New York Café Offers Coffee and a Date

Matchmaker Café
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Are you looking for something a little different when it comes to meeting new people? In New York, there's a new twist on the coffee date that you might want to try.

Instead of asking one of your online matches to meet over a cup of coffee, what if you just cut to the chase and met potential dates directly through your local barista? Nancy Slotnik believes a more personal touch is needed when it comes to meeting potential romantic partners, and so she founded Matchmaker Café in New York.

Single customers are invited to drop by her pop-up café in the Financial District and check in with the barista, who also acts as the matchmaker. If you're interested in meeting people, the barista takes your picture and adds it to her database.

It's not exactly hand-picked matchmaking though. The matches are made with the help of technology, not a yenta. Matchmaker Café provides a database and an app to help you sift through your choices, which isn't such a personal touch. But what else would you do as you drink your coffee before your 9am meeting?

Customers have a number of ways of browsing the database of potential coffee date matches. You can subscribe to Matchmaker Café's online app, which launched last November and offers in-person introductions by a matchmaker. (Information for your dating profile is pulled from your Facebook account.) There are currently about 3,000 members. If you're feeling really motivated, you can also pay $5 for three phone introductions or $10 for ten, until the pop-up café closes on Labour Day.

According to Slotnick, the idea is to connect locals with each other and get them offline and meeting face to face, even if it's just for a brief coffee.

Considering all of the mobile dating apps available to meet people nearby, this is another interesting concept to get singles in the same area, who stop by the same neighborhood cafes and pubs, to meet each other face to face. Not many people know their neighbors as well as they know the people in their Twitter feeds. Maybe pop-up concepts like Matchmaker Café can help to change that.

This isn't Slotnick's first attempt at matchmaking via coffee. In 1996, she founded Drip Café, which let customers sift through binders of dating profiles. If a guest found someone he or she wanted to meet, then for a small fee, the café would help arrange a meeting.

People have mixed reactions to the café, but it is getting a lot of buzz and already has gained a following. Would you visit a pop-up café like this one?

AshleyMadison.com Reveals What Cheaters Want

Ashley Madison
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New surveys from married dating site (what a nice way to put it) AshleyMadison.com have revealed what cheaters really want.

In a surprise twist, the answer is not just "some extra-marital action." Nope, it turns out that Ashley Madison's unfaithful clientele is actually looking for a very specific kind of extracurricular experience.

When it comes to infidelity, it's all about class.

  • 83.1% of middle-class male Ashley Madison members want to cheat with a working-class woman.
  • 51.8% of upper-class men are looking for a middle-class woman.
  • 42.4% of upper-class men are seeking a working class-woman for an affair.

"Despite the changing socio-economic landscape, men across the board still want to be the Alpha partner in a relationship," says Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison founder and CEO. "Men want someone to admire and look up to them, someone they can impress because fundamentally most men lack confidence."

For women, it's a different story.

  • 7% of female Ashley Madison members who describe themselves as 'working class' say they are looking for an upper class affair partner.

"This is a reflection of economic hard times as much as confirmation of traditional class stereotypes," Biderman offers by way of explanation. "For women who are struggling financially...a fling with an upper-class man represents glamour and escape, a holiday from daily life, perhaps an element of security."

Middle class women are in a class of their own.

  • Only 40.7% of middle-class women on the site say they would prefer an affair with an upper-class man.
  • 53.6% specified that they would prefer to philander within the middle class.

Biderman has the following words of wisdom to offer on women of the middle class: "Middle-class women are more likely to be financially independent and better educated, their needs are different. They want intimacy and shared experience with an equal rather than to be swept off their feet, Jane Austen style."

There's no word on what upper class women want because...I guess they don't exist? Is that what Noel Biderman is trying to tell me? Is this the "Women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns" thing at play? None of us make enough money to be considered upper class cheaters?

The wage gap at work, folks. Someone had better sort out the equal pay for women issue stat, so we can get in on the upper crust infidelity action too!

Zoosk Celebrates International Kissing Day

Zoosk
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If I had my way, every day would be International Kissing Day.

