Happy 20th Birthday Match.com!

It’s been a busy few weeks of editing and putting the finishing touches on my first book (!!!) I’m so excited to be on the homestretch of this project – partly because it means that I can get back into blogging on a regular basis. Stay tuned, I tons of beautiful lingerie, sexy toy reviews and dating stories that I can’t wait to share with you guys!

In the meantime I thought I’d share some fun news: popular dating site Match.com just turned 20! If you’re thinking to yourself, “has it already been 20 years?!” – you’re not alone. If Match.com was a Canadian kid, they’d now be old enough to drink in all thirteen provinces and territories. To celebrate, I have some interesting facts to share about the evolution of online dating. For example, did you know….

Stat_1Match.com pioneered the Internet dating industry, launching in 1995 and today serves millions of singles in 24 countries. Match.com continues to redefine the way single men and single women meet, flirt, date and fall in love.

Since it’s launch 20 years ago, more than 125 million people have joined the dating website. Match has created more than 10 million relationships and “made” more than 1 million babies. In the next 20 years, they estimate that the single population will nearly double and that 2 out of 3 relationships; with more than half of all marriages beginning online.

When Match.com asked me to share how I think online dating has changed over the years, one word came to mind: stigma. The stigma that was once associated with online dating has evaporated. In high school, one of my favourite TV shows was Mad TV. I remember spending many late nights babysitting laughing over sketches featuring the “Lowered Expectations” dating service. Although I’m pretty sure singles like Gena (“murder”) and Doreen are still lurking around online, finding love online is no longer considered merely as a last ditch stop for chronically rejected weirdos. Online dating isn’t the exception to the norm…it is the norm.

Although I often give online dating a hard time, I still think it’s a really great way to connect with people you might not have met otherwise. In fact, if you’re living and dating in a small town like I am, sometimes online dating is your best option.

Another thing that I think has changed even in the three years since I first tried online dating, is that everything is going mobile. Since it’s launch, more than 20 million people have used Match.com through their mobile device. For better or for worse, we’re living in a culture where finding a date or a life partner is as easy as swiping left or right while you’re in the line at Starbucks.

In honour of their 20th anniversary, Match.com decided to catch up with Bill and Freddi Straus, their very first success couple that met through the site. Bill and Freddi met online in 1995 and were married in 2000. Reading about how they got together you can’t help but think that they’re totally adorable.

bill & freddiWhen asked to describe her first date with Bill, Freddi says, “We emailed and spoke on the phone for about a week or so, then made a date for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. He wanted to impress me so he ordered the lobster. When the check came, he was $5 short so he had to borrow it from me. As we walked out, he said he would like to see me again so he could give me my $5 back. We quickly planned our second date for Sunday.

I tried to cancel our second date after I decided to get a perm (bad decision), but he wouldn’t budge! When he came to pick me up for dinner, I greeted him at the door with a paper bag over my head with the eyes, nose and mouth cut out. He laughed and loved it and that was it! It was a done deal.”

Proof that sometimes the best love stories are spawned from an awkward beginning that includes borrowed money, a bad perm and a paper bag.

We also have our very own Match.com success story at Skinny Dip headquarters, which Joe the Intern has happily volunteered to share.


Joe + milly

Happy birthday Match.com! Whether you’re looking for a partner who is 5’10” or 12″ tall, here’s to many more years of creating fantastic matches both big and small!

This post was kindly sponsored by Match.com. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Skinny Dip going. All opinions are my own because that’s how I roll.

Things You Learn When You Date in a Small Town

After living in Toronto for 12 years, you decide to move to Victoria, BC as a single 30-something.

With a population of about 300,000, Victoria isn’t exactly a small town yet, it manages to have a small town feel. Everyone knows everyone. After living in a city of 4 million people you find this both strange and comforting.

You spend the first year in Victoria mostly hanging out with your best friend and being an honorary senior citizen. However, you slowly start to make new friends. You start online dating. You make more friends. When you get frustrated by meeting the same 20 guys online, you ask your friends to set you up. You date a friend of a friend. You date another friend of a friend. You date another.

Although you prefer meeting people in person, you come to the conclusion that this whole “meeting people through common friends” thing has it’s drawbacks.

