Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cheating. Explained.

I was always sort of oblivious to the weather...until I lived in Wisconsin for four years. That's when I really understood the sky's ability to impact human behavior.

Sure, one cloudy day might not make a difference. But waking up to cloudy skies over...and over...and over...can weigh on your mood.

That's why I wasn't too shocked upon finding this headline: "Changes in weather add to birds’ marital woes."

Of course, the logic is a little more complicated than "it's cold, I'm depressed and I'm tired of this relationship."

Long story short: Research suggests that in birds, infidelity is more common in severe weather. Why? "Because birds seek different traits in their mates as conditions change." We're talking about food-gathering skills, not kissing talents.

Our reasoning might be different, but I can see weather impacting infidelity in humans, too. Based on pure speculation, I'd say we're more likely to cheat in spring and summer, when the warm weather brings us out of social hibernation and back into the party scene.

Also, those months are devoid of couples-focused holidays like Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Too much Sex and the City?

The CW has selected an actress to play a young Carrie Bradshaw on a show that will focus on the "Sex and the City" character's high school years.

The actress: AnnaSophia Robb.

Haven't heard of her? That's OK. Maybe the "Sex and the City" prequel won't appeal to die-hard "Sex and the City" fans. It might even weaken their obsession.

I know, I know. Apparently, you can never have too much of a good thing. But I'm not sure if that mentality should apply to "Sex and the City."

The first "Sex and the City" film was surprisingly good. The second was pretty "meh," though things could have been worse. But I thought we agreed that with the second film, we'd end our attempts to breathe new life into the series.

Then again, I know 20- and 30-somethings who are still absolutely psyched about anything related to the show -- new and old.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. "Sex and the City" had its glory days, but now it's time to move on.

That said, I'll probably watch at least one episode of the prequel.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday power anthem

Today's power anthem is an extension of the Oscars. If you missed Sunday's ceremony, read my recap here.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

More than friends

Remember your earliest romantic relationships?

It's hard to forget the thrill of "going out" without, well, never actually going anywhere. Not to mention "breaking up" without a long, involved conversation.

What's your earliest memory of romantically pursuing someone of the opposite gender?

One study suggests friendships become romantic at an average age of 10. Does that surprise you?

I think it sounds right. My first serious "crush" happened in fourth grade, the same time I watched people pass notes devoted to the complexities of "going out." By fifth grade, I was witnessing full-fledged love triangles.

Do you have similar memories?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweet dreams?

A recent episode of "Khloe & Lamar" gave me inspiration for a blog post. Judge me accordingly.

Anyway, the couple got into a huge (possibly scripted) fight because Lamar's insomnia was interfering with Khloe's sleep schedule.

Scripted or not, the conflict isn't confined to reality TV stars.

It's hard to find a romantic partner whose sleep schedule matches yours. Even if you're not sleeping in the same bed, you must contend with logistical issues like how to spend time together if you require drastically different bedtimes.

Exhibit A: My boyfriend recently got a new schedule that requires him to start work at 5 a.m. He goes to bed around 9 p.m. I usually end work at 7 p.m., which doesn't leave us much time to bond. But we make it work. Usually.

Are conflicting sleep schedules ruining your relationship?

If it's any consolation, some research suggests an eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. So staying up a little past your bedtime for a spontaneous date night might not be that bad after all.

Are you listening, honey?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's wrong with settling?

You can probably respond to this post's headline quickly. In relationships, the term "settling" often generates all sorts of negative images. Maybe it's among many daters' worst fears.

Nonetheless, I found these study results detailed in a recent Daily Beast article:

A whopping 31 percent of adult men said they’d commit to a person they were not in love with — as long as as she had all the other attributes they were looking for in a mate — and 21 percent said they'd commit under those same circumstances to somebody they weren't sexually attracted to. The equivalent numbers for women were far lower.

But women have discussed settling, too. The Daily Beast piece points to Lori Gottlieb’s "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" as an example.

We need to think about the difference between settling and accepting the fact that no relationship will be perfect.

If we commit to a relationship that's fulfilling and enjoyable, yet hardly a storybook romance, is that settling? I don't know.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras in Columbus

Happy Mardi Gras! Still need plans for tonight? I can help.

