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 Scott Alden from Howaboutwe.com, which recently claimed S.F. is the best city to find a date

Q&A: Howaboutwe.com’s Scott Alden dishes on how to date online and off

The dating site Howaboutwe.com recently claimed that San Francisco is the best city in the U.S. to find a date in. But what are the rules once you’re actually dating? Scott Alden, who blogs for the site, shares a few of his secrets for playing it cool, online and off.  

Where do you stand on the issue of who pays?
For the first couple of dates, I think the guy should offer to pay. That said, women are making a lot more money than they used to, and it doesn’t make sense to decide who pays based solely on gender. The new 50/50 should be based on income: If you’re going out to a fancy meal, the person who makes more pays. Next morning, the other person springs for coffee and bagels. You’re paying the same number of times, but one person may be paying more money.

And who should call whom?
Most guys would rather be the one to call. It’s not so much that they want to be the aggressor—they just don’t want someone who seems too interested. There’s a game, which you hopefully ditch later: You’re interested and you’re not. Being a little aloof is also a sign of respect, because if you appear to be totally into someone on the first date, it shows that you’re not really paying attention to him or her. The thing people need to cultivate is how to pick up on the signs of whether their date is interested or not.

What if you met through a site? Should you contact each other through the site again?
After the first date, do not use the site again for contact. Email, text, or call. Most people will text, which is the respectful thing to do. If you call someone, you’re putting him or her in the position of having to talk directly, and not everyone’s good on the phone. For clarity and respect, texting is the way to go. If you had a great time and you’re sure you hit it off, go ahead and call. If in doubt, text.

Is it normal to ask for someone’s email address?
It’s normal to ask for someone’s phone number. But to ask for someone’s email address is a little…weird. There’s something about email that’s totally awkward, and it won’t result in the two of you going on a second date. It builds up a false sense of connection. You have an ongoing conversation that’s not a real conversation. Also, from email, it’s very easy to go to Gchat, or IM, and that’s the worst.

What kind of profile photos are most attractive?
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, you should tell your story in pictures. I recommend at least three, maybe more. You want one that’s just flattering—definitely run it by a friend. The others should be indicative of your interests: hiking, waterskiing, fashion design, whatever.

And what kinds of photos are gross?
I’ve seen the weirdest thing lately. Girls will have pictures of themselves stuffing their faces with a huge burger. I don’t understand how they can think that’s attractive. And guys will have a picture of themselves in the mirror with their hat backwards and their shirt off, showing off their abs. The guy just looks like a douche bag. It shows all he’s interested in is sex. So guys, if you have to take your shirt off, make sure it’s a probable shirt-off scenario—at the beach, a barbecue, surfing—and not just you in the bathroom.
 

Like what Scott has to say? Check out his advice on The Date Report, Howaboutwe's blog. 

 

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Annie Tittiger is the Managing Editor for San Francisco magazine.