Couples online dating website review

Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Truer words have never been spoken. Do you have a chronically single friend that you, grudgingly, bring along to your dates? Are you that friend? If so, you will find a solution for this at Couples. An eye-catching online dating website for South Africans – www.couples.co.za – is the destination. If you have any misconceptions about online dating services, such as “only desperate PC geeks date online”, then leave them at the door, because this website offers you thousands of funky men and women to chat up. The website’s auto matching system uses your age, religion and cultural factors with which to create your profile. Using this profile, potential matches are recommended to you.

This website now has over 20,000 users and is one of the cheapest websites around. A six month subscription will cost you R100 while a 12 month subscription will only cost R150. This is exceptionally great value for money if you think about how much you typically spend on a weekend out on the town.

One thing I do not like about Couples is that I cannot filter on some criteria. For example on most other webistes I can filter out women with children or I can select with check boxes multiple races. Not with Couples. The search and matchmaking system is very basic in this regard.

 

The Ex Factor: How Your Friends Help You Survive a Breakup

It’s Saturday night. You’re home, on your third glass of wine, staring hopelessly into a pint of cookie dough ice cream, wishing that something (anything!) would numb this post-breakup pain. Betcha feel like the saddest girl in the world, huh? But just think how much sadder things would be if you were back with your ex ?- a guy who is so unworthy of your greatness. Says who, you ask? Says Greg Behrendt, coauthor of last year’s hit He’s Just Not That into You, and his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. In their new book, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: A Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy, they show you why you absolutely must put down that tub of Häagen-Dazs and pick up the phone. No, not to call him. To call your friends. Yes, these are the good people who are going to help you get over your heartache and get back in the game.You may not have him, but you have something far more valuable right now ?- your friends. “Great. And my health, right? Oh, I’m so lucky.” We know it sounds corny, but having good friends to call on will get you through the heartbreak you’re feeling more quickly than you thought. Their love and companionship can be a beacon during your darkest hours ?- but believe us when we say that those beacons can go out. You want to take care of your friendships during this time, even as they are taking care of you. When you’re on the other side, there’s nothing worse than ending the relentless chatter of the breakup-obsessed friend who doesn’t listen to your or take your advice. Here’s the thing to remember about your friends: They want you to be happy. They want you to be a in a good, loving, and healthy relationship that inspires you to be the best you can be, not one that is difficult and painful. What’s more, your friends can see your ex and your relationship for what it was ?- warts and all ?- and they probably aren’t buying the rewritten version of the perfect love that you’re pining over.

Six months from now, when you are in a completely different emotional space (if not already in a better relationship), you’ll want to look back on this time and feel good about the way you behaved with the people around you. You won’t want visions of Lily Taylor singing “Joe Lies” and bumming out everyone at the party while her friends exchange uncomfortable glances. (If you haven’t seen Cameron Crowe’s film Say Anything, run, don’t walk, to the video store. But don’t wait for your ex to show up on your lawn with a boom box ?- it’s just a movie.)

We know… your friends are always supposed to be there, but for the love of God, give them a break and stop talking about your ex for one minute! We all have those tapes that play in our head ?- what are they called? Oh yeah, thoughts. But some of them are meant just for you. You don’t have to share every single one of them. In fact, stop listening to yourself! If you pay attention to your negative thoughts, you’re only affirming their validity. Those thoughts are like a bratty child ?- if you pay attention to the bad behavior, it only encourages a bigger tantrum. We say this with the greatest measure of love and empathy, but take a step back and try to understand why you need to make a conscious effort not to subject your friends to endless questions, endless tears, and endless analysis during this time. It’s one thing to get dumped by a guy, but it’s another to get dumped by your friends, because they won’t even have breakup sex with you.

You’re great and your friends all know it. They’re on call, ready and wiling to help you get over that loser who wasn’t right for you. However, right now you are stuck in the Melancholy Vortex of your breakup. It’s an uber-powerful trap that sucks you in and blinds you to all the bad, unhealthy, crapola times that were so glaring in your relationship, and it only plays back loops of the best moments, thus obliterating your sense of why it didn’t work out. It’s like A Clockwork Orange. You’re figuratively stuck in that chair with your eyes held open by those weird eyelash-curler contraptions while movies of the two of you in your happiest times flash through your brain to classical music or Coldplay. Your friends, on the other hand, are saying, “Hey there, Hot, Smart, Happening Lady, why don’t you stop strapping yourself into that chair and come sit with us?” And the reality of it is that if you don’t start actually listening to them and taking their advice, your friends will tire of you. Open your mind to what they have to say, and whatever you do, DON’T blame them for pointing out your ex’s less-than-admirable qualities, or trying to give you a reality check about your less-than-perfect relationship. That’s what they’re there for ?- to help you get up out of that chair and start moving on. In return, you need to set a time limit on how long you’re going to dwell on the past. Try setting the limit at eight weeks. If after eights weeks you still need to talk about it constantly, seek professional help and let your friends off the hook. Or talk to your dog. All the dog hears is “blah, blah, blah…” which ?- take it from us ?- is what you are starting to sound like to your friends.

