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Romance – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 What Would YOU Do For Love? http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/what-would-you-do-for-love/ Sat, 20 Aug 2016 08:08:31 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/what-would-you-do-for-love/

by Jenny Hansen

Love

My favorite Facebook update this summer was from my brother. (We affectionately refer to him as The Bag Whore.)  THIS was his update from his romantic getaway with his wife:

Okay, the massage… It wasn’t the sea salt scrub that bothered me. Nor was it the green baby poo they smeared all over me. Even the white sludge that followed wasn’t so bad. However the little blue Pull Up paper thong I had to wear the whole time kinda crossed the line.

Not again. Ever.

I waited impatiently for him to get home so I could get his story (and share it with all of you). As you can see, it took almost no prompting.

Me: So…tell me about this traumatic massage.

Him: *rude noise* Sis, have you ever seen a toddler’s Pull-up? Well, they put a version of one on me for this freaking massage. There were a$$ hairs and butt cheeks everywhere.

Me: Um…whoa. Usually they just strip you down and put a sheet over you.

Him: Nope. Think of the material for the blue scrub hats in the ER. Or a Pull-up without the Dora design. Now picture that on a 6’7″ man.

Me: I didn’t need that in my head.

Him: Yeah…me neither. Plus they wrap you in cellophane like a freaking burrito. This was NOT relaxing. See, I am a heat-giving machine. My wife will be all wrapped up in 8 blankets and I’ll barely be covered with a sheet.

Me: They actually wrapped you in cellophane? Like Saran Wrap?

Him: Well, first they rub salt all over you to “exfoliate.” It’s like having a brillo pad everywhere. That ISN’T fun for a guy. Then they slap on a seaweed puree with some snot mixed in and it’s freezing. THEN they wrap you in plastic. Now I know how my dry cleaning feels.

Me: *shaking with laughter*

Him: After 15 minutes, I told the gal: “You’re going to have to unwrap me because I’m not enjoying this. I’m burning up.” She unwrapped my nether regions so at least those could breathe.

Me: *speechless over ‘nether regions’*

Him: Then they rub white snot that smells like coconut all over you. And the whole time they rub and wash all that crap off, you’ve got the Pull-up on so your paper gets all wet. You end up with a wet papier-mache thong shellacked in your crevices.

Me: What kind of massage is this?!

Him: It’s called the ‘Aztec Massage.’ It was a couple’s massage. My wife wanted to do it. I paid $350 bucks for this torture.

Me: That’s kind of pricy. Did she like it?

Him: She FELL ASLEEP. I have no idea how she did that with these girls taking rolling pins with points and ridges, and shoving them into various tender parts of our bodies, but she did.

Me: Were you still in the Saran Wrap?

Him: They use the rolling pins OVER the burrito wrap thingie.

Me: That plastic wrap would be aces for Christmas baking. Nothing would ever go stale.

Him: Yeah. Plus, they rub these blue cloths everywhere — and I do mean everywhere — and they have these water noise thingies they turn over every 10 minutes or so. They put these wet “relaxation discs” on your eyes too so you can’t see anything.

So there I am, blind. With snot all over me. I had to mark the time by how often they turned over the water noise thing. Then the massage lady says to me, “You are very tense.” And I said, “I’m not comfortable!

Me: Was there any part of it you liked?

Him: The only part I liked was the Hydrotherapy. You get to wash all the salt and slime out of your cracks and crevices.

Me: Explain to me why you spent $350 on this?

Him: Because my wife wanted to do it. I DID IT FOR LOVE. I sure didn’t do it for pleasure.

What’s the most uncomfortable thing you ever did “in the name of love,” on vacation or otherwise? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny
@JennyHansenCA

 Photo credit: uditha wickramanayaka – Flickr – CC License 2.0

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2016 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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How Much Love Fits In a One Inch Picture Frame? http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/how-much-love-fits-in-a-one-inch-picture-frame/ Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:14:43 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2189

by Jenny Hansen

LovePic_MelindaVanLone

One of the most stellar bits of writing advice I’ve ever read was dispensed by Anne Lamott, the author of writing classic, Bird by Bird. She tells writers to:

  • “Keep a one-inch picture frame on your desk to remind yourself that for each moment, you only have to write as much as you can see through a one-inch picture frame.”
  • In other words, when a whole project is overwhelming, break it into little pieces or as she says, “don’t try to eat the elephant in one sitting.”

I think of that one-inch picture frame all the time.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I’m always looking for examples of “big message” in a little space.

My Hubs is a master of this.

The first time he did it was about six weeks after we met. We were on the phone, planning a date, and he said, “Don’t you have RWA this weekend?”

One sentence. . .six little words. . .and I knew he was a keeper.

I knew this guy was tuned into me. When I’d said, “The second Saturday of the month is my writers’ meeting,” he not only listened, he put it on his calendar.

That was the moment I knew, I was a goner.

We’re coming up on 10 years and he’s still slaying me with little gestures that say, “I’m paying attention to you and I think you rock.”

A few days ago, I went into our shared OneNote binder for the family (Click here for more about that) and read through our list of upcoming appointments. Down at the bottom of the list, right after his birthday, I see this:

Relationship Picture Frame

What says love more than a partner who’s a great parent, does the dishes and keeps track of when you met? For me, not much.

Seriously, I swooned. I’d have gobbled him up like chocolate mousse right at that moment if he’d been in the house. Instead, I’m blogging about him so y’all can think he’s a badass honey too.

