Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Next Oprah

Watch this short video where I discuss my inspired idea about who should replace Oprah as America's most beloved talk show host.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I don't endorse this site for married cheaters

At a dinner party last week, I met a lawyer who told me about a dating site for married people called A woman had come to his office seeking to sue the founder of the site.

"He stole my idea," she claimed. "I was going to start a service for people who wanted to have affairs."

My new lawyer friend wouldn't take her case. In his legal opinion, people having affairs is an age-old pursuit that can't be copyrighted.

Noel Biderman, the founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, agrees that cheating is a fact of life and defends his site by saying it doesn't create promiscuous behavior, just helps keep it honest.

"Some people say it promotes promiscuity," he said. "But if you don't do it, you get behavior that's way more harmful to society. Infidelity has been around a lot longer than Ashley Madison."

He believes that hearing about the service in a commercial is not going to persuade anyone to have an affair. "It's a decision they've come to already. All I'm saying is, don't do it in the workplace where it could result in someone losing their job, don't go to a singles dating service and lie about your status, don't hire a prostitute. Given that affairs are going to happen no matter what, maybe we should see Ashley Madison as a safe alternative." Jan 10, 09 LA Times

The company is having a little difficulty in the marketing department. Their slogan, "Life is short, have an affair" is obviously incendiary, and their TV ads, which depict racy trysts or unbearable marriages, have been banned by many stations. Still, the website boasts 3.5 million subscribers, so there's obviously consumer demand out there.


I'm not in favor of extramarital affairs of any kind, but I find this approach especially yucky. It's so premeditated. Maybe I'm naive, but I like to think that people who have affairs do so because they slip up, or they're irresistibly drawn to a specific person - not that they've rationally decided the time has come to systematically sleep around.

But what do you think? Are there some marriages that are just so awful that cheating is justified?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I love you, Donny Osmond!

On my other blog, called "North Shore & Next Door" at True/Slant, I've listed the many reasons you should adore Donny now, even if you didn't "puppy love" him back in the day. Click here to read all about it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ms. Matchmaker's tips on meeting your match

Jill Rudman of Highland Park (pictured) is a professional matchmaker and she's so warm and upbeat, I almost wish I needed her services. Jill helps Chicago and North Shore singles meet the guy or gal of their dreams - or she gets pretty darn close.

Of course, Jill, AKA "Ms. Matchmaker," has her own opinions about what makes a great match.

"I do not believe that opposites attract," she told me. "I think people get along best when they come from the same background, family, religion, and have the same outlook on life."

Jill also believes a match works best when the man and woman are about the same age. Hey, what about all those hot cougar relationships I keep hearing about?

Sorry ladies, but Jill says it ain't happening.

"I'm not seeing a lot of guys looking for older women out there," she said. Bunny from the Posse was right!

Once Jill has found two people she thinks will click, she has the man call the woman to invite her out. "I'm old fashioned, I believe the man should be a gentleman, ask the woman out and pay for the first date."

What happens on the date is up to the couple. But Ms. Matchmaker has some advice for women when meeting a man for the first time. Here are her guidelines for a successful first date.

1. Dress appropriately. Men like women who take care of themselves and make an effort, but they don't like sleazy. So, don't show too much skin or slather on the make-up. Guys find this intimidating. (We've heard this same thing from Warren, a couple posts back.)

2. Be positive. Talk about the good things in your life, be interested and upbeat. By no means bash your Ex or discuss personal problems. It's way too soon; you want to make a good impression.

3. Act like a lady. Don't drink too much, smoke too much or use foul language. It might be fun, but this early in the game, it's a turnoff.

4. Give the guy a chance. Jill has had clients tell her, "he was so close, but we had no spark." Sometimes it takes a couple dates for attraction to develop - if you like him as a person, stay open.

5. Finally, be kind. Even if you're 100% sure there is no future, you still want the guy to leave feeling interested in you and having had a nice time. You might bump into him again, and who knows? He might have a friend or a brother.

To learn more about Ms. Matchmaker Jill Rudman, visit her website:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Regina and Warren discuss the pitfalls of hooking up

This is a continuation of my series on divorce and dating. To start from the beginning, click here then page up through my blog.

Regina burst into the bar at Bluestone and within minutes she and Warren exchanged real names, chatted about financial futures and vegetarianism, and figured out they had several mutual friends. Warren had even dated a girl who looked just like Regina. I was relieved. Conversation wasn't going to be a problem for my newly introduced divorced pals.

Regina was excited because she'd made a lot of discoveries about herself that day. "I finally met my health insurance deductible," she said, "so my therapy sessions are free for the rest of year! I'm cramming them in like crazy. My therapist and I are on an archaeological dig."

Although Regina vows never (ever!) to marry again, she'd like to have a man around. But since her divorce five years ago, she hasn't figured out how to make a relationship work. As she told Warren, "I love men, I'm just not good with them. I'm in the special needs program of dating - you have a PhD." Warren laughed.

So, Regina is seeing her therapist twice a week and some things are beginning to click. Like why she dated so many inappropriate men - guys who were too young, or married, or from out of town.

"When you're unhealthy, you find people at your own unhealthy level," she said.

Warren said gently. "You deserve much better than those guys," he said.

Regina also discovered why she has problems connecting with men. Her therapist says she's too honest for her own good. Men don't understand how open she is and assume she's playing games. I have to agree that Regina is off the richter scale in terms of honesty, but that's the way she sees the world.

"Why am I stuck with this flippin' curse?" she wailed.

Warren could relate. "I'm always completely honest too," he said. "The problem is, women refuse to believe me. Or, they try to change me."

