Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

How To Make Dating Online Work For You

A GUEST POST written by Elizabeth Marie

I used to online date like it was my J-O-B. Constantly updating my profile so it was the perfect combination of wit, intelligence and screamed “perfect sexy sweet girlfriend material.” Compulsively checking my inbox and responding to messages, winks and IM’s all day long.  Facebook stalking potential dates (you do it too), skyping, flirty phone conversations, constant texting...I’m exhausted just thinking about it. 

I couldn’t believe I was already sick of online dating before I’d even met these guys in person. Suffice to say, offline these men weren’t exactly worth all the time I’d wasted on them online.

I was burned out, annoyed and thinking about cancelling my accounts. But I’d already paid for a set amount of time in advance and I like to get my moneys worth.  I knew I was going about this all wrong, so I decided to make two simple changes in an attempt to free myself from the chains of online dating and start having fun again! 

Stop Being A Phone Whore!
I work on the computer all day, as I’m sure most of you do.  Coming home from the office only to deal with even more emails felt like yet more work and was drastically unappealing.  Texting, on the other hand was fine.  I started giving out my phone number to the guys I was emailing online so we could keep the conversation going, but I could shut down the computer. Win-win, right?  Wrong.  I started texting so many guys, I was getting confused and annoyed.  Each time my phone went off I resisted the urge to throw it out the window.  I was on the phone so much with virtual strangers I stopped having time to talk to my actual friends. These guys started calling at all hours of the day and most of our conversations felt forced and awkward.  New plan!  I decided to only give my phone number to guys as we were discussing plans to meet.  Everything else remained on email. 

Be Rude! 
During my first online dating stint, I felt guilty if I didn’t respond to every email or wink, even from guys I knew I had no interest in.  I didn’t want to be rude or hurt their delicate feelings. Even a quick "No thank you, but good luck” email takes 5-10 minutes to write, and that time can add up and drastically cut into my important trashy reality T.V watching schedule.  I started being selective with who got a response from me, plain and simple - but more importantly, I stopped feeling so damn guilty about it.  I figured if I wouldn’t talk to someone on the street, I wouldn’t talk to him online.

Like I said, this is all before I met anyone in person (that is another blog post in itself), and it saved me a lot of time and frustration.  Logging into my online dating site stopped feeling like a burden, and I met a lot of great guys, with a few nutjobs thrown in for good measure.  I mean, it is the Internet. 

We Love Dates is an online dating website & dating advice blog for singles in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, South Africa & Australia.  Liz blogs (and vlogs!) about all things online dating, love, sex and relationships.  Follow We Love Dates on Twitter, and get friendly with us on Facebook. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Cardiff Blogs Summer Social

Yesterday evening Cardiff Blogs hosted a special meet up at the Maldron Hotel, disengaging bloggers and social media enthusiasts in Cardiff and the surrounding areas from their laptops and out into the offline world to engage face-to-face instead.

With the purpose being to introduce the new admin team, due to the recently departed co-founders, Hannah Waldram and Ed Walker (who aren't dead but just newly employed). They've handed us the torch (or set us alight with it depending on how pessimistic your outlook is) and we wish them the fondest of goodbyes and the very best for their future - all the while through forced smiles and gritted teeth as we have tremendously intimidating shoes to fill.

Not to mention very high expectations to meet from the regulars who remain (or the Twitterati as I like to call them) as well as the abundance of fresh faces who are eager to be lavished with media related nutrition.

But who are the admin team? Well mosey on over to their Twitter accounts to view them in all of their photogenic and witty conciseness...

Back? Good. They're seriously attractive aren't they? And yes. They're available for children's parties.

So the summer social was always intended as just that - a social. It was never intended to follow the structure of the previous meet ups and was instead an opportunity to mingle with people without the 140 character restriction, bag yourself a guest post and generally be merry through the complimentary Pimms - provided again by the lovely people at Warwick Emanuel. And conveniently we were also welcomed to free nail files from the ladies over at Escentual. (They're also generously offering a 15% discount on their products with a special voucher code which can be found after you've liked our Facebook page here).

