Silver Beach, A History

Alright, in all honest’s truth, I wrote this short piece on the history of the Silver Beach Amusement Park when I first began working at Shadowland in May 2014. Today I met a group of my girlfriends for lunch on the bluff of St. Joseph this afternoon though, and took a walk around the familiar stomping grounds. I absolutely loved my time at Shadowland and am now feeling extremely sentimental. I feel it is only appropriate to share with you a bit about the beginnings of the wonderful place I was able to call my work environment for awhile, as well as my hometown.

The town I grew up in is surrounded in whimsical history and entertainment. Once named the Most Romantic City in Michigan, St. Joseph also was home to the Silver Beach Amusement Park years ago. The lakeside town is centered in the Lake Michigan Wine Trail and offers a number of attractions for explorers, couples, and families. If you’ve ever wanted to experience small-town life in Michigan, look no further than St. Joe on your next vacation!

Below the bluffs of downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, hugging both the Lake Michigan shoreline and the St. Joseph River lays an area where carnival music was once heard, merry-go-round carousel horses galloped in place, a roller coaster roared, and Charleston dancers strutted their stuff.

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The St. Joseph area was a hotspot for boaters. Canoes, rowboats, and riverboats provided scenic tours from St. Joseph to Berrien Springs. Logan Drake, owner of a boat livery on the St. Joseph River saw a higher calling of tourism in the area and began looking at ways to draw more people to the less-popular beaches of St. Joseph.

Romance has always played a key role on Silver Beach. During one of their moonlit courtship beach walks, Drake’s bride-to-be, Maude Schlenker, coined the name Silver Beach saying the water “shimmered like silver.” This inspired a new concept with Drake’s tourism aspirations.

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In 1891, Drake and his partner Louis D. Wallace established the Silver Beach Amusement and Realty Company with the intention of giving tourists more to do in St. Joseph. Initially, ten cottages were built along the beach as rentals for vacationers. By the end of the amusement park’s run 80 cottages were available.

To make the beach more popular for renting, Drake and Wallace invited local concessionaires to sell novelties such as swimming caps and lemonade in a barrel. Within months games of chance and a photographic studio emerged to allow couples to have their portraits taken. By 1896, an ice cream parlor, souvenir shop, and a pavilion which hosted dancing and a big band music were erected. Wooden stand and white tents could be seen up and down the beachfront. A couple of water slides were anchored in shallow water for children around the turn of the century. This marked the beginning of the Silver Beach Amusement Park!

Photo Courtesy of Fort Miami Heritage Society, St. Joseph, MI

The park continued to grow as the years passed. A wooden boardwalk was built above the Silver Beach sands to allow lake water to rush underneath. This boardwalk was a common place for courting couples to stroll at night.

Along the boardwalk were three buildings. The first building, the Natorium, housed a bathhouse and swimming pool, a rarity for the time. This was a dream of Drake’s to give beachgoers the option of swimming in either the lake or the heated indoor pool. The second was an open-ended roller skating rink which also housed Southwest Michigan’s first pipe organ.

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The third building is allowed Drake and Wallace to capitalize on the growing need for a big dance hall among the twin city area of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor by constructing a dance pavilion in 1907. The hall featured two stages for bands which urged the “Battle of the Bands” to become a popular event on the beachfront. In addition to the dance hall, the House of Mysteries was built alongside the penny arcade and concession stands to provide entertainment for all ages at the Silver Beach Amusement Park.

As the park’s popularity sky-rocketed, Drake and Wallace added a variety of amusements. In 1905 the Chase through the Clouds rollercoaster was built. Utilizing several separate one- or two-person capacity cars, the “Figure 8” coaster, as it was known to be called, became a staple of the amusement park until it was torn down in 1923 and replaced by the Velvet rollercoaster. Additionally, the merry-go-round carousel first appeared in 1916, a bowling alley opened around 1917, and several “firsts” event day activities such as the first all-male bathing beauty contest took place on the beach.

