Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

Ok, now I can’t get the theme song of “Cops” out of my head!
This week the post will be from a single guest blogger and friend, Alanna Scully. She is a fabulous wedding photographer as well, (check out alannascully.com). She candidly reveals her weakness for bad boys, the type who don’t always wear leather jackets.

Alanna:
“When I was younger, I had a vision of how my life would turn out. I thought that by 30 I would have a career, I would have a family, and I would have a clear picture of who I was. I certainly thought I’d have this whole dating thing done and behind me. Or at the very least, I’d have it figured out and I’d be rocking it. Oh, how silly my predictions for the future were. Almost nothing happened the way it was supposed to, and I still have no idea how things are going to turn out. Sometimes that’s the fun part. Sometimes that part SUCKS. Still, I’d like to think that I learned a lot about dating, men, and relationships in my twenties. I’d like to think that I’ve grown into a more assertive, confident single girl who knows what she wants and what she won’t tolerate. But I’ll be honest, there’s one bad dating habit that I’ve found almost impossible to break. I’m talking about the age-old conundrum every girl out there has found herself in at one time or another: being attracted to the bad boy.

Now, I’m guessing you just had an image of a man pop in your head. Maybe it was Vin Diesel in the movie The Fast and the Furious. Maybe Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club. Maybe it was your ex in the movie How The Hell Could You Do This To Me I Still Love You and Want to Have Your Babies You Selfish Prick. Whoever you pictured, I’m willing to bet that he’s sexy, he’s smoldering, and he’s completely wrong for you. Maybe he was your college frat-boy boyfriend who was cheating on you with his TA (totally hypothetical, this did not happen to me). Maybe he was your high school boyfriend who was the captain of the football team and oh-so-irresistible, but he wouldn’t admit in the hallways of school that you two were together (unfortunately not hypothetical, this ACTUALLY happened to me). Whoever he was, he was impossible to ignore. He IS impossible to ignore. Because he has that indefinable something that keeps you coming back no matter how horribly he treats you.

In the movies, the bad boy is always wearing a leather jacket, riding a Harley and smoking Marlboros. His hair is sometimes longer and unkempt, or he’s the true rebel with a shaved head (in reality this is probably just to cover up the onset of hereditary baldness, but I still wouldn’t throw Jason Statham out of my bed for a ham sandwich)… nonetheless, he has a certain look on the silver screen. But in real life, the bad boy I’m talking about is much harder to identify. I’m talking about the bad at texting guy, the bad at making plans guy and the bad at following through guy, the bad at giving clear signals guy. The bad at being a good guy guy. He could be clean cut, with a college degree (or several), a great job, strong connections to his family. He probably doesn’t own a leather jacket and maybe he’s never smoked a Marlboro in his life. He’s harder to spot because from the outside, he’s everything you want for yourself, and so it’s easy to overlook the warning signs. Who cares that he takes a day to respond to text messages, or that he never initiates plans with you? Who cares that he’s not that nice to you, doesn’t open doors for you, doesn’t like your friends or want to meet your family? He’s got that one thing that you fool yourself into thinking you won’t find in another person, the thing that lines up in your head with what you think you’ve always wanted. For some girls, it’s the right job. Others might place a lot of importance on physical appearance. For me, it’s simple: tall and funny men are the end all, be all. I would probably fall over naked if Conan O’ Brien walked by right now. Yeah, I said it. Conan O’ Brien. He’s tall and he’s hilarious and so he fits my criteria. Don’t judge me.

I think as women, we always have visions of what we want in our heads. And I do not think that’s a bad thing in the least. It’s good to know what you want. However, I know many single girls who have actual lists of what they are looking for in a mate, and refuse to settle if a guy doesn’t have certain qualifications for their list. Here’s the problem with that: if you’re so fixed on the fact that this totally-wrong-for-you guy has some very key and very superficial characteristics that are on your list, you’re overlooking all the characteristics he might be missing. Don’t get me wrong, I think compromise is good and I think sometimes we need to lower our high expectations. But if you are compromising romance, love and support for someone who meets your height requirement or makes six figures, the person you need to be taking a look at is yourself.

