In years gone by, the excepted etiquette for courting someone of the fairer sex was relatively straightforward and well established. For the most part, men and women played by a set of un-written rules. But today’s woman calls for an entirely different kind of gentleman. Unfortunately, few modern men are truly modern gentleman.
First dates are what could be the starting point for what blossoms into a meaningful and loving relationship, a casual relationship, or a new friendship. The modern gentleman approaches each new first date as an opportunity to meet someone new, engage in a new or favorite activity, or at the very least a good conversation.
Dinner & A Movie is So Passé Dinner and a movie has been many a man’s go-to first date, but the modern gentleman prefers a more intimate setting – one where conversation trumps dialogue. Dinner is still a viable option, but an invitation to drinks at a relatively popular bar can allow for a more relaxed environment. As well, if the connection just isn’t there then there isn’t the commitment of a whole meal.
A Hug Beats a Handshake People have a tendency to have physical barriers, especially when meeting new people, and by giving a hug at the beginning of the date and telling her how delightful she looks it can break down those barriers. It also demonstrates your physical attraction and sets the stage for her to reciprocate if she feels the same.
Be Dapper What you wear says everything about you. When meeting new people our senses are heightened and we notice more. Confidence can come from being dressed well. Something you are truly comfortable in, not just you feel you look good in. Though don’t take that as a license to wear your most beat up jeans and ripped t-shirt, but jeans or slacks that fit, a nice shirt, button up or t-shirt, and a jacket; matched with the right accessories like a nice watch, tasteful scarf, or single ring can bring everything together. Show up clean, groomed, but leave the cologne at home. The body produces natural pheromones that are attractive to the opposite sex so don’t mask these with the latest designer fragrance.
Whatever Happened to Class Contrary to popular opinion and culture, chivalry is not dead. The modern gentleman opens doors, pulls out chairs, offers his arm, always let her enter a room first and always let her order first. These simple gestures not only show your attraction, but that you have manners. Being respectful to her and others around you will impress her more than you think.
Leave the “Negs” at Home Some of the more popular modern dating advice for men includes the use of “negs” or negative compliments. These are meant to make your date feel insecure about herself and in turn more attracted to you. Gentlemen, leave them at home. A woman wants to feel confident, understood, and respected. Insulting her, even if done coyly, is disrespectful.
Be Honest with Her and Honest with Yourself Pretending to be someone your not with the intention of impressing her will create conflict when she finds out the truth. Be honest about your place in life and your beliefs. The goal of a first date it see if two people could be compatible enough to go on a second date. Basing compatibility on deception isn’t fair to either people. If the date isn’t going well, or there is clearly not a mutual attraction or connection, then be honest and end the date. There is a antiquated cultural expectation that dates start with hello and end with a kiss on her doorstep and an invitation upstairs. If you can’t see yourself asking for that invitation for reasons beyond boredom or sexual frustration, then ask for the check, say you had a lovely time and say good night.
Freshen Up Your Abode The modern gentleman always keeps his home clean, but take the extra few minutes before you leave to do a once over. Make sure your home looks as though if your mother stopped by you wouldn’t be embarrassed. If the night happens to make it back to your place, the modern gentleman should be able to entertain late night guests without having to worry about stray socks or dirty dishes. Though the modern gentleman doesn’t go into a first date with the expectation that he will return with her, but he is always prepared. Besides, if the date doesn’t work out then you still get to come home to a clean house.
Pay for the Evening The modern gentleman believes in gender equality and a woman should have the right to pay if she wants. He also lives under the rule that the one who invites pays. If she offers, say no, let her know she was your guest and discreetly slip your card to the bartender and turn back to your conversation.
If You Kiss Her, Leave Your Tongue at Home If the first date has gone reasonably well then going for the kiss might be the next reasonable course of action. Just make sure to leave the tongue at home. A well-timed meaningful kiss can be the perfect end to a night, but an awkward tongue slip could spell disaster. If you aren’t sure if a kiss on the lips is right, then take her hand and kiss that; if she returns with a big smile then go for it.
