The Clooney Effect And Why It’s Good For Smart Chicks

George & AmalTo all my girlfriends lamenting the lack of men wanting intelligent, independent, self-reliant women, I say phooey! There are plenty of good men out there looking for good, substantive women. Don’t believe me? Just ask George Clooney.

If you didn’t notice last Sunday, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin quietly celebrated their one-year anniversary, and I for one, couldn’t be happier – happy mostly because he married Amal in the first place.

Confirmed bachelor George had his pick of all kinds of Hollywood babes: from actresses to models, to a dancer with the stars. But Amal, the accomplished international human rights lawyer, eventually won out.

Score one for the smart chick – and score one for George too – who married someone probably smarter than him.

Call it substance over style, but Amal had a little something her competitors didn’t have: world-class brains. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also f-ing gorgeous, but clearly it was her f-ing gorgeous intelligence above all else that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. If this isn’t a thumbs-up for female brainiacs everywhere, I don’t know what is.

Thanks to George and others of his ilk who want women with some smarts, we have the Clooney Effect.

The “Clooney Effect” is a phenomenon coined by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. In her fifth annual study on American singles for Match.com reported by The Atlantic, she surveyed 5,600 singletons across the country to see what they desired in a partner.

Her findings refute the age-old economic mating theory that men are afraid of “over-educated” women. They’re not, she concluded, and I happen to agree. Men really do want to meet/date/marry women who are smart and successful – and if they happen to be smarter than they are, so what? If they’re more successful, who cares? Substance is the new sexy.

But it gets better. According to Fisher, men aren’t just looking for their equals, but for their superiors. The vast majority – 87% – said they would date a woman who makes more money, is more intellectual, and is better educated than they are.

What the Match.com study shows us is that guys nowadays are attracted to women with lives and careers just as much, if not more than, stay-at-home wife types. There will always be domestic goddesses and homemakers and the men who love them, but the new trophy wife is someone who’s kicking ass everywhere, not just in the kitchen.

There are some people though, that think the Clooney Effect is full of shit.

In the cynical, but excellent article “Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single,” writer Lauren Martin presents a harsh counterview.

“Unfortunately, for women, intelligence many times hinders our travels and keeps us from the promise land. Because, for all you bright and educated women out there, what you feel is real…intelligent women are more likely to be single.”

Her article speaks to “the broad spectrum of woes women feel as they sit alone Friday nights with no one to discuss Nietzsche or read lines from Proust with.” Now, I don’t know too many guys who want to sit around discussing Nietzsche on a Friday night, but I get what she’s trying to say: men don’t want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them.

So what do men really want? Not smart chicks, according to this article.

What men want, Martin believes, is a woman who “isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first.”

“Deciding what kind of woman you are is like choosing between a rock and a hard place. If you’re stupid, you’re not taken seriously, but if you’re smart, you’re taken too seriously. Women everywhere are flailing under this double-edged sword. A beautiful, attractive female isn’t desirable for her mind, and those with strong characters are seen as threatening, masculine and undesirable.”

TheWire.com financial reporter John Carney agrees in “Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women?” that “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.'”

Like I said earlier, there will always be men – especially high-powered, alpha types – who prefer to take the old-fashioned view on dating dynamics. They don’t want to be challenged, tested, or upstaged; they don’t want to have to think; they don’t want to compete. In other words, they don’t want their balls busted.

Sorry, but the last time I checked, having brains was right up there with having a nice rack. Guys dig it (just ask my husband).

Ladies, the truth is, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to make good choices, the more likely you are to have good self-worth, and you’ll set your bar higher – not just with men, but in life.

So be proud, smart chicks of the world. You’re the new trophy.

 

 

Photo credit: Eastfjord Productions / Shutterstock.com

Yoga Teachers: Be One Or Date One, It’s All The Rage

Yoga teacher w/ studentA funny thing is happening in the yoga world according to the Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood Reporter.

