How to Date Today: A Guide for Every Generation

My mother is a baby boomer.  She’s from a different generation of ideas about love and dating- she was a virgin when she married my Dad, and in dating, she expects to be courted, with flowers and formal plans. Recently, she had a long-term boyfriend that my sisters and I talked her out of marrying, because although she didn’t really want to, that’s what she thought she was supposed to do.   

Mom: “But I’ve been seeing him for months, and everyone in town can see when his truck is parked outside my house!”

Sisters: “WHO CARES?  You don’t have to get married unless you really want to!”

Mom: “But I go to church!”

My middle sister and I are Gen-X.  We can remember dating in personal ads, when you would try to find someone with the same taste in movies and food and never see their face until the first date.  My sister was in an eight year relationship where she wore nothing but flannels and ironic baby tees.  We don’t have my mother’s reservations about living in sin- our generation has been known to live together for several presidential terms before considering marriage.

My baby sister is a Millennial.  Her generation has never dated without the internet.    All of their jobs involve social networking.  They do not seem to know how to have a relationship, even if they want one.  They only know how to hook up.  They don’t plan ahead for dates, when they have a free hour they see who’s around.  They say that they’ll fall in love with the perfect person, but they’re not sure who that is.  They are not allowed to have body hair.  And their dating style is ruining it for the rest of us. 

The single serving date phenomenon has become a big part of the dating experience, at least in big cities.  Once you’ve had one date, that person is suddenly in competition with everyone else in a twenty mile radius.  As it turns out, even LA is not as big as people think it is- every rock show I attend is full of one-date men I have to avoid eye contact with.   People are simply not being born or imported fast enough to be rejected by us!  The most popular breakup method is the “fade-away”, where after two or ten dates you slow, then eliminate contact.  It’s not just people in their twenties and thirties- I went on a couple dates with a fifty year old man whose longest relationship was shorter than his Audi lease, and he felt that this was extremely normal.

Young Couple Kissing In Restaurant

So far, I have had 50 first dates on OK Cupid and have had three relationships.  Some people were looking for relationships and some were not, and those aren’t terrible numbers, but now that my Mom is in the game, she calls me to crow about her account. 

“I have three dates this week, and your sisters don’t have any!”  I told her I was very proud that she was the hot piece of action in our family.

How about Making Yourself Online Datable

Online dating is part of the modern single person’s landscape. Everyone’s doing it, and most of us are doing it wrong!

There are certainly good things about dating on OKCupid, and Tinder- if you’re new to an area, if you want to meet people out of your regular social circle, or if, in the case of, you want to meet divorced Christian dads in the suburbs- but these formats have their own particular do’s and dont’s.

Here’s a list of common mistakes the online bachelor can avoid (to not kill chances of a possible date):

  • A Woman in Headshot- When I see a dude on a dating site with his arm around a pretty lady, I don’t think “Hey, she’s really pretty, I’d better step up my game”, I think “well, if he hadn’t pissed her off, he wouldn’t be floating around like a loser online still”, which is where, you may point out, I am also floating.
  • A Blurred or Cropped Out Woman in Headshot – Hey, I feel for you guys. Unlike women, who celebrate every dinner, haircut, and outfit with a photo session, guys only get pictures taken when they’re on a date with someone or when they are on a bass boat. Please try and get a decent selfie, or ask a friend “Hey bro, can you do me a favor? I need a picture of myself.”
  • Abs Pictures- Sure, he stopped eating bread and he does five thousand crunches a day, but when’s the last time he read something longer than the list of ingredients on a protein shake? A tendency to post pictures of one’s torso sometimes speaks to a desire to show it to many people.
  • Generic First Message. There are real studies saying it doesn’t matter what your first message is, and the best method is to scattershoot HEY HOW ARE YOU to a hundred women a week, but I have personally never responded to a HEY HOW ARE YOU message, and can’t imagine I would do so unless it was sent by Johnny Depp.
  • LONG Opening Message, mentioning EVERY interest and hobby I have and their thoughts about it. This starts to feel stalkery. Wait, how did you know I’m eating a bagel? Are you watching me right now?
  • Talking Solely About My Appearance: it doesn’t seem like there’s a desire to find out about my personality, right?
  • Pen Pals- Once we’ve established contact, and written a couple messages back and forth, ask me out. I’m here for men pals, not pen pals! Also, if you live five hundred miles away, don’t message me- this is not a sexy chat service and I’m not coming to visit you in Pig’s Snout, Arkansas. Ever. Unless you are Edward Scissorhands or Captain Jack Sparrow. Then, anything is possible.

A Practical Guide To Threesomes: And Lady Makes Three… 

The Menage a Trois: It’s said to be every man’s fantasy, and maybe it’s yours, too- but it can be intimidating.  Of course, there are many flavors of threesomes- I’m going to address the M-F-F scenario here, but there are some good tips for everyone.

Full disclosure: (Ooh! Sounds Sexy)

I’ve been both women in the threesome scenario.  I’ve been in the couple that invites another woman in, (the host), and I’ve been the visiting woman, the guest.

