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Do you wish this happened like...NEVER?

singlesKristen Chandler

These cringe-worthy photos are are a turn-off for women, and the reasons men send them are even more disturbing.

If you've ever participated in online dating, you've likely been visually assaulted on your phone by a man who sent you an unsolicited photo of his junk. This isn't just a Tinder phenomenon, women report d-elfies coming from men on all dating sites! In fact, 45% of women say they've received an R-rated photo from a guy. How has this become a thing? There is so much wrong with this on so many levels. Laughing it off isn't the answer, and being offended doesn't make you a prude. 

In this article, Elizabeth Segran and Kimberly Truong investigate the problem and offer a little insight as to why men send d-elfies. To be honest, it's quite unsettling.

First let's be clear about how women feel after receiving one:

"I felt visually assaulted..."
"I just felt dirty after using my phone!"
"It's the online equivalent of the subway flasher..."
"At its worst, this is sexual harassment. At its best, it's a bummer — since it means you wasted your time chatting with a jerk."

No woman wants an unsolicited dick pic. Period. So why do men send them? The reasons are quite alarming:

 "It was a way of asserting power by making a woman squirm. Many of these guys have struggled to get a woman’s attention, and sending a dick pic is a sure way to get a reaction."

Is this the same as bad press is better than no press? Not true! Ask Chipotle. Unsolicited porn is about as appealing as E. Coli and it's doubtful that anyone who got sick there will ever go back. 

“I used to send dick pics to basically anyone who would have them… It's definitely an expression of power in some sense. It's the epitome of your masculinity; it's what makes you a man — what good am I but it?”

Wow, that's scary. Anatomy makes a male, and sending a picture of it has ZERO to do with the makings of a man, especially the kind of man women want.

This next quote summarizes the "anything goes" behavior that can happen in online dating. Profiles aren't people with feelings, so you can treat them however you want...WHAAAT?

“I think that 'lashing out' towards women on online dating sites, whether harmless annoyance or genuine harassment, is caused by being ignored so thoroughly by so many women. After a while, women on these sites aren't people with feelings; they're just thousands of profiles who all seem to dislike you for completely unknown reasons. Dick pics are, I think, a very specific form of this harassment...”

What's the best way to respond if it happens to you?

Ignore and block. The silent treatment speaks volumes without saying a word to the perpetrator. Don't send LOL, HaHaHa, or a snide comeback. All that does is continues the conversation with someone who isn't worthy of it. Laughing it off only lowers the bar on how we agree to be treated. Feminism is not about tolerating assaults, visual or otherwise. And, being a feminist is about being a woman who knows her worth, not just in the workplace, but in relationships. 

We have the power to turn this "talking to," "hanging out," "DTF" train wreck of the current dating culture around. At the end of the day, men want something women have, and if we make it clear offensive photos and disrespectful behaviors aren't going to bring them any closer to getting it, they'll stop. But we have to be united. 

Share this post and join Flirt! Ring's movement to bring real dating back. 

#makedatinggreatagain #singlelivesmatter #knowyourworth #bringdatingback #lovetrumpshookups

How to meet a man you won't have to drag to church.

singlesKristen Chandler

In the tongue in cheek song, God Made Girls, Raelynn sings that one reason God made us is to drag (our man's) butt to church. That's cute and funny in a country song, but in real life, it kinda sucks.

If faith is an important component of your next relationship, online dating and mobile apps might not be the best tool for finding your match. When creating an online dating profile, we define our faith by selecting from a list of denominations such as Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Latter-day Saints, Jewish, etc.--you get the idea. So we choose the short answer we most identify with, and our viewers are left to fill in some very large blanks. 

I played tennis a good part of my life, but since tearing my ACL five years ago, I haven’t stepped foot on a court. Yet, in my mind, I’m still a tennis player. But if I say I like tennis on my profile, a man looking for his next mixed doubles partner will be very disappointed to learn that tennis is no longer part of my everyday life. The same can be said for faith. I don’t think people are intentionally misleading about their faith, it’s just another flaw in the algorithm of online dating that uses limited information to match two people together in hopes of producing chemistry. 

