One of the many reasons I like reading Regency romances, is how dating is portrayed. It’s courtly. Upon closer examination though, I find there isn’t that much difference between dating back then and dating today. It just sounds sexier. Here are three areas dating is the same, but where I still think Regency dating habits come out sexier.
Networking: Today we use online dating. You create a profile, agonize over your photo, worry about how others perceive you on your profile. In the Regency dating relied on networking too and it was grander. Where we use online dating, the Regency period used parties, galas, and balls. How often do you host or attend parties? Not very often I suspect. Start getting your friends together and encourage them to do the same and to bring new people to the group. You never know! Your special someone might be a friend of someone else you know.
Background Checks: The Regency did their background checks sexier too. They conducted them through morning visitation, walks through the parks, through servants, etc. Meeting with people is a great way to share gossip and check facts. The ton is very elite and everybody knew everybody and their business. The world today is larger in that sense. It doesn’t seem that you really know much about anybody. Still, you have a nifty tool in your pocket that can do the same thing – It’s called the Internet. Want to see if someone is telling you the truth about themselves? Google it. Want to know more in general about the person you are dating? Facebook stalk. Not as sexy, but still an accurate account.
Financial Match-Ups: I read recently that a common practice on a first date with someone is to ask them their credit score. If the score mentioned isn’t agreeable the date will end and a second date will not follow. Sounds harsh? Perhaps. On one hand though, it does make some sense. You want to improve your lot with marriage not get saddled with your partner’s bad financial habits/decisions. The members of the ton during the Regency period felt the same. There were plenty of marriages based on mutual financial benefit. Many marriages would have been arranged by the parents and some of my favorite romances are arranged marriages or marriages of convenience that turn out to be so much more.
In what other ways does dating sound sexier in Regency romances? Or I invite you to tell me why dating now is sexier than dating back then!
Experts suggest going out on regular dates with your spouse to keep that spark alive and stay in touch emotionally. While this idea looks great on paper, it can also put your finances in a bind. Eating out is expensive, and even a simple trip to the movies can cost more than $40. However, there are ways to enjoy your romantic date night without the big bill.
Wait and Catch Movies on Video
While there are some movies that are best seen on the big screen, many others are perfectly suited to the smaller screen at home. If you are in the mood for a romance or comedy, then watch one at home on your next date night. You can make delicious popcorn on the stove and then snuggle up on the couch. You’ll save money, and you’ll both enjoy the more intimate setting more.
Take in a Little Culture
If you live near a large city, then you have wonderful cultural activities just moments away. Visit the local history museum, or make a day of it and go tour the zoo. Whether you head to the Riverfront in New Orleans, take in outdoor concerts in Indianapolis or walk along the historic streets of Boston, a date mixed with cultural attractions is affordable and interesting.
As the weather turns cool and thoughts turn to the coming winter, schedule a private camping trip for two. You don’t have to go far because your own backyard will work beautifully. Pitch the tent and prepare to sleep out under the stars. Kick the festivities off with a backyard campfire in a small firepit and roast marshmallows for a whimsical addition.
Dine In the Easy Way
Your favorite part of date night may be heading to the restaurant and avoiding the kitchen. Unfortunately, restaurant meals can easily cost you more than $40. You can order your favorite dishes in for a fraction of the price. Light candles on the table, turn on romantic music and enjoy the wonderful ambiance of your own home. You won’t have to cook anything, but you also won’t dread paying the bill.
Go for a Drive
Hop in the car, put a picnic basket with snacks in the back and take a drive. Head to the local Lover’s Lane or a scenic overlook. Your date night will be a smashing hit when the two of you are able to focus on each other with minimal distractions. If you time the drive right, you can even watch the sun sink down into the trees as you listen to the night come to life around you.
When it comes to date night, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to have a great time. The main focus of date night isn’t what you do; it’s that you do something enjoyable together. It doesn’t matter if you watch movies at the house, take a picnic in the park or enjoy the local culture. Taking the time to enjoy the activities together will allow you to reconnect as a couple, and that will strengthen your marriage.
Adri Love writes for delivery.com, a site she recommends for finding the best delivery options.
Being a Romance writer, I ought to know a little on the subject, right?