Don’t Try to Sleep with Her, Unless That’s All You’re Looking For Sex on a first date sets the precedent that sex is all you are looking for and all she is good for. If there is a true emotional connection, wait for several dates before becoming physically intimate. If emotional intimacy is allowed to grow first then the physical will be mind-blowing.
Illinois House of Representatives Adopts Resolution Honoring Fathers’ Rights Attorney Jeffery M. Leving
By Matthew Schultz
On April 26, 2012 the Illinois House of Representatives adopted Resolution No. 995 honoring Attorney Jeffery M. Leving “for his work in safeguarding the rights of fathers and protecting the welfare of children and families in this State” and for his “hard work, integrity, and dedication for the people of the State of Illinois.” The Illinois House of Representatives resolved that Leving be presented with a copy of this Resolution “as a symbol of our esteem and respect.”
“I am very honored by this lifetime achievement recognition by the Illinois House of Representatives,” said Attorney Leving.
Leving also serves as the Chair of the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood (http://responsiblefatherhood.illinois.gov) at the pleasure of the Governor and was honored by the White House by being presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his work with the Council.
Leving served as an expert resource to the first White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships Town Hall Meeting on Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families in Chicago.
Leving’s newly released, How to Be a Good Divorced Dad received both praise and support from Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago and President Obama. Two world leaders, often with very different views, both came together and agreed on the importance of Leving’s new book and his work for families and children.
Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to experience both the historical and modern Thai culture coexisting side by side – picture centuries-old chedis and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels.
This strange, but amazing, balance can best be seen and felt within the moat-encircled old city, which retains much of the fortified wall that once protected the city center as well as the four main gates that provided access to this former Lanna capital city.
We arrived mid-evening taking a quick taxi from the airport to our accommodations at The Small Hotel, a fantastic boutique hotel near the city center. After the non-stop movement that was Bangkok, it was nice to find a place with a slower pace, cleaner air, and a sense of calm that could only be found in a city rich with Buddhist temples, monks, and the smell of incense.
We crashed in the hotel for the better part of the night. We ended waking up around 4am rested, ready, and hungry.
Looking out from my hotel balcony in the moonlight sky with streetlamp lit roads I could feel there was a stillness now, but an impending madness as the city slowly woke to the new morning.
For what would not be the only time while I was staying at The Small Hotel, I watched as a small parade of saffron-robed monks with pots for alms make their way down the boulevard stopped by a local shopkeeper whom was loading in her goods for the day to pray with her. She offered alms then got down on her knees while the seven monks prayed with her.
Few people could be seen in the streets heading in one general direction, so we followed them through the old gates into the city center where we found a large open-air market that was just starting to come to life. As the sun rose so did the proprietors and shoppers in search of this morning’s ingredients or their breakfast.
The market came to a ubrupt standstill as voice came over an apparent loudspeaker system throughout the market speaking something in Thai while everyone stopped what they were doing and had a moment of silence. As soon as the voice ended they returned to their hurried stocking of produce, meats, and spices.
We took several laps around the market trying to find the best thing to try first. We finally found ourselves at a stall that sold fried pork bits, Chiang Mai Sausage, and an amazing chili sauce that complimented both perfectly.
While eating our second round of pork and sausage we saw a gentleman with an SLR taking pictures of his food as he was buying it and with a quick introduction Arie from Malaysia was seated at our table and we were sharing his sticky rice.
He gave us some great advice to rent a scooter for the day. For the equivalent of $5 we could rent one for 24 hours. It seemed to be our best option as tuk-tuk rides were beginning get expensive and the freedom offered by having our own transport was too good to pass up.
On the walk back to our hotel we found a scooter dealer of off the main road that had just opened up. With two hundred dollar bills exchanged as deposits we grabbed our helmets and powered into Chiang Mai traffic to explore the city.
Driving in Thailand was one of the most harrowing adventures in my life. The scooters outnumber the cars 3 to 1 and deftly maneuver between traffic as the larger cars, tuk tuks, trucks, and buses act mostly as if they are not there. One has to be cautious as well as aggressive to effectively navigate the streets of Thailand.