When I started online dating, I wanted to find someone with whom I'd have chemistry and who shared my faith, so I only responded to emails from men who described themselves as I did--Christian Other. I assumed... (I know...assuming makes an A-S-S out of U and ME!) ...that a man who was Christian Other was most likely non-denominational having similar beliefs and practices to mine, and if we started dating, he’d go to church with me. That happened NEVER!

My parents have been married 57 years. As singles, they both worked at U.S. Steel in the accounting department and they'd see each other daily—not at work, but at church, where they both went on their way to the office every morning. Their shared faith or spiritual chemistry is part of what initially attracted them to each other, and it's what has held them together through all the calm and storms of life.

I don't know anyone who goes to church every day, and I only know a handful of people at my own church. This day and age of large and mega churches can create a sort of anonymity in itself and makes it difficult to meet others outside of our circle. Last Sunday, I looked around my church and saw several men and women whom I know to be single. I realized Flirt!Ring can be a helpful tool in bringing singles of faith together. The whole idea behind Flirt!Ring is to help singles meet in real life, so why not on Sunday mornings?! 

I’m not saying we should approach church as a singles scene or turn “peace be with yous” into pick up lines, but how cool would it be to have a chance encounter at the coffee cart? If you’re praying to meet a man you have chemistry with and connect with spiritually, don’t place your faith in online dating. Wear a Flirt!Ring to church and give like-minded single men a little faith to say hello. The bonus is you'll know exactly what he looks like and you won't have to drag his butt to church!

Top 6 Ways to Avoid Valentine's Day

Kristen Chandler

I don't know about you, but I start dreading February 14th on January 2nd, because that's when Target puts up the Valentine's Day displays. It's really "heartless" considering many of us have yet to recover from kissing a total stranger on New Year's Eve...or kissing no one at all. Not sure which is worse. I take that back, I've done both and a kiss-less NYE is definitely worse.

By February 1, your fate is sealed-- if you're not already seeing someone, rest assured you won't be on February 14 either. It's too awkward to start dating someone that close to Valentine's Day.  So, it's time to consider plan B--avoiding it altogether. Here are some suggestions:

(1) LEAVE TOWN | Book a trip with a girlfriend to a country that's never heard of Valentine's Day. No one will judge you there!

(2) GIRLS' NITE | They say misery loves company, but with my girlfriends, misery isn't miserable at all! Champagne, chocolate and girl talk with my besties is FAR BETTER than most of the Valentine's dates I've had. If you're in San Diego, I highly recommend our Single Ladies' Party Bus. It's like girls' nite on steroids. Nothing embraces the day like 50 single women on a PARTY BUS stocked with champagne, chocolate and free jewelry! 

(3) KID PARTY | If you're a single mom, you can always throw a kid party. There is nothing shameful about hiding behind your children, decorating cupcakes and playing some games. You could be an angel and invite your married friends' children to give them a night out! 

(4) GET TAKE OUT AND HIBERNATE | In the name of all things holy, don't go out to dinner alone. Settle for sushi for one, a bottle of wine, and a movie--something humorous. Whatever you do, don't watch The Notebook for gosh sake.

(5) DO YOUR TAXES  | While it would be nice to get a fat refund from Uncle Sam at the end of the night, I can't really endorse this suggestion. However, for those of you who are uber productive, this payoff might be a great alternative!

Of course, I want you on Flirt! Ring's Party Bus. We planned our launch on Valentine's Day because we know, oh, don't we know.... how sucky it is to be single on February 14. But not this year--we're throwing the ultimate Girls Nite: 50 single ladies with too many stories, champagne, chocolate, music, dancing, and our final destination...The Shout House for their LOVE STINKS, LET'S DRINK party. Plus, you get the best party favor ever...a sterling silver Flirt! Ring. I really hope you come. Click LAUNCH PARTY in the menu bar to reserve your spot. Valentine's Day ISN'T GOING TO SUCK this year!

If we don't see you, have a wonderful day! It's only 24 hours. And because it falls on Sunday, you could pretty much sleep through it. And that, my friends, is THE 6TH WAY to avoid Valentine's Day!







