Some Reasons Being Single on Valentine’s Day Is Actually the Best

When February 14th comes along, if you don’t have a significant other, you usually feel the pressure to find a date, because nothing’s worse than spending Valentine’s Day alone, right?WRONG. As awesome as it is to have an SO on the most romantic day of the year to do all the exceptionally romantic things couples do, there are definitely many, many advantages to being single too.

1. Your wallet won’t suffer for love. You know that if you were in a relationship with someone you really cared about, the money you’d end up spending on a romantic dinner and gift would totally be worth it (despite your aching bank account). Still, you can’t help being grateful you don’t have to spend all that money and can save it for something you really want, like concert tix to YOUR fave band.

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2. You don’t have to stress about planning some massively romantic gesture for bae. The truth is, trying to plan an elaborate date that blows all your other dates out of the water is really hard — not to mention, intimidating. How do you even know for sure they’ll like what you’ve planned? And why is it so expensive?

3. You won’t be disappointed when, inevitably, your big, special date isn’t all that romantic irl. Everyone sets their expectations waaaaay to high for their Valentine’s Day and as a result, end up trying to force the romance and emotion, which just ends up feeling awkward and, well, forced. The date always ends up being extraordinarily boring. But since you’re single, you don’t have to worry about feeling underwhelmed and then having to hide your disappointment so bae’s feelings won’t be hurt.

4. All your fave candy will be on sale, and you can buy as much as you want for yourself. If you have a significant other on February 14th, when all the Valentine’s Day candies go on sale, you’ll feel like you shouldn’t buy any of it for yourself because that’s your SO’s job on this special day. Whereas if you’re single, Valentine’s Day candy is just plain old chocolate that’s on sale and you don’t feel any type of way about buying a bunch of it for a fraction of the price.

5. And you don’t have to share your Valentine’s Day candy with anyone. Since you don’t have an SO, you don’t have to share your candy, or let bae eat the caramel peanut butter chocolate you really wanted from your heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

6. You can do WHATEVER you want to do. When you’re single, February 14th is just another day of the year. You don’t have any obligation to go to some fancy-schmancy restaurant while trying extra hard to be romantic. You can just spend the day doing what you love to do: binge-watching Netflix while laying comfortably in bed.

7. And you’ll have more free time. Let’s be honest: Valentine’s Day isn’t a one day commitment. With all the extra effort you have to put into getting the perfect gift and planning the perfect love-dovey night out with bae, you can end up spending weeks planning for the big day. But if you don’t have a bae, you can spend all that time doing something else, like writing the next bestselling YA novel!

8. You can watch whatever movie YOU want. You won’t have to go through the hassle of seeing if bae likes the movie you want to watch and, if not, what it is they’d rather watch instead. The back and forth of picking a movie is totally eliminated and you can just cuddle under your favorite blanket and watch The Notebook like you’ve been planning on doing all day without having to worry about anybody else.

9. You can have a low-pressure date with your girls. There’s no point in getting yourself down about not having a date on Valentine’s Day when you have other single friends who you can have an awesome Galentine’s day with. We promise, sharing a pepperoni pizza with your besties while you bake brownies and binge-watch Pretty Little Liars will be just as awesome as any elaborate, high-pressure Valentine’s Day date you would have had if you had an SO.
10. You can meet someone new ON Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air! What better time to start a brand new romance with the guy standing in front of you at Starbucks, or the cute cashier at your fave bookstore? Valentine’s Day is the perf excuse to be extra bold and ask them for their number, or to chat up your crush at a party. Not knowing what amazingness the day will bring is just as exciting as any romantic date.

Some Attractive Traits That Are More Important Than Beauty

As some of you have probably noticed, I really enjoy reading about the science and psychology of this thing called love. So I’m digging the chapter on sex and relationships in Yale psychologist Paul Bloom’s new book, How Pleasure Works: Why We Like What We Like. In that section, the question he poses is: Why do we like whom we like?

Well, folks, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that, yes, we humans like beauty. It seems we’re born with this preference, because studies done on wee babies found that even they like to look at pictures of pretty people better than the not-so-pretty. The baby research also seems to indicate that while cultural norms and socialization do have some influence on whom we find beautiful, we’re born with many of our beauty preferences.

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Here’s the good news:

1. We like to look at healthy people.

A lot of what babies — and the rest of us — find beautiful are physical indications of good health. We like unblemished skin, clear eyes, nice teeth, shining hair. So simply by doing things like eating your fruits and veggies, working out, and getting enough sleep, you can do a lot for yourself in terms of looking hot. Other things that might help: visiting a dermatologist, using teeth-whitening gel, using a shower filter to take the toxins out of your water and get better-looking hair. Why is it such a turn-on when someone looks fit? It’s an evolutionary biology thing: A healthy-looking person is likely to produce a healthy kid.

