Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hygiene checklist for dating

To make sure you covered all the bases, check out this D-day hygiene checklist:
  • Shower.
  • Wash your hair.
  • Wash your ears (inside, out, and behind).
  • Brush and floss.
  • Clip or file your nails (don’t forget your toenails — hey, you never know).
  • Shave (face, legs, armpits). Note: “Hairless” is not a synonym for “clean.”
Personal preference rules.
  • Pluck. (Guys: pay special attention to the bridge of your nose and earlobes; women: don’t skip the chinny chin chin.)
  • Apply deodorant (go for the gold; use an antiperspirant).
  • Wear clean underwear (Mom was right again).
  • Wear freshly laundered clothes.

Hair guide for dating

At one time, our whole bodies were covered in hair. Hair, once merely a protection against the harsh elements of nature, is now symbolic of everything from virility to athletic prowess to financial status to sexuality to sensuality to youth to creativity to gang affiliation. All for a mass of dead protein cells with emotional impact on the mating ritual we call a date. If your hair looks great, you feel great. If it resembles road kill, you’ll feel just about as flat and lifeless. Women: One way to tell that you’re not ready to go all the way is if you don’t shave your legs before a big date. Men: One way to tell that you’re not ready to make out with a woman is if you don’t shave your stubble. Don’t get a haircut on the day of the date. Men always have a harsh white scalp line on the back of their necks, and women can’t stop staring at their hair until they’ve lived with it a day or two. Getting your hair done is a different story. If it’s a big date (wedding, formal, dinner at the White House), a professional do will do quite nicely.
Women lose about as much hair as men do — they just lose it all over their heads instead of the more obvious pattern of male baldness. Let your hair dictate the style, not the other way around. Go, literally, with its flow instead of your own. Your hair will fall into its own place by the end of the evening anyway, so why fight it?

Bad Breath Exam

Bad breath is most often caused by:
a. Stomach acid
b. Tongue bacteria
c. Plaque between the teeth
d. Poor oral hygiene
e. Sinus problems
f. All of the above
Answer: b.
Surprised? The latest research on halitosis has found that by-products of bacteria called Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSC), usually found on the back surface of your tongue, cause nearly all cases of bad breath. Everyone has these little devils in their mouths. In fact, they help with digestion. But the 25 million (yes, million) men and women with chronic halitosis have an overabundance of the critters. No one knows precisely why, and on D-Day, who cares? The best temporary solution is a good tongue scraping after you brush and floss. Then contact a specialist (breath clinics are popping up in many places, often associated with dental schools) to eradicate the problem for life.

The sweat guide for dating

Sweating, when you’re nervous or hot, is natural. Excessive sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can be problematic. It happens when your sympathetic nervous system is out of whack — working harder than it needs to in regulating your body temperature. Sweat appears on the palms of your hands, your face, feet, and torso, as well as your pits. Remember the Albert Brooks flop sweat scene in the movie Broadcast News? No one wants that to happen on a date. If you sweat profusely (or even just a little), here are things that can help:
  • Antiperspirants: The active ingredient in most antiperspirants is aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex (or tetra-chlorohydrex) GLY. Some people do apply antiperspirant to the soles of their feet or the palms of their hands, but most use them on their armpits. The purpose of an antiperspirant is to stop sweat from reaching the skin. A deodorant, on the other hand, is used to mask perspiration odors.
  • Powders: Brushed on the hands and feet, talc, cornstarch, and baking soda-based powders absorb perspiration as it reaches the surface of your skin.
  • Relaxation: Particularly before a big date, sweat may be more of an emotional response to stress than a physical problem with your armpits or hands or forehead. Take several deep breaths and try to chill out.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of sweating, surgery is possible to remove axillary sweat glands, or the sweat glands under the arms — but don’t try this at home.

