The Things I've Learnt From Russell Brand

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Whilst on my travels I've been watching a few Russell Brand YouTube videos recommended by a friend. Russell has got deeply bearded and philosophical about life, like we all do when we encroach on middle age. 

I thought I'd share with you some of the things I've picked up from listening to his podcast, Under the Skin, and his counselling sessions on YouTube. 

ON ATTACHMENT 

From Russell..

"People forming attachments to people. We only notice the negative ones. Negative attachment suggests that you're drawn to people that don't make you feel good about yourself. 

We then get involved in a cycle of relationships that you're unable to break often through fear. 'If I leave this relationship I won’t survive'. You need support from your need mentors that have been there and have overcome it. You need to help cultivate your sense that you have the resources in you to overcome it. A bit of self-belief, a bit of intestinal fortitude." 

What I did

It was an eye opener for me. I've been drawn to the wrong flame for a while. Constantly going back for more hurt, like I know it awaits. Like it has a welcome mat laid out for me alone. 

So I took Russell's advice. I called on some people I knew that had been through this. Asked them what kind of resources did they call upon to get over such mental hurdles. One friend said he forced himself to write down 100 things about himself that made him unique. 

He then made a list every day of ten positive things he had done. Even if they were little things like 10 press ups. Or called an old friend. It filling out that list it would make him look for positive and productive actions. 

That's what you need to turn things around. Change your mental landscape. 

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HOLDING A GRUDGE 

What Russell says.. 

"Holding a grudge. It's a resentment, its serious thing. If you have a grudge, loads of people in my past, the relationships I had, didn't end it the way I wanted it to. 

People live in a world with instincts, people have collisions. 

We forgive them. It's our job to forgive them. We forgive them. Don't say it to them, say it to yourself. 

Got a grudge you used to be in a relationship with, did I do anything to them, was I negligent? If you're willing to make amends, then you'll find you move forward in your ability to forgive." 

What I did.. 

I have been thinking recently of people that have done me a 'disservice'. People have come after me this year, I've spoken about that in previous blogs. I have to forgive them. I can't waste any more energy on bitter thoughts. 

I am capable of forgiveness so I've employed that facet of my nature. Conversely I've also talked openly about my misgivings. My flaws and the things I've done wrong that might have invite this level of hatred. I feel like I've forgiven myself in the process. Time to move on. I'm a shark baby, need to keep moving forward. 

LAZYNESS

What Russell says.. 

"What about the Rock and Mark Wahlberg getting up at 3am to do push ups in cryo chambers. 

It’s hard to get up at 7am. I'd like to stay in bed. I love to be cosy and snug. Don't we all. But then those feelings are always followed by anxiety and depression that you should be doing something else. 

There's moral attachment to actions and objects. The work ethic is intrinsically linked to morality, the dream of individualism from inner self you manifest these great lives, the apex of human achievements. It's very American isn't it. 

But then you look at cats and dogs doing nothing bugger all. And they're doing as good as you.

Laziness a nihilism. A personal nihilism. What's the point in doing anything. It's ok to rest, relax, important to have discipline. Find your own standards, abide by them. 

Laziness is only relevant if you feel you're not fulfilling your potential."

What I Did.. 

I've learned to accept that I can't get around to doing everything. I've made my peace with that. I wanted to release a podcast last year. Bought all the gear, did all the research. even interviewed my first guest. But there are only a certain amount of hours in the day. I couldn't allocate any time to it. 

This isn't because I'm lazy. I didn't do it because I couldn't be arsed. Similarly I'm not on holiday to avoid work. I'm working believe me. I just post the idyllic Instagram posts to throw you all off the scent. 

What I learned from Russell Brand was to abide by my own rules. Implement my own disciplines. I won't ever be lazy, but I need to learn that it's ok to sleep in once in a while. Not all of us want to get up at 3am. Screw that. 

 

Dressing For a Date: Where do mature guys go wrong?

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There is no such thing as over dressing for a date. There is such as thing as dressing too casually. The biggest mistakes grown men make on dates is heeding the advice of girls when they tell you 'just be yourself'.

Sound familiar?

My advice for dressing for a date is don't be yourself, because 'yourself' is single and gives you horrible advice.

You might think fashion isn't important. Even one of the greatest trailblazers of the 60's peacock fashion era, Mr Fish, was quoted as saying, 'people get hung up on fashion, it's really not that important'.

Don't be duped. Your style and what you wear on a date could be the deal breaker. I remember on a lousy date back in the day (before I really took much notice of fashion), I took a girl on a date on a bitterly cold winters night in South Putney. When it came time at the end of the night she rebuffed my advances.

Somewhat crestfallen I asked why? She said bluntly, "Well I've turned up in this," highlighting her gorgeous figure hugging black sequin dress, "and you've turned up in that," pointing at my generic black gilet.

The enormous golf between us immediately evident, and it wasn't just disparate worlds of style, it was that she had gone to the effort of looking nice. So where are mature men going wrong with style? Not putting in the effort.

Women have uncanny knack of knowing whether you've just come from the office, or you're wearing the same outfit you'd wear to your friends BBQ. You need to first and foremost, make the effort.

SHOES

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Women notice these before anything else. Well, they notice a man’s height first, then it’s the shoes. Then it’s the ass, your face is somewhere in the mix but believe me, your shoes usurp most boxes to be ticked.

I was in the room once when a girl gave a friend of mine an excoriating review of a friend's style. I asked the girl in jest, 'You would date Tom wouldn't you?' She fired immediately, NEVER!

Poor Tom, "WHY," he asked broken hearted.

"Tom you wear shoes that looked like they were bought in the 80's and last cleaned in the 90's." The next day Tom text me a picture of a pair of wingtip brogues he had just purchased from John Lobb on Jermyn Street. Tough love is some medicine.


TROUSERS

Where guys go wrong on dates is not so much the style of the trouser, but the fit and the colour. Women tend to hate corduroy. In fact I've never met a woman that likes corduroy on a man so keep those tucked away until you have your feet under the table.

If you're going Chinos, don't gamble on what Steve Coogan refers to as "Those twat colours." Personally I don't mind "twat colours." I wouldn't wear them per say, but people can be overly sniffy about these kind of things. New & Lingwood do a quite exotic collection of multi-coloured chinos and they look fantastic.

My point is, don't gamble on dates. Don't run the gauntlet of trying to looking young, hippy, happy-go-lucky. Mature women don't want chancers, they want virile men. They look for resourceful men. That's why the whole Crocodile Dundee film is flawed.

Sue would never ditch money bags Richard for some penniless chain-smoking Aussie who had zero utility in the city.


SHIRTS

It's the fit gentleman. That's all I want to say on the matter. Where a shirt on a date to prove you made an effort. That this isn't just a stop gap on the way to see your mates at the boozer.

A fitted shirt you can find quite readily at Hawkins & Shepherd. I have an unbelievable amount of shirts, all varying styles and fits for all occasions.

Failing that, get a shirt from a shirtmaker that will be absolutely nailed on to your body shape. You will pay a premium, but see it as an investment for your future. If you want express some individualism why not try Turnbull & Asser and have some fun with the cuffs. Their signature cocktail cuffs are the best.

BLAZERS

Nothing grey! No woman I've ever encountered has told me she finds a grey suit jacket on a man attractive. You might have some misgivings about putting on a jacket for a date. Seems a bit stiff right?

Wrong. Dead wrong fools! You're a grown up now. No denim jackets, no biker jackets, no bomber jackets. You have to prove to the lady in question, that after this date, you can go on to any members club in London. In fact you're dressed so well, it becomes like a scene from Goodfellas where they welcome you with open arms like and give you a table at the front by the band.

Please Note: I’ll be one of the men’s coaches at the Dating Show Live in June if anyone would like some one-to-one advice or support.

Is She Ready For a Relationship? 5 Signs You Could be Wasting Your Time

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Guys, ever been on a date with a girl where she can't stop chatting about her ex? She starts trash talking him about how he did this, did that. In the back of your mind you're thinking, 'wow this guy sounds like a real dick, I'm nothing like this guy'. 

That's sign number one

She can't stop talking about someone in her past is never a good sign. Unless the guy abused her physically or emotionally, then take it with a pinch of salt. Maybe after about 30 minutes of her whittling on about how he forgot every anniversary, pipe up with 'Hey, knock it off! I'm not here to talk about him.' To quote Bill Withers, "Put them other cats away and let me try to make something in your life." 

