Alrite, I’m gonna keep it real. I hope you disagree with at least one thing I wrote below. Unless you and I are converging towards some kind of abstract emotional core…or we’re living in parallel universes in the same time dimension? o_O

Look, I needed to make that joke (or bad joke) because this topic is so uncomfortable. Some people see online dating as an easy way to hook up. Some people see it as a way to admit you need help with dating. Some people think it’s for desperate people. Look, here’s what I’ve learned with 30 years of my life: to find love takes courage, boldness, and the determination to ignore anyone who tells you that love isn’t worth the trouble and the ups-and-downs. Online dating is simply an addition to humankind’s mating ritual. It’s one way among a growing number of ways to find love.

Back in the day the definition of love was much more restricted. In Asian culture good luck marrying the girl of your dreams if you were an artist or a writer or anything less than having a stable job. Love in itself was a dream. These days love is easy to find but healthy relationships are still difficult to nurture and maintain.

When it comes to online dating there are some things to consider. Below I discuss some of those things.

Advantages:
1. Busy schedules.
If you’re a busy professional this is a great way to find potential matches based off of similar interests and location. Just make sure the interests you write reflect who you are now, not what you want to have someday.

2. Save time.
You get to see their interests and with apps like Coffee Meets Bagel you can text someone a few times before you meet up. This gives you a chance to get to know one another. I’ve had pretty insightful conversations by text. It’s possible. Find that sweet middle ground between interviewing her and fitting her within your needs. Get to know her means…ask about family,  ask about her weekends, ask about where she goes for dessert, ask about pets, ask about her favorite book, ask about her college days and what clubs she was part of. You can tell a lot (but not everything) about a person with that info.

3. Having time to think.
You don’t have to respond right away or risk looking like you’re ignoring her. Take your time to respond thoughtfully.  Chances are she’s got other guys she’s talking to as well…aka entertaining her while you take your foot out of your brain =D

Disadvantages:
1. Trust.
If you get matches everyday, doesn’t she get them as well? How do you know that once you start dating that she won’t keep herself on the application as a back up plan? I TOTALLY believe you should trust one another. I’m just saying you need to find your own answer to this inevitable question. For me, the truth I found for myself is that she gets matches everyday (or more) but she chose THIS particular day to make time for me…not any other guy.

2. Feeling vulnerable.
What if you have mutual friends? OMG what if people find out you use online dating? Won’t they think you’re looking for easy hookups? Ignore those people! People who are truly in love and happy will tell you let nothing stand in your way and let no leaf unturned in your pursuit of love. Here is a simple way I’ve discovered to silence Christians when they think I’m in it for easy intimacy: hey, have you ever had pre-marital intercourse or sexual contact? Yea, they’ll stop judging you real quick. For all non-Christian people just wish them goodluck in their marriage/relationship and realize that’s one less person you have to invite to your wedding. If they’re not close enough to you for you to have to invite them to your wedding, then their didn’t count anyway.

Just take it slow. Don’t feel like every match is a potential spouse. Don’t share too much, too quickly about yourself. Don’t share your attitudes about life and dating in your profile…let that person find out in person because words are easily misinterpreted. VERY EASILY.

3. She’s using you for dinner.
I’ve felt this a few times on dates I went on with online matches. She was interactive by text but totally silent in person. What the heck! She seemed interested in me by text asking lots of questions and then totally disengaged in person. Maybe she was just shy. Maybe she was uncomfortable. Maybe I did something or said something. Or maybe she’s like this girl: http://www.businessinsider.com/confessions-how-she-made-1200-a-month-using-matchcom-2011-11.

These days I won’t take a woman to dinner until the 4th or 5th date, or even longer. Take her on a picnic. Take her to a coffee shop and play a board game. Take her on a walk somewhere scenic. Hey, a nice dinner can be romantic and cloud her and/or your judgement. No one dressed up for casual events. But damn if she looks good on a first date I might be hooked on her by my carnal desires rather than by a real emotional affinity for her. This change in my dating routine has done wonders for me.

Look at it this way, the quantity of romantic dinners and fun dates diminish (but shouldn’t disappear entirely) and the amount of “chill” time increase as you get farther into a stable relationship. I wanna know I can have belly-full laughs with her watching Saturday Night Live. I wanna know that we can walk together and talk and debate and realize that was hella fun. I want to know that I won’t need to plan unique dates all the time…that being together is enough for her most of the time as it would be for me. I’m not looking for simple hookups (not anymore) and I want to know if she’ll explore with me, learn with me, be with me and not just date me … before I open my heart to the risk of hurt and despair that comes with building a relationship, whether that starts online or in person.

