Our theme for the month of March is “Ask the post calvin.” We’re taking on questions submitted by readers and offering our best advice.
Dear the post calvin,
I’ve recently given up on dating apps and no longer live on a college campus. What are some other fun ways to meet individuals in this day in age?
Seeking that Meaningful Connection
Dear Seeking that Meaningful Connection,
I feel your pain. Leaving college often shrinks your dating pool to coworkers (risky), existing friends (settling), and family (illegal). Dating apps can open things up, but what if you’re ugly or can’t type? Or maybe you prefer the old-fashioned way. Fortunately, with a little out-of-the-box thinking, you can find just as many opportunities for meaningful connection on the 9-to-5 side of that pesky diploma.
Scroll through your Facebook friend list until you spot a cute acquaintance who’s caught up in essential oils or something like that. Send them a quick message: “I thought your last post was really interesting. Want to get coffee sometime?” Feel free to add your own spin! You have almost no chance of rejection, and although you might want to make a purchase or two to keep the romance alive, that’s cheaper than a fancy night out!
Go to Church
Every church loves a newcomer. A few handy tricks for making the most of it: ask the pastor about opportunities for young adults, say you’re “seeking a faith community,” or let an elderly woman in the church know you’re single. If you’re not ready to put yourself out there, you can also sign up online to receive a visit from Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’ll come to you for an intimate date in your own home, but keep the sweatpants in your dresser! Members of both faith traditions tend to wear semi-formal outfits for these outings, so dress to match.
Bring a Dog to a College Campus
Just because you finished college doesn’t mean you can’t go back! Every stressed-out college student loves dogs, and as a bonus, college students often lack disposable income. With some quick thinking, you can leverage your pooch and your working-world income into a lunch or dinner date. Be careful about this one, though. Most schools frown on outright solicitation, so keep it classy!
It might feel strange, but treat yourself to a dream date. Tuck in your polo shirt, slip on your bowling shoes, and order a soda with two straws. Why two? Because it won’t stay a solo date for long. Pick a lane next to a large group and extend an invitation to the man or woman of your dreams (you should have scoped out the lay of the land while ordering your soda). Any savvy bowler will recognize that he or she could bowl three times as much with one partner instead of five and take you up on your invitation—all you had to do was ask!
Ask Your Friends
Ask your friends if their friends want to date you. Ask frequently so they know you’re serious. If that doesn’t work, ask your friends’ friends if their friends want to date you. Just like applying for a job, you’re getting your name out there, but better than applying for a job, you’re guaranteed a personal connection every time.
Room with strangers for a slow-burn romance á la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I only recommend this method for guys and gals looking for the real deal, as it’ll show you all sides of your future spouse right away. Don’t worry, it’s not all dirty dishes and burnt popcorn—shared bathrooms make for terrific “accidents” that quickly turn sexy. Making the first move has never been easier! Another unique advantage of this method: as long as you keep paying rent, you’re legally entitled to your long-term domestic partnership.
Times change, but bars still top the list of great places for meaningful connection. Grab a stool and enjoy in the eye-candy in front of you. The bartender can’t leave, so you can work your magic for hours on your own terms. Remember: don’t tip! You don’t want your special server to confuse your passion for politeness.
It’s hard to talk on the bus with people getting off and on all the time, but a rideshare like Lyft or Uber gives you fifteen minutes or more without interruption. Think of this as speed dating, but with a built-in excuse if your fellow passenger doesn’t tickle your fancy. You just got in the car for a ride! You weren’t trying to woo anyone! You aren’t even interested! This strategy doubly benefits those who feel unsafe about aggressive first dates or who worry about purity and self-control. Your driver will act as a chaperone to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
Find a soup kitchen and work it into your regular routine. Just like college students, the homeless often don’t have disposable incomes. Again, keep it classy!
Be a Snow Superhero
You can find your own Elsa or Olaf by waiting near an unplowed road during a snowstorm (preferably a road with a hill). When drivers get stuck, swoop in to the rescue. Give them a push or help them put on chains, but don’t be too helpful about it—you need time to build that meaningful connection. “Slipping” and “hitting your head” is a neat trick for extending your meet-cute into a ride to Urgent Care. This also evens things out and keeps your new beau from seeing you as an unattainable savior. Pro tip: wear layers!
NPR called Josh “a modern-day Jack Kerouac” after he wrote about his 7,000-mile, no-money hitchhiking journey through the United States. Since hitchhiking, he’s found homes in the Pacific Northwest, the Episcopal Church, and the post calvin. He builds websites as the director of Branded Look LLC. Josh’s writing has appeared in places such as The Emerson Review, Front Porch Review, and Perspectives.