But seeing as I have not yet used my Pinky and the Brain-like powers to take over the world, we're stuck with International Kissing Day happening only once a year.

To celebrate this year's event, Zoosk surveyed more than 3,500 singles around the U.S. to gather their thoughts on kissing. You may never have been curious about the most memorable kisses in pop culture, the best kissing spots around the country, and the most popular songs to kiss to, but you're about to find out what they are anyway.

The top three songs to kiss to are...

  1. 21% of singles say "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" by Whitney Houston & Enrique Iglesias is the best song to kiss to.
  2. 17% of singles choose "A Kiss From A Rose" by Seal.
  3. 12% of singles choose "Blow Me One Last Kiss" by Pink.

[Ok, I do kinda have a soft spot for that last one, but...really? Have any of those Zooskers actually listened to the song? It's about a breakup. An ugly one. Not exactly the most romantic choice for a makeout soundtrack...]

The most memorable on-screen lip locks of the summer are marginally better chosen:

  1. 41% of singles say Tony and Pepper's kiss in "Iron Man 3" was the most memorable of this summer's blockbuster flicks.
  2. 23% of singles say Spock and Uhura in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
  3. 21% of singles say Alan and Cassie in "The Hangover III" shared this summer's most memorable on-screen kiss.

The places singles most like to get their smooch on are:

  1. The beach: 30%.
  2. In a car: 23%
  3. In front of a roaring fireplace: 15%
  4. On a carriage ride in New York's Central Park: 14%

[I have a lot of questions and concerns here, but...I won't go there.]

And finally, Zoosk collected a few random kissing facts (in case the first three weren't random enough already):

  1. 73% of singles say they dated someone who was a bad kisser.
  2. 77% of singles say they have rubbed noses, Eskimo style, to show affection.
  3. 83% of singles prefer to kiss with their eyes closed.
  4. 59% of singles say the most memorable kiss in recent political history was President Obama kissing his wife on election night (soundly beating the famous passionate kiss Al Gore gave his wife Tipper at the Democratic National Convention).
  5. 71% of Americans say it is more awkward to see world leaders kissing vs. watching a politician kiss his or her spouse.

5 Signs You’re Ready For Love Again

Tips
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Reports have come out recently that the widow of Steve Jobs is back in the dating pool, and is seeing former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Dating again after a devastating loss such as death or divorce is not easy. In fact, many people wait years before they feel comfortable enough to go out on a first date or even consider joining an online dating site. It's difficult to give of yourself emotionally when you've suffered such a huge loss.

So what can you do if you want to move on? And how do you know if you're really ready?

I think many people are afraid to begin the process of finding a new relationship. It's one thing to work through your grief and come to a good place in your life as a single person, but it's another thing to think about a relationship with someone new. Some people tend to avoid working through the process of healing, and jump immediately into a new relationship to avoid being alone.

Here are a few signs to tell if you're truly ready for that next relationship:

You've worked through your grief. It's scary to go from being part of a couple to on your own. Some people respond to this by jumping head first into a relationship immediately after losing the last one. Unfortunately, this doesn't give you a chance to process what happened. It's important to work through your grief, anger, and other issues that surface when you've lost a partner. It's also important to know who you are on your own, outside of a relationship. You are a different person than you were before, and it's good to acknowledge and embrace that.

You are happy on your own. This might sound cliché, but it's important to get to know yourself as a single person. Try hobbies that are new to you, do some traveling to places you've always dreamed of visiting. Test the waters to see what you might enjoy in your new life. Cultivate those interests you have that bring you joy, whether it's skiing or cooking or painting. When you see what brings you joy, and you pursue it, then a relationship is a bonus, not something you need.

You leave the past behind. Instead of thinking my ex used to order this for dinner, start on a clean slate. Making comparisons doesn't add to your life and sense of well-being going forward. Nobody will be like your former partner, so try to see each person in a new light. It will help you be more open to love.

