn't matter what you do (dog walking at the local shelter, serving soup at the homeless kitchen). Volunteering will put you in the path of like-minded people with good hearts and a strong sense of community. What's hotter than that?
Keep it in perspective. Yes, dating can be a grind but so can laundry and we still do that every week. Take good dates and bad dates in stride, try to remain upbeat, extract humor from any source and remember: the moment we're not searching for love is usually the moment we find it.
Holiday Gift-Giving Spending Guide for New Dates
By Kim Hughes, On 12/5/11 1:54 PM
Whether you’ve only been on a few dates, or have been together for years, the decision of what to give your partner at the holidays—or whether to give anything at all—is an important one. Like it or not, the gift you give sends a message regarding how you really feel about the recipient—at least in that person’s view.
It’s human nature for men and women to look beyond the surface and find a deeper meaning in any gift that is given in a relationship. This is especially true at holiday time, when emotions already run high. It is important to make sure your gift is thoughtful but also reflects where you stand in your relationship. Now is not the time for mixed messages.
With this in mind, Lavalife has created a helpful guide for navigating gift-giving at every stage of a relationship:
1)Been on a few dates and not sure where you stand: Give the gift that leads to another date. Tickets to the theater, a concert, or a comedy show, or a dinner reservation at a new hotspot. Or go for something adventurous like trapeze, stand-up paddleboard or boxing lessons. Spending Guide: $25 to $75
2)You’ve been dating for a few months and things are going well: Don’t freak him or her out with a gift that is too extravagant. Give a gift that shows you have been paying attention. If he is constantly talking about his love of golf or obsession with The Beatles, find him some cool new golf gear, or a great book of Beatles photography. She can’t get enough of her hot yoga class and is glued to her Kindle. Go for some Lululemon yoga gear or a new case for her Kindle. For guys or girls, try a really personal touch—forget the old-fashioned mix tape: get an iPod and fill it with songs they’ll love. Spending Guide: $25 to $100
3)Relationship is on the rocks. You are not sure where things will go: At this point, you want to give a gift as a token that you still care. Pick something-- whether it is an activity or some kind of memorabilia--that takes you back to happier times. It can be as simple as making a favorite meal. Don’t spend more than $25, and realize that at this stage, it is the thought, not the flashiness of the gift, that counts.
4)You’ve been dating for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and see a future: Give a gift that reminds him or her of you daily. Go for an accessory: try a new wallet, pair of sunglasses or an engraved key chain with a special message. Try jewelry. For her: go for a piece that has meaning: a good luck charm bracelet, a necklace that says love or has her initials. For him: a special watch that reflects his personality—a sporty digital for your running fanatic, or a more classic timepiece for your elegant, GQ guy. For men or women, Spend $100 and up.
5.) Men: You’ve been together for five years but are not ready to head to Tiffany’s: Stay far away from any gift that is jewelry or comes in a small box. Give her something that makes her feel good and shows you care. The best gift is something that pampers. Try a spa day or a trip together.
It’s the kind of milestone social media sites would kill for: Lavalife.com is celebrating 10 years as the leader in online dating and relationships. And it remains the best place to find what you are looking for, whatever that might be.
The 10th anniversary is the diamond anniversary, which means the promise of commitment and love. To celebrate, Lavalife.com is giving a gift to singles across North America – the honest truth: The Top Five Reasons Why You Are Still Single along with the Top Ten Reasons why dating on Lavalife.com is the solution.
“We are taking the gloves off, dipping deep into our hard-won expertise on all matters of dating and playing the role of brutally honest best friend,” explains Kim Hughes, Singles and Dating Expert for Lavalife.com. “We know what you are doing wrong and we have the guts to tell you. And we also know how to make it all better.
“Once you’ve owned up to your mistakes and made the necessary changes, then you can begin the quest,” continues Hughes. “Half the battle is realizing your flaws and fixing them. The other half is being proactive. Log on to Lavalife.com, hone your search, be detailed and specific and find The One.”
Top Five Reasons You are Still Single
1)Patiently waiting for fate to deliver your ideal partner? You didn’t wait for fate to deliver good grades in college - you studied. You didn’t wait for fate to firm up your butt - you did squats. Recognize a pattern here?
2)The “requirements” that you “need” in a partner, like a certain height or body size or hobby -- here’s the truth: you may prefer dating someone who is 6-feet tall, but Mr. 5’ 8” could be the funniest guy ever. And a tiger in the sack. Get over yourself.
3)Don’t want to pay for online dating when social media – and some other dating sites – are free? You want to meet people unwilling to spend a little for site functionality, privacy, superior customer service and security in matters relating to a potential lover or spouse? Just checking.
4)Can’t seem to get over your ex? Here’s a question: if the relationship was so great, why is she your ex? Was Juliet Romeo’s ex? Was Yoko John’s ex? No. People who are meant to be together are together. Move on.
