After writing her own perfect online profile and finding the love of her life on JDate, Erika Ettin turned her talent for writing dating profiles into a business. As the founder of A Little Nudge, the D.C.-based dating coach guides her clients through online dating, helping them post profiles and photos that result in real-life dates. A Little Nudge's services also include hand-picked matches, tips on date planning, and relationship advice.
Where are the best places for singles to hang out in D.C.?
"Take a Groupon cooking class, join a kickball or bocce ball league (which are both huge in D.C.), or find a group that does something else of interest to you. While not everyone in these groups may be single, these are all great ways to meet new people. And you never know — they may have friends for you to meet. There's also singles events, such as speed dating. A few options in the area are Professionals in the City and HurryDate. And the third option is online dating — my forte. This is where you’ll find the largest number of singles, especially those who you may not cross in your regular social circles."
How should you dress for a first date?
"It’s important to put yourself together nicely. Some first dates are right after work (a happy hour drink), so that’s easy — just go in your work clothes. But some aren’t. I always have to laugh because on my first date with my boyfriend, I wore a very heavy sweater dress because I had actually made plans afterwards to go to this après-ski party in case he was a dud. (Luckily, he wasn’t, and I ditched the party.) But that was not a good first date outfit, since it didn’t show my shape at all, and we still joke about it.
For women, if you’re coming from work, a nice business-casual outfit works well. Try not to look too 'business' and no fun — a nice pair of pants or skirt and a top that shows off your shape but isn’t too revealing works well. Other than that, just go with your style. Check your teeth, make sure there are no stains on your shirt, and you’re good to go."
Any first-date (and general dating) dos and don'ts?
"Do: Go in with an open mind. Meet for just drinks or coffee, especially if it’s a first online date. You can always add dinner, but you can't take it back. Smile — it goes a long way. Ask questions.
Don’t: Have your phone out on the table. Talk about yourself the entire time. Be rude to the server. Drink too much."
Let's say you've met your match. When do you take your online dating profile down?
"I’m a firm believer in e-mailing and dating many different people initially to see who’s out there. But at some point, when you think you’ve found the right person, it might be time to scale back on your online dating life and start to enjoy your offline dating life. But remember, don’t log into the online dating site immediately after a date. Even if you didn’t like your date, try to show some respect by not logging in until the next day. When things start to get serious with someone — even before you’ve discussed your relationship status — it’s a good idea to minimize your online dating to give the relationship a chance to bloom. And finally, when you’re ready to be exclusive with someone, the only surefire way to make sure you’re both on the same page is to openly discuss taking your profile down. Heck, you could even have a 'profile deletion party' with a glass of wine in hand. That actually sounds like a pretty fun date!"
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Photos: Courtesy of Dickson Wine Bar and D.C. Bocce League
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