Nothing’s worse than feeling like your S.O.’s garb is cramping your style (no pun intended). Whether you cohabitate or simply spend a lot of time together, your overlap of clothing is bound to get in the way. That’s why, if you’re dating a dude, make your life easier by figuring out what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet.
While gender norms have greatly gone out the window (at least in L.A.), plenty of clothing articles are obviously still designated for men. Therefore, we’re here to help you keep your man’s wardrobe growing, while benefitting in the process. Especially with holiday season around the corner, why not swoop up something that will (secretly) appease both of you?
To break down the best items to buy for your BF (only to steal them from their closet), we reached out to BJ Panda Bear. BJ is the cofounder of fashion and lifestyle e-commerce space, QooA—keep reading for his 5 musts!
The democratic experience of the mini bag is something anyone can enjoy and embrace. It’s a statement of love if you really know the persons taste, or rather the value of neutral colors to steal into your own selection.
When you think about what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, the classic hoodie’s the most natural first thought. The ’50s-era equivalent of wearing of your BF’s letterman jacket in today’s TikTok times is surely the worn-in hoodie, is it not?
Versace Versace Versace/Gucci Gucci Gucci… We kid… sorta. But really, any brand with the most boisterous prints will do. Play with the XXL size. It might be a luxuriant and playful gift for him, but it will soon be a wrap dress belted for you.
Now that you know what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, be grateful because you also get to avoid THESE obnoxious dating profiles.
Quarantine and social distancing has done a number on every relationship (romantic or otherwise)—but more than ever, couples who just started dating, or who didn’t necessarily plan on living together just yet have been put to the test.
When lockdown demands first came into play, not only were people quick to cohabitate unexpectedly, but even longtime couples were given their own set of hurdles. Adapting to being with someone literally 24/7 is challenging for anyone, especially depending on the demands of work, allotted living space and individual lifestyle.
More than three months into social distancing and people are reflecting on where their relationship stands. For better or worse, is how you dealt with your partner amid quarantine an indicator of where you stand longterm? We reached out to Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®), a professor at Oakland University in Michigan, who explains what the outcome of your quarantine means for your relationship. Keep reading for what she had to say.
skyelyfe: What kind of relationships thrive in quarantine conditions with their partner?
Terri Orbuch: There are relationships that were already distressed or not doing well before quarantine. When these distressed relationships are stressed from things outside the relationship—like the coronavirus pandemic, this stress can exacerbate the issues and problems. Also, when distressed relationships are stressed, the stress makes it more difficult to connect with each other, less likely to see the positives in each other and the relationship, and less likely have empathy and understanding for the other partner. However, people who were in relationships that weren’t already distressed—those relationships can survive and even thrive if they do some simple strategies.
SL: What are keys to making these situations work effectively?
TO: A) Share your anxieties, concerns and fears with each other. Whether you’re living together or not, you can share your concerns with each other, because otherwise, the anxieties fester inside of you, and then work on your physical health. Don’t talk about the fears nonstop 24/7, but instead set a specific time to share.
B) Accept that you and your partner may have different reactions to the stress and quarantine. One of you may watch the news all the time, the other partner may not. These differences in how you handle or react to the situation don’t mean that your relationship is in trouble or should end. These differences are common to all romantic relationships.
C) Find fun activities to do together. These are very challenging times, but couples who do fun things together are more likely to thrive. Take a virtual cooking class online together, start a puzzle together, play board games, do an exercise class together online. Or if you’re not living together, make regular virtual dates where you do something you both enjoy together (e.g., take a virtual tour of the local zoo, play Pictionary, watch a movie “together” on Netflix.
D) Give each other space. It’s important in any romantic relationship that each of you have time, space and privacy from one another, particularly now. Don’t say “I need space” because it sends confusing signals. Instead: “I need some time to do X this afternoon”. Enjoy your space and don’t feel guilty.
SL: What does it mean if you and someone you truly love aren’t cohabitating effectively amid quarantine?
TO: It’s challenging to live with your partner 24/7 amidst quarantine. Most couples have never spent this much time together, just the two of you, with no other distractions or people. This is a very different time. It takes great patience, understanding, empathy and understanding that relationship challenges are inevitable, no matter how much you truly love each other! Remember to share, accept, find fun activities to do together, and give each other space.
SL: What are some ways to take a break from your partner amid quarantine if you’re cohabitating?
TO: You can walk outside separately. You can read a book in your room or on a couch. You can listen to a podcast, watch a movie, exercise, do an online course, or FaceTime with your friend—separately. It’s okay to take a break from each other, even if you’re living [in a small space].