But what if my friends are wrong?
Q: Dear Greg,
My boyfriend and I broke up three months ago after being together for almost four years. Even though it was a mutual decision, I’m wondering if it was the right one. My friends all think I need to get on with my life because I’ve spend my whole adult life with him (I’m three years out of college, which is where we met). They say I’ve been living in a vacuum and they’re sick of hearing about it and never really liked him that much anyway. But the more I dissect it with them, the more I think they’re wrong and just tired of hearing about it. What do you think?

Tamara

A: Dear Tamara Never Comes,
Here’s the thing people forget: You are also in a relationship with your friends. These relationships will ultimately prove to be more profound that the one you just came out of, and right now, they are certainly more important. Your friends want what’s best for you, and you need to recognize that they’ve been living through your relationship for as long as you have, because friends care about and share in each other’s lives. So accept their opinions and move on. Not only should you trust your own instincts that getting out of the relationship was the right move, but the fact that your friends are backing your decision should only make you feel better about it. You should also trust your instinct when it tells you your friends are sick of hearing about your breakup. Give it a rest and take advantage of the other great things that good friends have to offer: fun, laughter, clothes to borrow, and best of all, activities that have nothing to do with your ex.

Excerpt from It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy, © 2005 by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola Behrendt. Used with permission from Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House.

 

Steve Carell is 40 Year Old Virgin

40 year old virginThe mix of hilarious, amazingly rude slapstick with a shrewd observation of human behaviour and honest emotions makes it one of the year’s best comedies. Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler should look to their wilting laurels because Steve Carell can match their raunch but he adds intelligence and careful observation to the mix so that the film touches your heart as well as kicking your funnybone.

Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd.
(116 min.16SL)

This flat-out, in-your-face sex comedy is probably the rudest comedy we are likely to see this year, but it is also one of the funniest. The title more-or-less describes the story. Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is a fairly good-looking, genuinely nice guy who has managed to turn 40 without ever having sex. There’s nothing physically wrong with him and he’s not repulsive. If anything he’s too nice and too concerned about offending any woman he likes, so after a series of missed opportunities he’s more or less settled into a terminal virginity.

When his secret is uncovered by his work buddies, they make it their mission in life to get Andy laid. In the process we are taken on a tongue-in-cheek, whistle-stop tour of the sex lives of the average American male and its messy and silly enough to make us wonder if Andy does not have the right idea about virginity.

The genius of the script is that underneath all the raw and raunchy comedy is a lot of sound good sense about relationships, affection and companionship. That’s the secret of the film’s charm. As the film progresses we get to see more of the lives of Andy’s buddies and they are a sorry lot. David (Paul Rudd) can’t get over a failed relationship. He’s saddled with a sense of failure and despite the fact that girls really like him, the sex he gets does nothing to please or comfort him. He’s getting what he thinks he wants, but in fact the only thing he really wants is someone to love and he had that but lost it. He’s far worse off than Andy is, yet he presumes to be the great sexual maestro.

The same is true of the other two guys Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogen) who flee from relationships and when they are involved they lie and cheat to preserve the illusion that they are still sex-gods who can go out and have no-strings fun with women whenever they choose. They are dragged through their lives by their dicks and they are rapidly reaching the same age as Andy, and the question is which is worse? To be a 40-year old virgin or to be a 40-year old adolescent with chronic commitment issues?

Despite the parade of willing babes that the friends shove in front of him, Andy forms his own edgy, off relationship with Trish (Catherine Keener) who gives the other great performance in the film. Keener has done sterling work on the independent film circuit, moving from “Being John Malkovich” and “Your Friends and Neighbours” through “Lovely and Amazing” to “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”. She is a resourceful and intelligent actor, who goes right to the emotional core this character. Trish has a failed relationship behind her and a teenage daughter. She’s lonely but wary, but she is also a bit flakey, a woman with weird ideas who works to her own odd agenda. Andy is Mr Normal, scrupulously clean and neat, disciplined and polite. They are the proverbial opposites that always attract but it’s a very strange and hilarious attraction. Catherine Keener gives a very detailed and emotionally true performance, edging the comedy with pathos and lifting the situation onto another level..