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The last improvement, and my personal favorite, was the building of the Shadowland Ballroom in May of 1927. Once it was completed, it became one of the finest dance facilities in the entire country. The Ballroom was decorated with 5000 yards of silk pongee stretched between arches that permitted natural lighting throughout. Ballroom dances were held seven days a week and were usually free, unless it was a big band night. It wasn’t uncommon to have over a thousand dancers on any one evening, and Silver Beach Amusement Park even staged at least one of the fad marathon dances during the 1930s.

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The old dance pavilion remained, but as ballroom dancing was becoming more popular, the Shadowland Ballroom was needed. The old dance hall was renovated into the Fun House. The House included a 35-foot Maplewood slide, revolving barrel, spinning saucer, sugar bowl, and a haunted house. The Mirror Maze was placed under the same roof as well.

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Drake made every attempt to change the amusement park to keep the attractions interesting and up-to-date. Silver Beach expanded with the debuts of The Whip, electric bumper car house, beer garden, Ferris wheel, and miniature diesel train called The Century Flyer. By the late 1940s the park assumed the look that would be its final face until its official closing three decades later.

During the 1950s and 60s, the park continued to evolve to the times. Kiddieland was created and featured rides customized for children too small to enjoy the larger rides. Miniature golf, go-karts, and various other carnival rides also came and went during these two decades. It was not until the late 1960s that Silver Beach Amusement Park’s popularity began to dwindle. The crime rate of the park rose significantly due to out-of-town teen gangs and the park’s congenial atmosphere decreased. After a particularly violent season in 1970, local police closed the park.

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Another factor fighting against the park was its age. Extensive repairs were needed for many of the buildings that had stood in the park for over 70 years. With a costly estimation for repairs and improvements needed for the park to open in 1972, the owners of Silver Beach were left with no other choice and the park was closed permanently.

Many of the rides were sold to interested amusement companies throughout the country. Parts of Silver Beach made their way to Indiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Virginia. The remainder of the park was left abandoned for three years before the owner cleaned up and threw the historical pieces away. It wasn’t uncommon, however, to see couples still walking the crumbling boardwalk hand-in-hand among the ruins of the once-prestigious amusement park.

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The spirit of Silver Beach is alive and well, though. In 2010, the Silver Beach Center publicly opened. Only a short walk from the expanse of beach sand and Lake Michigan, the Center offers a newly constructed Silver Beach experience. Walk through the doors and look up into Michigan’s tallest kaleidoscope. Take a stroll down memory lane by walking the boardwalk to the Silver Beach Carousel or Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum, or peek a glimpse of the Shadowland Ballroom. Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone offers excitement for kids of all ages with 15 water activities, a climbing wall, virtual reality fun, and traveling hands-on educational exhibits. Directly across the road from the Center is the Whirlpool Fountain which provides fresh, free fun to all the public. The community of St. Joseph is proud to continue a dreamer’s delight with this new vision of what Silver Beach is and will be.

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If you decide to visit my quaint little hometown, I would love to recommend the best and tastiest restaurants and accommodations. Please comment below so we can connect.

Happy travels, friends,

Friendsgiving 2018 Menu

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole, amirite?! But Friendsgiving has become a fun new tradition G and I began last year. This year had to be a much more intimate affair due to all those home improvements and limited amount of time to plan, but it was still a great time. We used the time for enjoying more delicious food and even better community.

Talking about food, I wanted to provide some praise for our menu this year in the form of a post. I could go into detail about how to plan your own Friendsgiving or games/activities to play at your own dinner, but I think those topics are too difficult to cover. I mean, you know what works best with your friends’ group and can Pinterest tons of ideas. Instead, I’m going to focus on the dinner table.

Below is what we had on our Friendsgiving table along with recipes to try on your own. It was more than enough food for a small group of only six diners, but that meant leftovers. I’ll never complain about not having to grocery shop following a holiday!

