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Archive for SEX & RELATIONSHIPS

Are You ALONE for The Holidays? What’s Your Story…… via [heartbreakrecoverykitchen]

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No, we’re not the first to solicit very, very, very short stories. Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote a 6-word short story when challenged, in a bar, of course. His story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

We’re going to be a little more generous with our word count, increasing it to 10 words (or less if you’re feeling concise). And we’re focusing solely on heartbreak, whether it’s due to a lost love, a lost job, a lost pet, or a less-harrowing misfortune or pratfall (like the time my freshly baked chocolate cake skittered off its pedestal and across the kitchen floor. I would have invoked the five-second rule if it hadn’t broken into many very untidy pieces).

We also want to provide solutions for others who might find themselves wallowing in a deep blue funk. So offer up a remedy or a recipe that helped you heal your broken heart or made you feel a smidge better.

Here’s one of mine:

Our eyes met. Our hearts fused. Then he looked away.

My remedy?

I cried, then headed for the kitchen to create these cookies.

They’re Lime-Sugar Cookies Dipped in Dark Chocolate. The ties are made from Fruit Roll-Ups, carefully cut into shape with a paring knife. I used a scalloped cookie cutter to take the “bite” out of each head. Eyes are M&Ms. On some of the boys, I used a straw to create an “O” shape for the mouth. It adds a surprised expression to his face. On others, I simply used red frosting to pipe a sad expression. Then I dipped the lower half of each boy into melted dark chocolate with a smidge of shortening added for sheen.

What’s your story … in 10 words or less? Be sure to provide a remedy or recipe that helped take the edge off.

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Responses to “What’s Your Story?”

She swallowed the worst news of her life—using champagne.

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This is not my original recipe, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I found it. I keep it in the freezer, and just “dig out” a serving of the slush when I need a true lift. It’s great in very hot weather. Good for Derby parties, too, because it’s not too heavy and not too sweet.

Bourbon Slush

1 12 oz can frozen orange juice – thawed

1 12 oz can frozen lemonade – thawed

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups bourbon (we like Jim Beam)

2 cups boiling water with 4 tea bags steeped in it for 5 minutes (remove tea bags)

7 cups boiling water

Mix all ingredients in a plastic gallon bowl type container.

Place in freezer for 48 hours to ensure that it is completely frozen.

Scoop out with ice cream scoop or large spoon into glasses.

Michelle

She finally nabbed his heart with a chocolate cake.

My 92-year old grandmother wrote a beautiful journal about how SHE courted my grandfather. In those days the women didn’t pursue the men but my grandmother knew a good deal when she saw it. She finally nabbed his heart with a chocolate cake. In her journal she wrote, “So to all my darling granddaughters, if you want to win the heart of the man you love, bake him a chocolate cake.” I tried it on my boyfriend who is now my husband of 20 + years. Never underestimate the power of cake.

—Staci

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A tale of heartbreak and woe ends happily with potato.

Peruvian potato torte, that is. Recipe: http://cursivemechanics.ca/2010/07/15/salvation-in-a-potato/

Salvation in a Potato

by Jodi ~

Causa limeña: savoury Peruvian potato torte

In my autobiography, April 2006 through July 2006 will be known as “The Dark Period.”

I don’t remember what I ate during The Dark Period. More than that, I don’t remember eating at all. It did wonders for my figure. Oh, that glorious warm summer morning when I slid into a black pencil skirt that had been hanging patiently in my closet for several seasons. The well-tailored darts sheathed my hips with nary a ripple, and the pink blouse with the primly buttoned short sleeves I wore with it finally fit without pinching my triceps.

It was a hollow victory, though, in what was such a bleak time, a stretch of months through which I drifted with a heart that had practically stopped beating and feet that shuffled along reluctantly, without direction. I wore sunglasses whenever I was in public, as tears dripped from my eyes unpredictably, and often. When people spoke to me I was forced to ask them to repeat themselves twice, sometimes three times, as my brain was too full of grief to let anything else penetrate.

The weighty sadness I carried with me everywhere both numbed me and made me cringe with sensitivity. One moment I would be staring out the window of the GO train that carried me to and from work, watching the scenery whip by in a blur as I struggled to feel the arm that was clearly connected to my body, to raise my hand from where it lay, helpless, palm-side-up, on the seat beside me. The next I would sense acutely every hair on my head, the point where each strand burst from my scalp feeling like it had been poked open with the prick of a white-hot pin.

Through it all food barely registered in my conscious mind as a daily requirement. The Dark Period is perhaps the only period in recent memory when some part of my brain has not been turning over the possibilities — of ingredients, menus, spots to meet friends for dinner or drinks, locations from which to food-gather. The smell of coffee turned my stomach. I’d feel hungry only to drop whatever was in my hand as the nausea rose after the first bite. As time wore on it occurred to me that I had not turned on the stove in weeks, and then those weeks turned into months. I panicked. Eyes wide with fear, I asked the unthinkable question to a friend who had met me one Sunday afternoon to see how I was doing.

