Filed under Relationships

Kate’s Dates: On Jealousy

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by Kate Richlin-Zack

At some point in our lives, we’ve all been jealous. Someone has something you want or someone threatens to take something you have and the claws come out. Sometimes those claws are razor sharp and you flash them with the roar of a mountain lion. And sometimes you respond with a half-assed warning swat like some sleepy house cat. It all depends on the situation because jealousy is an emotion with a spectrum ranging from mild to red hot. Kinda like salsa. And where you land on that spectrum can depend on everything from the circumstances of the situation to whether or not you’re having a bad hair day.

Rawr.

On the more mild end, we’ve got undeniable but loving sibling rivalry jealousy. Like how your little baby sister has always been (and always will be) the hot, skinny, acerbically funny one with a great head of hair. You can’t compete but you love her anyway and don’t hold it against her that she often looks like she stepped out of the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. Genetics can be so unfair!

Moving along to the medium category, there’s the kind of jealousy that initially hits you with pang but simmers down within seconds. Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: Awkard Moments in Dating

KatesDatesLogo_stacked_WEB2by Kate Richlin-Zack

Dating is chock full of awkward moments and it can start as early as the moment you meet. Do you shake hands? Do you hug? What’s the protocol? There is none. You don’t know this person well enough to hug them but you don’t want to kick things off like it’s a business meeting so what do you do? Wave? Yeah, because that’s not weird.

And what about at the end of the date? He’s seconds away from planting one smack on your mouth but his breath smells so bad you swear his teeth are melting. Do you quickly turn your head to the side at the last minute or brace yourself and try not to breath through your nose for the next few seconds. Either way, you better decide quickly.

Let’s say you make it through a few dates. Then you’ve got those pesky uncontrollable bodily functions that are three times as humiliating if they happen while you’re naked. Queefing, farting, or that sweaty skin-on-skin noise that forces both of you to insist it was neither of the first two. Hopefully you both have a good sense of humor and a waning sense of smell.

And the longer you’re together, the messier it gets. You start interacting with his friends. He meets your family. Things begin to get serious. And as a result of things progressing the number of times you want to dig a hole in the ground and crawl inside become staggeringly abundant. So in honor of all those cringeworthy moments in dating, here are some of my own personal favorites: Continue reading

A Dear Kate Letter to the Readers

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By Katharine Luckinbill

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow, April 19th, marks the first anniversary of this column and my first year as an officially published writer. Over the past year, I have been included in some of your funniest, most moving and most honest moments, and every single one has been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of. Each of you let me into your lives and entrusted me with advising you on everything from whether you were too old for a bikini wax to coming out of the closet for the first time. You wrote in, tweeted, texted, emailed and commented with your own thoughts and advice. You made the column what it is and for that I am truly grateful.

When I first applied for this position to the fabulous Kate Torgovnick, I had no idea how much I would grow to love being your “Dear Kate”. I also had no idea how difficult it would be sometimes when I was thrown a truly hard-hitting question and had to be absolutely unbiased to give you the best advice possible. I did not ever take it lightly that your final decision could very possibly rest in my hands. I truly hope that I have done right by all of you – as you have done by me.

So – looking back on the best thing that happened in my life this past year I wanted to share some recaps of my favorite seven columns of the last year with you and how they helped me in my own life through writing each of them. (Also peppered in will be some of my favorite graphics from the whole site over the past year)

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Kate’s Dates: Why Online Dating Sucks

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by Kate Richlin-Zack

Online dating is both awesome and dreadful. The possibility that you could connect with the future the love of your life from the comfort of your living room while bleaching your ‘stache and shoveling General Tso’s chicken in your face is pretty spectacular. And it beats the bar scene on convenience alone.  You don’t have to get all dolled up. You can search on your own time rather than live within the confines of happy hour and last call. And when guys hit on you via emails or winks or whatever non-committal bullshit form of interaction your dating website of choice features, you can simply ignore it rather than feeling like a complete bitch as he stands there looking at you all rejected when you refuse to give him your number.

But for as awesome as it is, it’s also friggin miserable and here are my top five reasons why I hate online dating: Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: On Why He Didn’t Call

Kates-Dates-newby Kate Richlin-Zack


You’ve played it cool for the last three days but it’s day four and enough’s enough. Why hasn’t he called? The date went well, didn’t it?

There are only three, (yes, three) reasons that a guy won’t call you back:

1) There was no mutual connection

Emphasis on mutual. Within minutes of meeting up with him for your first date, you were overcome with excitement. He was absolutely perfect and even gave you butterflies in your tummy. After an amazing date and a quick kiss good night, you were in love and convinced he was “the one” so you called your mother and scheduled your Kleinfeld’s appointment for next week. Unfortunately, that first date was also your last and you haven’t heard from him since. Why? Quite simply, he didn’t feel the same way. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not going to call you back.  It happens. In fact, it happens more often than not. But lack of mutual attraction (again, let me emphasize mutual) is not anyone’s fault and it’s certainly nothing to feel bad about. So what if he doesn’t feel the same way about you? You can’t hit it off with everyone; if you did, there would be no such thing as SOUL MATES.

