Dating Dance Cards & Catch a Catfish

It’s officially cuffing season folks! The days are shorter and colder, and many of us are feeling that urge to spend more time cozying up in a warm place. And we may want to cozy up with a partner. So that’s exactly what cuffing season is. It’s a reference to being handcuffed or tied to one partner up before your imagination goes wild. It’s not the kinky kind. It’s just the partnership kind. 

That’s why we have MTV’s Catfish co-host and host of the podcast Relationsh*t, Kamie Crawford, joining us today. She’ll be bringing you up to speed on all things dating, from the apps to catfishing and beyond, so that we can get YOU cuffed.


We’re bringing back a classic Dates & Mates segment: Romance Rollback! 

If you’re new to this segment, Damona will be taking a classic romance, dating, courtship, or relationship tradition that you may or may not have heard of – we’ll tell you what it is, how it worked and what we can apply from the customs of yesteryear to today’s dating and relationship scene.

Dance cards: A classic ballroom custom

Have you ever heard the phrase “my dance card is full”? This is in reference to the 1830s ballroom tradition. Basically, a dance card was a card that was provided at large balls with a list of chosen dances for the evening & a blank space beside each dance. Ladies each had a card and when a gentleman asked her to dance, he would write his name in the space for a particular agreed upon dance.

Damona dives into how dance cards came into fashion, lists off some other ballroom etiquette of the time and breaks down the modern love lessons we can learn from them.


Kamie Crawford is a television host, podcast host and model. She co-hosts the MTV hit series, Catfish, and hosts the amazing podcast Relationsh*t, an advice podcast that covers all relationship topics – the good, the bad and the straight up sh*tty.

**Want to hear some Valentine’s Day do’s & don’ts? It may seem a ways out, but is it ever to early to prepare?  Check out Damona on the Relationsh*t podcast with Kamie Crawford here!

(14:50) Friends can catfish too??

Having been co-hosting MTV’s Catfish since 2019, it makes sense that Kamie would have some firsthand experience with catfishing. But what surprised Damona is that it wasn’t a potential match that was misleading her – it was her close friend and roommate! According to Kamie, her friend had faked an engagement, posted about a fiancé that didn’t exist, and posed as traveling to a bunch of different countries.

Moral of the story: You can even be catfished by people that you know in real life, so don’t blame yourself if you couldn’t see it beforehand. 

Kamie also gives us the scoop on how she researches potential matches before meeting them IRL (hint: Google is your friend).

(20:47) Dating profile red flags

Kamie and Damona discuss the bizarre pictures they’ve both seen on dating profiles. Remember that you should be the star of your dating profile, because whoever matches with you is going to be dating YOU – not your dog, not your group of best friends, not your friend’s baby. So make sure that your pictures are always showcasing parts of your personality.

 (29:00) What is the Texting Trap?

It’s one thing to have really great texting banter with someone, but it’s another thing if you never actually meet in person. This is what Damona calls the “Texting Trap” – when you and your match are endlessly messaging back and forth but never actually make plans to talk on the phone, Zoom, or meet in person. 

Damona and Kamie talk about the importance of in-person chemistry, and how “90% of your dating problems are going to be solved if you do a phone call or a quick video chat before you meet.”


Be sure to follow Kamie on Instagram @KamieCrawford and listen to the Relationsh*t Podcast wherever you listen to Dates & Mates. 



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

IG Message from Renee – Hi Damona! I am a young widow – it’s been almost two years since my husband passed away (we were married for 13 years). Although I’m on instagram and etcetera, I am 100% new to dating apps and have been extremely reluctant to join one. However, I’m very restless at this point (not to mention horny) and have finally decided maybe I should try one (or two or three). I think I just need to date and not take it so seriously (as in looking for a hubby) since I’m sure I still am working through the loss in my own way. Do you have any tips for someone in my situation?

Green Flags & Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday

Choosing a partner is the most important decision you’ll ever make. It affects your finances, your family, your mental health and your future. But remember that your dating journey is just as important as your relationship destination. 

It’s a myth to think any relationship is ever a waste of time. These experiences can be the greatest source of information when it comes to better understanding ourselves and the relationships that best fit our lives.

