Category Archives: Everything else

New Year’s traditions in Russia

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For many countries, the majority of winter holidays have passed, but this is not the case in Russia!  In fact, Russian New Year’s Eve trumps Christmas in importance, with major celebrations occurring all over the country in recognition of the holiday.

There are actually two New Year’s holidays celebrated in Russia.  The “New” New Year’s celebrations occur as most would expect, on December 31st and January 1st.

Russia’s “Old” New Year is celebrated on January 14th according to the Orthodox calendar. This celebration is the smaller of the two New Year’s holidays and Russians usually spend the day with family.

To celebrate this holiday, many Russians attend concerts or fireworks displays, with the largest located at the Red Square.  On December 31st, most families have a very late dinner including Russian salads, herring, and sparkling wine.  A short presidential address comes on TV at 11:55pm local time in each of Russia’s time zones, and the president reflects on achievements from the last year.  At midnight, the Kremlin Spasskaya Clock Tower chimes and the Russian national anthem begins.  Now is when the festivities really begin! Many Russians spend December 31st with family and only leave the house after midnight to see friends or enjoy New Year’s Eve parties and nightlife.

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The top 10 requirements for a stereotypical Russian New Year

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

The West may have Santa Claus, but he can hardly compete with “Ded Moroz” (Grandfather Frost) or his granddaughter, “Snegurochka” (the Snow Maiden). Unlike Santa Claus, Ded Moroz is not afraid to show his face and often stops by holiday parties with Snegurochka to deliver presents in person. Ded Moroz maintains his residence near the town of Veliky Ustyug (in the Vologda Region); Snegurochka supposedly resides in Kostroma, on the Volga.

The “yolka”

Christmas trees were banned shortly after the revolution but were reintroduced as the novogodnaya yolka (New Year’s tree) in 1935 as a secular holiday symbol.  Trees tend to be small and are often made of plastic, but they are still symbolic and important gathering symbols for Russians.

Celebrities, Grandfather Frost and steam

Many countries have popular traditional holiday films, but few can match up with the song and steam of the Soviet classic, The Irony of Fate or Have a Nice Bath (1975). Zhenya is engaged and plans on spending his New Year’s Eve with his fiancée. However, he first must go to the sauna, as per tradition with his friends. They all get intoxicated and Zhenya ends up on a plane to Leningrad. He drunkenly tells a taxi driver to take him to Third Builder’s Street, where he lives in Moscow. Remarkably the building looks the same and his key fits. He passes out in the apartment and is awakened by the unsuspecting Nadya. They fall in love, and Russians still can’t get enough of this film. Television shows such as Goluboi Ogonyok (Little Blue Light), Pesnya Goda (Song of the Year; features most top-tier celebrities) and the children’s filmMorozko (Grandfather Frost) are additional holiday staples.

Salads

New Year’s just isn’t New Year’s without the salads. We’re not taking about light green salads either, but mayonnaise-infused and protein-thick works of art. Russians consume 2.5 kilograms of mayonnaise annually and nowhere is it celebrated more than on the holiday table. Olivier salad is usually made with mayonnaise, potatoes, carrots, pickles, green peas, eggs and chicken or bologna. New Year’s literally doesn’t exist if this salad is not on your table. Selyodka pod Shuboi, or “Herring under a Fur Coat” is a layered carnival filled with herring, potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and mayonnaise. The beets give the salad its purplish color.

Mandarin oranges

Supposedly this tradition began back in the reign of Nicholas II. However, it was discontinued for decades due to the Soviet Union’s difficulty in growing or importing them. It was revived around the 1970s and remains a staple on every Russian New Year’s table.

Champagne and caviar

Nothing said “proletarian” in the worker’s paradise more than champagne and caviar. While these items were in shorter supply during the Soviet period, it was then that they became part of the New Year’s tradition. The champagne is usually the “Sovietskoye” variety, available everywhere from Kamchatka to Brighton Beach. The caviar is usually red and served on buttered bread.

A midnight date with Putin

Regardless of their political affiliations, Russians around the world tune in to hear the Russian president offer his wishes for the upcoming year. Once he finishes, the clock tower on Red Square chimes, fireworks burst into the air and the New Year officially begins.

