Do you suck at being in a relationship? Wonder why the so-called love of your life left you? Are you too picky to find Mr. Right?
Sounds like you're in need of some "Tough Love." The VH1 reality show is holding a casting call for women ages 23 to 39 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Moe's Cantina in River North.
Dating coach and matchmaker Steve Ward talked to RedEye about heading into the show's fifth cycle of dating boot camp and his thoughts on deal breakers, dating faux pas and gift giving. The show follows Ward's efforts to help single women find love by following his bold, straightforward dating advice.
RedEye asked him about the show's intro, in which he says he knows what guys are thinking when they see a woman.
"I can tell by the way girls dress, and I can tell by how they act, how they carry themselves whether they are self-diluted, narcissistic, completely unrealistic or if they actually stand a shot of being in a healthy happy relationship," Ward said.
What's an example? "If she's intentionally showing off her bra, like as if it's part of the outfit, that just screams look at my chest, please, I'm begging you. That's all I have to offer you is what you see right here. When they're wearing a heel that has a 4-inch heel and then a 2-inch platform, like really? How about you're 5-foot-1, not 5-foot-8. Let's be honest."
What does all of that say? "High maintenance, completely delusional as to what they think men find attractive. That's not what men find attractive. It's really not. That's the funny thing, women go through these magazines and look at other girls in clubs and they think that's what guys want. No, that's not what we want. You girls do that for you girls and some of you forget that, which I find very hilarious."
What do you think is the toughest part about the advice you give? "The toughest part about the advice is just accepting the fact that I'm not telling you something just to entertain an audience, myself or anyone else in the room. The hardest thing about the advice is that it's honest and it's real and I'm not sugarcoating it."
The premise of the show is to help women get ready to have a good relationship. What makes a good relationship? "Communication, respect, trust, you have those three elements, you have a successful relationship no matter what kind it is whether it's romantic, platonic, personal or professional."
Deal breakers. How many should people have and how specific should they be? "Deal breakers in my opinion are really truly fundamental differences in core values or beliefs--If you're mindful of your true and hard deal breakers, you shouldn't compromise on things that you're really passionate about."
What about listing physical traits as deal breakers? "Some people do but it's getting worse too. We're getting very impatient as an entire society, incredibly impatient. As soon as we see the first sign of trouble, we're ready to cut bait and run. Physical attraction is immediate and instant and it's not something that grows over time. But you know what's so funny, it certainly diminishes over time. People need to realize that. "We all get old and we all break down and the goal is hopefully you've had enough experience in life with that person that you love them beyond just physical chemistry."
What's the worst thing a guy or girl can do on a date? "The obvious ones are like don't cry, that's never good for a first date. Let's assume your readers are generally OK at dating. Because that literally happened to me the other day. The girl cried right in the middle of our date. I'll tell you why she started crying--because she broke the first rule that I'll tell you right now: don't bring up your exes. Here's another one: don't ever refer to them by name. Never, ever refer to an ex by name. It personalizes it too much."
How do you know if the person you're dating is ready for a relationship or just wants to keep it casual? Are there any specific signs? "If he's going out and telling his friends you're his girlfriend, if he's going out and he's spending on you whether he's spending time or he's spending money or he's utilizing a resource he has in order for you to benefit in some way, shape or form and he goes out of his way to ensure that no one gets in between you guys, then he's serious. So I think, how do you know? Actions. Don't listen to the bull---- that comes out of his mouth."
With the holidays approaching, how should you decide whether to get the person you're dating a gift? "When it comes to gift giving, same thing: communicate. Talk about it, place a limit on it. 'Hey, you know I've been having fun and I wanted to pick you up something cute. Why don't we exchange something small under $50. I think it'd be fun, what do you say?' Or if you've been dating the person for a while and you want to make it more serious, make it clear with a gift."
<a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a> | @lvivanco