“What if I never want to cook again?”

My dear and wise friend, who knows me only too well — her birthday is the day after mine; we often joke that we share a brain — gave my arm a gentle pat and me a tender smile.

“Give it time, Jo. It will come,” she said. Of course she was talking about more than just my desire to cook.

Naturally, she was right, and as summer let its hair down the tension of The Dark Period began to ease. I started to feel at home again instead of an awkward intruder in my own living space. Conversation sputtered back to life and began to echo familiar rhythms. There was occasional laughter. And suddenly, one afternoon, like a bolt out of the blue it arrived: the inclination to cook.

Never mind that it was far too hot to do anything elaborate in the kitchen — the weather certainly wasn’t going to stop me after such an extended dry spell. Instead, I did one of the things I do best. I pulled a bunch of cookbooks from my shelf, leafed through their pages, and let my imagination wander. A grain salad, I thought, might be just the thing for getting reacquainted with my kitchen. But a grain salad seemed so practical and wholesome when I wanted something a little indulgent. A frozen dessert? No. Too frosty and aloof when I wanted something comforting. So when I stumbled upon a recipe for a traditional Peruvian savoury torte, served chilled, I knew it was perfect. Smooth mashed potatoes, rich layers of egg and olives, a tiny nip of heat from green chiles. I committed myself into causa limeña’s hands.

My kitchen welcomed me as if I had never been gone. My knives fit comfortably in my grip. When I reached into cupboards by rote for pots and bowls, it felt as if they fairly leapt into my reaching hands. The sound of peppercorns being crushed in the grinder was music to my ears. My taste buds jumped to attention when called upon to test levels of flavour. At the end of it all, it was time to sit down to eat. The torte?

It was cold. It was tangy. It was filling. It was tasty. It was good for me.

I had found salvation in a potato.

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Red wine simmering atop gas stove, unattended. Overflow! Giant flames.

I nearly set my apartment on fire making this Coq Au Vin recipe, wasting an entire bottle of wine in the process. My remedy: a tight-fitting lid to snuff out the flames, and a glass of wine poured from a back-up bottle to calm my nerves.

Recipe: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?docid=7827

Modern Coq au Vin

Why this recipe works: Although conventional recipes for coq au vin take upwards of three hours to prepare, we felt that this rustic dish shouldn’t be so time-consuming. After all, it’s basically a chicken fricassee. We wanted to create a dish with tender, juicy chicken infused with the flavors of red wine, onions, mushrooms, and bacon in under two hours.

We decided to use chicken parts; this way, we could pick the parts we liked best. If using a mix of dark and white meat, we found it’s essential to start the dark before the white, so that all the meat finishes cooking at the same time and nothing is overcooked or undercooked. To thicken the stewing liquid, we sprinkled flour over the sautéed vegetables and whisked in butter toward the end of cooking; the butter also provided a nice richness in the sauce. Chicken broth added a savory note to the sauce and gave it some body; an entire bottle of red wine provided a great base of flavor. Tomato paste was a fuss-free way to add extra depth and body to the sauce, while a sprinkling of crisp, salty bacon rounded out the acidity of the wine.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle fruity, smooth, medium-bodied red wine
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tbs minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 oz bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs , trimmed of excess fat and cut in half
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter
  • 24 frozen pearl onions , thawed, drained, and patted dry (about 1 cup)
  • 8 oz pkg cremini mushrooms , wiped clean, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper

A medium-bodied, fruity red wine such as Pinot Noir or Rhône Valley Grenache is best for this recipe. Avoid bold, heavily oaked red wine varietals like Cabernet and light-bodied wines like Beaujolais. To use fresh pearl onions, trim the root and stem end of each onion and discard. Boil for 1 minute, shock in ice water, then peel a thin strip from root to stem. Remove any remaining outer skin (it’s like peeling off a jacket). If neither frozen nor fresh pearl onions are available, substitute one large onion cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (Do not use jarred pearl onions, which will turn mushy and disintegrate into the sauce.) Serve the stew with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

Jeanne

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Returned to memory-packed restaurant in Arles. Now a Häagen Daz.

“Le Criquet” in Arles was the sweetest restaurant in the world–the old man served, and his wife cooked…they were surrogate grandma and grandpa to the tableful of young backpackers who crowded in for the 55-franc ($8) menus.

I offer my version of Blanquette de Porc in their honor:
http://chezbonnefemme.com/blanquettedeporc.aspx

Blanquette de Porc
Photograph by Richard Swearinger
Blanquette de veau, a veal stew with a luscious wine-laced sauce, is classic Bonne Femme fare. While I enjoy it made with veal in France, at home, I substitute pork blade steak–a cut from the shoulder. Not only is it so much easier to find, but it’s a rich, bold, comforting cut of meat that feels right at home in this classic stew. It’s also a more foolproof cut of meat; while veal can be tricky and dry out if cooked too quickly, pork shoulder is much more forgiving. 