Drinks

  • Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule Punch from Whitney Bond
  • Red Wine Hot Chocolate from Delish (we used Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon for the wine)
  • Holiday Sherbet Moscato Punch — this was a homemade recipe mixing grape juice and/or Hawaiian punch with lime sherbet and sparkling moscato

Appetizers

Dinner

  • Pumpkin Dinner Rolls from Tastes of Lizzy T
  • Spinach Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette similar to Vegan Daydream
  • Sweet Potato Casserole similar to Crunchy Creamy Sweet
  • Green Beans made with brown sugar and bacon — simply saute frozen or fresh green beans with olive oil, brown sugar, and bacon bits… YUM!
  • Simple Turkey (made in an oven bag) with instructions from Clever House Wife — this was my first-ever turkey so I threw a mix of my own spices inside and on top of the turkey including sage, black pepper, lemon, mustard, and garlic powder.

Dessert

  • Brownie Batter Dip similar to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe with pretzels, vanilla wafers, and marshmallows

We proceeded to play a little Battle of the Sexes and Cards Against Humanity before staying up until 2:00AM with some lively discussions. I’m loving this annual tradition and am excited to see how it will evolve over the next few years.

What sort of dishes do you include in your annual Friendsgiving? I would love to have some new recipes for future years! Please drop a suggestion in the comment section below.

See you all in December, 

Calculating Drinks For Your Wedding Or Party

Whether you are hosting a party or planning your do-it-yourself wedding, it is a universal no-no to run short on food or drinks. As G and I busily plan the remaining two weeks before our wedding, many of our thoughts are geared towards the plates and glasses of our guests. For a couple catering their entire wedding themselves — yep, you just read that correctly — it is one of our worst fears to think any guest may be shuffling around in his or her seat with no option of seconds.

Today I’m going to strictly discuss how to calculate drink numbers in order to buy the right amount of beverages for your party. Luckily I have a bit of experience in this arena due to my past work experience in the wedding industry. And also because I used to sell wine cases to large parties while at the Winery. So I definitely have wine down pat… Calculating beverages is both a science and art as you can never estimate the exact amount of drinks being drank at your event, but you can get close.

If you’re like me, then you don’t have an extra fridge sitting around to pack with wine, beer, mixers, soda pop, water, and all other possible beverages your guests might fancy. And if you’re like me, you also have a strict budget to purchase all those said beverages under. Don’t panic though! We’re going to get through this together.

Before jumping straight into a bunch of formulas, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:

  • What kind of beverages do you want to serve at your wedding/party?
  • How many adults and children will be attending?
  • How long will your wedding/party run?
  • Will the party be indoors or outside? What is the weather going to be like? (i.e. cool and breezy, hot and muggy, etc.)
  • Will you have a bartender serving drinks or will it be self-serve?

Also: are you planning to serve a variety of alcoholic beverages at your event or non-alcoholic only? This question is something you should decide before moving forward with other decisions.

Let’s discuss non-alcoholic beverages first. If you are opting to choose non-alcoholic beverages only, a good rule of thumb is to have 4 gallons of drink per every 25 guests. Luckily, most brands of water, tea, lemonade, and punch come in gallon sizes.  Keep in mind hotter temperatures or more active events will require this number to increase because you will want your guests to stay hydrated.

For easier calculating, use 4 gallons of water converted to 512 ounces of water, meaning you can get 32 16oz servings.

A 2-liter bottle of soda typically offers five 16oz servings. (Conveniently, this is the average size of red solo cups.) And a 1-gallon container  of other non-alcoholic drinks will yield eight 16oz servings. I estimate one drink per person per hour of my events, in addition to one extra “safety” drink to give a little wiggle-room. In other words, if your wedding/party is four hours long, plan for each guest to have five servings of non-alcoholic beverages.

If you are serving alcoholic beverages at your event as well, then you can expect to cut the above numbers for non-alcoholic beverages in half. Meaning 2 gallons of water, lemonade, punch, and tea for every 25 guests, and a half drink per person per hour. For events involving dancing or other activities, I would increase your water count. Also, buying water by the gallon/jug is a lot more budget-friendly than bottles of water. Bottles tend to be left half-empty by guests and forgotten. I know I’m guilty of forgetting where I left my bottle and grabbing a new one rather than track it down.