Sign number two

You're not the project. 

What's that mean Cryptic Carl? 

It means she has something going on in her life, that is unequivocally more important than you. The relationship is a by-product, you're the passenger. 

Her project is often 'herself'. I need to work on myself, ever had that one pulled on you only to find she's in a relationship two weeks later? I once dated a girl who was doing massive renovation work to her house. I didn't mind helping out, it felt like something we were both working towards. 

But I quickly realised that this was her house. This was her sole objective and she was not about to be derailed by the restraints of relationships. Which is fair enough. I'm wildly attracted to driven and ambitious women. I'm also mindful that I could be viewed as a distraction and any distractions or obstacles could be jettisoned/dispensed with quite ruthlessly. As it duly did. 

Sign number three

She loves to travel right? She talks about nothing else. Maybe she's already talking about her retirement plans in the Costa Brava, but guess what, she's not mentioned the key word once, "WE". 

Where are you featuring in all the grand schemes in her life? Does she envisage you both on that Morocco beach piling through the happy hour menu together?  

This is a red flag in my book. We all like to dream big sweetheart but we need to dream that dream together. 

Sign number four

She drinks like a damn fish. But you're hooked on this girl so you've also inherited a mild drinking problem. Perhaps it's the only way the two of you can have a lucid conversation. Break down the barriers of shyness. 

When a girl drinks like every night is a hen night, then she's not in the right place. Maybe you like to get a buzz on, get out on a Friday together and cut loose, but it's bad news if you're trying to catch that same buzz every Friday night. Or even in some of my own previous experiences, every night. 

There is something going on underneath. Something she thinks the booze can heal. But of course, to coin an old adage, the answer is never found at the bottom of the bottle. 

Sign number five

She's not asking you enough questions. When you're wondering whether she's into you or not ask yourself, has this girl even asked me a question in the last half hour? 

I've listened to her rabbit on about how tough it is being an influencer (which it isn't. roofing, working on a production line, being a hod carrier, digging ditches, that's tough) but she hasn't even asked what it is I want out of life. 

Any girl that lets 30 minutes go by without asking a question is a narcissist. Not a great sign she has any room in her life, when she her own inflated ego is taking up all the space. 

Please Note: I’ll be one of the men’s coaches at the Dating Show Live in June if anyone would like some one-to-one advice or support.

Being a Gentleman & What Does That Mean Nowadays?

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When someone refers to a person as a gentleman, what qualities are they referring to? It's getting harder to discern these days right? Everyone offers the facade, with the advent of affordable made to measure clothes, a man can look the part of a gentleman for under £200 these days. 

"You could almost pass as a gentleman," Billy Zane remarks as he fleetingly witnesses the transformation of Di Caprio from his vintage plaid jacket into his peak lapel black tie tuxedo. To which Di Caprio's character Jack replies, "almost". 

It's an interesting juxtaposition. Zane's character effuses all the charm and verisimilitude of a gentleman when amongst his peers and contemporaries, but as an audience we are see his guard slip as he takes malicious pleasure in belittling the lower classes. 

Not the sign of a gentleman right? 

The uneducated Di Caprio successfully upstages Zane in the Gentleman department by way of virtue, displaying courage and honesty, treating all classes equally with either the same respect or disdain. 

OK Carl we get it, you've seen Titanic, we get it. 

So what makes a gentleman these days. 

I've got some thoughts. A gentleman should really abide by these rules. 

With your woman

You need to ask about the ladies health. How she is feeling. What part of her body aches. She might be stressed at work, you need to ask how her day was and what's on her mind. You need to be the confident, the carer, her counsel and everything between. 

With your friends

You need to respect their boundaries. You need to ask permission for things. Remember birthday's. Remember their daughters and girlfriends names. A gentleman will pick up the conversation where you left off, remembering what it was that you had going on in your life.

I remember at a recent party being incredibly seduced by an acquaintance who asked about Charlie, my blog, he remembered the name of my brand and the troubles I was having with distributors at the time.

I was utterly seduced that this guy, quite high up in the social pecking order, could actually remember all that. Store it all away somewhere. It meant a lot to me and it was the sign of a gentleman. 

Remember. Remember. Remember!! 

Before turning up to any party I will always take a quick askance at someone’s social feed and see what they've been up to. Enquire about their latest holiday. You probably blindly liked every picture on Instagram but now it's time to investigate and ask would they recommend the city, what were the locals like etc. 

A gentleman will be worldly, or opinionated. 

I don't mean well read. But a gentleman will never be found speechless when it comes to current affairs. For example did you know that at one point the wildfires in America were spreading at the rate of 80 football field a minute? 

Be prepared to have something to say on anything topical. Read the news and don't be found out if someone turns to you and asks, what do you think? 

A gentleman will know. Or at least, convince everyone else he knows before making an excuse to leave before anyone finds out he's a charlatan. 

What does it mean these days? To be a gentleman, sure we can all look like one. But it's in the way we conduct ourselves. Be in control of ones faculties (I.E not hammered on the dance floor at 3am asking anyone with a pulse for a shag), be on time, be professional, respect the dress code. 

Appreciate the flaws in others. The flaws, in yourself. Be willing to admit your sorry. Pick your battles. Don't send spam. Have you ever received a mail out from a gentleman? Doesn't exist.

A gentleman will send a personalised email, thanking you for your time. Your hospitality. He will remark on something personal he took away from the time he spent in your company. 

That's it for now. I don't pretend to be the moniker for what constitutes being a gentleman. This is really a stream of consciousness, a cerebral expunging of my thoughts as I get asked a lot, what is a gentleman? 

Please Note: I’ll be one of the men’s coaches at the Dating Show Live in June if anyone would like some one-to-one advice or support.

Mental Health | Why Social Media Can be the Catalyst

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It's been a whirlwind few weeks for me. Most of you may have guessed that something was afoot from the dogged-dour undertones in my latest stories and Instagram posts. As the old adage goes, you never really know you're on top of the mountain until you're sliding down, and conversely, never know you're in a pit, until you're forced to climb your way out. 

This past week the eyes of the world have turned to Mental Health. It seems weird that as a society we only allocate one day of the year to focus on this blithe. I've developed my entire brand around social media. In a way it defines me, it emboldens me, whilst simultaneously being a saboteur of my sanity. 

I'm sure we all know that feeling of needing attention, but there is no catharsis for the out-bleeding of emotions on social media. Although we've come to depend on that short-sweet spike of attention that comes with a flurry of likes and comments, it pales in comparison to an arm around the shoulder.

It lacks any form of nourishment and in the end, the virtual family we've become so heavily dependent on to prop us up with that false sense of appreciation, eviscerates. It compounds our hollowness as we're constantly looking for it to satiate something illusory.

Put simply, Social Media is purely a crux, a servitude for our boundless narcissism. It's not equipped to tackle nor cure such complex personal issues such as depression, heartbreak or loneliness. 

That's not to say that Social Media doesn't have it's upticks. Who's to say a simple comment or like can't be anodyne to ones insecurities or loneliness? I've carved out a career around Social Media. It keeps the lights on here in the Thompson household and both Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege (founders of Instagram) can sit at the head of my dinner table anytime. 

For the greater good we must appreciate the very essence of what Social Media has imbued into our day to day lives. People are less likely to slip through the cracks of life now that we have a more connected society.

For example, how many times have you seen someone post or share news on a missing person or pet? I love the quote a criminologist from Florida used citing Social Media as the new milk carton campaign to find missing teens.

As a business tool it of course helps my outreach, but it also inspires me to do better. It's a fine balance, somedays social media makes my life feel a little anaemic that I'm not in that perfect relationship, on that amazing holiday, wearing that awesome coat. But conversely, we all need things to aspire to. So long as those aspirations and expectations are realistic. 

 

Christ this supposed to be a blog on positivity and gratitude Carl! 

I'll get to that at the bottom. My five things that have helped me but first I'd like to refer you to a video that has been doing the rounds, all the words in this video have resonated with me so thank you Steven Bartlett. 

Steve talks pointedly about social media being the biggest killer of relationships today. It was simpler times for our parents and grandparents that never had to combat the perils of having a thousand and one 'keenly filtered faces' being one coquettish DM away from having your partners knickers down. It's something that Steve so aptly names 'the illusion of choice'. 