I arrived as the social media surgery was in full swing. (And this will be held before the main events at future meet ups between 5 and 7pm. With the purpose being to bring your laptop along and trouble shoot any technical problems, seek inspiration and share ideas. Or steal them to pass off as your own). I didn't bring my laptop along as it swiftly turned into a Mac orgy and I'm a Windows girl. What can I say? I need the right click.

As more people started to filter in, the surgery wound down and everyone was provided with green name badges accompanied by their Twitter alias. (The admin team were in yellow in order to establish a hierarchy). We then proceeded to introduce ourselves and say a few words about what we intended Cardiff Blogs to be.

Some of us (me) selfishly promoted themselves and gave no mention of the project. (I come across much better in print you see). Dan however swore, so he was worse than me. Which I was pleased about. Thank you Dan. While Liz, Louise and Tzevai eloquently made the point that the meet ups are not just open to bloggers or people who live in Cardiff. We welcome anyone who is interested in blogging and social media, in the hopes that our networking will prompt them to start their own blogs. But Sarah really came through (thank the love of Christ) and provided a structure for the future meet ups.

She read a farewell piece taken from Ed's blog - it was emotional. And now probably has first dibs on doing his eulogy. But most importantly she reiterated that we've inherited something really significant and we want your input as much as possible. She then briefly spoke about the future topics which the meet ups will be exploring through guest speakers and panel discussions. Which are as follows:

‘For love, not money’ - people doing creative and cool things online in Cardiff for the fun of it

Social media errors and your reputation online

How politicians are using the web

Making Twitter work for you, how to handle the social media beast

Going you can do it

Foursquare and location software, who uses it?

And that's just a few topics we have planned. We also intend to break up the meatier talks with mini discussions on things like popular memes and blog key wording. I make it sound all very exciting and discussion worthy I know. It's a gift.

The guest blogging free for all then took place, with the likes of
 @ITVJayneL and @CardiffBites announcing their desire for shared content on their blogs. I in turn switched back to shameless self-promotion and appealed for lifestyle or dating bloggers to guest post for Singles Warehouse - DM them @Singles_Whouse for details.

And also mentioned my dating poll which I'm still taking votes on Where Shall I Go On My Date? Get involved. Life drawing is currently the front-runner. @TredzBikes found this particularly amusing. Very nice guy. Married. Aren't they always?

All the while tweeting was encouraged and indeed going on via the #CdfBlogs hash tag. Which provided people who were too shy to shout out with the opportunity to tweet their guest blogging requirements. Of course I'd inhaled my large glass of Sauvignon by then and spotted that someone had tweeted their missed opportunity at addressing the room. I swiftly appealed for them to stand up and he did. @steviephil - good man.

Finally we distributed questionnaires to our crowd. Feed back means everything to us. Unless it's from @cardiffblogger

After that we proceeded to mingle and be merry. And collect all important questionnaires. Which we are very thankful for everyone completing and being so willing to do so too. The ideas I perused were great. You're going to make our hierarchy look so good. And tweets such as this have really boosted our confidence.

So thank you Geoff. You're great.

We promise we'll be back bigger and better than ever for the next one. At the moment we're busy collating all of the data you've provided us with. We love data. Especially a good pie chart. So in the meantime you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and read about us on our official Blog.

And please engage with everyone else on Twitter. I've created a comprehensive list of everyone who attended (and didn't attend but said they were going to - jerks) here Cardiff Blogs #CdfBlogs

Please continue to contribute to the conversation here #CdfBlogs. We're currently sniffing out news stories for @brendanhughes64 to get his teeth into next. We're thinking it's probably going to be mutant seagulls with a taste for cannibalism. If you have a better idea, by all means drop him a line. But for goodness sake simplify it. He's Irish.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Giving it a competitve edge

Nothing conjures up a burning sense of horror and shame quite like when a person in a relationship asks you why it is exactly that you're single. Most people try to shrug if off with an ambiguous comment or a pathetic attempt at self-deprecation. Personally I tend to take the opportunity to cram in a bit of shameless self-promotion and list the reasons why my blog is actually a bit like a boyfriend. (A classic case of deflection, read into it what you will).

However this time your single status is all you're going to need because the lovely people over at Singles Warehouse have decided to give away a month's free membership to three of my lucky blog readers. Maybe you've been toying with the idea of joining a dating site but are unsure of which one to choose or perhaps you're a free dating site user looking to upgrade. Here's your chance to benefit from the facilities a premium service has to offer with absolutely no cost!