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownNamely, that some people don’t want to date you precisely because you have friends in common. When you ask a friend about his dating habits, he tells you that he likes to “date off the grid” – no small feat in a town like Victoria, where everyone is connected by one or two degrees of separation.  (photo credit)

You ask him, “I’m kind of off the grid though, right?”

“Simone, you know 30% of the people I know. You are the Grid.”

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownIn theory, we’d all be able to live within reasonable geographic proximity, date each other and still get along with minimal drama, like they do over at Seattle Grace Hospital. However, you quickly learn that this is a far cry from reality. In other words, life is not an ABC drama written by Shonda Rhimes. (image credit)

You have conversations that sound like this:

Ryan: “I can’t date you because you dated John.”

John: “I can’t date you because you dated my friend Ryan.”

You try and explain, “But Ryan and I never dated. He just sends me really weird photos of his penis, and I’m not sure why.”

However, it’s no use.

Meredith Grey and Olivia Pope don’t have to deal with this kind of bullshit. Why do you?

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownYou try not to let this get you down until a guy tells you that he considers you “tainted” as a romantic prospect, because you briefly dated two people that he knows.

You’re single. You like dating. You like sex. However, sometimes dating in a small town can make you feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter. You feel like a double standard is at play and you can’t help but wonder if things would be different if you were a man. Although you don’t regret leaving Toronto, you start to remember why you left this one horse town in the first place.

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownSometimes this town can feel small. Too small. This hits home when you bump into Fitness Guy at your local Thrifty Foods. You figured it would happen eventually since he lives around the corner from the store, but you still have a heart attack when you see him and almost drop an armful of groceries. Apparently, your case of sexually transmitted awkwardness is still alive and well. (photo credit)

Instead of going to the other Thrifty Foods where you’d surely bump into your high school nemesis (or that other guy you hooked up with), you buy most of your groceries at the overpriced yuppie-ster bodega in your neighbourhood. Your skin looks great, but your wallet cries every time you fork over $12 for a package of organic lunch meat and a pear.

You go out for a beer with a guy that you meet on OKCupid, only to come home to find the following message from another guy.

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small Town

This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few months ago you received a message that said, “I saw you walking through the Bay Center. Have you cut your hair? Maybe you noticed me, I was the guy in the red toque, eating an apple?” You haven’t met either of these guys in real life. Apparently, your online dating inbox has turned into Craigslist’s Missed Connections. (photo credit)


Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownDespite it’s drawbacks, you realize that dating “off the grid” is even more terrifying than dating people in your social circle. You notice the small town vibe is getting to you when you catch yourself becoming unreasonably suspicious of anyone who doesn’t know at least one person you know (“How do you not know Ryan?! EVERYONE KNOWS RYAN! You know, the guy who sends people photos of his penis?”)

You really start to appreciate the grid when you go out on a few dates with a guy who literally has no friends – that is, except for a guy he met while buying a stereo at Best Buy who goes by the nickname “Rapey” (“He’s always telling his female coworkers that he’s going to rape them. It’s hilarious! You’re going to love this guy, Simone.”) Luckily, you never have the chance to meet “Rapey” because according to your date, he’s been missing for some time and may or may not be residing at your local mental hospital. True story. (photo credit)

Dating in Victoria BC: Things You Learn When You Date in a Small TownWith that said, you know something has to change with your love life when you find a photo on your friend’s Facebook and tell yourself, “I’ve seen far too many of these dudes penises.” (photo credit)

So, life in a small town didn’t turn out like the ABC drama of your choice, but you decide to lean into it anyways. In a moment of frustration, you contemplate channeling your inner Emily Thorne from Revenge, printing out the photo and crossing the faces out with a red marker. However, you suspect it will just incite lots of awkward questions when you have to explain to people who come over, “No, I don’t have a revenge plot in the works. These are just people I’ve banged in the past 3 years.”

Mostly though, you just laugh. You drink wine with your friends. You laugh some more.

When a girlfriend of yours drunkenly comments on how incestuous this town is (“Everyone in Victoria shares a few bedpost notches”) you don’t disagree.

Instead, you laugh and drink more wine. What else can you do?