What little gesture says “I love you” to you? It doesn’t have to be romantic, it just has to be a little message that goes a long way into your heart. Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny
@JennyHansenCA

 

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

© 2013 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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How to Stay SAFE When On-Line Dating (Or ANY Dating) http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/how-to-stay-safe-when-on-line-dating-or-any-dating/ Sat, 23 Nov 2013 14:38:42 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2071
Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 1.55.31 PM

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons contributor Bob Jagendorf

By. Kristen Lamb

The holidays are coming and no one wants to be alone. I get it. The best Christmas gift I EVER received was my to-be-husband on Match.com. We met December 8th, 2010 and have been inseparable since. We married April of 2011 and have the best baby boy in the world. So when someone disses on-line dating? They have NO IDEA what they might be missing out on. I met the love of my life and hope you do, too.

This is why I have dedicated this series to help you have fun and stay SAFE. And yes, these are tips for on-line dating, but they work for even regular dating too. It’s hard to live happily-ever-after if we end up the victims of stalkers or worse.

We’ve talked about some great reasons to give on-line dating a try. We’ve also discussed ways to spot on-line predators and some steps for creating profiles guaranteed to pique interest. So what if you feel that nibble on the line? What’s next? How do you meet? How can you be prudent about safety? It’s a dangerous world we live in, and Discovery ID has all kinds of shows about people who never came back from their “perfect dates.”

Not to scare you, but yeah. We need to be aware that there are crazies out there and often they wear designer clothes. Most don’t foam at the mouth and have a sign that reads “I buried my last three dates under my porch” on their chests.

NEVER Let a First Date Pick You Up ANYWHERE

This person is your date, but for all intents and purposes, he or she is also a stranger. Don’t tell strangers where you live and don’t get in the car with them. Even if your date isn’t a psycho out to make a woman suit out of your skin, a first date can still go downhill FAST. If your date is your sole means of transportation, you can end up trapped or stranded.

I had a friend who went against my advice. I kept telling her to meet the guy for dinner, but she thought he was harmless. Her “harmless date” turned into a “human-pig-octopus” who couldn’t keep his hands off her, and she ended up having to pay for a cab ride home…but not before her date VERY inappropriately jammed his tongue down her throat.

One word. EW!

First Dates Need to Be Brief, During the Day and in Public

This is for safety, of course. But this also allows a chance for you to see if there’s any chemistry before you’re stuck spending four hours in this person’s company. I once met someone for coffee, but he texted through the entire date. NEXT!

If a person is this inconsiderate on Date One, don’t expect it to get better. Another time, I met a guy for early evening appetizers and he spent the entire hour correcting everything I said…when he wasn’t bashing his ex-girlfriend. Again, NEXT!

Profiles are great for narrowing the choices but a brief first date can either confirm a good choice or weed out a stinker that crept in under the algorithm. Guys, do you really want to spend $200 on dinner and dancing with a woman who looks nothing like her profile picture or who can’t stop complaining about the food, the service, the weather, her job or her ex? Ladies, do you want to be trapped two to four hours with a guy who has no respect for personal boundaries?

No Last Names Until Date TWO or Even THREE

Remember we are in the Digital Age. It’s tough to keep our information from being all over the Internet. Don’t give out last names until you’ve had a date or two or THREE and feel comfortable. Google can give away information we might not want others to have. That first date can go sideways, and do you really want him being able to look up your home address on the on-line White Pages? Or for some crazy woman to start stalking you on Twitter or Facebook?

Make Sure to Check In and Out

This tip is especially important for women. If the first coffee date went well and now you’re meeting him for dinner? Tell a gal pal. Give a name, a physical description and maybe even show your friend his profile on-line.  Text when you get to the date. Text when you’re leaving, and text once you’re safe at home.

If you are to date three or four where you feel a bit better about getting in the car with your date, take a picture of the license plate and message it to a friend. This isn’t to assume your date is a serial killer, but it can help your friend or family member find you if you don’t check in.

Maybe you guys were having a fabulous date, but were in a car accident. Bad stuff happens. If your check-in contact has a license plate, this can help them locate you faster and make sure you’re safe. Remember it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Create Panic Codes and Safe Words with Your Contact

Yes, this might seem like overkill, but the goal is to remain safe. My friend who went out with the “human-pig-octopus” should have had me as a contact and we should have established a seemingly innocent word or phrase that would have alerted me there was trouble.

If you text: Here at dinner. How is Fluffy feeling?

And your contact knows your cat is named Tigger? This is a code that you need an intervention. Your contact can then call and claim Aunt Tilly had a heart attack and that she’s picking you up on her way to the hospital.

Maybe the coffee date went great and the first dinner was fabulous. But on date three? Your date suddenly turns into Dexter. Have a safe word so you can make a clean exit.

Conversely, safe words/phrases help your contact relax.

If you text: Thanks for watching Tigger.

Your contact knows that, for the moment, things are okay and to wait for the text that you’re heading home.

Listen to Your Gut

We’ve all been on the date where something didn’t feel right. Just because we can’t articulate why we don’t feel good about another person is no reason to ignore our deeper instincts. The human brain is an amazing machine and it frequently picks up information we aren’t consciously aware of. Ignore your gut at your own risk.

No Alcohol on the First Two Dates MINIMUM

Just so you know, the “meeting for coffee” initial date doesn’t count as a real date. The first two real dates are vital, and, remember, the other person is still, effectively, a stranger. Alcohol not only impairs our better judgment, but it also hinders our ability to pick up on red flags. It can also lower inhibitions, making us reveal too much too soon or get physical before the relationship is strong enough to handle that kind of intimacy.

Our goal here is for you to connect with someone long-term, so be smart and stay safe.

***

Kristen is the author of the new best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World in addition to the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She’s a contributing humor blogger for SocialIn, a blog that reaches 2.5 million and blogs for The Huffington Post. You can also follow her author blog here.She is also the Social Media Columnist for Author Magazine. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @KristenLambTX and on Facebook.

We Are Not Alone!