Now onto alcoholic beverages. You will want to estimate one and a half drinks per person per hour of your event. Meaning for a 4 hour wedding/party, plan for 6 alcoholic beverages per guest. Thankfully alcohol tends to come in standard sizes be it beer, wine, or spirits so calculating is a bit easier than with non-alcoholic drinks. Here is the break down on sizing and servings:

  • Beer: one bottle of beer offers 1 serving (who knew!)
  • Wine: one 750ml bottle of wine serves 6 glasses. A case of wine is 12 bottles meaning you can get 72 glasses of wine per case.
  • Spirits: one 750ml bottle of spirits serves 17 drinks.

If you are offering a full bar, calculate one alcoholic drink per guest per hour. (This is still in addition to your non-alcoholic beverages.) For a hot day or a food menu offering salty foods, I always bump my estimate up by 25% as well. I also would highly recommend staffing a bartender in the case of a full bar for obvious reasons.

Another key piece to think about is the mix of beverages in terms of the mix of your guests. If you are having kids at the event, stock up on juices, soda pop, and water. If you opt for spirits at the bar, you might want to go with one or two signature alcoholic beverages to manage your budget a bit more.

 

DISCLAIMER: All amounts in this post are estimates. This does not mean each person will have the stated amount of drinks; some will have more and some will have less. YOU know your guests best and may need to tweak estimates to fit your wedding/party better. Are your attendees big beer drinkers? Will the majority of your attendees drink one glass of wine and then sip water the rest of the night? You know those answers better than me. The hope is if you can figure out an average, then you should have plenty to go around. 


Personally, G and I did not follow any of these “rules of thumb” when we planned our own wedding bar, but that is because we have a lot of outliers which throw wrenches in these calculations. We have chosen to have a beer and wine only wedding. Our guest list is 200 guests and our wedding reception will last for 4 hours. G’s family, which is about 25% of our guest list, do not drink alcohol. The remainder of our guest list of my family and our friends are not heavy drinkers by any means. We anticipate those who may drink to have 1 drink during our cocktail hour, 1 during dinner, and 1 after dinner. (We also know a few of our guests are bringing their own drinks apart from our beer and wine choices so there’s that too.)

With that thought in mind, here are our calculations for our wedding:

Alcoholic beverages:
200 guests – 25% non-drinkers = 150 guests may drink
150 guests may drink * 3 drinks = 450 drinks

We have opted to host a self-serve bar with two beer bottle options (simply Bud Light and Miller Lite) and five 5-liter  boxed wine choices. (Franzia is incredibly pleasing to my girls which made this decision simple and inexpensive.) We purchased twelve 24-pack boxes of beer for a total of 288 bottles and the five boxes of Franzia which account for 33 bottles of wine making for 198 glasses. In beer and wine, we have approximately 486 drinks available for our guests who choose to indulge.

Non-Alcoholic beverages (alongside alcohol):
200 guests * 1/2 drink * 4 hours = 400 16oz drinks

Knowing an outdoors June wedding in Michigan will most likely be hot and muggy, we purchased ten 2.5 gallon spring waters with spigots which accounts for 25 gallons of water. We also have 5 gallons of iced tea and 20 2-liters of soda. So with these counts, we will have approximately 240 16oz glasses of water and tea, and 100 glasses of soda pop for a total of 340 16oz drinks in addition to our alcoholic beverages.

1/2 drink per guest per hour * 4 hours = 2 16oz drinks
30 gallons =  3840 ounces = 240 16oz drinks
1 2-liter = 5 16oz drinks / 20 2-liters = 100 16oz drinks


My last nugget of advice if you are calculating beverage numbers at your wedding or party is to round up your estimates. Like I said at the start of this post, it is a hosting fail if you run out of food or drinks for your guests. Consider that the more variety in your beverage offerings, the more you should increase your estimates because you can never be sure what will be most popular.

Happy planning, friends,

Savory Sundays: Crack Potatoes

I realized most of my recipes involved chicken and all of them were an entree, so today I’m bringing a great side dish option to your table: Crack Potatoes. True to their name, these glorified cheesy hash browns are extremely addicting and typically have no leftovers. This is my usual dish to bring to cookouts, potlucks, and sporting events knowing I won’t be bringing any home. (Which is a great excuse to use a disposable foil tray!) With the first warm-weather holiday rolling around next weekend, I’ll be drawing this little diggy up for Memorial Day celebrations and thought you might need a little inspiration for something new to bring with you…

Crack Potatoes

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

My most-asked-for go-to at any get-together with friends and family.