The choice is another thing that magically disappears once your now re-indexed from forbidden fruit to rebound-damaged goods. 

But the biggest takeaways I got from the Steven Bartlett video was how we've now mistakenly identified what a true relationship looks like. If you took a myopic-digital analysis of all relationships it would probably look like every moment was lived on a Hollywood movie set.

You'd be drowned in a cacophony of balcony shots overlooking the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como. It would sound like the constant 'clinking' of champagne flutes and every photo would be lauded with saccharin lovey-dovey sentiments. 

No wonder we're so surprised when people break up these days. No arguments are documented online, no trouble on the home front can ever be exposed to the masses. 

"I don't get it you two seemed perfect together. You were the most romantic of couples, always declaring your unbridled affection for each other, what happened?" 

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How do I turn my life around? 

Don't take it so personally

That's right snowflakes, it's not always about you. It's sometimes about the other party not having the god damn self-awareness to know they've turned you down. Oh unrequited is the worst word in the English language isn't it? Followed by, not feeling that spark. Urggggh. Girls, keep on searching for that illusive spark. Is it a thing or have you just seen it on someone else honeymoon reel? 

Find the humour

It's the best medicine, trust me. Have a glance through your rolodex, pick out your friends you know that will cheer you up. They're probably the worst listeners also, which is fine. You're not seeking to unload all your crap onto them. You call on them to do the opposite, take your mind off it. 

Absolute radio silence

In my experience the fastest and easiest way get over a breakup is to go cold-turkey. I’ve got a really stubborn side to my personality that actually makes this possible without the need for blocking but I have to be honest, I’ve cracked and it’s most often after a few too many drinks.

However as I’m offering advice here…no more back and forth on the text, checking you're ok, wishing you happiness and all that. A clean break is what you need. If you think, 'Maybe I didn't try hard enough to keep her, I should fight more for this relationship' then you've watched too many Bridget Jones Diary movies.  

Get to work - be like Liam Neeson 

Get in shape. If you're already in shape get in better shape. The exercise will tire you out so you're not watching box sets 'til 4 in the morning. If you're already making money, make more money and revel in it. Do everything and more. Liam Neeson never turned a single script after his wife died. 

Be grateful, it's not the end of the world

Someone else is having a worse day than you. Jesus Christ did you see that story from New York about that Limo crashing on the way to a birthday party, killing all 18 people inside and two pedestrians. Four sisters died in that crash, you imagine being a parent to that? I know right, your problems aren't worth sh*t in comparison to that. 

Don't Blow it | What to Wear on a First Date

Hello gentlemen, some of you may have got wind that I'll be appearing on the The Dating Live Show in November. Over the years I've been guilty of being over meticulous when it comes to selecting outfits for dates. Ironing my pocket squares and bleaching the crepes of my outer soles with obsessive-fastidiousness. 

Having pride in your appearance is one thing, but shouldn't be done at the cost of sucking all the fun and frivolity out of fashion. 

 

1# What NOT to wear on a first date 

No gilets. I made that mistake some years ago. My primary focus was utility on this particular date. It was nippy, we had been over familiar on the texts which meant I could dress down. My date arrived looking incredibly exotic in a Burberry dress and sequin jacket. Immediately she remarked upon my gilet and scoffed. 

The date was terrible, partly because my confidence was blown before we had even reached the restaurant. 

TIP: Make the effort. This is an audition. You're not watching the footy down the pub with your mates. 

  

2# Make that change

That's right listen to immortal words of Michael Jackson. If you're going to a date straight from work then you must prepare before leaving the house. Don't crumple your date gear into a plastic bag along with your lunchtime bananas. Make the effort; it's the best way to make a first impression. 

TIP: There are plenty of clothes carriers out there to help you keep your clothes immaculate during travel. I would recommend the David Gandy designed Aerodrome travel carrier for Aspinal of London.

 

3# Don't put on a costume

You're going on a date, you're not opening a store on Savile Row and there won't be a swarm of paparazzi flocking in a rugby like scrum taking pictures of you both. My point is you don't need to wear the punisher for this one. (The punisher is the one outfit in your wardrobe you wear to stop traffic). Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. 

TIP: Choose comfortable fabric and less constricting clothes. Don't opt for any figure hugging. There is nothing more off putting for a woman than having a button pop off and land with deft defying accuracy in her flat white or Aperol Spritz.

 

4# Smart Casual 

When I go on dates I tend to wear neutral or monochrome colours, fitted jeans, contrasting each garment but softly. Ultimately I want my outfit to be reasonably safe, no garish or bilious motifs or logos. I'm a huge proponent that you can't go far wrong with a crisp white shirt.  

Just please wear clean brogues or trainers. (Despite my self-effacing opener about bleaching the crepes of my trainers, I still dutifully clean them before leaving for a date). 

TIP: To coin a football analogy you just need to run this into the corner flag. You've done the hard work and got her on a date, don't risk going for broke on anything ostentatious. Simply obey a couple of rules; clean trainers, fitted clothes not spray on, no gambles. If you'd like to embellish the look at all accessorise a little with bands, bracelets, necklaces, certainly a watch. 

 

5# Envisage and give her something new

Dress your age. I've completely forgotten about that one. Remember you're 35 not 25, no need to rock the R2D2 tee shirt, unless you're taking her to a convention. Actually, screw that. Who cares if it's a convention, dress like you're auditioning for the role of future husband.

When you arrive on your first date you should also wear something that she hasn't seen in your online profile picture. She might see you in that outfit that you're wearing in a dozen or so Instagram posts and think you're wardrobe survives on shoestring budget. When you ask her to go halves on the coffee, no matter how 'new man' you want to come across, her suspicions will be confirmed. 

TIP: Not every date warrants a new trip to Reiss, but change the order up. Make sure there's a new combination that hasn't been snapped or seen before. If you're really on a shoestring budget ask a close friend if you can borrow 'that shirt' you like. 

  

6# Believe in yourself

You know my philosophy of never being in competition with yourself. This ideology has to be nailed down before you arrive on the date. 

You need to project the best version of yourself and your choice in wardrobe will say a lot more than the spoken word ever could.

Being comfortable and most importantly confident in the clothes you are wearing will breed confidence in other areas of your date, such as the chat and the flirty interactions.

Remember above all else, have fun. Remember to smile, like she said, 'You're never fully dressed without a smile'.  

TIP: Don't slouch; make sure your posture is not slovenly and hunched. Try and arrange the date in a venue you're familiar with to ease anxieties. Opt for comfort over style. Again, this is a date, not a lifestyle shoot for GQ. 

 

How Much of Attraction is Based on Looks?

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I want to know how much do women rate looks when it comes to attraction. The majority of women I talk to will tell you that the first thing they notice about a man walking towards them is the height. How does he carry himself? Then it's a case of working from south to north. What is he wearing on his feet? Followed by what is he overall style. Do his clothes fit? Is he slovenly or does he take pride in his appearance.

The looks are probably the last to come in to play.

So what are women looking at when it comes to a man and how can you fine tune these areas of your game?

 

Can I naturally increase my height?

There is some things that you're just going to have live with. Height being one of them. However, if you're hung up on height then you can always try some of these tricks.

Pile the hair. Assuming you have some, creating a top knot or some kind of buffoon really does gives a taller impression, again creating a more vertical line. Look for shampoo that will enhance the volume and accentuate appropriately without donning the Jedward.

Avoid horizontal lines. Yes, shame, you probably love that Breton striped tee and that leather belt that belonged to your Granddad, but they've got to go. The horizontal line that is created by the belt visually cuts the body in half.

Elongate the Neck. A long neck has the verisimilitude of length. If you're short with long hair, you'll be covering the neck and doing your height an injustice. V-necks are a decent way of exposing some extra neck but then you'll be wading into appropriate chest hair territory. 

Platform Shoes. Awhile back I highlighted the new collection from Parisian shoe maker Clergerie. They have some quite out-there designs but with a very exaggerated heel. Contradictory to that I'm going to tell you that you should pair the shoe colour with your pants, as Mia Du Plessis writes on Quora.

You need a shoe that does not contrast too heavily with trousers. Keeping your pants the same colour as your shoes will make it more difficult for the eye to distinguish where the leg ends and the foot begins. 

