Dating is Elementary: The ABCs of Dating

April 9, 2010 at 11:30 am | Posted in Dating Tips | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is a love stylist, helping women architect their ideal love lives. She is also the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

To become an ace student of dating, it is all about putting what you learn into action. Burying yourself in textbooks and lessons can only take you so far so here is a cliff notes, crash course in dating designed to give you insta-success this weekend out in the dating playground. Don’t worry about failing – there is no such thing – it is all about risking error to learn from the trial. So study your ABCs and have fun in the field! I look forward to hearing about what you learn!

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OMG… Did She Just Say That?!?!

March 31, 2010 at 8:46 am | Posted in Dating Tips | Leave a comment
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During my years as a New York subway rider I learned the art of eavesdropping. I found that to pass commuter time I could glean amazing insights from swiftly listening in on other people’s conversations. The things I picked up ranged from hilarious to absurd to enlightening to downright disgusting and everything in between. Since having moved to LA my easy eavesdropping opportunities have diminished drastically but lately my ears have perked up to some sentiments too juicy not to share… and guess what, it isn’t the guys who are dishing ittongue biters – it’s the ladies. So, here from my ears to your screen, a few things I’ve heard lately definitely not worth repeating:

WHAT SHE SAID: “I’m on the rag – you have no shot.” – a woman to a guy who was checking her out (at Target)

WHAT HE THOUGHT: She’s a crass, pretentious bitch who probably really needs to get laid

WHAT SHE SAID: “We can spend the evening fighting over me or you can each buy me a glass of wine.” – a woman talking to two older men (at a wine bar)

WHAT THEY THOUGHT: She’s a gold digger or potential threesome

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Opt In… To Inspiration

March 24, 2010 at 11:43 am | Posted in Dating Tips | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

I’m a sweets-a-holic. If you know me, you know that I can’t pass up a dessert menu, my therapy comes in the form of baking and in my house anytime is a good time for celebratory birthday cake and ice cream. That said, as of yesterday, I’m on a sugar hiatus – a challenge brought on by none other than my mother (ironically, another glutton for glucose).

Since I made this commitment, I have seen no less than 3 Duncan Hines commercials, noticed not one, not two, but THREE new treat shops in my neighborhood and seriously, are the Girl Scouts on a mission to make the world fat because they seem to be on as many corners as a Starbucks in Seattle. WTF?!

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Spring Cleaning Your Man

March 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Dating Tips | 1 Comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

Spring has officially sprung. Now that the clocks have moved forward the days will get longer, winter’s cozier layers will reveal hot summer bods and all across the globe women will not only clean out their closets, boyfriends will also be discarded like last season’s trends.

That’s right, we’ve entered breakup season. All winter long lovebirds have been hibernating with their significant others, spending long, cold nights together – playing Jenga, watching movie marathons, enjoying winter getaways and bottomless cups of cocoa. What may have seemed so perfect in December when you were trading overflowing stockings, may have become tiresome (“Oh you again?”) or nerve rattling (“How could have ever found your snoring adorable?!”) And now that the sun has started to shine, you may now see possibilities abounding indicating to you it is time to trade in the old to make room for something new… and better.

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Dating Homeruns

March 10, 2010 at 11:47 am | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

Lately I’ve been obsessing over relationship status changes on Facebook. The complexity that this public display brings about has been written about many times over – that’s not what has me intrigued. What has me intrigued is the way that friends respond to relationship status updates. My research (it should be noted that it is informal and therefore statistically insignificant) shows that generally speaking guys get virtually hi-5’d and given invites to strip clubs when their status moves from “in a relationship” to “single” whereas girls get a virtual pity party and offers of consolation (i.e. “I’m so sorry sweetie. He was no good for you anyway”) when their status does the same. On the flipside, when girls move in the opposite direction from “single” to “in a relationship”, they get congratulated, however guys typically receive no comment or something sarcastic (i.e. “Another one bites the dust).

So this all has me thinking, why is being “in a relationship” this giant homerun for women? What makes it a symbol of achievement worthy of congratulations? A box that when unchecked makes us need a pity party? And what if we started making other boxes the success metric? Might we feel uplifted more of the time?

