Friday, April 30, 2010

The Benefits of Dating on a Dime


I preach “dating on a dime” because it befits my lifestyle, which at this point in my life contains more time than money. However, you can take girls out for fancy nights out if you can afford it, although it’s not the best idea until you know the girl is sincerely interested in you…and not the prospect of a free, lavish dinner.

The Classic Dinner Date

I grew up on the idea that if you like a girl you ask her out to dinner, a message echoed throughout movies, social norms and my community. Sharing a meal with someone is an excellent bonding experience because it satiates the body with extraordinary flavors while opening the mind and heart to a new person. That’s why a dinner date always seems like a special occasion, because each of you are getting out of your often mundane, healthy eating habits to treat your body and mind to invigorating sensations.

If you have the income, assets and investments that befit a more luxurious dating lifestyle, I whole heartedly encourage you to enjoy yourself! Take women out to nice dinners, snazzy lounges or week-long vacations to Cancun.

I just hope you are going on these pricey excursions with women interested in you, as opposed to those seeking the ego-gratifying experience of an all-expense paid dinner date. Lets face it, women enjoy dinner dates because they get lavished with attention and consideration, but sometimes these women have little to no romantic interest in their dining companion.

I knew of a girl who would accept almost any dinner date invitation simply out of curiosity. She liked the idea of a guy wanting to get to know her over dinner, even if she was not romantically interested in him. I found this idea appalling that a poor sap might shell out $60 or more for dinner while this girl had only mild interest in him, or nothing better to do on a Thursday night after work.

The Pre-Date

For this reason, I suggest screening women you’d like to take out for more extravagant outings that require preparation, planning, time and money by going on a casual date beforehand. I call them “pre-dates” and they consist of activities that don’t cost much and are fun, like meeting for coffee in a cool place, free art walks, sampling exotic desserts, checking out a museum or going on a hike. All of these activities don’t seem “cheap” because you know getting into them that you won’t be spending more than $20 for a great experience.

Be creative in how you want to spend time with a girl, and after that first experience, you’ll better know if it’s worth inviting her into your world.

Fun in the LA Sun

Los Angeles is full of incredible, inexpensive activities and here is one of my favorites: Hiking Griffith Park.

This photo was taken right before I touched the Hollywood sign and an alarm went off...fortunately there were no attack dogs

Pick up a map at the Ranger Station and traverse up to the top of Mt. Hollywood or take an alternate route to hop a fence and touch the Hollywood sign. You’ll experience a great view of the city, exercise, the So Cal sun, a memorable time with your friends and if you invite a girl, a perfect opportunity to have fun and get to know her.

What are your favorite, inexpensive activities in your city? In Los Angeles?

What have been your experiences going on pre-dates?

Next time: “How to start a conversation with anyone…like Gerard Butler”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your future girlfriend could be your friends’ friend’s friend.

Photo by Evan Koester, check out his photo blog which will make you wish you were in a higher income bracket.

I had a realization the other day about the moments in my life where I really connected with a woman and we proceeded to date for months or years.

It wasn’t through meeting a stranger at a bar. Nor did it involve getting a waitress’ number at The Yardhouse.

It involved the people I know introducing me to new people, hobbies and events. Through these social connections, I met girls in an environment where they were open to having real conversations, without their defenses up high. In a word, what has helped me establish real connections with women is: Communities.

Community: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.

Communities are your groups of friends, colleagues, alumni, classmates or any social group. Use these communities to experience new activities, and often while doing so, you'll successfully meet amazing women. I advise every man, woman and child to:

Build your community, fill it with valued individuals and then actively engage their communities.

If you do this, your social circle will flourish. Find a balance between spending time with long-time, trusted friends and new, exciting personalities. Try putting them together in groups and see what happens. If anyone asks you to attend an event, say “yes!” and try to go to as many events as possible, especially if the event is a house party, which will cost you little more than a 6-pack to enter a buffet of people with whom you have a halfway-decent connection.

Even when your energy is low, and everything in your body screams to stay home or end the night early, I recommend pushing yourself to try something new. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re with a community of new faces, as I discovered with a group of American friends crashing a graduation party in Italy.