I thought it might be more fun to give you my idea of a not so perfect date, in fact a perfectly awful date, some I actually went on before I met my darling husband.
Fun Date #1: Descent looking guy asks me out to dinner, says he’ll take me somewhere really nice. With apartment rent and gas being so high, I haven’t got all that much money, haven’t been anywhere nice in weeks so I am really looking forward to going to a place with linen tablecloths and flowers. Instead, when he picks me up and I’m wearing my best little black dress and high heels, he says…
“You look really nice, but, hey, I’ve got a lot better idea. I thought it would be way more fun if we went to my house and I cooked dinner for you there.”
Inward groan. What he doesn’t say is that he’s a terrible housekeeper and the floors are dirty, the kitchen sink is stacked to the ceiling with filthy dishes. He doesn’t say that before he puts the steaks on the barbeque, he thinks it would be a good idea to get in the hot tub, then proceeds to strip off his clothes and climb in naked while I am standing there staring at his scrawny body in horror and disbelief!
Fun Date #2 : Good-looking guy, set up on a blind date by friends. Enjoyable evening but on the way home he makes an unexpected turn and drives his little two-seater sports car up into the hills. Two hours of wresting with the jerk, bruises all over, muscles so sore the next day I can barely get out of bed. Lucky to get home without date rape.
Fun Date #3: Lunch date, another great chance for a free meal somewhere nice. I only have an hour because I’m at work. What could possibly go wrong?
He says, “Instead of a boring old restaurant, I thought we’d do something different and have a picnic in the park.” Something different? Temperature in the nineties? Best linen suit stuck to my back, perspiration circles under my armpits, heels sinking into the dirt, ants on the table cloth, gnats in the wine, wasps buzzing around my head. Please, God, let it end.
But dating isn’t always so awful. I remember my first date with my husband. He took me to lunch at a gorgeous restaurant in Beverly Hills. We spotted movie stars, ate a gourmet meal, and enjoyed a great bottle of wine.
Snow skiing can be wonderful. Hiking, swimming, canoeing. It’s the timing that’s important–and of course the man or woman you’re with.
In my new book, AGAINST THE NIGHT, ex-Ranger, Johnnie Riggs, isn’t thinking about a date when he sees Angel Fontaine pole dancing nearly naked at the Kitty Kat Club on Sunset Strip. All he’s thinking about is taking the lady to bed.
But Angel isn’t what she seems, and Johnnie soon learns she isn’t an exotic dancer at all. Her name is Amy Brewer and she’s a kindergarten teacher who took her missing sister’s job as a pole dancer to find her.
But Amy needs Johnnie’s help and Johnnie wants Amy. Maybe some kind of an arrangement can be made…
I’d love to hear some of your dating catastrophes, and I hope all your dates are fun from now on. I also hope you’ll watch for Johnnie and Amy in AGAINST THE NIGHT.
Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat
AGAINST THE NIGHT
He knows what goes on in the dark.
She’s got the face of an angel and the body of…well, isn’t that what he’d expect from an exotic dancer? But there’s something about this girl that Johnnie Riggs can’t shake. The former army ranger is hot on the trail of an elusive drug lord—and suddenly very hot under the collar, as well.
Amy’s got her own agenda to pursue: her sister is missing and Amy seems to be the only one who cares. She’ll enlist Johnnie’s help and do her best to ignore her growing attraction to finally get some answers. But when the two trails begin to converge and reveal something even more sinister than they imagined, their mutual desire is the least of their problems. They’ll bring the truth to light…or die trying.
Ohmygod! She was going to do a lap dance for Johnnie Riggs! And the weirdest part was, deep down in her womanly core, she wanted to do it. Ohmygod!Johnnie took a seat in one of the comfortable rooms the club provided for private dances. For a seventy-five bucks, he got three songs. He wasn’t sure he could handle one.
“Welcome to the Kitty Cat Club, Mr. Riggs. What would you like to drink?”
A corner of his mouth edged up. He had the sexiest mouth. “You know my name. That means you asked. That’s good. It’s even better if you call me Johnnie.”
Her mouth went dry. “…Johnnie. All right, what can I get for you…Johnnie?”