Remember when swiping to find your soulmate was a foreign concept? Welp! That’s way old news.
Enter: dating in the era of social distancing. As the coronavirus has everyone quarantined, we’re becoming much more resourceful with how we “get acquainted” with people. It’s like we’re all adults living (hopefully only temporarily) as teens, refusing to communicate by any means other than video chat—dating included.
I had my debut bout with the 2020 era of digital dating on the first official weeknight of isolation. A happily married friend of mine has a flowing pool of singles she knows through a variety of avenues. She’s set me up on dates with her friends before—ones in which she eyed as potential matches. This time, however, she said from the get-go this wasn’t someone she necessarily saw me running off into the sunset with. More time on her hands means more energy to arrange things like this apparently, and she thought it would be fun to set some of her friends up on very random FaceTime dates.
After a little bit of thought, I agreed to it. Honestly, what do I have to lose? There aren’t really any ways to meet new people at this very moment, and, for lack of a better word: YOLO. Next thing I knew, my friend sent me *Evan’s phone number, along with a reminder to “dress accordingly” and “have fun with it!” I chuckled. Thanks, coach!
Evan’s number had a 503 area code, which was perfect because I went to school at the University of Oregon, so if all else failed, I could ask about… living in Oregon? Boring. But anyway, I made it through my typical WFH office day, but had angst all throughout. I texted a couple girlfriends about my jitters, while nervously getting ready (trying to look nice, but not too nice). Time was ticking. Cue the stress.
The scariest part of this experience is those three insanely long seconds where it says “Connecting…”—you have so many thoughts running through your head. What will he look like? How should I hold the phone? Should my hair be in front of my ears or behind? Can he see my stray greys through the screen? It’s also important to note that I despise video chats and avoid them at all costs. With the exception of an occasional mandatory work Zoom, you’ll rarely spot me sitting in on these now-common gatherings.
At long last, our faces both made their way to the screen. I was greeted with a jolly, “Hi!” in that “I-know-this-is-awkward-but-here-we-are” tone. While yes, indeed awkward, Evan seemed gentlemanly and could hold a conversation. We shared some laughs, but as FaceTime would have it, sometimes responses and reactions are delayed or have weird echoes. Additional awkwardness.
There’s really only so much you can do on these first-time FaceTime dates. Especially sober. And you really only get a pixelated, headshot-version of the person you’re talking to. Our convo didn’t hit any lulls, but after a while, we both wanted to get to the rest of our evenings. Before I knew it, an hour had gone by. I was shocked! We ended with a lighthearted mutual agreement to hop in the kitchen and whip up a home-cooked meal—one we each sent to each other via text when finished.
I was so relieved when the call was over. Not because of anything he did, but because these things are scary and uncomfortable. Body language is 55% of communication, so there was a lot left undetermined without it. That said, the discomfort was just what I needed. Sometimes (a lot of the time), my nerves get the best of me and I play things too safe.
In case you’re wondering, we agreed we’d meet for a drink in person once we’re set free from quarantine. To be honest, as my friend predicted, I don’t think Evan and I will be a romantic match—but, meeting someone for drinks who I don’t have a lot in common with will be that much-needed step out of my comfort zone!
In the wise words of Avril Lavigne, “He was a boy. She was a girl. Can I make it anymore obvious?”
And that about sums up the story of my boyfriend and me.
Prior to being a couple, we’d been friends for years. We met at a concert way back in 2012/2013, which should not come as a shock to those of you that know me. What’s even less shocking is he was in a band at the time.
We kept in touch here and there. But it wasn’t until 2017 we became really good friends. We texted regularly and I’d go to his shows as often as possible.
There was a point in 2019 when I could sense he had deeper feelings for me, though I was very scared of this being anything more than what it was. I have a terrible track record when it comes to dating. In fact, he’s my first “official” boyfriend, so there’s that. Still, I always wondered, “What if?”
Then 2020 rolled around and we started hanging out constantly, so much so that I knew I couldn’t be just friends with him. In late January, we finally kissed and the rest is history.
I know that was a lot of lead-up, but it had to be done. I’m trying to paint a full picture here, alright?
Anyway, back to my relationship. Things have been going really well. In February, I was gone for two weeks on a solo trip through New Zealand (yes, it was magical), and we stayed in touch every single day. He even drove me to and from the airport. That might not seem like a big deal, but I have been with many guys who wouldn’t drive over to my house to hook-up, because they were too lazy. So yes, my boyfriend’s a gem.