I remember when I played softball as a kid. I wasn’t the knock-it-out-of-the-park hitter, so since there was little to no chance that I was going to get a homerun despite my thinking that was the only way I could be great, my dad set up smaller goals for me. Goals like just getting a hit, avoiding a strike out, learning to judge a walk vs. a hit ball, catching the ball when I was in the outfield, throwing it in to the right plate and so on. Instead of fixating on racking up homeruns, I began concentrating on developing other skills. And after a few seasons, I actually became a pretty good all around player.

Accordingly, try thinking of your dating skills as opportunities for victories; consider those moments homeruns, not just an end of the road relationship. Celebrate them! Celebrate when you flirt like a pro! Celebrate when you have the courage to call a new mandidate! Celebrate when you let go of a guy who you know isn’t worth your time! Celebrate a great 1st date, 2nd date! Celebrate handling rejection with a laugh, a new outfit, a great orgasm! By celebrating your micro achievements you’ll increase your playing stamina, try harder and ultimately improve your game.

Live and love largely,

Tristan

City Bus Lessons in Love

March 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

Late last week, for the first time since living in LA, instead of dealing with the aggravation of 405 traffic, I opted for the city bus. Despite some bumpy planning which included being disconnected twice from the routing operator, my journey was not only smooth, it was spiked with adventure, delight and surprise. It included a short walk through my neighborhood upon which I was greeted with several kind hellos from neighbors I never knew I had. At the first of two bus stops I encountered brief waits at, I met a guy named Jeremy. TDH (tall, dark and handsome) Jeremy takes the bus every weekday morning to his law firm where he is a junior counselor specializing in children’s defense. On the weekends Jeremy buses it to the beach to indulge in his fave pastimes – beach volleyball and paddleboarding. He does have a car – a restored ’67 mustang. After getting the down-low on Jer, I hop my bus (he hops another) and take a window seat. The bus travels an unexpected way – a way I’ve never been, in all this time. I discover a charming little tea shop, a rock church, a direct bike path to the beach and not one, but two thrift stores.

Soon enough we are at my transfer point. While waiting for the next bus, I meet Stefanie who picks up on my lost vibes and helps confirm I am in the right place. Our casual banter quickly turns into her spilling her heart out about her last/lost love (I have that effect) and we chat about it all the way until I deboard, eight stops later, with Stefanie’s heart a little more healed and lifted when we met, about ten miles prior. I get off the bus, just feet away from my destination, only about fifteen minutes later than I would have, had I driven, wondering to myself if Stefanie and Jeremy would make a cute couple.

My trip reminded me that in dating, the less you try to control the journey, the better off you are. Although my bus took a less direct path than I would have if I had chosen to drive to myself, I saw streets and shops, parks and cafes that I never had before. Since I didn’t have to focus my attention on the road, the radio or really anything at all, not to mention the bus traveled at a pace slower than I drive, I saw LA up-close and personal and noticed details that had passed me by for four years. Waiting at the stops made me less isolative than in my car life and the result was meeting two interesting people, one of which I was able to help.

Here’s the thing, no two love stories are ever alike and since it is impossible to map yours out anyway, you might as well relinquish the control a little bit and become open to deviation. So this week, get out there and explore. Expose yourself to new places and new people. Start small by simply altering just one thing about your routine and the rest will follow. Re-route, detour, take a pause where you might not have otherwise, go a little slower… use your peripheral vision… be open to new possibilities…even if you get lost, that’s another place you’ll find, and who knows who might be waiting at that stop.

Live and love largely,
Tristan

Turning Your Love Luck Around

March 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

When it comes to love, outside of arranged marriages, I don’t believe in luck. To believe in luck you have to believe in the converse. I refuse to believe that Cupid either randomly, karmically, maliciously or otherwise, chooses chosen ones, like a powertripping bouncer at a NY club, to be blessed with the powers of love, leaving the unchosen to sulk in misery as they unknowingly travel a winding path on a quest to eternal loneliness. Nope, I won’t accept that. So while there may not be such a thing as being unlucky in love (removing one more option from your list of explanations offered up to the nagging coupled up population in rebuttal as to why you are still single), there is such a thing as being unopen to love, stupid about love or unavailable in love:

Unopen to love. Arms crossed, bitchy stare, head buried in a blackberry, women unopened to love hang an invisible, albeit impossible not to feel, closed for business sign up. They quarantine themselves from love by appearing unapproachable or by creating an isolative lifestyle. To open up to love… FREE YOUR FEARS.