ADDD: Attention Deficit Dating Disorder

Kristen Chandler

Have you ever been to a candy store? I’m not talking the candy isle in Target, but a real candy store…like the M&M store in Las Vegas. Three stories of nothing but M&M’s! It’s hard to pick just one or even two or three…if you dare to walk in that store, you’ll come out with a bright yellow bag filled with a colorful variety of M&M’s.

It’s impossible to focus on just one flavor or color–even if it’s your favorite. Why? Because you’re afraid you might miss out on something better if you don’t try them all, or at least most of them. So you put a little of this and a little of that into your bag until you have a giant collection of tasteful treats, yet not one of them stands out. And after you’ve eaten a handful or two, they actually all start to taste the same.

Well, internet dating is much like being a kid in a candy store. The choices seem almost endless. So you start picking your favorites, passing out winks, and shooting out emails. Eventually you’re “talking to” a multitude of men or women at the same time. You might even dole out your number and the texts start to roll in. Soon you find yourself scheduling multiple dates in a week…maybe even more than one a day, depending on how hard you hit the dating pavement. There’s a crazy rush that comes from being in demand. And before you know it, you have a classic case of ADDD (aka serial dating)!

In case you’re wondering if this could be you…here are the top 5 symptoms:

1.  Before you meet, you have to reread your date’s profile and look at pics in hopes of recognizing him in the restaurant or to remind yourself why you are going on this date in the first place.

2.  In the parking lot, you write your date’s name on your palm just to be sure you won’t forget it. Profiles don’t always have names and you don’t want to call him “TheFunkyKing,” by mistake.

3.  You’ve coded the potentials you’re talking to on your cell phone to jar your memory when they call or text… Mike Gym Rat; Joe New Yorker; Susie Surfer Girl, Ann HS Teacher. You get the idea.  (You know things are moving forward when you can drop the code altogether!)

4.  You pin index cards on your clothes to remind you what you wore with whom, as not to repeat the same outfit should there be a second date. (Not applicable to men.)

5.  You’re on multiple dating sites and you’ve uploaded all the apps on you phone so you don’t miss a beat. After your date, you sit in parking lot replying to emails, phone calls, and texts.

I have not personally done 2, 4, and 5 ;-) Ok, well not 2 and 4. I did return someone’s call from the parking lot once after a not-so-great date, but I didn’t inhale!  I also want to say that if this is you, AND your purpose for being online is to “date, but nothing serious,” then you’re totally on task. But if you’re like me and many of the men and women in my age range who say they are “looking for a relationship,” ADDD is counter productive to finding an LTR–Long Term Relationship.

When your attention is here, there and everywhere, you might miss out on THE ONE right under your nose. While the smorgasbord of online choices is why we internet date, those endless possibilities are also why we may never stop. And that’s the real tragedy.

Is there were a way to incorporate the old with the new? Remember those days when LIFE existed outside of a phone or computer? When we didn’t measure our worth in likes, favorites, winks and emails? When people actually had conversations… You’d meet someone, connect, give them your digits, and they’d call you and ask you out. If the date went well, you’d go out again, and again until you eventually formed a relationship. Or you didn’t. Either way, you gave it your attention because you weren’t addicted to online shopping or talking to a multitude of people at once. Internet dating has the potential to be consumerism at its worst!

But like any tool, when used responsibly, it can be a good thing. Imagine a world without ADDD: When you get home from a GREAT date, and (in the words of my favorite songwriter, Taylor Swift) you think, “I just want to know you better.” You stay the course, and give things a chance to play out. If sparks fly, risk lowering the noise a little and enjoy them.  After all, the goal isn’t to meet more people but to develop a relationship with one person. And certainly, if after a handful of dates you decide there’s definite LTR potential, dial in. Focus. Be present. I’m not saying form an instant relationship, but at least lay the groundwork for the possibility of one. You’re not going to miss out on anything by ignoring emails from strangers or hiding your profile for a few weeks while you get to know someone. The worst that can happen is you decide he or she isn’t for you, and you go back to the candy store. Trust me, all the same colors and flavors will still be there!

Original posting on #flirting@fifty, May 2014: