Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, looming like a giant, pink Cupid-shaped shadow over the lives of single people all over Evansville. This coming weekend, the local watering holes, restaurants, and scenic spots will be jam-packed with happy, dressed-up couples, holding hands and murmuring sweet nothings, oblivious to the eye-rolls, disgusted noises, and broken sobs of the perpetually-dateless. The dating scene in Evansville is hard enough to deal with (trust me, the pond is small, and the fish aren’t so fresh), but Valentine’s Day really makes us singletons aware of the fact that we haven’t been made out with in at least six months, much less out on a decent date. Between thoughts of “I will always be alone” and “I hope a bus runs over that couple”, we are contemplating February 14th with a mixture of dread, jealousy, and having visions of waking up February 15th surrounded by cats and the unending stretch of lonely nights ahead of us.
Wait. It doesn’t have to be this way! Say it with me: “We’re single! On Valentine’s Day!” It’s a day full of love and affection, and hordes of equally attention-starved men and women searching for that special someone to fill the void of “loneliness” with, even for just one night. The coupled-up are the ones to be pitied, forced to spend even more time together, talking about the same crap they have been talking about for the last 10 years, and to make out with the same boring old pair of lips they are starting to cringe at seeing. Being single on Valentine’s Day is like hitting the hormone lottery, or being invited to an all-you-can-eat buffet when you are starving. The only thing you should question is what end to start on first (don’t think too hard about how long the food has been sitting out—or how suggestive that statement is).
The WAT has been single for awhile now, and the situation doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon, but she isn’t lonely. As a single woman in Evansville, I have my pick of excellent bars to hang out at where I won’t get roofied, fantastic bands who I can enjoy with cool people from different scenes, and a selection (however slim) of tolerable single men that I can go out with to enjoy the night. It isn’t the end-all-be-all of a romantic situation, but it’s better than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. But I’m not going to lie—it took some time to cultivate. Scoring your Valentine’s Day distraction takes a bit more finesse–you are trying to secure a situation that might otherwise take days, weeks, or even months to lock down otherwise. So, without further ado, here are some tips to score that special someone (for the night).
1) Beggars Can’t Be Choosers
Imagine you have an intense craving for something sweet, and your mind has it set that you MUST have some chocolate cake. But all you have is some left-over hard candies your grandmother made two Christmas’s ago. It’s late, and you don’t feel like putting on pants to go to the store (nor being the fatty buying a whole cake at 1:00 AM), so you eat the candies, ignoring the gritty feeling on your teeth from stale sugar and the disappointment that it wasn’t CHOCOLATE CAKE. However, a few minutes after eating the candy, you realize that you got what you needed—the candy satisfied the physical desire, which made the mental craving die down. Obtaining a Valentine’s Day conquest takes similar thinking. You might have your heart set on one particular person, but in reality, someone else will do in the short term. I’m not saying don’t have standards (there are always exceptions to those who you find appalling) but be sure to give someone a chance, even if they don’t immediately fall into your strict list of “relationship material” criteria. So remember, you might be totally “in love” with your crush, but they didn’t call you tonight, or they said you could go out, but “not on a date”—you’re free to do what (or who) you please. Especially if it means helping you get over the hump of unrequited whatever.
2) Get Outside Your Box
Comfort can be a beautiful thing, especially in where we choose to spend our leisure time. Hanging out at the same bars on the regular means that you are happy with the service, the prices, and the atmosphere. It is also nice to look around at all the other regulars and see a friendly face or share a good conversation. And sometimes, when you are talking to these acquaintances and the liquor is flowing, something happens: the talk gets a bit flirty, you are sitting a bit closer than normal, and then you start thinking about what they would look like in your bathrobe. And you can tell they are thinking the same thing about you, because they are whipping out the lines you’ve heard them use on a hundred drunk prospects before…and that should be your cue to start thinking about who that friendly face took home the week before, and how you and your friends speculated on what form of the Herp she had. Adversely, they should start thinking about the time they saw you hurl on the pool table, or when you took home your own Sasquatch. That butterfly-feeling of anticipation you both had just got lost in the stomach-dropping lurch of too much shared knowledge. And if this doesn’t happen, and you go home together….get ready for that comfortable feeling you got from your bar to go down the toilet for at least two weeks.
So, this Valentine’s Day, if you are not wanting to be disappointed by the selection from the get-go and hope to score some points for being the mysterious new face yourself, then go somewhere that you either have never been or go very often. Make an effort to talk to a few strangers (both male and female—remember, everybody has friends, and you never know where these connections could take you) and revel in the fact that nobody here saw you take home that Creature from the Booze Lagoon last week. You’ll have more of a fighting chance to impress them with other, more attractive, aspects of your personality; not what they infer from seeing what you do at a bar week after week.