Those two weeks away were really tough. Even though I was having the time of my life exploring the north island of New Zealand, I missed him so much. I don’t think it helped that we had finally expressed our feelings, only to have me jet set across the world a week after the fact.
Once I returned, we were pretty much inseparable. We hung out as often as possible, texted, and chatted on the phone whenever we could. So when the coronavirus really started to make its way around the states, we had to decide the safest social-distancing measures for our new relationship.
At first, I stayed with him at his place, as to prevent my anxious thoughts surrounding the pandemic from spiraling, and to also be with him. But, some members of his household were still working, as they were deemed essential. This is when we made the difficult decision to physically stay apart until it was safe to see each other once again.
I was the one to initiate the plan, and while he agreed it was for the best, I know he wasn’t happy with it. It’s not that I was either, it’s the safest thing to do right now.
That was about a week and a half ago, and boy do I miss not seeing him in person regularly. Our time spent apart while I was in New Zealand was nothing compared to this. Obviously, what made those two weeks easier was how far apart we were and a set date on when we would see each other again.
Social-distancing during corona is tough, given we’re not that far from one another and we don’t know when we won’t need to be quarantined anymore. It could be days, weeks, months, years—who knows?
During this time, we’re staying in touch a lot more through technology. I literally just paused writing this for a sec to respond to his text and Instagram DM. We also make it a point to talk on the phone or over FaceTime at least once a day.
Some days are way easier than others. There have been times where either he or I want to ignore this whole quarantine protocol so we can see one other, but we both know that’s not what we need right now. We’re doing our best to fight those urges, so thank goodness technology exists to help with that.
One thing I really find helpful that we do is go on virtual dates. On these virtual dates, we get ready (I’m mainly talking about me, as I’ve been wearing the same sweatpants and sweatshirt combo for over a week now) and enjoy lunch, dinner, or a nice conversation over FaceTime. It honestly is so much fun, though we’ve only done one so far… well, two, if you count… never mind.
I’ve also been making it a point to do cutesy, romantic things here and there. For example, I made him a playlist the other day of songs that reminded me of him or our relationship. Though entirely cheesy, he truly appreciated the gesture.
The rest of my romantic antics have been much simpler, like sending him texts as to why I appreciate him or passing along sweet relationship quotes on Instagram. He’s dong the same, though I still haven’t received my playlist. Babe, if you’re reading this, please send me a collection of songs that remind you of me.
For now, we’re making do with what we have. It helps that I trust him and am very secure in our relationship, which hasn’t been the same with past flings. Still, it’s so tough being separated. I want nothing more than to hold his hand and kiss his cute little face right about now.
What really puts me at ease is knowing where I stand. We’re both pretty open with our feelings and unafraid to share whatever we’re experiencing with one another. Communication is always key in any relationship, but moreso now than ever before.
This has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, especially given all my past relationships have centered around sex, so I never felt entirely comfortable sharing my feelings with the person I was seeing at the time. I do now, which has made a world of difference.
For other new couples out there who are struggling by being separated from the coronavirus, I feel your pain. My advice would be to communicate as openly and honestly. Keep the conversations fun and flirty, but don’t be afraid to have serious talks every now and then, too.
Still plan on having date nights, as long as they’re virtual or you can maintain a six foot distance at all times. Do cute, spontaneous things for one another like sending a spontaneous “I love you” text or Venmoing them some money for groceries. Now’s the time to really get creative with showing your partner how much you care.
Quarantine (hopefully) won’t last forever, but you can start building the foundation now to make sure your relationship does.
Many of us have been there. The dreaded Thanksgiving dinner where we’re grilled incessantly about why we’re still single; that oh-so-lovely meal where all of our amazing qualities are listed off, and we, ourselves, are even left scratching our heads (good points, Aunt Sally, why am I single?!).
But as much as we love a good reminder of how funny, smart and wildly attractive we may be, sometimes it gets to be enough.
While meeting Tabor at a hackathon in 2013, freshly divorced Homann pitched the idea of a “fake girlfriend” app as a means to get his parents off his back. The duo and their new team built a prototype in a weekend, won the hackathon and eventually fully developed their product: a complete service that allows you to create your ideal girlfriend or boyfriend.
Once you select the desired criteria (which includes the photo of your choice) for your soon-to-be significant other, “You can then interact with them through text messages and even receive handwritten notes,” Tabor tells skyelyfe. “We actually have real people powering the other side of the service roleplaying as your partner.”
But as Tabor notices, this service–which has a strict PG-rated persona–oddly started gaining appeal for more reasons than just combatting Aunt Sally’s annual interrogation.