The important thing to remember while driving scooters through the crowded streets of Chiang Mai is that they drive on the opposite side of the road as compared to the U.S. This took some serious adjustment on my part and quickly became a problem. It took two turns before I found myself driving directly into traffic. I quickly darted to the side escaping with no more than some angry Thai drivers and a dose of adrenaline.
In fulfillment of one of my major goals in traveling through Thailand, we took the scooters up into the mountains stopping first at park and waterfall then on to lookout points where we could see for miles across the span of Chiang Mai.
It was Sunday early afternoon and the park was filled with Thai’s enjoying the day with their families or boyfriends and girlfriends eating, drinking, playing the water and generally having a good time with the backdrop of some spectacular scenery.
From there we rode higher challenging our scooters to keep up on the incline until we reached a lookout post where we could easily see all of Chiang Mai and beyond.
It wouldn’t be Thailand without a food vendor anywhere people congregate and this was no exception – there was a crepe stand at the lookout post serving an interesting mix of sweet and savory.
I had a banana and chocolate that was crunchy, sweet, and delicious. Jorge had a savory crepe filled with shredded dried pork, chili paste, seasonings, and a trio of spicy sauces that took his to the opposite spectrum from mine.
After taking in the views and finishing our crepes we set off for the steep decline back into town.
Fatherhood Educational Institute Recognizes Father Factor During National Child Abuse Prevention Month
CHICAGO – April 3, 2012 – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Fatherhood Educational Institute (http://fatherhood-edu.org) encourages responsible fatherhood in the prevention of child abuse not just in April, but in every month.
Research demonstrates that father absence is associated with higher rates of child abuse and neglect. Boyfriends of the mother in single-mother households were responsible for 67% of the reported cases of child abuse. In cases of child sexual abuse the majority of children lived in disrupted or single-parent homes. 27% of abused children live with either a stepfather or the mother’s boyfriend. In addition, children who live in father-absent homes are at 77% greater risk of being physically abused and 120% more likely to be endangered by maltreatment.
The Fatherhood Educational Institute recognizes responsible fatherhood as a critical step in combating child abuse as fathers are vanishing from the social landscape. Service providers, social workers and educators can support healthy child development and positive family relationships by supporting responsible fatherhood in an environment of nurturing father-child interactions, teaching discipline that is safe and age-appropriate, and fostering early learning opportunities.
“April is a time to celebrate the vital role fathers play in protecting children,” said Attorney James M. Hagler, an FEI Director. “We will socially bankrupt our communities if we fail to promote involved and responsible fatherhood – it is one of the most effective ways our communities strengthen families and prevent child abuse now and for generations to come.”
For more information about what families and communities can do to overcome the devastating problem of child abuse and father absence visit http://fatherhood-edu.org.
As the sun peered over the tops of stained concrete buildings, the slowly waking city sounds accentuate my final morning in Bangkok; I’m not sure how to really sum up my short, but intense, experience in here. Morning markets, tuk tuk rides, palaces, temples, and even more importantly the people have made Bangkok a city that is larger than life.
Between the frantic pace, heat, traffic, and lack of personal space some may see these as reasons to quickly pass through, but for others it can be intoxicating.
This city is a curious blend of traditional East and modern West. Ramshackle buildings crouch next to exotic temples surrounded by beautiful gardens and the scent of burning incense and flower offerings; which are in turn overlooked by modern hotels and offices.
The chaos on the roads is something that needs to be experienced: tuk tuks, coupes and saloons, propane-powered trucks, and the ever-present scooter clog seemingly every artery and side street. They idle their engines and wait for a changing traffic light allowing the buildup of riders to reach massive proportions.
Interwoven in the modern mad rush traditional Thai life is never far away. Weaving among the nose-to-nose traffic saffron-robed monks are easily seen collecting alms and singing for thanks. While moments from the city center are whole communities built of silt houses by the river while earning a meager living utilizing skills that have not changed in centuries.
We started out early wandering through the stalls of the market closest to our hotel. The sights and sounds were dizzying and intoxicating: tuk tuks and scooters weaved their way through the throngs of people, produce, and freshly cooking food. The smells of frying fish balls, noodles boiling, satay on simple grills of a bucket and hot coals wafted past my nose pulling me in every direction at once.
