Earlier this week, the governor announced the pending return of late-night public transit, with subways and popular bus routes extended until 3 AM on Saturday and Sunday nights (read: late-Friday into early-Saturday and late-Saturday into early-Sunday). While there’s lots to potentially celebrate, the warning signs are glaring.
To start, the extended hours are pegged to start in “March or April,” which, in Massachusetts speak, means June or July, when the city is at its sleepiest thanks to an exodus of students and vacationers. If the program isn’t popular, then it’s going away (though to the governor’s credit, there isn’t a timeline specified as to how long he’ll wait to scrap it). Patrick cited his concern for people who work in the Innovation District—entrepreneurs and programmers and people who speak venture capital—because “they live differently,” and work late hours. On the weekend? Maybe. But hospitality industry workers, who also greatly contribute to our economy, do, and they barely received acknowledgment in any of the articles I’ve read about the announcement, or his press release.
There’s also the consideration of alternate transportation in the form of Uber and Lyft. Both companies offer extremely competitive pricing and customer service, and while public transit might offer the most bang for the buck, I’m not the only one who finds value in paying a bit more for a private ride—like the $6 Uber X trip I recently took across town that would have set me back at least $10 in cab fare, and an additional 20 minutes on the T—or to avoid the inevitable late-night drunken revelry on the subway.
Finally, the extension of service won’t just be that—extended hours—it’ll be branded with advertising jargon, thanks to financial assistance from TBA corporate sponsors. I can certainly appreciate that fares, as far as we’ve been told, won’t increase (extended service also means extended employees on the clock, including those who work on the lines overnight); I just question how far the branding will go. Imagery and text plastered all over the cars is one thing; audio and video components, which are entirely plausible, are another. (I know I’m not the only one, too, who takes solace in a book or iPod while cruising through the tunnels.)
So bring it on, MBTA. I’ll certainly count myself among the guinea pigs who’ll climb aboard the Red Line after a night out at the Middlesex Lounge. But as a lifelong Massachusetts resident, I’ve seen how badly the state can screw up its transportation “solutions” (Big Dig, anyone?). Still, your denizens are waiting with bated breath. We just won’t hold it for very long.
So, it’s December. Which is kind of crazy, because it feels like it was only yesterday that I was on the commuter rail home from Singing Beach, wiping stray sand from my legs and making plans to meet friends post-8 PM sunset. Now, I try to avoid the guy on the subway wearing a hospital face mask and feel relieved when I can snuggle into bed by 9 because I'm an old lady dressed as a 30-something.
But I digress: December is a fantastic month, full of things to do and see that can ignite a sparkle in even the craggiest (and most cynical) of Bostonians. Seriously! A sparkle. Holiday stuff aside, if you can bear the weather—and the tourists—consider giving these five December-exclusive ongoings a try before midnight strikes on the 31st.FULL ENTRY
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the official kick-off to the holiday season, which, for singles, can be one of the most joyous—and frustrating—times of year. “Joyous,” in that you can be selective with your RSVPs (and effectively halve the number of times you’ll have to wash ye olde ugly Christmas sweater) and “Not so much,” where dwindling questions about naked ring fingers pile up at turkey-ladden dinners hosted by well-meaning, but nosy, aunts.
As with all challenges in life, being prepared is half the battle (right? I mean, I dropped out of Girl Scouts, but I think that’s their motto), which is why I’ve created an easy-to-follow survival guide to keep on hand between now and December 31 (or February 15, if needed). In some cases, the other half of the battle is ignorance (that of the bliss-oriented variety), or in the very least, ignoring those pesky inquiries while slinging back a glass of holiday cheer.
If you're having girl problems—you have my and Jay Z's sympathies, but this blog post probably isn't for you.
However, if you've frequently found involved with men who text with abandon before scampering away into the sunset; you feel like you give more in your relationships than you get, or if you're looking for ways to help navigate the increasingly complex jungle of modern dating, then read on.FULL ENTRY
What’s he really like? You could find out for yourself.
But don’t tell that to the subscribers of Lulu, a new app that let’s women anonymously rank their male counterparts for the benefit of other curious (and, perhaps, co-dependent) women.