2. We like people who are familiar to us more than those who are not.

That’s true even when the familiar people are less attractive than the newcomers. To get a better sense of what I’m talking about, let me tell you about a cool study. Researchers asked a team of women to attend different classes at the University of Pittsburgh. The women never spoke in the classes, and the number of lectures they attended varied; some went to 5, others to 10, others to 15, and so on. Some went to none. When the term was over, the “real” students were asked to rate the attractiveness of the women. Those who were judged most attractive were the ones who went to 15 classes. Least attractive? Yep: The women who’d never been to a single class. As Bloom points out, this is just one study — but it underscores a bunch of other studies that have found proof of the “mere exposure” effect. (This may also help to explain why I get hit on in the gym a lot. I’m always there, so the guys are used to me.)

3. We like people who are smiling.

Bloom cites a study that found smiling is an important factor in whether or not we’ll find a face attractive. And in an interview I did a little while back with the author of a book about the science of sex, she told me that a woman’s beauty doesn’t have that much to do with whether or not a man will approach her at a bar. Rather, the important thing is how much a woman seems to be flirting — smiling, making eye contact, and flipping her hair.

4. We like kindness.

Bloom notes that “in the largest study ever of human mate preferences, looking at people in 37 cultures, the most important factor for both men and women is kindness.” That’s sweet, isn’t it? (So I guess I was wrong when I worried that nice girls finish last.)

Guys, do you like hearing this stuff? I do.

Anyway, enjoy the weekend. And hey, will somebody set me up on a date? Swing by my Facebook page if you think you have a ringer. I need a little excitement!

Information About 5 Characteristics That Make A Strong Woman Sexy

I used to joke that I wanted to date a weak woman — a woman who couldn’t make her mind up and liked being told what to do. I’d always get my way, see my friends often, and have complete control the TV remote.

In reality, weak women are not attractive. I guess I’ve been surrounded by strong women my whole life: my grandmother was a matriarch of the family with only a high school education. She was the ultimate “mother” figure-strongly opinionated, clever, funny, and tender.

My mom attended University of Maryland Medical School with a pioneer class including very few women. My older sister won two national championships at University of Virginia in lacrosse, and my little sister was Vice President of her PR company before I got my first promotion.

One night at a family dinner, my cousin quipped that my brother-in-law who had recently married in to our family, joined a “slightly matriarchal” family.

It’s true: in my family things seem to be run by the women. Just before we sat down to dinner, my aunt was complaining that my uncle had a habit of disappearing at the worst time — in this case right before we were about to sit down to dinner. The women in our family literally shepherd the men.

Since our “matriarchal” conversation, I composed a list of what makes a strong woman. Take a look:
Intelligence

I believe everyone is blessed with some form of intelligence-whether it’s “traditional” book smarts, or athletic intelligence (the ability to understand angles and physical movement, space), creative smarts, or “street smarts” — in the dating world, a sharp woman knows when a guy is playing her, and/or expects more from a guy.
Honesty

It’s sometimes easier to lie than it is to be honest about everything. Honesty is the number one thing I look for in a woman. It’s endearing, and it makes it easier for me to trust her.
Ambition

There are many forms of ambition — a lawyer works hard, but so does a stay-at-home mom (believe me, I’ve seen how hard my sister works). Drive and hard work are admirable…and two things I wish I did better.
Passion

Passion goes along with ambition, but it also adds to personality. The women in my family are a toxic mix of Italian and Irish and it makes them passionate about their points of view and the things they love. If a woman doesn’t have a passionate love for a type of music or food, it makes her appear to have a weak personality. Passion is also linked to loyalty.
The Power to Say “No”

When the ex comes back that she shouldn’t be with, she can say “no.” She can say “no” to bad influences. She does whatever she wants to do whenever she wants to do it, and it’s her decision and no one else’s.

Know More About Cool Girl

Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding.”—Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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The other day a friend sent me the quote above and asked, “Do guys really want the Cool Girl?” The short answer is “yes” and also “no.” Let’s break up the definition of the “Cool Girl” and see how many of these things actually matter to men.

Being a Bro

There is a massive assumption that all men desire a woman with whom they could bro-out. The woman who not only knows the ins-and-outs of football but has a favorite team, and was raised with undying loyalty to them (which implicates, incidentally, that they would show similar loyalty to their boyfriend). Not so. Not all men love football, for one.

But more than that, guys are looking for more than a bro in their romantic partner. They don’t want a friend with whom they can play video games. They have plenty of those. They want someone they can talk with, share their heart with, and of course have sex with. This is not to say that some guys won’t love that their woman knows a lot of about The Ohio State football or can sub in on poker night. That can be pretty damn sexy. But it’s not a deal-breaker if that’s simply not your thing. It’s not at all expected or considered super cool for a woman to bro-out.