 

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How To Create an On-Line Dating Profile that ROCKS http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/how-to-create-an-on-line-dating-profile-that-rocks/ Sat, 16 Nov 2013 14:46:40 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2002
Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 5.11.36 PM

Image via Wikimedia Commons

By Kristen Lamb

So you want to take the leap and give on-line dating a try. GREAT! The profile is critical, yet there are a lot of oopses we can make that will turn on the wrong people or turn OFF the right people. Again, tempus fugit. Time is fleeting and we want to make the most of every day. One day spent with the wrong person is one day less with the perfect person.

Follow these steps, and odds are you’ll do better at attracting the right people. There are all kinds of whack-a-doodles, time-wasters and crazies out there. But, with the right approach, you can make your on-line dating profile more attractive to the right kind of potential mate.

Step #1—Gather At Least Three Images

ONE image is often a signal of something fishy. As we talked about on my post that discussed on-line predators, cheaters and players don’t want to be easily recognized, so they frequently will limit to one picture. Other “one-pic offenders” are people who aren’t being truthful about age, weight or looks.

We live in an age where pictures abound, so when you only post ONE? That sends off warning flares.

You want to post at least three images so you aren’t unintentionally setting off warning flags. I don’t recommend posting more than five images, or we look like we are building a monument to our egos.

Back when I was on Match.com I would frequently go check out other female profiles just to see what other women were posting. What I found funny were women who posted 22 pictures of themselves, but, in their profiles, demanded to be “taken seriously and wants a guy who loves me for my intelligence and personality.”

Ok. Then what’s with the gold bikini and fish-lip selfie?

Step #2—Make Your Images Appealing

Feel free to doctor images a little bit. No one will fault you for removing red-eye, cropping out a cluttered background or even changing the resolution or saturation. We’ve all had a picture taken that was awesome, but the background was too dark or too washed-out. I highly recommend Pic Monkey. It’s free and easy to use.

If you don’t have any good pictures, take some. Have a friend or family member help. Make sure the person taking the picture is always taking the shot from an angle looking down on you, or you could end up with more chins than a Chinatown phonebook.

For women, try taking a picture wearing more makeup than you normally wear. Photos can wash us out, so we need extra color to make the image true to life. There is a reason actors and anchors pile on makeup.

Don’t post cropped photos that look like you’re posing with an ex. I know the picture could be you and your favorite sister, but women on-line won’t see it that way.

Step #3—Be Careful What You’re Advertising

When it comes to pictures, be careful they reflect what you really want. Guys, if you want a woman who’s after a relationship with you and not your bank account, then avoid pictures posing in your half-million-dollar home or posing in front of your new Porsche. If you post images that clearly show your Presidential Rolex, it’s gold-digger bait, so don’t be shocked when that’s what you catch.

Ladies? If you want a man who’s interested in more than sex, then avoid sexy-come-hither images. I can’t count the number of profiles where women posed in bikinis, short shorts, and, yes, lingerie but then whined that they wanted a deep relationship based off more than sex.

Uh-huh.

Step #4—Start Making Lists

Most of you are not professional writers, so you will need time to gather your thoughts. Often, when we write things like:

I love to walk on the beach.

I want a man who’s honest.

It comes from failing to prepare ahead of time, so we just write the first thing that pops in our noggins.

Before you sit down to fill out all those fields, try making a list of what you want in a mate and also what you have to offer. This step will not only help you keep profiles brief and interesting, but it will also help you write profiles that “include” your potential date. If you know you love all things sports and you want a gal who loves them too, it’s easier to write:

I’m a huge football fan and have season tickets to the X Sports Team. My ideal match would love grilling hamburgers at the pre-game tailgate party and cuddling in the cold while we cheer.

Step #5—Enlist the Help of a Friend

Frequently, we don’t see ourselves as clearly as others do. We can’t see the forest for the trees, so we can default to only focusing surface traits like physical looks or financial status. A real friend can point out that we’re good listeners, helpful in a crisis, fabulous cooks, or great at making other people laugh. Those are the qualities that make for enduring relationships, thus they’re a better choice for including in a profile, than say, a picture of us in a jog bra and skimpy shorts.

Especially the guys. Please no pictures of you in a jog bra and skimpy shorts.

Kidding! …ok, not really.

But you can see how lack of perspective can have a guy talking about his fancy boat instead of his ability to make other people feel good about themselves. A car is surface, but a tender heart is vulnerable (and also appealing). A tender heart also keeps its value longer than a speedboat.

Step #6—Check for Errors

We live in a world with spell check and grammar check. Use them. Give a Grammar Nazi friend or sibling a chance to look over your content. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE YOU’RE AFRAID OF YOUR OWN WRITING SKILLS. Most people will just assume you’re yelling at them and will steer clear.

This isn’t to say that only people with good spelling are great mates. But, if we have a profile that’s crammed full of errors, it’s distracting and doesn’t portray the best you have to offer.

Will your girlfriend or wife forgive the stains on your favorite college T-shirt? Sure. But don’t wear that shirt on a first date. Same with profiles. Once someone meets you and likes you, they could care less about your chronic inability to spell. But that first impression? Make it count.

Step #7—Check the Correct Boxes

Most on-line sites will have you fill out various fields of who you are and what you’re looking for. This is so they have enough data to plug into the algorithm that will search for potential matches. If you leave a lot of stuff blank, you will be deluged with choices, which is fine if you have a lot of free time to search from Kansas to Kalamazoo for someone appealing.

If you don’t want to date someone much taller or much shorter than you, set those parameters. If you don’t want to date someone with more education or less education than you, check the right boxes.

Also make sure you know what all the boxes mean. I recall being on a date and asking a guy why he’d date a Mormon. He said he wouldn’t, but he’d checked that LDS Christian was acceptable in his profile. The Latter Day Saints are Mormons, so unless you’re open to potentially converting? Might want to not check that box.

I know it can seem like a brain-bender having to go through and check boxes and set parameters, but this is so the site can send you choices that fit your wants. If you set a radius of “won’t date a woman more than 50 miles away,” then the algorithm knows not to include women who live two states away. The algorithms only work if we do our part.

