Skout Takes a Stand on Shirtless Bathroom ‘Selfies’

Article published here on the New York Daily News.

Bathroom selfies banned from flirting app Skout after it’s proved they lower appeal

The ‘cliché of shirtless people showing off their abs’ is now taboo on Skout, a match-making app used by 220 million worldwide. Celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber, however, may be the worst offenders.

At least one social network is putting the kibosh on bathroom selfies.

Skout, the so-called flirting app, has banned oversharing snaps of shirtless singles flexing their muscles in the mirror or stripped down in a tub full of bubbles, à la Rihanna, who posted steamy bath time photos on Instagram last year.

“This cliché of shirtless people showing off their abs — we’re not having that,” Skout’s global PR manager Jordan Barnes said.

Miley Cyrus, of course, is one of the celebrities who has posted nearly nude shots from the bathroom.

MILEYCYRUS/VIA INSTAGRAM

Miley Cyrus, of course, is one of the celebrities who has posted nearly nude shots from the bathroom.

The app, used by more than 220 million people worldwide, will no longer approve shirtless selfies taken in restrooms, powder rooms or water closets.

“If you’re dressed, it’s fine,” Barnes said.

The bathroom selfie is a trend embraced by celebrities on social media. Last week, Nicki Minaj posted a string of shower selfies, and Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber are also perpetrators.

Geraldo Rivera tweeted this towel snap — but Skout, for one, wants none of it.

GERALDO RIVERA/VIA TWITTER

Geraldo Rivera tweeted this towel snap — but Skout, for one, wants none of it.

Even non-celebrity figures indulge in the showy shots — a close-up of Anthony Weiner’s pecs leaked in 2011, and who can forget Geraldo Rivera’s nearly nude mirror selfie?

Barnes said Skout’s decision came after market research revealed that the toilet-side snaps don’t increase users’ popularity.

Rihanna's bath time fun time picture will no longer be welcome on one social-media site.BADGIRLRIRI/VIA INSTAGRAM

Rihanna’s bath time fun time picture will no longer be welcome on one social-media site.

Response rate drops 43% for people whose photos include a bathroom selfie, she said.

“People just don’t want to see that stuff if they’re really going to start talking to someone,” she said.

Dating coach Laurel House points out another downside of the ubiquitous mirror selfie.

“It makes it look like you don’t have any friends to take photos of you,” she said.

Barnes credits the “digital and mobile revolution” for the influx of the TMI trend.

Breaking up is hard to do

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real.

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it real.

So this week I had a question from Mark, he chatted me up on Skout to ask how to end a relationship with a girl he had been seeing for a few months. He thought it was best to just stop talking to her.

I thought it would be best to share what I told him with all of you, just in case anyone else was thinking they would “just stop talking to the person”.

Here’s the deal, whether it’s an online only relationship or one in the physical world you have put some time into it, they have put some time into it – maybe a few days, a few months or even a few years, so you owe the person, and yourself,  an actual end. In other words, don’t just stop talking to them, end it in a mature way that will give both of you some closure.

There are hundreds of reasons why a relationship ends; someone cheats, you find someone else, you grow apart…whatever it is there needs to be closure. Tell the person, in an email or in person, that you have moved on or that you don’t trust them anymore or whatever the case may be. Don’t just ignore them, that degrades the time they and you spent on the relationship. Think about it from your point of view, wouldn’t you rather know the relationship was over as opposed to just guess?

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it Real

To Tell or Not To Tell

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real.

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it real.

Today’s question comes courtesy of Brian who chatted me on Skout of course, to ask for some advice.

Dear Skout Wing Gal,

I had been chatting with this one girl for a few months and we finally met in person. She is even more awesome then I could have hoped. We have been dating now for about two months and I really want to introduce her to my friends but I don’t know how I should do it. Should I lie about how we met? I want them to like her.

Signed

Bashful Brian

Dear Brian,

First of all, if you like her and she makes you happy then I am sure your friends will like her too; and if they don’t you might want to think about how good of friends they really are. Second, I think what you are really asking is, should you be embarrassed to have met online? To this I would have to say an unequivocal absolutely not!

Look, in today’s flattened world where we think nothing of communicating with someone next door or around the world there is absolutely no reason you should feel badly about having met someone online. So much of what we do today is done online, or through email and text. Home phones are becoming obsolete, the post is having trouble getting people to send letters (see next weeks column on offline surprises) and almost everyone has at least one email address. Even if you had met this girl in a bar, chances are you would have gotten her phone number and texted her, or her email and emailed her – so really you just skipped the noisy bar part.