“Some of the best stories we’ve heard are from people who use the service to get friends off their back, but then end up getting a real girlfriend or boyfriend in real life,” he explains. “These users just want to be left alone and not date anyone, but then all-of-a-sudden they find someone. By acting like they had a girlfriend or boyfriend, it made them more confident and then suddenly they found Mr. or Mrs. Right.”
Even more than the act of finding (or pretending to find) that special someone, many users really just want someone (or something, for that matter) to talk to–even if it’s guaranteed the two will never meet (a la the movie Her).
“Technology has made us more connected than ever, but we’re also more lonely than ever,” Tabor says. “Our users are looking to connect with someone, but dating is difficult and sometimes it’s even hard to connect to friends and family. We’ve found that our users really enjoy talking to someone about the mundane parts of their day and getting uplifting feedback.”
When it comes to what is considered real online dating, Tabor, who has been happily married for about a decade, says there’s lots of room for improvement.
“Online dating has allowed us to meet people outside our normal social circles, but it hasn’t made dating any easier,” he notes. “It’s still just as difficult to get to know someone and see if they’re a fit. We’re finding that a lot of the people in the dating market aren’t really ready for dating. Most of the people on our site are women wanting to practice dating, which is great. However, there are still lots of men out there who need to practice dating. We’re working on trying to fix that and becoming the training wheels for online dating sites.”
Although Invisible Boyfriend and Girlfriend aren’t your typical outlets for dating, Tabor has no regrets about the product or what it has done for its users. Whether to ward off the Aunt Sallys of the world, make an ex jealous, or fulfill plain and simple curiosity, the “Invisible” brand is doing its job.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Tabor says. “This was a pretty crazy idea and we had no clue how people would react to it. Before we launched, a lot of friends and family thought we were crazy. But then we showed them all the media attention we’ve received and they started to change their minds.”
As for Tabor’s usage, “I hope I never have to enter the dating scene again,” he says, adding with a chuckle, “However, I do use our service on a regular basis to test it out. I actually created my own Invisible Boyfriend and named him Ron Burgundy. He always talks about his dog Baxter and how much he loves scotch. He’s always good to talk to when I need a quick laugh.”
And as for me? Well, I have not personally tried out this dazzling gem of a product, but for a behind-the-scenes play-by-play of what it’s like to “date” an “invisible boyfriend,” a writer at Jezebel broke down her six-day relationship with every detail you can imagine.
Another day, another development to help us poor, single Angelenos find true love. But while the likes of Tinder and Hinge are much more casual, Dating Ring, a New York and San Francisco-based site that just became available in Los Angeles and Boston, provides in-depth curated matches for its customers by actual certified matchmakers.
I recently chatted with courting expert (and Dating Ring CA Regional Coordinator and Executive Matchmaker) Courteney Kay, a USC grad-turned-SF-resident who has been working in the dating field for as long as she can remember. Courteney, who was inspired after meeting her fiance years ago on Match.com, tells skyelyfe she’s “always been a human connector type who would throw parties and introduce people.”
Getting her start producing dating events in Orange County, Courteney eventually moved up north, where she began working at Grouper (more on that below).
The lucky-in-love lady shares her excitement about Dating Ring’s L.A. launch and notes that a big selling point right now is the one month free that new users get.
Read on for more about this exciting new tool, Courteney’s fascinating career journey to where she is now and what her thoughts are on other online dating sites and apps:
SL: So, how exactly does the matching work on Dating Ring?
CK: Users get matches sent to them either once a month or four times a month depending on which subscription plan they sign up for. Paid users take priority in matching, but there is also a free option which sends out some matches, but is not as consistent or guaranteed. Every user has a matchmaker who actually reviews all of the matches and will say yes or no to send them out and basically give a little note out about why they’re sending them as a match. The notes will say something like, “Hey, I just want to let you know that I wanted to match you up with Joe because you guys both have a love of organic food and yoga and both love to read and attend personal development conferences.” You’ll be able to see the others user’s photos and basic demographic information such as height and age. With each match, it’ll give the user the opportunity to send the matchmaker feedback. It’s kind of like the anti-Tinder in the sense that there’s a lot more behind-the-scenes going on with the actual matching and compatibility.
SL: Once a first-time user’s free month is up, what’s next?
CK: You get one match per week on a paid subscription and the pricing varies depending on if you go month-to-month or sign up for a longer 3-month or 6-month package. It’s similar to how other online dating sites do it.
It’s $60/month for one matchmaker-curated match per week if you’re month-to-month, $40/month if you’re on a three-month package or $30/month if you’re on a six-month package.
