Monday, 5 October 2009

"Confidence Boosters" - the in-depth review.

Milling around on the internets, which I occasionally do, I found this on MSN from Match.com - Confidence Boosters by Nina Malkin. So here's the full article, complete with our interview-style "His'N'Hers" input.

What’s the secret to a truly successful date?
The assurance that you’re an amazing person who knows how to have a great time. Adopt that attitude and you will have fun. OK, while science has yet to develop confidence in tablet form, there are plenty of things you can do to pump yourself up, trounce pre-date anxiety and be the attractive, witty, wonderful woman you are. We’ve got the tips—from makeup tricks to mantras—that’ll get you there. (pic: nutfactory.com)

The true secret to a successful date is to find someone you actually LIKE and start a conversation - remembering to let THEM join in too. Straight talking is a good thing - I don't think I can cope with a giggle and twee girly girl, or stuck up. Just be normal. Humility is good, in terms of being able to realise your own flaws, so that if someone else sees them, you're not bothered by it - make it a part of your plus points - nobody is perfect!

Create a lovability inventory.
“Make a list of what makes you instantly attractive—things like your great smile, sexy legs, fabulous hair, etc.,” says dating coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, author of MANifesting Mr. Right: It’s Never Too Late to Find the Love You Want. “Then list why you’re a great catch—qualities like sunny disposition, good listener, quick-witted.” Read these reminders daily and give ‘them a scan before your meet your date. Most of all, remember that they’re so true!

It's always nice to remember what you like about yourself, yes - but if your high point is your elbow, you're just a little bit stuck. I'm sorry girls, all blokes notice of is boobs, bums and legs - and that's if you're lucky. By all means go for an ego boost, but don't get carried away and list them all to HIM. There's nothing wrong with a bit of self-flattery, but don't be a stuck-up b*tch. Those that think they're "all-that" with the snotty, snide attitude, I don't have the time of day for. Anyone whom is going to be like that in any social setting isn't likely to pay me any attention - or worse, be very NEEDY. "Sharon sez I should get my hair done for anuvver freehunnerd powns..."

Get fresh.
It may seem obvious, but cleanliness is key to success. “I bathe, brush my teeth, spray on perfume and I’m good to go,” says Adriana Williams, 36. So don’t dash straight from the office to a special date. Schedule it a little later in the day so you can go home and hit the showers. That little bit of primp time in your own zone will get you primed to feel glamorous and have a great time. (pic - BBC - gilbert from "Get Fresh")

Basic common sense - don't turned up smelly and creased from a long day at work. Also, if you're eating out, or having food before you go out, remember to avoid the usual culprits - garlic, fish and cigarettes. There's NOTHING worse than cigarette stank to a non-smoker. Would you like him to turn up smelling like old feet? Cleanliness is next to godliness, fair enough. If she turned up mingin' with her hair matted like she's been in a gorilla sh*t fight, I'd be quick to get out of there. I've um, got a plane to catch to get to Guatamala - I should have told you before, but I only just remembered!

Gain the home-court advantage.
Is there a place where everybody knows your name? Where the lighting, the seating, the menu makes you feel at home? Go there on your next date! “Nothing is nicer than having the support and approval of people who know and acknowledge you,” says Donna Spangler, author of How to Marry a Rich Man: The Princess Formula. A friendly hello from your
favourite host, waitperson or barista can boost your confidence, big-time.

Practical - but then you get the judgemental side of the people you know seeing you turn up for different dates. Also, what about the guy?! He'll be thinking: "Jeez, how many times has she brought blokes here?!" But on the other hand, if he wants to take you somewhere flash, roll with it honey! He clearly thinks you're worth spending the money on! Always check if he wants to go Dutch, but don't push it. Be wary of those that try to wiggle out of paying altogether - but if they have a tab for the Ritz... Oh nonono. No, find somewhere neutral. He's going to be thinking"Crap, who are all these people, I'm a spare wheel here!" If a friend passed by in a pub, fair enough. Otherwise it's daunting, you know everyone, and I don't - I'd be completely out of place. It's a kick in the nuts for the other guy.

Give yourself a pep talk.
“The greatest confidence booster for women in their forties is the conversation they have with themselves,” says relationship counsellor Joyce Morley-Ball, author of Seeds for the Harvest of a Lifetime. “Embrace statements like ‘There is no one like me’ and ‘I am the best thing he will ever meet’ before your next date.” Say it, believe it, and kick your self-esteem up a notch.

