Past Articles

To follow Maria’s current writing that focuses on dating and relationships, check out her blog.

New York: Flirt Capital of the World

Throw nearly two million people onto an island 2 miles wide by 13 miles long — 64.4% of them single! — mix in the hustle & bustle of teeming streets, bars, and cramped living quarters, as well as New Yorker’s typical nervy bluntness, and you’ve created the optimal conditions for flirting, dating and sex. Single or married, on an island like Manhattan, with strangers constantly invading your personal space and anonymity a reality of everyday life amid fast-paced interactions, opportunities to flirt are just too easy to pass up.

And too much fun. The urban landscape is perfectly conducive to the thrill of a quick bat of the eyelashes, alluring look, or playful comment. Busy sidewalks, crowded streets, outsize egos, narrow bars – only in New York City are you served flirtation on a heart-shaped platter. Eyes dart around, capture the glance, linger just a moment longer, and as quick as the interest has sparked, so it passes. Everyone has some place to go. New Yorkers can be as social as they want, but equally anonymous.

New York City oozes sex appeal. It begs for you to flirt, since its very design and infrastructure encourages close interaction. It’s up to you to capture the moment and take a bite of the Big Apple.

5 Signs You’re a Bad First Dater

First dates are like interviews. The respect that you’ d give a future employer
at an interview should measure up to the respect a potential boyfriend would
deserve on a first date: show up on time, dress the part, and be considerate.

Below are the five signs that you’ re a bad first dater:

1 . You showed up late and failed to give notice. This is 2010, not 1994.
You see that shiny thing in your hand? It’ s a mobile phone. Now that
you’ ve had a formal introduction, use it. Just send a courtesy text if
you think you’ re running late. It’ s always appreciated.

2 . You talked about a sexual experience within the first 5 minutes.
This is unnecessary, unless of course, you met over Craigslist’ s
Casual Encounters. First dates are about building sexual tension. That
foundation is going to need to be laid out over at least two glasses of

3 . You’ ve failed to dress appropriately. It’ s a first date, and unless your
date is Brett Michaels, and this is in fact your audition for another
installment of Rock of Love, you should know better. I mean, sure,
you could dress like a skank, but remember, skanks don’ t get asked
out on second dates.

4 . You ate off his plate, Did he offer? Did you ask politely? Horrible
dining etiquette is a deal breaker for most. This is a first date anyway.
Stop being weird. Eat off your own damn plate!

5 . You didn’ t do “ the gesture” . Chances are, if he has any sense, he’ ll
probably pay for the first date. Stop being ungrateful and at least offer.
If he declines your gesture, which he probably will, offer to get the
next round of drinks. The recession isn’ t over. (Plus, you just secured
a second date!)

Five Simple Ways to Make Her Swoon
Women are very hard to impress. It’ s not that we don’ t care, but we’ ve been
subject to such inconsideration, that at this point- we’ ve become cynical that
the male race will ever be genuine. If you want a woman to swoon over you,
you’ re going to need to act cool, witty, and up your testosterone levels.

The five simple ways to get her to be completely smitten by you:

1. Learn how to play the guitar. An actual guitar, not Hero. Learn a cord or
two. Pretend. Just buy it and decorate a visible corner of your living room.
Guitar screams creativity, mystery, and romance. Women have a twisted
perception, created and molded by the Disney Empire, that one day you will
turn into Casanova and serenade us with a love song. She’ ll want to be your

2. Dress with style, but still be straight. A nice blazer with a salmon colored
shirt and dark jeans is stylish. Rhinestones all over your purposefully torn
jeans will make her think you raided her closet! No good.

3. Be “The M an”. Open doors, pay for the first date, make sure she gets
home safely. (Read: pay for her cab home/ drive her home/ walk her home.
Do NOT walk her to the closest subway station.) Women TALK. If you
want her to swoon for you, make sure her friends swoon for you too.

4. Have a sense of humor! It’ s no secret that women have this personality
trait on the top of their list when looking for a man. It’ s not about making
her laugh, as much as it is about laughing at yourself. Women equate a
sense of humor with confidence and security. For best reference, you want
to be a mix of Ferries Beuller and the character that Jon Cusack plays in
Serendipity. Don’ t take life to seriously, and tell her you leave it all to fate.
Girls love that!

5. Stop being a douchebag. Most of us are incapable of detecting if you’ re
going to be flakey when we first meet you, but waiting 6 days before you
call us back? No one is that busy. Be considerate of us, and we’ ll just fall in
love with you.

Talking About Your Ex is a Dating Don’t

We’ve all experienced messy break ups. The past is where you should wipe away the residue of your broken heart if you ever want to start a new relationship. Unless your new interest loves to wallow in negativity (and they probably don’t, we hope!), talking about your ex on a first date is a major DON’T.