Stupid about love. Women who are stupid when it comes to matters of the heart make the same mistakes over and over and wonder why. They are the ones who give the Dr. Philian advice but never take it and wonder why. These are the women who pay therapists oodles of cash to gain insight about their love lives, have the “aha” moments and then don’t apply them, only to go back to their therapist and wonder… you guessed it, why. To get smart about love… FREE YOUR SELF-LOVE.

Unavailable in love. Women unavailable in love have a steel lock around their heart and a key to it will not be given away easily. Although they may present themselves as looking for a good man, date regularly even, they self-sabotage their love lives by repeatedly picking the same wrong type, staying in obviously abusive situations or are present in the physical sense only, refusing to truly open up. To become available in love… FREE YOUR HEART.

Instead of blaming the absence of love in your life on a bad dice roll or a crappy fortune cookie, identify what is really preventing you from getting it, so you can get through and beyond it.

FREE YOUR FEARS, FREE YOUR SELF-LOVE, FREE YOUR HEART. LET LOVE IN.

Live and love largely,
Tristan

Decoding Dealbreakers

March 3, 2010 at 11:22 am | Posted in Dating Tips | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

He’s cheap, he checks out other women, his breath smells, he won’t go down on me, he takes longer than me to get ready, he answered the phone during a movie, he lied to the host and said he was a doctor to get a table, he’s too negative, he’s too positive…. And the list goes on and on and ON! No wonder singledom is lasting well into our 30s – our dealbreaker list is longer than a line to get into a Justin Bieber concert. Now, don’t get me wrong, as you know by now, I am a champion of choosy, but in the MD lab, I’ve been wondering if perhaps we are decoding our relationship red lights improperly. Could these dealbreakers be more than meets the eye?

All this talk lately about settling raises the age ol’ question among women, “Am I too picky?” Your mom will say, “Yes” before you finish asking the question but she as we know has an agenda. Your BFF who last saw you with a trade down will say, “No” because she is your #1 fan and think you can do better. Well here’s what I think. When it comes to creating your dealbreaker list, you have to look beyond the surface to see what the non-negotiable is representing because it is deeper than it appears.

For example, my friend Shara 86’d a guy because his emails were full of typos. Upon further examination, what she didn’t like about him was that he wasn’t conscientious. Eliminating a mandidate because he has shitty grammar is being impulsively and unreasonably picky, but eliminating one because he isn’t conscientious when that is an attribute you value, that is being insightfully and reasonably picky. Christina ended it with her guy because he was a freelancer. Turns out freelancing represented instability to her and she needs someone with a secure paycheck, insurance, 401K, etc. Danielle peaced out Jeremiah for always interrupting her but it wasn’t because it was so rude (that’s fixable), it was because the interrupting was an indicator of how self-interested Jeremiah was in what he had to say, never in what she had to say.

So when you are looking to red light a prospect, don’t ask, “Am I being too picky?” ask, “Am I being insightfully and reasonably picky?” Dig a little deeper to dissect the real reason you are ctrl-alt-deleting him, otherwise it is a wasted experience whereby you haven’t learned anything significant about your wants/needs, not to mention once you uncover something you’ll have a much stronger defense next time you go up against your griping mother.

Live and love largely,
Tristan

Roadtrips: A Relationship’s Ultimate Lab

March 2, 2010 at 10:05 am | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

I remember my first roadtrip with a semi-BF. I was so excited envisioning me and my lover boy – the wind in our hair, the perfect playlist in rotation, the open road all to ourselves in pursuit of a destination to somewhere wonderful. I had every detailed planned out from cool places to stop along the way to a cooler filled with supreme snacks and enough CDs (dating myself here) to last us so we’d never have to listen to any song twice. I even imagined the photos we would take, the laughs we’d laugh, the memories we’d collect. This was going to be the trip he fell in love with amazing me. Or so I thought.