We wandered through the stalls eyeing curries, rice dishes, noodles, pork, chicken feet, and fruits- first to fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, then mango and papaya slices eaten from plastic bags with long toothpicks.
The night prior we had met a tuk tuk driver named Kai, who would quickly become our guide and fixer. We met by our hotel a little before 10am with the intention of finding a traditional Thai breakfast. Hopping in the back we quickly maneuvered our way through morning traffic to a restaurant located inside of a residential building, but it was closed, as many shops open later in the morning.
Kai quickly made a phone call while we smoked cigarettes near a Buddhist shrine waiting for the owner, and no doubt a relative or friend, to open the restaurant. Within a few minutes we were seated and I had ordered boiled prawns in broth with rice. As with most Thai food, it is all about the condiments – this was no exception. I added pickled chilies, ground chilies, garlic, and fish sauce.
Back in the tuk tuk we took off heading towards the Grand Palace, opting for the scenic route to get a feel for the city.
A few observations:
The cabs are mostly a very ugly shade of neon pink. There are a large number of stray dogs that all seemed to look alike. Every vendor automatically gives you your purchase in a bag – food and drink. At first I couldn’t figure out why they would put drinks in cups in bags until I noticed everyone putting the bags on the handlebars of their scooters.
Traffic is no for the faint of heart. Every street is packed with tuk tuks, scooters, cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and a curious mix of moving things with engines. I saw a food cart that has been welded to a motorcycle and a push cart that has been modified to have a small engine where there would ordinarily be a foot pedal similar to a bicycle.
Everyone blindly takes lanes rarely using turn signals, the scooter all dart between the larger vehicles and will often cue up in packs at red lights. Many will kill their engines while waiting. There is little honking, noticeably low amount of road rage, and few if any arguments between drivers – everyone seems to let everyone go about their business more or less unfettered.
The pollution is intense. Huge plumes of exhaust are released while gas and propane-powered vehicles cue up at red lights. At first, I thought people were wearing hospital masks to prevent the spread of disease, but after sitting through what I can only describe as the equivalent of trying to inhale a Buick I can see the real reason.
There is little garbage in the streets though there is a curious lack of public garbage cans. The buildings are mostly concrete with ascetics that leaned on function over form. Everywhere there are beautiful and well kept shrines to the King. It was an intense shift to be in a place where everyone so passionately and openly loves their King as opposed to the extreme polarity found in the US.
Corruption is just as rampant as in any other large city. We were crossing an overpass in the tuk tuk, which apparently is not allowed, when we were pulled over by a police checkpoint. Our drive killed the engine, hopped out, immediately pulling out his wallet and 100 baht. A few moments later we were on our way.
Ultimately I feel that tourist attractions are a waste of time. Instead challenge yourself to find the places where the locals go – a place where a Thai might kick back a few Tigers with some friends after a long day of work.
We made the mistake of going to the Grand Palace where excessive cues traced outward past the gates spilling into the street. Enterprising Thais offering guided tours and military men with large guns kept us from entering anywhere but at the main entrance. Though the Palace was beautiful, we choose to keep moving.
Next we went to an open-air seafood restaurant where they had fresh seafood on ice available for you to pick and choose your cooking style. We opted for the red snapper cooked in red curry sauce with stir fried vegetables and oyster sauce. It was delicious. In Thailand it’s all about the condiments and this was no exception as there was an amazing chili sauce that perfectly accentuated the curry.
We ate and booked it back to the hotel for a quick siesta then it was onward to Bangkok nightlife.
We met back up with our tuk tuk driver Kai and found ourselves first at Shock 39, a nightclub in the heart of the red light district. Unfortunately we arrived before midnight and European backpackers populated the club. One with short shorts and a camera bag slung across both shoulders creating an X across his chest danced on the floor by himself while his partner chatted up a bar girl. The club started to liven up after midnight just as we were leaving to make our way to a late-night dinner.