For many years I wondered what the motivation for the guest could be.   As a host, I’m having a sexy adventure with my partner that we can enjoy reliving together again and again, and she’s likely just having a one-night stand with us when she could be out having sex with single people.  Later, I had my first experience as a guest and found that the advantage of being the visitor is that you’re the dang superstar!  Being the guest is giving everyone that electric first kiss, helping a couple you’re attracted to have good sex, and hopefully having some yourself!

I know that there are sometimes three-ways where nobody is a couple, but that sounds like chaos, just two girls climbing over each other, hissing, trying to establish dominance.  I have no tips for that one but hide your wallet and use condoms.

 Good advice for the host:

  1. Despite what happens in porn, don’t invite your close friend, or someone you see all the time to join you in the bedroom. That can make relationships awkward.  Do you really want your fella to know what having sex with your bestie is like?  The internet gives opportunities to meet all sorts of people!  Take advantage of it!  In the 1950’s, you would have had to take a personal out in a swinger’s magazine distributed exclusively in truck stops to find a willing third.  Now, you can put an app on your phone and screen partners over lunch!
  2. Concentrate on finding a woman you feel curious about- odds are good your honey will agree.
  3. Don’t pick someone as a third that either of you are romantically interested in – the situation is too complicated as it is.  Be honest with yourself.
  4. Talk rules over with your partner and set boundaries beforehand.  Would you prefer to limit sex to oral?  Are there things you want your partner not to do?  Discuss them with your new friend.

Mind Your Manners

I asked readers for questions on online dating from ladies and men, and you really came through!  Thank you so much.

Q: How do you politely end a disastrous first date?

A: First of all- set a time limit for your first date of about an hour.  After that, you have a good idea of whether or not you’d like to spend more time with that person.  Come pre-loaded with an excuse like meeting a friend, or an appointment elsewhere.  Good ideas for first dates include small things, like meeting for a coffee or a drink.  Terrible first date ideas include: attending your cousin’s wedding, going on a road trip to Montreal, or taking a six week long Cantonese cooking course.

No matter how awkward the date is, you can give someone an hour of your time, then bow out and thank them for meeting with you.  You might get a story out of it, or make a friend, or learn something you didn’t know before.  Being polite costs nothing.

Of course, if after an hour you are both looking at each other with sparkly eyes and you just ate a piece of spaghetti together and kissed at the end, you can totally agree to continue the date.

Q: When should you let someone know whether or not you’d like to see them again?

A:  If you have the gumption to tell someone face to face that you really enjoyed meeting them and ask if you can see them again, do so.  It’s the romantic thing to do.  Otherwise, say nothing, slink away and text them surreptitiously when you get back to your car, or send them a message online.

If you don’t want to see them again after the first date, just say nothing.  This is the default setting.

Q: I’m out on a date in a bar, but I see another attractive person in the room.  Since I’m not in a relationship, isn’t it fine to chat up and ask that person out as well?

 A: This is incredibly rude, and telling me that I’m being ridiculous and it wasn’t rude at all doesn’t change anything, Matt!

When you’re on a date, that time belongs to that person.  If you can’t commit to giving one person your undivided attention for a few hours, don’t go on dates, just keep swiping on Tinder.

Q: I’m on a first date with someone who I really like- in the interest of transparency, don’t I need to tell them that I have other first dates planned?

A:  Not only is this none of their business, it’s actually a bit rude.  Going on a first date is more like going on a job interview than it is a romantic event.  You wouldn’t tell an interviewer how many other companies you were trying to get hired at, right?  Not until it was time to talk money.  Treat dating the same way, except never talk about money because then you’re not dating, you’re an escort.

Secretive Couple with Smart Phones in Their Hands

Q: When can I assume that the person I’m seeing isn’t seeing other people?

A:  Never.  Even if you fall in love and move in together and she supports you through graduate school and you stick by her side after she loses her pet hamster in a freak road paving accident, and you get older, start wearing only sweatpants and eventually die holding hands in front of the television, unless you have specifically asked “are you interested in being monogamous?”, you’re best off assuming she was continuing to see other people throughout.

Who’s My Emergency Contact Now?

So, you’ve broken up.

You’ve taken their number out of your phone so you don’t text in moments of weakness. When you drop your cat off at the groomer’s and they ask for an emergency contact you say, “I don’t have one. I guess if I don’t come back, you have to set the cat free.”

Best case scenario: you came together, you challenged each other to be your best, inspired each other, learned from each other, then evolved so much you grew apart and mutually decided to consciously uncouple. Worst case scenario: everything else.

Here are some tips to help you deal:

Mourn the plans you made together.

It could be that annual trip to Batfest in Austin, TX, it could be your aunt’s wedding in Boston, it could just be the new Iron Man movie. Notice and release your disappointment in each thing you won’t be doing together. You’re creating a new reality map in your brain without that person in it.

Disconnect electronically.

This might be the hardest part, because we all want to be supercool adult people. That doesn’t mean you need to see when this dude is out to dinner with a girl whose haircut is very similar to your own, and he doesn’t need to know when you’re out at karaoke singing the Stevie Nicks songs that he used to hear in the shower. You don’t have to delete them, but certainly turn their feed off for a couple of months while you get your head together. Even though it sometimes feels good to dwell on the object of your affection, scratching that itch will just contribute to an obsession and will delay your healing.

Cut off communication.