“Bud Light.” His gaze slowly raked her, took in every inch of her body. Her stomach swirled as she turned and walked toward the bar to get his beer. She delivered drinks to a table on her way to his, then set the Bud Lite bottle down in front of him.
“Thanks.” He tipped his head toward a girl named Ruby, who gyrated in a gee string, lap dancing for a customer sitting at a table not for away. “You do lap dances?”
Amy’s hand trembled and she had to take a better grip on her tray. “I’m…I’m kind of new at this. I haven’t done one before.” Tate had suggested she wait until she was more comfortable with the customers. Her plan was not to do them at all.
“That so…? How about doing one for me?” He was leaning back in his chair, those powerful arms crossed over his massive chest. He could have been wearing sun glasses for all she could read in those dark, dark eyes.
“They…ummm…cost fifty dollars,” she said, hoping the price would dissuade him.
“Private costs a seventy-five. That’s what I want.”
Her breath stalled. “That’s a lot of money.” The dancer got a percentage, a way to make extra cash.
“Think you’re worth it?”
“I don’t…don’t know…”
His smile came slow and easy and it made her skin feel hot. “Oh, yeah,” he said. “I think you’d be worth every dime.”
Her legs were shaking. “Even…even if I said I would, you know you can’t touch me.” There were rules about what she could and couldn’t do, how far she was allowed to go. What the customer could and couldn’t do. She wasn’t a prostitute, after all, she was a dancer.
Well, actually, she was a kindergarten teacher, but he didn’t know that.
“I’ll talk to Tate, arrange for a private room.” He slid back his chair and stood up. Even in six-inch heels, she had to look up at him.
When he started to leave, she grabbed his arm. “Wait a minute. I-I didn’t say I’d do it.”
His mouth edged up. “What’s the matter? You aren’t afraid, are you?”
She stiffened. Of course she was afraid. She was terrified. But she wasn’t about to let him know. “No, of course not.”
“Good.” He turned and started walking. As he sauntered off toward the owner, Amy stared after him.
Ohmygod! She was going to do a lap dance for Johnnie Riggs! And the weirdest part was, deep down in her womanly core, she wanted to do it. Ohmygod!
Johnnie took a seat in one of the comfortable rooms the club provided for private dances. For a seventy-five bucks, he got three songs. He wasn’t sure he could handle one.
The truth was, he had never bought a lap dance in his life. He wasn’t the voyeur type. Watching a naked woman parade around in front of him just didn’t cut it, not unless he was taking her to bed.
But there was something about this particular woman. He wanted her. More than he could remember wanting a woman in a very long time. Maybe ever. He had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen–not without a great deal of trouble.
He was pushing her buttons, he knew. She wasn’t comfortable dancing for him. Hell, she wasn’t comfortable just being in the room with him, and yet he had a hunch the only way to reach her was to push her hard enough to cave.
So he walked into the small, dimly lit room he had paid for and sat down in the only piece of furniture inside, an overstuffed mauve velour chair. He took a long swallow on the fresh beer he’d picked up at the bar then set the bottle down on the table built into the arm. Leaning back, he made himself comfortable and prepared to watch the show.
“You’re kidding, right?” Babs stood next to Amy outside the door to one of the private lap dance rooms. She had changed back into her red sequined gee string and the red sequined pasties that covered her nipples, proper attire for the show.
“It’s just a dance,” she said, trying to sound more confident than she felt. “We need this man’s help. I’m going to dance for him and then I’m going to see if I can hire him to help us.”
Babs stood there in her shiny blue wig, the fake hair thick, straight, blunt-cut and just a little longer than her own dark hair. She planted her hands on her hips, a thoughtful look in her eyes.
“Actually, it’s not a bad idea. Nothing’s going to happen. Tate’s got cameras in there. The client’s been told he’s being video taped. He gets out of line, you just yell out, Bo Jing comes in, and it’s over.”
“I don’t think he’ll get out of line.” She wasn’t sure why she felt that way, she just did.
“He’s a pretty cool customer, all right. I can’t see him turning into a lust-crazed maniac. On the other hand, sometimes the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” But as she walked into the room and spotted John Riggs in the chair positioned in front of the fake parquet dance floor, her mind went completely blank and she couldn’t think of anything at all.