Whilst this tends to be good advice, you might also want to see an actual counsellor to help with your esteem issues too - if something in your past is "blocking" you, it needs to be dealt with, not avoided and placebo'ed. Plus the name of the book sounds a bit rapey - don't let him see it for god's sake! Yeaaaah, that's a bit bunny-boiler. Eekeeekeeekeek, knife in hand.

Check in with your biggest fan.
“Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel really good inside,” says dating coach Liz Kelly, author of Smart Man Hunting. “Call your best ally on the way to a date for a confidence boost.” You needn’t say you want a pre-date pick-me-up—you’ll get good vibes just hearing this person’s voice. (pic: on10.com - for the nerds!)

Why would you be friends with someone who doesn't like you? Don't get neurotic, but do make sure you've got proper friends. Could you rely on any of them if, say, you needed help sitting a nephew? Find real friends, and don't be afraid to stand up to two-faced people. Bitching doesn't make a real connection. Pre-game warm-up for blokes, if anything, it's like a blokey chat in the pub, a very informal chat. "Go you mate, get some." A very lowbrow thing, but you know, it works. I know it happens in the bathrooms, so try it properly with your friends - you lot like your details. The after game party for women is a lot bigger, for blokes it's just "Whoar mate, yes." or "Cor yeah, right on" or "Nah, don't think so." That's about it. The other guys think "You lucky b*stard." After that it's always polite to ask how your mates are doing on their current game or preferred sporting activity, 'cause by that time we've probably forgotten what we were talking about.

Treat yourself right.
Schedule that spa appointment the night or afternoon before a big date. “If you consciously include extra me-time into your schedule, you’ll feel more powerful and in control of your life,” says makeup artist Suzie Galvez, author of The Thrifty Girls Guide To Glamour: Living the Beautiful Life on Little to No Money. The only caveat? Those who tend to break out after a facial might want to opt for the massage or pedicure instead.

Oh how glamour girlie. How Sex in the City. How... expensive. I agree to treating yourself, by all means, but you can have a nice "Spa Day" at home if you set aside a few minutes and some of your favourite things. As a not-girly-girl, my pick-me-up is a nice apple hair conditioner. Men DO notice soft hair and a delicate perfume , but don't overdo it. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if you'd been to the spa or been running errands for Jimmy Saville all day! It sort of goes back to the cleanliness thing - if you've turned up smelling nice, looking clean and sparkly, that's great. But you don't need to go spending a fortune having a mud massage up your arse or whatever.

Keep it real.
You want to sizzle, but don’t try something totally new and different, fashion- and beauty-wise. To really feel on top of your game, you’re best off looking like you. “If downtown diva is your thing, don’t show up in Laura Ashley,” says Raya Premji, co-owner of Rodeo Drive Resale in Los Angeles. One easy way to reveal your personality through fashion, she adds, is to simply wear your favourite colour.

On the other hand, don't go wearing joggy bottoms and a disintegrating old jumper. That may be what you look like most of the time, but it's not attractive. Would you want to go home with a bloke that turned up looking like that? Dress to the standard you would require of your partner. Fair comment. On a first date, I'd notice a particularly striking haircut, (thinking time) I'd notice what she was wearing in terms of dress or top, because at some point I'm going to be thinking about her boobs. If I can see cleavage, it's "Nice top." If not, it's "Nice hair." I'm not saying hooker cleavage, but enough to be interesting.

Break out the sexy underwear.
Go for silk or lace, black or red, skimpy or demure—whatever makes you feel special. “It’s not for anyone else to see– just for you!” says Ryan. “You can’t help but feel your allure amplified with nice lingerie on.” (pic: believe it or not, that's underwear - the C string. ttnet.net)

The only reason you think about sex more when you're wearing sexy underwear is because it's so damn uncomfortable that every time you move, you remember you're wearing the goddawful things. If only YOU are going to see them, that seems a bit of a waste of time. Quite frankly, if only YOU are going to see them, you might as well have the big old comfy pants on. But sure, if you've got that inkling that you might get action later that night, then go ahead and wear that skimpy number in black lace - take down your evening dress and be revealed in lovely neglige - mmmmmm.