For me, this is perfect Sunday night food–great for one of those autumn or winter weekends you just don’t want to end. Invite a couple friends over, open some wine (I like a good white Burgundy with this) and eke out as much pleasure from the evening as you can. As always with rich, meaty dishes, a garlicky green salad will go well with this. For dessert, a few hunks of cheese alongside bread and some high-quality honey or preserves will do just fine.

 

Makes 6 servings 

3 – 3 1/2 pounds pork blade steak (also called pork steak)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

2 cloves

1 large carrot, cut in half crosswise, then each half cut into quarters

1 celery rib including leaves, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 cups dry white wine

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 bouquet garni*

n

4 carrots, cut into 1/4 x 2 inch sticks

1/2 16-ounce bag pearl onions

6 ounces fresh tiny button mushrooms (or use larger mushrooms, halved or quartered), stems

trimmed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

n

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Hot parsleyed noodles, for serving

 

1. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Cut pork off the bone into 1 to 2 inch pieces, trimming most of the fat away as you go. Season pork to taste with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a braiser over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the pork, half at a time, in hot oil for 5 to 7 minutes per batch, turning as needed to brown evenly. Drain any fat and return all meat to the pot. Stud two of the onion quarters with the cloves; add the onion quarters, carrot, celery, wine, broth, and bouquet garni to the pot. Bring to boiling; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes or until pork is tender.

2. About 15 minutes toward the end of the cooking time for the pork, prepare the vegetables: In a large saucepan, bring the four cut carrots, the frozen pearl onions, and 1/4 cup lightly salted water to boiling; cover and simmer over medium heat for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain and remove vegetables to a colander. In the same saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Cook and stir the button mushrooms in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender and light brown. Return onions and carrots to the pot; set aside and cover to keep warm.

3. Drain the pork, reserving the cooking stock. Wipe out any residue in Dutch oven. Place pork in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm; discard other solids, including the cloves and bouquet garni. Skim fat from the cooking stock; pour through a fine-mesh sieve back into the Dutch oven. Bring to boiling and boil until reduced to 2 cups.

4. Work the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the flour together to form a paste. Drop into cooking stock, half a time, cooking and stirring with a wire whisk after each addition until well integrated. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 1 minute more; add the cream, stirring with a wire whisk to combine.

5. Return meat to Dutch oven; add vegetables and lemon juice. Cook and stir very gently to heat through. Serve with hot parsleyed noodles or baked rice.

* Note: For a bouquet garni, using kitchen string tie together 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 5 sprigs parsley, and one bay leaf (or tuck these into an bouquet garni cheesecloth spice bag). Or use a purchased bouquet garni.

chezbonnefemme

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My lovely listener lost, I talk to God and ghost.

One of the hardest things about losing a spouse is not having that person to share good news with or just the details of your day. So many times, I found myself thinking “I can’t wait to tell Jim this” before catching myself.
Now, if you see me out for a walk or driving in the car and I seem to be talking to myself, I’m probably talking to Jim, or to God. Or I might just be talking to myself!

Anne

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The Aussie said my apple pie almost made him stay.

The remedy didn’t come upon me right away. Most don’t. But after weeks and weeks of heartrending aching, I thought, I’m going to make that apple pie even better. And it continues to evolve. But not for him. For me.

Renee

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Eating pupus while laughing not advised! Flying fish everywhere.

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Amy

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SEXY Pizza Recipes for 2 : Caviar & Lobster Pizza / Fig & Gorgonzola Pizza via [funkiefood]

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Romantic Recipes for Two …

Over the years I have collated a whole bunch of romantic dinner recipes. Some of these are my own and some are my favourites from chefs who truly understand sexy food. So if you are planning a romantic dinner for two, then take a browse through my recipes below and find that romantic recipe for two that suits your taste and mood.

Our readers would be most greatful if you shared your romantic dinner for two experience also. Just click here and drop me a line. Also, if you would like to contribute your own Romantic Recipes for Two, please don’t be bashful.

For pure indulgence, here’s a pizza recipe from John Lanzafame.
John is the current World Pizza Champion.You should definitely buy this book. 