5)Looking to meet someone “organically” like at a party or the gym, where your eyes meet across the crowded room and invisible angels start to sing, rather than in a proactive, conscious way? Keep at it… after all, you’ve got endless open Friday and Saturday nights to hit the gym, when all the other hot singles are out on dates working out.
Top 10 Reasons Why Online Dating with Lavalife.com is the Solution
1)You can find someone outside your social circle and daily routine that you truly never would have met otherwise. And if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to worry about running into him/her on your commute to work or in your favorite pub.
2)If you simply can’t drop the laundry-list of requirements, our search criteria allows you to filter potential partners by ethnicity, languages spoken, faith, body type, even astrological sign. If you insist on a German-speaking practicing Hindu who is also a Sagittarius, we can help you find that person. Really.
3)If you can make a commitment to Lavalife.com for six months, you pay only $9.99 a month, which is cheaper than one glass of wine with tip at a decent bar. Lavalife is not only good for your wallet; it’s good for your waistline, too.
4)You are generally of sound body and mind when you find a date online, unlike meeting someone after a few drinks in a bar where judgment can be clouded (and we know you know what we’re talking about here). With online dating, you will at least have a photo to reference and some recollection of a chat.
5)You can search online anytime it’s convenient for you, 24/7, in the privacy of your home, from behind the iron-clad security veil of a nickname using our proprietary email system.
6)And you can do it while wearing sweat pants and bad hair without anyone being the wiser.
7)You can unapologetically dismiss someone for any reason without having to scramble for a gentle denouement. Don’t like meat eaters, or guys who pose for pictures beside their cars, or dopes who insist on using dog-eared phrases like “carpe diem” or “I might be the one” in their profiles? Just hit “block.”
8)You don’t have to be techie or a computer geek. Lavalife.com has 24/7 customer service and support. Just don’t try to have phone sex with our service operators; they are not offering that kind of service. However, if you would prefer a voice to a keyboard, be sure to try our Lavalife Voice product.
9)With a little bit of effort, you can post multiple pictures and videos and craft a fantastic, descriptive profile that really captures the essence of you. And then you can sit back and enjoy the same efforts made by others, all before a single IM is exchanged. It’s like a buffet of cool people!
10) Online dating will provide you with the best-ever story to tell at your 10th anniversary party when friends or – gasp! – kids ask how you two perfectly matched lovebirds met.
How Many is Too Many?
By Kim Hughes, On 10/3/11 10:08 AM
How many lovers is too many lovers? More to the point, should you even reveal numbers to a partner?
In the new movie, “What’s Your Number?” Ally, played by Anna Faris, is told by a group of girlfriends that women who have had more than 20 sexual partners will not find a husband. The movie begs the question, “What is an acceptable number of partners?” or in this case “How many men is too many?”
In an attempt to separate fact from fiction, Lavalife.com, the leader in online dating and relationships, polled singles to find out if the age-old double standard between men and women still exists. The results revealed that an overwhelming 79% of single men and 94% of single women agree there is still a gender bias of “stud” versus “tramp.”
However, when asked if they were comfortable dating someone who has had more sexual partners than themselves, 7% of men and 77% of women answered “yes.”
It is interesting how both men and women feel the gender bias does exist, yet they are not intimidated when it comes to dating someone with more sexual experience. The number itself doesn’t matter; it’s the way you feel about it, and what it means to you.
For daters - especially women who have entered into double, even triple digits - there is still the fear of the gender bias and answering the “number” question can be tricky.
Although it is possible that a high number of sexual partners could be off-putting to a potential mate, the past does not need to dictate the future. Regardless of the number, there are ways to address your sexual past.
Tips for Addressing the Question: What’s Your Number?
1)You can always be honest. Whether it is 4 or 47, you can lay it out on the table. That is, if you and your partner have been dating long enough for this to be an appropriate question. You never know how you will be perceived, but do take into account your date’s reaction. If he is either appalled or way too excited by your number, then perhaps he is not the right fit for you.
2)Address the question without actually revealing your number. In truth, the number is not important and it is really nobody else’s business. Redirect the question to a more worthwhile discussion: “If you are asking whether I like sex, then the answer is yes.” “If you are asking if I am selective and safe, then the answer is yes.” You get the idea…
3)If you really want to find “The One,” change your strategy. Although sex sometimes leads to love, it doesn’t always. The best option is to join an online dating site like Lavalife.com. Whatever your dating criteria – finding dates that share your language, faith, ethnic background, social habits, even astrological sign – Lavalife.com lets you filter your search to find exactly who you are looking for.
4)Still worried that you will be judged by the double standard? Women: don’t answer until you hear his response, then divide by 2 and subtract 4. Men: worried that your number isn’t high enough to impress her (if so, you are being foolish, women like men who are selective) then add 7. Not yet in the double digits? Add a zero.
5)Sometimes no answer – accompanied by a shy, come-hither grin – is the best answer of all.
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