Step #8—Be BRIEF

This is a profile, not a memoir. We do enough reading already. Give enough to entice, but leave enough out that the other person wants to learn more…on an actual DATE.

Best of luck! I’ve been happily married almost 5 years and NEVER would have found my soulmate without on-line dating, so I wish you all the best.

***

Kristen is the author of the new best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World in addition to the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She’s a contributing humor blogger for SocialIn, a blog that reaches 2.5 million and blogs for The Huffington Post. You can also follow her author blog here.She is also the Social Media Columnist for Author Magazine. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @KristenLambTX and on Facebook.

We Are Not Alone!

 

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How to Spot On-Line Dating Predators, Cheaters and Time-Wasters http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/how-to-spot-on-line-dating-predators-cheaters-and-time-wasters/ Sat, 09 Nov 2013 14:56:01 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1996
I like walks on the beaches and want a sheep, I mean woman in my life...

I like walks on the beaches and want a sheep, I mean woman in my life…

BY KRISTEN LAMB

Dating has never been easy, and now with our go-go-go lifestyles, finding love can feel like one more chore on an already overburdened To-Do List. Oddly enough, this is one of the best reasons why on-line dating can be a true life-saver. We have a lot on our plates and don’t have time for time-wasters, jerks, users or predators. The holidays are coming and many of you might want to spend them with someone fun, and I say GO FOR IT! I met my husband December 8th and he was the best Christmas present EVER, and still is…five years later.

Today, we’ll discuss a major pitfall to finding love on-line. Predators. I want for your on-line dating experience to have a happy ending like mine, so I’m here to help you spot cheaters and players before they can sink their claws in and do damage. Save time by spotting LUZRs from a mile away.

Chronic Cheaters and Pathological Players Abound On-Line

There are people who are chronic cheaters or pathological players, and the Internet is a perfect place to “hunt.” These creeps don’t even care about the person they’re currently sleeping with, dating or MARRIED to, so why would they care about you?

They won’t.

Filters are Filters Not Lie Detectors

Just because a cute gal claims she’s single, doesn’t mean she is. Just because a guy says he’s “looking to settle down,” doesn’t mean he isn’t using that line to gut-hook the foolish.

In fact, chronic cheaters often will purposely search for those who want to settle down. Why? Because people who are eager to put down roots are more likely to overlook when things don’t add up.

The red flags below are typical behaviors for chronic cheaters and pathological players who have no intention of sticking around after they get what they want (namely, sex, gifts or money). Granted, none of this is set in stone, but if you spot more than one of these red flags, BE CAREFUL.

Red Flag #1—Beware of the “Separated”

First of all, this isn’t “technically” single and it can be a tar baby of drama at best or an outright-lie-nightmare at the worst. Some gal might claim she’s separated; it’s just that her husband hasn’t yet been made aware of this new development. Steer clear. There are real single people out there who are a better use of time.

Red Flag #2—Beware of Profiles with ONE Picture

I can already hear the shouting, but believe me, people who are “too shy” to put out more than one picture are likely full of baloney. Either it a) isn’t him b) was taken ten years ago and looks NOTHING him anymore, or (the more likely) c) one picture means fewer opportunities to be recognized by people who know he’s married and can rat him out to his wife d) means she’s a player who will be back on-line with a different profile in a week when the guy she’s currently seeing runs out of cash.

Red Flag #3—Beware of Photos that Don’t Show the Eyes

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul for good reason. Eyes are also the part of the face most easily recognized by others, regardless of aging, hair color or weight changes. Cheaters want to fly below radar, so often their ONE image will be them wearing bad-boy sunglasses or starlet shades. Don’t fall for it.

Red Flag #4—Beware of “Commuters”

Yes, geography matters. In my last post, I talked about how I refused to date anyone outside of a 20-mile radius. This was for more than convenience. Dating close to home will weed out a lot of cheaters. Why? They don’t want to chance being spotted on a date by people who would recognize them. This goes for pathological players, too. This guy doesn’t want an ugly catfight on his home turf when he’s spotted with his next victim date.

So when you get a message from that gorgeous guy who lives 400 miles away, but he’s looking to move to your city and wants to meet someone to date? Caveat emptor.

Red Flag #5—Beware of Funky, Difficult to Remember User Names

Want to talk to DFWGolfer? BellyDancer78? SailorNYC? MissFlirtyOne? Go ahead. But MR54TV67RV? Is that a user name or the serial number of a Saab bumper? HeLL0_gal_67$exy99Funny. Yeah, not sexy OR funny. Twenty bucks, she’s up to no good.

Frequently people who want to hide their activities will use difficult-to-remember, thus difficult-to-search names. This is probably because the person they are currently dating/married to is suspicious (for good reason). A lot of these predators like to keep hunting on the same sites, so they will change the username and keep it difficult to search to avoid detection.

Red Flag #6—Beware the Weekday Dater

Meet someone on-line and they seem perfect? The chemistry is there. You met for a Tuesday cup of coffee and the fireworks crackled? But there’s a hitch. He can’t see you on weekends because he a) has to work b) has to study for some stressful professional exam c) takes care of Great Aunt Ola.

Garbage.

If this guy is only available for weekday dating, good chance he’s hiding something…like a girlfriend or wife. Run!

Red Flag #7—Beware the Terminal Texter

Phone calls matter. Phone calls during the evening and on weekends are crucial. Find the “perfect” woman, but she never wants to talk, only text? And if she does ever talk on the phone, she can’t talk in the evenings or on weekends because she’s just so busy? Or her cell reception is THAT BAD? Uh-huh. After 4:00 p.m. also happens to be when her husband is home from work. Be smart and get outta there.