Photo by Eric Horwitz Some of the best communities I’ve ever been in have had attractive European women with a penchant for gelato.

In the winter of 2006, I found myself in an uncomfortable predicament in Padova, Italy. I was in my second semester of studying abroad, and that Wednesday night in the city’s main piazza I had upset Linda, an American girl who had a crush on me. Our Italian friend Federico had invited us to a friend of a friend’s graduation party, and during the long walk to the party I felt ostracized from my American classmates.

The party was in a bland, darkly-lit room in a dormitory complex. As people mingled, I was bored and drifted over to the DJ, who in this case was a skinny, bearded Italian on a laptop. In the middle of our conversation I felt a hand lean on my shoulder. I turned to my right to find a girl with long black hair, olive-skin and a wry smile leaning on me and the DJ.

(translated from Italian to English for your convenience)

Me: “Hello?”

Her: (surprised) “Hi! Oh, I thought you were someone else.”

Me: “Really? I’m Eric, you?”

Her: (impressed by my Hollywood accent speaking her language) “I’m Giulia, Where are you from?”

Me: “I live in LA and am studying in Padova for the next few months.”

Her: “Wow, the city of angels!”

Me: “So whose party is this for?”

Her: (points to DJ) “Him. He just graduated.”

Me: “Congratulations! So how do Italians celebrate graduation?”

I then enlisted Guilia’s help in translating the graduate’s “Papiro,” a document scrawled on a poster board detailing incriminating stories typically cruel and sexual in nature, exaggerated for effect. An Italian graduate reads his papiro out loud to his peers the moment he gets his thesis grade from his professors. Within 5 minutes, his nice suit is off and his friends cover him with toilet paper, shaving cream, diapers, bags, even a raw chicken in a hat, as the helpless grad is forced to share his life on paper to his friends and entire family. Every time he messes up reading, his friends pour Prosecco down his throat as everyone laughs, cheers and takes many black-mail worthy photos.

Photo by Eric Horwitz: An Italian graduate reads her papiro and downs her drink while covered with a maid outfit, shaving cream and much more.

I would love to introduce this tradition to America. Throwing your graduation cap in the air just doesn’t cut it.

As Giulia helped me translate, we coyly got to know each other. I first noticed her energy, that radiance that upbeat people emit. It’s in their walk and their smile, and especially their voice, which bursts with enthusiasm. She had intelligent eyes, and I was smitten.

As the party ended she encouraged me to wait for her downstairs before we went out for a drink at “Highlander,” the local Irish pub. I met up with my American friends, and could feel the awkward glare from Linda. Five minutes seemed to take an hour before Giulia met me downstairs, and as we headed out together I gave a rather cruel wave to my group.

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I later discovered that the graduate was Giulia’s ex, and that she had made me wait downstairs so it wouldn’t look like she left the party with a random American she had just met.

Giulia and I hit it off, and dated until my trip ended. To this day, we still stay in touch.

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If I had not mustered the will to go to a party that I had no desire to attend, I would never have met Giulia. I learned from then on to say “yes” to invitations to almost any party, provided I could fit it in my schedule.

Everyone in LA is “busy” and it’s quite unfashionable to have an open schedule. I suggest doing an experiment by saying “yes” to all the invitations that come your way in the next week. Obviously you can’t be at two places at the same time or drop down big bucks on every event, but make a simple effort to respond “yes” to that plethora of facebook events begging for your company. If nothing is happening then create an event. If people enjoy your company and you choose something fun, inexpensive and, most importantly, UNIQUE, chances are people will attend or at least appreciate the invitation.

Let me know what happens, because I'm sure you will have stories to tell. So say “yes” to that alumni dinner or the friend who invited you to a hip-hop class. Stay active in your community of friends, and the community in your city. We are all attached to so many communities: through school, colleagues, friends and our hobbies, so go seek these groups and see what new experiences await.

In the next post I’ll talk about how to create your community, which consists of sub-groups, while not spending much money and bringing in new people.