Celebrity Matchmaker

Are You Dating Someone with Asperger’s?

With nearly 3.5 million Americans falling somewhere on the autism spectrum scale, it’s likely you’ve been on a date—or even a relationship—with someone who may show signs but not may not be formally diagnosed. Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of autism that makes it extremely difficult to read others; social cues, hints, romantic gestures, and suggestive language won’t make sense to someone with Asperger’s. Paul, a 37-year-old with Asperger’s described dating with his condition as “learning a new language, but instead of words and phrases, I had to learn how to read and speak nonsensical behavior.”

When it comes to dating and relationships, people with Asperger’s, or Aspies, have additional challenges that may frustrate romantic partners. Without understanding the condition, neurotypical (NT) people can feel hurt, annoyed, and embarrassed by well-intentioned singles with Asperger’s. To help bridge the gap, we’ve addressed the top stressors of dating someone with Asperger’s and what you can do to make it easier for all parties involved.

An inability to express sentimental feelings

What you can do: Don’t assume the other person is uninterested, just because he isn’t telling you he likes you or finds you attractive. Let him know what you think and tell him why it is important that he learns how to make you feel special. Employing some structure to this conversation will help everyone feel more open and honest. “Create a ‘safe space’ for discussion and using semi-formal techniques like active listening, time outs with agreed upon return times, and speaker-listener paraphrasing,” says Amy Marsh, a sexologist “set regular times if you have to.”

Lack of understanding about physical affection

What you can do: Affection like holding hands and kissing won’t make sense to your partner. Attaching a gesture to an emotion is not intuitive, so take the time to explain what the gestures mean and why you are doing them. Otherwise, your physical affection can have an adverse effect. According to The Partner’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, hugs can be very uncomfortable as they essentially restrict movement and invade personal space without warning. Best to say, “I want to give you a hug, because it will make me feel close to you. Sound good?” to help your partner acclimate to your style of affection.

Harping on the same subject or telling the same story repeatedly

What you can do: Shift the conversation to something that interests you. If your partner interrupts or continues to talk, gently tell them that this behavior makes it difficult for you to feel interesting. “If you are the more “neurotypical” partner, then you may find yourself playing detective and trying much harder to understand the other person than they ever will try to understand you, and it can feel lopsided” says Marsh. “Remember that for many people on the autism spectrum, social and emotional skills and communication have to be learned more intellectually rather than intuitively.”

Inability to read social cues or knowing which social rules to apply in certain situations

What you can do: Ease him into large social situations like parties or group outings. If he or she is overwhelmed or decides skip the event, try not to take it personally. Social situations are especially trying with so many different social cues coming from so many different people. To help your partner feel more comfortable, try to make the introductions on their behalf and help them transition topics.

Not understanding sexual situations, specifically how to escalate into physical intimacy

What you can do: For many people with AS, physical intimacy is the expression of feelings; however, escalating to the physical realm and establishing the mood with foreplay won’t seem important or necessary unless the NT explains what he or she is looking for in the bedroom. Asperger’s specialist, Dr. Kenneth Roberson suggests the following exercise: “Together with your partner make a list of the things that your partner does sexually that you like. Make a second list of things you would like your partner to do or try sexually. Make a third list of things that you do not particularly enjoy sexually. Ask your partner to generate similar lists. Then sit down together and share the items on your lists.”

If things do not go as planned in the bedroom, wait for a better time to discuss. “DO NOT argue in the bedroom,” says Marsh. “Let that be your area for safe connection with emotions and intimacy. Period.”

The first step in sustaining a serious, long-term relationship with someone with Asperger’s is acceptance. “Don’t confuse acceptance with granting permission to act whatever way your partner chooses. Callous, unsympathetic, and cold behavior, for example, are not things to be supported,” says Dr. Kenneth Roberson, Ph.D. “There is nothing wrong with expecting to be treated decently, wanting to be accepted and loved, and disapproving of anything less, but when your goal is to change the fundamental characteristics of who your partner is, you not only set yourself up for failure but you risk setting the bar impossibly high for your partner.”

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Get Him to Approach You…and Ask You Out

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If you’re not getting approached, you might wonder, ‘What are these men looking for?’ or ‘What is wrong with me?’ To answer the question, it’s important to note the difference between desirability and approachability. We all have traits that make us desirable, but unless we look available and willing to engage in conversation, our best qualities will stay a secret. In other words, YOU are not the problem, but there might be something wrong with the SIGNALS you send.