Being a Sex Maniac

It’s no secret that men fantasize about sex. On behalf of heterosexual men I admit it; we tend to fantasize about sexual acts that may be off-limits to some people, such as threesomes and anal sex. But for many men there’s a Madonna/whore complex. For these guys, in theory they want a woman who would do all sorts of crazy things in bed, but the women they actually choose to date would rarely go for it. If you’re not the type to go for it, that’s okay. Really. In fact, if you turned to your guy and asked to do something way out of your usual sexual wheelhouse it might freak him out.

Which is not to discourage anyone from experimenting in the bedroom; that is always fun if openly communicated and agreed upon in advance of the actual act. But no guy just assumes his girlfriend would do these things because she’s “cool.” If anything like that happens it’s because you have a stable relationship and can experiment. It’s dependent on the type of man, but many of us guys aren’t expecting or even interested in being that kinky.

Being Hot and Understanding

This is where the definition gets vague enough that I can unequivocally say yes – men want the women they date to be hot and understanding. But what “hot” means is entirely subjective. Hot does not, as the definition at the beginning of this piece implies, mean you have to be a size 2. We men like women of all shapes and sizes. And one of the hottest things about a woman is that final word in the definition: understanding.

Underneath all of the burping and the poker and the throwing hotdogs down your throat, men care the most about being understood. We want a partner who gets us, who can see that we are good and cherishes us for who we are. While I don’t think you need to be a bro or a sex maniac in order to be a “Cool Girl” I do want to make it clear: men think the coolest thing you can do is understand who they are.

Being cool starts with being genuine to who you are as a person. So “understanding” can include understanding and communicating the wide range of emotions you feel. You get jealous? Own it. Work on it. Communicate about it like an adult. That is a good form of understanding, because he is going through similar emotions in a relationship and should equally be cool. Cool here is, in its simplest sense, approaching situations rationally and communicating effectively. Uncool is letting your stress and reactions take over and losing any sense of empathy for your partner.

We men know that there are a plethora of cool girls out there. But in searching for the “Cool Girl” type we are looking for women who are confident in their own skin, understand who they are, and who like us for who we are too. That is the essence of being cool.

Know More About The Signs He’s Cheating

When you get suspicious that your significant other is cheating, be careful not to appear to be paranoid. You have to walk a fine line — you don’t want to make false accusations.

So, while I’m sharing this list of cheating red flags, I concede that it’s a tricky situation. It’s hard to be sure if someone’s cheating, but protect yourself: Be vigilant, and pay attention to your mind and spirit within the relationship. But, at the same time, be careful not to let anxiety lead the way because unnecessary paranoia will just drive your lover away.

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Here are some red flags that may signal that your significant other is cheating:

1. Less Sex

Unless he’s Superman, he can only have so much sex. So, if he’s getting it from another source, you might notice. Whether it’s another woman or a porn addiction — even if he’s not cheating — a decrease in sex signals serious issues in the relationship.

2. Jumpy Cell Phone Habits

In a perfect world, we’d be open about sharing our correspondence with our significant others. Most of the time, we trust that we don’t have to worry about who is texting or calling them. But, if you notice that he is getting protective and/or nervous when he gets calls or texts, it may be cause for alarm.

3. Gushing or Talking About Someone Suddenly

You know that exhilarating feeling you get when you meet someone new and exciting? You want to tell the world about him. One of my exes began talking about a guy a lot near the end of our relationship — he just always seemed to be at her social gatherings that I didn’t happen to attend. Sure enough, after she dumped me, she began dating him.

4. Disconnect

Even though relationships ebb and flow naturally, if you’re sensing that he’s drawing away from you, then there may be someone else. Emotional disconnect should be investigated regardless of whether it’s caused by cheating. There’s a problem if he’s not laughing or seeming as passionate as usual. It’s hard to spread love/passion between two people, so the person who used to have it will feel it slipping away if it’s being given to someone else.

5. He’s Pulling Houdinis
If he’s disappearing, traveling, or unavailable to the point where you are starting to wonder, then he could be cheating. Also, these times tend to take on a pattern because it’s tough to synch up schedules, especially in secret.

6. Friends Acting Strange

His friends will certainly remain loyal to him in most cases. They will not let you know what’s going on, but they will definitely be racked with guilt, and their behavior may change slightly when they are around you while protecting his secret.