Have a cookout coming up for Memorial Weekend or needing a dish to pass as you watch the Cubs at a friend’s house? Whip together this easy recipe and bring the instructions with you because everyone will be asking to take it home with them!

Ingredients

  • 30oz bag of hash browns, shredded
  • (2) 16oz sour cream
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 6oz bacon, crumbled
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 package ranch mix

Directions

  1. Combine sour cream, cheese, onion, bacon, and ranch mix
  2. Mix with hash browns
  3. Add mixture to greased 9×13 pan, evening out along all sides
  4. Cook 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees
  5. Serve immediately (also good as leftovers, if you have any)


I usually buy a small pouch of real bacon crumbles rather than frying my own. You can also use an additional ranch mix packet for that extra PUNCH of flavor.

Enjoy, friends!

13 Men You Meet on a First Date

I’ve had my fair share of first dates, but not many have progressed past Numero Uno. Most of the time there just isn’t that connection, other times there are factors such as distance, timing, interest differences, etc. We’ve all experienced different people, and know there’s a lot to be gained from the initial dating experience. First impressions really are everything!

I have always been a person who enjoys lists and numbers. So I’ve merged my two enjoyments into one and come up with the 13 Men You Meet on a First Date.  And since I’ve come across a wide variety of men, I’ve gathered a list to help all women translate who it is sitting before them and if he’s worth pursuing…

Now, when you read my list, think of it as a game. If you see tendencies of any of the following men, keep track. Each First Date begins with 10 points. For every con, subtract a point. For every pro, add a point. There might be a lot of math going on in your head throughout the date, but trust me, it’s worth the consideration! NOTE: Guy might have traits across all 13 Men, so gather points accordingly.


1. Mr. Wet Feet
Easy, peasy, ladies. This gentleman made all the plans for your first date, continually said how excited he was to finally be taking you out, and then…. he didn’t show.

Now, he might have a very good excuse for his lack of attendance. Perhaps his grandmother fell ill, his car broke down, or work required his time. I have an uncanny ability to disclose whether or not Mister’s excuse is viable. However, I understand not all of us women can be so lucky. Sometimes we just have to take our chances and reschedule, or we can throw the opportunity to the wind and take a chance with someone else who is more reliable.

  • If he contacts you at least 5 hours prior and claims a family/friend emergency, then give him the benefit of the doubt. (-0pts)
  • If he contacts you at least 5 hours prior and claims his employer demanded more time of him, then chalk it up to him being a hard worker and reschedule. (-0pts)
  • If he claims either of the two reasons above AND you see proof via social media — don’t stalk him though! –, then be empathetic and give the poor guy some kudos the next First Date. (+5pts)
  • If he makes no excuse, then don’t pursue. (Automatic 0pts)
  • If he makes no excuse but texts you a few days later acting like he did nothing wrong and the First Date never existed, then 1) reply with a witty and comical response, 2) sign him up for every spam messaging service you come across, and 3) don’t communicate with him again. (10pts to you!)

2. The Man Who’s Lost to Reality
Good news, the First Date commences because Guy shows up! Bad news, he might not have actually “shown up.” The Man Who’s Lost to Reality is the guy you’re not quite sure why he actually agreed to go on a date because he definitely has his head somewhere else… stuck to his phone. You’re sitting, trying to have a conversation, and the only response you get is a vague “Mmhmm” while his phone buzzes for the 254th time.