Goodluck to you!

Here are some books that will help you better understand yourself and your world. Topics about shame, about handling pressure, about resiliency and personal growth. Go get em!

1. Performing under pressure by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pawliw-Fry

2. Don’t waste your life by John Piper

3. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

4. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This post will only talk briefly about what NOT to wear. What you should wear is a very open-ended topic. What looks good on me, may or may not look good on you. However, there are some things that rarely look good on a first date. First impressions matter- not as much as who you really are- but even the best-of-men can come off as sleezy, disheveled, or just plain dull.

Below are just some suggestions. If you are a working professional, perhaps it would be good to seek a fashion consultant or a friend who has good taste (usually these friends are women or on occasion gay men).

1. Bright colors. Pink, red, orange, turquoise, anything shiny. Who you are should be the focus, not that shirt you’re wearing. Women notice these things and unfortunately when it’s not a good thing, she’ll tell all her friends and they will surely all respond with “eww” and then with LOL. Normally, I couldn’t care less if a woman made fun of me and I would tell you not to worry, but in this instance, let’s be a little more mindful. Some people say that wearing bright colors shows you are confident, not if that shirt makes you look like a douche, cause then you would be a confident douche. Let your confidence shine through your words, your attention to her (and not you), and your actions (e.g., open doors, pull out her seat for her to sit, etc.)

2. Work clothes. Enough said. Don’t even argue with me on this one. I once saw a guy go on a date in his scrubs (he is a physician). If you are too busy to spend 10 minutes to change clothes, you are too busy for a date. Women will prepare regardless of how busy they are. They even risk their lives to do so (i.e., driving and putting on make-up at the same time). Show her the same effort and appreciation. She won’t say it, but she’ll appreciate it. You can subtly let her know too by saying how you didn’t have much time to change but wanted to look somewhat appropriate for this date. Trust me. Brownie points +10.

3. Work shoes or grandfather shoes. Shoes are by far one of the most, if not THE most, important accessory for women. She’ll notice yours. Don’t wear scruff-up shoes, torn shoes (unless they were torn for a reason), or shoes you’d wear to walk your dog.

4. Jacket-less outfit. Try your best to put together outfits that work with some kind of jacket. If it’s summer time, a light jacket. If winter, a pea-coat (e.g., Kenneth Cole and Coach sell some very nice ones). You may not need it, but she will even if she may not be ‘that’ cold.

5. Striped shirts. This one is a shout-out to my friend WW. She abhors striped shirts. I disagree with her on many things, but on this issue, I am in complete agreement. Solid colors only.

6. Flashy belt buckles. Nice, you want a cookie?

7. Loose (or ultra tight) suit jackets, shirts, and pants. I will make a posting about how to choose suits. In the mean time, if you are a working professional, go to a tailored shop to get your suits and sports coats. They’ll cost more (e.g., $200-400 per jacket), but it’ll be WELL worth the cost. DO NOT GO TO Men’s Warehouse. Unfortunately, Men’s Warehouse does not really cater to Asian American males and our body types. Their items are large with large shoulder designs and long (almost draped) coats. Think Snoop Dogg. You’re not Snoop Dogg. If you need some recommendations, please contact me directly and I can direct you to some very good specialty shops in Los Angeles.

8. Hats.

Below is a checklist. Enjoy!

1. Check your outfit
i. Check your fly
ii. Check your collar- just make sure it’s the way you like it.

iii. Check your belt

iv. Check your shoes

2. Check your image.
i. Nose hair
ii. Teeth
iii. Fingernails
iv. Smell (e.g., cologne or deodorant, or both if they compliment one another)

3. Check yourself.
Why are you going on this date? To have fun? To get laid? To find your soulmate?

If you are reading my blog then your goal should always be to have fun and pursue happiness.

If you want to get laid on a first date, please leave my website. Nothing against sex, but I don’t share your mentality or life goals.

If you want to find your soulmate, you should use a matchmaking service. They usually do a pretty good job about finding someone who fits you.

4. Check time.
Make sure you show up early to get the scoop on the place. How long is the wait? How’s parking? Any activities there you could do after the date? What’s on the menu?

5. Check your insecurities.
We ALL have insecurities. If someone has it all, this person is likely to be very afraid of that inevitable end that all humanity shares. So relax.