Brian you are a trendsetter, embrace how you met and enjoy the offline relationship that is blooming. If anyone has something negative to say about they clearly need to move into the 21st century.

Keeping it real – Skout Wing Gal

The Boredom of Over Sharing

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real.

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it real.

In today’s world of always on, always-available there is the real risk of sharing too much. Last week I chatted about the slippery slope to stalker-ville, well today I want to caution you on over-sharing.  We all have that friend, or friends who practices TMI like it’s a religion, but what I’ve also started to notice is the snooze fest TMI that is proliferating on social networks.

What do I mean by this? Look, I don’t care if you just got up from the couch or made a piece of toast or noticed that it’s not raining out. I think status updates, thoughts and pictures are all great but let’s temper it a little bit, especially as you are getting to know someone. If you are constantly inundating them with every little detail of what you are doing (see stalker definition here) then where is the mystery?

Dating, as I’ve mentioned is all about discovery, well leave something to be discovered. Think before you text or chat or update; ask yourself if this is really something that needs to be said or if you are just filling the cyber air with mind junk.  If it helps, picture your chats as a real honest to God conversation. If you were physically talking to someone would it go…

  • It’s Tuesday
  • I’m watching Maury Povitch
  • The sun is out
  • I think I’ll get a sandwich
  • A commercial is on
  • I’m making a sandwich
  • You get the idea.

Don’t spam your friends, and definitely don’t spam someone you might like romantically just because you are bored because honestly, it’s a turnoff!

Keeping it real – Skout Wing Gal

Don’t Be A Stalker, Seriously

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real.

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it real.

Listen up girls and guys, I’ve got a piece of advice for your Friday – don’t be a stalker.

We’ve all been tempted at one point or another to check in on an ex’s Facebook account, or maybe send one too many text messages (or even drunk texts) to someone we like; but I guarantee once you start down this path you will just come across as needy and a little cray-cray.

Technology has made it not only amazingly easy to find out what people are up to, it has also created a disconnect in rational contact. What do I mean by that? Texting and emailing give you a buffer that face-to-face contact, and even talking on the phone does not have.  Look, Skout Wing Gal totally gets it – you start chatting with a guy or girl, you seem to hit it off, maybe you hang out and suddenly you’re sprung. Now all you want to do is chat with them, which is fine, its part of dating (the fun part) what is not fine is obsessing about them to the point of stalker tendencies.

I’m going to date myself a little but, it used to be if you wanted to chat with someone or see what they were doing you had to actually pick up a phone and have a real conversation, actually commit to communicating with them. Now, you can pick up your cell – type a quick text and off it goes to cyberspace with minimal commitment on your part. Because of this disconnect you might find yourself texting again and again and before you know it you’ve got your phone in your hand, finger poised to tap send on the 50th message in under 15 minutes.

Listen closely: STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE!

Getting to know someone is about discovery, give him or her time to respond, to miss you, to wonder what you are doing (more on over sharing next week). Texting over and over while checking their profile (and yes, they can see if you have) only leads to them feeling suffocated and possibly even a little nervous, and no one likes that.

Take it from Skout Wing Gal, don’t be a stalker – text responsibly.

 

Seriously Serious, too Quick

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping it real.

The other day I was chatting with a guy friend of mine, (and yes, guys and gals can be friends even if Harry doesn’t think so) and he was lamenting to me about a new phenomenon he has encountered in dating. He calls it the fall fast and leave. It seems that girls are getting really serious really quickly, talking all kinds of I love you and future plans only to realize a few weeks later that it is not what they want and break off all communication.  Now my friend is a sensitive guy, and is looking for that special someone but now he’s telling me he’s been burned too many times and doesn’t feel like he can trust what girls say.

Look, it’s all well and good to move quickly if that’s what you want. It’s also totally acceptable to realize after you’ve been hanging out with someone, that you aren’t as compatible as you first thought but come on ladies…let’s be rational about this. Why get so serious right off the bat? Give it some time to grow and for you to actually decide if you like this person or not.  Relax and enjoy getting to know someone before you get all serious and then turn runaway bride on him or her.

By immediately claiming love and a deep connection you run the risk of a. scaring the guy off before he gets to know you or in the case of my friend hurting the same guy you acted like you could spend the rest of your life with.