One of his big hands curled around the beer bottle sitting on the built-in table. He watched every move she made as she approached, but he didn’t get up from his chair.
“Just so you know, this is a first for me, too.”
That surprised her. “Really?”
He took a sip of his beer. “You intrigue me. I want to take you out. I’m hoping once you realize how harmless I am, you’ll agree.”
He didn’t look harmless. He looked like a big, lazy cat ready to pounce at any moment. She thought of the help she needed to find her sister. In the time she had been in the club, she hadn’t accomplished much. Getting an appointment with that cheese-ball Kyle Bennett was the only real progress she had made.
The music started just then, saving her from having to make some sort of comment. She walked a little away from him, turned her back, tried to fill her head with the heavy beat of the music, the thud of the base, the rhythm of the drum, tried to relax.
It was a lot harder to perform in here than on stage, a lot more difficult to block out the image of John Riggs watching her every move when she knew exactly what he was thinking. Knew he was here because he wanted her in his bed.
The music swelled. She let her head fall back, felt her long straight hair brush against her bottom. Instead of blocking him out of her mind, she decided to go with it, set her sexuality free, dance for Johnnie Riggs, a man who attracted her physically as no one ever had.
She started to move, slid her hands into her hair and lifted it away from the back of her neck, turned toward him, let the hair slide down around her shoulders. The lower portion of his face was hidden in shadow, but she could see his eyes, read his hunger.
She moved toward him, stopped just inches away. Her breath rushed in and out, hot and sharp. She closed her eyes, let the music take over, arched her back, thrust out her breasts, and began to sway. Even with her eyes closed, she could feel him, feel the powerful lust he barely contained. Her body heated, softened, silently responded.
Heroine: Alison Carter has dated every frog in the pond. When current boyfriend proposes a threesome instead of marriage she dumps him and hires herself a matchmaker. She wants to find someone to start a family with, who isn’t a creep, and likes her cats. If love entered the picture that would be great, but her expectations on romance and passion are set very low.
Hero: Brandon Scott inherited his grandmother’s moderately successful matchmaking business. For the short term it will do nicely to help him raise funds for a real estate project he wants to get in on the ground level, after all what’s so hard about matching people? He doesn’t guarantee love, just 5 good solid matches. Now he’s just got to convince his first client, Alison, to let him try.
Favorite Scenes: Every time Brandon messes up, Alison shows up at his door. The dating horror events and recaps are deliciously hilarious and over the top.
Favorite Quote: (pg. 236)
He’d kissed a lot of women in his life, but never one whose heart seemed to flow from her lips to his. And that was the problem. He could practically feel all that love bubbling up inside her now, dying to be released, and it wasn’t fair to her if he took even the tiniest bit of it. She needed to save it for the man who could give her forever.
Review: There’s plenty to laugh at in the story. Brandon pegs Alison down to the type of magazine she reads, but has the most awful time setting her up with eligible men. I guess he can’t read guys so well and he sets her up on some truly hideous dates. This works for me because of the humor. Alison always gives him another chance, and Brandon always fails because in his secret heart of hearts he wants her for himself. Over the course of the novel they become friends as she tries to help him grow his business in return for free matches. It’s a little predictable but nevertheless a cute read.
This book reunites us with the characters of the first book – Dan Davis and his friend Ed. Whereas the first book was about Ed and his transformation, literally and physically, this book is about Dan.
Dan is your caricature male chauvinist. He beds them and leaves them. He thinks he is God’s gift, because he is a successful (or was) TV star. And women have fallen at his feet, given out their phone numbers, and otherwise made themselves available to him, until now.
He is definitely going through a dry spell.
Thanks to SlateYourDate.com, Dan can’t get a date, much less a woman in bed. And it has been a long time. A number of his ex-girlfriends have outed him on this site for being who and what he is.
Lots of humor and good will. There are so many one liners, it would be impossible to pick a favorite. Very witty.
All the old characters are back and in full swing.
Ed is still with Sam (a woman), his trainer, and they are happy together. Even their time apart has humor in it, because Ed is still Ed, not terribly clever when it comes to women, though that is endearing too, and he looks a good sight better than he did when Jane left him. Meeting Jane’s parents turns out to be not quite as expected, either.
There is the same humor with the female barmaid.