It actually turned out to be the trip I fell into hell. I fell into hell with a guy who it turned out hates Taco Bell (WTF?!), doesn’t say excuse me when he burps, thinks girls aren’t worthy of driving long distances, and who knew, has a fondness for horrifically freestyle rapping when on the open road. It was misery from point A to B but I wouldn’t take the experience back for anything because it served as a relationship lab and in this lab, I discovered that me and he were definitely not meant to be a we.

The idea of a roadtrip is idyllic – hours and hours to enjoy each other’s carefree company, swap stories, play silly games, eat junkfood and get lost in the scenery, but in reality stressful situations can arise and an environment that was designed to be harmonious can quickly become one whereby you get on each other’s nerves, fight about where to eat and sit in silence staring at the highway counting exits instead.

Which is exactly why a roadtrip is a perfect relationship proving ground and a mandatory take-it-to-the-next-level exercise. It can, in many ways be the ultimate compatibility test. If you pass, you have an excellent chance of a thriving relationship, if you fail, you should think twice. Here’s why:

Conversation (or lack thereof): In my mind, my roadtrip with the Taco Bell hater was supposed to be filled with enlightening conversations. I’d tell him about my embarrassing childhood moments, he’d tell me about his first heartbreak, we’d talk about our future. But no, he wasn’t a talker. He liked reflective time in the car. And after 4 hours with 3 more to go, I had nothing left to reflect on other than how much I didn’t want to be with this guy anymore. This test showcases how in sync you are with one another, meaning do you know inherently what kind of atmosphere the other needs at what moment (quiet vs. chatty) and how curious each of you are about the other – this is found time to get to know each other better – do you take advantage of it? Look to see what your conversation pattern is like? Does it feel like an uncomfortable first date where you are just trying to fill the space to avoid awkward silence? Does it flow naturally with interesting dialogue that strengthens your bond, but also has a balance of personal reflective time? Or is one of you on auto-pilot, non stop talking while the other is silently wishing for noise cancelling headphones?

Music: This was the area of no concern for me when it came to compatibility for me and my semi-BF turned ex. Our cars had the same radio stations programmed and we made mixes for each other all the time with similar music. But listening to professionals and listening to him freestyle was two different things – one I could deal with, the other I couldn’t – and the test here was that I didn’t care about him enough to enjoy the fact he was enjoying himself. On your roadtrip, assuming each of you came to the journey iPod in hand, ready to plug in, are your music tastes like-minded? Or at the very least can you lovingly digest each other’s choices? Are you willing to compromise by holding off on anything you know the other loathes? This is bound to come up and the test here will be how you can compromise, share and be tolerant of each other’s choices.

Navigation: North, South, to the mountains, to the beach, city getaway… figuring out where you are going and how you are getting there can be the most exciting part of a roadtrip. It can also be the most stressful… especially if you have different approaches to how it should be done. Are you two map followers and destination driven or non-planning adventure seekers? If you are not on the same page about where you are going, be it a direct route to a certain place or on a scavenger hunt to nowhere in particular, your roadtrip will end up super anxiety ridden for the planner or boring for the thrill seeker. This will unveil a profound personality trait (planner vs. spontaneous) that if different is likely to divide you in many future life choices. I’m happy to say this is the one test that rookie rapper and I actually passed.

Driving duties: You can imagine what an eye opener it was to learn that my man who appeared to be living in modern times was actually Ward Cleaver in disguise, not letting me drive, thinking I would slow us up. Funny thing was, he middle/right laned it the whole way capping 70 as I daydreamed about flying at 120 weaving in and out with a real man. Figuring out driving shifts is often a point of contention on a roadtrip, particularly when one roadtripee isn’t willing to drive, or for as long, or one doesn’t want to give up command. In your case, who is taking the reigns of the wheel? Is this to be a shared responsibility? Do you approve of the way each other drives? What other responsibilities come with driving? This test will indicate how safe you feel with the other in the driver’s seat, literally and figuratively.