And that’s why we have Nick Viall, author and host of The Viall Files podcast, here to discuss his new book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” and help you navigate the ups and downs of the dating process, so you’ll leave this episode feeling more empowered in dating.


Can work stress make you more critical in your relationships?

Have you ever come home from a stressful day at work, only to find yourself completely annoyed that your partner didn’t throw away that empty chip bag on the couch? That’s why the Society for Personality and Social Psychology published a new study diving into how work stress can affect our relationships. Researchers looked at couples and had them fill out a questionnaire that asked them about the stressful situations in their lives.

The results? Turns out that participants who reported experiencing more stressful life events outside of their relationship, were especially likely to notice their partner’s negative behaviors.

But if you aren’t in a relationship, Damona also believes that work stress could be making singles more critical of their dating lives, and causing them to show up on dates already looking for negative behaviors. Remember that where our attention goes, the energy flows. So on your next date, see what happens if you more consciously refrain from scanning for negative behaviors and look for those green flags instead.


You may know Nick from his starring role on the 21st season of ABC’s The Bachelor. Nick is also the host of the podcast The Viall Files, which explores all things dating and love – from post-breakup healing, to salacious texts in their three weekly episodes. 

And his book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday: And Other Advice on Love, Sex, and Dating” is out TODAY!

(11:00) Bad texting doesn’t always mean bad communication.

Although there’s no arguing that dating apps have totally changed the landscape of dating, Damona believes that texting has actually been the biggest shift in dating culture (given that texting is now a whole separate stage of the courtship process). And the biggest challenge with this is interpreting someone else’s tone. Nick notes that regardless of our intention when sending a text, the other person will always read the tone to match whatever mood or feelings they are in – if they are feeling defensive they will read your text defensively, or if they are feeling guarded they will read the message in a more guarded tone.

Because of this communication gap, Nick suggests avoiding having ongoing conversations with new matches over text. Take advantage of tools like Zoom, where you can clearly read someone’s facial expressions and hear their tone. 

Nick also gives us some crucial tips for sliding into someone’s DM’s, and how to avoid looking like a catfish.

(21:30) The player vs the f**kboy

Two famous archetypes on a similar mission – but what really is the difference between a player and a f**kboy? One might say that they’re the same thing and f**kboy just replaced the term player in the last decade. But the two definitely have their differences. 

According to Nick, a f**kboy is someone who is well intentioned. They want to have a relationship in theory, but don’t want to check their own behavior and do what it really takes or make the sacrifices required to be in a relationship. “Women, men – we all can become f**kboys. Because f**kboys happen when we’re not communicating our expectations and boundaries, and we make assumptions. The other person is having sex with us, but not really prioritizing our feelings. And then all of a sudden, we have a f**kboy situation.” Weirdly enough, your f**kboy could be someone else’s future partner. 

On the other hand, players are the people who actually have alternative motives. They truly don’t want a relationship, they just want to have sex. They tend to manipulate and lead others on, and will go out of their way to make you feel special so they can hopefully hook up with you with no attachments. They’re playing the game (hence the name “player”).

(27:50) Get yourself unstuck.

Nick had one central message when writing his new book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” – that we have more control in our love lives than we want to give ourselves credit for. Nick shares that he has always remembered feeling very stuck in a relationship. He says that he would obsess over small details or moments and the potential for rejection. “I chose to make her choices a representation of my self worth. And I allowed her choices to validate my self worth.”

Nick encourages readers to avoid making any kind of rejection about you. “Rejection sucks. It’s not fun. But if we reframe rejection as clarity to give us the answers, to allow us to have more freedom, to empower us to make our own choices, then it can just change things a little bit more.”


Be sure to grab yourselves a copy of “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” today! 