What Ed and Dan decide to do about it:
Ed thinks Dan should speak to his exes, apologize, and ask them to delete their rating of him. You can imagine the kinds of scenarios this leads to.
And in the meantime, Ed pegs Dan as comparing all the women to his first love, Polly. This turns out to be true.
Only one: sometimes the one liners got to be too much, though they were still funny. How the author comes up with so many is a mystery. You can’t miss a word or you’d miss an idea.
Jane comes back into the story, catches a glimpse of Ed and decides she wants him back, but she is too little, too late. She’d never compare to Sam. This adds humor to the story and illustrates the difference between her and Sam.
How it all turns out:
It turns out good, as you would expect, but there are a few surprises along the way, including one at the end. Very clever and believable.
The inspiration for SlateYourDate.com was really quite straightforward. Nowadays, we live in a culture where every decision about anything we buy, every book we read, which hotel we stay at, or even any restaurant we eat at is rarely made without checking out reviews on the internet first. It therefore occurred to me that dating would be a lot simpler if we could check out our date before we met them – after all, if we’ve had a bad experience at a restaurant, we want to warn other diners not to go there, so why should relationships be any different? From there, the idea for Ex-Girlfriends United, my book about someone whose love-them-and-leave-them past – or rather, make-love-to-them-and-leave-them past – was catching up with them courtesy of such a website, was born.
And it would be a good idea, wouldn’t it? With more and more people turning to the internet to find their partners, surely it’s an obvious add-on. If each of the dating sites provided some rating facility, wouldn’t it save us all a lot of time and wasted effort?
After all, dating is hard – especially the older we get. While we become more set in our ways, and perhaps less willing to compromise, ironically so do the people we meet. Each time we end a failed relationship, all it gives us is a clearer idea of what we don’t want (i.e. someone else like that person), rather than what we do. The trouble with this approach? It narrows the field down every time, and what we seem to lose sight of, as the immortal line at the end of Some Like It Hot goes, is that nobody’s perfect. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean they’re not perfect for us. Even if on paper – or even online – they don’t tick all our boxes.
From a male point of view, I think one of the things that makes dating even harder is how the balance of power in the dating game has changed. Shows like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives have shown today’s woman how to be tough, formidable, know what they want, and not be afraid of trying to get it – from the boardroom to the bedroom. Women no longer rely on men to provide a roof over their head – nowadays they don’t even need us if they want to have a baby. The modern woman can afford a lot of things, especially to be more choosy. This has affected what we men always saw as the traditional – admittedly chauvinistic – way of doing things. And to be honest, we’re struggling to deal with it.
Because the problem with it is this: As women gain the upper hand, for us guys it’s more and more a case of survival of the ‘fittest’, and that’s not something we’ve had to deal with since caveman days. If every woman wants a Zac Efron, what hope is there for those of us who look more like Zach Galifianakis? We’re never going to live up to the fantasy. And a fantasy is, by definition, not real. Besides, surely the whole point of dating is to meet the person who makes us throw our rule book out of the window?
It’s maybe just a matter of time before websites like SlateYourDate become a reality. As far as I’m concerned, if they make the whole dating process easier – for some of us, at least – then that can only be a good thing!
Ever wish you could let the world know just what you think of your ex?
Thanks to SlateYourDate.com, Dan Davis has discovered that long after he’s dumped them, ex- after ex-girlfriend is dumping on him-all over the Internet. And it’s ruining his dating life.
Faced with the prospect of a lifetime of singledom, Dan must track down his many exes in order to put things right. Along the way, he discovers he has much to learn about himself. Particularly when he meets up again with Polly-and realizes he wants her back. Can Dan convince his former love he’s changed? Can his friend Ed convince him he needs to change in the first place? And can the two friends use their newfound knowledge to help other men in the same boat?
Saving the soul of love is, in a nutshell, the goal of my book. Our pragmatic culture tells us that there are ways to control and manipulate love to our satisfaction. Women in particular are conditioned to think that to make romance work, they need to make a superhuman effort: learn to read the male psyche, figure out a game plan, play hard to get, show just the right amount of vulnerability, etc. And we tend to believe that when things don’t work out, it’s our fault – that somehow we destroyed our relationship by taking the wrong step somewhere along the line. Did we come on too strong? Did we reveal too much of ourselves? Did we seem too desperate? Did we step on the fragile male ego? Did we return his call too quickly? Should we have let him drive around aimlessly rather than insist on asking for directions?