Guys, We Need to Talk About Your Online Dating Photos

After a weird December and calling it quits with my younger man friend, I decided to get back on the ol’ online dating horse and give OkCupid yet another shot. Since reentering the world of online dating, I’ve been on a few dates with nice people, been matched with someone I dated 15 years ago and had one guy ask me if I’d be interested in “sexually dominating him.” (When I politely delcined he got really offended and sent me a message that said “INTERESTING THAT YOU DON’T RESPOND TO ANY OF MY OTHER MESSAGES BUT RESPOND TO THIS ONE SO YOU CAN REJECT ME.”) So, in other words – just your average month on the beat.

No matter how long I stay away from online dating; the one thing that never changes are the photos. Oh, the photos. I can write a hundred of articles about the do’s and don’ts of online dating photos, and yet, truly terrible online dating photos prevail. I’m sure some of you are actually decent dudes (and that us ladies post our share of equally terrible pics), however you’re shooting yourself in the foot with all of these bizarre photos.

So, in an effort to remedy this problem, Joe the Intern and his friends have teamed up to provide 6 more photos that you need to delete from your online dating profileFYI, these are all modelled after actual photos I came across on OK Cupid, February 26th, between 7:42pm-9:05pm. 

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosHere’s something I like to call “Ok Cupid: Dead or Alive Edition.” Recently, I was matched with a guy whose only photo showed him sprawled limply over a bank of rocks, with a vacant, heavy lidded expression; his beer dangling limply from his hand. The photo was taken on the beach near where I grew up – an area I know well. The photo literally looks like he fell off a cliff and impaled himself on the rocky shore below. When I showed the photo to my friend, she leaned in then jolted back in surprise. “Is he OK, Simone?” she asked. FYI, this is not what you want women to say when they look through your online dating profile.

I get it – we live on the West Coast. The soulful, hanging out on the beach photo is about as ubiquitous as seasonal allergies – everyone and their dog has one or two. However, if you want to make these beach shots work in your favour, they can’t be awkward or look like something that a CSI team should be investigating.

Below, Trump has helped recreate another photo I stumbled across. The male subject in question was sprawled out on the beach, with his arm placed inexplicably behind his head in a way that looked like he had dislocated his elbow. His face was scrunched up in discomfort, while his armpit hair played centre stage. Once again, I have no idea why the person decided to include this photo, but there it was in all of it’s painfully uncomfortable glory. Awkwardness is contagious: if you look awkward, we feel awkward too.  So, if you’re going to include a “chill beach pic” make sure you actually look, well, chill and that you have good posture. (photo credit)

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating Photos

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating Photos

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosOnce again, most women are attracted to guys who look alive. We don’t want to see photos of you sleeping (?) on the couch, passed out on the floor or floating face down in a pool of water. You may think these shots are funny and whimsical, but to us, you just come across as lazy and not much fun. Along with some simple head shots, we like to see photos of you doing stuff that you’re into. Whether that’s brewing your own beer, hiking the Grand Canyon or playing hockey – almost anything is better than a photo that looks like a potential crime scene or something your friends took when they thought you were too drunk to notice. (photo credit)

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosSo, this photo is still happening. If you want to be taken seriously, keep in mind that no good can come from the shirt grab photo. Joe the Intern’s army buddy wants you to know that it looks just as ridiculous when you do it. (photo credit)

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosHey, you know what else I’m sick of seeing on OkCupid? Dead animals! To that dude who posted a photo of himself clasping the horns of a dead and bloodied elk – yes, I’m talking to you (and no, we won’t be going for coffee anytime soon.) You know what I find totally sexy? Photos of guys being nice to animals, not standing over their bloody carcasses. But you know, maybe that’s just me.

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating Photos

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating Photos

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosARMPIT HAIR. There’s entirely too much of it online. Yes, we all have arm-pit hair. However, if you’re trying to make a good first impression online, you might want to avoid posting photos where it’s prominently displayed. Sure maybe some women like this (maybe? possibly? I don’t know?) however, personally I’d prefer to not see your armpits in intimate detail until we actually know each other. What would be better: A nice photo of your face, sans armpit foliage. (photo credit)

Dating in Victoria BC:  Bad Online Dating PhotosThe other day I got matched with a family – at least that’s what can be assumed by the profile photo. The photo featured a man, a woman, two kids and a German Shepard. I assume that it’s the man’s profile, however considering he describes himself as “an easy going guy who loves long walks in the park” it could be the German Shepard. Who the heck knows. If these kinds of details are unclear, you’re doing it wrong. (photo credit)

So, to sum up:

-Alive is better than dead.