Not exactly your go-to fitness resources, but there they were – stories about how yoga is changing the landscape of people’s careers and social lives. It seems that yoga enthusiasts are so enthusiastic about their practice, they’re taking it to the next level:

They’re either becoming yoga instructors themselves, or they’re marrying their yoga instructors.

According to the WSJ’s “Why Everyone’s A Yoga Teacher,” the rate of new teacher training is outpacing the growth of new students. The Yoga Alliance, the nation’s largest yoga-teacher registry, reports that more than 14,700 new teachers have registered. The number of newly registered yoga teachers in the U.S. has rose an average of 18% a year from 2008 to 2014 – that’s three times as fast as the 6% growth rate for yoga participation overall.

Yoga is many things to many people: exercise, discipline, relaxation and restoration. But it’s the higher, more spiritual calling and deeper connection of yoga that people are seeking. For this reason, they’re getting their teaching credentials.

Some will teach as a second career, but most won’t even teach at all. Instead, they’ll use their teacher training purely as continuing education to further their knowledge of yoga, deepen their practice, and get closer to Nirvana by way of the proper down dog.

It seems everyone’s getting into the act. My friend David Bender, a managing director at StockCross Financial Services, still has his day job in the bond and equity markets, but teaches a few classes a week. Even my own cousin, a former high-power talent agent, is in the process of opening up his own yoga studio.

There is definitely a deepening love affair with yoga, and by all accounts, the love is deepening with its instructors too.

In the Hollywood Reporter article “Hollywood’s Moguls’ Arm Candy Du Jour: Goodbye Asians, Hello Yoga Instructors,” it appears the newest trophy girlfriend (at least for the male power elite of the entertainment industry) is no longer found at nightclubs, or on yachts, or at Hef’s pad, but rather, at a yoga studio near you.

Just look at the Crown Prince of Sweden, or actors Alec Baldwin and John C. McGinley – they all married their yoga instructors. Two of my female yoga colleagues at Equinox met and married their yoga students from class.

This has me thinking: Is it possible that had I become a yoga instructor instead of a personal trainer, I might’ve gotten married years ago? All those hours of studying exercise physiology when I should’ve been learning Sanskrit. @#*!

The truth is, guys dig chicks that are natural, spiritual, and of course, flexible as Gumby. Women dig male yoga instructors because, well, they’re all sex gods, aren’t they?

You’re hot and sweaty, assuming near pornographic poses and positions, getting touched and adjusted…the whole thing reeks of sex – or maybe it’s just the stinky yoga mats, who knows.

I’ve always told my single friends that yoga classes are a gold mine of dating potential. For the most part, yoga devotees are fit, attractive, and fairly evolved (that is, until you have to fight your way into a crowded yoga class and “evolved” goes right out the window).

This hot-for-yoga-teacher trend also makes sense to relationship experts who see a lot of traditional male/female dynamics being played out.

Alpha men hooking up with yoga teachers chimes with Eastern philosophy, offers Dr. Pat Allen, an L.A. relationship guru. “In old Chinese quantum physics, men had yang bodies: They build, they create. Women receive. Alpha men have a very tough time committing to alpha women. They’ll have an alpha mistress, but not an Alpha wife. Alpha men do better with beta women: sensitive, empathetic and kind. Who epitomizes beta better than a yoga teacher.”

That is, unless the yoga teacher is an ass-kicking, ball buster like a few I know around town. They’re hot, they’re sexy, but I’m pretty sure they’d chew you up and spit you out in the sack.

On the appeal of yoginis to Hollywood, relationship therapist Dr. Shannon Chavez notes: “In my practice, the busiest men and women are looking for deeper meaning. They’re bored in their marriages, sexually dissatisfied, seeking communication beyond the grind. People are looking for partners now that make them feel whole and less judged and insecure.”

TRANSLATION: Men want women who won’t give them shit, who won’t talk back, and who can put their legs behind their ears.