We are all deserving of someone great in our lives. Someone who lifts us up instead of putting us down. Someone whose word can be trusted because when they say they’ll do something, they always follow through on it. Someone who is as interested in who we are and what we’re about as we are in who they are and what they’re about. The bad boy might be appealing in the beginning, but don’t be fooled for long. Don’t waste your precious time chasing someone who doesn’t want to be caught. No girl should have to spend weeks or months sitting by the phone, waiting for a scrap of his time and attention. No matter how good he looks in that leather jacket.”

My response:

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Playing your cards right?

Valentines Day this year was shocking to me….I only talked to two people that whole week who were excited about valentines day. The restaurants weren’t packed, there were no roses around the office, I even went to a hair salon expecting women to be getting done up for the big night but nothing. Most people seemed to have “forgotton” about it, didn’t care, watched House of Cards debut on Netflix or ranted about how it’s a made up holiday. (Valentines Day is a Saint Day which is a holiday, celebrating St. Valentine who married couples who were forbidden to marry- sounds pretty bad ass cupid to me)

What surprised me the most was that my single friends actually made better plans than my couple friends. At least some of my single friends went out for the night just for fun and to celebrate. What is it about valentines day that makes people uncomfortable? Is it the perceived pressure?

My question is, when there is an excuse to celebrate life or love, do you embrace it or belittle it? I’m not saying you have to go for the overpriced roses (or god forbid carnations!) but you can use the day as an excuse to show love or be a hopeful romantic? I almost wish we could go back to school where we each gave everyone in the class a valentine and candy hearts with “u rock” on them.

Whether you are single or with someone, can we make more of an effort to celebrate in life? Make an occasion out of nothing.

As a single person, valentines day is an excuse to go out with friends, wear obnoxious combinations of red and pink, and celebrate all types of love in your life. As a couple, it’s an excuse to write down why you love someone, do a random act of kindness and get some nookie.

So to all my single friends who stayed home alone on Valentines Day and watched House of Cards…were you really playing your cards right?

Hopeless or hopeful romantic?

This question is for my single ladies out there. When someone asks you about your love life… “Are you seeing anyone special? How’s the dating going?” How do you reply? Do you reply with groans and moans about how you hate dating and it sucks. Or do you draw on the positives of being single?

The single status does not automatically equate misery or some latency period or limbo where you are waiting until you get in a relationship. I challenge you to think of five reasons why you love being single. What are the opportunities and adventures that being single gives you?

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Don’t be Easy, but be Easy.

A friend of mine visited me in cork this weekend and I have to say she really worked it! Her game was spot on, and she met an amazing man, so let me tell you how she did it.
I’m not sure what came over my friend but after years of knowing her, she finally asked me to date coach her so I was thrilled. In order to set the mood for going out and meeting people, we did some shopping and she got a new dress and heels. Then we popped into Clinique for a free makeover. What she did well was she opted for a more feminine and sophisticated look, as a petite girl of 5’3 it was important not to look too girly. Her makeup choices were also very natural and simple. She was feeling more confident already. Then to decide what to wear that night, although the new black dress she bought was amazing, I pushed for a little more colour so she would pop when she entered a room. She went with an amazing coral dress, long lace sleeves but short with heels. Even though she was begging to wear the tights, and it was cold, I pushed for a little bare leg (I think it’s important to flaunt chest or legs but not both at the same time). Hair down and sassy, she had the look and the confidence.

Strategy 1: Smile at the room.

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Fate or Fatal Mistake?

How do you think love will happen for you? Do you believe in fate, destiny, or serendipity? Or do you believe that life is what we make of it and hold more value in choice and action? Or maybe you’re beliefs about love fall somewhere in between? How we view love affects how we will pursue or not pursue dating.

