All posts by Spicy Duchess

From serial "honeymoon" dating (explanation of "honeymoon" dating forthcoming in future blogs) to serious relationships, my approach and what I look for has changed dramatically. Moms often say that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince. So how many frogs does it take to find that prince? I can't say I have the answer, otherwise I wouldn’t be using this blog as my therapeutic forum. In midst of my dating trials and tribulations I've learned one thing, that some of those frogs could have been a prince in disguise if given a chance. But how do you know and what are the tell-tell signs? So in pursuit of those answers - it's time to dust off the stilettos and put on a party dress to find that frog who can be a prince in disguise. See you at the ball!

Surviving The Awkward First Kiss

Potted Plant’s latest article “The First Kiss” reminded me how critical that moment is during the dating process.  The first kiss sets the tone for the possibility of anything thereafter.  Some men are great at flirting and creating sexual tension, then smoothly transition into that first kiss.  Others, as Potted Plant illustrated, ill at flirtation takes a bad situation and make it worse by attempting to execute a kiss oblivious of the chemistry between them, hence the awkward kiss.  The kiss rather on couch, door, or car is never awkward  if the sexual tension is high and it’s anticipated and expected. The awkwardness happens only when it feels forced because it’s the protocal to share a kiss at the door at the end of a date. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had a mediocre date turn amazing because of his kissing prowess. But let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen often as a great kiss starts before our lips ever meet.

After an awkward first date, its easy to go on a second date giving him the benefit of the doubt, but surviving an awkward kiss is much harder.  The kiss is where our chemistry is solidified, where friends become possible lovers, fantasies become a reality, or in worst cases, where a date-hopeful becomes just a friend.  That kiss is more than two lips locking together, its the moment where many women decide on the fate of the relationship.  Unlike an awkward conversation, that kiss is what I might be fantasizing about when I’m getting ready for a date.  Instead, when the butterflies in my stomach is replaced by feelings of apprehension rather than anticipation, the 2nd date is already tainted before it begins.

After such a death blow to the date – the awkward first kiss, is it salvageable? The answer is yes, but the stakes are that much higher.  The only way to erase the memories of that first awkward kiss is to deliver a truly momentous 2nd kiss.  But how does a great kiss happen?

Executing a great kiss, as I mentioned earlier happens before your lips ever meet. It begins the minute you create the thought of the possibility, build the anticipation and desire, and finally the delivery that makes the fantasy a reality.  Surviving an awkward kiss is to create the chemistry and sexual tension that was missing from the first kiss, and it should start before the next date.

Text or email her, and when given an opportunity either slip in a sexual innuendo or something to that affect.  A friend that I had never thought of dating came to visit me and crashed at my place.  When I asked when he wakes up, he replied that anytime was appropriate if I woke him up with a kiss. Something I had never considered before, but he planted a seed, which I spent half the night pondering. He created sexual tension where none had existed before.

During a date, there are a lot of opportunities to develop anticipation by hinting at the kiss that is yet to come.  I was on a first date with someone and he took me to a Giants game. The stadium was really noisy and a conversation was impossible.  However, all throughout the game he would glance and smile at me ever so often with this goofy grin.  About 4th inning, he leaned over and gave me a peck on my cheek. It wasn’t romantic or even sexy, but it sure was cute.  It happened fast and because it was in a loud, crowded place, it also didn’t create an awkward moment. That kiss burned on my cheek and for the rest of the evening I felt his lips.  Believe it or not, he didn’t try to kiss me that night, but that got me thinking about what it would be like to kiss him.  He created sexual tension so fierce, I couldn’t wait to see him again and make out like we were in high school.

I’m obviously not suggesting chemistry can be created, but if there’s a mutual attraction, it’s a way to deepen that chemistry and build anticipation for not-so awkward kiss. Before embarking on creating sexual tension, you might consider checking out Potted Plant’s French Kissing 101 post.

How to impress a woman

I am constantly and profoundly stunned at what men consider to be a passable or even presentable form of impressing a woman. To be very clear, there is only ONE thing all women want regardless of the list of attributes she throws at you. You will be amazed how bendable that list is when you can make her feel this way.

Make her feel that she’s the most special and perfect woman.

Simple right? Yet many men’s attempt to impress a woman seems to be more about them and less about her.

