By Lori Bosworth
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and for many singles, it’s a day not unlike many others. Certainly, the commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day and pressure to couple up can leave one feeling inadequate if one forgets that Valentine’s Day is a massive commercial industry designed to profit by making you feel less than perfect. However, if you are venturing out on a date on Valentine’s Day or find yourself in a new relationship, certified matchmaker Natacha Noël has relationship advice for you. Noël is the founder of Absolute Bachelor Club, an upscale matchmaking agency that conducts a personal search for its members. We spoke to Noël via email.
LB: If you have not been dating very long, what is an appropriate type of date for Valentine’s Day? What about gifts? Are they required on Valentine’s Day if you’ve been dating, say, less than a month?
NN: Valentine’s Day is a time to declare or profess the love you have for someone. If you have not been dating someone very long, it still is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for having him or her in your life. There are no rules as to how much is too much or not enough on that special day. The trick or difficulty, if you like, is to fall within the limits of the other person’s expectations. Say, for example, that a man begins dating a woman and that she isn’t sure of her feelings for him. Four dozen roses at work may not be received from her very well. The opposite is also true when someone falls short of making a gesture in the love direction. It may create disappointment. While gifts are not required from men and women who have just begun dating, it is probably safer to plan a romantic date, which will create an emotional connection. At the very beginning of a relationship, good old classics like dinner and a movie are sure to please.
LB: What about couples who have been dating a long time? What is expected of them on Valentine’s Day?
NN: The only thing that should be expected of couples on Valentine’s Day is to celebrate their love in a way that is appreciated by their better half. Think about what he or she would appreciate from you that day. As modern as I am, I do believe that Valentine’s Day is a woman’s second birthday. Many of us love to celebrate the day and the idea that we may receive roses, chocolate, lingerie or jewelry is extremely exciting to us. Of course, there are certain social pressures, and we sometimes want a story to tell our friends or coworkers the next day. Women should try not to fall into that trap, which could lead to unnecessary disappointment. Creativity is not costly – bubble baths, a massage, candlelight dinner, slow dancing at home – are just a few ideas and let’s not forget the wish card, always a winner. Valentine’s Day should be about professing love.
LB: Is online dating the best place to find your soul mate? So many people misrepresent themselves online. How can daters navigate this online minefield?
NN: Online dating is as good as any place to find a match. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. One will need to dedicate a lot of time to screening profiles to select a man or woman they want to speak to first and then meet in person. The best advice I can give for online dating is to control what you can control: yourself. Have at least two great recent photos of yourself, one headshot and one full-length body shot, no matter your shape or size. Create a nice profile and remember that everyone is specifying that they love trying new restaurants, wine and travel. Let people know what is unique about you. Is your sense of humour, lifestyle or personality transpiring in your profile? The better your profile, the higher quality your interactions will be and you will then have your pick of the litter.
LB: Are text messages okay when you are first dating?
NN: Text messages are okay, but should be used tactfully at the beginning of courtship. Some people prefer to text for the convenience and rapidity of it while others find it very impersonal. Many of my clients are busy entrepreneurs and have adopted texting as a mean to communicate efficiently during their busy day. I always remind men that women appreciate the call and that it simply sets them apart from past suitors. My rules are simple. Place a call to set up the date and follow up for precise location, pick up time, etc. via text if necessary. Always ask for a second date in person at the end of the first date. Text messaging after the date or the following day has brought back the essence of the thank you notes and is very appreciated by both men and women. Text messages should be kept short but interesting and can work wonders if tastefully used to flirt. Complaints should be avoided via texting as they can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and cannot be recalled. One should avoid capitalisation of entire sentences or portions of them and excessive exclamations for the same reasons. Calls show availability and interest where overtly texting may come off as awkward and lacking desire to pursue. Use your common sense.
LB: How forthcoming should we be about our past on a first date?
NN: One should leave the past in the past on a first date. If asked, simply give a short answer of why the relationship has ended and smoothly transition into a different topic.
LB: If we don’t feel any chemistry on a first date, should we consider a second date?
NN: If chemistry was missing on the first date, but you feel compatibility is there, one should absolutely give it a second and third date. Chemistry can and will develop with the growing feelings you will have for a person, which will be based on core values, similar interests and goals. If compatibility was questionable on date one, only then should you end the journey.
LB: How do we break a pattern of dating the same type of guy or girl?
NN: The way to break the pattern is to date someone that has all the characteristics you seek in a long-term partner, even if you are not massively attracted to them. I call it your Absolute Match criteria list. As a Matchmaker, I like to create a list of Absolute Match Criteria (including core values, character traits, lifestyle, children, habits, revenue, education, traditions and faith) with my clients. For example, if a woman has accepted that she dates men who are unavailable, her criteria list should include good communicator who enjoys spending quality times together and sharing activities with her.