2) He’s a jerk

Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put forth and no matter how smart, funny, and really really ridiculously good looking you are, guys are assholes. It’s not that you didn’t make a good impression; quite the opposite.  You spent so much time getting ready, picking an outfit, applying make up, doing your hair. Seven hours of prep time for three hours at an Olive Garden in hopes of something magical and sometimes the never ending bread sticks end up being the highlight of your evening. If you really put your best foot forward, the reason you didn’t hear from him has nothing to do with you.  He high-tailed it out of there because he knows you’re not going to put up with his bullshit. Maybe you were clear that you’re looking for something substantial and he’s only interested in booty calls. Maybe he’s not looking to settle down. Maybe he’s busy with the five other girls he’s juggling. And maybe you’re better off. Of course you will have no way of knowing if this is actually the case and you may have to accept a lack of communication as communication. Sometimes there is no closure. But if he doesn’t appreciate all you have to offer, it’s his loss for sure and you can feel confident that it’s not you, it’s him.

The third and final possibility is the one that’s going to sting the most so brace yourself; you’ve been warned. Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: My foolproof dating … don’ts

Kates-Dates-newBy Kate Richlin-Zack

Budding relationships are intoxicating: the chemistry, the excitement, the potential. It’s fantastic. The problem is, you can’t think straight. You end up making stupid decisions – Of course I want to fly to Vegas and elope! We’ll just introduce you to my family when we get back. Or you let the uncertainty drive you crazy – It’s been 2 hours and he hasn’t responded to any of my 17 text messages. Sure it’s Wed at 2pm but he couldn’t possibly be in a meeting or doing anything work-related during regular working hours. He must be hooking up with a co-worker.

Before you go blowing your chances completely, here are a few things to keep in mind as your new romance begins to blossom.

Don’t be so eager to be “exclusive”
You just met this guy. Sure he seems great but they all seem great in the first few weeks. They’re always “the one” and you’re so excited to tell everyone all about him because in your fool head you’ve already picked your wedding gown and the names for your unborn children. He just doesn’t know it yet. I get it. But how many times have you run your mouth about how AMAZING your new boyfriend is only to find out a few weeks later he hit on your best friend or has someone locked in his basement. Slow down and diversify your love life for a while. You should be dating no less than three guys at the same time. I’m not saying sleep with all of them, but until you really get to know them, keep your options open. And be honest. Tell them you’re “seeing other people” because quite frankly, if he’s that into you, he’ll waste no time bringing up the exclusivity topic. You should never have to initiate the where-are-we/what-are-we discussion. Any man who’s serious about you will make sure you know EXACTLY where you stand.

Don’t sleep with him right away
If it looks like a duck… Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: On Valentine’s Day

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by Kate Richlin-Zack

Truth be told, I love Valentine’s Day. I shouldn’t considering the crappy ones I’ve had in the past. But I do.

The problem with admitting it’s one of my favorite holidays is I’m in the minority and more importantly, no one gives a crap. Sadly, most people are pretty jaded when it comes to Valentine’s Day. But it wasn’t always that way. If you think about it, there was a time when Valentine’s Day was fun and it was exactly what you wanted it to be. Granted, it was in elementary school but you have to admit you enjoyed it.

We dug up an old shoe box, wrapped it in red construction paper, and adorned it with heart shaped doilies and stickers. Lots of stickers. I remember my mom helping me cut a slit in the top – apparently my father couldn’t be trusted with an Xacto knife and let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The week leading up to Valentine’s Day, we’d all secretly put our Charlie Brown or My Little Pony themed cards into everyone’s boxes. And you had to make a Valentine for everyone, even the smelly kid because that was just the right thing to do.

Can we just go back to that? Forget the elaborate heart shaped boxes of chocolate, the long stemmed roses, and the barrage of jewelry commercials. Not everyone is getting engaged, Neil Lane!  And seriously, what’s the deal with Cupid? Who let’s a little kid run around half naked wielding a bow and arrow? Is someone calling child services?

The problem with Valentine’s Day is there’s entirely too much goddamned pressure for no good goddamned reason. You’re almost guaranteed an awful experience. But fear not, there are ways around it. Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: Catfish? No way. Throw that minnow back in.