  • If he is up front with you that he’s expecting a message/call or two for a reasonable purpose, then no ill will and he’s gained your respect for being honest. (+5pts)
  • If you have knowledge that he leads a demanding career/leadership position that may require his input on a few things, then okay, we’ll let it slide and admire his dependability. (+3pts)
  • If his phone chirps and he blushes while apologetically turning it off and dropping it back into his pocket, then compliment his cuteness and care of making you feel top priority. (+10pts)
  • If he can’t seem to drop the phone because it’s glued to his hand, then 1) excuse yourself to the “restroom” and leave, and 2) send him a text explaining you don’t care to pursue him any further. (-1pt per text/call)

3. Sir Chivalrous
Like I said, the First Date is the first impression and that means a lot. Both parties should act on their best behavior. This means what Mama taught Guy should come out in full-force. Ladies! Here is something to think about: if he doesn’t know to open your door, allow you inside first, not swear in front of you, be mature, hygienic, and gracious on Date No. 1, then he won’t ever act in such a way in the future! This is not to say women are fragile and lowly beings who need men to place them on a pedestal, but we are worth the fuss of being made a priority on a date!

  • Opens your car door (+2pts), opens the building door (+1pt), allows you in first (+1pt), does not open any doors (-0pt), opens doors for himself and allows you to follow him (-5pts)
  • Speaks highly of his family (+5pts), compliments you (+2pts per compliment), uses swear words to express himself (-2pts per word)
  • Good hair (+1pt), good teeth (+1pt), classy outfit (+2pts)
  • Pays for dinner without hesitation (+10pts), flashes a smirk when you ask your share of the bill and proceeds to pay (+10pts), allows the check to sit on the table for some time so you begin to sweat wondering if you should offer to pay but then pays anyways (+2pts), picks up the check and subtracts your cost and tells you what you owe (-0pts), forgets his wallet even though he had his ID on him to order drinks (-10pts)
  • I’m a big fan of older chivalry also… so any man who walks on the curb to keep his girl away from the cars is a winner in my book! (+20pts)

4. User of the “L” Word
This might be my own personal pet peeve, but I have dated someone who overused “love” to the point I couldn’t fathom a second date. At first it was rational: he loved his meal, he loved my eyes, he loved living by the beach. But then it just became obsessive: he loved Will Ferrell, he loved cherry ice cream, he loved Oberon, he loved mirrors, he loved antiquing, he loved the sound of rain, he loved that rock I just skipped on the lake, and he loved how I skipped that rock and he loved the ripples that rock made.

I mean, I am all for loving life and the world around me. I love positivity and making the most out of everything. However, it was just so boring… I didn’t need to find out his interests or hobbies because I knew the answer: he loved it all!

  • If he uses the word “love” for more than 20 things in less than an hour (-1pt per thing)

5. Shania Twain’s Guy
So he’s a rocket scientist, Brad Pitt, and drives a ferrari — big deal! First Date’s are meant to impress, but they should also end with some depth to them.

  • Does Guy discuss things above and beyond your comprehension? You might not be in the same “league” to maintain meaningful conversation for a second date. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a genius and you’re not, just that your interests lie in two very different realms. (-5pts)
  • Does Guy keep combing his hair or checking his reflection in the picture frame hanging to his left? He might be more concerned about himself than he is in your conversation. Perhaps he’s simply nervous and is fidgeting, or maybe he’s bored out of his mind because he’s Gaston. You be the judge. (-3pts)
  • Does Guy make you take off your shoes before getting into his car? Is he joking or serious? (-5pts for serious, +1pt for joking and keeping you on your toes)
  • Does Guy drive a 1968 Mustang GT? (Give number to Ashley, please.)

6. Agent Ex
One of my personal favorites: Agent Ex. He’s sweet, he’s endearing, and he’s not over his ex. He wants to be, he tells you. He definitely is, he lies. But you know deep down… you’re being played.

Whether you’re his hopeful rebound or the date to make his ex jealous, this Guy is bad news. It’ll start off small at first with little mentions here and there, and then one day he’s straight-up weeping in your lap about how he never got to really say good-bye.  His ex keeps creeping into daily conversations, or ends up subconsciously being a basis of comparison. He’ll sooner or later leave you, most likely after you have some feelings for him, with a somber farewell of “I just could never commit to you when I’m still in love with her.”

  • First mention of his ex on the First Date (-20pts) and run away! “Ain’t no one got time for dat.”