Not leaving the house until AFTER midnight to visit friends and walk around the city

For Russians, New Year’s is a family holiday and celebrations take place with close relatives on the evening of Dec. 31 with traditional toasts to say goodbye to the passing year. Phone calls are made to relatives that live far away. It is only after midnight that people begin the real partying. Many clubs only begin their main events at 00:30 or later.

Fireworks

As one person told me, it isn’t New Year’s if you don’t see the equivalent of a small country’s budget blown up in fireworks. The first New Year’s holiday I spent in Russia, in the industrial city of Tolyatti, involved hours of celebrating at home before going out after midnight with the whole family to see the citizenry declare war on the central square. The fireworks display was intense, loud and bright and is an integral part of any Russian New Year’s holiday.  

New Year’s Eve is just the beginning

Perhaps the best part about Russian New Year’s is that it’s not back to work the next day or even the day after. In 2015 Russians have until Jan. 12 before they have to report back to the office. That’s 11 days to shake off their hangovers.

 
Source: Russia beyond the headlines, Cultural awareness

7 perks of dating Russian girls

The main perks of dating a Russian girl are the same as the advantages of being in a relationship with a gorgeous model who treats you like a king. Who wouldn’t want to do it?

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7 perks of dating Russian girls:

  1. They love being in a relationship. The Russian culture gives a huge value to having a good relationship. For most women, this is the highest value before money, career, or even education. Being in a happy and loving relationship is like winning a lottery for Russian girls.
  2. They cook. Feeding her man is considered a woman’s obligation in Russia. Russians don’t believe in microwavable meals and women still cook for men from natural products. They actually enjoy it!
  3. Russian girls are stunning. Girls from Russia are crazy about their looks. They spend hours daily to look beautiful: skin, hair, makeup. They love wearing pretty dresses and high heels. The type of girls you could be dating look the same. Russian girls dress and look like models from the catwalk in daily life.
  4. They like being feminine. Everything you know about femininity, you will find in girls from the Russian Federation. They are warm and welcoming, gentle and sweet.
  5. They are devoted. Russian women are fully devoted to their partners. If you are dating a Russian girl, she is unlikely to dump you or leave you, because she dreams to become a wife and a mother, which has a very high value in their culture.
  6. They are direct. In their culture, people say what they think without much political correctness. Some people don’t feel comfortable with that but others find it extremely refreshing.
  7. They are resilient. Girls from the former USSR are used to more unstable life and don’t get upset easily. They are used to problem-solving, which is a great quality in a potential partner.

Source: Quora

Communicating with potential partners

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You can meet Russian and Ukrainian women without ever leaving your house. How? Go online! Here is how to be successful with online dating.

Be a gentleman

Being polite and kind to everyone you interact with communicates that you’re a quality person, online and off, who’s worthy of respect and attention. Pay particular attention to these points:

  • Make a polite introduction. If someone messages you, note that you were delighted to receive their message and give out a little more information about yourself. If you message someone, tell her more about yourself and express that you’d love to get to know her.
  • Keep it elegant. Remember, if she wanted to meet a slouchy, rude, abrupt barfly, she would have gone to the bar. Instead, she came to the Internet to meet guys like you, so try to step it up a bit. Don’t ask what she’s wearing or what her figure is like, don’t push for pictures right away, and don’t ask for highly personal specifics at first (such as where she works or her full name). Instead, focus on her personal interests, her goals, and anything you share in common.

Stand out

Most women who use online dating sites get a lot of messages. If you decide to send a lady something, try to make it compelling and different from the rest of what she sees. Ask her a question about her profile, make a tasteful joke, or just be bold and say something like “You’re gorgeous, and you seem fascinating. I’d love nothing more than getting to know you.”