When it comes to approaching an interesting stranger, men and women are quite similar. We all have egos to protect. To make sure they don’t end up embarrassed or rejected, men look for any clue that reason to initiate conversation. If you want him to make the first move, try these five tips.

  1. Choose your group wisely.

Women tend to go out in packs, adding extra pressure on someone deciding when and how to approach. When he knows he will not only have to impress you, but also your friends, you’re making it easier for him to bow out.

Men are also sensitive to other males. It doesn’t matter whether he’s your brother or gay best friend. He’s not paying attention to the context, just the chromosomes.

Pro Tip: If the group is large, stand to the side so you can be approached without forcing him to engage the group. If you’re not interested, you can easily segue back into the group setting.

 

  1. Cultivate an inviting vibe.

Your facial expression and body language matter. Smile at him and the people around you to put out the ‘I’m friendly and won’t be standoff-ish’ vibe. To escalate the moment, catch his gaze for sustained eye contact. All nonverbal communication has meaning, so consider what your posture and demeanor are saying.

Pro Tip: Always scan your surroundings to see if someone is trying to communicate with you via nonverbal cues. If you’re fixated on the conversation, you’ll miss opportunities to reciprocate interest.

 

  1. Give him something to say.

For men, the hardest part of the approach is knowing what to say. You can grease the wheels by inadvertently supplying the topic via clothing or behavior. You might wear a sports jersey to give him an invitation to talk about the team or the upcoming game. Or, you could peruse the menu at length to give him an invitation to talk about what he ordered.

Pro Tips: Bring a prop. If you’re at the coffee shop, leave the book you’re reading on the table. It will give him the perfect springboard into conversation.

You might also consider wearing an unusual pendant when you’re out and about. The pendant doesn’t need to be expensive, but it needs to stand out to be a great ice breaker. As you’re sitting in the café, run your fingers along the chain while “reading” your book and glance up, locking gaze with an attractive male. You’re signaling interest without saying a word and inviting him to talk to you.

A pendant with a great story will help you gain even more traction. Maybe it’s an unusual crystal you had cast in silver from a hike you took in the Dolomites or a coin from your great grandmother. Sharing an interesting story about yourself is a great way to keep his attention and reveal your sense of adventure. And who doesn’t love being entertained by an interesting, worldly woman?

 

  1. Remember: Location, Location, Location.

Proximity is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the approach. If you’re moving around, you’ll be a lot harder to catch. Try to stay in the same place to give him an opportunity to make a move.

Pro Tip: Settle in a place that is central to the room. If you are in a corner, not only are you harder to access, but you’ve raised the stakes by making it harder for him (and you) to move along if there’s no conversation.

 

  1. Give him a reason to contact you.

Getting him to approach you is only the first step. You can escalate the conversation by bringing up topics that segue into plans. Upcoming events make for perfect conversation, even if you don’t end up attending the event together. In the conversation, you might ask about an extra ticket, but days later you might find yourselves circling back to talk about how the event was.

Pro Tip: Have personal calling cards with you at all times. Whereas business cards reveal too much personal information (like your last name) and tend to set the stage for business, a personal calling card is a smart dating tool that gives him all the information he needs to get in touch. Think first name, personal email, and mobile. Simple, classic, and elegant is best.

Ultimately, all of your actions should be inviting and reassuring to help your partner escalate the interaction into a more romantic situation. Smiling and encouraging the conversation to flow will make you more attractive to interested strangers.

 

 

How to Date When You Want Kids Yesterday

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All too often the subject of kids—and knowing if they’re a possibility with a new partner—isn’t handled with much care. It has a sneaky way of becoming a checklist question; a question that is asked early on to determine whether or not someone is worth seeing again. With biological clocks ticking, some women and men are rushing to get an answer before “wasting” one more minute with someone who might not share the same goals. That rush prevents real chemistry from blooming, regardless of the partner’s desire to have children in the future.

So how do you date when you know you want kids?

Describe your approach to family plans, without any pressure for your partner to be a part of it.

 

What to say: “Family dinners and minivans are probably out there somewhere, but I still have no idea how I’m going to get from point A to point B.”

 

Here’s why this works: This kind of comment reveals your plans for a family without any expectation for your partner to respond in a certain way. Not only are you able to express yourself authentically, but you are doing so in a way that doesn’t involve deadlines or ultimatums.

 

Don’t let kid-centric or family-centric conversation be the hot topic.