I've provided a brief rundown of these features here: Putting Your Best Face Forward

Whether you're newly single or have been gathering dust for a while - what have you got to lose?

All you have to do is follow these two simple steps:
  1. Register on the site for free here: Singles Warehouse
    Or here if you're in the US:
    Singles Warehouse US

  2. Tweet me @DirtyKnickers_ your unique 7 digit Membership Number

I'll choose three of the numbers at random and announce the winner tomorrow night!

Click Here for a few tips from yours truly on what to consider when filling out your profile.

Yes finding love really is that simple. Or at least it is on my blog. Now get registering!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Putting Your Best Face Forward

Throughout the course of an average day I  periodically succumb to my wild imagination and fall victim to prolonged speculative thinking. (Which not only hinders my productivity but also gives the impression to the people around me that I'm slightly unhinged). And naturally I can often be found trying to discern what the fundamental reason is behind my single status. Why do I come home to an empty bed every night? What exactly is that fatally flawed characteristic which prohibits me from becoming one half of a whole?

Last night however I finally discovered what the once tantalizingly indistinguishable reason was which had nagged me for years and have basked in the contentment of realization ever since. Tacos. Or to be more specific: the way in which I ate my tacos. I am actually going to die alone. An omission which is oddly calming. But anyway back to the Mexican horror show: pieces of mince and sauce dropping on to the untouched shells with a sickening thud, sour cream slurping down my chin and into my cleavage, grated cheese escaping into the folds of my pillow case (yes I also eat my meals in bed most of the time). All in all it was horrifically repugnant and shouldn't be viewed by an unassuming pet let alone another human being.

Interestingly, other reasons which have since been suggested to me since regaling people with my breakthrough are: that I snort when I find something especially amusing and apparently snore like a wildebeest. Did I mention that in lieu of having a special man in my life I'm surrounded by compassionate and understanding friends?

In the world of real life dating, such slovenly behaviour in front of your current squeeze just isn't tolerated. However the online world not only indulges it but deems it almost necessary in order to put yourself at ease and interact with your love interest in comfort. Which is exactly what I set about doing: searching for men who had no idea that I was currently totally unrecognizable from my photogenic default photograph (after licking my plate of course). Which is quite possibly one of the ultimate benefits of online dating. Conversing with single and attractive men while in a state of abstract ugliness would never be possible in the offline world.

And since registering with Singles Warehouse I've been putting my best face forward onscreen when in reality I'd have the power to turn someone to stone. (I think that's what they call empowered). 

Singles Warehouse is categorised in the general section of online dating sites. Which is the category I recommend. It's all very well registering yourself on a niche site in pursuit of people who share your specific beliefs, but the obvious drawback is that they're very limiting. And you're just not going to find as many people available as you would on a general site.

The great thing about Singles Warehouse in particular is that it's a perfect transition for avid users of social networking platforms such as Facebook, because it incorporates a lot of the elements that users will find familiar. Such as a timeline of events letting you know what other users are up to. But unlike Facebook it affords you the privilege of finding out which users have taken an interest and viewed your profile - stalkers heaven.

You're able to filter the messages you receive according to age and location, so you're not disappointed when you excitedly open your bursting inbox only to discover it's filled with men in their 50s or people who are very attractive but live on a different continent.

You can also use this tool to send out an icebreaker to men in your area who fit your requirements. And even though I'm not a fan of the 'one size fits all' message approach, it really is handy in getting the ball rolling and is more a tool for women than it is for men. You're guaranteed responses from men, because they're simple to maintain - kind of like plants. Women however need to feel as though they're the only one so appealing to them in this way will not get results. Men can instead use this tool to say something witty and refreshing which isn't aimed at all women but more like a tweet or a Facebook status.

And unlike other dating sites, user communication isn't just limited to inbox messages and instant messaging. It has an active community, allowing members to engage with each other through personal journals - which make for some very interesting reading! It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece to captivate your attention. It serves as turning a one-dimensional biography into a well-rounded portrayal of a person by subtly revealing the aspects of their personality.