Know how to keep a conversation rolling

So you’ve gotten a nice girl to notice you — now what? How you manage the conversation will determine where the connection goes, but it’s easier than you might think. Here’s how to continue interacting with her:

  • Let her talk about herself. Keep in mind that most people are comfortable talking about themselves, because it’s a topic they know well. Nervousness might tempt you to keep the conversation focused on yourself, but resist. A big part of being a good conversationalist is being a good listener.
  • Ask her questions that are thought-provoking, but not too personal. Asking your potential ladylove what she does for fun on the weekends is perfectly fine; asking her if she’s divorced or had a hysterectomy is not. Though you might learn this information later, now is not the time. Keep your questions focused on things like what she does to relax, where she’s from, where she went to school, what kind of entertainment (books, music, movies, television) she likes, whether she’s an animal-lover, etc.
  • Follow that old adage and steer clear of sex, politics, money and religion. There’s a reason why these are forbidden topics when you’re first getting to know someone.

Always leave her wanting more

Bow out of the chat session before it gets too stale, or don’t be too quick to return her emails. Lowering supply increases demand, and she’ll be more interested if you don’t immediately give everything away. Be interested, but restrained. Let her come to you a little bit.

Express gratitude

Every so often, let the women you’re talking to know how much you appreciate their attention. It doesn’t have to be cheesy — something as simple as “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you so far” or “Thanks for responding to my message” will suffice.

Handle rejection with grace

If it doesn’t work out, don’t get bitter. Instead, say farewell like a gentleman and wish her all the best. Your polite send-off might cause her to circle back later, at which point you can evaluate if you’re still interested.

Don’t push a date too soon

A woman will automatically read you as creepy and only after her body if you start angling for a date too early. Instead, try to be patient and enjoy this period of getting to know her spirit and mind. If things work out, you’ll have plenty of time later to bask in her physical presence. Allow her to let you know when she’s ready to meet.

Keep your head up You might encounter a lot of rejection online, as everyone does in the real world. Don’t let it get you down, though. The right girl for you is out there somewhere, and maybe you’re meant to appreciate her more after getting turned down by the wrong girl(s). Stay positive!

Source: WikiHow

Safe online dating tips

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With a few simple tips and tricks and a bit of thought you can be dating safely online in no time (source: The Love Queen)!

Don’t take things too quickly.

Exchange at least a couple of messages back and forth on the dating site before giving out your e-mail address, phone number or Skype information. This will give you time to observe your potential date’s social skills. If she seems overly impulsive, you might want to nip things in the bud rather than proceeding any further.  Some people set up a separate disposable e-mail address solely for online suitors. That way, if someone becomes too persistent in their attentions to you, you can just abandon the temporary e-mail address. After the potential object of your affections has displayed the ability to write intelligent e-mails, move on to phone conversations and/or video chat. If you have any reason to suspect that her profile includes a fake or out-of-date photo, the latter means of communication enables you to verify the identity.

Catfishers, fake profiles and scammers.

Internet dating fraud situations most often occur when hundreds or thousands of miles separate the victim and the fake persona created by a con artist so try to avoid long distance people. One way to avoid catfishers is to do a reverse google image search for their profile picture. If you see lots of results coming up you have found something dodgy!

Do a little bit of online detective work.

Companies often review a job candidate’s social media profiles before making a job offer. There’s nothing wrong with something similar before embarking on a romance with the woman you met online. If her Facebook profile reveals she’s still married to the man she describes as an ex, you can bow out before you become “the other man.” If her Twitter timeline includes racist jokes, you can spare yourself future social awkwardness by not pursuing the relationship. Naturally, there are limits to this kind of activity. You don’t want to turn into a stalker. But looking up public information about a potential girlfriend can help you weed out unsuitable candidates for your affection.

Money = red flag.

You may think it can’t happen to you, but everyone who has ever been conned used to think that, too. Most of us can become a bit too trusting when our hearts and/or hormones are on the line. No matter how sincere the person seems, no matter how attractive she appears, head for the door if there’s a story about needing anything more than cabfare. Similarly, be suspicious of anyone who offers you expensive gifts like airfare to a foreign country.

Top 7 tips for online daters

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Internet dating has come a long way. There’s no longer a stigma to finding love online.  The Online Dating Association says it is now the largest single way in which relationships start in the UK.  It definitely works, but to make the most of online dating here are the experts top 7 tips (source: WebMD).