 

Here’s why this works: You are more than your desire to have children. With a healthy self-esteem intact, you don’t need a sperm/egg donor to make your life complete; you have yourself and you are complete as is. Even though children are a top priority, you come first. In other words, you are looking for the right person for you before looking for the best parent to a child. When dating is about you, you partner will feel like he or she complements you, and isn’t just being vetted for sperm or egg donor.

 

Accept where your partner is—and the personal goals he or she has.

 

Here’s why this works: In the wake of amazing chemistry, we can create a narrative that doesn’t exist. For example, we may think, “We have such a good thing going, of course he will change his mind when we get more serious.” This kind of thinking reveals that we do not accept our partner as he or she is; instead, we are hoping for them to change. This added pressure on our partner will ultimately cause friction and disappointment when his or her mind doesn’t change.

 

 

Be patient with those who are unsure, but keep the door open to those who are.

 

Here’s why this works: Some people aren’t sure about kids in their future for situational reasons. Perhaps they are in the midst of a career transition that is taking up most of their future planning. Maybe they are close to someone who is dealing with the agony of infertility. Maybe they need the right partner first to see kids in the future. Whatever the reason is, there’s no need to eliminate someone who isn’t exactly on your same page right away. With that being said, it’s also wise to keep the door open to those who may be ready to start their family sooner.

 

You should have a sense of your partner’s feelings about a future family before committing.

Here’s why this works: Dating is your chance to explore the likelihood of a lasting relationship. If you aren’t sure what he or she feels about kids, continue keeping doors open until you have a better sense. Signing onto serious emotional and time investment without a nod to your personal priorities is too much to risk—your time is too valuable.

 

How to Get Over a Break Up ASAP

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Both sides of the break up coin are agonizing. The person initiating the split has to fill the role of bearer of bad news, usually wounding the heart (and ego) of someone who he or she cares for deeply. He or she usually experiences guilt, confusion, and a unique type of stress that stems from knowing the end is near. On the other hand, we have the person receiving a final decision. Stripped of all opportunity to direct the course of the relationship, this person is left vulnerable, helpless, shocked, or disappointed.

If there was connection—real connection—pain is to be expected from all parties involved. We also know that every relationship that doesn’t make it to the next level will end with a breakup, yet we still find ourselves hurting after every split.

So, how do we heal from heartbreak faster?

  1. Avoid Numbing Agents—Shopping, food, alcohol, rebounds, pills, and drugs used to mask the pain will only prolong the agony of loss. Deriving relief this way will only push you deeper into depression, debt, or weight gain.

 

  1. Feed Yourself Well—When your heart is hurting, it’s even more important to monitor what goes in your body. Excessive sugar will crash your system; processed food will challenge your energy; and not eating will stress your heart even further. Now is the time to treat yourself to the best food you can get your hands on.

 

  1. Bring Yourself Joy—It’s easy to fall out of love with yourself just because someone else has. So many factors lead to relationships ending; we forget that so many of those reasons have nothing to do with who we are.

 

  1. Follow the Good Vibes—We tend to feed off of the energy around us. Experiment with a new crowd that offers you a fresh start. Science reveals laughing and smiling are instant mood lifters, so give yourself an opportunity to absorb the joy around you.

 

  1. Remove the Reminders—Pictures, cards, and other reminders should be out of sight. There is no need to live among reminders of relationships past. The mementos, seemingly innocuous, can derail your path to healing. Also, consider un-following—not unfriending—your ex on social media. You can always change the setting when you’re in a better place without anyone finding out.

 

  1. Keep it Simple—This is harder than you think. Attending parties he/she might attend? No. Finding reasons to reach out? No. Keeping in touch with his/her friends? No. It’s easy to think you can “be adult” about crossing paths, but the heavy emotional charge has a way of clouding better judgment.

Ironically, the things we are least likely to do during a break up — eating right, visiting friends, meeting new people—are the things that will help us heal the fastest. Giving yourself the time to cope with loss is going to fast track you to a better place with a better partner.

101 Women Answer What a Man Should Wear On a First Date

This guest post is written by Peter Nguyen, a private personal stylist for successful men and founder of The Essential Man

On our first date, my girlfriend and I went to PDT (above), a really cool speakeasy bar here in NYC hidden behind a phone booth in a hot dog shop. They’re known for their amazing cocktails, which we gladly put to the test.

If you asked my girlfriend about our first date, she couldn’t tell you much, except for one thing — the shirt I was wearing. A striped tabbed collar dress shirt from Robert Geller.

“It’s my favorite shirt on you.” She says.

It made such an impression on her that it has survived a good 5 closet purges.