It’s a similar price point to an actual online dating site, but in this case, the matchmakers are able to curate the experience and it’s a lot less of that whole cat and mouse game and browsing through profiles. It’s more about quality over quantity and simplifying your life!
SL: What was your experience like working at Grouper? I went on a few of those dates with friends and we ended up with the most bizarre matches!
CK: Grouper had a lot of issues. Either they’re totally done or they’ve very much declined. The way they did matching wasn’t super [effective]. I don’t think they focused a lot on the actual matching. People wanted to try it out, but once you have those first one or two drink dates that don’t provide much value for you, people are pretty over it. When I was working there, it was pretty obvious that something needed to be done about the matching to improve things. There were plans to do so, but it took a lot longer to get going than I expected.
It was really heavy on the marketing. When people would sign up for a certain night on Grouper under the guise of a great match, it would be like everyone who signed up for that night would get funneled into one night and then the best possible match would be picked from there. The filtering or curating of the matches didn’t start as early as it should have been. Also, it was very hard for us to know what the wing-women or men were going to be like and who was actually going to show up, since this information was often not completed by the user or changed around last minute. So, sometimes you’d have like a 35-year-old with a 25-year-old. You can see how it could get all sorts of crazy and that made it difficult to keep everyone happy.
SL: What are your thoughts on some of the other blind dating avenues?
CK: I think OKCupid has done one of the best jobs as far as algorithm and really getting to know its users and stuff like that, but the problem is there is no real barrier to entry. There’s just everything. It isn’t super curated, so it can get a little bit spammy as a girl. You get so many messages from so many people and a lot of them you’re just like, “No way!” The nice thing about paid sites is it kind of ups the quality bar. Tinder is obviously huge, but it doesn’t really give you any insight to someone. We just feel like you need to have a little bit more to go off of before you go on a date with someone.
SL: What happens when you have a client with really high standards or someone who really can’t seem to match up with anyone?
CK: A lot of the work is not just the matchmaking. There’s a lot of coaching involved. A huge part is telling someone what their expectations should be like, and basically being able to relay how realistic those are. When people want a more tailored and customized coaching and matchmaking experience, that is when we have them try out our premium matchmaking service only available in New York and San Francisco at this time.
SL: The matchmaking field sounds so fun and interesting. How does a person land such a career?
CK: The best way to start working in the dating space is to demonstrate you have a passion for it because the hours can be long and it’s definitely a certain skill you have to have. For me, it kind of started with doing online dating management and helping with peoples’ photos and that kind of stuff. And then it kind of carried over into running a community and hosting speed dating events for a year. Then I started my own singles events in Orange County. And then I started working with Grouper and then Dating Ring. I also wrote dating advice for a website called Made Womanmagazine, so I kind of think all of those experiences led people to be like, “Okay, this girl really wants to work in this space.” There’s no school for it.
It’s pretty apparent what the biggest photo clichés are in online dating profiles (at least the ones posted by L.A. guys): the standard headshot, mirror selfie in the bathroom of somewhere super douchey (for lack of a better word), and the flashing of that sideways peace sign (I probably understand that one the least). But now that we’re past that, it’s time to analyze what I consider the five most common clichés (aside from the wrong use of “your,” and “there”) used in the actual profile, itself. I took the time to pull examples from real profiles I recently encountered (thank you, boys/men of JDate and Tinder!), so I encourage you to read on and chuckle to yourself each time you can relate to reading about one of these types:
I’m not quite sure why the self-proclaimed “fluent in sarcasm” guys are most predominantly found on these things. I can think of far more impressive “languages” I’d rather brag about being fluent in. But seriously though, why is this so frequently the first thing a guy states in his profile?
The witty/funny guy:
It’s always amusing when the “fluent in sarcasm” guy feels the need to point out that he’s also “very witty” and “very funny.” He doesn’t realize that those are his subjective opinions.
The lover of life:
We get it, you “always strive for the best,” and your personal motto is “work hard, play hard.” We’re glad you love life just like everyone else on these sites, but can you please elaborate on what makes your life so “amazing?”
Since so many of you claim to be so “witty” (see one of the boxes above), can’t you take a 30-sentence essay and condense it into a catchy little paragraph? In the time you wasted writing out your life story (trust me, if your photos aren’t appealing, no one is reading your bio) you could have already been on an online date and back.
“Don’t worry! The baby in the photo is only my niece!” Okayyy…. if you need to explain it, then why would you make it your main pic? I don’t know why, but this irks me for some reason.