Before I tried online dating, a friend of a friend tried to convince me to give it a go by claiming it'd allow me to have a date with a different guy every night of the week, pointing to the sheer volume of men signed up in the Greater Boston area as proof that the Internet is some candy store in which women can window shop. When I pointed out that someone could do that without the help of Match.com or its equivalent, she scoffed at me and asked how, and where they'd meet the guys to begin with. (If you missed it, I already answered the question here.)FULL ENTRY
A new service, The Dating Ring, has set out to “make dating fun again” by blending old-fashioned matchmaking with group dates. The premise is that there’s strength in numbers: the wider you cast your net, the increased chances you’ll connect with someone. Plus, as the site points out, online dating can be tedious (I’m only a week in, so I can't judge just yet), and the worst that can happen is you'll meet a bunch of new friends.
But in this context, aren’t group dates just that—hanging out with friends? I guess it begs the question of what a “date” is, to begin with, and how comfortable you are in knowing that there are other people potentially gunning for the guy or girl you have your eye on. The Dating Ring claims their group dates aren’t competitive, but I beg to differ. Who hasn’t called dibs on a piece of eye candy to claim their stake? It's an easy way for things to get real catty, real fast.
Readers, it’s your call. Do group dates make connections easier—or is four (or more) a crowd? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This past weekend, I took one step into a Halloween party, and one giant leap for skeptical women everywhere: I joined an online dating site.FULL ENTRY
Now that we’ve got another World Series under our belt, you don’t have to look far for a vitriolic piece slamming Boston, the Little Big City People Love to Hate. The writers have their reasons (I won’t get into the sports stuff), but one thing that resurfaces time and time again is how cold and unfriendly we are, which tapers off of a complaint I hear often: it’s hard to make friends here.FULL ENTRY
According to new research from Cornell and Facebook, It's Complicated.
From The New York Times:
Their key finding was that the total number of mutual friends two people share — embeddedness, in social networking terms — is actually a fairly weak indicator of romantic relationships. Far better, they found, was a network measure that they call dispersion.
This yardstick measures mutual friends, but also friends from the further-flung reaches of a person’s network neighborhood. High dispersion occurs when a couple’s mutual friends are not well connected to one another.
In other words, a relationship’s success is based not on how many mutual “Friends” you share with your significant other per se, but how wide your social net is collectively. The article also confirms, again, that Facebook is exploiting pretty much every iota of information you provide to them in some way, shape or form, which means that for people who are guilty of frequently breaking up, making up and broadcasting it via their news feed (you know who you are): the joke’s on you.
I date online. You date online. We all date online!FULL ENTRY
This isn’t as much a confession as it is a declaration of the obvious: I’m not much into watching sports.FULL ENTRY
Dear singles of Boston,
I’d like to offer a brief, but important, PSA, especially as we begin to enter the often-dreaded holiday season: Dating does not suck.
According to Rob LaZebnik (a writer for The Simpsons) via the Wall Street Journal:
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you talk too much. I know you think you don't, but seriously, you do.
I’ll let you decide if you’re guilty of being too chatty (I'm the anecdote queen—working on that, by the way—and the rule applies just as much to men as it does to women), but consider this thought the next time you’re out on the hunt and wondering why your company consists of a watered-down cocktail and mobile device:
Another essential rule is to monitor your audience. Is the guy you're talking to glancing at his cellphone, spinning his Dorito like a paper football or making his tie into a noose? If so, pull the ripcord and ask him if Heineken is his favorite beer, since you've just seen him drain five of them. Watch how relieved he is to have a turn to talk! Talking is a Miguel Cabrera home run. Listening is getting hit in the head by it.
As I mentioned in a previous piece, I think going to dinner on a first date is a bad idea. I’d like to retract that statement and replace it with another one: I think crafting elaborate plans of any kind on a first date is a bad idea. Which is why I have a bone to pick with HowAboutWe.FULL ENTRY
Last week, I shared my list of places where I’ve consistently met guys around Boston—and the response was overwhelming. The post itself received tens of thousands of page views in just a few short days, and I received a number of emails and tweets thanking me for putting it out there, as well as inquiries from men curious where they, too, can meet ladies about town.
Answering a question like that presents its challenges; namely, that I’m not a guy looking to meet chicks. Luckily, I was able to enlist the help of someone who’s literally made it his business to help guys meet women.
Gentlemen, meet Ben of Kickass Academy.
Ben and I talked about not just where men can meet women, but how—because as I pointed out in my post, the opportunities to meet people in the Hub are pretty much limitless if you’re willing to look beyond the allure of a dark bar. We also discussed what it takes to meet people during the day; why good grooming is not just for the ladies; and how anyone—seriously, anyone—can become attractive.