You are emotionally available. There's a big difference between dating because you're feeling lonely and dating because you want the experience of a new relationship. If you're not willing to give someone else your love and attention, then you probably shouldn't be looking for a relationship.

You will know. There's something to be said for listening to your gut. If you feel that you aren't ready, then don't allow others to push you towards dating. If you do feel ready, then don't wait for the most "appropriate" time to start - just go for it!

Dating a Social Media Addict

Advice
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The scenario: You've met a woman you find incredibly attractive. You've been dating for a few weeks, and are considering a relationship. The problem? She posts constantly about her personal life on social media, and checks Facebook and Instagram constantly, which makes you a little uncomfortable. What will she say about you?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites have become a huge part of our lives. Most of us regularly check in. But we all have different levels of comfort with what and how much we share.

If you're in your twenties, you're more likely to friend someone before the first date, and you're more likely to share aspects of your life over social media. There isn't such a divide between your virtual presence and your real life, because the Internet and social media have been ever-present. So it might be harder to discern where the line is when you discuss your love life. For instance, do you blog, Tweet, or share stories on Facebook about your dates? Do you look at someone's relationship status before her ring finger? Do you like to post photos of you and your dates on Instagram?

Social media can play a large role in developing relationships, so it's important to discuss how you will use it if you decide to take your relationship to the next level.

Maybe you're worried because your girlfriend checks her Facebook page when she first wakes up in the morning, or because her Instagram account is full of pictures of her getting drunk with friends. Before you make assumptions about her online behavior going forward, it's important to discuss what makes you uncomfortable and set some boundaries as far as what you'll share online.

For instance, let her know that you love her blog, but you don't want to be the subject of any posts, positive or negative. Talk about your relationship status in person before you make decisions about what it is on Facebook. Maybe you're fine with her posting pictures of her meals, travel, or friends on Instagram, but you're uncomfortable with her keeping a visual record of every date. Talk it out. Together you can decide where the boundaries are, what you can compromise on, and what will make both of you happy.

Bottom line: if you're uncomfortable with how much or the content of what your girlfriend shares, let her know. Don't expect her to have the same opinions or judgments as you do. Everyone is a little different when it comes to what they are willing to expose and the stories they wish to tell publicly. So don't make assumptions based on what you think is right. Discuss how much you want to share of your love life over social media.

Online Dating: Artificial or Honest?

Advice
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“It’s not just online dating I’m opposed to,” I once heard someone proclaim. “It’s all dating. It’s just so artificial. Like something from another time.” Sure, this scoffing might rankle a little (would that everyone found love so easily that dating were completely unnecessary!) but rather than dismissing the comment out of hand, let’s consider it.

“Dating is like something from another time.” When you consider the courtship and dating practices from other times and cultures, you might conclude that they’re usually born from necessity. In cultures where, say, genders were completely separated, there wouldn’t be much daily interaction. Thus, something a little more heavy-handed like matchmaking might seem a more natural conclusion. As times become more modern, people interact at school or at work. Supervision is less necessary, but because you meet under “non-relationship-seeking” circumstances, you still need time to assess your compatibility one-on-one. As such, you get “going out,” which is less formal than dating because the getting-to-know-you part has happened bit by bit somewhere else.

But what if you’re not in school anymore? What if you work solely with people who are all married or dramatically out of your age bracket? What if you don’t share interests with anyone in your day-to-day life, or even sexual orientation?

The reason online dating has evolved and is growing in popularity is because dating is not “something from another time.” It’s the latest answer to an eternal problem. Falling in love is still entirely natural - it’s meeting people in the first place that causes us the most problems!

Ultimately, there’s not much difference between meeting someone at work, at church, serendipitously at the grocery store, or through an online dating site. You’re “looking for love” the entire time. In fact, online dating could be considered the superior option: you’re not waiting around for a serendipitous moment. You join groups or clubs solely for the enjoyment, not the possibility of meeting someone. You can focus more at work. Online dating may be “artificial” but no more awkward and artificial than meeting someone new has always been. Instead of fighting romance, why not pursue it in the most straightforward way possible?