The Definitive Guide to Dating App Etiquette (2019)

 

If you’re single (or even if you’re not), dating apps are a significant part of dating culture and for many people it’s the primary way to meet people. I use dating apps (I’m only on Bumble, Tinder, OKCupid) for 2 reasons:

(1) you know (almost) every user is in-market to meet someone (whereas in the real world when you approach someone you don’t know what their dating situation is so you’re going in cold)

(2) it’s like Amazon – you can swipe right until you find something you like (I still think dating apps need to include a swipe right percentage so you know if the person just swipes right on everyone or is actually a methodical swiper -I go back and forth between both methods based on my existing pipeline)

AdamFrancisco Tinder
My actual Tinder profile – feel free to DM me on Instagram if you’re interested lol

Although over half the women I’ve dated I met in real life (at places like Starbucks, on the street, at a bar), I’ve been using dating apps on and off for the last 15 years or so (yep, OKCupid is that old), I’ve met hundreds of women through dating apps. You would think by now that dating app etiquette would be in a pretty good place but sadly it’s not. I still see women committing so many basic dating app sins that I felt compelled to write a definitive guide to dating apps. I did not want this to seem one-sided so I opened up the conversation on my personal Facebook and it turns out that men are just as guilty as women are. 

This guide applies to all genders although it is being written in a heterosexual dating tone (as I am a straight male). If you’re guilty of committing any of these unforgivable dating app sins, do not fret – there is still time for you to correct your flaws! These tips are in no particular order.

The Definitive Guide to Dating App Etiquette (2019)

Always include a full body shot

One of the gravest sins that you can commit on a dating app is not including at least one image that clearly shows your full body. You don’t have to have a 6pack or a perfect body, but we want to have a general sense of the overall physical appearance and body type that we’re talking to. Personally, going to the gym, exercising and looking healthy are all very important to me so I typically date women that reflect this lifestyle as well. If you’re not including at least one picture that shows your body, the first thing that I think is that this person lacks self-confidence and that’s not somebody I want to meet (no matter how beautiful their face is). Regardless of your shape or figure, you’re going to be somebody’s type. Plus, we’re eventually going to see what you really look like if we meet up so show off what you’re working with and don’t set people up for DISAPPOINTMENT.

As my friend Fellippe says, “Masterful angles can hide weight … while the camera adds 10 pounds, a good angle takes off 10 pounds up to a maximum of 60 pounds.”

Adam Francisco Bumble
If you like what you see, you can DM me as I am always single

Keep your photos updated

This one should also be pretty obvious but I have heard from many women that a lot of men will include pictures from when they were younger, skinnier, fitter, had more hair, etc. Some guys in their 40s will go as far as including pictures from college. Um…what? This is 100% false advertising. I personally keep all of my photos updated as of 6 months. A good rule of thumb would be to remove any photos that are older than 365 days. You can pretend to be younger and fitter and skinnier and hairier all you want, but when you meet up in real life, you will be exposed and they will be DISAPPOINTED.

Me in 2007
Cute, but this photo is 12 years old

Have you recently undergone a drastic physical change?

Let’s suppose that in the last 3 months, I stopped going to the gym and that I exclusively ate bacon cheeseburgers and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or if I treated every day like it was a #tacotuesday. You would imagine that I would likely suffer from significant weight gain and muscle loss. This would be considered a dramatic physical change and one that I should update my dating profile with. If you’re expecting a guy with a semi-decent 6pack and I show up with a dadbod, you’ll be DISAPPOINTED. 

And let’s be honest – if you hit the gym hard and started focusing on your macros and micros in the last 3 months – you’d sure as shit be showing off your new and improved body. Do the same thing, even if you changed for the worse. Luckily, women are more forgiving about a man’s physical appearance than men are – we demand perfection even though we don’t even expect this of ourselves. It’s a sick twisted world we live in!

Another example of a dramatic physical change would be if your style went from glam to goth. If I’m expecting a woman with bright, colorful nail polish, the latest earrings from Kay Jewelers and the hottest fashion from Forever 21, and yet some goth girl shows up with all-black everything and white facepaint, I’d be a little shocked and probably DISAPPOINTED. Granted, the goth look can be hot, but if this is not what was shown to me on your dating app, then that is probably not what I want to see IRL. Stay woke!

As my friend Tara says, “I generally swipe left on guys who have photos from when they were in high school or 22. Not sure why guys have such old photos of themselves. It appears they want to say ‘this is what I looked like 20 years ago when I was hot with hair and muscles’ but I don’t care what they looked like before.”

transformation
I changed for the better

Stop putting other people in your pics

This one really confuses me. Unless you are absolutely without question the best-looking person in your group of friends and this has been validated by numerous third party research studies DO NOT INCLUDE PICTURES WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Seriously. I don’t understand when a woman has a picture with her friend as the first pic. First, this causes confusion : which one are you? Secondly, what if your friend is better-looking than you are? I still might swipe right on you but only because I am willing to take the chance that I can somehow meet your friend and not you. It also speaks volumes about your photography skills – can you not take or find a good picture of yourself when it’s just you? If you must include your friend(s), at least blur out their faces so we are less distracted.