 

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Do women prefer muscular men?

This might sound like a no-brainer but there are some women that will scoff at the site of a muscular man. Remember Woody Allen has sex with countless women and do you think that guy ever benched more than his typewriter from one room to the other?

I've thumbed through a couple of studies that women’s past short-term sex partners would be more muscular than their other (longer term) sex partners. 

The findings show that women find muscular men sexually attractive but believe they are less likely to be committed, and further studies suggest women prefer less muscularity in a long-term partner. 

 

So should I bulk up? 

Women prefer muscles, no doubt about it. But judging by those studies, the women that go for muscles are not going to hang around for long. 

I'd recommend simply getting in between walking around weight and fighting weight. If you're currently in holiday weight mode, then you're going to have work twice as hard to get attention. 

 

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Finally, what about hair? Do women fancy bald guys at all? 

Jason Statham crushes more ass than you could possibly dream of. He's even called 'Handsome Rob' in the Italian Job remake and the dude is now 50 without a hair on his head. 

In truth some do. Some don’t. Older women are more likely to be okay with bald men than younger ones, but that's me being generalist, not based on fact. 

However, a blanket statement that does apply is that bald men are definitely more attractive than balding men.

If you shave your head it subliminally tells people you're transparent, have nothing to hide, women prefer those qualities. 

Alopecia can get you down. Luckily it's not something I have to deal with but it's one of many mens health issues that a lot of guys struggle with. 

A little side note that a lot of web forums will site Jason Statham, Vin Diesel and Yul Brynner as the sexiest bald men of all time. Only two of these gentlemen were bald. Yul Brynner shaved his head, he was bald by choice. 

That's it from me, I hope you've taken away something from this article. Ladies if you have anything to contribute then please leave a comment in the box below. 

 

The Best Books to Up Your Dating Game

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Gentleman, it's been over 13 years since many of us picked up The Game by Neil Strauss, chucked on the most bilious of shirts and peacocked up and down the streets of Soho like the horrible wretches we were. Has there been any other decent books about dating since then that will help us up our game? Here's a list I've put together for you. 

 

Confessions of a Tinderella 

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It's not all about learning chat up lines and body language. This book from Rosy Edwards talks about what Tinder can be like from the other side of the fence. Are women just as frivolous when it comes to swiping as guys? Are they any less materialistic? Rosy talks about where guys are going wrong on Tinder in a candid and hilarious way. 

 

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

Yes it's fiction, but High Fidelity is a real page turner. The film is also a great watch and it really encompasses a spiritual journey that all men would like to embark on; hounding out our ex-girlfriends and finding out why they dumped us. 

 

You Just Don't Understand - Deborah Tannen

How often do we get to hear that? Tannen makes the important point that if two people communicate in different ways, continuing with the same approach - only trying even harder - won't solve problems when they are at cross purposes.

Not currently in print but well worth digging out if you find it pop up on eBay or in vantage market stalls. 

 

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps - Allan Pease

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This book demonstrates the fundamental differences between men and women's brain circuitry. There is some clever use of humour and some nice anecdotes, which enhance the pleasure of reading this book.

It is well written and uses scientific fact very well to explain human behaviour. Slightly sexist and dated at times, so anyone that's a fan of the early James Bond films will love this. 

 

On Love and Loneliness - Krishnamurti

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Sometimes we need to pull back the onion layers on a relationship and ask what we are really in it for? Is it a quick bang? Are we filling a Dad shaped hole? (That's for the women reading, otherwise that sounds weird).

On Love and Loneliness is a compelling investigation of our intimate relationships with ourselves, others and society. 

 

Why Men are the Way They are - Warren Farrell

I once read that any man that hasn't read this book, is walking around with a blindfold on.

It's a book that sympathises with both sexes although centres on Farrell's assumption that men prioritise women's looks in their partner selection, while women have multiple criteria. 

 

How To Flirt With Women & Get What You Want: A Guide To Flirting, Dating & Seduction - Ryan Harris

This book doesn’t only tell you how to up your game, it teaches you the benefits of a positive mindset, and really engaging with mindfulness, to bring your successes to other arenas of your life.

This book focuses on creating quality connections with women, recognising and utilising your own strong points and building the confidence to use them to their fullest.

 

JOIN ME AT THE DATING SHOW LIVE 2018 - BIRMINGHAM NEC

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November | Day tickets £22 Weekend £45

Get your tickets here

Who is Making the Most Money on Love Island?

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Love it or hate it, you can't escape it. Love Island has built on its phenomenal success of last season and it's not just a ratings success, but a huge commercial success for the broadcasters ITV who managed to rake in over 2.3million viewers on ITV2 on Friday, more than the BBC and the ITV. 

 

Who is making money out of Love Island? 

The winner will get £50k, but it’s said they'll get hundreds of thousands from endorsements, live appearances etc. The show is sponsored by an entire myriad of commercial collaborations.

Love Island viewers can vote via the show's official app, which has previously been used to allow viewers to pick who leaves, who returns and who goes on dates with who.

The app also features a style page with links to buy clothes seen on the islanders and fans can listen to the official Love Island: The Morning After podcast there too.

 

Brand integration

The commercial success of Love Island is not just down to the alchemy of the contestants, their chiseled pecs or porcelain skins, but the integration of the brands used within the show.

One example being the clothes on the show being supplied by the shows partner Missguided. The daters were given daily outfits to last them through their time in the villa as a form of product placement, handing over bits from Missguided casual, summer, festival, and out-out product lines.

It targets that 16-34-year-old audience which until now has been a difficult lock to pick due to the younger generation watching the majority of their TV through other online platforms rather than the live experience. 

 

How much are these brands paying to be on Love Island? 

According to Steven Ballinger, MD for Investment at Ad agency Carat, the biggest sponsor is most likely Superdrug that will be paying in the regions of £4 million to be involved with the shows integration. 

Other brands integrated such as Kellogg’s and Thorpe Park that has a theme park ride dedicated to the show, will likely to be paying in the regions of £1 million for show integration. 

For a spot during the commercial breaks the estimated fees are likely to be between 30-50 thousand pounds. Which is a handsome sum, but compared to the £150k price tags that is demanded for a spot in the X-Factor, still relatively small. 

 

So is brand integration the future for broadcast networks? 

It seems likely. This show has changed the goalposts for product placements. ITV have also adopted the vertical integration by providing its own merchandise from the show. Nothing is more popular than the Love Island personalised water bottles that you might have already started seeing in the drinks holsters of the treadmills in your gym. 

The direct to consumer model eliminates many middle men, circumvents a lot of unnecessary supply chains and keeps the products accessibly priced for the younger markets. 

 

 

Help for Single People | The Dating Show Live

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Single men of the world stand fast! I have the conch and this is a call to arms for all my single brothers. Converge! I have some big and exciting news that could transform your single status. The world’s biggest dating show, The Dating Show Live will be making its debut at the NEC in Birmingham on 24th and 25th November, a once a year two-day event.

First Dates, the nation’s favourite TV dating show is coming “live” to run a Café right in the middle of the Show for all visitors.

 

I'm single but quite shy, can I take a friend?

Yes, absolutely! Group tickets start at £22 if you want to bring up to 4 friends and make it a social thing. If you think that being an introvert is holding you back then Nick Davies, Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist will be helping folk to bolster their confidence. 

He's also on hand to help anyone get a toxic relationship out of their head so they can move on and on the Sunday, will be hypnotising a guy to make him the most attractive guy in the room.

 

Carl I'm doing ok with Tinder; do I really need to go? 

Well good for you dude! But you're not doing that well on Tinder if you're still on Tinder right? Unless your end game is to stay on Tinder for as long as possible. 

If you'd like some advice on how to use Tinder to its full potential, then Mr Tinder (the man most swiped right on Tinder) will be offering advice to men on his couch in “The Sitting Room”. 

But the very question of why you'd want to remain single is a good one, lets address that for a second. 

 

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Can you be happy and single? 

Sure, it's completely doable. But it's not until you find a great partner to share your woes and celebrate your wins that you realise how vacuous your single life was. 

There's also the landmark days like Valentine’s Day. The commercialism is terribly tacky, but the underlying feeling that you're missing out on something is palpable, no matter how much you remonstrate. 