1. Don’t be too choosy

When you are going through the reams of potential partners on the internet – or when you meet them on a date – it’s all too easy to have a shopping list mentality. ‘He’s too short, I don’t like her eyes, or he doesn’t make enough money’.

Try turning down the volume on your inner critic on a superficial front, you may just discover you’re a better judge of character, and are better able to decide if your date is someone that you connect with on a new level.

2. Be honest

It’s tempting to stretch the truth when writing your profile or use a photo from ten years ago. But the advice is not to do it, as your date may be disappointed when you meet in person. Just as your online dating profile should accurately represent who you really are, your dating encounters should be equally as authentic. Don’t pretend to be someone that you’re not in an effort to impress a potential partner. Be genuine, and let your character and charm speak for themselves.

3. Beware of exaggeration

Even if you are honest about yourself, expect a degree of exaggeration from potential partners. They are trying to sell themselves to you so may over egg their attributes and achievements.

They are bound to look better in their profile photo. No-one is going to post a picture of them at their worst. Beware phrases like ‘carrying a few extra pounds’ or ‘cuddly’.  Read between the lines in profiles.

4. Narrow your focus

Online dating can be a real time-saver if you know exactly what you want.  For example, if you definitely don’t want a partner with children, remove that option straight off. Likewise, if it’s important that a date lives in your area you can weed the rest out.

5. Stay safe

Never give out personal information or send money to anyone. Use your first name only and give personal details only when you have got to know each other well. Follow your instincts. If you get a bad vibe, steer clear.

Meet in a public place like a cafe or pub. Tell a friend where you are going and who with and when to expect you back. Make sure you don’t get drunk.

6. Less is more at first

Don’t give too much away too soon. Gradually reveal details about yourself and don’t post photos that are overly sexy.

7. Get ready for rejection

Don’t take a rejection to heart. Just because you didn’t connect with one date, it doesn’t mean it’s your fault. They may want someone who is a different age or lives closer to them.

It works both ways. You may like someone as a person, but feel no romantic connection to them – so feel free to say no to dates that you know won’t work.

 

8 ways dating is like starting your own business

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If you’ve ever attempted to freelance or start a small business, then you know that only one person is responsible for your successes and/or your failures – you. There are certain things that you need to do. You need to dress well and be presentable. You should be able to converse on a variety of topics. You should also be yourself (source: CoffeeMeetsBagel).

1. You need to be a bit shameless about self promotion

Put yourself out there. You can’t get a date if you don’t talk to people. Don’t count of referrals or your friends to introduce you to amazing people.

2. Distance yourself from the pack

Separate yourself from the rest of the general population. You’ll need to put your uniqueness on display a little bit. If you’re good with your words, use them.

3. Marketing

Do you have skills? What are your interests? Have more going on for you than good looks, spartan abs, and a salary. Have intangibles that let the other person you’re seeing see that there’s long-term potential here.

4. Have vision

You need a business plan. You need a mission statement and this ties into legacy. You need purpose. You can date for the hell of it, or you can be in it to win it. You can crystalize for yourself what your motivations are for dating.

5. You will be rejected often, get used to it

Be secure in who you are and what you have to offer. Know that they who just outright rejected you never gave you a chance and have missed out. So what if no one has clicked ‘Like’ for you in a month? You wouldn’t be moping around because some company won’t grant you an interview, right? You just move on to the next one.

6. You will fail often, get used to it

No one ever went very far in life in any pursuit without failing. It’s about bouncing back and recovering from the experience.

7. You won’t be wildly successful right away

If you’re in it to win it, it means you’re willing to accept the wait. Great friendships don’t happen overnight and neither do great romantic relationships that lead to marriage. If you’re doing dating and online dating right, it’s really hard work to get there and you need to keep doing the hard work to stay there.

8. Performance review

You need to objectively evaluate how you’re doing with the various types of women you’re going out with. Do you notice trends? Is there a pattern with the kind of women you’re going out with and is the outcome of all those dates unbelievably predictable? Be in the moment and be aware of what he/she does in response to what you say and do. Be objective and not overly critical of yourself! The right person will like you for you!

