Andrea Rodgers invented her online personality—Miss A—on the invitation-only social-networking Web site Late Night Shots in 2006. Penning an advice column, she set out to write anonymously but couldn’t keep her identity under wraps for long.
Rodgers gained a loyal following among LNS readers, who relied on her for a hard dose of reality when it came to relationships. After she got a job in business development at Mervis Diamond Importers, company executives noticed her blog and encouraged her to write for Mervis’s site about dating and relationships—with plugs here and there on buying diamonds and proposing. Rodgers then caught the eye of Arlington-based HealthCentral Network, and last July the company invited her aboard to write for its site SexualHealthConnection.com.
Rodgers started her personal blog earlier this year as a way to stay connected with readers who’ve followed her from blog to blog. At AskMissA.com, she continues to dole out relationship advice to men and women in the Washington area. She doesn’t consider herself an expert, but after being engaged, then divorced, then engaged, then single again, she’s somewhat of a seasoned veteran.
On her Web site, Rodgers writes, “Maybe there is some truth to the saying that ‘those that can’t do, teach.’ Or maybe we want to share our mistakes and insight to prevent others from failing.” That’s just what she aims to do.
We caught up with the 37-year-old recently to pepper her with questions about dating on the cheap, ways to meet men, and what not to do on a first date. Read on for her answers.
Three essentials for a healthy relationship:
“Trust, lust, and respect. It’s funny—I can look back at the relationships I’ve had and categorize them accordingly. Some had a lot of lust and respect, but I lost trust. Others had trust and respect, but the lust wasn’t what it needed to be. Some had trust and lust, but I just didn’t respect the guy. You definitely need all three, and it’s tough to find.”
Most difficult question you’ve had to answer:
“Probably the guy who had been dating a woman for five years when she told him that she wanted an open relationship and wanted to start dating women. In theory, this seems like a guy’s dream come true, but I suggested it was really more of a nightmare. I told him to consider how he’d feel if the woman wanted to start dating men and examine if this was really any different.”
Number of unanswered questions in your in box:
“None. I answer every question that I receive.”
Best date you’ve ever been on:
“One of my best dates was a Valentine’s Day dinner several years ago. My boyfriend gave me two gifts; the first was a hint for the second, which I had to guess. He handed me a box from Hermès, and I opened it to discover a beautiful scarf with a map of Paris. I didn’t want to be too presumptuous, so I asked if it had something to do with France. Then he told me my second gift was a trip to Paris!”
Best date spot:
“For me, a restaurant’s atmosphere is very important. I really like warm, cozy restaurants with soft lighting and a certain degree of privacy. I don’t like having another couple sitting right next to me. I enjoy Neyla in Georgetown and Urbana in the Hotel Palomar on P Street.”
Best date for under $10:
“Spend time volunteering together. One great option is taking at-risk youth on hikes with the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program. I like men who take care of their health and are willing to donate not only their money but their time. I think it’s good to get to know someone in a sober environment so that you can see who they really are. You can learn a great deal from observing how a man relates to kids and those less fortunate.”
Three ways you meet men:
“When I worked at Mervis, I met tons of men. The problem was they weren’t single; most were there to buy jewelry for their girlfriend or wife. I tend to meet men through volunteering, by serving on committees, or at fundraisers.”
Three things never to do on a first date:
“Never drink more than one or maybe two drinks. Never do more than give a quick kiss goodnight—and that’s if you like him. Don’t talk about other men. A first date should go no longer than three hours. Make him ask you on a second date if he wants more time with you.”
Best tip for getting a second date:
“I think you have to be yourself, or perhaps the best version of yourself. Be positive, appreciative, and humble. Be open, but don’t let it all out—save something for the next time. If the man asks for another date, great; if not, move on. Don’t feel like every date should turn into a relationship, and know that you can’t force anyone to like you. And don’t go chasing after a guy—it’s the worst thing you can do. I think everyone believes that something worth having requires effort, so have some self-respect. If a guy likes you, he’ll put in the required effort. If you don’t set expectations and require effort, you’ll just end up with the guys who want something easy until they find someone worthy of their effort.”
Flirtiest food and drink to order on a date:
“I would hope that a man would bring more to the table than a plate of oysters and a bottle of Prosecco, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and that’s not too bad. The association between oysters and sex is a huge cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason.”
Best way to end a terrible date early:
“Make sure you bring cash with you on a date, just in case you need to grab a cab ride home. But honestly, unless you’re on a date with someone who puts you in real danger, abuses you in some way, or is offensive, you really just have to suffer through it until the end. Otherwise, I think it’s rude to end the date early.”
Online dating or speed dating?
“I tried speed dating once and had 30 of the worst dates of my life in the span of an hour! I don’t recommend it, as I don’t think quality guys can be found at these events. It’s a shame, though, because it’s a good concept in theory. Online dating works for some people, but I’ve found that control freaks prefer this form of dating because they can set all the dials and find the perfect woman. I tried it and ended up wasting my time e-mailing and talking on the phone with a guy I wouldn’t have given a second glance to had I met him in person.”
Dinner or a movie?
“Both, but I prefer watching movies in the comfort of a living room, perhaps with a glass of wine. I’m not big on the movie-theater experience.”
Best proposal you’ve ever heard of:
“My second proposal was amazing. My boyfriend worked for the White House and invited me to meet him at Blair House so he could give me a tour. We toured the home and then went into the courtyard, where he surprised me with a proposal. He had a table set up in the courtyard for us with Champagne, raspberries, and two Champagne flutes featuring the presidential seal. It was very romantic and very DC!”
Best way to get over a breakup:
“Volunteer your time with those less fortunate. Spending time with lonely elderly people at Washington Home and Hospice and brightening their day by asking them about their life will not only make them feel good; it’ll make you feel good, too.”
Favorite dating or relationship blogs other than your own:
“Oprah has always been my hero, and I’m sure that had an influence on me. Back in the mid-1980s, I’d come home from school and watch Oprah at 4 PM every day! I have so much respect for all that she’s accomplished. The relationships section of her Web site is a great resource.”
Next week in the Blogger Beat, we talk cocktails with Scofflaw’s Den bloggers Marshall Fawley and SeanMike Whipkey. We find out how to stock a home bar, where to go for a drink after work, and the trendiest ingredients going into mixed drinks. Check back next Wednesday for the interview!
Have a favorite local blogger you’d like to hear from? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.