Keep in mind, you know what they say about Karma, it’s a…

Skout Wing Gal – Keeping It Real

Have a question for Skout Wing Gal…chat me on Skout or leave a comment here!

Break the Ice Without Breaking A Leg


Shows like It’s Jess, and characters like SNL’s Shy Ronnie always originate from somewhere. And more than likely, that somewhere is actually someone. Everyone has that one amazing, but shy friend that could use a little help meeting new people. Even some of the most extroverted and confident people can be socially awkward given the right circumstances. Depending on the degree, people even get anxiety because of it. But for those that just need a little push in the right direction, here are some easy tips you can use to get out from that social rock you’re under, and into the world!

Go to places of interest. Surround yourself with things that you enjoy, and are familiar with. That way you’ll feel comfortable, and end up meeting people with the same interests as you making it easier to find something in common to talk about. If you like art for instance, visiting your favorite art exhibit would be a good idea. If you’re feeling extraadventurous, attending the grand opening of an exhibit would be even better!

Socialize. Finding places to meet people is easy, now comes the hard part – actually talking to the people you meet. However, it’s only as hard as you make it, and a little goes a long way. Considering the person isn’t in a rush, asking questions is a good way to keep a conversation flowing. Pay attention to the things around you and talk about something relevant that may start up a conversation. When all else fails, a simple “Hello,” usually does the trick just fine.

Assimilate & Communicate. You’re not off the hook just yet! Once a conversation has started, there is still the task of keeping it going. Pay attention to the other person’s facial expressions, responses, and body language during your conversation, so that you can gauge what interests them and what doesn’t. Don’t change who you are, but do be considerate of the other person’s beliefs. And if there’s something that could be misunderstood, whether it be something you said that came out the wrong way or a weird tick you have, let the other person know! The both of you will feel more comfortable afterwards.

Embarrassed/Awkward can be CUTE!

Smile. This is probably the easiest thing you can do, as well as something you should be doing lots of regardless. A smile is the best way to start a conversation without even having to open your mouth! It lets people know you aren’t closed off, are pleasant, and have a positive attitude. Even if the intention isn’t to meet someone, a smile can make someone else’s day without you even realizing it.

Last, but definitely not least – Skout! We aren’t a part of the fastest growing social scene for nothing! The fact is, some people need a little help breaking the ice and feel more comfortable doing so behind a screen. It gives you the ability to get to know someone before really getting to know someone. And if you’re too shy to wink at someone as they walk by you on the street, you can always send them a wink on Skout instead!

Meeting new people doesn’t have to be so daunting. It’s a “must” in a world where who you know is just as important (if not more) than what you know. They say that closed mouths don’t get fed, so make sure you don’t starve! Meeting new people, and more importantly – making new friends – makes life more fruitful, and full of happiness.

 

Try Something New!

After countless hours of debate, I finally did it: I made an online dating profile. It wasn’t a mockery for those who partake in online dating, I just thought my curiosity to see what kind of people were on there wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes.

If you had asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said only losers met people online. People who were too socially inept to make friends or too desperate to get dates in “real life.”  Then, I realized I was the loser for being so presumptuous, not to mention ignorant. Because my mom was on it, and she gets approached left and right. A man I used to date was on it, and he has NO problem getting ladies. And two, beautiful extremely successful friends of mine were both on it – one of which is currently smitten with one of her matches.

Yet, I was still cynical. As I sat there scrolling through photos of people near me, I literally face-palmed in embarrassment at some of the biographies. But then I realized that I was doing this all from home on what was probably a Friday night at 8:30pm, in jammies, with no makeup, probably eating ketchup chips. All while the girl with less hang-ups was probably on her fourth date this week.

Amidst the few cheeseballs that were strictly looking to bang and the douchettes simply in need of self-validation, there were lots of those who just wanted to meet new people and were exploring new fun ways of doing so.

That’s exactly the thing – it doesn’t have to be that serious! It’s only as serious as you make it. Having a Skout profile doesn’t have to mean love, marriage, and a baby-carriage. Nor does it have to be about “hooking up.” It doesn’t have to be about dating at all! And more and more people are making new friends and creating awesome memories with them every day. So have fun, and live a little. Then, if the signal’s strong you’re free to make the connection in person.