Classification of Russian women

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Generally, the women who decide to find a foreign husband can be very different and can have completely different motivations. Some women are sincerely looking for a partner to create a family together, some women just want to have fun, others want to make money. So, the following classification might be helpful (source:WayToRussia) :

“Family-Oriented” woman is looking for a sincere relationship and wants to create a real stable family with a husband who will love her, understand her, and care about her. Usually, she’s about 25 to 50 years old. She would like to have a safe enviroment for her family and – partially – this makes her look for the future husband abroad, because it is considered that a foreigner can have a much more stable situation (socially and financially), than a Russian. She does not necessarily want to leave their home country, usually, the main criteria is well-being of the future family, for which the place is not so important.

“Russian Lover” woman is not family oriented, but she’s open and she wants to have nice time and to find an interesting man to spend time with. It doesn’t matter if he’s a foreigner or not, the main thing is that he’s pretty, charming, and interesting to talk with. A man might have a lot of nice time with such a woman, and perhaps, it would be an ideal introduction for an interesting relationship, that could maybe grow into something more serious in the future… The only problem is that this kind of women do not usually look for a husband deliberately.

“Russian Blonde” woman is a special kind of woman.  When she was a young pretty woman, she met a handsome “new Russian” with a lot of money, and fell in love with him and with the ambiance of success around him. She got used to indulge all her needs and to get what she wanted. However, their “new Russian” man was letting himself too much: having so much money, power, and charisma, he was getting with many other women. At one moment, the “blonde” had enough of being just “one of many”, and broke the relationship with her rich friend. However, such a “beautiful girl” shouldn’t be alone, so she’s settled to find a worthy substitute to her old friend, who will worship only her, and will let her indulge into her old habits.  She will most likely not want to leave Russia, because it is very important for her to be able to show the new husband to her girlfriends and to be seen.

“Russophobiac” woman despises Russia and Russians, so her main goal is to emigrate. Usually, her first and main condition is to be able to live abroad, and deep inside she doesn’t care about the relationship. If necessary, she will be a slave to her future husband, only to be able to leave Russia.

“Money Maker” is a dangerous type. Her main goal is to make money, so a long-term relationship is not on her agenda. The most important is to get a regular allowance from the future husband. Usually, this kind of people come from poor families and are not able to do anything by themselves. However, some of them are just “players”: they get pleasure in sucking out the money, and then dissappearing. There were a lot of cases, when a woman like this would engage into writing over the internet with a foreign man, and then at one moment ask some money to buy a plane ticket to be able to meet. So, a naive “husband” would send his “future wife” a check for $1000 US and never hear about her again…

General precautions of online dating

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Follow these simple rules to protect yourself from dishonest users while dating online (source: GoToRussia): 

  1. Beware of women who will not disclose their personal information to you, i.e. address, e-mail, or phone number.
  2. Beware of women who declare their love for you after just a few letters and generally come off as very strong in displaying their feelings, insisting on visiting you (on your expense), etc.
  3. Beware of women who ask for money for any reason whatsoever. You should immediately report these women to the agency. The amount may seem very small, however, she may be requesting that same amount from 20 to 100 people.
  4. Beware of women who want you to travel, and pay for them to travel, to a neutral place right away to meet them.
  5. Beware of women who tell you that they can obtain a tourist visa. They may say they can obtain the visa for a certain amount of money and ask you to send the money.
  6. Beware of women to whom you are writing that seem unavailable to meet you face to face when you are ready to travel. The excuse given might be something to do with some personal matter, a sudden illness of a family member, or numerous emergency scenarios.

Interesting facts about Russian women

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Russia is still quite a conservative and patriarchal society: men and women might have equal legal and economic rights, but there are clearly defined social roles, which may sometimes be constrictive (source: WayToRussia).

Economic rights

Women make 46.9% of the employed population in Russia. The greatest proportion of working women are in public health service (85%), education (81%), credit and finance (78%), information and accounting services (75%), whilst the lowest share is in the construction industry (22%). The majority of working women are trapped in low-wage areas, such as medicine, education, and clerical jobs.