It also incorporates a facility which I haven't seen anywhere else and that's a video function. If you struggle to come across well via the written word you should probably avoid online dating as a whole and any activity which doesn't involve coloured pencils. But it certainly enhances a profile and reveals the mystery of imagining what their voice sounds like.

Which can also serve as a deterrent, because if they have a particularly off-putting accent at least you can nip it in the bud early on and be on your way. Personally I'm pretty apathetic towards accents. But a deep masculine voice is essential criteria. Which is one of the reasons David Beckham and I never worked out. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Modern Romance

Now this is what I enjoy. Being laid siege to. The modern interpretation of courtly romance personified.

However if online dating has taught me anything, quantity is certainly not proportionate to quality. And by no means am I being derogatory towards the person but more how they've chosen to portray themselves.

Here's a quick check list of things I've encountered this morning which you should avoid doing in order to motivate a woman to reply:

Don't have a default photo of you with a drag Queen.

Don't be ambiguous and state that you're looking for 'anything'.

Don't have photos of your children on a dating profile.
(Unless of course they're your hobby).

Don't lie about your age.
(Or if you do make sure the date of birth correlates with the age you've specified in your bio. Though why you'd lie about being 25 when you're only 27 is a mystery).

Don't contact a woman if you rejected her when she was 15 for not having sex with you.

And even if you ignore everything else on this list, please don't write this:

"iam funny, horny and always up for anythin including a laugh .im polite and understanding also."

I haven't got time to go into why because my alarm/pill reminder app is alerting me that I must get ready for work. However I must hasten to add that the lack of grammar was copied word for word. And yes it's painful to even have it on my blog.

Ambivalent in the City


On Sunday evening a friend and I were languishing in my living room, discussing our lives and occasionally making scathing comments about the utterly ridiculous American suburban nightmare that is Desperate Housewives which currently adorned my flat screen. When suddenly she ventured the painfully open ended question,"so what's new on the love front?" At that moment I was trying to decide whether I was still hungover from the night before or drunk again after the obligatory hair of the dog that afternoon, so the abrupt reply which tumbled out of my mouth stunned us into mutual silence for a couple of seconds. 

"I don't even think about it. I'm disillusioned with it all."

I have a penchant for the dramatic I will concede, but it usually pertains to the more jovial side of things and there was certainly nothing remotely humourous about my confession. It was unnerving. Even more unnerving, it was actually quite a relief to lose my bawdy dirty knickers persona for that moment and indulge my insecurities for a change. (A rarity indeed, which was only able to come into fruition because my friendship with the aforementioned person is older than some of my teeth). So in order to combat my intense fickleness, I've decided to pursue love clarity.

For a little over a year now I've had a disjointed relationship with the world of online dating. Never able to take it seriously (something I have trouble applying to anything in my life) I detached myself from the notion of meeting someone and instead basked in some mean spirited ribbing. Opting lazily to micro blog the passive aggressive mirth via my Twitter account instead of dedicating my time to worthier musings on here.

The pursuit of clarity will start with offering constructive advice on the art of cultivating an attractive portrayal of yourself on dating sites. Naturally my uncontrollable urge to mock silly people who contact me will continue. It's just that in light of my recent loss of direction I'm aiming for a more balanced view of things. (It's also something people have requested that I do for a while now and my minions followers mean everything to me). I have also decided to finally give in and upgrade to a premium site in order to compare my online endeavours objectively.

And a place where I've been able to incorporate the two is a fairly recent dating site founded in 2010. Which relies more heavily on individual expression than any other dating site I've previously encountered. Singles Warehouse very much has the feel of a social networking site and conveys a well rounded portrayal of its users through facilities such as status updates and diary entries. I'll be giving a more detailed analysis of it in the coming week, once I've had chance to explore like the tentative yet eager premium dating virgin that I am.

For now here's a little teaser...


"Weight is definitely one of the more precarious subject area's. I lingered over the 'average/medium' option before briefly considering 'voluptuous' and finally settling on 'a little curvy'. Everyone knows that curvy means fat, which leaves voluptuous around the morbidly obese mark. But 'a little curvy' manages to be both positive and truthful. Which is fundamental when filling out these pesky little details. It admits that you are chubby but you can be thin at a good angle with the right knickers." 

Follow my pursuit of clarity which I'll be contributing to on Warehouse Life here: Dirty Knickers at Singles Warehouse