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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Places to Find Love

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Inexpensive Places to Find Love

Not to be a downer, because there is plenty of depressing news in the papers and on TV these days, but the cold reality is that the economy is affecting every aspect of our lives. I was faced with this fact recently when I took a long, hard look at my bank statement and had to figure out ways to cut back on some of my expenses.  Sadly, my subscription to the online dating site I’d recently re-joined was one of the first casualties (but on a positive note, I still have a few more weeks to use the service, and I did find a few prospects). 

You are probably doing the same thing.  You might be cutting down on your nights out with friends.  Maybe you canceled your own dating site membership.  So where does that leave you in your search for love?  All is not lost.  I consider myself to be a pretty frugal-minded gal, so I came up with a list of interesting and inexpensive things to do and places to go where you can see and be seen:


> The library. 
It’s a fact that when the economy isn’t great, more people take advantage of their public library’s free services.  Not only can you check out the newest books and movies, but most libraries have a calendar of events that can include anything from lectures about World War II to knitting classes.  Keep an eye on your local library’s program schedule and make it a point to attend one of their events.  If you do strike up a conversation with someone whom you find appealing, at least you know you have something in common.

> The gym. 
So you’re not at your 100% most attractive when you’re drenched in sweat and doing your 800th lap on the treadmill.  Guess what?  They’re a sweaty mess, too!  That doesn’t mean they’re not completely adorable, interesting, and worth getting to know once you’ve both changed out of your workout gear and hit the showers.  If you go to the gym with any kind of frequency, you’re bound to get to know some of the other regulars.  And then one day, just like out of a fairy tale, you’ll both be headed for the same elliptical machine, and bam!  Instant chemistry! Well, it may not happen like that, but it’s nice to imagine that it would.   

> Cultural events. 
Museums, art galleries, plays, musical performances—what’s more attractive than someone who appreciates the arts?  Any lifestyle or arts page of your local newspaper should include a listing of the artsy events happening near you.  Grab a buddy and head to the nearest coffeehouse or theater for their next open mic night.  There is usually a minimal cover charge, and it’s an inexpensive way to hear some great local talent.  And afterwards, make it a point to tell the cute singer/songwriter that you loved their song.  Compliment the poet’s newest effort about their high school sweetheart.  Share something original if the mood strikes, and have the adoring public compliment you.    Or go to a gallery opening.  Strike up a conversation with the other art lovers who might strike your fancy. 

> Work-related gatherings. 
This is so obvious, it’s easy to overlook.  As you’re putting your best foot forward for the sake of your business, it may just work to your advantage, too.  For my day job, I’m constantly attending meetings, luncheons, and various other events.  I often see many of the same folks at these events, and let’s be honest—even though it’s a work function, talking about work constantly gets a little old.  I’m not suggesting getting the other person’s complete life history.  You should probably not give the full account of your last wild weekend (you are on company time, remember), but steering the conversation away from shop talk isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  For my job, I usually have to mingle with company executives who are 20-30 years older than I am.  The conversation usually stays work-related, but once in awhile you get to know other professionals on a personal level.  There may not be a love connection, but they might see you as a good match for their single son/daughter or niece/nephew. 

> Volunteering.   
Giving your time and talent to a worthy organization has so many benefits.  You’re putting your energy to constructive use.  You’re helping to spread the message of a worthy cause.  You’re helping others.  And you’re meeting new people.  Of course it makes sense to volunteer with an organization you feel a strong connection to, but why not do something good with a cause you’ve been interested in, but haven’t pursued?  Help Habitat for Humanity build homes for low income families.  Sign up for an AIDS walk or do a 5K for a cancer organization.  There’s nothing like the feeling of “We’re all in this together” once you pull off an amazing achievement as a team.  Working for the same cause is an excellent way to get to know someone.  The more active you become, the closer you work with other volunteers… thus, the better your odds of building a bond with another person.  Could be worth it. 


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon.

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