As my friend Tara says, “I also hate when men have photos with other attractive women in their photos. It’s like saying ‘this is the type of women I want and can get.’ It just seem ridiculous.” While I do agree with Tara, the truth is that one way to get a woman’s attention is to be seen with other beautiful women. However, it sounds like this doesn’t work on a dating app versus real life.

dan bilzerian
God bless this man

No baby pictures (unless it’s yours)

Yes, the rule of not putting pictures of other people in your pics extends to babies as well (unless it’s yours). I can understand the theory of putting a picture with a baby in it – if you’re a guy you’re trying to trigger a woman’s maternal instincts (which by the way in 2019 not every woman impulsively reacts to). You want them thinking “awww wouldn’t he be a great father” but the truth is a majority of men (especially in their 20s in cities like NYC) aren’t even close to considering the possibility of starting a family so what are you doing bruh??? Put the baby down and calmly hand it back to the parents. 

And if you must include a picture with a baby for whatever reason, please make sure to clearly mention that the baby is not yours. And then maybe also explain why you felt compelled to use it.

No babies
I love babies just not on dating apps unless it’s yours

List your honest height proactively

I’m a little over 5’10.” With sneakers on, I’m almost 6’0″ so I list my height on dating apps as 5’11” which I think is more than fair. Plus, I hear women automatically assume a guy is lying by at least 2 inches. I can’t tell you how many times a woman has shown up on a date and said “oh you’re actually tall.” Babycarrot – I’m 5’11” just like I said I was on the app. “Yeah but most guys lie by a few inches.” Gentlemen – stop lying about your height. This creates DISAPPOINTMENT.

And ladies – if you don’t include a full body image – we should be entitled to ask your weight (but only if you ask us about our height first).

Height
Kevin Hart might be 5’2″ but his money is very, very tall

Yes to dogs!

Do you own a dog? Do you own 2 dogs? If so, 100% absolutely yes include them (cats not so much – they don’t really love you). If you don’t own a dog, borrow one. Dogs are awesome.

Awesome dog pic - Raindrop and Flex
@raindropandflex

No filters

Yes to dogs but no to dog filters. Sure – the dog filter makes you look attractive. Spoiler alert: it makes everyone look more attractive. Science. This doesn’t mean you should be using it on your dating apps! The next time I see a girl with the dog filter on her dating profile, I am going to ask if she can wear the filter when she shows up to our date and if she shows up without it I am going to leave the date immediately just to prove a point (unless she’s still pretty in which case I will likely stick around, buy her dinner and drinks, treat her to a wonderful and lovely evening and hope that I can see her again and again and again up to 3 months).

dog filter
This girl seems beautiful with or without the dog filter

Write a bio

I think guys generally care less about this then women do. I rarely read bios but I have noticed that ever since I added a bio to my dating profiles, my match rate has skyrocketed. Not only does this tell people a little but about yourself, but it also provides built-in icebreakers. Someone is more likely to match and message you when they feel like they know a little bit more than what they see and have something in mind to say. And come on – how amazing is challah-peño???

As my friend Swagata says, “Actually write something interesting in your profile. I skip the people who provide little to no information. To me that signals that they are too arrogant or want a hook-up only (which is ok, but say it), or they’re hiding another relationship.”

Bumble Dating Profile

Be honest about what you’re looking for and what you aren’t

Here’s something I wish I told myself in my 20s : communication and honesty will make your life infinitely easier!

Now – for the men that have a hard time meeting women or they are simply put, undesirable, they are incentivized to misrepresent themselves whether it be by lying about how much money they make, how successful they are, how tall they are, or what they are looking for on a dating app (“I want to start a family.”) To the gentlemen that are desirable and confident and can quickly find new options, they are less incentived to lie (but some still do as they want the shortest path to success).

What I have found from personal experience is that if you tell women you’re just looking for something casual, it generates the following outcomes:

(1) They’re no longer interested as they’re on that marriage mission. That’s great! Saves everyone time but also importantly saves men money as despite it being 2019 and women having jobs in America men are still expected to pay for the first few dates. The inequality of equality. “Reparations” as my friend Anna Louise calls it.

(2) They appreciate and respect your honesty. Some women will still be wiling to date you because you’ve at least tempered their expectations of what it is and can’t be or they’re just (surprise!) looking for the same thing as you are.

The worst thing to do to somebody is to waste their time. Another spoiler alert – women are just as interested in having sex as men are. Not all women are against casual sex or sex outside of a relationship. If that’s what you’re looking for, own it and be honest about it and I promise you that you’ll have a lot less drama in your life as you won’t be DISAPPOINTING people.

Honesty
The code to live by

Are you living in the city or just visiting?