Sweat Management in Dating

Sweat is the Stooge Factor. You know, the thing that really separates men from women. Men love the Three Stooges; women just don’t get it. A few weeks ago I was loading my sweaty ’tards into a laundry bag at the gym when a cute fella walked by and started to chat with me. I cautioned him that he was standing dangerously close to the rather ripe scent of my exercise gear. He got a dreamy look on his face and said, “Yeah, smells like sweat, baby, baby.” Like I said, a difference between men and women. Men think sweat is sexy; women think it’s fairly disgusting. Maybe sweat reminds men of all the sexy ways they can get sweaty, and women get embarrassed by the same thoughts. We don’t have to convince one another, but guys beware: Women find stale sweat smelly and quite uncool. Got it? Good. Blotting papers, which you can buy in many cosmetic departments, are handy inexpensive makeup aids to absorb facial oil so you don’t have to repowder or wash your face and reapply makeup. They also work on sweaty hands. If you don’t happen to have them with you, not to worry. In most public bathrooms, those paper toilet seat covers work just beautifully. (Please use them before you put them on the toilet seat.)
Blotting papers work for you, too!

Cleanliness in Dating

Good hygiene is an essential element of attraction. Most people have five functioning senses, after all, and use them liberally to evaluate a potential mate. In fact, your sense of smell is intimately involved in your choice of a mate. In essence, proper hygiene is attractive. Or, at the very least, it helps you avoid being chased by wild dogs and shows that you care not only for yourself but for others as well.
When you smell an aroma, any aroma, it stimulates the olfactory nerves which, in turn, activate the limbic, or emotional, center of the brain. Heady stuff. That’s why certain smells make us feel luscious (think freshly baked chocolate chip cookies) and other odors make us grimace (think freshly minted cow patties). Scientists now believe we all have an “odor print,” or pheromones, that silently lure the opposite sex. These pheromones are released through natural secretions of the body. Poor hygiene, therefore, can interfere with our natural “smell” selection.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Putting together an emergency repair kit

Hey, life happens. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for any eventuality. Keep a shoebox of the following items in your closet at home so you won’t be searching for them at the last minute, and keep a mini version in your car or pocketbook for a quick trip to the restroom if necessary.
  • Safety pins (small, medium, and large)
  • Needle and thread (white, black, and brown)
  • Styptic pencil (men and women)
  • Extra pair of pantyhose (women)
  • Band-Aids
  • Clear nail polish to stop a run in pantyhose or repair an earring, a broken acrylic nail, or loose lens in your glasses
  • Hem tape
  • Tweezers for that splinter, or a pesky hair that just popped up
  • Antacid tablets (optional)
  • Breath mints

Profile of the politically correct date: A joke

  • Drink more than two glasses of red wine . . . if you drink at all.
  • Eat meat (fish and chicken are okay).
  • Set your hairstyle with hair spray from an aerosol can.
  • Wear fur, leather, perfume, cologne, or chemicals of any kind (includes sunscreen and antiperspirant).
  • Discuss politics (unless you met at a rally).
  • Call her “babe” or him “sir.”

  • Ask for bottled water in the restaurant.
  • Discuss whale watching and spotted owl spotting.
  • Praise family values.
  • Insist on splitting the check.

Bearing other factors in mind during preparation

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you prepare:
  • Allergies: Many people are sensitive to a whole lot of allergens; it’s no longer just the cat or dog. One biggie: perfumes and colognes. To some, wearing a strong scent in a public setting is tantamount to lighting a giant stogie in a doctor’s waiting room. Play it safe by either going au naturel or, before you get dressed, spritz your scent into the air and walk into it instead of squirting perfume or cologne directly on your skin.
  • Sore spots: Although you can’t avoid offending all of the people all of the time, you can avoid stepping on potential toes by considering what your date may think about fur, cleavage, big hair, smoking, drinking, drugs, and photographs of Mother pinned to your lapel. Because you don’t know each other at this point, pretend that you’re dressing for a job interview or a meeting with a bank to consider a loan. You can make political statements on date three.