Welcome Nicole Johnson (aka Nic) and Neely Steinberg, the dynamic force behind The Dating Marketplace with Nic and Neely, a Boston-based Internet radio show. They interviewed me a couple weeks back and I wanted to return the favor because I thought they had some of the best insights on dating and relationships I’ve heard in a while (meaning, they agreed with mine).
A little about the show, in their words: The Dating Marketplace is a talk show covering all things related to dating, love, sex, and relationships. And by all things we mean, all things. The only subject we are not willing to tackle is people wanting to marry their dogs, because that’s just plain crazy… Whether you are dating, engaged, happily married, miserably married, or divorced, The Dating Marketplace with Nic and Neely will provide you with a voice and a platform!
Science of Single: What’s your favorite color?
Nic Johnson: I love wearing the color brown, and I love admiring the color purple.
Neely Steinberg: I don’t have one. I love all colors!
SOS: What do you wear on a first date? Or what do you recommend women and/or men wear on a first date?
NJ: I recommend men and women wear whatever makes them feel comfortable, confident, and attractive.
NS: I wear something that makes me feel sexy and is reflective of my personality and style. I’d recommend just that, for both women and men. Wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself, shows off your assets, and is an extension of who you are.
SOS: What’s your favorite love story and why?
NJ: I say this with tremendous humility: The love story between me and my husband, Rob Johnson. Rob and I share the deepest, purest form of true love. We were not each others’ standard “type”, but we were captivated with each other from the moment we met. Rob and I had a beautiful long-distance romance for eight months, prior to moving to the same city. I don’t mean to gush, however, to this day, we still have a storybook romance and marriage. I am truly blessed!
NS: Hands down the love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s a beautiful story of two people falling in love despite the many obstacles in their way, including their own shortcomings (Lizzy’s pride and Darcy’s prejudice, and, as we discover, Lizzy’s prejudice and Darcy’s pride). I remember reading this book for the first time in ninth grade – it was the first book to ever make me cry. When Darcy confesses at the end that he has done everything for Lizzy, in the hope that he would gain her love and affection, I practically lost it. And don’t get me wrong: I’d rather be a woman in today’s society, but the old-fashioned courting process and romance of that age still brings a flutter to my heart.
SOS: What’s the best thing to do/place to go on a date?
NJ: The best place to go on a date involves some type of activity. Too often, people fall into the trap of constantly meeting for coffee, cocktails, lunch, dinner, etc. Change it up! Try bowling, billiards, miniature golf, a comedy club, or the aquarium (just to name a few). You can really get to know someone when you’re engaged in an activity together.
NS: I’m a firm believer that it doesn’t matter what you do or where you are. If I have chemistry with a man, I could be sitting on a sidewalk with him and be having a great time.
SOS: What’s it like to date where you live? (Best and Worst)
NJ: The Daily Beast ranks Boston #6 in their “50 Best Cities for Love” poll and, I must say, I agree! One of the best aspects of dating in Boston is the plethora of available people. With all of Boston’s businesses, hospitals and universities, the volume of singles is bountiful. That being said, the drawback is Boston’s lack of friendliness. Bostonians can be closed off, which is (unfortunately) common with people from the Northeast.
NS: Boston is like any other city: It’s what you make of it. There are plenty of eligible, kind men to meet here for women in their 30s and 40s. You just have to get out there, be resilient, make yourself vulnerable, and be open to finding someone.
SOS: Do you have any deal breakers? What are they?
NJ: Laziness. Unhealthy addictions. Anger issues. Undefined sense of self.
NS: Smoking. Dishonesty. Also, if he doesn’t think Seinfeld is funny, well, that would be a tough one for me to get past.
SOS: What’s the one thing women can do better when it comes to dating?
NJ: If women were a bit vulnerable when dating, men would not be so taken back (or intimidated) by their strength and determination. I am in no way saying that women should be diminutive, absolutely not! I’m simply saying initially, they don’t have to come across so strong. Women should also be extremely clear, and unwavering with their dating mission and standards. And lastly, women need to cut the guys some slack. We’re all flawed; men and women need to stop being so superficial.
NS: We can be easier on men. There is a lot of pressure and expectations on men in the dating marketplace. Like my co-host always says, “Ladies, give the guys a break!”
SOS: And men?
NJ: Men need to be better listeners and communicators. This holds true for single men and married men. Men also need to cut the women some slack. To all the men out there: a bombshell with an IQ of 140, who never sags or ages, will not be knocking on your door.
NS: I’m not sure most men realize how seductive good listening skills are. If you can be a good listener with a woman, on top of making her feel beautiful, there’s a good chance she’ll be putty in your hands. I also think that both men and women shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss potential mates. We live in a world of constant distraction, where you can line up a dozen dates at the stroke of a fingertip. It’s easy to pass over someone after an initial meeting. Most people deserve a second date to see if there really is a spark.
SOS: Who pays at the end of the date and does it even matter?
NJ: I believe the man should pick up the check during the initial weeks of dating. A woman should start offering to pay by the third week of dating.
NS: I prefer that the man pays on the first few dates, and I believe the man likes it that way, too. But once I start dating a guy more frequently, I think it should be more back and forth. We’re both working and making money, so why, especially when things are more advanced in the relationship, should the onus always be on the man?
SOS: Is chivalry really dead? And, if so, did women kill it?
NJ: Chivalry is not dead. The world is full of wonderful men, and I am married to one of them! When a man falls in lust, like, or love with a woman, he enjoys being chivalrous. However, women have the capacity to squelch a man’s chivalrous behavior if she does not overtly recognize and appreciate his efforts. Everyone enjoys verbal affirmation for the energy they are putting into a relationship.
NS: No. I think when a man is really into a woman, he thrives on being chivalrous toward her. But I do think the advance of women in all aspects of society has blurred the gender roles a bit. I can see how men might be frustrated with today’s women – we have fought so vociferously for equality, yet we desire the courtship and romance of Mr. Darcy’s day, and then complain when we don’t get it.