If you’re looking for Columbus dining options, try these ideas:

Big Easy Wings, 3709 Gentian Blvd., hosts a Mardi Gras party that will include New Orleans music, trinkets and beads. The restaurant will give away a Mardi Gras coleslaw and beignet with every wing order. Specials include a deal with 20-piece wings, large Cajun fries and two drinks for $15.99. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Cafe Le Rue, 2523 Airport Thruway, offers its standard Cajun menu plus king cake and entertainment. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Downstairs at the Loft, 1032 Broadway, opens at 5 p.m. and will have live music, Cajun food specials and drink specials.

Henry’s, 5126 Hamilton Road, will offer authentic Louisiana cuisine. Expect hand grenades, hurricanes, beignets and more. Hours: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Uptown Wings, 1250 Broadway, offers specials like gumbo, a shrimp po’ boy and red beans and rice. There’s a $15 all-you-can-eat special. Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Here are some options on the Columbus bar scene:

Flip Flops, 1111 Broadway, will have a masquerade ball with drink specials, DJ music and a costume/mask contest. Expect hurricane daiquiris and king cake shots. Action starts at 6 p.m., no cover.

Mix Ultra Lounge, 1107 Broadway, hosts a party with three DJs and free beads while they last. Prizes to the women with the most beads through the night. Doors open at 8 p.m., no cover before 9 p.m. Cover is $5 before 11 p.m., $10 after 11 p.m.

The Shanty Shack, 4475 Warm Springs Road, celebrates with a martini party and Bud Light Platinum Party. Expect beads, giveaways and DJ music. No cover, action starts at 4 p.m.

SoHo Bar & Grill, 5751 Milgen Road, offers hurricanes, complimentary gumbo, party favors and a Party Bra contest. No cover, open mike hosted by Tripp Wrigley. Doors open at 2 p.m., party starts at 8 p.m.

Spicoli’s, 5762 Milgen Road, will have beads, drink specials and live music beginning at 7 p.m. No cover.

The Sports Page, 5736 Veterans Parkway, will have a masquerade contest and 21-and-older karaoke party that starts at 7 p.m. No cover.

The Vault, 1026 Broadway, opens at 8 p.m. and will offer drink specials including hurricanes. No cover.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday power anthem

Happy birthday, Rihanna! Have a great week, everybody!

Friday, February 17, 2012

PETA and dating

Do you think this PETA ad is offensive? Harmless? Somewhere in between? Please share your thoughts.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Speaking of the weekend...

Two noteworthy theme parties for this weekend:

Need Friday night plans? The Bavarian House, 2528 Weems Road in Columbus, hosts a Carnival celebration on Friday with food specials and music by Mike & Pete. Action starts at 7 p.m. and there’s no cover charge. This event is open to guests of all ages. Call 706-257-1775 for more information.

Also, there's a Saturday toga party at Columbus nightclub Illusions, 6499 Veterans Parkway in Columbus. It's free if you wear a toga. Otherwise, cover is $5. Action starts at 9 p.m. Learn more here.

Read my colleague Sara Pauff's blog for more weekend options. She usually posts ideas on Fridays.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dating: Take it to the house

Hope you survived Valentine's Day. If you're in a relationship, maybe the day's emphasis on romance made you think about cohabitation.

If that's the case, you might want to read the results of this love and housing survey, which gave me all sorts of discussion questions.

Like this line: "Only 5 percent of unmarried American adults would choose to date someone who lives with their parents."

Surprised? Do you think the number is accurate?

Then, there's this interesting issue: "Seventy-two percent of men and 54 percent of women say they don't care whether their partner owns or rents their home, the survey found."

When, if ever, should someone's living situation be a dating dealbreaker?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day survival guide

Happy Valentine's Day! are you holding up? Any major breakdowns or office flower delivery drama?

I've never been a Valentine's Day hater, even in my single years. The holiday is often more comfortable when you're in a relationship, but having a significant other hardly guarantees a hassle-free Valentine's Day.

Once you have a partner, you have to deal with outside judgment about where you're going for dinner, what kind of flowers you received and everything in between.

Breathe. We'll get through this. Here are some Valentine's-related links you might enjoy:

Time magazine has an interesting "Valentine's Day by the numbers" roundup. Fun fact: There's an estimated 40 percent increase in requests for divorce lawyers around mid-February each year, according to the article.

Jezebel taught me something cool. Type this equation into Google and see what happens:

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7) *(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

My colleague Sara Pauff has a great blog post about online PDA and how Facebook has possibly killed the traditional love letter.

Finally, in a bit of shameless self-promotion, I'll note that I have a new radio gig. I'm a relationship correspondent on "Time Out with Sam Mitchell," which airs 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports Radio 1460 AM.

