By Ericka Alston-Buck

I am super excited to be here to offer my assistance with all things dating! Never mind the title, you don’t have to be single to grasp new ideas. You can count on me for dating advice; even if it’s to reignite the fire in your marriage or your existing relationship.  Here’s to finding and keeping the love of your life, the love for one night, enjoying amazing meals, creating exciting date nights, online dating tips & tricks, spicy suggestions and most of all…fun, so stick around.  

“Single in the City” will be a combination of dating advice and exploring different approaches to dating from a single woman’s perspective. I’ll also spend time giving local restaurants my “Dating Rating,” where I’ll rate restaurants on their service, food, cocktails, ambiance and the ability to have a conversation. 

My approach to dating is very similar to how men have always dated; I keep my options open. My mantra has been “Date’em ALL, Sis and may the best man win!”  So, let’s start by defining a date. For me, a date requires effort and intent and must involve a level of planning beyond “Netflix & Chill.”  

Personally, meeting for a drink or coffee for me does not a date make.  The amount of intent and effort needed to meet at a local bar or coffee shop is less than the time I spend on my hair and make-up in the morning. So fellas, let’s think bigger.  Let’s think Dinner!

I recently received an interesting question. The reader wanted to know if it were ok for her to recommend or suggest a 5-star restaurant for a first date?  To which I responded that I generally let the man suggest the restaurant, unless I am specifically asked where I’d like to eat. And it that case, I suggest my favorite restaurant which happens to be 5-star. 

But, how do you get to the first date?  How does a first date become “date ‘em all?”  

In dating you’ve got to know your end game! And if it’s marriage, please don’t mention that in the first phone call and certainly not on the first date.  Many women believe that they need to let men know what their intentions are.  If the goal is marriage, you do, just not immediately. 

A date is a date.  The only expectations you should have on the first date is to expect a good meal, expect to be safe and expect great conversation. So please don’t start thinking about your wedding colors and who your bride’s maids will be, before you’ve ordered dessert! 

I am a huge fan of online dating and believe it gives us access to people we wouldn’t necessarily meet grocery shopping, at the bookstore or in line at the bank. Ladies, when setting up your online dating app profiles, stop using pictures that only show you from the neck up and absolutely do not use pictures with your kids or pets, no matter how great you think you look in them.  It’s weird. The men have told me, stop it.  We’ll do an entire series on online dating “do’s and don’ts.”

The way your online profile is written is important; it’s an opportunity for you to show every great thing about yourself, your outlook on life, your approach to dating, your sense of humor, interests, goals and favorite things to do. Your profile is not the place to complain about every bad date you’ve had or every frog you kissed hoping that he was your prince. Ribbit. 

In my profile men know I love to travel and eat great food.  They know I prefer alpha males and the way to ask me out is to text me a link to a reservation! My pictures are a combination of full body and headshots; there are pictures of me traveling and out having fun with friends. 

My profile shows I have a complete life, my own interests; I can be the life of the party and I also like down time, alone at home. Men know that if I choose to respond to them, it’s because their profile was interestingly written and I’m not easily amused by great pictures of handsome faces and deeply defined biceps. Yawn.  It’s all in my profile.  More about this in my online dating series, coming soon. 

Dating Rating.  Capital Grille Baltimore 5 out of 5

This week, I had an amazing 1st date that will absolutely be a 2nd. He sent a link to Baltimore’s Capital Grille on a Tuesday. He could not have orchestrated a more perfect experience. 

From James the GM meeting and greeting us at the door and the white glove service provided tableside by Joshua, Capital Grille was an absolute win. 

Cocktails:  Mexican 75, I requested that they add a maraschino cherry. Joshua brought out a separate glass that had the cherries soaking in champagne.  

Appetizers:  Calamari 

Sides: Salad, Roasted Mushrooms & Lobster Mac & Cheese 

Entrees:  Lamb Chops for me, Chilean Sea Bass for the gentleman. 

Ambiance:  Lighting was dim enough to be romantic and bright enough to read the menus. Perfect. 

Service:  Perfection 

Ability to Have a Conversation:  We learned so much about each other over dinner and connected in a way that only the perfect setting could provide.  We sat at a corner table that provided both the privacy and intimacy needed for a great 1st date that will absolutely lead to a second. 

The date ended with a special kiss on my forehead, I’m a sucker for a tall dude kissing me on my forehead; then we texted all night like 16-year olds.  May the best man win! 

Ericka Alston-Buck is a local publicist committed to empowering women to make their own choices and live their best lives regardless of marital status!

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