One of the hardest parts of a breakup, especially of a long relationship, is that you find that the person you used to get comfort from is the last person you should speak to. Talk to friends. Talk to family. Talk to your pastor. Don’t talk to each other. Part of your job right now is to get this person’s smell out of your nostrils, literally and figuratively. Once you stop hanging out with them, you’ll stop saying things like “but we’re so good together!”

Depressed Man After Split Up

Ditch the Knick-knacks.

If you have stuff of theirs that reminds you of them, and it bothers you, put it away. You can even throw it away, if you want. If something is in your house that makes you sad, get rid of it, unless he gave you a couch or something, in that case throw a blanket over it until it doesn’t make you feel sad anymore, because that’s a nice couch.

Best Places To Do It This Summer

It’s Summertime, it’s lovely out, and everybody knows warm weather means taking sex outside of the bedroom!   Look through this list and see what you can dream up- but remember to be careful, and that telling the police “but I read it in a blog” is not a way out of a public indecency charge, young lady!

Good idea:
Young Couple In Love On A Road TripIn A Car

This is where many kids started getting hot and heavy, because they didn’t have their own place yet- trying to contort into some kind of reasonable position can make you feel like a kid again, although the crick in your neck tomorrow might remind you that you’re not!  Also, steaming up windows is almost like having them tinted!

Bad Idea:
On A Bus

Sex in a car is dirty and clandestine, but sex on the bus is just plain dirty. The Replacements sang a great song about kissing on a bus, but they never sang about going past first base.

Good Idea:Intimate Couple In Office

Private Office

If you or your dude have scaled the corporate ladder and have an office with a door, that’s a super hot place to hook up- big office chair, nice big desk!  Not least of all, the next time he’s having a tough meeting over quarterly reports, the memory will give him a reason to smile.

Bad Idea:
Cubicle Farm

Just like no glove, no love, if there’s no door, you can’t get more.  If you don’t have enough privacy in your office to make a doctor’s appointment, you shouldn’t play doctor there.

Good Idea:Couple

In The Forest

Getting back to nature can definitely mean going au naturel- just check for poison ivy before bedding down!

Bad Idea:
In The Park

It’s easy to feel like you found a private spot, and hard to be sure!  My friend thought she was getting away with a secret shag in Griffith Park until a passing bicyclist smiled and waved at her.

Good Idea:Young couple kissing with desire in the kitchen.


Counters, sinks, hey, is your kitchen floor clean enough to screw on?  Let’s find out!  Next time you’re having a leisurely morning, ask your man if he wants to butter your buns, or cook breakfast in only an apron and he’ll probably figure it out on his own.

Bad Idea:

This part is for safety.  Don’t cook breakfast naked because: bacon spatters!

Good Idea:Sexy Young Couple Posing In Mirror

Quickie in a Bathroom at a Party

You’re all dressed up and you’ve had a drink and you lock eyes with your fella, or a nice looking dude- the bathroom offers privacy, a couple of surfaces to take advantage of, and in a tile bathroom, cleanup’s a breeze!

Bad Idea:
Full On Lovemaking Session in a Bathroom at a Party

Don’t keep drunk people waiting for a bathroom too long.  That leads to fights and dead, pee-soaked houseplants.  You will not be invited back.

Good Idea:The newly married couple lying on the roof of house in red sunseOn A Rooftop

An empty hotel or apartment rooftop can be a great spot for warm-weather shenanigans, to say nothing of the view!

Bad Idea:
On A Rooftop

Try to keep from yelling “I’m the King of the World!” because that can get you busted.  Also, make sure the stairwell door doesn’t lock behind you lest your adventure leave you stranded up there!

Good Idea:Lovers In ShowerIn The Shower

Speaking of the bathroom, the shower is a fun place to get hot and steamy and get clean, then get down, then clean again!  Plan ahead with some lube.

Bad Idea:
In The Pool or Hot Tub

This can’t be said enough.  Dolphins are made to have sex in the water.  People aren’t.  We just get squeaky and dried out.  Chlorine is not your friend.  Don’t do it!

Lastly, The Bad Idea That Everyone Pretends Is A Good Idea:
On An Airplane

Look, the romance of joining the mile high club is very different from the reality of trying to have a tryst on an airplane.  Unless you’re on a private jet, there’s barely room for one person to be in the bathroom, let alone two.  If you and your lover are small enough where you can comfortably romp in a rolling suitcase, you can probably have a good time in a plane bathroom, but you folks can just stay in the suitcase as well!  Next time, try doing it in a hand towel dispenser, or a water bottle, tiny people!

Romance, Cat photos and Emojis

“I go out walkin’ after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do
I’m always walkin’ after midnight, searchin’ for you”
– As sung by Patsy Cline, written by Alan Block and Donn Hecht

In Walkin’ after Midnight, Patsy Cline sings about walking around her neighborhood, thinking about her ex lover and wishing to be with him.  She seems to be hoping that the energy of her desire will draw him out of his house and bring them together.  This song is so sad and full of longing, and it couldn’t happen today.

She’d just send him a text: ‘sup?  And if he was up, he’d write “u up?” and they’d start sexting and eventually hook up at her place, or behind a P.F. Chang’s.

Going back even further, you may not know that the legendary lantern signal one if by land, two if by sea was actually the way that colonist Paul Revere let his mistress know if his wife had gone to bed and she could come over.

