Dating and relationship advise from Susan Dunhoff, professional matchmaker and relationship adviser, and her executive assistant, Nicole Bruno. Both are with The Modern Matchmaker here in Pittsburgh and volunteered to answer some of our reader’s relationship advice inquiries.
We put out a call each issue to hear from our readers with their stories and questions about everything Pittsburgh dating. We’ve put together an advice column answering some of the texts, emails, and facebook messages we received, changed the names to protect the innocent, and asked our friends at Modern Matchmaker what they thought. What courtship queries do you have? What do you think of our advice? Write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE: So, to spice things up in the bedroom I put on a wig and talked to my partner in a foreign accent. He loved it. Now, he wants me to do it all the time. Is this weird?
Dear Forlorn Linguist,
It’s exciting to spice things up in your sex life every once in a while, but I understand your need for pillow talk in the bedroom to revert back to its original state. Explain how you feel and communicate your preferences and needs to your partner. It’s not weird, but it’s selfish to ask someone to put on a wig and speak in a foreign accent every time you have sex with them, especially if that makes them feel uncomfortable and unsatisfied. Your partner should be turned on without you having to pretend to be someone else whenever intimacy occurs.
TURNDOWN SERVICE: What’s the best way I can turn down a date? I’ve always gotten asked out a lot. If I go out to a bar, I’ll inevitably get chatted up by a few guys. I feel like if I say I have a boyfriend, then I’m relying on another man’s protection and that it’s a stupid excuse, but I do say that a lot. What’s a better alternative? If someone’s being polite and flirting with me I don’t like the burden of trying to be nice and coming up with some justification for not wanting their attention.
-Table for one
Dear Table for one,
Do not feel stupid for using this excuse, you can use whatever excuse you please. However, a better alternative for declining a man’s invitation for a date would be to remain honest in saying you are not interested in him. If you feel that it’s appropriate, let him know you’re flattered by the invitation, but you decline. Believe it or not, men appreciate honesty, especially if it’s presented to them in a gentle and polite manner.
If you are at the bar, another alternative to getting away from guys you’re not interested in is to say you have to go to the bathroom or need to make a quick phone call, disappear and excuse yourself from the situation, and move to a different location in the bar and strike up a conversation with someone else nearby.
SMALL MINDED SMALL TOWN: I’m dealing with a lot of homophobia here in Pittsburgh. Any tips for people reading who might be narrow-minded bigots? How about some advice for them?
-Pissed off Pittsburgher
Dear Pissed off Pittsburgher,
I am sorry you are experiencing homophobia in Pittsburgh! I’d highly suggest for narrow-minded readers to treat others the way they would want to be treated and to learn to accept what they cannot change. Difference is not something to fear, but something to value and to respect. Hatred won’t eliminate those who are different from us; therefore, it’s a waste of emotional energy to hate others who are different from us. Imagine all the things people could do if they let go of the hatred and the anger that seems to live inside of them. If we all were the same, the world would be quite boring and uneventful.
As a narrow-minded reader, you don’t have to change your opinion or stance on certain political issues, but it is important to treat others with the respect you expect from them. No one deserves to experience the pain that comes from acts of homophobia, racism, sexism, or transphobia. Please don’t continue to spread hatred in a world that needs love and acceptance so much more.
DATING AROUND: I’ve been dating three different people over the last few months. I like all of them, but don’t want anything serious. If I tell them about each other they’ll probably get jealous. Do I owe them an explanation?
Dear Secretive Seductor,
No, you don’t owe them an explanation. It is acceptable to date more than one person until you determine to whom you gravitate. Keeping your options open in the beginning may help you gain a deeper understanding of what you are looking for in an ideal partner. The only explanation they deserve is the one regarding your true intentions.
Be honest with yourself and your partners about your aims in regards to dating. Explain to them that you are just casually dating, having fun, and not interested in anything serious right now. If you remain honest about your intentions and emotions, you will have a clear conscience, and you may weed out and save the time of your prospects looking for something more serious.
CLASS IT UP: Dear Pittsburgh men, stop taking me to eat wings at a bar with TVs on the wall.
Dear Doomed Diner,
It sounds like you are dating the wrong type of men. Please don’t lose hope or make generalizations about all of the men in Pittsburgh. I can promise you, chivalry is not dead. Gentlemen with class exist in Pittsburgh, and they are ready and willing to wine and dine a woman they are genuinely interested in getting to know. Don’t allow the wrong guys to cause you to become jaded or feel doomed. Some men honestly don’t think about how impersonal it is to take a woman to a bar on a first date. You will continue to receive what you allow to continue. Break the cycle! To avoid ending up at a sports bar on your next date, try recommending another restaurant. You can never go wrong with making a suggestion!
ME TOO: Can we address the real problem with dating? Violent sexual assault perpetrated by men.
-Sick of It All
Dear Sick of It All,
Not all dating involves violence of any kind. And when it does, in some instances, women are at fault, not just men. There are precautions that both men and women can take to prevent violent behavior and sexual assault on dates. If you insist on using online dating, background check your date prior to accepting and never get in your date’s car until you know them well, and never on the first date. I also advise carrying mace or some kind of alarm with you at all times. Keep it within easy reach. You can even hook it on your purse to be seen. If your date starts saying inappropriate things, or acts improperly, or seems intoxicated, call an Uber immediately and leave. Remove yourself from any seemingly dangerous situation before it progresses.
SEARCHING FOR THE ONE: How do you know when you’ve met the right person? Do you believe in soul mates?
-Looking For Love
Dear Looking for Love,
Yes! I believe in soul mates. Successful relationships have an emotional connection with depth, not just a surface connection. This occurs when both partners truly care about each other and are excited for their next date. And when feelings are genuine, intimacy is always better. You know when you’ve met the right person when you don’t have to ask yourself, “Am I in love?”
OFFENDING ODOR: This is crazy, I know, but this girl I’m seeing has a strange smell. It’s not her breath, it’s not body odor, it’s just something I get a whiff of now and then. I mentioned it to her, and she said that people have told her that before, and she’s not sure what to do. I don’t think I can take it much longer. Am I a bad person for bailing?
Dear Offended Olfactory,
This problem has to be handled vary carefully so as not to insult your partner. This is not crazy, as other people have also commented. And she is well aware of it. This foul odor can be caused by her expired cologne, hair color or products, scented deodorant or her detergent. Even old shoes can smell bad. I would recommend that she tries switching the brands of various products to see if the odor disappears. If she refuses, then unfortunately you have no choice but to exit the relationship.
STRIKE TWO: I asked this girl out that I met at a PPL kickball game, but she said she wasn’t interested at the time. We’ve seen each other socially a few times since then and we’ve had a good time. I think she may have changed her mind, am I being creepy if I ask again?
Dear Kickballer’s Quandry,
I do not think it would be creepy of you to ask again, but it may appear obsessive and you may present yourself as someone that cannot handle rejection or respect the word, “NO.” I understand that you may have a sincere interest in this woman, but she may not have mutual feelings toward you, or she may not want your relationship to surpass friendship or the kickball team. I would respect her by accepting her initial response. Getting together socially and having a good time is not exactly an indication of romantic interest. It is what it is, which is simply getting together socially and having a good time.
On the other hand, if she has shown you signs of romantic interest since her initial declination, then taking a second stab at asking her out might be worth your while. It does not hurt to check in later with someone to see if they have changed their mind; however, if her answer remains the same the second time around, respect her decision and move on to someone who shares a mutual interest in going on a first date and getting to know one another.