Your insecurities do not make you who you are. It’s what you do. Maybe you’re not the tallest in the room. Maybe you’re not proud of your past or where you are in life now. Maybe you’re in want in something. We all have one insecurity that drives us to the other end of happiness. Be strong.

You are someone’s son. You are more than a job or a station in life. You are a professional athlete in your mind but a weekend warrior in truth. You are a musician. You like board games. You enjoy live music. You enjoy details. You enjoy art. You love animals. You once owned turtles. You once saw something awesome. You are a dreamer. You are realistic. You like rain. You like the sound of crashing waves. You like the smell of Fall over Summer. You like Halloween over Christmas because it’s more creative and less materialistic.

Know the ‘why’ to the above. If your answer is ‘just because’ then you need to dig deeper or create for yourself some deeper meaning.

Summary:
Have fun. Enjoy yourself. You’re alive because your hearts beats. If nothing else then provide her with the blessing of being close to a living soul. If you’ve ever felt loneliness then you would understand the value of just being around a living being. Ready. Set…

There are two things that most (perhaps all) women love: hand holding and eye contact. This post is on eye contact. There are several important factors that make eye contact sexy: your facial expression, duration of eye contact, when you actually make eye contact, and how you look away. Some guys learn to do this artificially; but gentleman, the best kind of interactions are usually (mostly) the most organic ones.

Develop Eye Confidence in the Gym

I see a lot of dudes in the gym who could use some Eye Confidence. When they walk past another dude, they usually look away or look down. When I’m in the gym I make eye contact with those I walk past and I usually greet them. If they appear to be younger or at my age range, I give them a ‘What’s up’. If they appear older than me, I give them a nod and a “how you doing”. I always make eye contact, rather than look away or look straight ahead. It use to be uncomfortable, but like building muscle mass, building eye confidence takes practice.

When guys in the gym come up and ask me if I am done with the weights I am using, I look them in the eye and let them know how many sets I have left and that they can “work in” if they want. By giving them permission, I take control of the situation. The gym is a jungle- a more controlled setting of the real world jungle we live in. Learn to be king of the jungle, even if it’s momentary in the transient interactions you encounter.

Applying Eye Contact

When she’s talking about serious (e.g., her goals) or perhaps heavier topics (e.g., family), stop what you’re doing and look at her. Even if she is not looking back at you, she knows that you are looking at her. Eye contact above all else shows you are paying attention.

When I walk past women, I never look away. Even if they are not looking at me, I still say “how you doing”. We’re human beings. If they are walking past you then they are most likely alive (unless they are a ghost, in that case, I’m not sure what to do). Greet one another and acknowledge each other’s presence.

Keeping Eye Contact

Alright, here’s the truth. I’ve been extremely turned on before just simply during a nice conversation with intimate eye-to-eye contact. If you laughed after reading that comment, young man, GROW UP (On a side note, I hear often from younger guys about how much ‘play’ they get. Here is how you tell men apart from the boys: men have had unapologetic, unabashed, intense relationships with women whereas boys are still getting over puberty and the awesomeness of seeing a woman naked). If you are still laughing, keeping laughing. I guarantee you the women aren’t laughing.

Here are some tips:

  • Never look away first. Let her look away. Practice this by looking in your own eyes the entire time you brush your teeth. Two things happen during that exercise: you start to think of thoughts that affect your self-esteem or your mind if just blank. If your mind is the latter, think thoughts while maintaining eye contact
  • Always smile (organically) while looking at her. Or at least have a ‘happy’ facial expression. If the topic is heavy, keep a more solemn face. Social Skills 101, fellas.
  • When she is talking, make eye contact.
  • When another girl walks by while you are on a date NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER look at that other girl.

People got the dating game all wrong. Most people are trying to find “if” someone fits. They approach the ‘game’ with a checklist. What I find with checklists is that you focus on what’s missing rather than what’s there; ironic isn’t it?

The dating game ought to be about finding the ‘positives’ in every individual, not just the ones you are attracted to. Even if you do not find a girl immediately attractive, discover her qualities anyway. Here’s the game: for every ‘negative’ you find, you must find a ‘positive’. Often ‘negatives’ come out organically, but ‘positives’ are buried under stress, fear, and past hurt.

The world, our society, and the dating game are on the surface dirty and grimy. But beneath that dirt and grime are precious metals and qualities worth cherishing. Find it. That’s the dating game.

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