Remember, players and cheaters are juggling a current relationship and the next victim (possibly YOU). Current relationships usually get the premium relationship real estate—evenings and weekends. When a person can’t give you those, something’s not right. Cut bait and flee.

Life is short, so stay clear of these time-wasters. Ignore these flags at your own risk, and remember; another day wasted on deadbeat users is another day lost with your perfect mate. Your heart is special, handle it with care.

Above Image via Flickr Creative Commons, donated by Anonymous.

***

Kristen is the author of the new best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World in addition to the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She’s a contributing humor blogger for SocialIn, a blog that reaches 2.5 million and blogs for The Huffington Post. You can also follow her author blog here. She is also the Social Media Columnist for Author Magazine. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @KristenLambTX and on Facebook.

We Are Not Alone!

 

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Three Reasons to Give On-Line Dating a Try http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/three-reasons-to-give-on-line-dating-a-try/ Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:38:36 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1967
Match brought us together forever...

Match brought us together forever…

By Kristen Lamb

Maybe you braved the last holiday season alone. And on New Year’s Day, you vowed that in 2013 you would meet your mate. But now here you are again, another Thanksgiving looming, then another Christmas, and so on, and so on…

Believe me, I feel your pain. Been there, done that.

Yet, in our increasingly fast-paced culture, where do we meet other singles? This problem only seems to get worse as we grow older. If we’re no longer in college and all our peers are married with kids, the watering holes where we once found dating opportunities get drier and smaller by the year.

A few years ago, I was in a really rough spot. I was 35 and had just broken off a long-term engagement. To make matters worse, as a writer, I worked from home…and was a morning person. I woke every day at 3:30 a.m. to write. This meant I was usually in bed before 9:00 p.m., meaning no clubs, mixers or bars for me. Not that this mattered. Bars and clubs are not necessarily a bad place to meet Mr. or Ms. Right, but might not be the best place, either.

Though some experts claim we can’t find love, on-line, I disagree.  I wouldn’t be happily married if it weren’t for Match.com. Shawn and I met right after Thanksgiving and were married by Easter. We’ve been together for almost five years and have an awesome baby boy. We’re just as crazy in love today as we were then.

I understand if you’re hesitant to give on-line dating a try, but let me at least give you a little food for thought.

Reason #1–On-Line Dating Connects Us to People We Could Not Otherwise Access

As a self-employed writer and morning person, I was sentenced to singlehood unless I fell over Mr. Right at the park when I rollerbladed my dogs at 5:00 a.m. My eventually-to-be-husband was an introvert who worked long hours at a defense company. There is no way we would have ever connected outside Match. We were both open for love, but our lifestyles doomed us to be apart.

Match brought us together.

Reason #2–On-Line Dating Helps Us Weed the Time-Wasters

When we meet someone in person, it’s easy for the hormones to hijack our better sense. If we’re 22 and playing the field, okay. But when we’re serious about settling down? We need to use our heads, and not waste time with people we would never consider being with long-term.

I know this sounds harsh, but we all have this inner list of things we want in a mate. Also, once we talk commitment, marriage, and kids, certain areas of our lives that were once neglected or ignored can suddenly become important—like faith, children, and geography.

Geography? YES, geography.

I lived in Dallas/Fort Worth. DFW is HUGE. I was simply unwilling to commute three hours for a date, so Match let me set a radius. Anyone more than twenty miles away wasn’t even a consideration.

Not that motivated. Sorry.

Reason #3–On-Line Dating Narrows the Choices (A Good Thing!)

Sites like Match allow you to list what you want in a relationship. Do you want to casually date? Are you ready to settle down? Are you on the fence? Since you can see what others are looking for, you can narrow your focus, saving time and broken hearts.

Why waste your efforts on a guy trolling for a good time, when you really want to walk down the aisle? Same for guys. If you’ve just left a long-term relationship, and are just trying to get back in the groove? Then narrow your searches to filter out women with visions of bouquets and babies.

These are the types of filters we’re not so good at sticking to in person. We compromise, try to change the other person, and we just set ourselves up for needless drama and pain. On-line? We just don’t go there.

So, if you’re feeling the pressure of the upcoming holidays, and your options seem limited, why not give it a try?

***

Kristen is the author of the new best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World in addition to the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She’s a contributing humor blogger for SocialIn, a blog that reaches 2.5 million and blogs for The Huffington Post. You can also follow her author blog here. She is also the Social Media Columnist for Author Magazine. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @KristenLambTX and on Facebook.

We Are Not Alone!

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If Internet Dating Isn’t Paying Off, What To Do http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/if-internet-dating-isnt-paying-off-what-to-do/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 13:45:06 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=888
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Image via Photographer Frank Selmo WANA Commons

By. Kristen Lamb

All right! We’ve discussed reasons to consider on-line dating, ways to spot predators, essentials in a profile, how to write a profile, and how to stay safe when first meeting. Last time we talked about ideas for first dates. But what if you do all of this and on-line dating just fails to live up to expectations?

Revisit Your Expectations

First of all, it’s on-line dating, not a mail-order-spouse site. The only thing on-line dating does differently than regular dating is it connects us with people we likely would never meet another way. Dating is a process and there is no telling how long that “process” might take.

Consider a Different Dating Site

Some sites cater to specific groups. J-Date, Equally Yoked, and Christian Mingle matches couples based off faith and common belief systems. eHarmony uses algorithms to pair couples based on compatibility—personality, wants, goals, desires and needs. While eHarmony and Match.com are big enough to take care of older adults, if you don’t find what you like, try going niche.

Sites like OurTime cater specifically to an over-50 clientele. People are living longer than ever and there are millions of single Baby Boomers, so these sites are getting bigger by the day. This also helps you search for a mate who wants to date a peer, not a child. Sites like OurTime are not going to be any interest to a fifty or sixty-year-old man looking for a woman half his age.