Single wedding invites. Urgghh, to be capped with a celebration of other people hopelessly in love. Being the single dude at the wedding is almost like being wheeled out in a freak show as the man with 2 heads. 

The incessant set ups from mutual friends. I get it, no one wants to see Carl lonely but I consider myself more De Niro in Heat lonely than I do Richard Richard from Bottom lonely. Thanks for the reminder of the single stigmatism thought folks. 

 

What else is on at the Live Dating Event? 

If you're still not convinced whether this is worth your time and money, then perhaps ask yourself these questions. Are you any good at Speed Dating? How's the wardrobe looking, do people ever compliment you on your style? Are you up-to-date with all the latest grooming products and advice? 

These are just some of the topics that will be covered by specialists and brands at the event. John Scott, the TVs much-loved Stylist has teamed up with Cici, Style Icon from First Dates to run live fashion makeovers.

And if all that is too much for you then there is always the safe haven of the Beer Tent.

www.thedatingshowlive.com

 

How to get a kiss on the First Date - Live the Moment

No kissing on the first date Andy Garcia said in the movie Things to do in Denver When You're Dead. That's insanity! What if it's Groundhog Day and you only have one date? What if your date gets hit by a firetruck and you need to give her the kiss of life? You need to Live the Moment sometimes and go for broke. So in this article I want to share some secrets on how to get a kiss on a first date. 

Firstly, it doesn't matter if it's the last night on earth, you won't get a kiss nor anything else if you rock up to the date with toothpaste down your tie or mud on your trainers, so let's get the wardrobe element sorted first. I have a couple of staple garments that take up the 'dating wing' of the wardrobe.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing but it's constantly evolving. This week I've made some key additions that fuse that tricky line of smart/casual perfectly. You'll want to look smart, but not stiff and certainly not as if you've just come from the office, on the way to the office, or still in the office. (If you're in the office it's not a date gentleman, it's a meeting at best). 

I have recently injected some fresh looks courtesy of JacamoA Joe Browns Dylan Blazer. It has a subtle white check over a herringbone pattern. Casualise the blazer with a smart plain coloured tee underneath. The blazer has a hint of purple in it also, slightly imperceptible but it just adds texture. 

The Long Sleeve Tan polo is erring on the casual side, but the tan is a fresh colour. So many polos come in navy which is dull with indigo jeans. You just fade into the background. Style over a white oversized tee (or simply untuck your tee) and you'll get some good contrast or 'colour spacing' as the stylists like to call it. 

The Black boots are high shine, less susceptible for getting scuffed and dirtied before, during and after the date. Will also give you an extra half inch or so in height with the reinforced heel. 

 

Make sure you touch her hand during the date. 

A girl did this to me just in casual conversation once and I've never felt more electrified in my life. It was so unexpected, nothing was insinuated, it was the most natural experience I've had. I sound like I've never been touched before right? 

If her hand is on the table opposite you, lean in and cup it, give her the punchline to a joke or something natural, and then un-cup and lean back and smile. 

 

Bring up the conversation of kissing

If you've already broached the subject, then it will grease the wheels for when you go in for the kiss at the end of the date. 

Perhaps a story of how bad your first kiss was. Maybe a story of how bad you screwed up a first date kiss and it wasn't reciprocated. Laugh about it and show her you're not egotistical, you can be self-effacing and modest.

But also joke, 'the joke is really on her because I was awarded best kisser in the class of '89'. It was the only badge I got in boy scouts.' (Obviously make that gag your own). 

 

Go for Broke

You don't have to wait until the end of the date. You can just go in for a kiss anytime you want you know. I'd try and judge the chemistry and body language beforehand, but if you're getting good signals just go for it. 

It will show you're capable of being spontaneous, ballsy, works great if you're actually none of these. She'll have to rethink her whole assessment of you. You know that's how Tommy Lee pulled Pam Anderson? He just went up to her and kissed her. 

 

Point to the cheek but then go for the lips

A little misdirection and guile is needed to pull this one off and probably a little bit cheeky, so this one comes with a warning, that you have to judge the situation prior to attempting. Effectively everyone will go for a kiss on the cheek at the end. So if you go in for a kiss on the cheek but at the last second peck her on the lips it's a brilliant boyish manoeuvre.

 

Ask her

I always forget this one but it's the most blindingly obvious. She is more than likely wanting you to kiss her, but is reticent to initiate and also doesn't want to ask herself. 

So be the man, be the GENTLEman, take advantage of how polite we are as a culture and ask her if you can have a kiss. Best of luck gentlemen, let me know how you get on. 

 

SHOP MY JACAMO STYLE EDIT

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Jacamo UK.

Lara from Match.com Trial/Review

A year since Match’s artificial intelligence chatbot Lara came to Facebook Messenger, daters can now use  her as their personal wingwoman through the Google Assistant. Yes, that's right I said wingwoman. "Lara can be my wingwoman anytime." Cue the climatic emotional music and hug it out!  (As a quick aside, did you see Tom Cruise posted a picture from the production of Top Gun 2? Simply wow). 

I digress. 

In a UK first, this innovation is the first time that a dating coach has come to a smart home device. The new service offers you a unique ‘daily match’, bespoke dating tips and suggestions of the best date venues, all through informal conversation.  

And about time! For all those that are reading my dating blogs, you'll appreciate I have a personal vested interested in this technology. This introduction of Lara from Match paired with Google Assistant can change the game in dating. Or should I say up YOUR game. (Deep referential sniff). 

You can strike up a chat with ease by saying, “Okay Google, talk to Lara from Match”, and through artificial intelligence and key word recognition technology, Lara understands your intentions and can hold a full conversation to help you though your dating journey.

This will come as great relief to my closest friends who must feel like they're only in my rolodex to serve as a soundboard to my dating woes. And that's something I must change. 

They'll attest to being my counsel when I need advice on what to wear, where to go, and even who to date! Now Lara does exactly that. I imagine at some point that technology will reach that point of singularity and I'll be sending Lara on these dates. 

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ME - "Hey, honey how was your date?" 

LARA - "Oh she's way out of your league Carl, plus she supports Chelsea, I should have flagged that up sooner, sorry".

Of course I jest, but Lara proactively encourages continuation of conversations by offering further dating tips and asking if you need any more advice. The more you chat to Lara and the more she gets to know you and the more tailored her answers will become.  

 

So what tips has Lara given me so far? 

I like the confidence booster tip. 

 “Strike a power pose and stand there for at least 2 minutes before your date”. 

I have employed that one. Makes sense to me to find a good relaxed posture and look that doesn't feel forced. You might consider it the Everest of male vanity, but it’s all about projecting a positive aura that others can latch on to. I stop short of slapping myself round the face and saying 'you've got this'. I save that for Kobox

 

Lara has also sent me daily matches to my phone based on the criteria I've given her. 

ME - Lara find me Scarlett Johansson 

LARA - You're looking for someone that looks like Scarlett Johansson 

ME - No find me Scarlett Johansson, the real thing. 

(Yes I know that's a gag lifted from the BBC sitcom Bottom, for those about to email me accusing me of plagiarism). 

For Match members only, Lara will help you find a date by selecting a unique member profile based on your Match search preferences (age, location and common interests) once a day. The profile details of the daily match can then be sent to a phone via SMS, allowing you to seamlessly contact your potential date.

 

Anything else? 

There are plenty of features, but I'm really just giving you a taste of my experience. 

I also found the location finder a handy tool. I know London fairly well, but finding those best kept secrets is getting increasingly harder. 

Lara can offer suggestions for the best date location. She will ask what kind of date setting you are looking for and use Google Map’s Geocoding API to make a recommendation, such as the best place for cocktails or a quieter place for coffee.

Providing you give permission, Lara will then offer to send you the details via SMS with a link to a map. The more you chat, the more Lara will learn from your dating experiences and then suggest more relevant locations in the future, based on your feedback.

 

Is this the future

A great question. Certainly the advance of chatbots have advanced immeasurably in the past couple of years. 

They've become a useful tool for businesses (so much so I'm looking at installing one to assist my customers on my Hawkins & Shepherd site as we speak). For example They certainly alleviate the mundanity of replying to everyday questions such as 'do you deliver abroad?'. Most common ones are 'what time are you open?'.

Chatbots do not require breaks, get frustrated or get tired like human employees. According to some experts, chatbots will be indistinguishable from humans by 2029. Scary or good news?

