Tag Archives: Machu Picchu

Stuff OkCupid Girls Love

23 Feb

Gents, study this list and you'll be tusking your dream OkCupid beau in no time!

Data-mining OkCupid chicks. (The following is a thoroughly unofficial list of things girls on #OkCupid profess to enjoy/be unable to go without.) Did I leave anything out? Suggestions encouraged!

    1. David Sedaris

    2. Zombie Apocalypse

    3. Impromptu Dance Parties

    4. Burt’s Bees Chapstick

    5. Machu Picchu/Peru

    6. Narwhals

    7. Haruki Murakami

    8. 30 Rock

    9. NPR

    10. Africa/Peace Corp

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Ladies, Be Cruel to be Kind, Vol. I: The Initial Reply

18 Feb

Silence Is More Honest than Words, and Always Clearer!

There are many fundamental differences between men and women, and thank god for that, on behalf of the world of straight guys. Women generally smell and dress better, think longer and better before they speak, are more considerate of other people’s feelings, pay more heed to ethics, and, let’s be honest, they’re much more pleasant to look at. They’re often caring and meticulous as nurses, more patient as teachers, and more stable and rational as executives. But there’s one area in which women, in my experience, do not excel, and that is clear and direct communication in the online dating world.

If you’re an “experienced” (euphemized) online dater like me, you’re very familiar with this scenario: You look through a girl’s profile, and something sparks excitement. She’s different, you say. In this wasteland of cookie-cutter work-hard/play-hard, just-as-comfortable-at-home-as-going-out, dreams of Machu Picchu, ambitious-but-silly dating resumes, she rises to the top of the pile. So you’re inspired, you’ve found your muse, and you use your 15-minute coffee break, lull before sleep, or (if you’re a truly busy professional) toilet seat-based smartphone session, to compose a really meaningful message. Maybe you both love the same amazing book. Maybe she used your favorite quote from Family Guy. Maybe you’re responding to that really deep thought she had at her last Yoga class. Or maybe you use your very best material, something I’ll call “UberBanter,” to draw a distinction from the countless one-liners you typically use on lesser speciwomen, to woo her virtual attention.

Whatever the case may be, your hopes are up. This is the part where, as a guy, you click send, make the hand-washing gesture, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Your message disappears into the mysterious void that no man is allowed to go: the female psyche. No man has ever entered, though many have tried. The truth is, none of us dudes really know what happens in this fascinating world of neurons, synapses, complex thoughts and feelings. We simply don’t know what happens, but we’re pretty sure it’s slightly different than the typical “hot-or-not” analysis performed by the typical male. (Not to say that girls don’t have visceral reactions based on physical attraction—we know the ladies are just as sexual as us, just less scoundrelly about it).

Now, let me pause here for a moment to address the ladies: Ladies, I realize that I have no mandate or capital to influence your decision-making, but allow me to beseech you. What you do next has the capacity to get a guy excited and put a smile on your face, but in rare cases will it dramatically affect his life. So there are three distinct possibilities here:

  1. YES! You write back an enthusiastic reply indicating similar interests, modestly hinting at some spark, or even going for tit for tat and zinging him back on his banter. Awesome! A potential match is in the works, Both parties read a book, masturbate before bed, and go to bed dreaming of unicorns/superpowers/social justice, wherever your interests may reside.
  2. MEH. You get this amazing email and really want to connect with the dude, if not for his giant nose, ears, facial hair, and whatnot. Whaddayagonnado? Or maybe you’re just not feeling it, it’s too forward, esoteric, insecure, whatever. Cool—no response required and you move on to the next of your 47 daily Cupids.
  3. URRR. You get this great message. It flatters you, sets your heart aflutter, makes you laugh. Then you look at his giant nose, ears, facial hair, or what have you, and wonder whether you’d find him as funny while wearing heels, or if you could really rock it with a dude who’s not into spelunking and skydiving as much as you. Pass…but wait. Unlike the rest of these assholes, he took the time to write a long, thoughtful, funny response. He’s probably a pretty decent human being and you shouldn’t just shatter his fantasy of feeding you grapes in bed, planting your vegetables in his community garden, and making angels cry at your destination wedding in Peru. So what do you do? What DO you do? I know! I’ll write him back a courtesy message validating his sense of humor/intelligence/interest in me but just brief and noncommittal enough to confuse him on my interest in meeting him for a fair-trade latte and potentially shagging at some point.