Telling her that you’re a great catch because women desire you or talking about your dating prowess does not make you more desirable. If you knew anything about women’s competitive nature , this type of conversation only puts her in a place where she is now comparing herself to your past and/or present as she decides rather she wants to be you future. As men define attractiveness differently than women, don’t assume just because you were willing to date those women, she wants to be associated with them through you. Remember to a woman, her measure of you is also about the company that you have kept. If she thinks you had absolutely no standards, she wonders where she fits in that spectrum. Unfortunately ‘standard’ is her subjective measure, so play it safe and avoid it. She knows you have a past, and that’s enough information.

Telling her that you have graduated with an MBA, PhD., MD etc from an Ivy League again is not about her but about you. In a city full of them, it doesn’t make you more desirable, but makes her wonder why you’re leading with that attribute. A confident and brilliant man let’s his accomplishments speak for themselves. I promise if you’re that brilliant, she’ll know within the first few meetings.

Telling her that you are a triathlete, again is not about her but an attribute about yourself. As you go on and on about your rigorous training, the thoughts running through her head is…with such an extensive training schedule, he won’t be around. She can objectively admire your discipline, she will be relating your lifestyle and wonder how that fits into her life.

Remember, not only is she trying to determine your desirability beyond initial physical attraction, but how well she thinks you fit into her life. And despite a long list of what was once ‘must haves’ it becomes a list of ‘nice to have’ in face of a man that makes her feel completely and totally desirable.

Why I love her…

We had only been dating a month when Mark told me he loved me.  I looked at him somewhat flabbergasted and felt confused rather than feeling overwhelmed by his declaration. He barely knows me, I thought.  He told me he loves me, but I didn’t know what that meant.

Mark and I continued to date and our relationship had a nice existence.  Our days and weekends were filled with activities from dinner parties, road trips, vacations, friends and family.  He got along with my family and friends, and we rarely ever fought as conflicts seldom occurred.  Our day-to-day existence was brilliant. 

There was nothing really wrong with our relationship, but there was nothing really right either. After dating for eight months, I expected to have better clarity about what it meant when he said, “I love you.”   After eight months, I hoped he knew me well enough to provide that clarity.

He said he loved me because…

  • I love how you ask for my opinion, rather dinner or other things and take my feelings into consideration
  •  I love how we can end our day with something simple like watching TV
  • I love how you and I can sit side-by-side while you do your thing and I do mine
  • I love how even when we’re fighting, you don’t automatically blame me for everything
  • I love that even when I’m not at my best, drunk or sick, you don’t look at me any less

What I wished he said instead…

  • I love that even when you’re feeling hurt, you can’t stand to lash out at the other person.
  • I love that regardless of rather your tired or not, it doesn’t occur to you to ever say no when someone you love needs you.
  • I love that it takes you awhile and you have your own process when dealing with your fear, but somehow you push through and overcome it
  • I love that even when I made the worst mistake, you don’t assume that’s all of me and give me yet another chance
  • I love that no matter what you do, you always put your heart and soul into it.
  • I love who you are and who you strive to be because it inspires me every day
  • I love that rather we’re dating or not, you’re a person I am proud to have in my life

I wanted Mark to love me for my passions, my fears, my strengths and for my weaknesses.  I wanted him to see me, the person that I was and the person that I wanted to be.  Instead what Mark described was the best TV watching, dinner party, and road trip buddy.  His best relationship was based on transactions.   Although he was telling me he loved me, he could have been talking about a thousand other women.    Basically I wanted him to love me for the unique qualities that I brought, so that I knew who he loved wasn’t replaceable.

Life doesn’t wait for you

Through the grapevine, I received notice that another ex-boyfriend is married.  As I reminisce about my relationship with Mike, I wonder if he was one of the one’s that ‘got away.’ I remember the incredible chemistry we had but our lives were going in different directions….or was it?  At that time, Mike had lost his job and was in midst of moving back home.  And I was interviewing with few companies and wasn’t quite sure where I would end up.  He made me promise to give our relationship a try, but I knew when he left the city our relationship would end as well.  As I look at his photos now, I remember what a great boyfriend and friend he was, but at that time, I didn’t know enough to appreciate it. If I met Mike today, would things turn out differently?