Lobster and caviar pizza
Makes one 30cm (12 inch) pizza

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Coarse semolina for dusting
1 qty pizza dough (see John’s video below)
1 1/2 fl oz (45ml) shellfish glaze (page 20 of Johns book)
1 1/2 oz (40g) mascarpone cheese
1 small raw lobster tail, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of baby capers
2 tablespoons pitted green olives
3 tablespoons thinly sliced eel (I prefer to leave this out)
1 oz (25g) grated mozzerella cheese
Grapeseed oil, for deep frying
2 1/4 oz (60g) cleaned baby calamari cut into rings
1/3 cup conrflour
1 large handful of watercress sprigs
2 tablespoons lemon dressing (page 28 Johns book)
2 tablespoons good quality caviar

 Ounces to grams (oz to gr) and grams to ounces  (gr to oz) Online  Calculator - Converter / Conversion Chart / Table

Place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat to 500F (250C)

Lightly dust your workbench with semolina, then roll out the dough into a 12 inch round (30cm) place on a pizza tray and prick all over with a fork (dock it). Spread the shellfish glaze over the base, then top with dollops of mascarpone, lobster, capers, olives, smoked eel and grated mozzarella in that order. Place on the pre-heated stone and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the base is golden or crisp.

Meanwhile heat the oil to 350F (180C) or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Dust the calamari in cornflour, shaking off the excess, then deep fry for 30 seconds, or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and season to taste.

Remove pizza from the oven. Toss the watercress sprigs with the lemon dressing and scatter over the pizza, then top with the fried calamari, sprinkle with the caviar and serve.

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Another great Sexy pizza recipe from John Lanzafame. This one using one of the most popular aphrodisiac foods… figs 

Fig & Gorgonzola Pizza
Makes one 30cm (12 inch) pizza

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Coarse semolina for dusting
1 qty pizza dough (see John’s video above)

1 1/2 fl oz (45ml) Bechemel sauce
1 1/2 oz (40g) gorgonzola cheese
1 oz (25g) grated mozzerella cheese
1 small raw lobster tail, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
3 medium sized figs
6 thin slices of proscuitto
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle
Pecorina Cheese to finish

 Ounces to grams (oz to gr) and grams to ounces  (gr to oz) Online  Calculator - Converter / Conversion Chart / Table

Place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat to 500F (250C)

Lightly dust your workbench with semolina, then roll out the dough into a 12 inch round (30cm) place on a pizza tray and prick all over with a fork (dock it). Spread the bechemel sauce over the base, then top with dollops of gorgonzolla cheese, parsley, and the grated mozzarella in that order. Place on the pre-heated stone and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the base is golden or crisp.

Remove pizza from the oven. cut the pizza into 6 pieces. Place quartered figs quickly onto the pizza followed by the proscuitto slices. Using a microplane, grate fresh pecorino cheese over the pizza and then drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. and serve.

 



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The BIG Turn-On: The Complex Science Behind Sexual Attraction via [psychologytoday]

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Fast Forces of Attraction

Attraction is a symphony in which many different instruments—wit, voice, charisma, class, and body language—play a part.

By PT Staff

When you’re attracted to someone, your whole body switches on. It’s like hearing the first bars of your favorite song. And though it might feel like magic, it isn’t random. It’s just too complex for us to discern the harmony. Attraction is so subtle that we would trip over our own feet if we were aware of every move. That’s why our brains have set us up to draw instantaneous inferences from tiny nuances of behavior, what psychologists call “thin slices” of judgment. We form first impressions of another’s attractiveness in a tenth of a second, generating a symphonic burst of desire in which everything from voice to wit plays a part.

—Jay Dixit

Smooth Talk

What we listen for in a voice.

The sound of a sexy voice can echo for generations (“Happy Birthday, Mr. President… “). And the dissonance of an ear-blistering cackle can turn away even the most interested suitors (call it the Fran Drescher effect). But between these extremes, how much do we weigh the voice of a potential partner—and what do we listen for when they first open their mouths?

Accents affect our perceptions, as do speed and pitch. We judge fast talkers to be more educated, and those with varied inflection to be more interesting. Men prefer higher voices in women, and women like deeper voices in men (especially when ovulating or looking for a short-term relationship). Pitch correlates only loosely with height, but is closely tied to hormone levels—meaning it’s a good indicator of fertility or dominance, as well as health and attractiveness. “In general, people with attractive voices have attractive faces,” says David Feinberg, a psychologist at McMaster University.

If your voice eclipses your face as your star quality, keep your mouth moving. One study showed that hearing tones that matched men’s or women’s voices made androgynous headshots appear more masculine or feminine. In other words, a sonorous voice can actually enhance your looks.

—Matthew Hutson

In Good Repute

The delicate matter of advance word.

No matter how spectacular your entrance, your reputation got there before you. And it has primed everyone’s reptilian brain to render a high-speed decision on whether you are to be trusted. If the answer is affirmative, that charming chap holding court in the center of the room may be kindly disposed to flash you a smile, let down his guard, and begin the dance of attraction.

But if the amygdala sends up a caution flag—otherwise known as anxiety—you may have to work extra hard to create a positive impression. It may be, finds a team of German and Austrian researchers, that we’re all far more attuned to advance word than to the evidence before our very eyes.