You can hear me around 3:15 p.m. today (special Valentine's segment), as well as 3:15 p.m. Fridays. Listen to the show online here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday power anthem

No explanation necessary.

(But if you'd like an explanation, you can read my Grammy Awards recap here.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day wedding proposals

Before I get into my main point, I'll direct you to my roundup of local Valentine's activities, other than dining options. This weekend includes a couples' 5K race (Saturday) and a couples' yoga workshop (Sunday).

Anyway...proposing on Valentine's Day is a total "no," right?

I mean, it seems like one of the least creative proposal options ever. Get engaged on Valentine's Day and the specialness of your love will inevitably be buried by all your friends' romantic fluff.

But not everyone sees things my way.

Roughly 10 percent of annual engagements take place on Valentine's Day, according to this Huffington Post article. It offers tips for guys who are thinking about proposing on Feb. 14.

An excerpt:

Just like pro sports teams charge extra for tickets to a big rivalry game, restaurants and florists will raise prices for Valentine's Day. This may mean more to you if you're on a tight budget or blew all your money on the ring. Consider combatting the costs with incorporating a home-cooked meal.

Hmm...sorry, I still don't see the appeal of a Valentine's Day proposal. Do you feel the same way?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day meals

Don't miss our Ledger-Enquirer dining roundup of local restaurants offering Valentine's Day specials. Some of those specials start this weekend.

Two-thirds of couples will spend more than $100 for a Valentine's dinner, and about 10 percent will spend $200 or more for the occasion, according to information in this Reuters article.

Do those numbers surprise you?

I can't imagine spending more than $200 on Valentine's dinner. Of course, I'd be perfectly happy to have someone else spend $200 on my Valentine's dinner. Just kidding. Really.

BUT...if I were to savor a $200 dinner, I'd rather do it on a random day instead of Feb. 14. There's just so much pressure on Valentine's Day. Something is bound to go wrong, shattering your expectations and making you hate yourself for shelling out $200 on food and drinks.

Do you feel the same way?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cockroaches are sexy

What happens when your relationship moves beyond the roses-and-chocolate phase?

You buy your significant other a cockroach.

The new little friend won't actually reside with your sweetie. It will stay at the Bronx Zoo.

Time magazine describes the Valentine's Day gift option here. Apparently, the Bronx Zoo has 58,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches on its premises.

For $10, you can name one of those cockroaches after your sweetheart. Added bonus: The gift supports the Wildlife Conservation Society.

If you're reading this from Columbus, don't worry. Anyone can purchase the gift online, regardless of your location.

I think it's pretty cute.

But of course, this type of gift is well-received only when both parties have a similar outlook on Valentine's Day. Warning: Cockroaches and roses are NOT interchangeable.

What do you think about the gift idea?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What went wrong?

I've always been a fan of post-breakup exit interviews.

After the initial rage subsides, a natural curiosity often comes in the aftermath of severed romantic ties.

"What could I have done differently?"

"Why didn't you break up with me earlier?"

"Am I really THAT bad?"

Enter, a website that promises, "We help people to find out why their relationship ended."

I learned about the site from this story and was immediately intrigued. The site lets you solicit feedback from an ex about why your relationship turned sour.

Good idea? Sure! Well, maybe.

It's one thing to ask the aforementioned's another thing to accept an honest response. And in many cases, we know what went wrong. We just don't want to say it out loud.

You can argue the site helps people become more successful daters in the future. But you can also argue the site keeps us stuck in our often unresolvable pasts.

What do you think?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday power anthem

Since I haven't entirely escaped Super Bowl mania, today's power anthem is halftime footage from Sunday's big game. What did you think about Madonna's performance?

Seize the day, strike a pose and express yourself.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nagging. Discuss.

"Honey, don't leave those dishes in the sink."

It starts as an innocent reminder. You think you're just being helpful. You think there's nothing wrong with your tone. But somehow, when you utter the line for the 10th time, your relationship explodes.

Sound silly? Think again.

This Wall Street Journal column calls nagging a "marriage killer." An excerpt:

Nagging can become a prime contributor to divorce when couples start fighting about the nagging rather than talking about the issue at the root of the nagging, says Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies.

For 30 years, Dr. Markman has researched conflict and communication in relationships and offered relationship counseling and marriage seminars.

He says that while all couples deal with nagging at some point, those who learn to reduce this type of negative communication will substantially increase their odds of staying together and keeping love alive. Couples who don't learn often fall out of love and split up.

The next logical question: When does necessary communication become nagging?