Not only will your new interest “check-out” of the conversation, it’s a guaranteed way of destroying your chances of a second date. Talking negatively about your ex gives the impression that you are:

  1. Probably not over them and/or bitter/spiteful. The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. Hatred and bitterness of your ex will be interpreted that you still have feelings.
  2. Capable of talking just as discriminatory of the next person you date, who could very well be the person who’s ear you are chewing off at that moment.

If you can’t help but talk about your ex on a first date, perhaps now is not the time to start a relationship with someone new. Nurture the relationship you have with yourself first. If you’re still wallowing in the past, chances are you’re blind to notice the site of a potential future.

Only when you can confidently answer that your last relationship was a “learning experience”, instead of “the person who stole my soul for 8 months”, will you be able to take on a new love interest.

Dating 911: How to survive any first-date nightmare

Post featured on She Knows. Article written by Jamie Beckman.

First dates are nerve-wracking enough as is, but there’s always the possibility of something going wrong — very wrong. Like, debating-leaving-the-restaurant-through-the-bathroom-window wrong. But a dating faux pas (either his or yours) doesn’t have to kill the mood or your chances with the hot Orlando Bloom lookalike across the dinner table. Here’s how to sidestep every dating landmine thrown your way with the street savvy of a secret-ops agent and the grace of Jackie O.

Scenario 1

You spill wine all over the table, on yourself…or on him

Before your face even has a chance to turn beet-red, laugh it off. This is your big chance to show him the sexy, cool girl you know you are, so use the incident to your advantage by making a joke: “If you like him, it’s an easy way to ask him out to your second date at the dry cleaners,”  says matchmaker Maria “The Date Coach” Avgitidis. “Tell him you’re footing the bill on that one.”

Scenario 2

You accidentally bring up your ex

Stop in your tracks, then pull a 180. “If he looks uncomfortable, you have about two seconds to change the subject,” says Avgitidis. “Excuse your subject matter with a simple apology and move on to something really random. It may throw him off a bit, but at least he’ll no longer think you’re spiteful over your last relationship.”

Of course, the way he reacts to the mention of an ex could be a red flag, says dating expert Tracey Cox, author of Hot Relationships. “If you just mentioned him in passing and your date looks annoyed, take it as a warning sign that they’re ultrapossessive,” Cox says. “He’s also got a past. We’d all love our new lovers to arrive fresh and wrapped in plastic, ready for us to peel off and enjoy them, new but real life isn’t like that.” Verdict? If he gets too upset, keep your  eyes and ears open for other bad behavior.

Scenario 3

You’re running late — way late

There’s nothing worse than waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Be respectful of his time. “Even if you think you’ll be five minutes late, send a quick text message or ring him and let him know in your ’smiley voice’ that you’re running late but you’ll be there as soon as possible,” says Avgitidis. “Give him a realistic time frame of when you believe you will arrive. Don’t forget to be a bit cheery, though. If you sound stressed over being late, it’ll stress them out over having to wait for you.”

Scenario 4

He gets blindingly drunk

Most of us have been known to knock a drink back to calm jangling nerves, but treating a first date like a frat party is never sexy (well, unless your date is at an Irish pub and you’re schooling him at beer pong). If he gets sloppy, take the reins and steer the date back on course: “Say ‘Shall we order some coffee?’” Cox says. “And if he doesn’t take the hint, say lightheartedly, ‘You’re a bit tipsy! Sadly I’m not, and it’s making it hard to get to know you. Shall we call it a night and meet up another time?’ Then order a cab and leave.”

It’s your call if you want to see him again. If he apologizes profusely the next day, he might be worth another shot. If not, you may have a guy with a drinking problem on his hands. Proceed with caution…or, better  yet, not at all.

Scenario 5

There’s an extremely long, uncomfortable silence

Pack an arsenal of conversation-starters to fill in any silences. Cox suggests having the following on hand: a funny story about something that happened to you earlier that day, and a few fail-safe questions about how many siblings he has, where his parents live, whether he gets along with his family, where he works, and whether his job is his real passion in life. But if trying to drag commentary out of him makes plugging a spewing underwater oil well look easy, you might want to cut your losses: “If you can’t salvage the awkward silence, maybe there is no chemistry to be had on this date,” Avgitidis says. “No one is asking for talk-show chatter, but if the silence is too long, it’s time to end the date because clearly it has lost its heartbeat.”

Can “No Strings Attached” Relationships Really Work?

Is it just the stuff of movies, or can friends with benefits be a fun way to have sex with no commitment?

Post featured on Betty Confidential. Written by Lindsay Tigar.

When Harry Met Sally taught us that men and women can never be just friends. He’s Just Not That Into You showed us how to stop obsessing about every detail and accept there are no exceptions (until of course, the end of the movie). And The Ugly Truth shed light on the true power a woman has over a man, simply with her body.

But what about the notorious “friends with benefits” relationship? Have no fear, our rom com instructional guide about sex without relationships, No Strings Attached, comes out this Friday, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.