3) Be Willing to be Shot Down
So you made it to this new bar, you are all dressed up for the hunt, and you struck up a conversation with someone at the bar that is pleasantly-attractive, has a nice demeanor, and doesn’t seem like they will lock you in an attic at the end of the night (trust me, that doesn’t say “I love you.”). You guys are talking, and everything is clicking along nicely, until you make the switch from friendly to hinting that it would be lovely to have breakfast in bed together. And suddenly, the other person has a burning desire to get back to their friends, or they realize that they left the oven on and their house might be on fire RIGHT NOW. They disappear into the crowd, and you are left to awkwardly stand at the bar, wondering what just went wrong. But don’t give up hope yet—the night is still young, and the person you were just chatting up was just operating on a different set of criteria. Maybe they have a significant other/ date, took a vow of celibacy, just got out of a relationship, etc, etc, etc. There are a million reasons why you just got rejected, but it shouldn’t stop you from moving on to the next person. You don’t have time to fixate on the flaws you usually think about when this happens. Just remember: The wider you cast your net, the better the chance you’ll have to catch a fish. And if anything, the ones that get away are the ones your are honing your skills on in preparation for getting a bite (or a playful nibble) later. Again, don’t fixate, appreciate.
4) A Shot of Liquid Courage Never Hurt Anything (Except Your Chances)
Well, you are still standing at the bar, being awkward, and the bartender comes up and in a split decision you change your order from a beer to a shot of Jameson. You down that, and then another. Why not? Maybe you’ll start to loosen up and relax! So you have another, and another (between trying to talk to people, with less and less coherence)…and suddenly, you are no longer the charming, attractive, suave person you were when you entered the bar, all full of hope and good qualities. Now you are the drunk/sloppy/sad/angry/desperate person that everyone is trying to avoid. That’s right, even the person who you wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole is giving you sideways glances and edging away when you fix your bleary-eyed leer at them.
I love drinking. But there are definitely limits you have to set for yourself when you are wanting to achieve certain goals in a night out. It’s acceptable to be a little tipsy because that does offset nervousness and make you more apt to open up to a stranger. However, you should pace yourself because you want to avoid the above mentioned scenario (not to mention the dreaded hangover), or a worse one: waking up next to someone that you have NO IDEA how you ended up next to or even know their name, or would never, ever have went home with under any circumstances other than you were wasted. Take it from me—this ain’t my first time at the bar-hookup rodeo. I know how this works from hard experience, and I have seen it happen to others countless times. Don’t be that dude/chick, and watch the booze. It doesn’t usually lead to impressing someone you want to impress, unless they are also drunk, which can lead to it’s own set of problems ranging from dealing with an super-drunk stranger, to legal implications that you really don’t want to sort through the next day along with the dirty sheets and lingering questions.
5) Relax. They Are Just As Desperate As You
Success! You have been talking to this person for the last hour, and the night is flying by in a whirl of flirting, making meaningful eye contact, and even a few dances to that band you both happen to like. But now, you are at the point of the evening where you either part ways with a casual “See you around”, or a heated “I want to see you with my mouth.” But you are caught in the strange limbo-zone between being seen as polite/decent/gentlemanly/ladylike, when you really just want to shove them against something and…yeah, you fill in the blank. I just did. About 10 different ways.
In a normal date situation, I would tell you to get a number, part ways with maybe a kiss, and be classy. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t a normal situation. And I’m telling you, now is not the time to be classy. Unless you have decided that you really, really like this person in the space of a few hours, and that you think you might want to have an actual date with them…go for it. Whisper that thing you want to whisper. Give them a kiss that will make their toes curl. And if they reciprocate back (which they will—for all the reasons you are doing it, too) it’s up to you guys decide how far you want to take it.
And suddenly, February 15th looks a lot less like the first day of the rest of your life of celibacy. Because even if you do nothing more than talk to someone new—you still feel a lot better about the evening as opposed to just sitting around, feeling sorry for yourself for being single on Valentine’s Day.
So, there you have it—just some advice on how to meet some exciting new prospects this weekend, and to spread some love for the (seemingly) loveless. Just remember—love comes in a lot of forms, and not just in the shape of a penis or a vag. While I’m in danger of sounding like a “Sex in the City” episode, I will say this—love is what you make of it—how you feel it, how you spread it around, and how you accept it for yourself. People can see that in others…so be the best lover you can be, in all ways, and you might not need this article next year.
The WAT is single and is not bitter at all about it. She plans to be out all Valentine’s Day Weekend, capturing the love scene in Evansville and maybe ending up in a dark corner with an interesting stranger herself.