Now he’d just Instagram a picture of two lanterns and caption it “Hey ladies”.

Classic romance films An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle both had a scene where a man waits atop the Empire State Building for a woman to meet him, his heart filled with hope and anxiety and longing, but not today.  He’d wait five minutes and send her an emoji of a clock and an angry face, and she’d text him back with an eggplant and a thumbs up, or something.   The main twist to all romantic films from here forward will always have to include a broken phone, or losing battery and not being able to find an outlet to charge.

Technology has completely changed the way we communicate, and late night communication in particular.  If Lord Byron wanted to send a secret missive, he had to wake a servant up to hand deliver a handwritten note, and that servant had to wake up her servant, and what if your servants are sleepy, or, worse, you don’t have any?  You’re limited to throwing rocks at a window or moaning out on your balcony, “Romeo!  Wherefore art thou?”

Now, it’s almost too easy.  Once you’ve had a couple drinks and watched Magic Mike XXL, you might reach out to a friend or ex or acquaintance in a more direct way than you would at lunchtime on a Tuesday.  That’s ok, or at least, it’s normal- but if you do find that you’re embarrassed by your late night phone behavior, use my friend’s policy:  he doesn’t write anyone between midnight and 7am, less it be construed as a sext.  “Anything I want to say can wait until it’s daylight,” he says.

young couple in kitchen drinking coffee and using smart mobile phone

We communicate via text much more than in any other method.  It’s easier than ever to use messaging to reduce physical distance between people- but be careful once you start dating, because it can make you feel more distant.

In a study published this year, Pew Research found that 25 percent of cellphone users in a relationship believed that their partner was distracted by that person’s cellphone when they were together, and 45% of internet users ages 18-29 in serious relationships say the internet and phones have had an impact on their relationship.

What do we take from all this?  It’s great to get in touch on your phone, it’s great to stay in touch, but try to prioritize the people you’re actually with and have a better connection with them.  Try the following:

Treat your date or outing like a job interview, and keep your phone in your purse or pocket until you’re leaving.  Try leaving it in your car’s glove compartment.  That’s right.  Turn it off and put it in a box.  It’s not your friend.

Try logging out of Facebook, so when you do decide to check it, you have to log back in to see how many people liked your cat picture.  It’ll make you more aware of how often you just check in, and are able to consider how often is really necessary.

At the very least, pop into Airplane Mode to silence the delicious little buzzes and bells that let you know someone somewhere has done something.  Try to live in the moment, and pay attention to the person you like doing that with.

Cheating, if Your Marriage Is Good but Your Sex Life Isn’t?

Sex is many things: it can be a drug, it can be a connector, it can be an escape, it can be a distraction.

In 2001, a dating website designed for married people, and named after two popular children’s names of that year, was launched.  The CEO, Neil Biderman, appeared on every TV and radio outlet explaining and promoting the site, while audience members accused him of being morally reprehensible.  It was a pretty sexy idea that people liked to argue about, but Biderman maintained that he was just creating a product to serve a need, that he was not creating a market of cheaters, and that he himself is married and monogamous.

Fourteen years later, on July 15, that website was hacked by a group called The Impact Team.  The hackers said that if the website was not shut down, they would leak the information of all 50 million people who had ever used the service, many of whom were told that their information had been scrubbed when they left.  The Impact Team claimed that the hack, potentially violating the privacy of millions of people, had “ethical intentions.”

Facebook and Twitter exploded in a sanctimonious “YAYYY” and “GLORIOUS” and “HA HAAA” as users posted articles on the hack, commenting that cheaters would pay and it was just desserts for participating in a website designed to help people cheat on their marriages with other married people.  But why do we think it’s our business?

Noel Biderman claims that infidelity can help a marriage: if you have a good partnership and a nice life together but the sex is missing, you can use extramarital sex as a supplement to keep your marriage going and keep you, as an individual, more fulfilled.

We certainly equate sex only with romantic love and relationships, but sex is many things: it can be a drug, it can be a connector, it can be an escape, it can be a distraction.  It plays many different roles in a marriage, from procreation to pair bonding to stress relief.

Finding Yourself In the FriendZone

“I was in a room with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm.  He is incredibly handsome and caught me looking at him…”

Welcome To The Friendzone!

It sounds like way more fun than it is.  It sounds like there will be a waterslide.  There is no waterslide, just hurt feelings between people of all genders and sexual orientations.

The nicest definition of the Friendzone is: two people meet.  One person is interested in the other person romantically.  The other person is not interested that way, but says they want to be friends.

Sometimes that person doesn’t really want to be friends, but it seems easier to say that than to make up a boyfriend or to say “I have no space for you in my life, and I’m not going to return your texts.”

Sometimes two people will go on a few dates before one person will say “I like you as a friend”, or “but we’ve become such good friends.”  Women are trained to be polite and deferential to men, and not to say things like “I just flat out don’t find you attractive.”  Also, women are worried that if we are crystal clear that we are not interested in sex, men will stop talking to us, because we are only worthy as a sexual partner/conquest/etc.