As a world traveler, I find one of the best ways to explore a city in a non-touristy way is to match with a beautiful local women and have them show you what they do and where they go. This also works in the opposite way – now that I am currently back in my hometown of New York City, I am constantly matching with women that are in town for a few days and want someone knowledgeable (and cute) to explore the city with. As mentioned above, women can also be interested in casual flings and hanging out with visitors is super fun for both the host and the tourist! As you see above, I am very clear that I live between Thailand and New York City. This immediately creates the context that I am likely not a “settling down” or husband candidate. And that’s 100% the truth. I am a non-monogamous free spirit that lives in the moment by a code of communication and honesty.

Don’t just say “hi”

This is just a lazy approach.  Sure, smiling and saying “hi” might work in real life (if you have a nice smile and you aren’t creepy), but have you ever seen a woman’s match list on Tinder??? Every woman I know has 100s of unread messages in queue. The fastest way to stand out (besides being ridiculously good-looking) is to come up with a creative icebreaker. Some of you guys are tip-toeing the line of attractiveness and a good introduction or icebreaker can be the make-or-break. Same goes to you women. I had over 250 matches after Pride Parade (as so many people were concentrated in a small area) and unless the girl was an absolute smokeshow, I just wrote “hi” back to the “hi”ers (they set that precedent) and the exchange usually ended there.

Hi Stranger
Imagine if this dude messaged you and just said “hi”

No dick pics

I shouldn’t even have to list this one but I am going to. Unless your girlfriend specifically asks you to send her a dick pic, don’t do it.  There is no circumstance on a dating app (except maybe Grindr from what I hear) where sending a dick pic should be in the realm of acceptable behavior.

NEVER SEND A DICK PIC. The only time a dick pic is acceptable is if you have a nice picture with your friend Richard that you want to share. A cock pic is OK as long as it’s referring to a chicken dish you’ve cooked.

As my friend Katie says, “NO DICK PICS should be the first and second rule. And probably mention it again at the end for good measure. I would caveat it with ‘No unsolicited dick pics’ but dudes are pretty dense when they define what ‘unsolicited’ is. ‘But she said she was attracted to me so that totally means she asked to see my dick!’ No, no she did not.” She definitely did not my guy.

Roast chicken dish
Beautiful cock pic

NO DICK PICS

There you go Katie. Again for good measure.

BONUS VLOG

I finally had a chance to check out The Vessel in NYC. I kept seeing pictures of it when I was in Thailand. It was definitely worth checking out! They have free tickets daily but they’re usually sold out in advance so you can just buy a flex pass online here for $10/ticket here.

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What did you think about this guide? Do you have any additional tips to share? Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!

5 Things That Insult My Soul (Part 1?)

 

A few days ago my friend Mike put up an Instagram post that really resonated with me and of course it featured the super hot actor/legend Keanu Reeves (I still need to see John Wick 3). This meme does a fantastic job of explaining why I had to do everything I could to not only escape a traditional 9-5 job, but stay away by any means necessary: it insulted my soul.

The key phrase to me here is “things that insult their soul.” It got me thinking about all the things in society that insult my soul. This might be a Part 1. We’ll see.

Limited Vacation Days

Unless you believe in reincarnation (the jury is still out on this one), the truth is that we probably only live once. If we lived twice I would just spend this life working myself to death so I can just be on vacation my entire second life (and this is sadly how we look are pre-retirement life and post-retirement life).

The average life expectancy in America is 78.69 years (as of 2016 according to WorldBank). This means you’re alive for  28,721 days, 20 hours and 24 minutes. That’s it. If you manage to live 10 years longer, you add 3,650 days to your life. Congrats.

The average person (sheeple) will spend almost 5/7ths (71.4%) of their lives (from 21 – retirement) working (with the exception of the average 2-3 weeks vacations + national holidays). While many sheeple don’t work weekends, they are still limited geographically on where they can go in those 2 days so they’re forced to “vacation” somewhere relatively close to where they live. If you live in New York, going to Los Angeles for a weekend almost isn’t worth it (as 14 hours will be spent traveling). Even your days off are still being greatly affected by your company. You’re tethered by an invisible leash!

The idea that a company or person is in control of how you spend your most precious, limited and disappearing resource (TIME) is insulting to my soul. I’m sure many of you have experienced asking your boss if you could use a few vacation days well in advance of the 2 weeks notice (which is also a joke in itself), only to be hit with the following responses:

“Do you really need to take those days off? Things are so crazy around here.”

“Sure you can take the days off but things are so crazy around here that you’ll need to stay on top of your e-mail.”

“Ugh <rolls eye> fine.”

To me it’s insulting that I not only have to ask someone that isn’t a direct family member “Hi, can I have some freedom?” but that these limitations are not only built into the corporate contract and culture but accepted by almost all of society. There has to be a better way to live and I am a huge proponent of society shifting towards 3-4 day work weeks or remote work culture. Create your own career people!