People like people whom others find attractive. You might be inclined to think it’s because socializing with (or sleeping with) the It girl enhances your own status in the crowd. And maybe it does. But a recent study suggests it’s also an effective mating shortcut. Choosing a good partner takes time and energy. When one woman finds a guy attractive, others are likely to flock to him too. Scientists call it “mate-choice copying.” It makes life easier for fish and birds, and it turns out to be the way people operate, too.

—Hara Estroff Marano

Class Action

The allure of shared pedigree.

Most of us are drawn to those who hail from our own side of the tracks, and men and women are marrying within their social class much more than ever.

The outward signs of pedigree have gotten trickier to read, thanks to modern informality in dress and the ubiquity of cheap, high-quality clothing, notes Dalton Conley, a sociologist at NYU. Yet we’re deft at passing style judgments that place people precisely on the socioeconomic spectrum.

We’re attracted to people who look like a class match because we think they’ll validate our own choices and values and share our interests and opinions.

“We all love the story of Pretty Woman, but generally it doesn’t work that way,” says Conley. “How someone does their hair and nails and how they dress is difficult to separate from their innate attractiveness. It’s a package deal.”

—Carlin Flora

The Once Over

Not all flesh is created equal.

Ask five people what they find attractive, and you’ll get a lesson in human variability: girls with ears that stick out; guys with soulful eyes.

But ask 5,000 people and clear patterns emerge. Some traits have universal sex appeal because they’re markers of good genes, health, and fertility: a fit body, clear skin, a symmetrical face with average-sized and -shaped features, and traits that mark sex hormones: Angelina Jolie‘s big lips indicate high estrogen, while George Clooney‘s square jaw signals he’s got testosterone to burn. Women swoon over men with “adult” faces—marked by strong chin and nose—while men like women who look childlike, with smooth skin, small noses, and high cheekbones.

And everything you fear about height and weight is true: A woman’s desirability in a speed dating situation is determined largely by her thinness, while each extra inch of height gives men a 5 percent edge in the number of women interested in dating him.

But we tend to wind up with people of similar stature and girth—meaning short men end up with even shorter women, and people choose partners with similar builds. After all, a warm glance from a charmer who’s within size range is infinitely more alluring than a runway model’s cold shoulder.

—Carlin Flora

In the Mood for Love

State of mind matters, but not in the way you think.

We think of good moods as attractive—the cheerful extrovert with the full smile is more appealing than the moping loner in the corner. But researchers find what matters even more is your own mood.

Your mood affects your perceptions of others, especially in new encounters. Feeling sad, for example, dulls your sensitivity to others’ nonverbal cues, impairing your quick-take judgment and forcing you into a more deliberative, less accurate mode of constructing first impressions.

It does the same in a potential partner. So while you might be your most scintillating self, if the girl you’re closing in on is having a down day, she’s virtually blind to your charms. Which takes us to the heart of attraction. It holds up a flattering mirror to us. We’re attracted to someone when we like the way we look in their eyes. We’re most attracted to those who see us as we want to be seen, who allow us room to stretch—to be, or become, our best self.

—Hara Estroff Marano

The Charm Offensive

When two hearts beat as one.

Charisma is charm in neon lights, a social gift we can’t help but respond to when we see it. A person with charisma—think: Oprah—may bend the light waves in a room, oozing confidence and self-esteem, and we move closer because confidence makes others feel good. A person’s self-esteem guides our instant evaluations: “Hmm, if she likes herself, there must be something there for me to like, too.”

The deep secret of charismatic people, however, may be their ability to create synchrony, to induce you to adjust your bearing, speech rate, even heart rate—through locking eyes, through touch, or simply because you feel a strong rapport. Researchers believe our strongest perceptions of mutual attraction develop in those first encounters where two people have a measurable physiological reaction to one another. It’s not exactly chemistry—it’s more like electricity.

—Hara Estroff Marano

Walking Tall

Confident and friendly movements are key.

Mom was right: Good posture and a genuine smile are crucial elements of attraction. In fact, we register facial expression, hand gestures, and posture even more quickly than looks or style.

Those who look relaxed yet assured are attractive because they put us at ease—perhaps because we interpret others’ movements using mirror neurons in our brains that engender copycat emotions, says John Neffinger, a political consultant who specializes in nonverbal behavior.

“Internally summon up the attitude you’re trying to project,” Neffinger advises. “Think about what you felt like the last time you truly felt confident. Once you’ve recaptured that feeling, you’ll stand tall as you walk into the room.”

And since we’re all suckers for flattery, the easiest way to look good is to look interested. Channel your inner Bill Clinton by using steady eye contact, keeping your palms turned up, nodding, and pointing your feet toward your target.

—Carlin Flora

Playing Hard to Get

When to get your game on.

We’ve all had the experience. You make a connection, you leave a message, and… the other person doesn’t get back to you. You wait, and wonder. Is there something wrong with you? Did they meet someone else? Then, when they finally do call, you’re so relieved you never want to let them go.