I have had many women tell me about their love lives, how they are excelling in dating or their frustrations. Many times they end their story with a statement about fate such as “But I guess if it’s going to happen it will happen” “You can’t force love” “It comes when you aren’t looking” “What’s for you won’t pass you by” and so on. I don’t necessarily disagree with these statements but what I find interesting is that these statements lead us away from action into a passive state. Instead of focusing on what we CAN do, we sometimes rely on these beliefs to stop trying and trust in fate.

This question about fate often makes me think of how I met my husband. You might have similar stories about how your parents met, or maybe some couple admire. Notice how you tell these stories; often they include an element of fate or chance. If you dig deeper though, there were also elements of choice and action to these stories. The night I met my husband I was at a birthday party at a local pub. The party consisted of mostly couples who knew each other very well and I knew the chance that I was going to meet someone new was slim. When the party suggested going to a bar across the street (a total dive bar notorious for old Irish men!) I made my exit and said “Sorry guys I have to go meet someone”. I hopped in a taxi to a comedy club across town by myself and there I met my husband. Yes, there were some elements of chance that we both happened to be there at the same place that night, but if you dig deeper, there was a strong current of action, choice, and pursuing what you want. I wanted to meet someone. I had to make a choice to leave a fun group of people that I was very comfortable with and venture out on my own. I even had a migraine that night and everything in my body told me to go home, but I didn’t want to miss any opportunities to meet the one.

How can you create more opportunities for fate? Can you say yes to an invitation this week, even though you don’t really know anyone there? Can you ask someone if they have any nice friends to set you up with? Can you check out a dating app/online service/or singles event in your area? Can you move location when you are sitting around bored at a pub? Can you strike up a conversation with someone new or hold a smile and eye contact with a cute guy across the way? Can we still put all our hope in fate or will waiting around for love be a fatal mistake?

I’m still not sure if fate exists, but what I am sure of is that the man of your dreams isn’t going to magically appear when you are sitting at home alone on your couch on a Friday night (unless you are online dating or you have a thing for pizza delivery guys…think Loverboy (1989) with Patrick Dempsey)

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Kiss the love of your life next New Year’s Eve

The holidays are often a time when we resolve ourselves to change – to exercise more, manage our stress or to meet someone special. Holiday celebrations often involve spending time with family and may bring up strong feelings, values and ideals around love, loyalty and creating your own family. New Year’s Eve is often accompanied by the pressure to find a romantic kiss at midnight. For many of us, the holidays are a reminder that we want a partner to share life with.

A lot of us set lofty goals for new years, mostly revolving around weight loss and fitness, only to break them a few weeks into the new year. Instead of six pack abs or losing a dress size, how about gaining love in your life? Can you resolve to meeting the one this year? Yes, in 2014! Many of us believe meeting the one is out of our control  (see blog “fate or fatal mistake”) but I truly believe that there are concrete actions that you can take today to improve your love life.

First we must start with a vision. Where do you see your life in 2014? Write a letter to yourself for December 31, 2014 , the first line reading “I had a great year because….”. Then list off all the accomplishments you had in life and your love life (thanks for the idea Greg Canty).
Another way to envision your future love life is to create a vision board.

Second – you must envision your mate. Start with a list of 20 qualities you would like in a partner (e.g. appearance, education, interests, values…) and then five ‘must haves’ or dealbreakers! – maybe don’t go this far though:

Your must haves are important because this is where you will not compromise. You may like a guy who is over 6ft but it may not be a dealbreaker, but wanting kids might be for you.

That’s it! Envision your future love life and the partner that’s out there waiting for you. After that let’s get started on strategies to meet and snag your perfect mate so when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st 2014…you kiss the love of your life! (and not Seamus from accounting).

Want to kiss the love of your life next New Year's Eve?  (Image via Wikimedia Commons at  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Strangers_on_a_Train_-_Romance.png)

Want to kiss the love of your life next New Year’s Eve? (Image via Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Strangers_on_a_Train_-_Romance.png)