Tatiana Talks

It's A Wonder People Ever Get Together in the First Place

Maybe it is all the conversation hearts I’ve been consuming -- I’m so glad they don’t make those all year round -- but I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. 

Don’t worry, I’m not thinking about getting in one. I’m still a perfectly happily single woman.

Still, it is on my mind (and constantly mentioned in my horoscope), which is how I came to be reading a blog article on tips for dating for men.

Let me tell you, all you daters out there, no wonder people have such a hard time connecting.

Now, if you just clicked back from the above link, you might be thinking, Tati, there is nothing wrong with that advice. And you would be correct.

But, when we put this advice in context with what we are telling women (remember this is advice for men) you start to see how this complicates things.

For instance, Tip 2: Never talk about the future. Makes sense if this is a first or second date, but what about the third or fourth or fifth date? When is it okay to start talking about the future. Because women are told to be upfront (though never on the first date) about what they want (isn’t that right, Steve Harvey?).

And then there is Tip 7. Don’t over-pursue. Good tip. Unfortunately, it is almost word for word what every dating book I have ever read (and keep in mind I read almost all of them) tells women. So, imagine, two people have a great time and neither of them reaches out to the other for fear of looking desperate. I don’t have picture the woman wondering why she never heard from a guy after -- I’ve been her. But it is laughable to think some of those guys were sitting around their living rooms drinking bottles of wines with their friends wondering what they did wrong by doing nothing.

Of course, this is if there is even a great date to begin with, which won’t be the case if guys follow Tip 9: don’t talk about yourself. Why? Because your date has been told to not talk about herself, and instead seem (I love that) interested in listening to you talk about yourself and your work. So, we take all conversation about you (and her) off the table, as well as the future, politics, religion, anything else too deep, and I guess that leaves you with the weather. I suppose once the food arrives you could comment on that as well.

I don’t think it is supposed to be this complicated. In fact, I’m pretty sure, when you are with the right person, he will actually be interested in listening to talk about yourself (yes, even on the first date) and she will be delighted when you send her a text and an email and then called her.

s for talking about the future, I think it is foolish not to. Personally, I smell three-monther any time a guy starts telling me he can see us growing old together, so I would wait for the where-do-you-see-us-in-five-years conversation until you two are ready to bump private parts (though obviously not right before).

Of course, I’m also jaded, so maybe you shouldn’t take any dating advice from me.

Open Letter to the Hot Guy in My Office

Dear Hot Guy in My Office,

As you know from your life of looking in mirrors and women behaving silly around you, you are hot; ridiculously so. If it seems like it is hard for me to look at you, it is because it is. You are that damn handsome and I am afraid of what will happen if I make eye contact. The last thing I want to do is become another silly woman.

Now, before you start to worry that this letter is a really lame attempt to ask you out, let me assure you it’s not. 1) You are much too good looking for me. 2) I know you have a girlfriend. 3) We work together and I have a rule about that, and 4) (and this is probably the most important one and should have gone first) I have just completed the outline of my “Single For Life” tattoo and it would be really expensive to have it removed. Not to mention a total waste of some very artistic lettering.

Still the possibility of me becoming a total moron around you looms large and with the recent elevator incident (I didn’t mean to flirt with you, it just sometimes happen), I feel drastic measures need to be taken on both our parts. I need you to think I am smart and competent. I would like you to respect me.

Now, I know I can’t ask you to be less attractive – I don’t think you could if you tried, I mean you even look good in plaid. However, I was able to come up with a list of things you can do that I think would improve our situation dramatically:

1) Stop wearing your glasses. I don’t care if you are hungover and trying to hide blood shot eyes. Your horn-rimmed glasses that make you look like Clark Kent are like Kryptonite to this Super Girl’s will power. Perhaps in the new year you can resolve to drink less and thus lessen your need for your glasses.

2) Stop standing directly outside my office, talking about how interesting you are to our co-workers. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to refrain from joining those conversations? I saw the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this weekend too. I have thoughts about it. But I stayed in my office with my mouth shut because I didn't want you to get the wrong idea. If you really must share with our co-workers all the fun things you did this weekend, IM them. Or send them an email. Or wait until I am in a meeting. Just stop talking to them right outside my office.

3) Stop cursing. You are a really great curser which I know probably sounds like a strange compliment, but as someone that has always sounded too crass when I say any curse word, I really admire the ability in others to sound forceful but not trashy. When you curse, it sounds hot, and that isn't good.

Things you may feel free to continue doing are shamelessly flirting with the older women in the office and talking about your diet.

In return for any or all of these concessions, I will continue to avoid talking to you, looking at you, and engaging you in any way. This morning was a moment of weakness, and don’t anticipate it happening again.

I hope you have a wonderful and healthy new year.



Dating Do's And Don't's Or A Night with Thomas the Train Guy

Walking up the stairs to my apartment after my date with Thomas the Train Guy, I ran over every detail of the date, doing my best to not forget anything. Not because they were cherished memories I wanted to hold on to, but because I was convinced I would have to reenact the date word-for-word before anyone believed me.