“When you don’t seem too available, it makes you mysterious,” says Robert Greene, author of The Art of Seduction. “Anything you do that makes their imagination take flight furthers the seduction process.”

If you’re excited about someone, uncertainty about their interest in you can heighten your attraction to them, explains Paul Eastwick, a psychologist at Northwestern. You have a drive to reduce the uncertainty, which causes you to obsess—which in turn deepens your feelings.

We all want what we can’t have. Someone playing hard to get forces us to invest more, and the more effort we put in, the more we assume it must be worth it.

Playing hard to get works because it increases a person’s perceived value. “It’s simple sexual economics,” explains Peter Jonason, a researcher at New Mexico State University. “You give the impression of lower availability, increasing demand.” But hard-to-get is a dangerous game. We like people who like us back, and if you seem too unattainable, you risk causing the other person to give up. In sum: Stretching out that period of anxious anticipation can be a powerful weapon of courtship. Use with caution.

—Jay Dixit

Woo with Wisecracks

Separating the wit from the chaff.

All it takes is one good joke to break the ice. But while everyone wants a partner with a sense of humor, guys are usually the ones cracking wise. Why? Studies suggest that women think humor-generating men are hot because wit signals intelligence and creativity—but that men value humor appreciation much more because it indicates sexual receptivity.

The prospect of everlasting lopsided banter may not appeal to either sex, but men and women do digest humor differently. Women, the more selective daters, are also more discriminating about jokes. Brain imaging shows they process jokes more deeply and reap a larger reward response from good ones, while rejecting duds without hesitation.

Mirthmaking displays social prowess in addition to brains: knowing what to say, with what timing, in what company. Of course, the joke teller can also use humor for culling contestants: Tell a quirky joke and you’re looking for the person who gets it—and gets you. Humor is serious business: Research shows that humor compatibility promotes marital bliss.

—Matthew Hutson


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Book Review: “French Women Don’t Sleep Alone” by Jamie Cat Callan via [zabeth’scorner]

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originally posted by Zabeth

In her book French Women Don’t Sleep Alone Jamie Cat Callan outlines the romantic secrets of French women that have intrigued and captivated men (and some women) for decades. Callan unlocks the secrets that have made French women so alluring.I did find the advice offered in this book to be good; however, it’s the same advice you’d find in The Rules. Both books concur that women should not chase men, that they should play hard to get and, not make themselves too easily available. That’s nothing new or revolutionary. Also when reading this book there are some obvious caveats that you should take into consideration. First, French men are not American men and French culture is not American culture so, not everything will “translate”
so to speak. Second, the French live in a much smaller much more intimate country; therefore, their “rules of the game” will be different from our own.

I also don’t like the notion of European cultural superiority and the idea that Europe does things better than America, or that Americans need to learn something from Europeans. As a proud “can do” American I do get a bit defensive about that. Nonetheless there are many things in this book that American women can learn from French women:

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  1. Instead of going online or to a club/bar try throwing a dinner party.

    French women don’t meet men online or in bars. Instead they meet men through their existing social circle or “coterie.” Try throwing a dinner party at your home and have each guest bring one or two guests. This broadens your social circle and will give you a chance to get intimately acquainted with the people in your inner circle. Your friends and acquaintances will get to see you in a different light too- dinner parties give you a chance to show off your intellect and your cooking and conversation skills. There’s also an air of competition. When you’re online men already know you are available; when you meet at a dinner party they won’t and thus can’t take you for granted. They’ll also take note of other potential suitors.

  2. Go for a walk.

    Instead of going to a restaurant on a first date and confining yourself to that one person for 2 hours, go on a walk or a bicycle ride. This eliminates the quid-pro-quo where because the man is paying for something he feels entitled and you (may) feel obligated. Also when you’re out and about walking through town looking and smelling good other men will notice you…and don’t think your date won’t notice that. For the times when you don’t have a date, fill in the time by doing something else out and about in the world where you can be visible to the opposite sex.

  3. Dare to be feminine.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a woman and embracing your femininity. American women have had this beaten out of them for the past 40 years. French women on the other hand love being women and they don’t turn their sensuality on and off- it’s just always on. Second, French women don’t hide their intelligence. In fact they like to look brainy and appear intellectual. Intelligence isn’t a masculine trait and, real men know that smart is sexy.

  4. Take care of your body.

    French women put themselves first. Putting yourself first means taking care of your body both physically and emotionally. This is something we as BW especially, often neglect to do. Always know you’re beautiful and be happy with who you are. Exercise. Eat quality, nutritious food. Take good care of your skin. In other words, don’t neglect yourself.

  5. The myth of the French Mistress.

    Contrary to popular belief, adultery is not as tolerated in France as some people (men) would like to believe. Nor are French women as tolerant of a husband’s indiscretions as we are sometimes led to believe. Let’s also not ignore the fact that women are just as capable of being unfaithful. Affairs do happen in France but it’s really not much different than in the U.S.