Our driver took us to another seafood restaurant with the option to handpick your catch and cooking style. We grabbed green plastic baskets and loaded up on king crab, oysters, and prawns. We ate the oysters first, in the half-shell, with crispy fried onions, garlic, chili paste, and lime. The prawns were grilled and served with a fantastic sauce that was the perfect amount of spice and sweet. The king crab came whole leaving us to dive straight in crunching and splitting our way to the curry-infused crabmeat.
My final thoughts on Bangkok it is a city that needs to be seen to be believed. More than 300 cranes dot the skyline constantly building Bangkok higher while the centuries old temples keep it close to the ground.
If you ever wake up one morning and think, “I have way too much money and way too few gray hairs,” I have a suggestion: start a record label. That’s what I did in the winter of 2008 when I started Ten24 Records. As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be in a band signed on a record label. Then a friend of mine got signed with his band and I thought it had to be the coolest thing in the world. I asked him what it was like — did he get big royalty checks, are they planning a world tour, have you met this artist or that artist that’s signed on the label too? The answers were very disappointing, “I get a check every three months or so for a few dollars, we are planning our own national tour, and I’ve really only talked to our A&R guy twice.”
Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting in my rehearsal room, talking with the band about planning our next record and what labels we should solicit, when I had the same bright idea I think every other musician sitting in my spot has: I’ll just start my own label! Music is my one true love; from the moment I played my first show in a grammar school library I knew that music was what I wanted to do. Then fourteen years later, three cities, more bands than I can count, and several stylistic changes I was still sitting in the same rehearsal room doing the same things. Now was the perfect time to do something different and something I could have true passion for — Ten24 Records was the result. I had been laid off from my previous corporate job and I reckoned if I could run someone else’s business then I could run my own. I had been in sales and management for ten years and had always wanted to own my own business and since no one was hiring me at the time, I hired myself. Now, over three years later I have had the opportunity to work with some very talented musicians, producers, engineers, and artists, but getting from there to here wasn’t as easy as I thought.
A&R: Simultaneously the Most Frustrating and Fun Part of the Job
Chicago has an awesome music scene, but sifting through the muck is a daunting task. I put several ads on Craigslist announcing Ten24 Records and soliciting for artists; I received over one hundred responses within the first week.
A few tips for bands that are soliciting labels:
MySpace is a great place to showcase your music to your fans, but not to labels — the sound quality is poor at best.
Include a little bit about yourself — there is more to a band than its music. If you have a story, tell it.
Make sure you are ready to solicit labels; just because your girlfriend thinks you’re a rock star, it doesn’t mean anyone else will.
The Fun Part
Going to shows has to be best part of the job. What other job allows you to hang out in some great clubs and venues, see live music, enjoy adult beverages, and hang out with some incredibly talented musicians? In my opinion, a band’s live show makes or breaks them. I have heard some amazing tracks sent to me only to be let down by a band that mopes around on stage.
Time is Your Worst Enemy
Recording schedules, day jobs, line-up changes, funding challenges, and studio issues make what you anticipate to be a three-month project into an eighteen-month project. Nothing goes according to schedule, so be prepared, and more importantly, keep the artists prepared. Bands can disappear when they feel they aren’t at the point they should be, but they aren’t always aware of what happens behind the scenes to get that record in their hands.
What Worked in the Past Won’t Always Work in the Future
The music industry is undergoing a revolution, and when the dust settles, those that embrace technology and cater to the changing ways in which consumers find, buy, and listen to music will still be standing. When people ask where they can buy our records, I list off all of the popular online destinations. Then they ask, “Why so you don’t sell CDs?” and I ask in return, “When was the last time you bought a CD?” The answer is always a resounding, “I can’t remember!”
Think and Act Differently
People don’t get their music the same way they used to, and the industry needs to be flexible to adapt. Ten24 Records decided to be an all-digital label, partnering with a distributor that gets our artists to just about everywhere people go for music, including the consistently growing music streaming sites. We also operate on a profit-sharing system where we split the revenue with the artist over the traditional royalty structure. I thought back to my friend and his checks for a few dollars, and I wanted to do something different. So instead of the artists making tiny percentages off of high-cost physical media, they take a large cut of a low distribution cost digital sale.
So if you think you have what it takes, go for it! Just remember they call it the music business for a reason.