7. Cogsworth
You’re not sure what it is about this Guy, but it’s something… You just don’t click. The initial meeting was awkward, your conversation is lacking, and the date just feels bland. You can’t put your finger on the exact “thing” that doesn’t match up, but Cogsworth kind of grinds your gears.

You begin to count the minutes until you can politely exit this First Date. Chalk it up to chemistry, or lack thereof, and move on…

  • Cogsworth isn’t allowed on the point system. He’s just that feeling you have right off the bat when you know there’s not going to be a Second Date.

8. I-Should-Have-Worn-A-Turtleneck Creep
Just writing his “name” makes me cringe, girls. This Guy could make a nun blush with his obnoxious gaze. Um, excuse me, my eyes are up here! It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a scarf, a turtleneck sweater, or a parka, this creep has only one thing on his mind and it’s not getting to know you, as a person, better. Yuck.

  • If you catch him admiring your physical attributes once or twice, then take it as a compliment, blush, and play coy. (+2pts)
  • If you catch him admiring your physical attributes three to five times, then give him a questioning look and perhaps say something to make him aware you noticed. (-0pts)
  • If he is down right eye-raping you, throw your drink in his face and storm out in a tizzy, and remember to cover your behind with a napkin so he doesn’t get the pleasure of watching you leave. (-10pts)

9. Friend-Zoner
You both show up for dinner and give each other a hug. You chat easily. You laugh constantly. The meal is delicious. Then the check comes and Guy swipes it from the table before you have the chance to say, “Oh, we’re separate.” And then your smile falters and you think to yourself, “Wait. Does he think this is a date?!”

Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is more awkward than your guy friend attempting to jump the Friend Zone when you are perfectly happy with your spot in line. Once the line has been toed, the friendship lingers in Limbo and you’re both left wondering how to regain your footing before the security guards come through to throw you out.

Pardon my amusement park analogy, but this brings back memories… (Eek!) Personally, I love being friends with someone prior to dating. It makes conversation easier, in most cases. However, when you know the in’s and out’s of someone’s life and attempt to move into a romantic relationship, sometimes information gets hung up in your mind and you can’t move around the facts to get to know someone on a new level.

  • How long have you been friends with Guy? (+0.5pts per year)
  • Have you ever felt attracted to Guy? (+1pt for a maybe, +5pts for a definitive YES)
  • Has Guy ever dated a close friend of yours? (-2pts if this fact bothers you)
  • Be honest, when you think of Guy, how many cons come across for you becoming exclusive? I.e. does his beliefs differ vastly from yours, does he partake in activities you have no interest, do you just not see anything working out, etc. (-1pt per con)

10. The Red Solo Cup
You met this Guy at the bar or a party. He had a beer in his hand, bought rounds of drinks for everyone around, laughed a lot, and was the center of attention. He is fun. He is popular. He might be ten years older than everyone else around and you wouldn’t have a clue.

The problem with Red Solo Cup is that where you met him is basically where he lives. He has no life outside the bar scene. He’s so popular because he. is. always. there. This Guy might be fun for awhile, but after some time you’ll get increasingly bored with your own life, or else your liver will revolt.

  • If he buys you a drink, then thank him and enjoy. (+1pt)
  • If he knows all the bartenders, servers, and owners of the establishment you met, shrug it off and give him the benefit of the doubt — maybe he is just a friendly regular. (-0pts)
  • If he can drink a fifth of Jack and not slur his speech, be impressed but back off. (-5pts)

My own personal advice with this Guy, bide your time. If you meet Red Solo Cup at a bar, don’t agree to a First Date right away. Go back to the bar a week later. If he’s there again, be friendly but cautious. Give it another week; if he’s there the third week in a row, don’t even approach him. He’s just not worth it, girls. He meets enough people while on his perch every week that he’ll have forgotten your name within a month anyways.