There are also dating sites that match active singles, so if you compete in triathlons or climb mountains, you might find Mr. Right or Ms. Right on FitnessSingles.com. The new site SamePlate.com focuses on the culinary side of romance.

Meet on the common ground of FOOD. Connect with a fellow foodie or even a fellow dieter. Why spend time trying to convert a potential mate to being vegan when you can find a mate who already is?

Revisit Your Profile

If you’re experience with on-line dating is leaving you cold, make sure your profile isn’t to blame. Check out my earlier posts for some helpful tips.

Also, sometimes we need to possibly change what we’re looking for. As an example, back when I was first on Match.com, I didn’t really care what level of education my date had. My father never graduated college, and he was one of the most brilliant people I’d ever known. The problem?

I endured more than my fair share of dates with men who were insecure because I’d finished college and they hadn’t. Few things are more “fun” than lunch with a guy who pours on and on about how not all college graduates are smart. It just got to be a hassle, so I finally checked Bachelors Degree and Above. After that, I had better dates.

Give it Time and Maybe Take a Break

Remember, new people are signing up all the time. There are also times of year where there will be a lot more new blood. Um, like around Valentine’s Day? If you haven’t been having the best luck, hide your profile, lay low and take a break.

When I met my future husband, my profile was actually hidden and inactive. Match did this thing where every week they’d send me an e-mail with my five “best matches.” I’d at least take a look to see if I found any of them interesting.

One evening, I opened the e-mail and there was a military-looking guy who was cute, but he lived way outside the geography parameters I’d set.

But, in the corner, there was a button for me to see more matches like this person. I went ahead and clicked it and that’s when I saw Shawn. I knew we were perfect for each other, and guess what? I was right. We’ve been together four and a half years, and happily married for four of them.

But here’s the thing, I’d been on and off Match.com for several months. I didn’t meet my future husband Week One or even MONTH One. It took time, but was worth every minute.

I hope this series helps you find the love you deserve. I know I would have never found my soul mate without Match.com, and I hope you guys can learn from these lessons I learned the hard way. Dating should be safe and smart, but it should also be FUN.

***

Kristen Lamb is the author of the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Feel free to follow her weekday blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Kristen is the C.E.O. of WANA International and the founder of the social site for creatives, WANATribe.

We Are Not Alone!

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Trying Internet Dating? Some Good Ideas for First Dates http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/trying-internet-dating-some-good-ideas-for-first-dates/ Sat, 30 Mar 2013 14:09:43 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=851
Image via Photographer Frank Selmo WANA Creative Commons

Image via Photographer Frank Selmo WANA Creative Commons

By Kristen Lamb

By this point, we’ve discussed reasons to consider on-line dating, ways to spot predators, essentials in a profile, how to write a profile, and how to stay safe when first meeting. Today, we’re going to talk about good ideas for the first dates.

Why is this important? First, for safety. Then there is a time consideration. Date choice can be more than about a fun time; it can also be a way to gain valuable information to help you make better choices in who you date.

Back to the Coffee Shop

The first time you meet should be high-visibility and low-pressure. Coffee at Starbucks or a quick mid-week lunch are both great choices. It gives you guys a chance to see if the same spark you felt when you read each other’s profiles is still there in person.

Back when I was dating, there were men who looked like a fabulous choice on paper, but in person? Eh. They didn’t, per se, do anything wrong, just the chemistry wasn’t there. No harm, no foul. Drink coffee or finish your egg rolls, then say good-bye, parting as friends.

If you make that first date a long evening, it puts undue pressure on both of you. Meeting for coffee or lunch makes it easier to relax, thus easier to shine. Also, if things aren’t going so great, mid-day dates are by nature brief, and they also have clear cut-off times.

Movies are Okay, but Bowling is Better

This might be a personal preference on my part, but in my experience, few things reveal more about character than competitive situations. Can the person just have fun? Is she uptight and too serious, or can she play? Is he a good sport? Or a sore loser? If your date throws the golf club when he misses the final hole at Putt-Putt? RUN.

I once went bike riding on a date, only to have him speed off ahead without me, and then later gripe that I didn’t keep up (of course he failed to appreciate that he was on a racing bike and I was riding a mountain bike). People can say anything. What they DO is far more important.

One of the ways I “tested” my husband-to-be was I taught him how to play first-person-shooter games. First of all, the fact that Shawn was willing to learn something new that he didn’t “get” spoke volumes. We played a lot of video games early in our courtship.

Let me tell you, a guy who won’t share ammo is not worth dating, let alone marrying. To this day, my hubby and I play FPS games together every evening and we’re an amazing team whether shooting bad guys or changing diapers.

Competitive situations are more revealing than dinners and movies. Does the person leave you behind, get impatient, or yell? How does he win? How does he lose? Does he share? Does he help you even if it costs his “win”? Is he a team-player or a glory-hog?

Does she whine when she doesn’t do it perfectly the first time? Does she pout when she gets too many gutter-balls? Is she more concerned about her hair, nails or outfit than having fun? Do you feel like her date or her babysitter?

Fun at the Fair

After you’ve made it past the coffee-date and maybe a dinner-date or two, try a fair or a festival. Check your local listings and see what’s going on in your community. Likely you can find fun events that can fit any budget.

Why fairs and festivals?

First of all, they’re low pressure. At dinner, we can feel like we have to make every moment interesting. Fairs and festivals have lots of fun things to do and see where talking isn’t required. This mixes up the experience. Go play a round of Ring-Toss or wander off to a bench to chat.

Fairs have a fun environment that encourages play. Again, this is a good way to watch how your date interacts with others. Does he pick a fight with the guy who cuts in line? Or does he laugh and brush it off, seeing it as an opportunity for more time to talk with you?