This is why I never became a yoga teacher. I can hardly touch my toes.

But according to David Bender my yoga teacher friend, dating yoga instructors isn’t the magical, transcendent experience it’s believed to be.”Yes, teachers are in touch with their spirituality, but they don’t walk on water. They’re actually more fucked-up than you think.”

Whew! Am I glad I’m a personal trainer!

Whether you’re doing yoga for the love, for the money, to answer your higher calling, or to find your next wife, you’ve got my blessings. You’re doing Buddha’s work, and for that, you deserve a great, big namaste.

 

Graduation Day: A Celebration And Sad Reminder

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Beverly Hills High School, Graduation Day 2015

If you’re someone like me who tried to have kids and couldn’t, there are times in life that can be sad reminders. For most child-free women, it’s probably Mother’s Day: an emotionally tough day for those of us who will never have children of our own to celebrate us.

I can get through Mother’s Day because I still have my mom to celebrate. The brunches and lunches, activities and outings, keep my mind off anything remotely self-pitying. Since I’m her only child, I make sure the day is filled with love and distractions galore.

No, the day that absolutely kills me is Graduation Day. That’s the day I really feel my childlessness.

For several years, I’ve lived within walking distance to my high school, which means for several years I’ve also been within earshot of graduation rehearsal and ceremonies. Every June the entire neighborhood is treated to the sounds of a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and the long reading of student graduate names.

It’s lovely and joyful, and depressing as hell. So much so that I have to hide out at the local Starbucks until it’s over.

You see, every time I hear the strains of Pomp and Circumstance coming from the front lawn of my high school, my heartstrings pull, and I’m painfully reminded of the kids I forgot to have. Well, maybe not “forgot,” more like waited too long to have. Those opening notes aren’t music to my ears; they’re tones of regret and shame for not taking my biological clock more seriously.

I spoke about this several months ago in a blog post entitled “Oh My God, I Forgot To Have A Baby!” If you missed it, here’s a recap of what I went through to get pregnant:

Six IUIs with donor sperm, three rounds of IVF, two embryo transfers using donor eggs, and lots of timed intercourse with a boyfriend who tried, but couldn’t knock me up. I got started at 43, and ended my quest four years later with no money, eggs, or time left on the clock. Game over.

But once the post game pity party was over, I started healing. Onwards! I said to myself. Even though I was single, I still had other worthy pursuits to keep my life full: a busy career, an active social life, and good friends and family. Then, three years after saying goodbye to motherhood, I said hello to marriage. Getting married for the first time at 50 not only gave my life unexpected dimension and purpose, it helped me ease the pain.

I continue to work hard to make peace with my past, and bring closure to that chapter of my life. It’s not easy sometimes, but I do my best to take the long view; to gracefully accept what was, and appreciate what is now.

It’s true what they say about one door closing and another one opening: you find opportunity. It may not look like what you planned or wanted, but hey, it’s an open door, so why not walk through it?

Not long after the baby door closed, the volunteering door swung wide open. I walked through it, and guess what? I found opportunity – to give of myself and be of service to others.

Last year, I joined my husband Robby as a Special Olympics coach (he’s been coaching for 30 years); and after a several year hiatus, I rejoined the Fulfillment Fund mentoring organization to become a mentor to a 14-year-old girl named Melissa.

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Global Education Academy, Graduation Day 2015

Already, my mentee Melissa and I have established a unique relationship. We talk, we bond, we teach each other things and learn about the world together. I like to think we both have a bright future ahead of us.

You want unexpected dimension and purpose to your life? Try volunteering. It’s THE greatest thing you can do, especially if you don’t have kids of your own.

Last week, I attended Melissa’s eighth grade graduation from Global Education Academy, a bilingual school located in South Central Los Angeles. It had everything you’d expect in a graduation: a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and a long reading of student graduates.