Mention must also be made of Paula (Jane Lynch), Andy’s boss, who never gave him the time of day before she knew his sexual status, but the idea of being able to take a man’s virginity sends her hormones into overdrive. The scene I which she sings him a tango is one of the funniest moments in recent screen comedy. Everything in the film is exactly judged and director Judd Apatow understand Steve Carell’s comic style and timing so well that the film does not have one single dud joke. It’s consistently funny but it also exposes real truths about ordinary people, but it never turns into a mealy-mouthed sermon. In the overcrowded field of macho farce this film is funky and completely original.

 

AffinitySA.com Website Review

AffinitySA.com has only been around since 2004. Like many other dating services today they are punting the mixture of matchmaking and social events. A conversation with the owner Lyle Tapinos explains that there’s more to it and they want to help people improve themselves. For example a guy who’s inexperienced is going out on a hot date, AffinitySA would send someone out to help him with selecting the best clothes and also give him a pep talk to boost his self-esteem.

The launch party in June 2005 at Cafe Vacca Matta was amazing. The quality of the women and the men was superior to any night club I’d been to in years. Since then I’ve been back to Vacca Matta and I do believe this is more attributed to the type of people that Vacca Matta attracts anyway. There’s hope though because one thing that’s a sure winner is to attract people of high status and Vacca Matta certainly does so without trying to hard.

Before registering a general look around Affinity.com website shows them advertising their “next event” as the “Know Your Man” special on 3 August which is long ago. The other major dissappointment is the Featured Profiles which is shown and changes often enough but you are not able to click on them. This really defeats the purpose of showing or rotating profiles on the front page. The registration is simple enough and when you click on “join” you get slapped with all the terms and conditions which are standard fare on the Internet. What’s really super is that only the most basic details is asked when you’re registering, after which a confirmation email is sent, and then you go back to complete the registration.

Only at this point are you asked to complete more questions as well as allowing you to upload your photos. This is the type of registration process which makes it smooth sailing for people who are inexperienced on the Internet. It’s good web usability practise to have this kind of multi-step registration process. Once you’re registered the and you login to the website there is a Latest News section which is blank, the Featured Profiles on the right is replaced with your own profile. The automated matching uses the criteria specified in “Describing your Match.” Something I’ve seen before is that when you’re only allowed to select one criterie e.g. “blue eyes” it excludes all the rest. And you may want to select “blue” + “green” eyes but because it’s a drop down list doesn’t allow you to have multiple selections. When I clicked on “Who’s Online?” I found I’m the only one and this is a Wed 10am. Maybe the busiest time of the day is the evening but I doubt that because most people who use Online Dating do so during work time because they got unlimited access to Internet at the office.

You can also place little classified ads. At the time of writing this review there’s only a few ads by some horny guys on the website. The overall impression of AffinitySA.com is that it’s a work in progress. The website is not updated frequently enough and will continue to be a major problem with credibility. On the upside if AffinitySA.com is hosting another function at Cafe Vacca Matta in Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg, make sure you’re there because it’s a blast.

Visit AffinitySA.com and let us know what you think.

 

The Art and Strategy of Being a Superflirt by Tracey Cox

Superflirt by Tracey CoxWatching two people flirt is kind of like watching a car wreck. There’s all the discomfort, the unmistakable fear and the inability, for the life of you, to look away. But that’s until you learn the tricks of the trade, according to dating (and sex) expert Tracey Cox.

Review by Faraaz Mahomed…

Superflirt’ is one of Ms. Cox’s brand of in-your-face, brutally open, books that aims to make anyone instantly appealing. With an emphasis on body language and unspoken signals, the book delves into the murky underworld that is the mind of the single guy or girl on the prowl. And murky it certainly is. Devious even. Which is exactly why, argues Cox, anyone looking to arrive single and leave attached needs a well-orchestrated plan of attack.

From the section on the ‘Ten second turn-on’ to the illustrated guides on the correct way to stand, sit and do pretty much anything else, those of us who find such ‘advice’ slightly difficult to stomach may find reason to object to the book’s over-the-top promises. But anything’s worth a try. Right?

Courtesy of this self-styled guru, the reader is invited to unlock the mystery behind every look, every gesture and every carefully-planned expression of interest. The author shows us just how elaborate one can be when flirting and just how clueless some of us really are. The slightest touch is often momentously significant. So too, is the coquettish smile or the confident stride. I can just feel the light bulbs going off everywhere.

So not only should you know where to put this and when to do that but what about being able to tell if it’s working? The book is particularly useful if you’re interested in knowing how to tell if your prey is up for it or not. It even has a section called, “Help, it doesn’t seem to be working! Are they interested or aren’t they?” Maybe not the most convincing advertisement, but nothing’s foolproof. At least she admits it.

There are also tips on chatting a prospective partner up and the all-important sex chapter. As with everything else, Cox seems to be privy to a wealth of hitherto undisclosed information. The sex signals are mesmerisingly accurate and almost irritatingly revealing. I guess some of us will have to find some new tricks.

Cox has a background in psychology and it shows. The reader is navigated not simply through the signals but, also, the intentions behind them. And she has countless anecdotal stories to back her up. Beware though. For someone who has all the answers, she seems to have been around the block and then some. Look a little closer, and you’ll find that Cox is ‘happily settled’, whatever that means. Perhaps, then, there’s no one better to share some secrets. Either way, there’s no doubting her worldwide success. ‘Superflirt’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea (forgive the heinous cliché) but it is, at worst, an entertaining read about a topic where some of us will need all the help we can get. Stylish and creative, anyone would be taken in by the book’s appearance and swept away by its promises.

‘Superflirt’ by Tracey Cox published by Dorling Kindersley

 

Any Dummy can date Online: Online Dating for Dummies

Buy Online Dating for Dummies from Kalahari.netFor those already familiar with the ‘for Dummies’ books, this instalment will come as a rather comfortable guide to yet another of life’s great trials: dating. In this case, of the Internet variety. No matter for those who don’t though. The book is a comprehensive, easy to understand introduction into a foreign and, no doubt, terrifying new world.

One of the best advertisements for the book is its authors. Both have not only tried online dating but, in fact, found their lifelong partners, each other, using it. If that doesn’t spur a lonely soul to use ‘Online Dating for Dummies’, then nothing will. The book has all the familiar traits of its stable and provides the views not only of the authors themselves, but also of ordinary readers who ask questions that only the inexperienced would think of and would need answers for.

What is especially encouraging is that ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ starts from the very beginning. The reader is told everything they need to know, from what hardware is required for the Internet to how to choose and register at an online dating website and what to do if you wish to initiate contact with your chosen date. The book provides safety tips, do’s and don’ts and even has a section on coping with that inevitable pitfall of dating, rejection. ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ is separated into six parts and then further into twenty-two chapters which allows the reader to skip parts they know they don’t need and to come back to the areas they need most. It is both convenient and easy to understand. ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ has some superb advantages. It is created for all ages and for those who are looking for love or simply for friendship. Best of all though, is that it is easy to use for both men and women and has ‘He said, She said’ sections designed specifically for each by experienced persons of that gender.

The book demystifies the so-called ‘rules’ of dating as well. In addition to providing those very functional and quite boring details, it incorporates elements not easily found elsewhere like etiquette, honesty and even sex without sounding like a pretentious TV ‘life coach’ or those rather impersonal and outdated agony aunts. The book practically goes on the date with you! One possible drawback is the fact that South Africans won’t find the details of some websites particularly useful to them as the guide to these is primarily for North Americans. Still, that shouldn’t prevent you from finding the rest of the book fascinatingly honest and helpful. I would find it hard to believe that anyone could screw up their online dating experience after reading ‘Online Dating for Dummies’.

Every ‘secret’ is revealed, every ‘myth’ dispelled and every topic is treated with humour, sensitivity and know-how that only those with experience would have. So whether you’re a first-timer or a pro, ‘Online Dating for Dummies’ has something for everyone. Even a dummy couldn’t fail after making use of this guide.

‘Online Dating for Dummies’ by Judith Silverstein, MD and Michael Lasky, JD. Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.

 

DatingBuzz website review

DatingBuzz has been around since 1997 as its previous incarnation Matchmaker (www.matchmaker.co.za NOT matchmaker.com). Not to be confused with the international Matchmaker.com website which is owned by Lycos, the DatingBuzz brand was launched in 2002. The main website is www.datingbuzz.com but a brilliant marketing strategy has allowed DatingBuzz to rebrand its website and create partnership opportunities major media companies in South Africa like Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian and 5FM. So anyone registering with these and over 70 other websites is pooled into one big database therefore giving everyone a lot more choice. At last count they had over 130,000 registered users. The website rated 70% in the Webagility analysis performed in July 2004.

Before you even register with the website you can browse the Gallery with all the pictures of newly registered members or members that have updated their pictures in their profiles. A cheat that I use to get more “hits” on my profile is to change my primary photo to get into the Gallery. I also do this on Sundays so I can get into the Gallery on Mondays and therefore get maximum exposure. You can also access the full profile of anyone from the Gallery but full access to photos is limited to registered members. As with most online dating websites registration is FREE.

Registration is a two step process with a confirmation sent to your email with an activation code. Once you’ve confirmed your registration from the email you must complete your profile. Once the initial registration with activation is complete DatingBuzz sends you a very nice introductory email which explains the basic next steps with useful tips on how to get the most out the website. The “About Me” and “My Ideal Match” sections are both compulsory. These are the most important items used in the matchmaking technology. The colours used (red) allows for quick navigation to answer the most important questions. You are allowed to upload a maximum of five photos that must be less then 600KB which is allows you to post really high quality photos.

Before you start searching for that ideal match, the front page shows you very useful information to help keep track of your progress and popularity. This can be a bit of a vanity trip but don’t get stuck on it. You get “quick stats” on number of “favourites”, “fans” and the amount of messages “sent” and “received” through the website. You also get a popup banner when you have a new message waiting for you; and when you click on it you’re taken directly to this message. Additional stats in the amount of times your profile was viewed is also presented on the front page once you’ve logged in.

Now that you’re ready to search you can find people by the following criteria:

  • name: If you know the name of the user you can search directly for them
  • favourites: You can search the list of your favourite profiles
  • fans: You can search the list of fans (people who added you to their favourites list)
  • matches: Using the matchmaking technology you can find matches based on your criteria
  • search: Search the database based on any criteria you specify
  • keyword: Using a specific keyword e.g. “Mariah Carey” you can find people who like her music
  • gallery: Browse through the new photos of profiles in the database
  • popular profiles: Based on amount of people who added these profiles to their favourites list today’s birthdays:
  • new profiles: A list of the latest profiles, mostly with no photos approved yet
  • recently modified profiles
  • currently logged in members

Overall DatingBuzz creates a superior experience to those who want to get the most out of online dating. The subscriptions range from R79.95 for one month to R479.95 for 12 months (works out to R40 per month). There is a variety of payment options credit card, electronic funds transfer (via Internet banking), EasyPay, direct deposit and Cheque or Postal Order. An added bonus is a great Affiliate program which pays a 10% commission on subscribers referred to DatingBuzz. Once you’ve experienced how easy it is to use this system to meet great people you can make a few bucks from referring your friends.

 

SexyIntro adult dating website review

Sexyintro.com is an adult-oriented online dating website, which has been around for about 2 years. They currently have over 7000 South African members, and the website grows at around 300 members per month. The only local competition is a website called Erotic Personals. When a user signs up for this service you have to complete two screens of basic information before you get an email to activate you account. While other many other websites force you enter screens full of information before your registration is complete Sexyintro.com allows you to complete your profile at later stage. You are reminded to complete you profile and post a photo at the top of the website. The profile itself is just an additional 8 questions of which most are short descriptive boxes instead of drop down lists. This is tedious and could be improved. The matching technology cannot be that sophisticated with this implementation.

If one photo is not enough you can upload as many as 20 photos to Sexyintro.com! The photo’s can be added to your adverts and are included in your profile link, and like most services out there this can make you stand out from the pack. Premium membership gives you access to a rich list of content e.g. all photographs, access to fantasy photo shoots, forum topics, working girls and strippers section. Subscription rates start at R79.95 per month, going up to R479.7 for 12 (giving you 6 months free). You can pay by credit card or cash/bank deposit. Your credit card is processed on a secure server with 128 bit encryption. This is the same level of encryption that all online banks use, and is the accepted minimum standard for ecommerce.

The main feature of Sexyintro.com which makes is a bit different from other websites is that it tries to encourage a community feeling. You can place ads to find your partner, you can read ads from other people, and sometimes it’s for models, sometimes its photographers advertising their services, men seeking women, women seeking men. Although there’s a HIV section no ads exist at this point. Posting and ad is done by country and specify the province, city, location for the ad (section) and a subject along with the actual ad. You’re allowed to attach a photo to the ad and also your telephone number if you’re gutsy enough. You have to select whether your ad is of an “adult nature”. If it’s not then you wait 48 hours for it to be checked and approved. Sexyintro.com obviously wants to encourage you not to by shy when trying to satisfy your needs ?

Overall impression is that this website offers a lot of value and it’s very interactive community. As the user base grows the interaction will increase and a more diverse profile will emerge. The photo galleries and the section on fantasy shoots, strippers and working girls are very much focussed on the male species.