 

Before you go

For anyone about to try this new-fangled technology you should know the daily match functionality is only available for Match members. You need be signed into a Match account with Google for Lara to offer the matches.

We are always looking at the role technology can play in improving our member’s experience to offer them new ways of meeting their potential dates that will easily fit in with their busy everyday life.

Building upon the success of Lara on Facebook, we wanted to enhance and explore the possibilities of AI, which has provided us with a great outcome so far.

We look forward to developing Lara further as technology evolves.”  

Enjoy Lara (that sounds weird) and let me know how you get on.

 

How I Get Ready For a Date | Men's Grooming & Fashion Advice

You're getting ready for the biggest date of your life, or week, depending how much of a woodsman you are.

I've just uploaded a new tutorial to my YouTube channel, giving you run down on how I get myself in the groove. In this article I'll give you the highlights reel on the MUST DO's to get you ready for that big first date

I've also teamed up with Base London to give my readers a chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit.

I've included all the details at the bottom of the article but first, guys let's get you prepped. 

Get in the mood with ..  

I want to get in the mood, put a little Marvin Gaye on Let’s Get it On. Only joking. Normally I go for a bit of Jacko, I want to Rock with you or something equally as cheesy, don't ask me to sing it. Or how about a bit of Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street? Yessss now we're talking.

Make sure you're bopping around to a song that empowers you and gets you relaxed.  

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What's in my grooming kit? 

OK give the cash register a nice facial scrub. I currently using one from Lab Series, they're riding the crest of a wave at the moment these guys and I can see why. Makes my face feel really fresh, wakes me up! 

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Not all the girls like a man with a beard, so I make sure mine doesn't look to scabrous. I tame the beast with a bit of American Crew Beard serum

Moving onto the skin, I use the Clinique Maximum Hydrator moisturiser.

They say the eyes are the windows to your soul right? So got to have a little window dressing. Eye contact on dates, so important. I have been using Perricone MD for as long as I can remember. 

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What about my hair? 

You need something that is going to do your hair a solid service for the date, especially if you're going straight from work to the date. 

I use David Beckham's House 99 Pomade; it can give a decent enough hold for 8-9 hours before it starts to lose its lustre. 

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And the best Aftershave for a First Date? 

Keep that aftershave light and fresh, you don't want to overpower the poor girl or else she'll want to dine on one of those tables from that Bruce Wayne used to entertain Vicky Vale.

(That is a timely reference from 1989 and if you get that gag, then let’s go out for a beer). 

The best first date aftershave out there right now is Tom Ford Noir de Noir. It's pushy, but not assertive. 

Why I dress casual on a first date

Suits are too stiff for a first date, that's why I dress light

What’s the most important rule for light dressing? Go easy on the white wine vinegar but plenty of turmeric. Oh you mean clothes? Gotcha, (I have better jokes, haha) light dressing.

You should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Dates can be quite nerve racking; you don't want to feel rigid in an outfit you hardly wear.

I have my go-to outfit. 

Before you leave the house remember? 

If you've met her online give her profile one last eyeball before heading out. Look for some veiled clues, like if she's been traveling we can talk about places she's been that I might have been also.

Some people call that semi-stalkery, I call it good old fashioned research.

 

COMPETITION TIME FOLKS

As I promised you, here is your chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit. Competition closes 31st May, UK Entrants Only. Enter by clicking this link https://mailchi.mp/683daaf6009a/07k68...

T&Cs blurb for competition:

Gift card can only be used at www.baselondon.com and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative. Competition only open to UK entrants. Prize will be for one £100 Gift Card and a selection of men’s skin care and grooming products which will be delivered to the winner’s UK address. 

This competition is in no way sponsored, administered or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Lab Series, American Crew, Clinique for Men, Perricone MD, or David Beckham’s House 99. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram, Facebook & Youtube of responsibility and agree to Instagram’s, Facebook’s and Youtube's terms of use. .....phew! 😓 Good Luck!

 

Going Dutch on Dates Without Looking Cheap | Dating Advice

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I know not all girls are like this but tonight I've been dwelling on a few of my recent dating experiences. Tonight I'm going to talk about that awkward moment of the cheque arriving. Some girls just stare at you in the eyes, staying as still as possible, not even flinching towards their purse! Don't get me wrong, if I ask you out, then I expect to pay...full-stop, it's just the offer that means everything. Or even "Thanks for the meal, I'll get the drinks in the next bar". It's VERY plausible that I'm just dating the wrong girls? What if someone told you that you're going to spend £1000 this year on total strangers. (I've got no surveys to back that figure up by the way but I can attest to splurging the equivalent of a king’s ransom on numerous dates over the years). 

Not homeless people, but perfectly well off every day folk, you'll see for an hour or two, you'll buy them dinner, drinks, flowers etc, and you'll never hear from them again. So before you chivalrously, no wait, foolishly reach for the cheque and tell the lady to put away her purse, here's some tips on how to go Dutch, whilst not looking cheap.

Tip number one: Pretend you've forgotten your wallet

Of course I jest. Let's start over. 

Tip number one:  No dinners

At least not on the first date. First dates are coffees, maybe a pastry at the most. You might both agree on the handshake that this will be a waste of time and not only will the meal be something you'll have to endure and not enjoy, there's a chance you might be stiffed for the entire bill. 

Tip number two: Parks and picnics

Guys the summer has arrived. It's ok to go out again. In fact, who wants to be indoors drinking coffee? London has wonderful parks for picnics the most beautiful in my opinion being the campestral green that slopes majestically down to the boating lake in Regents Park

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Tip number three: SKINT LONDON

Yes, it's the bible for those on a budget in London. For free festivals, chances to win tickets to events, regular weekend activity picks then Skint London is a one stop shop for all. 

Tip number four: Can't buy me love

Just throwing that old Beatles track in there. You can't buy her affection. Ok taking her away to Rome for the weekend might get you some rewards, but who wants rewards that come from a place of reluctant obligatory. 

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Tip number five: Museums

Just suggesting a trip to the museum gives the verisimilitude of being from good stock. You don't have to know your Manet’s from your Monet's, but as long as you don't bring up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when asked if you prefer Donatello or Leonardo, then you're home free. Talking of free, yes most of the London museums are free, but be the gentleman and bung a fiver in the donation tin. 

Tip number six: Dinner at yours

That is right. And make her a pizza. Don't go buying Lobster dinner takeaways in a desperate bid to impress ala Mrs Doubtfire. Buy a pizza, who doesn't like pizza? Give her the option of ordering so it makes her feel in control. Plus, you can tell a lot by a girl from the kind of pizza she orders. 

For anyone wondering if you order the Hawaiian then we'll get on a treat according to the pizza personality test.

This topping shows that you have a lackadaisical approach to life, not getting bogged down with worry or anxiety.

Tip number seven: Google it! 

Coming to the end of the article I wanted to know what the internet had to say and it turns out there's about 98 different cheap date ideas that you can find here. I think mine are better though. Christ they even tell you to invite friends round. Come on people, that's just lazy journalism. 

So those are my top tips for going Dutch, if you have any more ideas drop them in the comment box below. 

How do you Know a Relationship is Exclusive?

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Ever wondered whether you're actually going out with a girl, or just so happen to be on a string of consecutive dates? Is there any way of knowing whether it's ok to hedge your bets and date other women? How do you know if she's not going on any other dates? 

I got a move for you. On the fifth date, if it's still unclear and you have an awkward break in conversation where you're groping to find something to say that's not lecherous or borne of misogyny, ask her if it's ok to set you up on a date with her sister. Then you'll know if it's exclusive or not. Of course I jest. Or do I? Seriously, it's a minefield out there. 

I can't speak on behalf of women. So for all the ladies reading, this is how you know that a man is waiting for the go-codes on whether you’re exclusive or not.

  1. He's invited you to leave your stuff in his house. Amazingly 36 per cent of Brits have deliberately left something at a date’s house in order to give them an excuse to return. I refer you to a very incisive article in The Independent by Rachel Hosie who has done her research on this one. 
     
  2. He's added you on every available social media channel. He's probably also following you in real life or has paid someone to. He wants to know what's going on, where you are, who you're hanging with. Bless him he's crazy about you. He'll certainly tag you in a few posts.
     