Come to think of it, it was just like a Beverly High graduation, but much better.

Because when I heard the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, and saw the processional of young students in their cap and gowns, it pulled at my heartstrings in a lovely and joyful way that didn’t have me running to the nearest Starbucks.

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Melissa the graduate with her proud mentor.

Graduation Day is no longer a sad reminder of my past, but a celebration of everything yet to come.

The Agony And The Ecstasy: Memories Of Online Dating

shutterstock_242614333Before I got married, I had a love/hate relationship with online dating.

JDate and I had a torrid romance, an on-again, off-again love affair, filled with highs and lows, starts and stops, and plenty of hits and misses. There was never a dull moment for me and JDate; we seemed to break up a million times, but somehow managed to always kiss and make up until I finally kissed it off for good some time ago.

Whether you’re on JDate, Match, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, etc., most of you already know online dating can be fantastic place to meet new people, to broaden your social horizons, make new friends, network, find true love, lift your spirits, boost your ego, or get laid.

Or, it can be living hell if you let it.

Dating online is a lot like a real relationship: when it works out, you love it; but when it doesn’t, you hate its guts.

So how do you stay in love with online dating? First, keep reasonable expectations so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Second, DO NOT take it too seriously. If you don’t keep your sense of humor and roll with the punches, you’ll go from dater to hater faster than a left-swipe on a Tinder dating app.

Looking back, JDate and I had some great times together. We had lots of conversation, coffees, and cocktails, but nothing that involved eating since that was too much of a time commitment.

Most of my dates were “one and done.” Some lasted a bit longer; some became good friends; and some I think back on and laugh.

Like the E.R. doctor-turned-actor (always a red flag), who actually lasted for three months – practically a lifetime in the world of online dating.

After weeks of dating and courtship, spending Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine, he dumped me on New Year’s Eve. Just like that, with no heads-up, no warning, nothing. His reason? He said I was the “marrying type” and felt bad dating me since he wanted to have fun and I was holding him back.

His timing may have sucked, but at least he wasn’t lying. I saw him back on JDate trolling for more “non-marrying” types the very next day.

I’m sorry to report though, there is a fair degree of lying online. Typically, the online dater is 10 years older, 20lbs. heavier, or a few inches shorter than what’s on their profile.

I realized this early on in my online dating career when I met a JDate for drinks at a popular bar on the ground floor of an office building. It was crowded with lots of after work business types. Going on my date’s profile picture, I scanned the place but couldn’t see him.

Minutes later, a much older fellow who had been practically right in front of me the whole time, introduced himself. It was my date, but he looked nothing like his profile picture. In fact, he kind of looked like my grandpa.

Not that older men aren’t attractive, they are. So are bald men, short men and chubby men. The problem is that some men (and a lot of women too) feel the need to misrepresent themselves online and don’t have to.

You know what’s attractive? HONESTY.

Sometimes though, they’re not older or heavier or shorter, they’re just jerks – like the aforementioned doctor-turned-actor, and others of his ilk.

I remember my very first online date showed up 40 minutes late, without a proper apology, wearing a bad toupee, and carrying no money on him. He laughed glibly and said he “forgot his wallet” when the check came. So I paid for my wine (which I was going to do anyway) and beat a gracious, yet hasty retreat.

Then there are the guys online whom you suspect are still married. How do you know? Because they text too much. They text all the time, at all hours, and will not pick up the phone at all costs. Guys like that may also use their kids, their jobs, or travel schedule to get out of having to actually speak.

NOTE TO THE LADIES: If you meet a guy online and he prefers to TEXT AND NOT TALK, do yourself a favor and RUN DON’T WALK.

After being on-again, off-again too many times with online dating, I finally called it quits. We broke up for good and went our separate ways. There’d be no more winks, flirts, chemistry tests, or e-cards of any kind. Instead, I decided to give it up to the universe to find the man of my dreams.