This is one of the hardest things about being a person with feelings: sometimes those feelings are not reciprocated.  This happens to everyone, even Johnny Depp and Ariana Grande.  Everyone.  Everyone you know has liked someone who did not like them back.  President Obama.  Channing Tatum.  That lady on Instagram who is famous for her butt.  Everyone.

Sometimes men, especially men new to dating, will complain vociferously about being Friendzoned.  It doesn’t sound so bad, except when you start peeling the first onion layer you find a really misogynist onion.

Fallacies of Friendzoning-First Men, Then Women:

I met someone I am attracted to.  There’s a fifty-fifty shot that she’ll choose me. 

It’s actually a lot lower than that.  If women slept with everyone who wanted to sleep with us, not only would it be unpleasant, but we’d never get anything else done, like laundry or higher education.  The Friendzone is the default zone.  Almost everyone goes there.  It’s not so bad.  We like you, we value your company.  We just don’t want to date you.

There’s something I could have done or said that would have kept me out of the Friendzone.

I’ve heard several versions of this- if a man didn’t act dominant or aggressive enough, a woman would stop thinking of him as a romantic partner.  This happens with snakes and prey- if you drop a mouse into a cage with a snake who’s just eaten, the snake will get used to the mouse, and just cohabitate with it and will never get around to eating it.

This attitude heaps guilt and more anger on the rejected party.  Probably there wasn’t anything you could have done.  You’re just not the guy she likes.  Science says it might be as much smell as anything, so it doesn’t matter what bands you put on a Spotify mix for her or whether you were wearing your nicest Scarface shirt that day.  If it makes you feel better to think you could have done something different, maybe try that approach next time, but if the chemistry doesn’t go both ways, you’re gonna be right back in the Friendzone.

What Does It Mean When He Says He’s Not Ready?

We never had a conversation about this, casual or otherwise. Is he hallucinating?

I recently received two questions that had a good amount of crossover, so I’m going to publish them both and address them.

Lady 1 says:

Dear Virginia,

I’ve been seeing a man for six months, and recently I spent a holiday with his family.  We have never had a conversation about our relationship or where we were headed.  In the last few weeks, I noticed that he was frequently not returning my texts, and when I asked him about it and said it hurt my feelings not to hear from him, he said, well, I’m not ready to be a boyfriend, didn’t we agree that we could just stay casual?

We never had a conversation about this, casual or otherwise.  Is he hallucinating?  I am furious that I’m the last one to know that I’ve put six months into nothing.

Also, do I absolutely have to stop sleeping with him?  I’ve gotten used to him.

Lady 2 says:

Dear Virginia,

I’ve been dating a guy for five months, and when I had an accident on the streets of NYC last month, and broke my arm and was rushed to the hospital and called him, he wasn’t sure what I was talking about- the first time I needed anything from him at all, he shrugged and wandered off, telling a nurse that he wasn’t family, he was “just a friend” and he “wasn’t sure he could help.”

When was I supposed to find out I was sleeping with someone who regarded me as only slightly closer than a workmate?  I am furious.

Dear Ladies,

First of all, I am so sorry.  You ladies have been, either directly or indirectly, misled.  One thing about the hookup culture that these guys are missing is that: it is, by its nature, temporary.  To sleep with a nice person once to half a dozen times with no expectation of a future is sort of normal, but to drag it out over half a year and introduce her to family members in an attempt to look like an adult is kind of cruel.  I’ve been thinking for a while about drafting a list of things you can’t get in a super casual modern dating relationship:

  1. You don’t get exclusive claims to weekends
  2. You might not even get to sleep over
  3. You don’t get a date to weddings
  4. You don’t get input on important decisions such as: what to name the dog, what tattoo to get, or whether to go to grad school.
  5. You don’t get to take anyone home for Christmas
  6. Actually, most major holidays are out for you: Valentine’s day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s. You can go out with your casual hookup on Halloween, St. Patrick’s, and Cinco de Mayo: the drinking holidays.

But!  Neither of you get to continue dating without some communication.  If you have expectations in the relationship, you have to keep clear on what they are.  If you want more and they say they’re not ready, you might ask what that means.

Here are some possible things they mean when they say there’s not ready for a serious relationship:

  1. They’re not ready. When you leave, they’re going to go find another girl to annoy for six months or however long they put up with it, and then they’ll look for another one.
  2. They are ready, but not with you. They might be ready for the next girl they meet, which sucks and which is why it might be a good idea to drop them on social media.
  3. They (and this comes up more than you’d think) Will Never Be Ready. They will always be Single and Ready to Mingle.  I have met men in Los Angeles who’ve had longer relationships with a car lease than they have with a lady, and find this to be Super Normal.
  4. They’re ready, but they won’t know it until you leave them and they have a chance to think about what a special person you are and they’ll cry into their pillowcase and think about how nice your pillowcases smell and they’ll come running back, tripping over their untied shoelaces because they pretty much just woke up and came running over to your house.

I know that number 4 sounds very romantic, but it’s probably one of the other three.  I’m sorry.  I’d like it to be number 4.  Keep in mind that whatever the number is, it’s not your fault.  It’s not the way you wore your hair or how good you were in bed or how interested you pretended to be in fantasy football or garage rock.  You can’t make him ready, and you can’t trick him into being ready.  If after being with someone as quirky and wonderful as you are for half a year, if he says he’s not ready, 1. He’s an idiot and 2. He probably isn’t going to ready.