Overall I’d give this book 2 and ½ stars out of 5. Callan often repeats herself- really just re-wording points she’s already made- throughout the book. However, I found it to be a cute and fast paced read that offered interesting advice and insight into another culture.



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The New Trophy Wives of the Top Media Moguls via [Marie Claire]

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The New Trophy Wives: Asian Women

Rupert Murdoch has one. So do financiers Vivi Nevo and Bruce Wasserstein. Why are the West’s most powerful men coupling up with younger Asian women?

Rupert Murdoch has one. So do financiers Vivi Nevo and Bruce  Wasserstein. Why are the West's most powerful men coupling up with  younger Asian women?

Call it the Woody Allen Effect. When the venerable director scandalously left Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter, South Korean-born Soon-Yi Previn — 35 years his junior — he may as well have sent out a press release: Asian-girl fantasy trumps that of Hollywood royalty!

Not two years after they tied the knot, media baron Rupert Murdoch walked down the aisle with fresh-faced Wendi Deng — 17 days after finalizing his divorce from his second wife. Then, CBS head Leslie Moonves wed TV news anchor Julie Chen; Oscar winner Nicolas Cage married half-his-age third wife Alice Kim; billionaire George Soros coupled up with violinist Jennifer Chun; and producer Brian Grazer courted concert pianist Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen. Add the nuptials of investment magnate Bruce Wasserstein to fourth wife Angela Chao and the pending vows between venture capitalist Vivi Nevo and Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang, and we’ve got a curious cultural ripple.

Were these tycoons consciously courting Asian babes? Do any of them qualify for the unnerving “yellow fever” or “rice king” moniker? It’s unsavory to think so. But after two or three failed attempts at domestic bliss with women of like background and age, these heavy hitters sought out something different. Something they had likely fetishized.

Enter the doll-faced Asian sylph on the arm of a silver-haired Western suit. (Hello, mail-order bride!) The excruciating colonial stereotypes — Asian women as submissive, domestic, hypersexual — are obviously nothing new. But decades after The World of Suzie Wong hit drive-ins and more than 20 years since David Bowie‘s “China Girl” topped the music charts, why are we still indulging them?

Because they’re omnipresent — and often entertaining. Even now, how many cinematic greats, literary best sellers, or even cell-phone ads (see Motorola’s latest) characterize Asian women as something other than geishas, ninjas, or dragon ladies? As the object of opening-line zingers like “Me love you long time” (the infamous line from Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket), I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the cheeky blog stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, which ranks Asian girls at number 11 because “Asian women avoid key white women characteristics, such as having a midlife crisis, divorce, and hobbies that don’t involve taking care of the children.” Sure, I’m petite and was in fact born in Shanghai, but — to the shock of more than one guy I’ve gone out with — I’d rather down an icy beer and burger than nurse bubble tea and eat dumplings while massaging his back with my toes.

“This is a common experience among Asian-American women,” says Bich Minh Nguyen, who broaches the stereotypes in her latest novel, Short Girls. “They’re dating a white guy, and they may not know if it’s a fetish thing.”

“It’s like a curse that Asian-American women can’t avoid,” says C.N. Le, director of Asian and Asian-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “From an academic point of view, the perception still serves as a motivation for white men.”

In researching his new book, The East, the West, and Sex, author Richard Bernstein found that the Orientalist illusion continues to influence. “Historically, Asia provided certain sexual opportunities that would be much more difficult for Western men to have at home. But it remains a happy hunting ground for them today,” he says, citing one phenomenon in the northeastern region of Thailand called Issan, where 15 percent of marriages are between young Thai women and Western men well into their 60s.

But I suspect there’s something else about the East that’s seducing business bigwigs at this very moment: globalization. Consider that, stateside, Mandarin classes have spiked 200 percent over the past five years (apparently, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was an early adopter; he taught Mandarin classes in his Dartmouth days), and China has claimed status as the world’s top export nation. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell theorizes that Asian kids’ intrinsic work ethic makes them outsmart American kids in math. (In the latest Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development international education survey, Taiwanese students were tops in math, while the U.S. placed 35th.) It’s as though these Western men are hungry for a piece of that mystical Eastern formula. As such, Asians (in addition to African orphans) are hot commodities right about now — status symbols as prized as a private Gulfstream jet or a museum wing bearing your name (neither of which goes so well with a frumpy, aging first wife).

Tellingly, most current trophies of choice are far more than exotic arm candy. They are accomplished musicians and journalists, they have Ivy League MBAs and hail from prestigious political families (Mrs. Wasserstein’s older sis is former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao). Why, then, are these women falling for rich white patriarchs? Why be a target for headline comparisons to concubines? When Wendi Deng was described as “The Yellow Peril” in a recent magazine profile, it only marginalized her achievement: As chief strategist for MySpace China, she has become central to News Corp.’s expansion into the elusive Chinese market — something Murdoch himself had attempted, and failed to do, before she came into the picture.