You’ve probably heard the saying “It only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression”.

What if I told you you actually had less time than that?

According to a study done by Princeton, it actually only takes the brain 1/10th of a second to make a snap judgment of someone.

So what does this mean for you my single, dating friend?

It means that before you’ve even opened your mouth, she’s already sized you up. So it’s in your best interest to use the only tool you got in that brief, 1/10th of a second: your style.

BUT WAIT, THAT’S SUPERFICIAL! LOOKS SHOULDN’T MATTER! SHE SHOULD LIKE ME FOR WHO I AM!

Whenever I’m at a party and I tell people that I’m a personal stylist for men, I get one of three reactions:

1. “THANK YOU!”
(This is the #1 response from women.)

2. “Oh man. How’s my outfit?”
(This is where I try to decide whether to give the polite answer or the real answer.)

3. “Cool man. I don’t focus so much on superficial stuff like that.”

Yes, someone said this to me at a party recently.

Here’s how it went down:

“Interesting. What do you mean by that?” I asked him.

“Oh, no offense,” he said.

(I love when people say “no offense”, or “not to sound racist”. It’s usually followed up by something offensive or racist.)

“I want people to like me for who I am, not whether I’m wearing a nice suit or whatever.”

“Totally. Hey, it was great to meet you.”

And then I walked away to pour myself a much-needed drink.

(Conversation tip: Sticking out your hand and saying “Hey, it was great to meet you.” is the best way to leave a conversation you don’t want to be in.)

You’d be surprised how often I get this kind of reaction, especially when I bring up that one of the best “dating hacks” is to improve your style.

“She should like me for who I am!” Guys say in response.

“Ok.” I’d say. “Describe to me your perfect girl.”

What do you think their answer always is?

Their perfect girl is always HOT.

“She should like me for who I am! Meanwhile, I want to date girls that look like this!”

Yeah, shocker, right?

This is what I call “The Perfect Girl Hypocrisy”. People think they’re exceptions. They want everyone else to change their standards instead of raising theirs for themselves.

Obese people want to change health and beauty standards instead of shedding the excess weight. Unqualified job hunters want companies to lower their requirements instead of getting more experience. Guys want hot girls but don’t want to work on and be judged by their looks.

Sorry, my friends, it isn’t happening. That’s not how the world works.

THE UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH ABOUT OUR LOOKS

Here’s the uncomfortable truth about humans: We judge each other by how we look.

Yes, it’s superficial. Is it bad? Maybe.

The thing is, we’re superficial about almost everything.

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You’re less likely to eat sad looking food in disposable tins because we associate sad looking food with unhealthy. Judging by its looks, It’s probably not as nutritious and is most likely going to make us sick. (Even though this might not be true.)

Vibrant, colorful food on clean white plates symbolize to us freshness, cleanliness, and that it’s healthy to eat.

This is called Thin slicing — it’s making snap judgments on something based on the information you have at hand. When you don’t know a lot about someone, all you can judge them on is what you see. Presentation matters, whether it’s a plate of pasta, or what you wear on a date.

It’s the reason why when surveyed, 76% of patients found doctors who wore white lab coats more trustworthy.

If your doctor came in wearing an oversized shirt, messy hair, sweatpants and dirty shoes, would you want him looking at your kid? NOPE.

GOOD NEWS: IMPROVING YOUR STYLE IS EASY

Before you curse the world, let’s take something else into account. Your style is one of the easiest things you can improve when it comes to dating.

If you’re an introvert, it’s going to take a lot of practice to improve your conversation skills.

Unsure of your career and life path? Good luck changing that in a week.

Bad style? No problem. You can head to a menswear shop and do a complete 180 in 15 minutes.

Of course, you’ll need to know what to get. Luckily, I got your back.

I spent the last 5 months asking women around the world a question: What should a guy wear on the first date?

In total, I gathered 101 responses from women of all backgrounds, jobs, ages, and locations. Women from as close as New York City, to as far away as Tokyo, Sydney, and Tehran.

Here’s a brief overview of the women I spoke with:

Average Age: 28
Single: 42%
Relationship (Less than 3 years) 29%
Married: 29%

And here’s what they said:

#1. EFFORT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

Does it matter if you’re wearing expensive designer clothes on a first date? No. In fact, of the 101 women surveyed, not one mentioned designer clothes.

However, the most common theme in the written portion of the survey? Above all else, effort (e.g. trying to look nice) was the most important quality of a man’s style on a first date.

Our style is a symbol of who and what we are. It represents choices that we’ve made in life.