In any case, your only option is to set them free, back into the dating pool and out of your hair and, lady number one- DEFINITELY stop sleeping with him.

7 Things I Learned From Marriage That I Couldn’t Learn Anywhere Else

Marriage: It’s two people really digging deep, getting to know each other and share each other’s lives, to give and take strength from each other as needed. 

In my standup comedy act, I sometimes ask the audience “Who’s married?” and a lot of hands go up.  Then I ask them, “Who USED to be married?” and feign amazement when lots of the same hands go up.  I berate them for making the same mistake twice-

“Who ARE you people?  Who on earth says, well, that sucked- let me try it again with some other asshole?”

I only sort of mean this.

But I don’t entirely not mean it.

I was married for eight years.  That’s right, in a row, because anyone can take breaks, Janice!

My marriage ended badly, but that doesn’t mean that it was all bad.  I learned a lot about what marriage is.

The first thing I learned about marriage is that it’s not about the engagement or the parties or the wedding, those public, social media things.

It’s the opposite of that.  It’s the ultimate private thing.  It is two people making a life together, alone.  It doesn’t have anything to do with looking pretty in a dress or if your mom enjoyed the profiteroles at the reception.  There is a whole industry geared up to tell you that marriage is about paying 100% more for shoes because they are white, and if you don’t have the right diamond ring, it means he doesn’t love you enough.  It’s not about that.  I learned a lot of things about what marriage isn’t, or wasn’t for me.  It’s not an endless meet cute.  It’s not (necessarily) about pleasing God or childrearing.  It’s two people really digging deep, getting to know each other and share each other’s lives, to give and take strength from each other as needed.  If you primary motivator to get married is not the desire to make and share a life with that person, you should look at what it is you really want.

The second thing I learned about marriage is that you could be so proud and excited about spending the rest of your life with another person one second…

like the time I came home and found that my spouse had spent the day spontaneously putting up shelves for me, and just as aggravated the next day, when that same spouse had totaled his car doing something stupid.  It’s the same person.  “I’m so lucky, I can’t believe I’m married to you!” is the flip side of “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M MARRIED TO YOU.”  They’ll feel the same way about you sometimes!

They WILL do stupid things, and you will too.  Committing to the rest of your life together means that you’re going to have moments of strength and weakness, days when you can take on the world and days when you can’t get out of bed.  If we were all paragons of virtue and strength every day, we wouldn’t need other people, we’d just be constantly having sex with celebrities.  I think.  And we’d never be sick or tired or unemployed or lonely, because we’d be so busy kicking the universe’s ass every single day.

The third thing I learned about marriage is that it can transform you.

The support of another person, plus all the time you save from online dating, means that each of you can really figure out what you want your life to look like, and make that life.  Sure, you’ll probably stop matching your bra and panty sets and you’ll start eating more bread, but you can become a more fulfilled person.

The things your partner does will reflect on you in a way they never have before, both good and bad.  If they spout off at a party, fail to keep their promises, or behave antisocially, that’s your problem too.  Of course, if your spouse is a Nobel-prize winning doctor, some of that rubs off on you, as well.

I also learned that your spouse is who they are.

People can change behaviors but they can’t really change their identities.  When I met my husband, he was leaving a marriage that ended in infidelity.  Ours ended the same way.  He’s married again and I suspect it’ll end with another woman’s number in his phone.

One good thing about being united with another human being is that you can learn more about who you are, by contrast.  “That’s his thing.  That’s my thing.”  You can find out more about where you overlap and don’t overlap.

 Sex will get really good.

Really, really good.  Having sex with one person who is committed to having good sex with you, having years to figure each other out, means married sex, although the phrase lacks luster, can be incredible.

Your spouse will know you better than anyone.

I regret that my marriage ended badly, because there are things I want to tell him sometimes that only he’ll get.  The person who was closest to you for ten years is hard to lose.

The thing I learned when my marriage ended was that all endings are sad.

Every person who tells you they are divorcing deserves your sympathy and condolences.  Even when the marriage was bad, had been bad for years, there is a sadness in ending something that you hoped would last forever.

The last thing I learned is that other people like being married, and when they’re healed and feeling strong, they’ll seek it out again, and I won’t.  And that’s OK, too.

What are the things you learned from your marriage?

Kissing–How to Absolutely Freshen It Up

Kiss Me Quick, And Then Keep Doing It

Look, I know you’re an adult.  You’ve been in the kissing game for a long time, and I know you’ve got your methods, but like all activities, you can always improve the fundamentals and up your game.

First, I’m going to go over a list of don’ts.  Shocking as it is, I have experienced all of these with men over 30.  I am submitting this list as a public service.

What Absolutely NOT to do:

Tip 1:  Slobber. Always Something There To Remind Me

Make sure to cover the whole bottom half of the girl’s face with an even layer of your spit.  Imagine a dotted line from ear to ear, across her nose, then reaching down to her chin, and try to cover that whole area.  Hormones are tricky things, and you don’t want to walk away from this adventure without her being able to smell your lunch on her upper lip.

Tip 2: Don’t forget to cover every tiny detail of the mouth with your tongue!  Ever!