I wrote The Case for Falling in Love because I want us to stop torturing ourselves with these kinds of questions. When love doesn’t thrive, it’s not because we did something wrong. It’s definitely not because we left our toothbrush in his bathroom. Love is inherently fickle and volatile. A lot of times it’s not meant to last. We are used to thinking that its job is to make us happy, and often it can; it can make us happier than pretty much anything else. But this is not its only mission: it may be trying to teach us a lesson that we can only learn through its failure.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aim to have fulfilling relationships. It’s just that there is no clear correlation between effort and happiness, and that the more we try to force love into a mold, the more we stifle what is most alive, magical, and interesting about it. Take the Mars/Venus mentality that permeates our romantic culture. This causes us to focus on the most superficial aspects of love (what men are “supposed” to be like, what women are “supposed” to do) so that we no longer see our partner for who he actually is: we fail to respect what is distinctive about him, and instead reduce him to a “category” (the male ego, the male psyche, etc.) that has been handed to us by our culture.
I think that love isn’t in the least bit interested in such categories. It couldn’t care less about our gendered games. And it doesn’t have much patience with our poker-face. It aims at the very core of our being – at the spirit that makes each of us a unique and irreplaceable creature. What’s so sad is that the more we let stereotypes rule our romantic behavior, the less likely we are to release this spirit. And why, for heaven’s sake, would any woman want to date a guy who falls into the stereotype – who thinks that women are “prey” to be conquered, or who claims that it’s in men’s “nature” to stray, fear commitment, forget your birthday, or fail to understand emotions. Why are so many self-help gurus trying to sell us a guy like this? My advice would be to run in the other direction.
I think that most quality men – that is, men worth dating in the first place – share a lot of the same romantic confusions and insecurities as women do. And a lot of them are looking for a strong woman with whom to build an emotionally complex relationship. When we replace the soul of love with stale gender formulas, we can’t recognize this. And we give men a convenient excuse to treat us badly. So let’s toss those self-help guides in the recycling bin and focus instead on saving what is most mysterious, least formulaic, about love. And let’s have faith that a guy who genuinely likes us is not going to walk away just because we know how to parallel park, change a light bulb, or read a map. A guy worth our attention would never be that dumb!
GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of The Case for Falling in Love. Open to US readers/addresses. Enter by leaving a relevant comment – perhaps something along the lines of what rules you usually set in place, if you do so, or one you’ve heard of from your friends. Multiple comments/entries allowed. Last day to enter: February 14, 2011.
“Eddie will do whatever it takes to be her Mr. Right.”
This is a book I really enjoyed. I’ve not read anything else by Matt Dunn, but he has written other books, and I will certainly look into them.
Full disclosure: I was given this book to review.
It is a terrific romantic comedy, looked at through the eyes of the man involved and his best friend, Dan.
Edward’s live-in girlfriend, Jane, up and leaves him one day to go to Tibet, taking him by surprise, not that he was extremely happy or anything.
Her parting shot is that he has three months to get into shape, because he has let himself go.
“P.S. I realize at this point I’m supposed to say something like ‘it’s not you, it’s me’, but in actual fact, it is you.”
What he does:
If you can imagine every possible thing he could do, as well as any scenario he might be in (think 3 Minute Dating), this book includes it all, along with a healthy dose of laughter on every page.
There is Edward and his boss, Natalie who chases after their clients and beds them, generally off page. Then there is Dan, Edward’s best friend, who is the male equivalent of Natalie. Dan is a TV personality, stuck on himself, who keeps himself in good shape. He takes Edward under advisement, until Edward realizes he has learned not to be like Dan. There is Wendy the bartender of their favorite pub whose witty repartee with and about Dan offer many clever laughs. And then there is Sam, the female personal fitness trainer who gets Edward into shape.
Reading about how he gets into shape very much reminds me of scenes in The Hellion by LaVyrle Spencer.
How it all ends:
You will have to read it, but I guarantee it is satisfying.