While the movie is sure to be a hopeless (or is it hopeful?) romantic crowd pleaser – us Bettys wonder if there is any merit or benefit to shagging without commitment. Or really, if it is a possibility without wrecking our (or his) emotions. I mean, don’t most FWBs leave us wondering WTF?

To help unravel the sheets and get to the core of these partnerships that so many women admit being involved in – we spoke to two experts:  Manhattan-based fourth-generation matchmaker, Maria Avgitidis, or better known as Maria the Date Coach and Stephanie Florman, a relationship coach who’s been featured on Fox News, blogtalkradio, and more. They give us the scoop on this relationship that’s gaining media action and encouraging hook-ups nationwide:

When did the “Friends with Benefits” relationship become so mainstream?
Maria: Although I’d argue “FWB” has always existed through the history of sex, I believe its “mainstream” popularity became prevalent in the ’90s, mostly due to its entrance in popular sitcoms like Melrose Place and 90210.
Stephanie: I would say there are 3 factors that have made FWB mainstream: First, online dating leads us to believe that the perfect person is just a check box away, so our expectations have increased as we have lost our ability to compromise.  Secondly, we live in a world that creates commitment phobic people; there are too many choices and we know that the newer, bigger, better model is just around the corner. Lastly, people are waiting until later to get married or are questioning if they want marriage. In theory, a FWB can fulfill the relationship need, while making it clear that the relationship is not the priority.

Is it possible to have a “successful” friends-with-benefits relationship?
Maria: Yes, as long as both parties understand that a FWB relationship is not a “normal” relationship. Communication should be limited to sex, no sleepovers, and most importantly, not often! I think the reason why FWB relationships don’t last is because some “couples” enjoy the sex, and do it too often, thus confusing at least one party in the relationship into lust/love. If the other party is on the road to FWB, and the other is driving a FWB to a relationship, someone is bound to get hurt… and that someone is the driver.
Stephanie: It sounds great in theory, but it is not possible to have a “successful” FWB relationship because men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to sex.  A man is physically designed to have sex with no strings attached. A woman is designed to have sex selectively, which means she cannot have sex and detach — thanks to a little hormone called oxytocin (men have this hormone also, women are just more affected by it). This is the “bonding” hormone that makes the woman want to cuddle, connect emotionally and communicate about the relationship. The female brain needs to talk about relationships like the male brain needs sex.

What are the pros and cons of a FWB relationship?
Maria: Pros: SEX! And it’s probably good sex too… otherwise, what on earth is the point? Cons: Someone might fall in love, and as most FWB would have it, it’s all down hill from there.
Stephanie: The pros of a FWB relationship only happen when you add commitment into the equation. If you add commitment, FWB becomes the relationship ideal men and women are searching for. We all want the friendship; someone we trust, respect and admire, who we enjoy spending time with, a person who shares our values and interests and who we communicate well with. We also want the sexual benefits; someone we are attracted to and have chemistry with and a person who is sexually compatible with us. The commitment will soothe the female brain that needs clarity and harmony to function properly, and this harmony will make her more trusting. The more she trusts the guy, the more open she will become which means more sexual fun and experimentation for both of you.

Would you ever recommend this type of relationship?
Maria: I don’t believe a FWB is a relationship, per se. A relationship would imply work into a partnership. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend a FWB situation as your only relationship resource. If you’re looking for something casual, sure. But otherwise, stay away if you’re the type who gets insecure or jealous or easily attached!
Stephanie: No, because it does not make sense biologically. The guy will get excited about the proposition and will want to follow the rules of engagement, while the girl will agree to accept this arrangement with the secret hope that she will change his mind and become his girlfriend (not the girl he is having sex with). A FWB relationship can also become a messy situation if one person decides they want a committed relationship.  The friend becomes a threat to your future relationships’ success.

Can you share any stories of men and women you’ve spoken to about this topic?
Maria: I know one couple that’s made FWB work for almost 10 months. Though they are friends and hang out once or twice among friends, they do meet once a month for sex. It’s worked because they set up limits from the get go. That limit was limiting having sex to a maximum twice a month between them.
Stephanie: There was one girl that engaged in a FWB “relationship” because neither party wanted to engage in a serious relationship at the time due to their hectic schedules. She fell in love with him, but he continued to view her as a sex buddy. Long story short, once he realized she grew feelings, he disappeared. When he began their FWB relationship, it was under a different pretense, which no longer existed. He wasn’t willing to meet the way she felt about him, and ultimately she got hurt.

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Love Lockdown

The second annual Love Lockdown was a huge success, with over 100 singles New Yorkers in attendance. Hosted at La Pomme in New York City, ladies received locks and gentlemen keys, to find their “match”.

For liquid courage, TY KY and SakeOne sponsored an open bar for the evening. Delicious!

There was also a very sexy and fabulous performance by Nafsica.

Photos from the event can be found at our Facebook Fan Page and Flickr.

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