While I’m sure that real love and affection is sometimes the bond in these culture-crossing May-December romances, could it be that power divorcés of a certain ilk make the perfect renegade suitors for these overachieving Asian good girls — an ultimate (yet lame) attempt at rebellion? Maybe these outsized, world-class moguls are stand-ins for emotionally repressed Asian dads (one cliché that is predominantly true). Or…are these women just glorified opportunists? What’s so perverse is that while Asians have always revered their elders, sleeping with a guy old enough to be your grandfather is just creepy — in any culture.

Skepticism aside, the new trophy trend does have its benefits. We’re already seeing a positive impact on global politics, economics, and the arts: The Chinese became privy to online social networking in 2007 with the launch of MySpace China under the News Corp. umbrella; contemporary Chinese painters — including Xiaogang Zhang and Minjun Yue — have rung up nearly $400 million in sales on international art circuits since 2006, thanks to well-connected supporters like Ziyi Zhang; and almost 43 percent of international adoptions, which have more than tripled since 1990, now come out of Asian countries (more playdates for Pax and Maddox). What’s more, perhaps a proliferation of gorgeous, mixed-race, multilingual offspring (assuming a classical Mandarin tutor is on the Chen-Moonves registry) is just good for our landscape. However you look at it, one thing’s for sure: We’re going to have to get used to this new international power family — aging mogul and foxy Asian wife flaunting a double-wide with newborn and adopted Malawian tot. What’s next — the token trophy pet? I hear endangered Burmese rabbits are exceptionally cuddly.



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Have A Sexy Picnic for Two via [cosmo]

This time of year just begs for casual outdoor dining, where you can
relax, get cozy, eat with your fingers, and, if you’re feeling sappy,
feed each other little bites.

By Katie Lee

greek food

There’s something so intimate about a picnic with your guy. And as
the temperature begins to rise, eating outside becomes refreshing and
romantic. But no boring ham-and-cheese sandwiches or store-bought potato
salad here! Entice him with an exotic Middle East-themed menu of foods
rich in bold flavors. Pack a colorful blanket or tapestry and a few
pillows for lounging. Find a pretty spot to settle down or, if the
weather doesn’t cooperate, spread out on the floor of your apartment.
Between the aromas and tastes, you’ll be transported.

Meze Platter with Herbed Pita Crisps

Meze is traditional in Greece and Turkey and is the equivalent of
tapas or finger food. Make these homemade pita crisps, and buy the rest
in the deli at your grocery store. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
and a squeeze of lemon juice brighten up all the flavors.

2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T minced fresh herbs
(parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
2 pitas, split in half, and each
half cut into fourths (use whole wheat for a healthy alternative)

Salt
Hummus
Baba ghanoush (eggplant dip)
Dolmades (stuffed
grape leaves)
Greek olives
Tabbouleh salad
Feta cheese

Lemon wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil

For the pita crisps: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a
fork to mix butter and herbs in a bowl, then spread onto the pita
slices. Sprinkle with salt, and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.

For the meze platter: Arrange hummus, baba ghanoush,
dolmades, olives, tabbouleh, feta, and lemon on a platter. Drizzle
with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve with the pita crisps.



Moroccan Mint Tea

On my trip to Israel this past summer, we drank a refreshing mint tea
at the end of every meal. Store tea in a thermos, and pack it in your
picnic basket. I like to serve this tea in decorative Moroccan glasses.
Bonus: After drinking, your breath will be fresh and you’ll be ready
to smooch!

3 c. water
1 green-tea bag
1 c. fresh mint leaves
4 T
sugar

Boil water. Place tea bag, mint leaves, and sugar in a teapot. Add
water, and stir. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve.

Couscous Salad with Shrimp

Couscous is a staple throughout the Middle East. The traditional
stuff takes some time to prepare, but quick-cooking couscous, like in
this recipe, is still very tasty. Couscous is usually served with a
stew, but I like it as a salad for a lighter alternative that’s easy to
transport.

1 6-oz. box herb-flavored couscous
10 medium shrimp, cooked,
tails removed
1/2 c. chopped cucumber
1/2 c. sliced grape
tomatoes
2 T chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 T extra-virgin
olive oil
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Prepare couscous according to the package instructions. Let cool. In a
large bowl, combine the couscous with shrimp, cucumbers, tomatoes, and
parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and toss to combine.
Chill until serving time.

For dessert: Bring dried fruit — like apricots,
dates, prunes, and figs — to enjoy with your tea.

Perfect for a picnic: I love the chic Sofia Mini
Blanc de Blancs — small cans of sparkling wine inspired by Sofia
Coppola. (sofiamini.com)


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