Corporations are Legal Pyramid Schemes

Sure there are some technical differences between corporations versus pyramid schemes (being that corporations usually sell or create something of actual value – perceived or real), but this doesn’t take away from the fact that the person at the top gets to reap all sorts of beautiful rewards while the little people at the bottom are killing their souls for scraps. “May the sheeple work 50-70 hour weeks, sleep in the office and accrue no overtime or bonuses! But here’s a meaningless award or trophy with no value except to trick the sheeple that they’ve been rewarded! Good sheeple. Now stay in line.” 

If I am working, and especially if I am working hard and long hours for someone else, the only reward and trophy I want is either cold hard cash or hot sexy cryptocurrency. Gift cards, trophies, recognition, gold stars, titles without raises are all meaningless trash and laughable insults. This is why I love being an entrepreneur and have the ultimate respect for entrepreneurs: They’re doing things on their own terms without the stability of a steady paycheck (I haven’t had one of these in 3 years) but with a greater future reward in mind (and the present reward of freedom!). And if that reward never comes, at least it’s on their own terms. May we all be masters of our own destinies! Classic video below.

I’ve experienced being the victim of corporate greed myself when I was the 3rd employee of a start-up that got acquired after 6 years, only to find out that nobody in the company got a single dime on the acquisition … except for the CEO. He of course received a cool 7-figure payday as a bonus for the acquisition. “To hell with everyone else that poured their hearts, souls and sweat into the company. Thank you for your time and goodbye! P.S. Your stock is considered underwater meaning your shares have drowned and they cannot be resuscitated…like your souls.” 

Having a Boss

Even a simple thing like having a boss insults my soul. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had great bosses during my 9-5 career (in case any of them are reading this…Mike R, Rekha, Dana S, Jackie M, Erica P, Doug B, Bob S, Yolanda L, James K, Seth I, Jay D, Mag M … thank you for being great bosses!)

But as I got older (into my 30s) and realized that my time on this earth is limited, fleeting and quickly vanishing and with no guarantee that I’ll be healthy and able for all of it, I no longer wanted to report to a boss. Instead I wanted to partner with good people. “There are good ships and there are bad ships but the best ships are partnerships!” While of course every company needs leaders that can guide the team and make the important executive decisions, I believe every employee of a company needs to be more vested in the success of a company whether it be shares that will actually have value during an acquisition, or every employee receives overtime for extra hours or bonuses for extra productivity. To work on a salary with no upside is so foolish. We’ll talk about math in a second.

To understand why having a boss insults my soul, you must read the definition of boss:

noun
a person in charge of a worker or organization.
“union bosses”
verb
give (someone) orders in a domineering manner.
“plump old battle-axes bossing everyone around”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone in charge of me (boss, girlfriend or wife). We are born free people and we must do everything in our power to maintain our freedom (and not the illusion of freedom). I also don’t want someone to give me orders in a domineering manner (at least not in a corporate setting). 

Working on a Salary

I will admit that the idea of a steady paycheck is extremely tempting, but if that paycheck doesn’t have aggressive CASH bonuses built into it, I am not touching it. Let’s do some basic math so you can understand how little a $100k salary in New York City really is.

After paying all of your taxes (and without making any retirement contributions), your weekly take-home paycheck is $1,416 (I rounded up – you’re welcome for the extra 14 cents).  If you work a 40 hour workweek, you’re getting paid $35/hour. That’s not bad! But the facts are that many salaried employees work significantly longer than 40 hours. If you’re working 50 hours a week, you’re making $28.32/hour. If you’re working 60 hours a week, you’re making $23.60/hour.

Factor in rent (which likely takes up 40%+ of your salary), and you’re looking at a cool $14-$21/hour, slightly more than a Starbucks barista! And you haven’t even eaten yet or attended any happy hours, weddings, gone on vacations, did laundry, gone on dates, purchased Tinder Gold, etc. 

A pay structure that caps off your income via a salary without any upside for the employee is so one-sided in favor of the corporation that it should insult your soul. The only way I would personally accept a fixed-salaried job is if I was paid vastly more than the market rate to the point where the corporation would look at my salary and think to themselves “can we really afford this?” If your salary is making them blink, you’re on the right track. If a company wants good people and wants people to stick around, pay them. If you consider yourself a good or hard-working employee, go out and get what you’re worth. Your company isn’t taking care of you? Find one that will. Just like a relationship! Or be like me and avoid them at all costs! Ha ha!

People that are blindly loyal to a company are the same people that will lose their job as soon as profits are down. And companies will escort you out of the building same day. I’ve seen this happen to too many good people and it’s because they put their destinies into someone else’s hands. Insulting!