  3. He's calling you by something other than your name. And I don't mean fraudulently calling you by your sister’s name in the middle of some horizontal jogging. He wants to cement some idiosyncrasies into the relationship to give its own identity. If you like him, you'll inevitably do the same.
     
  4. He'll get a little weird. Perfectly normal this. He might be winding up to tell you that he's ‘all in’ with you (poker analogy). And when dudes have something bottled up, when they're out of their comfort zone they lose composure. So look for signs of him being tuned out (he's probably rehearsing the big 'are we seeing anyone else' speech in his head), clammy hands, general nervousness.
     
  5. He’ll ask you round about questions. Like ‘what can I tell people when they ask me about you’. If he’s man enough he’ll come straight out with it. Ladies remember to be nice but ruthless. If you can see it’s an iniquitous relationship, I.E you’re not into him as much as he’s into you, then don’t tag him along.

 

Top 5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life

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Bloggers love Spring, we love it! It's the time when brands come alive and the wardrobes need revamping. But a spring clean isn't entirely exclusive to chucking all the fast fashion into a charity bin. Here's my top 5 tips on how to declutter your life and make some road for the road ahead. 

TELL HER TO HIT THE BRICKS

Is she the one for you dude? Has your relationship turned into comfort food where it's making the both of you fat? Are you careering towards a loveless marriage that will suck ten years out of your life? Seriously unpack your relationship into mini fun size Tupperware boxes and ask yourself, does this look like a fun picnic for you. 

TRAVEL CUP

£3.60 for a coffee now in Liverpool St station. With 3 new coffee shops opening a day in the UK, it's no surprise we're all skint with the amount of coffee we're consuming on a daily basis. I'll admit I don't have one in my life as of yet, but I'm flirting with this Contigo West Autoseal Coffee Cup. According to an article in the Daily Mail the average Brit spends over £2,000 a year on coffee. Did you know you had a £2k a year drug habit!?

DIGITAL DETOX

Oooh the digital ones. I picked up this little nugget from The Health Sessions run by trained psychologist Jennifer Mulder most people I know have a dozen or so INSTA pages, twitter handles and Facebook business pages that are now cyber ghost ships drifting in the ether.

Yet they still manage to ping you emails, alerts, texts, as if they're inviting you to come rescue them from the binary beyond. I managed to get rid of subscription alerts and spring clean my notifications very easily with Unroll.me

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WARDROBE

Ah yes of course it was coming. Just divorce yourself from emotion and get rid of all the crap. Everything you've not worn in the last 3-4 months, toss it! Allow yourself one sentimental piece, and hang on to the interchangeable garments that can expand your wardrobe, but the rest can be put out to pasture.

If you're looking to make a little beer money from your hand-me-downs but are struggling to shift stuff on eBay, try Depop. As recommended by Ali Gordon on the Menswear Style podcast

TAXMAN

Being a one-man band it's tough to do everything yourself. If I ever had to clone myself, I'd call him me2 and have him just handle my tax returns. (Although I'm sure me2 will become self aware and start applying for dating reality shows). I personally use XERO, cloud based software designed for SME businesses and I have it on good authority that the HMRC will only accept tax returns submitted using accounts software packages in the future. 

 

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That’s all I got for today. Let me know if you’re thinking of doing a spring clean of your life and if you have any further tips, drop me a comment in the box below.

 

What do Women Mean When They Say 'No Spark' | Dating Advice

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It seems like an implacable rebuke, how can you work your way back from 'I'm sorry, I just didn't feel any spark between us'?

The truth is you can't. Women that reached this conclusion after a first date are obviously not interested in the delayed gratification. Or perhaps don't have the time nor inclination to test the slow burn theory. I'm personally in agreement with Stella Grey from The Guardian who wrote, 

'People who won’t agree to a second date “because there was no spark” are … I hesitate to say they are idiots, but they are discounting something that could prove to be a slow burner.' 

But what are women really saying when they mean there is no spark? For guys it can be dumbfounding. Especially when guys feel they delivered their A-Game. The conversation was fluid and peppered with light-inoffensive gags, and you didn't get drunk this time, right? 

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What is the Spark? 

I'm no woman, I've never used the line. I can only assume it means one of three things.

1# A bit like style, you know it when you see it. A 'Spark' is almost this indefinable feeling that permeates through every sinew.

2# An easy-out, a line that sounds better than 'I didn't find you at all attractive, and I can't see any scenario, including one where we're both forced to repopulate the earth for the sake of mankind, where we would end up in bed together'. Bless her she's just safe guarding your feelings and keeping you in her rolodex in case she needs you to build her a website, replace her spark plugs etc., pardon the pun. (WAIT is that what they mean?). 

3# A sign of being inarticulate. I understand this one actually. They were hoping for something more than what they've got. We've all been handed a pint of lager in a plastic cup before haven't we? That feeling of loving lager, but not like that. It's not imperceptible, it's palpable. Sure we might drink the lager, but we're not hanging around here. I agree with the Date Technician on this one who says

"No spark means she may have found you interesting, and nice, and kind, and funny, but not attractive. She’s got friends for those other qualities. She’s looking for all of those things PLUS a bit extra – the thing that is going to make her think about you long after the date and waiting by the phone for you to message her." 

In conclusion, the 'no spark' line leaves you with nowhere to go. Because it's nebulous. You can't improve your spark factor. You can work on charisma, you can work on confidence, your style, all of these elements I'll be looking at in more depth. So stay tuned, keep your chin up. And if you hear the words 'no spark' think of all the times you've circumvented the truth to protect someone else's feelings. 

'Really I'm just not ready to date, think I need to work on myself for a while. No it has nothing to do with the fact you have horrible kids, look nothing like your pictures and didn't put your hand in your pocket once to buy a round'. 

The 3 Big Mistakes You’re Making Between Dates | Dating Advice

Awesome first date? No kiss at the end. Amazing 2nd date, still no kiss. Third date is beyond thunderdome; you're Mel GiveMeSome (Gibson) and she's Tina TurnMeOn, (It's a solid gag I'm sticking with it) but still no kiss! What is going on? Is it time to grow a set of balls and send her the 'are you interested or not?' text? Holster your weapon soldier.

Believe me I have been in this boat with a girl that I ended up dating for a while. I couldn't figure out if this was going great, she was just wanting to be friends, if she thought I was Don Juan De Pedro or what! We met on Tinder, we messaged each other non-stop until our first date. 

I've always been fairly good on the text chat, as all sardonic and self-effacing men with nothing to lose should be. Dates were never my strong suit at the beginning. Once I booked a restaurant in St Pancras Station for a date, and couldn't even find it. After doing about five laps around the station I gave up and bought her a Pret Sandwich. Never bothered with a follow up text for that one. But what should we do between dates? 

3 rules

Don't lose momentum

The key to dating early on, especially if you're on Tinder, is to keep up the momentum. There's really little point in playing it cool after date number one, waiting for her to text. I can't remember a time when playing it cool ever ended in a scenario that led to me getting any action, you know? 

I can't remember RSVP'ing to my friend’s wedding and putting 'my coolness' down as a plus one. Don't break a winning formula, use the same tempo that got her on the date and get her on a second date pronto. 

Don't send dick pics!

You're super horny, I get it. You might even be tempted to ask her what she's wearing to bed in the hope she says 'nothing' beckoning the - 'PROVE IT' cliché. Don't fall into the trap of doing what every other numpty is doing; sending pictures of his balls. If she is not responding to your flirty innuendos, doesn't mean she's not into you. It might. But hopefully it just means she's just classier than you. 

Don't change your profile picture

Weird one this, but if you've met your girl online, and you've been on a couple of dates, don't update your profile picture on your dating site! My mate did this one. He innocently changed his profile picture from colour to black and white because he thought it looked cooler. (Again, how's that cool thing working out for you?). Next thing you know he's sent packing. Sometimes black and white isn't worth the fight. 

My advice is don't go on the profile at all. I often hear my mates say, 'I'm only going on there (dating site) to see if she's on there'. Don't get embroiled in that rubbish. You're better than that. 

So there you go, three don'ts, and I hope this has helped you out. I have been on the online dating scene for about 2-3 years and it is hard. It is like that island in Life of Pi where nothing lives. If you have any questions, leave some notes in the comment bar below and I'll try to give you some advice.