Intrigued? Keep reading. You’ll also find a specially curated list of where to meet women around town, compliments of my guy friends who do it well (and whom I’d like to thank, again, for sharing their input).FULL ENTRY
If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog—first of all, thank you!—you’ll know by now that my personal preference toward online dating is skeptical at best. Yes, I’ve seen it work for other people, including close friends, and no, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. It’s just something I’m not comfortable with, maybe just right now, or maybe ever, which is admittedly weird, given that I just bared my soul at Mortified last month (never mind writing for the Internet, which comes with its own set of grievances—hello, mean commenters!).
That said, I do date a lot—it’s one of the reasons why I’m writing about it to begin with—and one of the questions I’m frequently asked is where I meet the guys I go out with, since I haven’t (yet) stepped foot into the online dating corral; almost as if I'm hoarding secrets, or have some magic wand to wave and make a date appear. While I’m happy to volunteer my answers to people who ask me face-to-face, it’s always struck me as a topic that’s too condescending to share online. As in: I certainly don’t think I’m the end-all, know-all expert, or that people who date online (or have trouble meeting guys) are pathetic. If anything, I think meeting people in real life comes with its own set of challenges; namely, that it requires being okay with rejection (which is par for the course as a writer) and the willingness to go out alone (more about that below). Still, I’ve been asked about it enough times, both by readers and acquaintances, that I felt compelled to put together a short list of where (and in some cases, how) I’ve consistently met men around Boston.
Yes, a short list, and one for the ladies, because opportunities to meet people romantically or otherwise abound—if you’re willing to put yourself out there. There’s also something to be said about the willingness to let go of expectations (see my note about rejection, above), and have fun with it. But I digress: this is my blog—thanks, Boston.com!—and if you weren’t interested in what I have to say, you wouldn’t still be reading.
(Cue awkward silence; uncomfortable laughter)FULL ENTRY
According to StatisticBrain.com, 40 million people in the U.S. have tried online dating, a staggering number when you consider that there are only 54 million single adults living here to begin with—and that the kingpin of dating sites, Match.com, isn’t even of legal age to buy a pretty lady a drink at a bar.
But unlike approaching strangers in real life, the first impression you give online often comes from a cursory glance at a self-crafted roundup that acts as a summary of who you are, what you’ve got, and yes, what you look like, neatly packaged and ripe for picking by potential suitors. And if your profile bombs, odds are, those proverbial drinks, or winks, probably won’t be headed your way.
Enter It’s A Date!, a service dedicated to taking your online dating experience from blah to wow! founded by publishing veteran Deborah Sloan, where professional writers and interviewers will swoop in and save your profile from nasty habits like running on (and on) about your dog or using an outdated selfie that reeks of 2001. And yes, creative types: you, too, might need a helping hand, since, as Sloan points out, “Writing about yourself can be hard.”
If you feel like your online dating experience has been less than satisfying, or if you're feeling intrigued, keep reading to learn more about how It’s a Date! works, the number one thing you should avoid talking about online or offline, and how to put your best foot forward on the Internet.FULL ENTRY
Last week, I shared an interview with celebrity (and reformed) pickup artist, Nick Savoy of Love Systems, where we talked about his new book (seriously, ladies—get it, immediately), the do’s and don’ts of approaching the opposite sex, and why sometimes, we need to break our own romance rules in order to succeed.
Today’s interview features Susan Baxter, founder and principal of Hire a Boston WingWoman, a local agency (with offices soon opening in New York City) that offers coaching, image consultancy and—of course—wingwomen to help the lovelorn create better connections. Read on to see why even the most savvy dater could use a sidekick, ways to boost your confidence without the aid of liquid courage, and Susan’s tips on where to meet potential mates in the city.FULL ENTRY
A few months ago, I wrote about my run-in with an area pickup artist (or PUA) and in short, advised readers to avoid them. My post caught the attention of Love System’s founder Nick Savoy (a reformed pickup artist turned relationship coach), whose team reached out to me last month with a challenge to prove wrong my conceptions of the pickup community, insisting that most PUAs are just “normal men looking for love.” I accepted their duel, scheduled a call with Nick (who’s been featured on the likes of the Today Show, Dr. Phil, the Tyra Banks Show, Ask Men and Playboy, among many others), and prepared to throw down the gauntlet.