There are protective laws prohibiting too hard jobs for women, such as carrying too heavy weights, or working at night. You’ll see many women, though, working in the shops and in the metro past midnight: the law allows ‘temporary’ contracts for such jobs. Pregnant women or women with a child 1 to 3 years of age are strictly forbidden to work at night. When a pregnant woman leaves her job to give birth and look after her child, there is a requirement for a 3 year-paid maternity leave for child care. Therefore young women are often discriminated when applying for a job for that reason.

Women make 45% of the unemployed population.

The age for pension is 55 years old for women, and 60 for men. However State pensions are usually 10000 R / month ($200) which is barely enough to eat for one month. Consequently many old women find little jobs to earn a bit more.

Marriage, surnames

The legal marrying age is 18 years old for both men and women, but it is possible under some special circumstances for a girl to marry at 16 of age.

Property acquired by spouses during marriage is their joint property, unless stipulated differently in a contract between spouses.

The spouses can share their surnames after the wedding. The husband can take the surname of his wife or vice-versa. The surname of a man is feminised with the suffix -a to become a woman’s surname: for example if the husband is called Smirnov, the wife can change her surname to Smirnova. The spouses can also keep their original names. After divorce names can be kept or recovered.

In Russia, children are usually given a name, and a patronymic (derived from the name of their father). For example Anna has a father called Petr Pushkin, she will be called Anna Petrovna Pushkina. Her brother will be called Stepan Petrovitch Pushkin. People use more often their patronymics than their surname to present themselves in official meetings.

How to date online safely

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Maybe you love the idea of online dating due to the convenience in your busy schedule, as well as the global outreach in meeting many different people. However, are you a little uncomfortable with the idea of Internet dating due to your safety? If you make sure you do it right it can be well worth your time (source: wikiHow).

Steps:

  1. Beware of addiction. It is easy to get too involved in online dating relationships; for some it can lead to an addiction. Some find themselves enjoying the flirtatious advances of the opposite sex, both in chat rooms and with online dating services. People get sucked into online relationships and become addicted to the world of online dating and chat rooms. For some it becomes an obsession.
  2. Know that online communities can be full of deceit and lies due to the anonymity they provide. You can create a persona quite different from yourself. You can act out a part, instead of being a real person. There are characters online ready to prey on the unwary and naive.
  3. Realize that online dating is every bit real. Do not follow your heart over your head. Don’t journey outside your comfort zone and be overtaken by a seductive search for true companionship.
  4. Be smart. Tell yourself, “I’ll keep the relationship at the e-mail level before deciding to talk on the phone!” Yes, take baby steps to discover if you have a great deal in common.
  5. Do your research. Why did you get into online dating–a success story from a friend, or just no luck anywhere else? Lots of books have been written on this subject. You must read a few if you are thinking of entering this medium.
  6. Be realistic. It’s easy to build relationships via the internet. Realize that for every one of the stories that you hear about meeting and dating the perfect woman, there are stories of relationships that end traumatically when a date’s husband answers the phone. Don’t let an online dating experience go from the chat room to the psychiatrist’s couch; temper your expectations and be prepared.
  7. Take it slow. Communication has gotten much faster with mobile phones, SMS, internet relay Chat, instant messaging, ICQ. You can be surfing the Web and up pops a message from a potential lover. The nice thing about Internet dating is that you can do it at your own pace without taking time away from work. But don’t let that rush you into anything. There are unfortunately a lot of opportunities for the unsavory members of our society.

Tips:

  • When you have decided it is time to meet, tell them you are going to conduct a background check. Be honest and let them know your security is most important. Ask for their full name, age and city they live in. This is a good way to be sure you are dealing with the real person. If they have a problem giving you this information, then maybe they have something to hide.
  • Start the relationship with emails and ask them important information you want in a relationship, be honest.
  • Keep your Profile completely private and anonymous.You do not want anyone to know who you are until you are ready to tell them.
  • Your profile should only have updated and accurate pictures that show your full length body and a facial closeup. Be honest (no airbrushing). You want them to want to meet “YOU” not be upset when they get there and feel duped.

Warnings:

  • Never give any money to the person.
  • Never tell them your address. They could turn out to be not what you were looking for.
  • The first couple of dates should always be in a public place.