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By Kate Richlin-Zack

“Catfish” — it’s a term you’re probably familiar with given the recent Manti Te’O scandal and the growing popularity of the MTV reality series bearing the same name. But for those of you haven’t, come out from under your rock so I can explain. “Catfish” refers to someone who creates a false identity online in pursuit of romance. In Manti’s case, the length of the alleged hoax is a bit unclear because the details around how/when he first came in contact with this fake girlfriend are fuzzy. But some of the relationships featured on the MTV show have lasted anywhere from several months to several years.

YEARS?! I can understand being duped for a few weeks or even a few months but years? SERIOUSLY?!

Most of our current reality is virtual. Face-to-face interactions have been replaced with texts and tweets. I have friends that won’t answer their phone but if I text them, I’ll get a response within seconds. I’m probably just as bad as they are, but at least we’ve met in real life. How long are you willing to date someone without having confirmation that they are who they say they are and you’re not being taken for a ride?  How is this even possible?

As someone who’s fascinated with relationships and dating, I really had to dig deep to come up with an explanation and truthfully the only thing that explains why anyone would go to such great lengths to fool someone and why anyone would fall for it is the epidemic that’s sweeping our nation (and no it’s not norovius): low self esteem.

I’ve done lots of stupid shit in the name of love and I’ve made some bad choices when it comes to men. I’ve put up with drug addictions, pregnant wives, and all-around assholes, so I’m not one to point fingers. But I can promise you, the only reason I chose to date losers is because I had a crap opinion of myself. I ignored all the red flags. And when it comes to catfishing, there are lots of red flags:

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Kate’s Dates: The Worst Gifts Ever

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By Kate Richlin-Zack

Tis the season. And in case you were wondering what to buy for me — and I know you were — rest assured I’m not as difficult to shop for as you might think. There are lots of things I’d love to find under my tree or next to my menorah this year. For example. you can’t go wrong with diamonds, a trip to the Cayman Islands, and/or a Mercedes with a big red bow, although you might have trouble fitting some of those things down the chimney. Ok, but in all honesty, great gifts are not necessarily big ticket items. One of the best gifts I ever got was hand knit by one of my favorite people and it always makes me smile. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sentimental value.

There are however a few gifts that should be avoided and I doubt I’m the only girl who feels this way. So listen up, fellas. Here are a few suggestions when it comes to gift giving this year.

Nothing
Do not, under any circumstances, make this mistake. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been dating for a short time. You should still exchange gifts. I don’t want to hear, “I can’t afford something nice.” That’s a bunch of malarkey and you  know it. I’m not expecting you to drop a ton of cash. Get creative! Remember how much your mom loved those macaroni necklaces you made when you were five? I’m certainly not suggesting you fashion some jewelry out of pasta but a mix CD of your favorite songs that remind you of her or a framed picture of the two of you (not a framed pic of yourself — that’s obnoxious) that she can show off on her desk at work are well within your budgetary limits.

Luggage
Seriously? Luggage? Unless it’s on her wish list, there is nothing thoughtful or romantic about luggage. I got this as a gift once and promptly exchanged it for a sexy pair of boots I couldn’t otherwise afford shortly after I dumped the guy. The only exception to the No Luggage rule is if there are plane tickets to some exotic location tucked away in the carry-on.

Ugly jewelry
If you’re going to spend the money, at least try to figure out if it’s something she will actually like. One time, I got a bracelet that oddly resembled a handcuff. Appropriate, since the guy who gave it to me was rather controlling — but beyond that, not only was it completely not my style, it was also hideous. Take a look in her jewelry box. In my case, it’s a massive jewelry cabinet — we’re well beyond the box thanks to Lia Sophia parties and various moments that could only be remedied with retail therapy … you should see my shoe closet. If you’re still unsure about what she likes even after rummaging through her shiny baubles, take her shopping.

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Kate’s Dates: Five Guys You Shouldn’t Date

By Kate Richlin-Zack

My parents always warned me not to date starving artists, bartenders, and guys who don’t pay their bills on time. I know, I know. We shouldn’t stereotype but there’s a reason the stereotype exists in the first place. I was instructed from an early age to always check the guy’s bank book (does anyone even have bank books anymore?) and to assess whether he’s kind to the wait staff. But despite the sage advice, there are a few other types that blindsided me and unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. Here are five guys you shouldn’t date.

The Perfect on Paper Boy

How to spot him

He’s extremely well educated. Comes from a good family. He knows just how to make you laugh. He sends you flowers and buys you gifts for no reason in particular. He’s a good looking guy. Not like he stepped off the pages of GQ but he’s certainly no slouch. He works out often and is in great shape but secretly loves junk food as much as you do. He has a promising career and reads to blind children in his spare time. If relationships were like jobs and we had to submit resumes and provide references, his would be pristine and his ex-girlfriends would gladly pick up the phone to lobby on his behalf citing their own inadequacies as the underlying cause of their respective breakups.

