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

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

 

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. 

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. 

 

SHOP MY FIRST DATES OUTFIT

Great Date Night Ideas - The Ginstitute

What do you normally do for a First Date, a 2nd or 3rd date? First dates for me are normally best kept short and done in a relatively busy, dark bar where you can hear each other talk and get to know each other. The Portobello Star Pub in Notting Hill is just that, as decent bar selling every kind of gin possible in nice big copa glasses. Move on to a second or third date...or even a date night with your girlfriend and head upstairs to join the Ginstitute masterclass.

The Ginstitute experience starts off with arriving at the Portobello Star pub for a meet and great and of course a Portobello Road Gin & Tonic! Simply introduce yourself to the knowledgable and friendly staff and once everyone has arrived, you'll head upstairs for the masterclass to begin.

Now you are upstairs in the smaller, more intimate bar, you better have finished the first G 'n' T because you'll have to be ready for a Tom Collins cocktail. If you are unaware of what a Tom Collins is, it is Gin mixed with lemon juice and sugar syrup in a tall glass with ice, topped with soda water. Now you are settled with your gin cocktail, the host takes you through a very interesting and very detailed history of gin which gripped Britain for over 200 years.

After a quick toilet break we then headed into the the Gin Lab, a place where the magic really happens. Here you'll learn how gin is made, what makes a gin 'London Dry', about botanicals and the chemistry of distillation. Much like fragrance you have different levels or notes in gin and we smelt, tried and tested many different floral, citrus, spice like botanicals to choose what you would like in your gin.

At the end of the lesson, you take all off your chosen botanicals and mix together and name your own gin. This gin is then bottled up ready for you to take home and drink. You'll be given a unique code for your gin which is kept on record if you wish to purchase some more in the future. Here is what I put into my gin:

Juniper Berries, coriander, angelica & orris root.

Lavender, bergamot, Lemon Peel, Cardamon & cassia bark.
 

BOOK THE GINSTITUTE