 

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5 Ways How to Overcome Rejection Like a Champ

First off it's always a bummer being on the receiving end of rejection. You have all the messy red tape and acrimony that comes with the division of equity. There's the sudden loneliness. Then of course you see them on social media with their new found love doing keepy-ups in their new Barcelona kit. God I'll never forgive you Phillip Coutinho. I digress. 

But there are ways we can handle being dumped like an absolute champ. Believe me I'm a seasoned veteran, I've been sent out on loan and told to never come back plenty of times. Here's 5 tips for you guys that will ease your suffering and get you back in the saddle. 

EVERYONE WINS

I always thought that being dumped was an entirely one sided defeat. That the dumper was always significantly 'better off' emotionally, than the dumpee. But it's not the case. Unless you're Alec Wildenstein having to shell out a cool $5.6 Billion dollars in a divorce settlement (yes I googled, most expensive divorce in history) chances are you'll both be better off. How? Because whilst you might be feeling the rejection, the heartache, become suddenly riddled with self-doubt, you're newly christened EX will be experiencing another horrible stew of emotions. She'll also be feeling insecure; questioning her decision making in the process (she didn't back a winner in you). She'll feel that void also of not having you around, a lot more than you think. 

COME BACK STRONGER

Whenever someone sh*t-canned me in a relationship I always vowed to come back stronger. You'd always see that scene in movies where the guy bumps into his ex, six months down the road and he'd be in phenomenal physical shape, in a new suit with a new hair-do, maybe ordering a Chinese meal in fluent Mandarin, you get my point. 

Call it one-upmanship, call it egocentric, who cares. You have to envisage that moment where you meet your ex, possibly by engineered circumstances and you are just on top of your game. Do what you have to. Get a personal trainer, a personal stylist, a life coach, but life is a game and you have to play to win. (Think I read that on a tweet somewhere last week). 

LISTEN

To her and to yourself. Now is the time to compartmentalise and figure out what it is that you're lacking. Are you getting repeatedly dumped? Not getting past the 3-month part of the relationship? If this scenario is pattern-forming, then something is off. It can't be because your penis too big every time right? Go away, have a think, don't get hammered every night. 

DELETE DELETE DELETE

Get her off your phonebook, your Facebook, your Christmas card list the lot! Trust me out of sight out of mind is the best way to go. You need time to grieve, she needs time to do one and think about her role in this fiasco. If she texts you and says its churlish, congratulate her on using a brilliant word, then tell her to leave you alone. If you want to be dumped like a pro just watch Clive Owen chuck Julia Roberts out of his flat in that movie Closer

START DATING IMMEDIATELY

Grieving and reflection, internalising and all these new-man actions will only get you so far down the road. You might want to also consider that you're not that bad, someone will have you. A new pursuit and something shiny and new to replace that void could be just the ticket. After all, we can't just stick with what we have to use the transfer window wisely, wait.. I think I'm still talking about Coutinho. God damn, how could you leave me Phil!! 

What to Talk About on a First Date | Preparing for a First Date

First dates, first impressions - there's no user manual.
However, there are some definite sand traps we can avoid. 
What are those potential pitfalls outside of the obvious?
How can I pre-empt those and roadblock any awkward avenues of conversation?

In today's article I want to focus on preparation ahead of first dates and hopefully impart some ideas that I bring into my key meetings. I should say upfront I'm still in the dating game and I'm going to touch on some of the tactics I adopt when I talk and meet people one on one, I believe can cross-pollinate into this topic. So let's get to it. 

Firstly, we need to address that it's not a sign of failure if a first date doesn't go to plan. Despite our greatest efforts and affectations, sometimes the chemicals accidentally flow right, sometimes they simply do not. What they shouldn't feel like, is hard work. If you're finding the gears are grinding during this first encounter with somebody, maybe she's giving you stunted replies and she's not letting you past a very guarded defense, then you should be able to fall back on some material or 'conversation stimulators'. 

Here are some upstream ideas on how to prevent falling into those pitfalls on a first date. Let’s have a look at what those pitfalls might be.

1  Conversation is thin on the ground and tough to initiate.

2  She's not what you imagined and you can tell immediately there’s no mutual attraction and there will be no second date.

3  You've left the restaurant and are out of ideas.

I'd say this is the biggest anxiety that men will have on a first date. Especially if you've been exchanging good dialogue on the phone or texting beforehand, it heightens expectation that you and your date are somehow simpatico, meant for each other. In reality, it's a lot easier to get along virtually as you have time to digest answers, think about questions, even delete initial drafts you deem too risqué. In the flesh you don't have the luxury of these filters and there is nothing to hide behind. What topics are you most likely to cover on a first date?

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NUTSHELL RESUME

This theory has been kicking around for many years and gentlemen, this is something you should have down to a fine art by now. It's basically a resume of your life/career, up to this very minute. Don't reel it off like a fact sheet, but do keep it tight like a good highlights package. Don't dwell on past relationships or ex-girlfriends and certainly don't bad mouth any. It's not a good look, it will only make you look embittered and not ready to move on. 

TALK ABOUT THE DAY

I really think you should employ this one. Mention something about your day, or something funny that happened to you on the way to the date. Don't worry if you have to massage some of the facts or make it slightly apocryphal. Something light and off the cuff will give a breezy start to the date and set the tone. It's called being disarming. A great example; I recently saw Adam Carolla, a stand-up comic and an awesome podcaster, deliver a statement at the House Oversight Committee hearing on “Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses." Before addressing the room of delegates on a very sensitive and divisive subject, he holds up a notepad next to him and asks the Speaker ‘How much would I get for this notepad on eBay.’ Improvise a little, start with something funny and make it your own. 

WHAT ABOUT WORK? 

This for some of you gentlemen could be a real conversation cul-de-sac. You might not have a great job. You're very dispassionate about your job and it's not the sort of job that can branch off into other great areas of conversation. On the flip side she might also have a job in a field of industry that you have very little knowledge on. Let’s look at these individually.

The best piece of advice I can give is to accentuate all the positives and the perks that your job brings. Even if the job is horribly monotonous you can say things like - 'I know the job doesn't sound too glamorous, and in truth it's not, but it opens up so many other doors for me. I've compiled a great rolodex of contacts within this field and have met so many interesting people. It's allowed me access to such and such, and I've met ... (fill in the blank) importantly I’m climbing the ladder and learning a great deal.’

If you can give the affectation that you're on the way up or looking to achieve more that your lot in life, it will bring a positive energy to the date which she can latch on to. Alternatively, if you love the job, all the better. But be careful not to hijack the conversation and talk endlessly about your work or your next big project. 

AND HER WORK? 

This is where a bit of due diligence is required. I'm sure you might have conversed a little before the date and have covered most of these bases, but the number one question that gets asked more frequently than not, is 'what do you do?' If she has given you the broad strokes of her job, then do your research and find out what's current within her industry. You might know somebody that is in a similar line of work, give them a call and find out what the hot button topics are. Again, she might not want to talk about work at all, so be prepared to switch gears swiftly.

There'll be no second date

It could be very evident from the get-go that there is no mutual attraction. If so, treat your date with the same respect that you would do any other. To use a boxing analogy, think of this as a light sparring session. When you finally meet someone on a date later down the road that you feel more emotionally connected to, you'll lean on these 'conditioning' dates to ensure you're not floundering. You're not ring rusty. Your muscle memory will kick in and you'll have more in the tank than you would do if you completely shut off during the date.

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Dinner's over now what? 

This is a more common dilemma than you might think. You've agreed to a designated restaurant or bar for the initial rendezvous, but neither of you have committed beyond that in case the date has gone so horribly wrong that you'll need to fabricate an exit strategy. "Oh the babysitter has just called, I need to go," or "Oh I have a deadline to meet, I need to get back now." I'm sure you might be familiar with some of these. 

A nice upstream idea, would be to plan a route from one venue to the next. If you've got a restaurant planned, look for a quirky place within walking distance. Between those venues learn something about the street or a building that has certain relevance. In London for example there are 900 buildings with blue plaques on the outside. Each plaque indicates that someone of relevance lived in that building at some point or other; from John Lennon to Ava Gardner.

Last Tip

I hope some of these words have helped you out. Remember to have fun, remember to smile and don't put too much pressure on yourself. 

 

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