Carry yourself—in your purse.
That snapshot from your last holiday, with you looking so happy and healthy? The picture from the awards dinner in your honour, when you heard all that applause? Keep it handy. Glancing at it will remind you of how amazing you are. And you might want to share it, if the opportunity presents itself. Giving your date a gander can spark discussion of how amazing you are. “Fun photos paint a picture of confidence that’s irresistible,” says Kelly. “Imagine you're back on that beach when describing your last vacation photo with a big smile.”

And just how're you going to explain THAT when he spots it in your purse? "Oh, that's my twin sister?" Yeah. By all means, keep a great pic on the fridge or in a frame by the door, somewhere you'll see it on the way out, but not in your purse. Put a pic of something you enjoy in your purse - I keep one of my lizards, because they make me feel good, plus I have conversation material ready if it gets noticed and don't sound completely self-centred. I'd be a bit confused. Purses are for your puppy, boyfriend, your baby sister or something, something that makes sense.

Be comfortable, be confident.
“No need to hold your breath in tight jeans; opt for something with a bit of stretch,” says Premji. Same strategy for shoes. “Your dogs will be barking in minutes if you go with too-high heels. Try leg-lengthening wedges instead or a sandal that laces at the ankle.” Finally, unless you’re totally at ease dressing like Lil’ Kim, be sexy while leaving something to the imagination. “Try peek-a-boo styles: sheer tops over a tank, slit skirts,” Premji says. And remember the rule to only wear one revealing item – for instance, if you’re wearing a short skirt, keep your top demure. Want to show off your shoulders in a pretty camisole? Then keep the skirt longer for more leg-coverage. Leaving something to the imagination is always more alluring than full disclosure on date number one.

If your trousers don't fit, you're going to feel fat. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bigger woman and I'm comfortable with it. Hell, I KNOW I look good when I make a go of it. But if you feel your waistband pinching, it's going to annoy you and make you snappy. Be PRACTICAL. Or if not practical, buy something that fits, looks and feels nice. Take a real friend shopping for feedback and advice - or if you're alone and like something, ask a complete stranger how it looks! Strangers are more likely to be polite too! I'd feel VEEERY awkward if I had too small pants on for a date. I have the luxury of boxers. If I have a belt that suddenly pulls in the evening, I can politely excuse myself from the table and go and release a few notches!

Get your story straight.
“Everyone has at least one great story from her real-life experience,” says relationship expert Wendy Allen, Ph.D., author of How to Survive the Crisis of an Affair. “Telling it—and telling it well—lets you express yourself in a poised, self-assured way.” Figure out what your story is, and practice telling it in the privacy of your own home. Self-deprecating stories can work well; just steer clear of anything too heavy. Lead in by saying, “Want to hear a great story?” and when you have his attention, begin. Make sure your tale has a beginning, middle and end, and don’t ramble. Bonus tip: If you know a funny (not dirty—at least not yet!) joke and can deliver it like Leno, go for it.

Be prepared to listen to him. Men like talking about themselves, so ask them stuff about themselves. Try doing some basic background work before you meet up - ask some people what kind of things he likes, hobbies etc. No. I wouldn't want to sit through story-time. Unless it's like the most godlike of stories, really, quite frankly no. Interactivity is what a date should be about, not "is everyone siting comfortably?" Anecdotes are fine, short and concise, but not the "Sharon and I went to the zoo, got an icecream, she did but I didn't, saw some monkeys and..." I'd be switched off and all like... empty dial tone ooooooooooo.

Wear a conversation piece.
You’ll feel special sporting something you love, says Premji. Plus, even a fashion-challenged man will notice a unique treasure—like a family heirloom or that exotic necklace you found during your travels.

Yes, because he's going to notice, let alone mention, your pretty necklace. Excuse the raised eyebrow, but I have yet to meet a bloke that comments on jewellery unless I've asked him first. We really don't know. We're just not tuned that way. Intricate things we don't tend to notice, unless you've got, I don't know, two PSPs as earrings. Then I'd notice.

Clinch eye contact.
Want your date to gaze into the windows of your soul? Place a dot of a gold or light-reflecting eye shadow on the centre of your eyelid, then blend softly. “Humans beings are
naturally attracted to light,” says Galvez. “When you blink, your date will notice and be drawn to the light area but won’t know why.” (pic: Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) - Nasa)

What, are men moths now? Why didn't anyone tell me? Why isn't your man paying attention to you in the first place? Heck, you could just get some nice false eyelashes with the rhinestones on - that'll work. Or carry a lazer light. That'd do the trick and provide some "light entertainment"!