Getting dressed is an action. And, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Does it matter what kind of car a father drives to pick up his kids? Of course not. What’s more important is that he shows up. It symbolizes that he’s responsible and cares for his kids.

“As a woman, I will make an effort to look nice and pretty for my date because I want to respect his company and effort for asking me out — and I would like the person to feel proud to be with me. When a guy dresses like a teenage boy and it looks like he didn’t care at all, it is distracting and really kills the first impression.” – Morganna, 27

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: If you’re new to improving your style, check out my post “A Beginner’s Guide: 16 Essential Style Tips For Guys Who Want to Dress Better”

#2. THE RIGHT FIT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXPENSIVE CLOTHES

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Any clothing that doesn’t fit well is an instant put off. – Jennifer, 27

I’ve preached many times that getting clothes that fit will solve 90% of your style problems.

In my experience, men often wear clothes that are too big for them because:

  1. They grew up (like me) in a time where wearing baggy clothes was cool and never learned any better.
  2. They feel that it’s more comfortable.

Ill-fitting clothes wrecks havoc on your attractiveness. It makes you look fatter, shorter, and sloppy. Wearing clothes that fit properly not only makes you look better, it allows you to look good even when you’re dressed in something as simple as a t-shirt and jeans. (See: Ryan Gosling, above left)

If that doesn’t persuade you to wear clothes that fit properly, maybe this will:

Loose fitting [pants] remind me of my dad. – R, 24

There’s nothing that’s going to kill sexual attraction faster than that.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: Download my free “Style Starter Triple Pack”. It’s a combination of my 3 best guides, including my “How clothes should fit” cheat sheets that’ll help you master fit in 10 minutes.

#3. STYLE HACK: SWAP IN A BUTTON-UP SHIRT IN PLACE OF A T-SHIRT

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60.2% of the women surveyed loved to see their date show up in a button-up collared shirt, while just 14.8% of women said they wouldn’t mind seeing their date in a t-shirt.

T-shirts are often associated with “casual” dressing. Swapping in a collared shirt signals that you’re putting an effort to go beyond “casual”.

Instant upgrade.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY: Not sure what kind of button-up shirt to get? Read my post on my favorite button-up shirt of all time “Essentails: The Chambray Shirt

#4. SHOES? NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT

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This part of the survey surprised me the most, as I’ve heard time and time again that women will judge you based on your shoes.

Yet, when I asked women what kind of shoes they loved to see their date wear, the results were all pretty even.

A nice pair of boots won overall, but just barely, gaining 34% of the votes. The rest was split evenly between clean white sneakers, dress shoes, and “Other”, with the write-in answers consisting mostly of “it doesn’t matter”.

My recommendation? It’s hard to beat a solid pair of boots, as they can work with jeans or dress pants. My current favorite boots are from Thursday Boot Company, shown above.

And whatever you do, just don’t show up to your date wearing Vibram five finger shoes.

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On behalf of all men, I apologize to these poor women.

#5. WOMEN LOVE A MAN IN A NICE LEATHER JACKET

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When asked what single piece of clothing would a woman love seeing her date wear, the clear winner was a perfectly fitted leather jacket.

A perfectly fitted leather jacket (50% of votes) beat a tailored suit (24.3%) by a little more than double, and completely crushed hoodies (2.8% of the votes, sorry readers in Silicon Valley).

If this doesn’t convince you to get yourself that perfect leather jacket, I don’t know what will.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: For those looking to add this essential into their wardrobe, check out my Ultimate Guide to Buying A Leather Jacket here.

#6. WHEREVER YOU GO, MAKE SURE THERE’S SOME ALCOHOL

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While many women agreed that you don’t need alcohol to have a great first date (a few even said bar dates were uncreative and cliché) the data still showed they all wanted the option to drink. (Relax the first date nerves, perhaps?)

When asked what was their favorite place for a first date was, 65.8% of the votes went to places that had alcohol.

A nice cocktail bar received 27.8% of votes, a great dinner captured 25% of the votes, and a fun dive bar got 13% of the votes.

The remaining votes were split between coffee (19.4%), and “Other” (14.8%), which included write-in answers ranging from “it depends on the guy”, “a nice walk in the park”, and “a museum”.

OK, NOW WHAT?

Not sure what to do with this advice yet? Not to worry.

To help you out, I’m sharing with you some date and outfit idea combos based on this data to get your first date off to a great start.