However, I found recreating the date time and time again exhausting. Even summing up the date was too much. And since simply transcribing the date here would a) not be that creative and b) would really only prove to make fun of Thomas the Train Guy and I don’t like to make fun of people. I have decided, instead, to use this date as a lesson for all my readers on things not to do on your date.

Yes, I realize I addressed this topic before (here), but I fear, for some, I have to break it down even further.

I also recognized, after a couple glasses of wine and further thought on the matter, that Thomas the Train Guy may not have been looking for love and simply looking for some lovin’. However, even if this is the case, these rules still apply as after that date, the words a snowball’s chance in hell took on a whole new meaning for me.

First, a couple of things Thomas did right. He didn’t try to cancel the first date (something you should only do in the case of a real emergency or else you are going to come off as a flake and not really that interested) he showed up on time (and was actually a bit early) and he was dressed very nice, in clean jeans (yes, I have to stress clean because I once had a date show up looking as if he had rolled around in mud), fashionable shoes, a sweater, and no baseball hat.

Now for where he went terribly, terribly wrong.

Words One Should Never Use on The First Date

Back in college a good friend of mine started a list of words she never wanted to hear in a pop song after she first heard Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing” (the word being saline). I thought of this list the second time Thomas said the word hormones and decided I would start my own list:






Baby’s mama


Now of course there are exceptions to all rules. For instance, if you are out for a very fancy meal at a steakhouse and you are 60 years or older you are allowed to order the Prime Rib. Perhaps you are in an argument with your date and you say something like, “you are perverting our founding father’s intended meaning of that amendment.” Though, I would caution you about discussing the founding fathers on your first date. Still, I think for the rest of us, it is good practice to not use the above noted words on a first date (or perhaps any date).

Topics of Discussion to Avoid on The First Date

When You Lost Your Virginity: I had to think back on this one, but I’m pretty sure I can safely say I don’t know when any of my ex-boyfriends lost their virginity. I think maybe Wharton and I discussed it, but that conversation was more along the lines of who he lost it with not so much when – I think. I have had this conversation with a couple of my close girlfriends, but not all of them. And some of them I have known for years. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure I know how old my sister was when she lost her virginity and I have known her for 32 years. We might have even been living in the same house when it happened.

Any Fetishes You May Have: Remember when I read that dating book about why he never called back and I was up in arms that the author suggested I hold back who I really am just so I can get a second date. Well, I take back everything I said then. Sometimes it is best to save parts of your personality for when you know your date better. For instance, if you have a thing for girls in spandex – I don’t want to hear about it. At least not within the first hour of knowing you and certainly not when I am sober. I don’t want to hear about how much you like looking at women in spandex. How you prefer a woman in spandex even to seeing a woman naked. And I most definitely don’t want to hear about how you have thought about me in spandex – even if you think I would look really good. Spoiler alert: I don’t look good in spandex. I’m not sure there are many women that do.

Your Exes: Enough said.

General Best Practices

Listen: One thing that annoys me more than anything on a first date is when I know a guy isn’t listening to me. Now, I understand there are sometimes when your date drones on and on and you can’t help but let your mind wonder. However, if at some point during the date you say, “You aren’t telling me anything about you. I thought girls loved to talk but you aren’t saying anything.” Then you damn sure better listen when I do say something.

How can I be sure that Thomas wasn’t listening to me? Well one, he kept cutting me off. Two, I mentioned that I rowed in college and he had nothing to say about it. Which in itself is odd since everyone always has something to say when I tell them I rowed in college. But then, a few minutes later, he started telling me about this really pretty part of the city. It is in Fairmount Park. During the day you can see a bunch of people rowing down there and at night it is all lit up. Maybe I saw it once, he asked. You can see it from the Schuylkill Expressway, just past 30th Street Station, headed towards the zoo.

I just smiled. For those readers not from the Philly area, my date was describing the practically world famous Philadelphia landmark Boathouse Row.

Don’t Touch: Okay, I know I am on the extreme end of the touching spectrum so I willing endure the hug hello, the occasional touch of the arm, if the date is going really well, I will even let a guy go so far as to lean in and brush his lips against my ear as he whispers something to me -- though I prefer to save that level of intimacy until the second date at least. What I am not prepared to experience is the simultaneous arm around my shoulder squeeze/head resting on my other shoulder move. This is particularly awkward when you are more than five inches taller than the person whose shoulder you are resting your head on as you remind said person that you like cuddling.

Don’t Say It’s Not A Date: If you’ve sent me multiple text messages, if our meeting was arranged days in advanced, if I shaved my legs and reapplied make up and you spring for my venti vanilla rooibos tea, then it's a date. So during our conversation when I'm saying something about it being a date, please don’t stop me midsentence to correct me that we are just having coffee. First, again, it's a date. Second, we aren’t having coffee , we're having tea.

