I’m not much of a romantic. Really, I’m not. Romantic comedies make my eyes roll; weddings are often a source of confusion (why not put that money towards an apartment?); and big, elaborate proposals just aren’t my cup of tea. The truth is, having been raised by a semi-liberal Tiger Mom, all my whimsical childhood fantasies were often dashed with a harsh dose of reality.

“Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a ballerina,” I would muse one day.
“Oh yea? How are you going to pay your rent?” she would retort.

“Mom, I want to be a baker.”
“Oh really? How come you’ve burned all the cookies you’ve baked so far?”

And so on. Which is not to say that you can’t pay your bills as a dancer or that my baking skills couldn’t improve with practice — it’s more that a sense of pragmatism was instilled in me from day 1.

Which brings me to dating in New York. Believe it or not, nothing prepares you better for dating in New York than being raised by a Tiger Mom. When in the trenches of dating, while it can be easy to make excuses for the just-nerdy-enough-to-be-cute, former-jock-turned-trader, the Tiger Mom in my head will often give me a reality check. Potential scenarios below:

  • After two fantastic dates, a guy pulls a vanishing act. What just happened?

Tiger Mom (In My Head) says: NO! No balls! So cowardly! If he were a true man, he would tell you that you are not his ideal woman. Even if it’s through text.

  • When a charming and friendly guy doesn’t pay on the first date.

Tiger Mom IMH says: Is he a starving creative type? Then okay. Maybe, just be friends. If not? NO! So cheap! Goodbye.

  • When things went really well with a guy, but he never set up another date. What do you do?

Tiger Mom IMH says: Nothing. Go read a book. Meet someone else. Next. It’s okay, you’re not always everyone’s cup of tea. Still thinking about it? Okay, one text, then move on.

Moral of the story: when in doubt, when you’re dating in New York, and your phone is about to die, and you can’t seem to reach your best friend for a sanity check, channel your inner Tiger Mom. Just think: what would she say?

Ellen Chan is the Digital Marketing Manager at Gallery Books. A veteran of both online dating and “real life” meet-cutes, she’s definitely had her fair share of New York dating debacles. You can follow her general musings on Twitter (@ellenjchan) or Instagram (@lellenee).