Men Still Being Expected to Pay for the First Date in America

Now this one is going to be a bit controversial but YOLO! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this one and here’s where my mind has ended up:

Men working and women being housewives used to be the tradition. This is why men paid for the first dates – they had the income that women didn’t/couldn’t have. In exchange, women would care for the home, the husband and the children (which let’s not lie – this is a tremendous undertaking by itself!)  To me, this makes complete sense. But then something happened…

Women fought so hard for gender equality and equal pay and respect in the workplace (which I do think is a beautiful thing). A country is stronger (and more taxable) when everyone is producing! And while yes, we still have a long way to go in America before we have true equality (a number of things have to happen first which I’ll talk about in another post), compared to the rest of the world, we’re doing a damn good job!

Most of us were not alive during these times

So now we’re at a point in a society where women are doing really well financially (here’s an article about the truth about the gender pay gap).  The glass ceiling is on it’s final breath, and women have (mostly) broken free of the tradition of men providing. Yet…we are still expected to pay for the first date. And god forbid we ask to split the bill or we can’t cover it! We all know the odds of getting a 2nd date plummet down to almost zero. 

While this concept of “I want equal pay and I want you to pay for the first date (or dates until you’re my boyfriend)” insults my soul, I also understand that the American/Western society is still in a transitional phase trying to make sense of men and women being equals in a corporate setting so I admittedly still do participate in this tradition (enthusiastically in Thailand, reluctantly in America). Personally, I do enjoy treating someone to a nice meal, but I just don’t like the expectation of me having to pay.

The mindset of “I want that old tradition but I don’t want that old tradition” is inconsistent and therefore insulting to my soul.

I also jump back and forth between America and Thailand (where my dollar-based income is worth significantly more than a baht-based income) so I find myself comparing dating norms and cultures. To me, the Western man in Thailand paying for almost everything makes sense where the monthly average income is $800/month, but in America, not so much anymore. 

And as far as splitting things, I think incomes need to be taken into account. If a woman is making $200k and the man is making $100k, the woman (in a relationship) should ultimately be paying closer to 2/3rds of everything. If they truly like each other and we consider genders to be equal (or have the desire to be equal), this just makes sense to me. Anyone who says otherwise is thinking emotionally and not logically or factually. Stay woke.

People Who Don’t Like Dogs

And finally, here’s light-hearted one that I think we can all agree on: people who don’t like dogs insults my soul. I dated a girl in Los Angeles once that was guilty of this inhumane offense to humanity. She was absolutely stunning. Beautiful face, perfect skin, balayage hair (my favorite), fun to hang out with…but…she didn’t like dogs. I realized this a few months into dating when her true colors started to come out and she admitted she didn’t want my dogs sleeping in my bed with us. I could understand this request if my dogs were golden retrievers or I had a twin bed but I have a yorkie and a shih tzu and my bed was king size. There was more than enough room for everyone. If anyone was leaving the bed (and my life) sweetheart, it’s you. Please do make sure to close the door gently.

Raindrop and Flex
@raindropandflex

Also, before my dogs were medical support dogs (and I couldn’t bring them into restaurants), I would tie them up on posts outside of restaurants (and of course I would keep a close eye on them the entire time). Well one day I must have made a mistake with the knot because when she came to meet me for lunch, she casually sat down and after 5 minutes finally said, “oh by the way, Flex isn’t tied up on the post.” I almost had a heart attack. I ran outside to double-check the knot and she was right – Flex somehow slipped out. Luckily for me he’s super trained and attached to his sister Raindrop so he didn’t move, but he could have! And that’s what killed me. When it comes to human error with dogs or babies, a matter of seconds can be the difference between life and death. I would expect the person I’m dating (or just any human) to do one of a few things in this scenario:

(1) immediately tie Flex up correctly 

(2) grab his leash and summon me to come outside

(3) pick him up and bring him inside the restaurant, to hell with no pet policies

(4) urgently run inside the restaurant and tell me to fix the leashes.

To do nothing for 5 minutes and then casually drop the fact was so…careless and inhumane that I had to do the humane thing and break up with her…over the phone of course: “I am breaking up with you because you do not love dogs.” I’ve never heard someone get so offended by such an accusation but facts are facts baby-carrot!

***

So there you go. This might be a Part 1. I’m sure I’ll think of other things that insult my soul. But really anything that limits my freedom and anyone that doesn’t love dogs not only grinds my fears, but deeply insults my soul. I would love to hear what insults your soul. Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Vlog Review of El Dorado Royale by Karisma Hotels in Riviera Maya

 

If you’re going to get married, you might as well give your close family and friends an excuse to take a vacation and escape from their boring, monotonous sheeple lives. Plus, because destination weddings are typically more expensive for guests to attend AND require a few vacation days, so you weed out those tier 2 friends and family that you didn’t want coming anyway. lol.

A huge thanks to Melanie and Victor for inviting me to their special day and a thank you to the El Dorado Royale  for a memorable trip! Onto the vlog review of this gorgeous, all-inclusive, adult-only resort in Riviera Maya.