THE MUSEUM DATE

Museum Date Look for Men

Eyeglasses: Watts Eyeglasses by Warby Parker – $95, Wool Scarf: Acne Studios – $180, Blue Suede Bomber Jacket: Valstar – $1,135, Mandarin Collared Strip Shirt: FOLK – $185, Slim Fit Stretch Chinos: NN07 – $160, Socks: The Workers Club – $40, Boots: Thursday Boot Co. – $199

The Date: Museum dates are a great way to break up the monotony of meeting up a bar, but it requires a bit of strategy.

The biggest mistake you can make on a museum date? Spending a lot of time looking at the art and reading the text! I know, it doesn’t make sense, but hear me out. First dates are all about getting to know each other. When you’re examining the art and reading at a museum, you have a tendency to be quiet. The real focus of your date isn’t the art, it’s your company. Think of the museum like a beautiful backdrop, just the same as if you were strolling through a park.

Here’s a better strategy, thanks to my friend Nick Gray, founder and CEO of Museum Hack:

  1. Grab a map for you and your date.
  2. Next, walk and talk, glance at the art, but don’t stop, especially to read the text. That takes away from precious time to get to know each other.
  3. After the initial walk through, take a break at the museum café, order some food, talk some more, then pick parts of the museum you want to have a second look at together on the map.
  4. Go back to the spots you chose and enjoy the art.
  5. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop and pick up something nice. (Like the wallet from the MoMA above.)

The Outfit: The key items in this look are the collared shirt and boots. Wearing a suit on a first date, especially something like a museum, can feel like overkill. You want to communicate that you’re putting a little effort into it, and this is why instead of a t-shirt and sneakers we swap in a button-up shirt and boots. Blues and browns are a great color combination that help you stand out, especially if you’re visiting a museum in NYC where everyone loves to wear black. Give it a pop of color with a bordeaux colored scarf.

THE NON-CLICHÉ COCKTAIL BAR

Cocktail Bar Date Look for Men

Leather Jacket: Hugo Boss – $745, Grosgrain-trim collared polo: Lanvin – $375, Wool dress pants: Suit Supply – $189, Socks: FALKE – $28, Suede slip-on sneakers: Common Projects – $420

The Date: I love a date at a cool speakeasy, but securing a spot at one can be stressful, especially on a first date. There are plenty of cocktail places with great stories that don’t require you to search for a hidden, unmarked door – like Bar Goto, a Japanese bar opened by ex-Pegu club alum Kenta Goto. Order his signature Sakura martini – a blend of gin, sake, maraschino liqueur finished with a beautiful sakura blossom. (Photo above)

The Outfit: The polo is the happy medium between a t-shirt and button-up shirt. The key to not looking like your dad is picking one that’s slimmer cut in a non-traditional color, like this sleek Lanvin number. Slip on sneakers can sound like an odd choice at first, but like the polo, we’ve elevated it. This suede model from Common Projects isn’t your 16-year-old brother’s Vans, and gives a nice casual contrast to the formal dress pants. Bordeaux and charcoal gray is my all time favorite color combination. It’s warm and romantic, paired with a sleek black leather racer jacket, you’ll be hard to forget.

THE LOW-KEY DINNER DATE

Dinner date look for men

Cashmere Coat: Suit Supply – $699, Brushed twill shirt: J.crew – $39, Watch: IWC – $3,950, Wool Drawstring Pants: Acne Studios – $350, Embroidered wool scarf: Paul Smith – $225, Socks: FALKE – $28, Derbys: A.P.C. – $455

The Date: Dinner on a first date can sometimes feel like a trap. What if you realize you two aren’t really into each other and your entrees just came? Instead of a proper dinner for a first date, I recommend getting some wine and tapas.

Tapas are small plates of appetizers and snacks that you share over drinks. I love it because the tapas themselves become a conversation point. Decide on ordering things you’d never normally try, get adventurous. Start with a few plates and see how things go. If it’s going well, you two can order more and keep the date going. Not feeling it? No worries, you share a few bites and don’t have to commit to a conversation over an entire entree. Grab the check and part ways.

Some recommendations for you first-time tapas eaters: Dátiles con beicon (dates stuffed with almonds and cheese, wrapped in bacon) and patatas bravas (crispy potatoes with an aioli) are easy crowd pleasers. My all time favorite: Jamon Iberico, slices of ham from pigs fed acorns then aged for 36 months. Fatty, nutty, and worth the (very expensive) price.

The Outfit: Suits on first dates is a little too much. Subtle style substitute – wear a tailored topcoat. It gives the same feeling that you “dressed up” without going full blown suit.

When I think tapas, I think sharing food, drinking wine, having an amazing conversation. So take off your coat and relax a little bit. You’re going to be moving plates around and passing food to her, so don’t be afraid to unbutton and partially roll up your sleeves. This is a great opportunity to show off a nice watch. My pick: IWC’s refined entry Mark XVIII. It’s a watch that says “I have really good taste and I don’t need to be flashy”.

GET THAT SECOND DATE

First dates are like movie trailers, a preview to get her interested and excited and make her want to see more.

While I’ve armed you with some style tips to make sure you look your best, remember that clothes don’t make the man, they just enhance him.

To make sure you kill it on your first date and get her asking when can she see you again, I’ve put together a free bonus guide for Linx with some of the best first date tips.

6 Signs He’s Boyfriend Material

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During the first stages of dating, it’s tough to know if your current date situation is worthy of a more in depth investment—with your time and your emotions. Here are 6 telltale signs that the one you’re seeing has the stuff that boyfriends are made of.

 

  1. He remembers the little things.

Men who are genuinely interested keep track of information that is specific to you—your favorite movies, foods you dislike, places you want to see. Though they may not appear actively engaged, you’d be surprised with how many details they’re absorbing.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He knows you get cold—even when it’s 70 degrees outside. He will make sure you know where to find a blanket or he’ll set aside his favorite sweatshirt or oversized sweater just for you.

 

  1. His values his family.

Staying connected with the parents and siblings reveals that he’s able to maintain relationships with the ones who matter most. Even if drama lingers at home, he has a way of seeing the bigger picture. A guy who prioritizes his family will be more likely to invest in a family of his own and sustain a relationship with you through for the long haul.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He talks about his sister’s upcoming visit…and hopes you will be available to meet her.

 

  1. He has excellent follow though.

If he says he will call, he does. He doesn’t just talk about plans; he actually makes them. If he’s serious, you won’t need to push or prod to see action; he’s happy to orchestrate gestures—big and small—to keep things interesting.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client’s date had to fly out for work travel, my client said he would pick her up when she returned. Unfortunately, the date’s plane was delayed. Despite an 11:30 p.m. arrival, he was there to drive her home.

 

  1. He puts you first.

There is nothing more telling about a man’s intentions than the way he prioritizes your needs over his. We’re not talking about a man doormat; we are talking about someone who is committed to ensuring that his date is comfortable and happy.

 

Here’s what it looks like: My friend felt ill at a basketball game with her date. Instead of asking her to stay till half time or getting annoyed about losing out on the great seats, he found her some Advil and quickly escorted her home. The next day he called to check on her.

 

  1. He communicates with you often.

Despite his busy schedule, he always makes time to check in. It’s not the length of the message that counts; it’s the frequency. You might get a text, a phone call, or even a social media nod. Whatever it is, you won’t be left wondering if or when you’ll hear from him.

 

Here’s what it looks like: After two weeks my friend’s date left for international work travel. Between the time changes and the work load, she didn’t think she would hear from him for days. She was pleasantly surprised when he bought a new sim card and called her when he checked into his hotel.

 

  1. He’s interested in growing and evolving.

He realizes that he’s a work in progress and wants to better himself. If he’s aware of his faults and interested in working them out, you’ll save yourself the un-winnable battle of trying to change someone. Openness about his desire to grow and change can be an opportunity that brings you closer together.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client first started dating in the wake of a painful divorce, he felt aloof and noncommittal. When he first met his girlfriend, he wasn’t sure how much to divulge about his past. Knowing that a lack of communication caused havoc in his first marriage, my client opted for transparency. He realized that for true intimacy to exist, he needed to experience vulnerability. His openness strengthened their bond and left both my client and his now girlfriend feeling secure about their relationship.

Where to Live and Let Love Find You

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It’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t sulk alone in your apartment watching Netflix. If you’re single and ready to mingle, maybe you should move to a new city where love will find you.

Unlucky in love? It’s not you, it’s your city. The dating pool in the nation’s largest cities varies quite a bit. To help people find the places that will give them the best chance to find their soul mates, our friends at Trulia examined U.S. Census data in each of the 100 largest metros. We’ve focused our efforts not only on where you can find plenty of single men and women, but where you’re more likely to find those more or less educated, divorced or not, and places where populations skew young or old.

For now, we limited our study to those seeking the opposite sex, since government data isn’t quite as good when it comes to same-sex statistics.

Taking a guess at what people care about most, we looked specifically at the ratio of single men to single women, the age range of these singles, how many hours they typically work each week, how much education they have and whether they were previously married or not. Note that we only analyze those at or over the age of 21.

For example, if you’re looking for a marriage-material guy– a man in his 30s with at least a college degree who works the standard 40 hours a week or more and has never been married, head directly to San FranciscoSan JoseSeattle or Austin, Texas. San Francisco has the second highest ratio of single male to single female (0.972), where 52% of adult men are single. Of this dating pool, 19.8% are in their 30s and 55.7% work at least 40 hours a week.

If you’re looking for a man…

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For women, searching for your dream guy, find out your dating destination: Click here to take the quiz.

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If you’re looking for a woman…Best places to find Ms. Independent.jpg

For men, searching for your dream girl, find out your dating destination:

Click here to take the quiz.

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On the flip side, if you’re looking for Ms. Independent – a woman in her forties with at least a graduate degree, works at least 40 hours a week and you don’t care if she’s been married before, go East. You’ll have the best luck along the Eastern Seaboard metros of WashingtonAtlanta, Raleigh, N.C., and Baltimore. For instance, in the D.C. suburb of Silver Springs, Md., 44.4% of adult women are single – of which, 14.6% are in their fab forty years and 38.8% work at least 40 hours a week.

If neither of these profiles are your cup of tea, then take the quiz yourself to figure out where you should live to if you’re looking to find love.

To dive a little deeper into the traits of singles, we first looked at where the odds are in your favor when it comes to the guy-to-gal ratio. In our study, singles includes anyone who has never been married or was formerly married and age 21 or higher. A larger or smaller guy-to-gal ratio may tell you whether you’re more likely to be surrounded by men or women if you are sitting in a typical bar or restaurant.

  • Looking for men? Cities with the more single men to single women tended to be on the West Coast rather than the East Coast. Specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area – which includes both the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas have some of the highest single men to single women ratios. But it will cost you – these are two of the priciest markets in the nation and the center of Silicon Valley. If those markets are too rich for your blood, consider Bakersfield, Calif., which took the lead in the ranking of where men outnumber women, as well as Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
  • Where are all the single ladies? Look to Sarasota, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Winston-Salem, N.C., which had the highest ratios of single women to single men. But if you’re looking for a big city option, Philadelphia and New York had the 8th and 9th highest single women to single men ratios.
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Next, we looked at the age range – 20s, 30s, and 40s – of these singles for each metro, broken down by gender.

  • If you’re looking for a mate just hitting the Dirty Thirty era, you should head to San Francisco, Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
  • On the other hand, Upstate New York metros such as Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, and Syracuse have a very low percentage of single adults in their thirties. Same goes for metros in neighboring states, Akron, Ohio and Montgomery County, Pa.
  • Looking for a date that Taylor Swift would describe as “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time?” Madison, Wis.; Virginia Beach, Va.; San Diego; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and El Paso, Texas have some of the highest share of single adults who are in their twenties.
  • Meanwhile, six Florida metros Sarasota, Daytona Beach, Cape Coral, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale have some of the smallest share of singles in their twenties.
  • Want someone who’s firmly adulting? Move to places such as Winston-Salem, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, Greensboro, N.C.; Las Vegas, or Miami where you’ll find more singles in their 40s.

When it comes to education, are you looking for someone who’s book smart or street smart?

  • If you are sapiosexual—someone who’s attracted to intelligent people—the data shows that you should move to San Francisco, Silver Spring, Md., Washington D.C., Cambridge, Mass., or San Jose. These metros have some of the highest percentage of single men and women with at least a college degree or graduate degree.
  • If lack of a diploma isn’t a deal breaker, then inland California might be the place to go. Riverside, Fresno, and Bakersfield has some of the lowest percentages of single adults with a college degree.

Methodology

2014 5-year US Census American Community Survey data gathered via IPUMS-USA at the University of Minnesota were used for this study. For the quiz, we restricted the data to non-married adults with at least a high school degree and aged 21 or older, but younger than 50. There were two underlying factors that determined which metro is the most suitable for the quiz taker. The first factor was the single adult male to single adult female ratio. The second factor was what percentage of the single adult male or female population fit your demographic criteria specified by one’s quiz answers. Rankings of the 100 metro areas based on these two respective factors were used in order to generate a final ranking that is tailored to the quiz takers’ preferences. For the explanation portion of this report that comes after the quiz, the data includes all those who are 21 years of age or over and are currently non-married unless specified otherwise.