Stops: I’m the in-and-out stopper, let’s take it to go, but my chauffeur liked to eat his Big Mac leisurely, claiming he needed to rest up for his next shift, passively complaining about his driving duties (insert eye roll here). Although you are bound to need to stop for gas, bathroom and food breaks, it is what happens when you get there that counts in this test. There tend to be two distinct styles of roadtrip stoppers. The “can’t you just hold it so we can get there faster?” road tripper and the likes to browse in every rest-stop souvenir shop for that perfect piece of memorabilia roadtripper. This test will illustrate differing personality traits (impatient vs. enjoying the moment) that while not a dealbreaker, will need to be understood and appreciated to move on in harmony.

All of these circumstances (along with others such as road temper, car tidiness, handling bodily functions and more), in concert help to determine if your life can be intertwined with your man’s on a really intimate basis. When the ride ranges from smooth to windy to pot-hole ridden, the question is, “how do you co-pilot together?”

So grab your man, pack a bag and buckle up for an open road adventure that will surely be telling of you and your guy’s potential. Score each area with a pass/fail mark. When issues arise in these categories the real test is how you work them out. Do you communicate effectively to resolve the problem existing in a peaceful place, wanting the journey to continue on and on, or are you scrambling to hitchhike home?

Live and love largely,
Tristan

Building Your Ooey Gooey Sundae of A Life

February 24, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in Dating Tips, Relationships, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Tristan Coopersmith is the author of MENu Dating: Taste Test Your Way to the Main Course– a single girl’s guide to falling in like, falling in love and falling into bed. Check out her book in retailers nationwide, online and on her site: http://www.menudatingonline.com. For musings on dating, follow her on twitter: @tristan_coop.

Wanted: Unstable girl with baggage heavier than a house, a lackluster life with highlights that include watching reruns of America’s Got Talent, a promising career in glue stick sales, a cat collection, 11 online profiles and only goes out on Sundays.

Not exactly a highly sought after profile! If the script was flipped, would you want that kind of guy? I don’t think so.

To get a great man, you need to get a great life. Simply, and as sales pitchy as it sounds, you need to have something to offer. If your life sucks and thus you are offering up a platter full of problems or a dish of doldrums, why would any guy want to jump on board? On the contrary, if your life rocks, then they come running to be a part of it.

Think of your life as a sundae and build it to be as ooey gooey, rich and delicious as possible.

Start with a great dish. A GREAT dish. Not some average paper cup or wimpy cone that sogs out after a few minutes. Your sundae’s dish is your life’s foundation. It needs to be strong. It needs to withstand whatever gets thrown into. Take your time to make your dish beautiful inside and out and know that over the course of time, particularly through moments of growth, it will need love, attention and repair.

Now fill your dish with the BEST, MOST POSITIVE people – friends and family that fill your tank with joy and inspiration – people that when you leave them, you feel more fulfilled than you did when you arrived. Fill your dish with a STIMULATING job – a job that excites you and makes you want to do your best because it makes you feel good inside. Evaluate and re-evaluate the ice cream in your dish to ensure that it is as sweet and rich as can be.

Sprinkle your sundae with the extras – things that simply make you smile on the inside. This could be a sewing class, walks on the beach, maintaining a personal blog, volunteering, going to church, kickboxing, thrifting – anything that makes your life a little more flavorful. Try new additions from time to time to re-energize your sundae, and share these little extras with the people that you love, too.

Finally, the best part – topping off your sundae with a bright red cherry. Once you’ve built an ooey gooey delight complete with a strong foundation that can support all of the goodness you’ve put inside, attracting the sweet red cherry is easy because you have such an inviting offering. What guy wouldn’t want to have a taste of such an awesomely delectable life?! Plus when you are out there building your sundae you are increasing your chances of meeting someone great because you are living life as opposed to being cooped up in your apartment making out with a copy of UsWeekly and a box of takeout. Remember though, don’t settle for a fruitcake of a man. You can have and deserve to have someone with an equally ooey gooey sundae of a life that will allow you to delight in each other’s decadence, making your life only that much sweeter.

Live and love largely,
Tristan

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