You can learn more about The Viall Files podcast on their website, and follow Nick Viall and The Viall Files on IG for more hot tips.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • IG Message from L – I’d like to ask for guidance on how to proceed with someone I recently met. We met last week & had an immediate connection. We saw each other the following day & he stayed with me, although we slept fully clothed. After that his communication was constant, but often made more sexual comments. We met again at my house the day he returned from a business trip. He spent the night & we just fooled around. We didn’t go all the way because I had communicated I wasn’t ready for more. He texted me the following Sunday, saying “Good morning sunshine. I hope you’re having a great weekend.” I responded. Then I sent a message on Monday just saying hi & he again responded with the same pleasantry. Since then he has not initiated contact once. I’ve reached out twice with pleasantries & he’s responded politely. I’m not sure how to proceed from here. I like him a lot & my goal is to develop a LTR with someone. 
  • Voicemail from Anon – Dear Damona, I recently became involved with a young lady that I like very much. So far, we’ve had three in person days of video call, and we’ve been texting paragraphs back and forth for at least three weeks straight. I knew from our first video call that she was someone I was extremely attracted to. At the end of our third date, I decided to ask if we can make our relationship official. But to my surprise, she kind of talked her way around saying no. So we had a heart to heart moment, where she reveals to me that she has some pretty serious past relationship baggage that only happened a few months ago. The following day, we had a text exchange where she said, “The more I thought about it last night and this morning, I truly don’t know if I’ll be ready for a relationship anytime soon. I do want to keep getting to know you and get closer though.” So my conundrum is, I genuinely like this woman and can envision myself having a future with her. But if she’s not ready to be in a relationship, should I move on and start from square one with a new person? Or is it worth the emotional investment that I continue to linger in her orbit, waiting for her to feel ready to be in a relationship? Since I already know that I like her and on some level, I know she likes me. I ask this question from the perspective of knowing that relationships require hard work, and I don’t want to waste my time if she has cold feet.

The Daily Show & Cheater Effect

A few months ago, Damona caused quite a stir after her appearance on The Daily Show: Beyond the Scenes podcast. Apparently racism in dating is a HOT topic, and not in the spicy way – more in an attracting-internet-trolls kinda way.

So we decided to bring up the subject again today (much to our dismay, racism is a thing and therefore racial bias in dating IS also a thing). It’s understandable if that sounds a bit triggering, but we encourage you to stick with this episode because you might hear something today that gives you a whole new perspective.

As Damona’s mom always said, “we should be laughing to keep from crying.” That’s why comedian, actor and podcaster Roy Wood Jr. is here to give us his take on dating, race relations and the worst dating advice he’s ever heard. Plus he reveals the most important factor to determine relationship success. 


Monkey see, monkey do. Your friends are cheaters, how about you?

Metro UK broke down a recent study by Reichman University examining how different factors (particularly external factors) have an effect on cheating in a relationship. Long story short, the results concluded that people are more likely to have an affair if they know that others around them are also cheating on their partners. 

So Damona recommends asking yourself some important questions: What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are you building a life to support the kind of relationship you want? Plus, Damona drops some tips on getting into the right relationship mindset.

ROY WOOD, JR. (8:44)

Roy Wood, Jr. is a comedian, an actor, and correspondent on The Daily Show. He has collected so many credits and accolades over the years. But fun fact – when Damona worked in casting, she showcased him from an open call audition!

He is the host of the podcast Roy’s Job Fair where he explores the human condition every week through the prism of employment. And now Roy has a starring role in the upcoming film “Confess, Fletch” starring John Hamm, based on the classic Fletch movies. Catch it in theaters on September 16th.

(11:26) Embrace what works for YOU.

Damona and Roy go back and forth on the advice they’ve received over the years on what to look for in a man/woman. Roy also mentions that these pieces of advice – like “find yourself a woman who knows how to cook” – create a lot of traditional expectations in a relationship that you might not vibe with. Remember to check in and ask yourself about the kind of life YOU want to build.

(15:37) Relationship promotions.

Roy brings up a controversial joke he once told about how after a certain point in a hetero relationship, the label “girlfriend” starts to feel stale – i.e. the more serious a relationship is, the more saying girlfriend feels like an insult. D & R discuss the significance of various relationship terms, like “partner” or “boo thang.”

Damona also explains why situationships are more prevalent today than ever before…

(23:36) We all have “thermostatic compatibility.”

Damona throws it back to one of Roy’s jokes about thermostatic compatibility. Meaning, one element of determining your compatibility with someone is if you run hot or run cold. But other than who gets to use the heated blanket, what factors are important in a relationship? Roy shares his thoughts.

(28:38) Beyond the scenes.