Nobody wants to think about the worst case scenario, but a real modern lothario is going to have to accept the possibility that some of his conquests may go missing or die.  How can you help?  Well, think of every kissing session as an opportunity to take in information.   If you’ve spent some time getting hot and heavy and you could not assist the police in making a detailed plaster cast of the inside of  “the victim’s” mouth, you’ve wasted everyone’s time.  Touch every tooth with your tongue.  Now, do it again.  Make notes.  Try to see how far you can get it down her throat.

Tip 3: Strangle Hold Hands

It’s well known that there’s nothing that makes a girl feel safer and more cared for than when someone, preferably James Franco, softly caresses her cheek, then gently cradles her face in his hands to kiss her.  Now, imagine how much better she’d feel if imaginary James Franco had his hands loosely but solidly around her throat!

Tip 4: Hickeys

Hickeys serve a lot of purposes.  For one, they are marking your territory, like a dog pissing on a tree.  For second, if you are judicious about the size and location of your hickeys, they can protect your property because you’ve marked a pretty girl in a hideous manner.  If you are dating a particularly naive girl, she may form the impression that you are a sexy vampire, a la “Edward.”  How exciting for everyone!  I once saw a Dunkin’ Donuts employee in Plano, TX who was wearing a temporary turtleneck of hickeys, covering him from his jawline down into his uniform, and although it was nauseating, I thought, “Well, at least somebody loves him.”  It may have been a series of unfortunate birthmarks.  What am I, a scientist?

NOW Here’s How to ABSOLUTELY Freshen Up KISSING:

The lips are the most publicly available erogenous zone.  Kissing involves all the senses, we’re communicating by touch and smell, and even with pheromones, those weird, invisible strings that draw us together.  Kissing is a kind of magic, and it doesn’t get enough attention.

Mirror Man:

Kissing is something that two people do together, so try not to be too dominant or submissive.  It’s a give-and-take, so feel where your partner is and try to match it.  Mirror their pressure, rhythm, and frequency.

Change it Up:

Build up to crescendos, adding pressure and urgency, then take it slow and gentle.  Remember that closed-mouth kisses can be both incredibly tender and sensual, mix them in with, as we used to say, “Frenching”.  Make variations in your method until your partner thinks you’ve been kissing other people, and then say no, Virginia told me to do it, and then they’ll say who the hell is that?  Now you’re fighting, and we all know how erotic that can be!

Take Your Time:

Too often as adults, kissing is given a short shrift as we gallop towards intercourse, but we forget what an important part of foreplay it is.  Remember when you were a teenager, and you’d kiss until your mouth was chapped and your eyes were out of focus, just making out in a dark corner until an authority figure found you?  Remember how fun that was?  Let your partner know you’re going to stop at first base for fifteen or twenty minutes before you continue with more foreplay.  Set a timer on your phone. It won’t get boring, it’ll just make you more excited to hit the bedroom!

You Are My Last Alcoholic Relationship

“…I’ve unfriended you on Facebook and blocked your phone number.  You are my last alcoholic.  Goodbye.”

I don’t like to say that my family is all alcoholics, but we have pretty strong numbers.  My grandfather was dead at 45, his liver rotted through, leaving behind a small family and a whole town of party buddies who thought he was really great.  It’s an established fact that alcoholism runs through families.  It doesn’t necessarily breed other alcoholics, but it breeds codependents and nurturers and excuse makers and people who seek out alcoholics as partners.

I’m not an alcoholic, and my sister isn’t, but we find ‘em and we date ‘em.  It’s what we’re good at.  She is of the opinion that there’s no man in the world who’s not an alcoholic, because she hadn’t met one yet.

I can tell when someone is an alcoholic or an addict without ever seeing them use. It is my superpower, because if you are an alcoholic or addict active in your addiction,

  1. I will find you attractive.  I will feel that magical flutter in my chest that only happens in the movies and which I now associate with fear.
  1. Alcoholics will tell you the same stories over and over, and they forget the things you tell them, because they weren’t listening. They tell you things when they’re drunk and they don’t remember when they’re sober.  This is your problem.
  1. Alcoholics may brush with greatness, but sometimes they don’t seem to have achieved very much. Maybe they were nearly in a big band, or they used to be in one, or made some great art when they were younger, but now they’re 40 and call themselves a photographer but the last time they took a picture was last year sometime, or they just keep losing job after job because everyone else is a JERK.
  1. Alcoholics don’t prioritize sex. Personally, I love sex, and if I love you, I really want to have sex with you, lots of it.  Alcoholics might have sex with you if they are able to after the bar closes and if there’s no booze in the house.  And that’s abnormal.  Science tells us that healthy men will prioritize sex over food, over sleep, over personal safety- but not over addiction.
  1. Sometimes you can tell someone is an alcoholic because nothing is ever their fault. If you hang around long enough, everything will become your fault.
  1. Sometimes you can tell someone is an alcoholic because they are so charming and wonderful, and when they are nice to you, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world, and it covers you in warmth and light, and when it turns off it feels like the planet Hoth. Alcoholics are two different people. You think that once they stop drinking, the bad selfish lying part will go away and the sweet smart creative will stay behind and love you, but the fact is that the second thing is a fiction that allows the first thing to survive.  The mean drunk is who they really are.
  1. My last alcoholic was a super smart very handsome photographer that had been a TA for twenty years and wasn’t sure what had happened. He came to visit me from San Francisco and suggested we go to a bar in LA, and at the bar in a city where he didn’t live, everyone knew his name.  So I was concerned.