11. Ring-in-Hand To-Be-Groom
Welcome to the most uncomfortable encounter you will ever face. This Guy greets you with sparkles in his eyes and a smile to rival any movie star. His initial appearance is spot-on and you’re intrigued that he came to the First Date so enthusiastic. As your conversation begins, you’re surprised at how open and inquiring Guy is. He wants to know all about you: your career situation, your family relationships, your goals in life. But as the night progresses, you begin to realize maybe he’s a bit too inquiring. I mean, is your family’s health background really a topic to discuss on the First Date?

Then Guy hits you with the ultimate question, “What are your feelings on marriage?” No. Sudden. Movements. Keep eye contact. Smile. Give some excuse. And get out of that situation, girl!

  • When Guy mentions marriage on the First Date, run. (-20pts)
  • When Guy mentions that he loves you on the First Date, run. (-30pts)
  • If Guy proposes with a ring on the First Date, collect, and then run. (-20pts)

12. Smooth Casanova
Carrie Underwood warned us about this Guy and we all should have listened. He’s got the looks. He’s got the charm. He’s got everything you could possibly want… and so much more. Every single dripping venomous word out of his mouth is like honey to your ears. Don’t be fooled, though. He’s candy-coated misery wrapped up in a devilish grin and pretty blue eyes. You’ll be sucked up in his lies and get addicted to him in one false swoop.

The trouble is, it’s hard to identify a Casanova before he plays his hand. You’ll get caught up in his web of sweet-talking and then be heartbroken when everything he’s promised fails. This smooth-talking son-of-a-gun has only one thing on his mind and it’s not becoming your knight in shining armor. If you don’t want to listen to Carrie or me, just give your “connection” a few weeks and you’ll see — he’ll become pushy and desperate and angry when he’s not getting the one thing that he wants from you: sex. When someone is too good to be true, he typically is. And there’s a list of girls in his phone who are falling for the same tricks as you.

  • Guy is charming, kind, and attractive. (+5pts)
  • Guy is witty, intelligent, and shares your sense of humor. (+5pts)
  • Guy carries a good job, has a good family, or is self-sufficient. (+5pts)
  • Guy makes sexual innuendos throughout the entire First Date. (-10pts)
  • I am all for going with your gut. So if you have a gut-feeling Guy is hiding something or his words seem too good to be true… (-20pts)

13. The Elusive Unicorn
It’s natural to want to be part of the enticing image painted in romance movies on the ideal boyfriend. The mysterious bad boy, the man with a multitude of feelings, or the guy who can buy you the world. However, reality is usually not as direct as the dreams we’re shown by Hollywood. In reality, the guy’s in those films are not the best guys for us.

The Unicorn Boyfriend is the Guy who is perfect for every single individual throughout the world. He’s different for every person. He’s the person who you will share an epic love — your best friend, closest confidant, and sweetest lover.

The men you stay with are the ones who have dependable, honest, comical, and caring natures. They are the one’s who cause excitement and laughter in your life rather than stress and instability. They are laid back and positive, not wanting to consume you but rather involve you. He’s better than the movies because he’s real, he’s perfect, and he’s yours.

  • When you know, you just know. (+100pts — marry that poor sap so the two of you are no longer sad and alone! You’ve found one another!)

 

 

Now, when the date is over, if Guy has less than 10 points, end the relationship with a smile and a wave. If Guy has 10-20 points, consider a Second Date to push him in either the Yes or No direction. If Guy has 20 or more points, secure that Second Date. If you happen to lose track of your points, no worries. This simply means you’re enjoying your First Date and you should just move ahead at your own pace! Nothing wrong with throwing the rule to the wind!

So, of course, this “game” is meant as a joke. (Seriously, some people just don’t get humor do they?!) However, I am serious when I say there are at least 13 different kinds of men out in the world. 13 different, competing, striving to find love kinds of men. Everyone fits the mold of the Elusive Unicorn for someone else. Sometimes it just takes the right woman to turn a Man Lost to Reality, Smooth Casanova, or Friend-Zoner into an Elusive Unicorn.

The best advice I have for you is to test the waters. You can’t figure out what you want in a spouse if you don’t venture into the unknown and narrow down what you DON’T want. And sooner or later you’ll come across what you thought was mythological…

Do you have any additional men to add to my list? If so, what sort of points do you tend to score them while on a date?