Back in May 2022, Damona appeared on The Daily Show’s Beyond the Scenes podcast to divulge her thoughts on sexual racism on dating apps. So Damona asks Roy for his perspective – are dating apps really contributing to dating racism?


Be sure to catch Roy on the big screen in the upcoming film “Confess, Fletch” with Jon Hamm – it hits theaters September 16, 2022.


And check out his podcast Roy’s Job Fair!



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • IG Message from Overwhelmed & Not Prepared – Hi Damona. I’m a huge fan of your podcast. I have been divorced for five years and dated on and off since. I’m now getting back into dating and have tried the online apps as it seems to be the way to go (although it feels very inorganic to me, I’m not a fan). I’ve been getting a great response rate but I’m having trouble making meaningful connections with my matches… Or even getting through the likes to figure out who ARE potential matches. Do you recommend going through only a certain number of them and exploring potential matches in that group before moving on?  I opened an account last night and I woke up to over 1500 likes. 😳I messaged a few but I knew it wasn’t a good match very early on. I would send a nice message and wish them well. Each person responded by verbally attacking me when I was simply trying to be polite. Is this why ghosting is such a big thing?

Dr. Drew & The Big 400

It’s our 400th episode special of Dates & Mates! We’ve been collecting messages from Dates & Mates listeners who shared why they listen to the show. They’ll be sprinkled throughout the episode, including two very special messages from the Hoffman household.

That is not the only thing that makes this episode special. When Dates & Mates started 9 years ago, there weren’t many other shows like this around. But there was one show (and one person in particular) that gave Damona a roadmap for how she wanted to share her voice and knowledge with the world. That show was Loveline, and that person was Dr. Drew Pinsky – who will be the honorary guest on today’s episode!



Dr. Drew co-hosted the radio show Loveline for over 30 years and offered advice on dating, relationships and so much more. In addition to his career as a TV and radio personality, Dr.  Drew is a doctor of internal medicine and an addiction specialist. He continues to treat patients to this day.  

Dr. Drew and his wife, Susan, have been married for 30 years and they currently work together to produce the podcast, Ask Dr. Drew. Today he joins us to share the story of their 7-year courtship and his secrets for a long-lasting relationship.

(4:30) How Dr. Drew met his wife Susan:

Dr. Drew sets the record straight on his marriage origin story. It’s 1982 – Dr. Drew had finished his second year of medical school, and he and his friend went out to a bar to blow off some steam from studying.

When they arrived, they were surprised to find that a fashion show was being held at the bar, and it was at that moment that Dr. Drew spotted his now-wife at the mic MC-ing the show. He recalls having this weird, cosmic feeling of “I have to talk to this person.” Buuuut this apparently wasn’t reciprocated, since she blew him off pretty hard.


Two years later, Dr. Drew was in the studio hosting Loveline when Susan appeared.  She was at the radio station as a guest to promote another fashion show. Dr. Drew describes how he felt a powerful attraction to her again, and he explains how he did something he had never done before.  He knew that she was in a relationship, but he still asked her to please take his phone number, no strings attached. He says he just “had” to do it.

Susan eventually did give Dr. Drew a call, and it wasn’t until a year later that they both realized their paths had crossed before. They continued to date off and on for seven years, until finally staying together. “I think it’s Eastern philosophers like Chinese philosophers that have a saying about the important people in your life entering more than once,” mentions Dr. Drew. “They come around a few times typically.”

(10:23) Good stretches and bad stretches:

Damona asks Dr. Drew about why he and his wife were off and on over the years, and how he knew when it was the moment to pursue the relationship head-on. “It’s more that I knew when it wasn’t the moment. I knew that if I got married or committed myself to somebody, let’s say five years into our relationship of on-and-off again, I’d blow it if I was not ready.” 


He continues that readiness, and having a sense of when you’re ready for something, is such a personal compass. Part of this process is accepting how you may need to let go of the right person if it’s the wrong time, which can be hard to swallow. 

Damona also inquires Dr. Drew’s thoughts on “doing the dance” of dating (i.e. when should I text them, is it too early/late to call, I have to wait for them to reach out first). Dr. Drew is very clear that men will never play games with you, they are wired to see things very simply.