Melanie and VIctor
The beautiful couple

Customer Service

The customer service is top-notch. As soon as I arrived at the resort, I was greeted by “Uncle” Clay as well as an ice cold bottle of water (relief from the Mexican heat!). I also got paired up with a great guy named Francisco who gave me a quick tour of the resort and helped me settle into my room. There’s two Starbucks on-premise which is absolutely wonderful.

Rooms

My room was awesome! I had a beautiful view of the resort. The only negative thing was that I didn’t have a +1 so I didn’t have anyone to enjoy the hot tub with. The bottle of champagne on ice and fresh fruit was a classy touch. That view tho!

Food

From personal experience, the food at all-inclusive resorts often leaves a lot to be desired but I am happy to say that the food at El Dorado was actually really good! I was joined by a few close friends (including my kids) to sample some of the menu items. The chicken club sandwich was moist!

Scuba Diving

Although scuba diving was technically not a part of El Dorado Royale’s offering, it was available at the nearby Iberostar. I don’t like scuba diving but my friend Stephen Castro is a licensed scuba diver so he filmed his first ever vlog for you guys.

Restaurant

Not only are the casual restaurants at El Dorado Royale solid, but their upscale restaurants such as Rincon Mexicano were great as well. I asked for the hottest hot sauce and our waiter went to the back to pull out the special sauce…holy moly!

Rifle Range

El Dorado Royale also had a “rifle” range on-premise (rifle in quotes because they used BB pellets as opposed to real bullets – safety first!). My dad won a few sharpshooter awards with the M14 & M16 in the army during the Vietnam War so I was hoping that I’d also be able to hit bullseye. Unfortunately I did not receive that gene from him (moreso because I was adopted). Shout out to my adorable gun safety instructor Haxby!

Pre-Wedding

What a beautiful place for a wedding with such an awesome group of people. 

The Wedding

Lots of tequila shots, dancing and popped collars. 

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What is one of your favorite all-inclusive, adult-only resorts in the world? Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!

 

#GoutAwarenessDay (May 22nd) – Be Free from Gout!

 

I just found out that May 22nd is Gout Awareness Day. I guess they really have a day for everything. Now they just need a “Gout Awareness” Awareness Day lol.

This is what gout feels like

As many of you know I suffered my first gout flare up a little over a month ago in Vietnam when I was eating fresh fish everyday. Many fish  contain a chemical called purines which the body processes through the kidneys as uric acid. When there’s more uric acid than your body can handle (due to purine overload or kidney problems), it can pool in your big right toe and this creates crystals that causes pain that I’ve never knew existed. Holy moly!

5 weeks later I am fully recovered and able to do things like running, squats and lunges again. And it feels great! To help my audience prevent a gout flare-up or to manage the symptoms during one, I put together a last minute video about gout so everyone can be free from gout.

Keep in mind that gout is hereditary but things like nutrition and lifestyle can cause flare ups. Your best bet is to live healthy and prevent it from happening in the first place!

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Do you suffer from gout as well? Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!

The Inspirationals #5: Happy (Single) Mother’s Day

The Inspirationals #5: Happy (Single) Mother’s Day

Welcome to the fifth installment of BeFreeMySheeple.com’s The Inspirationals where I interview people who inspire me. 

This week I interviewed Anna, a highly successful advertising executive and an inspirational woman who adopted two beautiful girls as a single parent, Madison & Phoebe (names changed to protect their identity). What makes this story unique is that Anna adopted her nieces from her sister to keep the family together. Like Anna’s daughters, I too was adopted so I have huge respect for anyone that goes through the adoption process and provides a better life for children. 

BeFreeMySheeple Anna
Beautiful family photo of Anna and her children Madison and Phoebe

Mother’s Day is an especially difficult time for me because I lost my mom to cancer on July 13, 2009. My birthday is July 11th and I’m certain that my mom held on for an extra two days so that I could enjoy my birthday for the rest of my life. Please call or hug your moms today and tell them how much you love them.

I also believe that being a mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world, especially as a single parent. Before we get into the interview, I wanted to share one of the most emotional and creative advertising campaigns that I’ve seen for Mother’s Day that reinforces this. Grab some tissues. 

BeFreeMySheeple.com’s Exclusive Interview with Anna

Adam Francisco: Happy Mother’s Day Anna!  As you know, I was adopted from Mexico so I have always been moved by your story. What inspired you to adopt your children?

Anna: I am a firm believer in keeping my family together.  Family is the most important thing to me and I would do anything for them.  I have always been involved in my nieces and nephew’s life so when I knew that Madison and Phoebe needed help, it wasn’t a question.  I don’t necessarily think it was inspiration that motivated me to adopt.  I think it was the love I have for my family and wanted to do whatever I could to protect them. 

Adam: What was the adoption process like?

Anna: This process was extremely difficult for me because I did not have a typical adoption.  My sister and brother-in law made some bad decisions in life and Madison and Phoebe were taken away from DCF (Division of Children and Family Services).  Because they were taken away from a government service, the adoption process is very different.  When you think of adopting, you think about the typical process – apply at an adoption agency, get interviewed, pay a ton of money and then meet the children.  My experience did not go like this at all.  