Not all fairs have to be silly or targeted to kids. There are chili cook-offs, horse or car shows, art fairs, and music festivals. Share a funnel cake while browsing the works of local artists. Hold hands on a blanket while listening to a local blues band. Fairs are a wonderful place to bond as a couple and create the first memories of your relationship.

Overall, try to keep it light. It’s a date, though it can feel like a job interview. Smile, have fun and play. Remember, couples who play together stay together.

***

Kristen Lamb is the author of the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Feel free to follow her weekday blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Kristen is the C.E.O. of WANA International and the founder of the social site for creatives, WANATribe.

We Are Not Alone!

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On-Line Dating & How To Stay Safe http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/online-dating-how-to-stay-safe/ Sat, 23 Mar 2013 13:53:23 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=790
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Image courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons contributor Bob Jagendorf

By. Kristen Lamb

We’ve talked about some great reasons to give on-line dating a try. We’ve also discussed ways to spot on-line predators and some steps for creating profiles guaranteed to pique interest. So what if you feel that nibble on the line? What’s next? How do you meet? How can you be prudent about safety? It’s a dangerous world we live in, and Discovery ID has all kinds of shows about people who never came back from their “perfect dates.”

Not to scare you, but yeah. We need to be aware that there are crazies out there and often they wear designer clothes. Most don’t foam at the mouth and have a sign that reads “I buried my last three dates under my porch” on their chests.

NEVER Let a First Date Pick You Up ANYWHERE

This person is your date, but for all intents and purposes, he or she is also a stranger. Don’t tell strangers where you live and don’t get in the car with them. Even if your date isn’t a psycho out to make a woman suit out of your skin, a first date can still go downhill FAST. If your date is your sole means of transportation, you can end up trapped or stranded.

I had a friend who went against my advice. I kept telling her to meet the guy for dinner, but she thought he was harmless. Her “harmless date” turned into a “human-pig-octopus” who couldn’t keep his hands off her, and she ended up having to pay for a cab ride home…but not before her date VERY inappropriately jammed his tongue down her throat.

One word. EW!

First Dates Need to Be Brief, During the Day and in Public

This is for safety, of course. But this also allows a chance for you to see if there’s any chemistry before you’re stuck spending four hours in this person’s company. I once met someone for coffee, but he texted through the entire date. NEXT!

If a person is this inconsiderate on Date One, don’t expect it to get better. Another time, I met a guy for early evening appetizers and he spent the entire hour correcting everything I said…when he wasn’t bashing his ex-girlfriend. Again, NEXT!

Profiles are great for narrowing the choices but a brief first date can either confirm a good choice or weed out a stinker that crept in under the algorithm. Guys, do you really want to spend $200 on dinner and dancing with a woman who looks nothing like her profile picture or who can’t stop complaining about the food, the service, the weather, her job or her ex? Ladies, do you want to be trapped two to four hours with a guy who has no respect for personal boundaries?

No Last Names Until Date TWO or Even THREE

Remember we are in the Digital Age. It’s tough to keep our information from being all over the Internet. Don’t give out last names until you’ve had a date or two or THREE and feel comfortable. Google can give away information we might not want others to have. That first date can go sideways, and do you really want him being able to look up your home address on the on-line White Pages? Or for some crazy woman to start stalking you on Twitter or Facebook?

Make Sure to Check In and Out

This tip is especially important for women. If the first coffee date went well and now you’re meeting him for dinner? Tell a gal pal. Give a name, a physical description and maybe even show your friend his profile on-line. Text when you get to the date. Text when you’re leaving, and text once you’re safe at home.

If you are to date three or four where you feel a bit better about getting in the car with your date, take a picture of the license plate and message it to a friend. This isn’t to assume your date is a serial killer, but it can help your friend or family member find you if you don’t check in.

Maybe you guys were having a fabulous date, but were in a car accident. Bad stuff happens. If your check-in contact has a license plate, this can help them locate you faster and make sure you’re safe. Remember it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Create Panic Codes and Safe Words with Your Contact

Yes, this might seem like overkill, but the goal is to remain safe. My friend who went out with the “human-pig-octopus” should have had me as a contact and we should have established a seemingly innocent word or phrase that would have alerted me there was trouble.

If you text: Here at dinner. How is Fluffy feeling?

And your contact knows your cat is named Tigger? This is a code that you need an intervention. Your contact can then call and claim Aunt Tilly had a heart attack and that she’s picking you up on her way to the hospital.

Maybe the coffee date went great and the first dinner was fabulous. But on date three? Your date suddenly turns into Dexter. Have a safe word so you can make a clean exit.

Conversely, safe words/phrases help your contact relax.

If you text: Thanks for watching Tigger.

Your contact knows that, for the moment, things are okay and to wait for the text that you’re heading home.

Listen to Your Gut

We’ve all been on the date where something didn’t feel right. Just because we can’t articulate why we don’t feel good about another person is no reason to ignore our deeper instincts. The human brain is an amazing machine and it frequently picks up information we aren’t consciously aware of. Ignore your gut at your own risk.

No Alcohol on the First Two Dates MINIMUM

Just so you know, the “meeting for coffee” initial date doesn’t count as a real date. The first two real dates are vital, and, remember, the other person is still, effectively, a stranger. Alcohol not only impairs our better judgment, but it also hinders our ability to pick up on red flags. It can also lower inhibitions, making us reveal too much too soon or get physical before the relationship is strong enough to handle that kind of intimacy.

Our goal here is for you to connect with someone long-term, so be smart and stay safe.

***

Kristen Lamb is the author of the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Feel free to follow her weekday blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Kristen is the C.E.O. of WANA International and the founder of the social site for creatives, WANATribe.

We Are Not Alone!