-A nice photo of your face > everything.

-Put your arms down.

The End.

{All photos taken by me, unless otherwise noted.}

What’s your online dating photo pet peeve?

Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self #16 – Joshua

joshua pompeyToday’s instalment of Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self  comes from my friend & online dating expert, Joshua of JPompey. Check out the rest of the series here.

Dear twenty year old Joshua,

Right about now you are walking the streets of Downtown Albany, probably drunk, trying to live it up in your final year of college.  And while I can’t argue that you have come more into your own this year than at any other point in your life so far, we really need to sit down and have a chat about how you could go from making this one of the best years of your life, to being an all-time, legendary year that drunk college students for generations will want to emulate.  Are you ready for this?  You might want to sit down for a few moments.

1.  For Christ sake, take those damn jeans off and get it together!

Seriously dude.  You dress like an absolute clown.  Your jeans are five sizes too big.  They are shredded at the bottom.  And your t-shirts could fit at least two of you inside.  You are in shape for someone who drinks a thirty pack a week, you go the gym, and you have a nice body, so for crying out loud, take a woman to the mall with you, charge a few pairs of skinny jeans before the Brooklyn hipsters steal your thunder one day, and invest in looking like you don’t need your mommy to come to Albany to help lay out your clothes.

2.  Keep your mouth shut when you hook up with someone.

I know you are insecure.  I know sometimes you wonder if the whole world secretly thinks you rarely ever get to see the Golden Palace of the Himalayas as you strut your wanna-be macho self around the city.  But on those rare occasions where for some absurd reason a girl actually wants to take off those over-sized, baggy shredded jeans of yours, don’t start telling every single friend you know that you gave a girl really mediocre sex last night.  You may get fake props, but women will find out and tell all their female friends to blacklist you from the, “I’ll go home with any guy after five drinks,” community.

3.  Cough up the extra few bucks.

I know you are poor.  I know you think you are so insanely cool for buying 30 packs of Keystone Light and “The Beast”, a.k.a., Milwaukee’s Best every week.  But the internal damage you have done to yourself from all those beers no longer allows me to eat oversized Pastrami sandwiches without popping several Tum’s, downing Pepto Bismal, and listening to Mumford and Sons to calm my nerves.  Be a baller and cough up the extra ten bucks for something classy, like Bud Light.

4.  Have the foresight to invent the world’s corniest shot.

It will taste like crap.  It won’t make sense.  And it will make you feel so lame when you are my age.  But one day, at least once during every party you attend, some lame guy will take out a bottle, yell, “FIREBALL SHOTS!” and make everyone at the party take at least one.  You won’t have a choice.  You’ll just have to suck up this lame excuse for a whisky that tastes like a combination of whisky, Big Red gum, and dying souls.  This trend seemingly will not go away, so while you still can, figure out the recipe that is currently in the works and get rich.  We will toast to our success one day with a Jagar Bomb.

5.  Be more confident in the bedroom.

I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but you have the world’s biggest hands.  Apparently you never new just how lucky you were until years later.  So stop being such a sissy worrier in the bedroom.  Sometimes when you drink 25 beers in a night, your junk stops working.  That doesn’t mean you have to carry that fear to the next time, seven months later, when it only took you 8 beers to work up the courage to get a girl in bed.  Have confidence and show why you wear such big gloves in ways that will be remembered forever.

About Joshua – 

For some amazing free advice from my current self, where I have been helping online daters to succeed at a rate of over 99% since 2009, men, read this article now on how to save over $5,000 and 500 hours.  Women, read this free article to view actual profile examples.

What would you tell your younger self?

Yoga Speed Dating: Would You Try It?

Studio Blue - CoupleYoga Speed Dating: It’s a thing. 

And it’s happening in Toronto.

If you’re sick of Tinder and OkCupid, tomorrow night Studio Blue Yoga is hosting it’s first ever I <3 Yoga Speed Dating event, Thursday February 26th from 7:30-9pm. Toronto singles will be stretching it out on yoga mats… together. With five minutes for each “date,” singles will do couples yoga poses like hand-holding seated twist or wide legged forward fold, giving them a chance to get up close and personal with a potential date. With more men and women turning to yoga for their physical and spiritual wellness,  I <3 Yoga Speed Dating allows for two singles to touch, hold and breath together and see if there’s a spark and deep connection in a short amount of time.