Adam: The typical process sounds like what my mom and dad had to go through to adopt me from Mexico.

Anna: When I first got custody of my daughters, I had just turned 25 years old and was working full-time at a media agency in New York City.  I was living in a 1 bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment and just barely managing to maintain paying all my bills.  You can only imagine to my shock when I received a phone call the morning of September 21, 2014 from a case worker at DCF to tell me that my nieces were going to be placed in a foster home if I did not take them in.  I was shocked, confused and devastated.  I went to the DCF office the next day and spoke with them for hours regarding what would happen to the girls if I did not take them.  The clear conclusion was that if I did not take the girls, unless my sister and brother-in-law got better, my family had a 99% chance of never seeing them again.  After hearing that, I knew what I needed to do, and I told DCF that I would take them.  3 days later the girls moved into my 1-bedroom apartment.  Madison was 2 and half and Phoebe was 11 months. 

BeFreeMySheeple Madison & Phoebe
Madison & Phoebe

Adam: Everything happened incredibly fast. What did you need to do to keep the girls?

Anna: The process of being a foster parent is extremely invasive, embarrassing, and almost abusive.  To even get your foster parent license, you must go through several steps – 3 drug and alcohol tests, psychological evaluation, background check, personal references, financial background checks, friends and family background checks etc…  and once you are cleared from all these things, then you must allow DCF workers to inspect your house.  Each month a DCF caseworker would come to my apartment and check every outlet, cabinet, bathroom, pet paperwork etc.… to make sure that everything is safe and compliant to foster care regulations.  If one thing was off, you were in jeopardy of the kids being taken away.  This honestly was so scary to me because you never knew if something might be out of place that you didn’t notice.

Adam: That sounds so stressful.

Anna: Besides having a case worker going through my home monthly, a lawyer and nurse would have to come every 3 months.  They only worked 9-5 so I would have to either take off a day of work to be home for when they could come or leave early, which to be honest, my boss was not very supportive or happy when I did.   

Adam: I hope that boss has learned a bit more humanity. 

Anna: I tried to always be accommodating with DCF because of the fear of upsetting them and risking Madison and Phoebe being taken away.  My biggest fear was making a mistake and then losing the girls.  

Adam: I can’t imagine.

Anna: For years, I went through this process and had to deal with these stresses.  I was even screamed at once by their nurses because I needed to reschedule a dentist appointment.  couldn’t maintain working in New York City and taking care of the girls and handling childcare so I ultimately left my job in NYC and got a job in an office close to my home. 

Adam: Living in NYC is already extremely stressful even without kids. You absolutely did the right thing getting the heck out of there. 

Anna: Before you can legally adopt foster children, there are 1 or two things that need to happen.  The biological parents need to sign away their rights or DCF needs to rule the parents are unfit to take care of their biological children. 

In one last attempt to connect my sister with her children, DCF setup a mediation session with the caseworker, myself and my sister.  I will never forget that session because the outcome was my sister telling me that I was a fucking asshole who had stolen her children.”  Ironically, a month later, my sister and brother-in-law signed away their parental rights and the adoption paperwork was processed. 

Adam: I’m so happy that they ultimately made the best decision for the kids.

BeFreeMySheeple Anna and Phoebe
Anna and Phoebe

Anna: The last step before the adoption took place was to have a medical check done on the girls so the government would help support their medical needs post-adoption.  This was finalized and on January 25, 2016 I legally became the proud mother of Madison and Phoebe.  

I can’t explain to you how happy I am to have the girls in my life.  Although it can be hard, I would not take it back for one second. 

Adam: What did your family and friends think about you adopting children as a single mom?

Anna: This is a tough topic to talk about because at first a lot of people did not support my decision.  I think my family and friends were concerned that at a such young age, I was giving my life away.  For a long time, I was very angry at them for not supporting me at first, but after I saw a therapist and was able to open my eyes, I understood it wasn’t because they did not believe I could, it was because they were worried for me.  Now, I can honestly say that everyone is truly happy and 100% supportive of my decision.  My dad tells me all the time how proud he is of me that I was able to get through all the hard time and build my career while being single mom.  Things really happen in mysterious ways. 

Adam: What are some of the challenges you face as a single mom? How do you handle them?

Anna: Being a mom has truly been the hardest challenge of my life. I honestly think all moms have a hard time and I wouldn’t say I have harder challenges than married moms, but we just have different ones.  I think for me, the biggest challenge is being a 30-year-old, single adoptive mom.  I say that because the questions that come up with my daughters are much different than others, but each mom has struggles.  My girls know they are adopted and have a lot of questions about their adoption.  My oldest wants to know why her birth parents “didn’t want her.”  It has haunted her a lot, but I always tell her that sometimes in life you have a birth mom and a forever mommy.  I am her forever mommy.  Her birth parents were just not ready to be forever parents, but that does not mean they did not love her.   They did.  Every time she hears that, her tears turn to a smile because she knows she is loved. 