Going the Distance

Someone once asked me if I had any advice on long distance relationships, to which I half-jokingly replied, “Yeah, don’t do it.” The sad reality is relationships in the same city are hard enough as is, and sometimes people who live in the same house have a hard time communicating with each other.

Nonetheless, we live in a time where meeting someone online can be more sufficient than meeting someone on the train ride home, and technology only makes it easier to have a “friend circle” that circles the globe. Unless you’re still using a pager, having some type of long-distance relationship in life – whether it be for work, friendship, or matters of the heart – is inevitable.

Skout can help start those relationships. It gives you the ability to make a new friend in Spain all from the comfort of your own home in New York. It allows you to see what’s going on in China, while you’re waiting for your laundry to dry in Seattle. Whether across the country, or right around the corner, Skout has the potential to bring people together. But while Skout helps build relationships, it’s up to YOU to keep them.

This is the part where it can get tricky. Long distance relationships can feel like an amazing vacation, or a heart-wrenching deployment. One thing is for sure; it is not for the faint of heart – or text. Fortunately, there are little things you can do that would mean a whole lot to the other person, and ultimately, the relationship.

Try to set up a weekly if not daily time for the two of you to have a Skype chat, or phone call. Being consistent shows the other person that they are a priority in your life despite not physically being there. If you have to break a date, let them know beforehand or as soon as possible afterwards. Keep them in the loop, so that you can keep them in your life. Distance can turn mountains into molehills, so not picking up your phone for 10 minutes can seem like an hour. It all boils down to trust, and communication.

Although everyone is only a Tweet, an email, or refresh button away, nothing beats physical contact. Next to nothing is comparable to hugging your brother that just got back from Afghanistan, or smelling your girlfriends hair for the first time since she moved across the country for college. Nevertheless, it’s still good to know that you can watch your best friend graduate via FaceTime, and that the cure for a boring Friday night can be found at the drop of a Wink Bomb.

Spring Into Action

So spring is in the air, you’ve met someone on Skout, and you’re thinking of meeting this person IRL.  First of all, congrats on meeting someone you like!  Second of all, I’m going to give you some tips about Springing into Action, making this meet-up the best it can be, and helping the relationship bloom.

Caffeine doesn’t guarantee activity.

Now that spring is here, a whole bunch of date ideas just opened up.  Although going for a coffee with someone might turn out really well, doing something active and/or outside is much more dynamic and you can avoid any awkward silences with you sitting there staring at the foam on your latte.

Here are some spring date ideas! Thank me later.

  • The zooAnimals are always entertaining to look at and hey, she’s bound to squeal about fluffy pandas (Guys, admit it, you think they’re cute too.  If not, there are badass tigers.).  You can walk around, chat, get food, and watch monkeys.  Perfect.

This is a monkey.

  • Picnic – Picnics are inherently romantic.  You don’t have to bring a lame basket; Throw some sandwiches and a blanket in a backpack and get going to the park.  The sun, spring breeze, lying in the grass…  Nice weather and sunshine puts people in a good mood.  Fact.  And you guys can be totally cute and talk about the clouds!
  • The market – If you live in or near a city, go walk around the hip areas or Chinatown.  Check out some markets, shopping, and weird stores.  Having lots of stuff to do and look at will spark conversation.  Like that Hello Kitty toilet paper…who would buy that??  Isn’t a little weird having cute cartoon kittens on something you um, wipe with?  See…interesting!

Seriously??

Really, any kind of date where you can enjoy the spring splendor will be fun.  The most important thing is to be yourself and relax.  You’ve already chatted with this person on Skout for a while, so it’s not like it’s a blind date.  Pick one of the sweet date ideas above and Spring Into Action!

Ok, ‘Mom’ time -

I know you’ve heard these safety tips a hundred times, but seriously, they are important and all it takes is one time of being silly… So read them, keep them in mind, and just be smart, you know?

Meet up in a public place. This is pretty much Rule #1 for meeting people for the first time.  This way, there are other people around you (‘public’, duh) and you’re more likely to be safe.

Tell people where you’re going. You probably tell your friends about your dates anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to mention to someone where you’re going and with whom.  It doesn’t have to be in a lame way… Tell them you met some cute girl/guy and you’re going to P.F. Changs tonight.  By the way, get the lettuce wraps – they are awesome.

Don’t get drunk. I know that a drink can help with your first-date nerves, but keep it to one!!  Have some self-control and you won’t make any bad decisions.  Related, it’s not a good idea to go drinking for a first date.