"No one can ever change anyone," snapped Regina.

Because of the work she's done on her issues, Regina is ready to let a man into her life. And recently, through, she found the perfect guy. Just like Regina, "Sam" was interested in nature and conservation. They connected on topics like Illinois birds of prey, worms, mulch - even trailer hitches. And one night, after a series of suggestive texts, they slept together.

"We had awesome sex," said Regina. "I was like a hitter in a bad slump and he broke me out of it. He made me feel like a relationship was possible again."

But the next time she contacted him to get together, he stood her up.

Did the guy think it was just a booty call? I asked Warren, who shrugged and nodded.

"I broke The Rules." Regina said sadly. "Men are the ones that are supposed to do the chasing."

What are you looking for? I asked Regina. What kind of relationship do you want?

"I just want someone to spend time with on the three nights a week I'm not with my kids so I'm not alone. Someone enjoyable, to have sex with, on my terms," she replied.

And what did Warren want?

"I want someone smart and funny who thinks the sun rises and sets in me and makes me feel that way about her too. Someone who makes me laugh, to goof around with, who reads books and newspapers and knows what's going on in the world." Warren chuckled. "I have a list."

Neither Regina or Warren seem to be asking for too much, but it's hard to find the right person. Hopefully, the woman I'll write about next time can help. She's a professional matchmaker. Check back later this week for her advice on what makes two people click and how to make a good impression on a first date.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Qualities that make a woman a '10' in Warren's book

I sat at the bar at Bluestone last week with Warren-the-man-who-loves-women, feeling a little nervous. In 30 minutes, Regina, the wild, outspoken chick from The Posse, would join us. Two of my divorced and dating subjects, who I'd been writing about since September, were about to meet in real life!

The point of getting together was a joint interview, not a fix up, but I still hoped they'd like each other. While we were waiting for Regina to arrive, I had a few more questions for Warren. Specifically, what are men looking for in women and even more key - what turns them off?

Just to remind you, in the 17 years since his divorce, Warren has dated hundreds of women. I figured a guy who has had so many relationships is an expert in the ebb and flow of attraction. As usual, Warren was happy to share his thoughts on the matter.

Here are the qualities that can turn a woman who might otherwise rate a 6 or 7 into a full-on, Bo Derek "10" for Warren.

1. In Style
Warren looked around the bar. "Some of these women dress like men," he pronounced. "They look like they ordered their outfits from L.L. Bean." Warren, a sharp dresser himself, appreciates women who make an effort to look cute while being tasteful and age-appropriate.

"I don't care how good your body is, you shouldn't have your thong hanging out. It looks ridiculous."

2. Funny Girls
"I love funny," said Warren. "You have to be smart to be funny, and smart is sexy." Warren is a funny guy, so he doubly understands the appeal. "Girls love funny too," he said, a twinkle in his eye.

3. Very Interesting
"I don't always go out with gorgeous women," said Warren, "I can get just as infatuated with an average looking girl who has something to teach me." He told me about a woman he adored who was rather plain, but knew everything about modern art.

"A woman who can show me something new - now that's hot!"

Warren insists that guys aren't looking for bimbos when it comes to relationships that last more than a few hours. Did you hear that single chicks? What men want is for you to dress classy and flaunt your gorgeous wits - not your tits.

Now what qualities turn a guy off? Warren had no trouble naming those either. He's put off by women who 1) act fake or misrepresent themselves, 2) are in constant need of reassurance and 3) want to control or change him.

I wanted to ask Warren to elaborate, but just then, Regina entered the bar - late, breathless and fabulously frazzled. Check back next time when Regina and Warren meet! Trust me, their conversation is anything but dull.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When marriage holds you back - is it okay to move on?

I've been taking a little break from the Posse chicks and divorced dudes to sit back and reflect on the meaning of marriage.

"Aww," I can almost hear you groan. "We just want the sex! Give us more dirt!"

Calm down already, juicy stuff is on the way. In the meantime, I'd like to present one enlightened chick, Annie Burnside, and her rather radical views on marriage. Annie is an educator and a soul nurturer, and if you don't know what that is, check out her inspiring website.

When working with a client, Annie's goal is "to reconnect you more deeply to the voice of your own soul so that clarity and direction may be attained." She has worked with many divorced and separated women and doesn't see a marriage ending as a failure.

"Not everyone is necessarily meant to be with the same person for 60 years," she told me over coffee last week, looking drop-dead gorgeous and pulsating with positive energy. "Marriage is a societal institution that sometimes holds people back from making their true choices."

Living authentically is what Annie is all about, and it's what she teaches others to do by listening to their vibes and uncovering their deepest desires. Ideally, two people can continue to grow and develop in a marriage, but it may not always be possible.

"It's difficult for two people to grow at the same rate," said Annie. "Sometimes the soul growth in that particular relationship is complete."

It takes courage to recognize that a relationship has stopped working and ending a marriage can be devastatingly painful. But according to Annie, sometimes the transformation of the relationship brings on tremendous growth and opportunity.

Living according to your deep inner truths isn't selfish, she says. When you operate from your core, (instead of trying to please everyone else and feeling resentful about it) you have much more to give.

"When you come from that authentic space, what you offer others is of a much higher quality," she said.

Look, Annie isn't encouraging people to ditch their spouse; she's a happily married woman and hopes to stay that way. It's just that she is a passionate advocate of nurturing the soul - for both parties. And after many attempts to save the marriage have failed, if a person can no longer find the truth, joy, and appreciation in the relationship and needs to move on - she's okay with it.

"Living a live of quiet desperation is ultimately detrimental to all involved."