Of course, if you really don't want to find yourself on a date, then there are preemptive measures one can take to ensure that you don’t find yourself in this awkward situation. Starting with setting the date: don’t make a plan in advance. Instead, randomly call or text the person and say, “Hey, I’m in your neighborhood, wanna grab a cup of coffee?” Two, don’t greet your friend with a hug, a kiss on the cheek and the comment “you look great.” Three, don’t pay for your friend’s drink – that is the universal sign for a date. Four, don’t spend the hour telling the person how beautiful they are, that is when you are not telling them really intimate details about your life. And, finally, don’t text the person a couple of days later asking “u think u can handle me?” Because all of that spells date.

Now, if you are already acquaintances with this person (or friends even) the above rules don’t necessarily apply. But, word of warning, the line of friendship gets thinner and blurrier each time you tell that person you find them attractive.

As always, I hope my disastrous love life can help one or many of you out there. Oh, and I apologize for those of you that now have Duncan Sheik’s Barely Breathing stuck in your head.

Dispatches from The Online Dating World

For purposes of full disclosure, I still haven’t officially signed up for the online dating service. I just can’t. I know people have had success, but the more bozos without photos that send me icebreakers saying if I e-mailed them they would definitely respond, the more I think the membership fee would be better spent belly-up at a bar.

But I do think I ascertained another bit of advice for you out there fighting the good fight. I hypothesize that the more eager a suitor is to be in contact the less pure his intentions. I had one guy send me his phone number as an ice breaker -- saying I should hit him up because we could have lots of fun.

Interesting. My profile is exactly two sentences. What about those two sentences tells you that we would have lots of fun together? Could it be my proximity? I didn’t call him -- he was too fake-baked -- so I guess I will never know.

Then there was bachelor number two, who had a breadcrumb trail in his profile as to how I can contact him without joining the service. And because I thought he was cute and he was tall enough and because he lived in the city and wasn’t an unnatural shade of orange, I decided to go for it; after several days of humming and hawing that is.

So how many e-mails did it take before sex was mentioned? Four. Now, in fairness, he asked for the name of my novel and I told him -- Faking It, which obviously opens the door for some inappropriate comments. Responding back that he hopes I won’t have to fake it with him wasn’t what I had in mind though.

Still, I gave him another chance. Mostly because I have been bored out of my mind, that is when I’m not freaking out about grad schools and query letters. So having someone to e-mail was a pleasant distraction. He kept asking me about instant messenger and finally I relented. So, how long were we IMing before sex came up again? About four minutes.

The scary thing is, I think I read this bit of advice before, I just can’t remember where. But, because I didn’t take the advice seriously, I have to guess it came from either Dr. Phil or Steve Harvey. In this one instance, it would seem, they may have been on to something.

But hell, even fortune tellers get it right every once in a while.

A Rule for Picking-Up Bartenders - Don't

So you know that I was out on Valentine’s Eve. What I didn’t tell you is that Bridie and Salty did make an attempt to pimp me.

I don’t think I'm being vain when I say that the knowledge that I haven’t kissed anyone since by 30th birthday (unless you count the Republican, which I don’t) is weighing heavy on my friends’ minds. Okay, maybe not heavy. I don’t think it is keeping them up at night. However, whenever we have been out recently, a lot of attention is paid to the other guys in the bar on my behalf.

And Valentine’s Eve was no exception. We were at the bar for less than one drink when Salty came over to me and announced that she and Bridie like the bartender for me.

I looked up at the gentleman behind the bar; tall, thick, bearded and good looking. If he had been on this side of the bar I would have been impressed. However, he wasn’t and so I turned to Salty and said, “He’s the bartender.”

See, ladies it is never a good idea to set your sights on the bartender. Please note, I said THE bartender not A bartender. The article here is very important. Why you ask is it never a good idea to set your sights on the bartender? Because, kittens, it is the bartender’s job to be nice and flirt with you. It doesn’t mean he is actually interested in you.

It is sort of the female equivalent of falling for a stripper.

Guys go into strip clubs, sit down, maybe take their coats off. Then they see a hot chick. And she is looking back at him. Oh my god, is she smiling at him? Crap, she’s coming this way. And she’s taking her top off. I am the luckiest man alive. So she just took a twenty from my hand, but still I think she likes me. I mean really likes me.

It’s pretty much the same thing for bartenders. Yes, there is a very good chance that the bartender will be the best looking guy in the room and he should be the most sober. But you will be wasting your time flirting with him when you could be meeting other eligible, albeit maybe not nearly as charming, men.

Believe me. Some of my longest standing crushes are on bartenders. I know what I’m talking about here. In fact the next time someone asks me why I'm still single, I may say, I’m a sucker for bartenders.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the next time you are out and you happen to meet a good looking, charming, tall man on this side of the bar that happens to be a bartender you should walk away. Quite the opposite. Revel and delight in the rare occasion to flirt with him away from his work. But be warned. If you take things to the next level with a cute bartender, your bartender/patron relationship will be changed forever. And most times not for the good.

Oh, and before you comment that all this advice is nice and all, but didn’t I come away that very night having only met the bartender. Yes, but exceptions are to be made. A) it wasn’t the same bartender Salty pointed out, he was married. B) It was Valentine’s Eve and thus there were no eligible bachelors in the bar for me to ogle.