Valentine’s Day is such a loaded event. No other holiday is packed with such societal pressure — whether you’re single or coupled. Under normal circumstances, hatching plans for a first date can be a production. From figuring out where to go, what to do and what to wear, it can be stressful and fraught with expectations. Add a schmoopie heart-shaped holiday to the dating mix, and it can make even the warmest and fuzziest of folks cringe.
Despite all that, if you still want to find a date for February 14, rest assured, you’re not the only one.
“Activity dates are great if you're looking to meet someone or connect with someone new,” says Jenny Block, author of the Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex. She suggests escape rooms, climbing gyms, a cooking class, or even miniature golfing. “Get all of your single friends to bring a single friend or two or ask a crush to come out and have fun. No pressure, just play!”
Most people say bars are a terrible place to meet people, but I disagree. Go at happy hour and sit at the bar. Bring a book or magazine, but leave the laptop at home (no one ever wants to chat up a person who’s glued to tech). I’ve met more people by striking up a conversation, as well as a few dates, make-out sessions and romps of red-hot sex. Not to get all Oprah on you, but I do believe whatever we put out into the universe is attracted back at us, and sometimes you got to put your sexy, confident best out there.
If you don’t want to risk romance on a last-minute real-life encounter, you can always take things into your own (digital) hands. There are a handful of dating apps that are especially well-suited for an impromptu encounter.
If you want to match with someone based on mutual interests, The Dating Bucketlist, is a great option. Bumble is another app I like, because women message men first (in heterosexual pairings). Although Tinder is notoriously a hookup app, it’s effective for need-a-date-now scenarios. If you’re on any dating apps, edit your profile with something to the effect of “Looking for a Valentine’s Day date. Message if interested.”
Give your potential date enough detail, so they can imagine themselves there.
“When asking someone on a date, it is much more beneficial to provide enough detail about the date that they can visualize it,” Chronister says. “Simply imagining the date can send a dopaminergic response to the brain.” For example, it's better to say "Sushi Friday night?" than "Would you like to go out sometime?"
Make sure it's something new.
“Novel activities (something your date may not have ever done) also give daters another edge to bond even more according to research, even if it's a restaurant he/she has never been to,” she adds.
Add in a fear factor for increased attraction.
“In the interest of bonding, research shows that when dates engage in fear-provoking activities they find each other more attractive after the activity,” says Chronister. Think rock climbing, indoor skydiving and racing cars.
If you're solo and searching for a partner, Antonia Hall, author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, suggests making a list of qualities you want to attract. “It can be a powerful practice on Valentine’s Day,” she says.
That said, Amy Gahran, author of Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator, wants to remind people that not everyone seeks to become half of a couple. “Valentine’s Day is designed to shame as much as it is to celebrate; yet another form of institutionalized couple privilege in our society,” she says. That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy it. She says you easily subvert it to make it about love and not just couplehood. “A good way to get around that is to figure out the kind of love that YOU want to celebrate and do that. With family, friends, or more than one partner/lover. Or do something awesome just for yourself.”
P.S. It’s real-life confession time! Watch Bravo’s new digital series, Secret Crush, to see what happens when real people reveal their secret crushes — will they fall in love … or fall flat on their faces?
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