Lip it good.
The right lip colour is an instant lift. Red is a classic choice for women forty-plus, says Galvez. It makes teeth look whiter, which helps encourage you to smile, which exudes confidence. Another option? “Slightly frosty, non-Eighties pink works for me!” says Jenny Sucov, 38. “It flatters every complexion and makes you look tanned.”

Bright red also shows off your facial hair like a beacon, so you look like somebodies granddad with a 'tasche like that. "Lip it good" by going to a tester counter and getting one of the girls to do your colours properly - that way you'll know what really suits you, rather than some generic advice. The whole lipstick thing - some shades can help form a face, but some can make her look a lot like a rubber doll. Find the right lipstick.

See your success.
“Visualise success on your date—this process forces your mind to create a plan of action,” says life coach Eric J. Aronson, founder of DASH Systems, LLC. “Imagine yourself enjoying yourself on the date; picture yourself as beautiful, sexy, fun and outgoing in the perfect atmosphere.”

Wow, did you remember your plan of action and your battle fatigues? Chill OUT. You're here for a nice time, not to trap your male, fertilise your eggs and eat him. Quite! Haha... It's about having a good time and seeing if you get on, not a military operation.

Wear blinders.
Nothing blows confidence like thinking every other woman in the joint is a supermodel. “Stand tall, and don't compare your physical appearance to others,” says Aronson. Stay focused on your date and learning about him.

Darling, he's going out with you, not that silly bint in the corner. Go out to enjoy yourself, not to be Kate Moss. Kate Moss looks like a matchstick figure anyway. As to standing tall, I'm tall and that doesn't make the blindest bit of difference. However, holding your shoulders back and walking straight DOES help. Practise your posture, try the books on your head trick. You don't want to look all slumped and office-y in the evening. Who cares about them? Stop worrying about the people. If he's so sh*t that he'll wander off and chat up the barmaid on your date... Clearly he's not worth it. What ARE you women thinking?!

Get physical.
Try to fit in a pre-date workout—you know how great kicking butt in tae-bo makes you feel! “A bit of physical exercise before a date increases blood flow and hormone levels to psych you up,” says Aronson.

Just don't forget to, you know, have a shower. This is one of the few points I'll actually agree with. It has been proven that exercise is beneficial when you're feeling low - I don't mean sign up to a gym straight away, even something as simple as a brisk walk will make a big difference to your day. Obsessing over your weight and what you eat is a huge turnoff. Exercise is good. Keeps you healthy and reasonably trim - the whole "I haven't moved in ten years look" doesn't do it for everyone. Toned is nice, but bear in mind not all blokes like scary muscular - be healthy and don't worry about the rest. Malnutrition is not a big turnon either, a healthy appetite by all means, but know your limits.

Keep things in perspective.
Unless you’re going to the Oscars or a coronation, a date is still just a date. “I have a calming ritual to clear my head of expectations,” says Robin Glenn, 48. “I tell myself, ‘This is not a big deal’ and ‘Don’t try t0o hard.’ I always have a better time when I don’t expect it to be mind-
blowing.”
About time. Obviously, stick to some standards, and try not to drink too much. I know people think it's a confidence booster, but it also lowers your inhibitions and makes you liable to do something completely stupid. There are a few stages of drunk - sober/drunk: you laugh at not so funny stuff, but that's not a bad thing, blokes tend to have crap jokes. There's giggly drunk: where everything's funny. Stop here, this is the best bit. Don't knock em back like there's no tomorrow. Because there IS a tomorrow and you're going to have a baaaad head when it arrives. If you don't stop, you progress to the paranoia drunk: not good. The slurring, hiccupping drunk: not good at all. Which is followed by the staggering possibly vomiting drunk and the last stage of drunk which is falling unconscious in a puddle of your own vomit. Mm, what a great night out THAT was.

Revel in your sensuality.
“Walk into a date with a big grin because you are a hot commodity in your sexual prime,” says Kelly suggests. “At this age, you know who you are and what you want, which is a huge turn-on.” So work it to your advantage!

This last tip works with guys that have massive egos. Pandering to these humongous egos later on is no fun. Be prepared to seperate dream and reality. Quite honestly, we blokes are a bit crap. Be realistic - if he's chisel jawed, craploads of money and perfect job and house, he's probably going to want the most bimbotic girl going, and he'll most likely love himself more than you.

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