BeFreeMySheeple Anna and Madison
Anna and Madison

Adam: You could even say she’s twice as loved – loved by the parents that wanted her to have a better life via adoption and you for adopting her.

Anna: Another fun question I get is, “when are you going on a date?” (it’s like I have a 97-yr. old grandma in the house), and if they will ever have a dad, and to be honest this is personally hard for me.  The day I adopted the girls the guy I was seeing for 6 months broke up with me.  That was hard for me because the girls had grown to adore him, and I was completely blindsided.  I get why he did it, but he is still an asshole. 

Adam: Yeah, that sounds like a selfish asshole.

Anna: I feel bad for the girls because I want them to have a normal life and be able to have that “daddy” figure in their lives.  I grew up with my dad and I knew how it felt to not have my mom around and I would never want them to go through that but dating as a single parent is tough now a days, and I need to focus on the girls and make sure they know that they always come first and are my 100% priority.  

Adam: Dating sounds pretty difficult in America as a single mom compared to Thailand where many women have children at a younger age so it’s completely normalized to date single moms there.

Anna: Yeah. Dating is hard.  To be honest, it sucks.  If I tell a guy I am a mom of an 8 and 6-year-old they are so quick to judge since I am only 30.  I don’t want to share the reasons why because I shouldn’t have to.  My family history shouldn’t matter, but a lot of the time guys don’t even give me the chance to let them know.  This is the only part of my life that I am sad about.  

BeFreeMySheeple

Adam: I wouldn’t be sad if I were you. A happy single parent is better than two miserable parents (most relationships ultimately end up unhappy). Enjoy your freedom!

Anna: [Laughter]. I think the other challenge I am constantly dealing with, which to be honest I think ALL moms can relate to, if they have girls, is how DIVA these minions are!  Yes, my kids are only 8 and 6, but they act like they are 18 and 16.  Madison is constantly wanting to go to Abercrombie & Fitch and needs to know the latest top 40! *roll eyes*.  Phoebe needs to get her nails done and has a “boyfriend.”  When I was their age, all I cared about was what Barbie was going to do in her dream house! 

Adam: OMG I can’t imagine what it’s like having a daughter lol. What advice can you give to someone who want to become a single parent?

Anna: I think that being a parent is a huge sacrifice.  The greatest advice I can give someone is to make sure that you are ready to worry about someone else 110% because you won’t have that extra time anymore to go get your nails done or grab a beer with your boys.  It is not an easy job and it’s a lot of hard fucking work, but in the end, it is all worth it.  I would never change my decision.  I have become a better person because of my girls and I think it is a blessing I have them.  Don’t be a parent, to be a parent.  Do it because you feel in your heart this is the right thing to do

Adam: If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Anna: Honestly, I don’t know.  I think I would have told myself to not let the negativity of others get to my head so much.  That really impacted me for a long time and I was so angry, so I would want to avoid that.  

If I could have done anything differently, I would have saved money better the minute I graduated from college.  Just like most typical early 20-year-old, I did not save the right way and I think if I had, I may have not struggled, but again I was not planning on being a foster mom at 25 and a single adoptive mother at 27. 

BeFreeMySheeple Unconditional Love
Unconditional love

Adam: That’s one piece of advice I think is important for everyone. Start saving early and invest. My first investment was in Facebook when it IPOed and my money has almost multiplied by five times since then!

Anna: Everyday you learn how to be a parent.  I don’t think I will ever be perfect at that job.  I make mistakes just like everyone else in this world.  I can only keep trying my best to make sure Madison and Phoebe have the best life and are 110% happy.  They are amazing kids who deserve the best.  

Adam: How has the definition of “happiness” changed for you?

Anna: Wow, that is an amazing question.  I don’t look at it as a single mom thing to be honest.  I think most moms would relate that my happiness is seeing my girls come home everyday with a smile on their faces.  Madison scoring a goal in her soccer game or Phoebe breakdancing when we are having a dance party on a Saturday night.  Their smiles are what makes me happy.  The pride they have when they get a 12/12 on their spelling test is amazing.  The excitement about going on a plane and meeting their great grandparents or throwing them a party for their baptisms with 30 people coming to support them.  As a mom, my life has changed.  My happiness is making sure my kids are happy and healthy and enjoying their lives.  That really is what matters to me.

Adam: Thank you so much for sharing such a personal and touching story. As an adoptee, I really appreciate what you’ve done for your children and I wish your family all the best and a Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday!

BeFreeMySheeple Anna Single Mother's Day
A beautiful family

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Have a Happy Mother’s Day! Have another person that you’d like me to consider for next month’s The Inspirationals? Leave a comment or you can e-mail me adam@befreemysheeple.com. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!