And if a guy IS playing games with you, it’s either to keep you from getting too deep into the relationship, or to keep themselves out of the relationship. Bottom line: the more direct and honest you can be, the better it will be for both parties.


(14:36) One day at a time:

Dr. Drew gives a piece of sound relationship advice that parallels the work he does in long-term recovery from drug addiction – take it one day at a time. He states that if you are happy today, you will most likely be happy the next. Take the time to express gratitude for your partner and let them know that you appreciate them.

But if you are not happy today, the negative feelings will continue to build up. This is when you need to pay attention and hone in on what is missing for you. Damona adds that much like Dr. Drew’s advice, a relationship is just a constant choice. “You get to choose to be committed to the relationship. And it’s this constant process of recommitting.”

Damona also brings up the elements of communication and conflict resolution in a relationship, which can be very layered. She points out that if your model for relationships has been a dysfunctional one, then having clear and honest communication can feel wrong. In these cases, fighting or a lack of communication will feel comfortable and familiar, however unhealthy it may be.


Dr. Drew says the remedy is learning how to fight fairly. “One of the ways to think about it is when there’s a winner, the relationship loses. The fighting should not be gratifying, it should not be interesting. It should be something you just want to understand and move past and not let it escalate in any way.”

(19:56) When people are ready, they’re ready:

Damona brings up one final point with Dr. Drew – what can I do if my partner doesn’t show up to do the work? Put simply, Dr. Drew answers that you can’t force somebody to show up to do the work, they have to make the choice. But when someone motivates themselves to step up to the plate on their own, they will be ready.

Dr. Drew indicates that he’s a big fan of EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy, because it’s all about supporting both people in a deep context. He adds that most people usually feel heard and understood, and come out having clarity about what’s creating the conflict and what each other is experiencing.


EFT also helps you to listen with your whole body (wait, what?). “It’s really the difference between hearing the words, and listening with your whole body. Your body is the instrument of what you’re listening to. You hear it to your toes, and you feel it, hear it, and process the information as it’s coming in.”

You can hear more of Dr. Drew’s amazing advice and insightful conversations on his podcast, Ask Dr. Drew.


Submit your questions on  Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

(24:57) “Waiting For Chemistry” asks: My new date seems a lot more interested in me than I am, but I’m not feeling it yet! He lacks that sexual spark for me and I admit it’s from comparing him to my past lovers. However, he meets all my must-haves and seems devoted to a real relationship. I don’t want to lead him on, but how long should I continue to show him my undivided attention in terms of going out and showing physical affection? I’ve already slept with him, partly because I wanted to see if that changed the chemistry between us – it hasn’t.

(28:10) Anonymous asks: The last couple of months, especially over the holidays, have been very challenging emotionally, mostly due to the continued isolation and living alone with the day-to-day anxiety during covid. I’ve done EMDR, and I’m likely going to start taking medication soon to help me through this very difficult time. Something I struggle with now is finding the time, energy, and mindset to even check the apps or have a phone call or in-person date. When will I know I’m ready to date? And how do I get back out there?

(31:23) Anonymous asks: How does one handle dating with a disability that is only occasionally visible but yet can’t be denied?

(31:23) R asks: I’m still looking young at 34 years old, but I just find myself in a single place – others in my life already have families and now are even married. Coming from a Latino based family, I get asked by Aunts and Uncles when am I going to find my match, and it’s just killing me inside. Especially that I’ve been through so much in my life since I am epileptic and have had more than 6 brain surgeries now. When women see me, they ask me about my scars on my head, and I will always feel it’s not their business to know about my medical condition. But will they just run away like always?

(37:21) Dani asks: Why do I want physical intimacy and touch when I think about the person I am going on a date with, but when I am there with them in person, my instinct is to pull back and I often feel uncomfortable with affectionate contact? I understand it takes a while to warm up to someone, but it can feel really frustrating to want to run towards something in my head only to end up running away from it in person.

(41:03) Anonymous asks: I am going through something really painful. I caught my boyfriend of 5 years in a lie and he revealed that he loves another woman. This was via text and he hasn’t contacted me since. I would love it if you have any advice or pointers. I feel so lost right now.

(43:20) Anonymous asks: When I am out in social settings, I have been told I am unapproachable or intimidating. How can I appear more approachable?


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