Turns out, my opinion did shift—especially after reading his new book, It’s Your Move: How to Play the Game and Win the Man You Want, which Savoy describes as “the ultimate guide for helping women get what they truly want”—and in fact, I found myself hooked on Savoy’s no-nonsense, no-holds-barred straight talk. Like: dress to make the most of your figure. Maintain your independence and opinions, interests and friends, no matter what stage of dating you’re in. And seriously, ladies: if a man is interested in you, he’ll do the approaching, the texting, the calling, and the date planning. If he’s not? He won’t.
Intrigued? Keep reading to learn why the new rules are not as complicated as you might think—and to pick up a few tips of your own when it comes to success with the opposite sex.FULL ENTRY
It’s the last week of August, folks. You can look at it one of two ways:
1. It’s the end of summer, or
2. It’s the start of a new season
Now, I love me some warm weather (if it weren’t for its lack of public transportation and heinous traffic, I’d feel right at home in Los Angeles), but there’s something special about the shift into fall. Even as an adult, I love that “Back to school” feeling, and treat September like a fresh start to try something new.
If you feel in need of some fine-tuning (and maybe, some detoxing), you’re in luck: I spoke with a series of experts, from relationship coaches and a wing woman to managers at my favorite nightclubs, all of whom offered great advice about how to make your dating and nightlife experiences more enjoyable. I’ll be sharing their wisdom in a series of posts over the next few weeks, starting on Wednesday with insight from Love Systems founder Nick Savoy (he's been featured in places like the Today show, Dr. Phil and Playboy, among many others), and hope they’ll serve as useful tools to help you step up your game, whether you’re trying to score a date (or five) or get on a first-name basis with a doorman.
Don't worry about putting away the Coppertone (or the margarita glasses) just yet—there's a weekend to be had. But do dust off your saddle, and prepare to climb back on it.
“Do women want a hookup app?” That’s the $64,000 question posed by Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory in a piece published earlier this week. As much as I like Ms. Clark-Flory’s work, I think she skirted around the likelihood of whether women really need a hookup app—and the answer to that is a big, resounding no.FULL ENTRY
Do you remember this scene from the original Fast and the Furious franchise?
(For those who can’t (or won't) access the clip: it’s the part in the film when Vin Diesel’s character tells a bright-eyed Paul Walker that he lives his life “a quarter mile at a time.”)
While souped-up Honda Civics aren’t really my thing, he has a point: whether we acknowledge it or not, we're all living in the moment. A yoga or meditation instructor would call it "being present," and involves bringing your best self, your full attention, and your spirit to the now, leaving the past and future out of the equation.
And that’s why I try to treat each date, regardless of its place on the numeric totem pole, as the first one—and the last. It forces me to bring my A-game. That means staying engaged, and keeping my iPhone out of sight and out of mind. It means not worrying about where things are going, and genuinely enjoying and appreciating the other person’s company. It also means that I can't take the time I'm spending with the other person for granted: showing up is a choice, and it's one that has to be made by both parties involved. People want to be around other people who make them feel good about themselves.
If you need an example of what the opposite looks like, just think of any time you've been out to a bar or restaurant and have witnessed a couple in the heat of an argument. Arms crossed, lips pursed—it's clear there's trouble in paradise. (And yes, I've unfortunately been there before.) It's not only awkward as hell to be around, but it's really not fair to other people who are just trying to have a good time. In other words: if you really don't want to be on that date, then leave, or don't agree to go out to begin with—half the battle of dating is listening to your instincts and picking up on connection signals—but do take responsibility for and ownership of your emotions.
This same principle applies to friendships. Why would your friends want to hang out with you on the weekend if you're constantly complaining about work? (They don't.) Does anyone like making plans with someone who frequently cancels at the last minute? (Uh, nope.) Are you actually listening to what your brunchmate is saying, or are you too engrossed in your Facebook feed to realize you're unconsciously shutting her out? (Let's hope for the former.) I can't think of a single person who enjoys feeling ignored or taken advantage of.
Whether you call it, ahem, living life a quarter-mile at a time, showing up, or something else in your own words, it's worth a shot—and all it requires is a simple shift of your mindset.
A piece I recently wrote about FOMO (or the fear of missing out) went viral last week, sparking conversation across the Internet about what makes us succumb to the "grass is greener" mentality. Aside from social media, there's one place where FOMO can strike especially hard: nightlife.
And in a city like Boston, where the cost of living is high and the opportunity to try, taste and see everything beckons around every corner, it can be hard to stick to a budget of any kind, whether you’re making beaucoup bucks or barely scraping by. Still, it can be done—and it doesn't have to be painful. Here are five quick tips to shape up your social life, one dollar at a time.FULL ENTRY