In the movie “A Lot Like Love,”  the main characters Emily and Oliver are instantly drawn to each other and despite a memorable day, each is convinced that the other is not the right person. As the plot unfolds, the movie amplifies how men and women prioritize love differently.

To Emily, Oliver had three strikes which became evidence of his ill fit: 1) She made the first move 2) He was born under the wrong sign – Cancer   and lastly, 3) He didn’t play the guitar.   Similar to Emily, women seem prone to completing a checklist of ‘must haves.’ Although this list becomes refined overtime, women’s adherence and loyalty to that list does not. And upon meeting Mr. Right, women seem more willing to forego family and careers to follow the man of their dreams.

On the other hand, Oliver’s reason had very little to do with who and more to do with when. Oliver had a five year plan which included having a successful career before he would be ready to meet the right woman. And upon polling few men, they concur that this has been truer. Men seem to assume that when the time is right, somehow she will magically appear.  And as men have less stringent list to fulfill, this may be true.

Oliver: That was the plan, but I’m unemployed, and living with mom and dad. The thing is how can I be there for her if I don’t even have my thing figured out? You know?

Oliver’s Brother: Oliver, this is your life. It doesn’t wait for you to get back on your feet.

It seems obvious that you need to be at the right place in your life and know what you want in a mate to have a successful relationship.   However, somewhow both of these approaches appear to be our attempt to control our destiny and minimize risk. What ever happen to the idea of throwing caution to the wind and folloing our heart?  I suppose if we knew the answer to this, there would be no more songs, movies, and poems written about the ‘one that got away.’ 

I’m still not sure if Mike is the ‘one that got away’ for me, but it does make me think twice before I write someone off today.

BTW – Luckily for Oliver, Emily was still available when he realized he couldn’t wait a successful career to begin his life. (Hollywood ending – of course!)



More than meets the eyes

An agitated co-worker came running into the office after lunch today and grunted about her annoying lunch date. She was set up by a co-worker who felt she was exactly his type, an Asian woman. Despite uneasy feelings, she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and agreed to the set up.

As she was introduced to Scott, she warmly extended her hand hoping for the best. But before she opened her mouth, he exclaimed, ‘hello, I’m really hungry’ in what she assumed was his attempt to speak Mandarin. She politely smiled back and complimented him on his ability to capture the language and quickly changed the subject to prevent him from reciting every Mandarin phrase or word he knew.

This situation always made her uncomfortable. She knew Scott was attempting to connect with her and create a sense of familiarity, but the only thing he did was alienate her. She wondered would he try to speak German to a 3rd generation American who was ½ German and ½ European mutt? She was a 3rd generation Asian American and only ½ Taiwanese. And as the only Asian family in her town in Minnesota, she had little opportunity to learn or speak Mandarin while growing up. She wished he tried to get to know her instead.

Scott then proceeded to speak about his last trip to China and the various spots he visited as well as the cuisine. He then asked, “Where is the best Chinese restaurant in San Francisco?” expecting her to have supreme knowledge of all things Chinese. He could have simply asked, “What is your favorite Chinese restaurant?” but by this time she was also feeling defensive and anything he said was heard with tainted ears. When she gave him a shrug with a puzzle look as she is vegan, he then asked if she was an ‘anglophile’ (making another wrong assumption because she didn’t like Chinese food as much). As that was one too many strikes for her to endure, she quickly paid her bill and mumbled something about deadlines and ran back to the office.

This situation happens often between two individuals from different cultures because it’s easier to simplify a person based on their ethnicity and make broad generalizations. Take the time to know the person and allow the individual to define who they are to the world.

Few thing to consider during first encounters…

Ask questions about her heritage rather than make assumptions. This seems obvious, but unfortunately with one too many “Scott” encounters, this needed to be said.

Don’t assume she’s an ‘anglophile’ unless she herself professes to be one. Just because she is willing to date you (someone of Anglo-decent) that does not make her one automatically. She happened to have found you charming for who you are.

Do not automatically speak to her in her native language as if this will somehow impress her as you butcher the language in an incoherent accent where you lamely ask her, “Where is the bathroom?” Only her non-English speaking grandmother might find this endearing. Or if you are trying to learn the language, ask if you can practice with her.

Do not take her to an Indian, Chinese, Korean, or Greek etc. restaurant on your first or 2nd date. Just because she is Greek, Chinese, Korean, etc. it does not automatically make it her favorite meal.