7. Caught in Other Lies About Other Things

If you catch him in a lie, your trust will naturally be damaged. Don’t hold a grudge — forgiveness is a good thing. You can forgive, but don’t forget. If he consistently breaches your trust, it’s establishing a pattern of behavior that leads to cheating. Do yourself a favor: If he keeps lying, whether these lies are big or small, get out while you can and don’t let him talk his way back in.

8. Been There, Done That

I always say: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” If he’s done it before, he’s definitely capable of doing it again. It has nothing to do with you, which is why you can’t say that he cheated on his previous lover because she didn’t keep him happy. Cheating is a self-serving act in which the cheater doesn’t take his significant other into consideration. If someone is upfront with you that he’s made mistakes in the past, maybe give them a chance — but make it a long probationary period before you let your guard down.

9. Your Gut Tells You So

Don’t ignore your sixth sense. People are gifted at sensing when something doesn’t feel right. Whether there are red flags in your relationship that are clueing you in or not, if something feels off, don’t ignore this feeling. Usually that feeling is right, and something intangible may have led to you figuring it all out.

Do you have any red flags that you’d add to this list? Would you say that you’re generally good at figuring cheaters out, or do you seem to find yourself getting cheated on often? What sorts of behaviors do you think are characteristic of someone who could be a cheater?

Some Signs He’s Totally Into You

Unfortunately, after a first date, it’s rarely as simple as: “I like you, I had fun, let’s get together again.”

I’m coy after a first date because:

I don’t want to look too eager/desperate. I won’t ignore my attraction, but I’ll at least try to temper it.

I want to look like I have a life. Even though I don’t have a life, I might try to look a little aloof.

I’m not sure if you like me. It’s scary to take the dive and show I’m interested when I’m not sure if the girl is interested.

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Despite attempts to look calm, cool, and collected, there are a number a things I’ll do around an initial date that clue you in that I’m interested. Here are a few:

1. Completing the Date

It may not indicate that you’re the apple of my eye, but it does indicate that you’re not a total disaster. Most people are courteous enough to do the absolute minimum on a date: finish whatever activity you’re doing together and devote sufficient time out of respect for the other person. But some situations are such utter disaster, things must be cut short.

I once went out with a girl who spewed embarrassingly stupid things I couldn’t respond to. Finally, I suggested changing plans to meet up with my buddies. Once a date is officially a bust, I’ll look for any way out.

2. One on One

If I’m into you, and comfortable, I won’t want to “share” you. A common tactic to combat a boring date is calling in “reinforcement” friends to “dilute” you. I’m naturally talkative with those around me, but if I invite everyone else around us into our party, I might be looking for a more interesting outlet.

3. Extending the Date

Suggesting something (other than going back to someone’s place) after dinner like taking a walk, grabbing a drink, going for dessert, catching a movie, etc., indicates I’m asking for an encore. Although a masochist like myself might ask a girl to spend more time with me if I’m not enjoying her company.

4. Suggesting Another Date

Sometimes I get so excited during a first date I play my cards by suggesting other things we should do together. A common time to suggest another date is at the end of the date, though some guys just say this to be friendly. But it can’t be bad if the guy is enthusiastic enough to suggest a second date. He just has to make good on his word.

5. Friendly Follow-Up Right After You Say Good-bye

Sometimes after a date, I’ll text the girl telling her I had a great time, out of sheer giddiness. If I’m not interested after the date, I’ll head straight home and begin my process of fading out of this girl’s life (following up is not part of that process).

6. Striking While the Iron’s Hot

I’ll appear to be flaky or uninterested if I wait too long. If I enjoyed the date I’ll contact her within a few days. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’m asking her out again just yet. I’m just keeping the conversation going. If I’m not interested, I won’t ever contact her again. Regardless of how great you thought things went, if he doesn’t contact you again he’s clearly not interested.

7. Consistency

Hold me to a higher standard than one extra date, or one call back after the initial date. How many times have you gone on a few dates only to have it fizzle out? You can’t be sure I’m interested until we’ve gone out consistently for more than a month.

8. Non-Cliché Dates/Spontaneity

Take notice when I ask you to do random little things: run errands, go to the park. It’s that next step when I’m getting to know you and showing you I want you around whenever, wherever. Spending this “informal” time with you indicates I’m interested.

Remember, guys sometimes act interested just to get laid, and there are guys who feel guilty cutting a date short when it’s not going well. “Trying to be nice” actually sends the wrong signals if a guy is not interested.

My advice: Use these indicators as guidelines (they usually build on each other as things progress). Be vigilant, because reading the signals incorrectly will get you hurt. Hopefully you’ll meet a good guy who is sending honest signals.

How do you show you’re interested after a first date? Do you wait for a guy to make the next move after a first date? What signals are you looking for in guys after a first date? Do you agree with my signals, and that it’s tough to read them in the beginning?