“Yoga intensifies self-awareness of ones body, feelings and desires, and practicing with a partner increases ones trust, openness and sensuality,” says yogi and owner of Studio Blue, Jessica McIntyre. “It’s a great way for singles to get in touch with themselves and a partner. I’m excited to see sparks fly with some partner stretching, holding and joint poses. It will definitely bring a new meaning to a down-ward dog.”

Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I’m incredibly skeptical about new dating trends – especially ones that involve potentially touching other strangers. In fact, as soon as I read the phrase “joint poses,” my mind immediately jumped to this post I wrote years ago. So, naturally when Studio Blue got in touch with me I had some questions (mainly, “will I have to touch people?”)

Studio Blue-34Yesterday I had a chance to catch up with Jessica McIntyre, owner of Studio Blue and organizer of I <3 Yoga Speed Dating. Jessica was incredibly sweet & lovely. After chatting for a few minutes she managed to answer all of my questions and quell any anxieties I had about the possibility of looking for love on a yoga mat (in fact, I’m totally pumped to try I <3 Yoga Speed Dating next time I’m in Toronto!)

When I asked Jessica what inspired to her to create this event, she explained that typically February can be a really tough month for many people. Although it’s already Spring on the West Coast, in Toronto it’s still the dead of winter, which can feel very “blah” (having lived through 12 winters in Toronto, I can attest to that.) Since Studio Blue did a couples event on February 14th, they wanted to do something fun for their single clientele. Hence, I <3 Yoga was born.

Sun_SalutationSo, how does it work? The evening starts by enjoying a glass of champagne (YES!) which is then followed by some solo yoga practice  to allow everyone to get warmed up and comfortable. Mats are lined up in two rows, facing each other – men on one side, ladies on the other. The teachers then demonstrate the poses and each couple has a chance to try them while they connect. Each “date” lasts 5 minutes.The men rotate from mat to mat, while the women stay put.

When asked how much physical contact is involved (because, the photo at the top of this post seems pretty full contact!) Jessica was careful to point out that you’re never required to touch your partner – unless that’s something you’re both comfortable doing. The teachers will demonstrate a variety of poses with different variations to suit all comfort levels so that you always have options.

Yoga speed dating is then followed by a “mix and mingle” from 8:30-9pm with light refreshments (more champagne!) so that singles connect some more.

As Jessica points out, “It’s meant to be a fun and light event that provides a different way to meet people.” After all, Studio Blue’s mantra is “practice playfully.” With regular classes like “Hangover Helper” “Hip Hop Yoga” and “Yoga Ballet Fusion,” Studio Blue aims to offer classes that are playful, welcoming and vigorous. Creating a vibrant community is also really important to Jessica. As she shared, “I want to create a safe space for women, where they can connect and feel less alone” – a statement I can definitely relate to. I <3 Yoga is just a small part of that.

While Jessica didn’t meet her boyfriend on a yoga mat, they do enjoy practicing together on a regular basis 🙂

Jessica and JasonMaybe living on the yoga-obsessed West Coast is finally getting to me, but I actually think Yoga Speed Dating sounds like fun. If I’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that while online dating is all fine and dandy, nothing beats the rush you get from meeting someone in person. Considering I logged on to OkCupid last night and saw the same 20 guys that are always on there, switching up my dating strategy sounds pretty appealing right now. Besides, doing Yoga feels good – even Joe the Intern is onboard.

IMG_0085After a long week of interning, I really look forward to my candlelit yoga sessions with my girlfriend Milly. It’s a great way to connect as a couple. Last night we reached a meditative state together.” – Joe the Intern.

If you’d like to give  I <3 Yoga Speed Dating a try, here are the details:

WHAT: I <3 yoga, Studio Blue’s Yoga Speed Dating. Toronto singles between 22-35 will be meeting on the yoga mats to do couples poses. All levels welcome!  To register visit www.studioblue.co.

WHEN: Thursday, February 26 from 7:30-9pm with “mix & mingle” from 8:30-9pm.

WHERE: Studio Blue Yoga and Fitness at 1457 Dundas St West (Dundas and Dufferin)

WHO: Toronto singles between 22-35 years of age will enjoy Yoga Speed Dating with Jessica McIntyre, yogi and owner of Studio Blue Yoga & Fitness.

Would you try Yoga Speed Dating? 

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