Why he’s tempting

Well, he’s pretty much “perfect” (however you want to define that) so you’d be an idiot if you weren’t interested in this guy. But that’s precisely the problem; he’s so perfect he’s boring. There’s no chemistry. No excitement. We need some spice! And that’s what sucks the most about this guy. On paper, he’s perfect; in reality, he’s a snooze fest. Plus I’m convinced that anyone who is THAT perfect has to be hiding something.

How to get rid of him

He’s not going away easily. Even if you start dating someone else, he’ll be carrying that torch around for a while. He’s devoted to you 100% — so nothing you say can change that. Try faking mental illness and he’ll offer to drive you to the clinic. He’s so persistent that you may end up the victim of an encore appearance. He’s perfect on paper, you SHOULD love him. Just remember that you don’t. Continue reading

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Kate’s Dates: Some Handy Tips For Meeting The Family

By Kate Richlin-Zack

The holiday season is upon us, so for those of us currently in a relationship it’s time for you to meet the family, assmuing you haven’t already.  I always thought of meeting the parents as a job interview. You want to look your best and be on your best behaviour because these could be your future in-laws. You want to like them and you want them to like you. Unfortunately, you can been horribly unprepared for it and as a result blow your shot at a good first impression. Having been through my fair share of disatrous meet-the-parents scenarios — you’re shocked, I know — allow me to provide you with some tips on how to win them over.

Dress appropriately
One of my exes showed up in cutoff jean shorts, construction boots, and a t-shirt with the sleeves torn off. I’m still not sure under what circumstances this outfit would be appropriate. Maybe for doing yard work or laying roof tile? Honestly, I don’t know but I can assure you it did not make a good impression when he showed up at my parents’ house. My sister actually asked him what happened to his sleeves. Priceless.

Gentlemen, don’t show up dressed like a handyman. Ladies, don’t show up dressed like a hooker.  Short skirts, plunging necklines, lucite stilettos, and anything that suggests you just got off the pole should be left at home and if you have to ask yourself the question, “is this appropriate?” the answer is always no. Do yourself a massive favor and err on the side of caution with your outfit. The same is true with make up. Tone. It. Down. You want to look fresh, polished, and put together; not like you just applied a coat of spackle.  Your overall look should communicate  ”classy, future daughter-in-law” not “I’m a phase your son is going through.”

Prepare to be grilled
Every guy I’ve ever dated has been subjected to some intense interrogation. While my father has never actually utilized a lie detector test, he may as well have. It probably would have been less invasive. He could always see right through the bullshit so some of these spindoctors didn’t stand a chance.

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Kate’s Dates: The Things I Wouldn’t Do For Love

By Kate Richlin-Zack

When it comes to relationships, I’ve put myself out there on several occasions. I called up the hottest guy in my high school class and asked him to go out with me; he politely declined. I got on a plane and flew hundreds of miles to determine if a friendship could be a relationship; it lasted three magical months before he dumped me unexpectedly. I ignored my instincts and dated someone geographically undesirable; we’re currently living happily ever after. I guess you could say venturing outside my comfort zone in hopes of finding true love eventually paid off.

But there were quite a few times that I was simply not willing to push my limits. There were some things I simply was not willing to do and, in thinking about those crazy requests, I came up with my list of the Things I Wouldn’t Do For Love.

1. Dye my hair blonde and wear more makeup
For those of you who know what I look like, you’re well aware this is a ridiculous request. For those of you who don’t know what I look like, I have dark brown hair, a deep olive complexion, and low tolerance for bullshit. So when Flaxen-phile Phillip told me I’d be so much sexier with bleached blonde hair, my immediate response was, “So basically you want me to look like someone else? Why don’t you just date someone else?”

Are you shocked that this same guy also requested more makeup? I’m a far cry from a tomboy. I love spending the day at the salon and look for any excuse to get all dressed up. That being said, I’m also practical. I’m not going to slather on eye shadow like it’s war paint because, quite frankly, looking like a hooker isn’t my style. Plus, if you don’t think I’m sexy enough in sweatpants sans makeup, you’re not the right guy for me.

2. Pay for his drugs
Perpetually Unemployed Patrick was a part-time student/part-time bartender who gave up a lucrative career in finance to pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian. I’ll admit I was impressed by his willingness to pursue his passion rather than stay in a career that stole his soul, but it also meant he was broke. It started out with seemingly insignificant requests to like “do you have any cash on you? I’m low on gas,” or “would you mind paying for dinner? Things at the bar have been slow the last few nights.” I rationalized that it was a temporary situation. Soon enough, he’d be finished with school and be financially stable. But it started to snowball and, eventually, in addition to my own expenses, I was paying his rent, phone bill, cable bill, car insurance — you name it, I paid for it — under the false pretense that he would “pay me back, I promise!”

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