A Drink With: Valentine’s Day Edition

Indulge
By Virgin Hotels
@VirginHotelsChi

Whether you’re in a relationship, single and ready to mingle (or single and ready for a Pringle, we don’t judge) – we all like to chat about love. Smart Dating Academy Founder Bela Gandhi and comedian Brian Babylon talk first dates, going “sexclusive,” true love, and living in a world of dating apps. See more action at adrinkwith.com.

ADW: With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it would be fun to get a drink and talk love and relationships with a matchmaker and a comedian. Do you two think love is for everyone?
Brian: Love is for everyone, but it depends what kind of love you’re talking about. You can love a baby, love a puppy, love your mom, love humanity, but that’s different from romance.

Bela: There’s definitely a difference in the types of love. There are different types of attachment too – attachment to your kids, attachment to your husband. But I think human beings are driven to have a mate. It’s like hunger, like thirst. We all want a companion. You have to be psychotically optimistic and go out there to find it. If you want it, it will come to you.

Brian: Is the process the same depending on what kind of relationship you’re looking for?

Bela: So, the people that we help at Smart Dating Academy are all definitely looking to understand why they haven’t met the right person yet. They all do want happy, healthy love. Whether they want to get married or not, ultimately they want to act as if they’re married with a committed partner. We work with people that are in their 20s all the way to their 70s. The process of figuring out why you’re not meeting the right person is pretty similar for most people. How you’re going to get there and who you’re looking for is different.

Brian: Is it organic or do you have to be obsessed with the process? Do you have to know what kind of guy you want? I have a type, but I haven’t found that yet.
ADW_vday--12 ADW_vday--10 ADW_vday--9ADW: Do you think there’s one soul mate for everyone?
Bela: No. There are many lids for every pot, but you have to be mindful about the qualities that actually make you happy. Most of us can say, “I want her to look like this, or be like this,” but then the question is, who actually makes you happy in your life? Sit back and think about the people that elevate you. Date from the inside out. Obviously you want to be attracted to this person, but are they nice? Are they kind? Are they supportive? At the end of the day, are you friends? Do you like each other? Marriage is a long haul. I’ve been married for almost 19 years. You want to be with someone who makes you happy, because the lust is going to change; the attraction is going to change. You have to be with someone who wants the same things long-term.

Brian: Speaking of friends, let me ask you guys this. Do you have a best guy friend that you’ve never slept with, but who you can hang out with for so long and not get tired of?

Bela: I married that guy! I married him after dating good guys that just weren’t going to make me happy long-term. That was literally the exercise I went through. Who are the people in my life that make me happy? And he was on the list. He was the guy I hung out with all the time – the first person I called in the morning, the last person I called in the evening.

Brian: Was he trying to holler at you the whole time?

Bela: No! I don’t think so. We had a few too many glasses of wine one night. Let’s get real.
ADW_vday--13 ADW_vday-0419ADW: Have you heard of the book called “The Five Love Languages”?
Brian: She kept bringing up that book. She’d say, “You don’t know my love language.” I got blindsided by that. Where did this book even come from?

Bela: It’s a popular book. It talks about what makes us feel loved – those are the ‘love languages’. For some people it’s an act of service, for some it’s a gift, for others it’s verbal affirmation.

Brian: But someone can’t come to you and say, “All five love languages are mine.” You have to pick one, right?

Bela: Usually people are more predominantly one.

Brian: Heads up, ladies! You can’t be all five! That’s just selfish.

Bela: It’s realistic to want all of those things, because we’re humans, but you have to give to get. Be nice to each other. That’s what I tell people all the time. Kindness and niceness are so underrated.

Brian: I think that’s my problem. I hold grudges. Apparently, I forget about that “time of the month” for the ladies. I forget about that, so I’m thinking it’s just a regular fight, but really you have that “time of the month” sprinkled on top. I heard bros are getting these period tracker apps so they know when the storm is coming. If only I had known that…

Bela: I think what women could say is, “It’s that time of the month and I’m feeling a little emotional right now.”
ADW_vday--4ADW_vday--3ADW: Brian, are you on any dating apps?

Brian: I’m on Bumble, Hinge, Tinder…When I lived in Chicago I really didn’t do it as much since I’m from here. Since I moved to L.A., it’s a whole new me. L.A.-Brian.

Bela: With Tinder Plus you can date in different cities.

Brian: I found this one trick this chick told me which is to post pictures of yourself where you look 25 to 30 percent less attractive so when you meet your date they’re like, “Daaaamn!” It works! Don’t post gross [photos], but don’t put up a glamour shot and then get there and look regular. If you have demon eyes – swipe left. No fuzzy pics. No other people in the photo.

Bela: No pets. No babies.

Brian: And ladies, don’t kiss your dog on the mouth in your profile picture. Nobody wants that … I’m going to get a T-shirt with my love language on it and put that picture on Tinder.

Bela: You know what’s tough too is when people try and be funny with their photos. My client texted me a photo of a guy she saw on Tinder. He was literally on the toilet. That’s beyond psychotic.

What advice do you have for people who have to balance a demanding career and a relationship?
Bela: Take the relationship slow and steady so that in the beginning you’re going on one date a week for a couple of weeks. If you start to like them, then you’re going on two dates a week. After a couple more weeks, it’s three dates a week. What you’re doing is easing this person into your life, versus “Wham!”

ADW: What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
Brian: There are so many where I’m like, “Get me out of here.” I’ve tapped out of a lot of them. I went on a date and found out the person was an NPR fanatic. She was telling me things about myself that I had never told her. That was kind of creepy. You have to have your crazy radar.

Bela: Crazy can’t keep crazy in the closet for more than 15 minutes.

Brian: It will creep out in some way or another. For me, as a comedian, I can walk into a room and read the crowd without them saying a word. I can read their economic status, education level or political leanings. I can tell that from a [profile] picture, too. I was with this one chick and we were having a great time. It was a meet-my-friends kind of date. We all went to a comedy show. I made some Crock-Pot meats. We’re hanging out and she starts tearing up. She was like, “I know this is crazy, but I just cry when I’m having a good time.” A few days later her stomach was getting all cramped because she was getting anxiety about jumping into this [relationship] too fast. It was a little bit much.

Bela: That is a lot. Trust your gut. If I can tell you anything, it’s to trust your gut.

Brian: I wanted it to work so badly, but that crying shit was crazy. Don’t cry out of happiness on the third date. It’s not cool. Crying scares dude.
ADW_vday--5ADW_vday- ADW_vday--19ADW: If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Bela: I would like to have a drink with Barack and hear about what these eight years have been like for someone who precipitated so much change for the nation. I’d want his thoughts on where we are now and what he thinks we should be doing. It would be fascinating.

Brian: They can be living or dead? I guess, Merlin. The magician. The wizard. Is that too weird? Do some tricks [with him].

ADW: Where will we find each of you doing on Valentine’s Day?
Brian: Alone.

Bela: You’ve still got time. Tinder. Bumble. Hinge. Go!

Brian: I will actually be working at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard doing a show.

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