Tokyo and the Death of Sexy

…polls report that many Japanese people don’t want to have more sex- 1 in 5 men cite extreme dislike for sex, and 46% of Japanese women 16-24 want no sexual contact at all.

To the outside world, Japan is known for being sexy and even a little kinky. The women of Japan are considered some of the world’s most beautiful, and it’s the home of crazy Harajuku street fashion, host bars, and Hentai anime pornography. However, 25% of Japanese men are still virgins at 30, so many that a new word has emerged for them- yaramiso, which means “30 years old and haven’t done it”, because if there’s anything the Japanese believe in, it’s being on the nose with slang. Even men with prior sexual experience aren’t having much sex- 50% of Japanese men who’ve had sex before haven’t had it in a year or more. Women’s numbers aren’t far behind.

This has deep repercussions throughout society, with the population dropping by 1 million people since 2008 and raising concerns about society’s ability to support their aging population.

And what seems stranger to us might be that for the most part, polls report that many Japanese people don’t want to have more sex- 1 in 5 men cite extreme dislike for sex, and 46% of Japanese women 16-24 want no sexual contact at all.

It’s worth pointing out that Japan also has the third-highest suicide rate in the world, with 100 people taking their lives each day.

So- what’s killing the Japanese sex drive?

1. Money.

Reports are that in the money-flush 80’s and early 90’s, there was plenty of dating and premarital sex, but the economy took a sharp downturn in 1995 and that changed. How does that affect getting it on? When young people can’t afford to live on their own, sharing a small apartment with your parents can really put a damper on your dating life. In Tokyo, most teens don’t even have cars to make out in! Chew on that, America! This means that courting couples must visit love hotels, hourly hotels of varying levels of cleanliness and quality, just to have somewhere to be alone.

2. Social Shame.

Men whose careers don’t produce enough money to raise a family are shamed and emasculated, even as being single is normalized in Tokyo, with single-serving meals and single tables at restaurants everywhere. The Japanese also have a cultural fear of failure, and would sometimes prefer not to try to pursue relationships for fear that they won’t work out or they’ll be rejected.

Make Mine a Make Out

Look, almost everyone likes sex.  Presidents and college students and married people all like it  and think it’s great.  But whatever happened to just making out?

In the beginning, there was kissing.  Lots and lots of sweet, hot, open-mouthed kissing.  And it was good.  We’d walk around in a daze after hours of it.  And then we moved to second base.  And lo, it was also pretty good.  Bras were stuffed under couches, not to be seen again until moving day.  Slowly, a bunch of kids who knew next to nothing about baseball moved towards a home run- and many of us never looked back.

Look, almost everyone likes sex.  Presidents and college students and married people all like it  and think it’s great.  But whatever happened to just making out?  You know, getting hot and heavy, kissing until your mouth is all tingly and puffy, feeling hands inching ever closer towards the edge of your bra- it’s fun and super hot!

Kissing Feels Great:

Kissing reduces cortisol, a stress chemical in the body.  Fifteen minutes of kissing measurably reduces levels of cortisol in academic laboratory make-out tests.  Kissing and making out releases all kinds of feel-good chemicals and hormones, including oxytocin, the love drug.  That makes making out a natural painkiller, and it also bonds you to a new person or an established partner.  Men like kissing because it’s a way to introduce more testosterone into women’s systems, which makes sex even sexier.  Women like kissing men because it’s a way to assess their appropriateness as a biological mate.   We’re usually looking for people whose genetic makeup is dissimilar to one’s own, which makes for stronger offspring.  Kissing and pheromones transfer a lot of that information about another person- unfortunately, kissing can’t help determine whether one still uses a skateboard as their main mode of transportation.

Kissing is Intense:

Kissing is done with one’s eyes closed, not just because it’s a social norm, but because kissing provides so much great information and stimulation it’s better to cut down on visual stimuli- also, because while you’re kissing, your partner probably looks like they have one big eye in the middle of their forehead.

It’s Low Risk:

For single people, kissing and making out packs a lot of the same heart-stopping thrills as sex, but without the downsides of one-time hookups- there’s virtually no STD or pregnancy scares, and it’s not as embarrassing to run into someone you made out with once at the Trader Joe’s.  If you’ve just started seeing someone, think about making out a time or two before you start having sex- you’ll be more comfortable with each other and probably have even more fun building intimacy and looking forward to the main course.

It Makes Sex Hotter:

For couples, making out makes sex hotter- building anticipation and just having fun with each other.  Try making rules- set a ten minute timer that’s only for kissing, then another timer that’s only for touching each other, and so on- by the time you get to sex you’ll be completely bonkers and have a wonderful time!

It’s Portable:

Making out can be done with your clothes on, or mostly on, so you can do it in a car or in a gazebo, in a movie theater or methadone clinic, or lots of places it wouldn’t be that great to have sex.  It’s not polite to do in a Denny’s, but many have.

In closing, the next time you’re with someone you’re into, consider making more out of making out!