And when I wasn’t looking and least expected it, he appeared – on Facebook of all places – quite possibly the greatest online dating site of them all.

Midlife Dating: Men, What Say You?

shutterstock_268928468I gave the guys a little dating tough love in my last blog post, so it’s only fair to give the guys some equal time to speak on the state of the midlife singles scene as they see it.

I wanted to know how men feel about dating fellow boomers, so I gathered up a few of my middle-aged guy friends, bought them a few beers, and picked their brains about their dating life: the good, bad, and ugly. They were buzzed just enough to let it rip.

Their feedback was insightful, honest, and very real. It was also cringe-worthy, because as a long-time single girl once myself (up until very recently) I made a lot of dating mistakes, and at times I felt they were describing me.

Now I know what you girls are thinking: By the time you’re post 50, everyone is bitter, jaded, or hardened – especially about dating – so why should I listen? These guys are probably all a bunch of sorry-ass losers who’ve struck out at love and know nothing.

Yeah, some have struck out, but who hasn’t? If you’re single and 50+ years old, you’ve probably seen it all, done it all, dated it all, and chances are, have a bad attitude about it all. Join the club! Everyone in the 50-something dating pool has had their fare share of hook ups, breakups, and fuck ups, and that’s a good thing. It makes you human.

The truth is, dating in your 50s can blow sometimes, but it doesn’t have to suck.

In fact, midlife can be a great time to be single, and my man friends here agree. These are nice guys, not shallow, not players, they’re looking for LOVE, not games, not one-nighters, younger chicks, or the bigger, better deal. They’re looking for smart, substantial, age-appropriate women who know who the Beatles are.

In other words, they want women like YOU. So ladies, if you’re listening, take note.

Note to the men: This stuff works both ways, so listen up.

THE GOOD

“I actually prefer dating women my own age because we have a common base of things to relate to, talk about, laugh at, or commiserate over. Women my age ‘get it.’ Very little gets lost in translation. Put it this way, if a woman isn’t familiar with Woody Allen’s early work, then it couldn’t possibly work.”

“Women in their 50s generally have more time and freedom. They’re more relaxed, especially if they’re empty nesters. We’ve been both been through the hell of raising young kids and now we can hang out.”

“Women over 50 are the sexiest humans in the world. They’re in command of their bodies, and in charge of what they want and need. They don’t care about stretch marks or a few extra pounds – and neither do I. Besides, I’ve got a big gut, so who am I to talk?”

THE BAD

“Women in their 50s can be a little too anxious to get involved. Right after the first date, they want you to meet their kids, their parents, their pets, whatever, without any regard to your comfort level. It feels rushed.”

“I’ve dated some divorced women in their 50s who are so bitter and angry toward their exes they can’t see straight. It’s hard to get close when she’s still fuming.”

“You can feel the desperation with some women in their 50s, especially if they’ve been single a long time or if they’re newly divorced.”

THE UGLY

“If a woman tells me what to do with my kids, or gives me unsolicited advice, or criticizes my parenting skills, I run for the hills.”

“Women who obviously judge you based on how much money you make, or in my case, don’t make, is a deal killer.”

“I’ve met some women in their 50s who believe having sex as quickly as possible is a way to get a man and it’s not.”

THE BOTTOM LINE

Men who seek out and date women in their 50s do so because they WANT TO. Because they dig chicks who have a little more maturity and experience; because they enjoy the mutual compatibility and sympatico you get with someone your own age; because there’s more freedom and fun; because women in their 50s are hot as hell, and I’m not talking about menopause.

Ladies, I’m not telling you what to do here, but this is what I’ve gleaned: If you stay open to the possibilities, TRY to have a good attitude, make peace with yourself, let go of anger and grief, and don’t jump into the sack too soon, you’ll see that midlife dating doesn’t have to blow or suck at all.

Unless you want it to of course.

 

Guys and gals, what say you? What’s the state of your singles scene?