I don’t know what really goes through a woman’s mind, but based on responses that come in Scenario #3 I can imagine it’s something akin to this. Girls, as much as you like nice guys but love bold men, many of us dudes feel the same way about you. It’s not that we don’t appreciate tact and responsiveness, but if we’re sending you a message, especially a lengthy or thoughtful one, chances are we’re interested in you and all we expect in return is a direct indication of interest or lack thereof. This is the wrong time to offer an unwittingly patronizing “There, there” or “Well isn’t that special.”

What gives? Maybe it’s a difference in expectations and the way we process/perceive acceptance and rejection. Men are used to rejections, whether with women, jobs, or in basketball games. It’s a numbers game for us and in this respect we’re always at a competitive disadvantage as the hunters. We apply and await decisions and women make the call. As sexual shot-callers, maybe women invest more of their emotions in showing interest or going after something, and expect that guys react to disappointment the same way. Thus good intentions effect unproductive outcomes and obfuscate communication in an already strange virtual environment.

So, ladies, the next time you get that funny or heartfelt message from a nice guy who just doesn’t fit the bill, the best practice is the easiest thing you can do: nothing at all. He’ll get the message. Trust me.

Top 10 Things You Should Bring to a First Date

13 Feb

Czech or American, bring some cash, my dude!

Do Bring:

  1. A wallet. If you’re a guy, it should definitely be full of Andrew Jacksons. If you’re a girl, don’t bother filling it with money. In fact, you can bring an older pocketbook you no longer use, but you may need to make “the gesture,” and you don’t want to come to a military parade out of uniform. Of course, if the guy calls your bluff, make sure you have at least one credit card on hand.
  2. Decent clothes. Guys: It’s a tired cliche, but you only make a first impression once. You might be desperate, but a first date is no time to telegraph this. Dust off a nice shirt and clean your shoes, man! Not every girl is obsessed with style, but almost every girl will notice if you don’t
  3. Energy. Of course, it can be a nerve-wracking experience, but don’t be a wet blanket. Once you get past the pleasantries and tentative bullshit, a date should be fun. Even if the girl you’re meeting is not the size 2 hot mama her pictures suggested, or the guy you’re meeting is only 6 feet tall in Disco Stu platform shoes, don’t be a jerk. make the best of it and call it an early night if you have to, but don’t fall sullen when your unrealistic expectations aren’t met.
  4. Full head of hair/pride in your chrome dome. Though I’ve yet to part with my hair, I do wonder when it might happen. From conversations with women, hair is not as important as we men think. Sure, we don’t like to see our lush manes reduced to wiry sprouts, but girls want to see a man who’s self-assured, not one whose confidence is receding along with his hair line. Polish that cue ball and ditch the old baseball cap!
  5. Jokes. Everyone loves to laugh. Your date loves to laugh…and if she doesn’t, run, run, run. Humor is the single best weapon a man has in the absence of obvious looks/height/status/power/affluence/charm/charisma. Catching a girl’s ear can be just as big as catching her eye. If you’re not a natural Paul Reiser or Carrot Top, it’s OK to bring a couple of boilerplate “seed” jokes as icebreakers. By the way, ladies, you are not absolved of this responsibility! From your profile, we know you like to laugh, and we also know you love to make people laugh, so bring it–do what you love!
  6. Punctuality. I know that society tells us a lady should be fashionably late, but there’s a fine line separating longing/excitement and annoyance/disrespect. The 5-minute rule is in effect, but beyond that, send a text or make like a phone and dial! And don’t ask for a half-hour extension.
  7. Curiosity. In my unfortunate turn as a sometimes-serial dater, nothing would turn me off on a first date quite as much as someone who never asks a single question about you. Yes, we’re all waiting for our turn to speak, and yes, sometimes it’s better not to play the question game, but if you find yourself prattling on about your latest jaunt to Machu Picchu or playing up your general awesomeness (come on, guys), take a breath at some point and ask yourself if you’ve learned anything about your date. This is not a bookstore appearance!
  8. Comfortable shoes. Girls, let’s agree that we will never understand each other on this issue. Some of you will never give up on your heels, through rain, snow, and bloody injuries. Why? Let’s compromise and get you into some comfortable flats for the first encounter. If it works, I promise you can loft yourself on special occasions.
  9. An open mind. So, that starving artist who captures your imagination actually builds Lego castles out of popcorn. And the saucy burlesque performer you were having wet dreams about is more man than woman. (Okay, that last one is pretty tough to swallow.) You’re here, grab a beer, work up some cheer. So what this won’t be the “How I Met Your Mother” story you’ll change years from now to something sexier. Maybe you’ll learn something new. Maybe you’ll actually have a good time.
  10. Photos of the 4 kids you forgot to mention in your profile. This would be the time, people. On second thought, what the hell?

The Profile: Who Am I? (Part II)

5 Feb

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the archetypes of the online dating world, I’d like to devote some special attention to a special group: Rabid Travelers . The demographic seems to be engendered by the very process of filling out a profile. If you’re a guy and have perused a plethora of female profiles, you’ve no doubt run into a number of RTs. They are sometimes hard to isolate and separate out from the casual travelers prior to a face-to-face date (F2F), but some profiles are dead giveaways.

Granted, the average OkCupid profile includes a nod to geographical escapism. Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, are more likely than other Americans to hold a passport and to have actually used it. Add that to the fact that our generation has much more leisure time and economic freedom to explore–whether through semesters/work or volunteering abroad, extended backpacking tours through Europe and South America, or just using that odd week here and there on more exotic places than cruises and all-inclusives, and social media portals quickly become a shrine to wanderlust. Perhaps we’re rebels without a cause. With no wars to fight or protest (or the desire to do either) for most of us, maybe our generation pours the energy and soul-searching of baby boomers into global exploration. Who knows?

After a while, it becomes expected and your eyes are desensitized to the mere mention of other places; no more compelling or eye-catching than anodyne statements about gadget or food preferences. The modern consumer experience prizes long menus of options and travel, once a privilege of the leisure class, is now as ordinary as choosing a drink at Starbucks, a craft beer at a bar, or cruising Netflix. And so we pick from an endless adventure menu: BeNeLux, Uruguay, Tibet, New Zealand, Jordan, Venezuela, Iceland. For some RTs, everything is a stamp on the checklist of authenticity–World Cup in South Africa; Carnival in Brazil; Mardi Gras in New Orleans; mountain-climbing in Tanzania; bullfighting in Spain. Others choose human interest–building homes in Haiti, working in African schools, or teaching English in Nicaragua. But within the RT domain there’s one startling trend: Machu Picchu. I don’t know when it happened, and perhaps it’s already jumped the shark, but it’s undeniable that a significant percentage of ladies on OkCupid fetishize Peru and would forego their yoga mat, smart phone, and a month of NPR to walk the Inca Trail.

Why Peru? Why the Incas? Where’s the love for the Mayans and Aztecs? Outside of doomsday predictions and Roland Emmerich movies, we barely cast a glance of tribes to the north. I myself look forward to one day checking out Peru and Machu Picchu, but my initial gusto has been tempered somewhat by the frequency with which this appears on women’s bucket lists.

Ladies, no disrespect to the Incas, but there are so many other trails to walk! Check out the Highline, for instance. Or the Freedom Trail in Boston. Nature walk, anyone?