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Tips to Help Your On-Line Dating Profile Attract the “Right” Person http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/tips-to-help-your-online-dating-profile-attract-the-right-person/ Sat, 16 Mar 2013 14:17:50 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=751
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Image via Wikimedia Commons

By Kristen Lamb

So you want to create an on-line dating profile. Building on last week’s tips, here are some steps to get you started. Follow these steps, and odds are you’ll do better at attracting the right people. There are all kinds of whack-a-doodles, time-wasters and crazies out there. But, with the right approach, you can make your on-line dating profile more attractive to the right kind of person.

Step #1—Gather At Least Three Images

ONE image is often a signal of something fishy. As we talked about on my post that discussed on-line predators, cheaters and players don’t want to be easily recognized, so they frequently will limit to one picture. Other “one-pic offenders” are people who aren’t being truthful about age, weight or looks.

We live in an age where pictures abound, so when you only post ONE? That sends off warning flares.

You want to post at least three images so you aren’t unintentionally setting off warning flags. I don’t recommend posting more than five images, or we look like we are building a monument to our egos.

Back when I was on Match.com I would frequently go check out other female profiles just to see what other women were posting. What I found funny were women who posted 22 pictures of themselves, but, in their profiles, demanded to be “taken seriously and wants a guy who loves me for my intelligence and personality.”

Ok.

Step #2—Make Your Images Appealing

Feel free to doctor images a little bit. No one will fault you for removing red-eye, cropping out a cluttered background or even changing the resolution or saturation. We’ve all had a picture taken that was awesome, but the background was too dark or too washed-out. Again, I highly recommend Pic Monkey. It’s free and easy to use.

If you don’t have any good pictures, take some. Have a friend or family member help. Make sure the person taking the picture is always taking the shot from an angle looking down on you, or you could end up with more chins than a Chinatown phonebook.

For women, try taking a picture wearing more makeup than you normally wear. Photos can wash us out, so we need extra color to make the image true to life. There is a reason actors and anchors pile on makeup.

Don’t post cropped photos that look like you’re posing with an ex. I know the picture could be you and your favorite sister, but women on-line won’t see it that way.

Step #3—Be Careful What You’re Advertising

When it comes to pictures, be careful they reflect what you really want. Guys, if you want a woman who’s after a relationship with you and not your bank account, then avoid pictures posing in your half-million-dollar home or posing in front of your new Porsche. If you post images that clearly show your Presidential Rolex, it’s gold-digger bait, so don’t be shocked when that’s what you catch.

Ladies? If you want a man who’s interested in more than sex, then avoid sexy-come-hither images. I can’t count the number of profiles where women posed in bikinis, short shorts, and, yes, lingerie but then whined that they wanted a deep relationship based off more than sex. Uh-huh.

Step #4—Start Making Lists

Most of you are not professional writers, so you will need time to gather your thoughts. Often, when we write things like:

I love to walk on the beach.

I want a man who’s honest.

It comes from failing to prepare ahead of time, so we just write the first thing that pops in our noggins.

Before you sit down to fill out all those fields, try making a list of what you want in a mate and also what you have to offer. This step will not only help you keep profiles brief and interesting, but it will also help you write profiles that “include” your potential date. If you know you love all things sports and you want a gal who loves them too, it’s easier to write:

I’m a huge football fan and have season tickets to the X Sports Team. My ideal match would love grilling hamburgers at the pre-game tailgate party and cuddling in the cold while we cheer.

Step #5—Enlist the Help of a Friend

Frequently, we don’t see ourselves as clearly as others do. We can’t see the forest for the trees, so we can default to only focusing surface traits like physical looks or financial status. A real friend can point out that we’re good listeners, helpful in a crisis, fabulous cooks, or great at making other people laugh. Those are the qualities that make for enduring relationships, thus they’re a better choice for including in a profile, than say, a picture of us in a jog bra and skimpy shorts.

Especially the guys. Please no pictures of you in a jog bra and skimpy shorts.

Kidding! But you can see how lack of perspective can have a guy talking about his fancy boat instead of his ability to make other people feel good about themselves. A car is surface, but a tender heart is vulnerable (and also appealing). A tender heart also keeps its value longer than a speedboat.

Step #6—Check for Errors

We live in a world with spell check and grammar check. Use them. Give a Grammar Nazi friend or sibling a chance to look over your content. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE YOU’RE AFRAID OF YOUR OWN WRITING SKILLS. Most people will just assume you’re yelling at them and will steer clear.

This isn’t to say that only people with good spelling are great mates. But, if we have a profile that’s crammed full of errors, it’s distracting and doesn’t portray the best you have to offer.

Will your girlfriend or wife forgive the stains on your favorite college T-shirt? Sure. But don’t wear that shirt on a first date. Same with profiles. Once someone meets you and likes you, they could care less about your chronic inability to spell. But that first impression? Make it count.

Step #7—Check the Correct Boxes

Most on-line sites will have you fill out various fields of who you are and what you’re looking for. This is so they have enough data to plug into the algorithm that will search for potential matches. If you leave a lot of stuff blank, you will be deluged with choices, which is fine if you have a lot of free time to search from Kansas to Kalamazoo for someone appealing.

If you don’t want to date someone much taller or much shorter than you, set those parameters. If you don’t want to date someone with more education or less education than you, check the right boxes.

Also make sure you know what all the boxes mean. I recall being on a date and asking a guy why he’d date a Mormon. He said he wouldn’t, but he’d checked that LDS Christian was acceptable in his profile. The Latter Day Saints are Mormons, so unless you’re open to potentially converting? Might want to not check that box.

I know it can seem like a brain-bender having to go through and check boxes and set parameters, but this is so the site can send you choices that fit your wants. If you set a radius of “won’t date a woman more than 50 miles away,” then the algorithm knows not to include women who live two states away. The algorithms only work if we do our part.

***

Kristen Lamb is the author of the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Feel free to follow her weekday blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Kristen is the C.E.O. of WANA International and the founder of the social site for creatives, WANATribe.

We Are Not Alone!

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