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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Bad Economy Dating Options

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Best Dating Options in a Bad Economy

Quick Access:
Best Bad Economy Dating Options

What are the best dating options during this bad economy?

Dating can be expensive, which makes online dating all that much more practical and effective for today’s singles on a stricter budget. But it should be a relief to learn that great dates don’t require a fat wallet. Let’s have a quick look at some of the top dating picks for men and women, courtesy of’s “Seduction Survey.”

Women's Top 10 Date Picks

1) Restaurant
2) Taking a romantic walk
3) Park
4) Coffee shop
5) Live music
6) Comedy club
7) Zoo
8) Bowling or playing pool
9) Amusement park
10) Movies

Men's Top 10 Date Picks

1) Taking a romantic walk
2) Restaurant
3) Park
4) Cook dinner at home
5) Coffee shop
6) Scenic car ride
7) Stay in and rent a movie
8) Bowling or playing pool
9) Live music
10) Comedy club

Notice that men and women agree on several dating preferences: restaurant, coffee shop, romantic walk and visiting a park. Ideally, a couple can take a romantic walk in a park and take advantage of the holiday decorations that abound. And, it’s all free. Remember, the point of a first date is to explore chemistry and determine whether you two want a second date. Keep it casual, fun and very low pressure. Spend the time getting to know one another rather than being distracted by a movie or other activity that puts a wedge between couples. Keep the mood friendly…and see what happens. Impress your date with your personality, sense of self and charm; no amount of money or lavish night out can truly compensate for someone’s unattractive persona.

People get to know one another through open and honest talking. Talking is one of the most sensual and stimulating things couples can do, and it’s also free. Make no mistake, communication is important both to men and women, and it’s an underrated aspect of seduction. Knowing what not to talk about with a particular person can be just as important as knowing what is fine to talk about.’s Seduction Survey also reveals conversation preferences for men versus women.

Women's Top 10 Conversation Topics

1) Hopes and aspirations
2) Hobbies / interests
3) Music
4) Dreams
5) Romance
6) Friends
7) Travel
8) Vacations
9) Movies
10) Entertainment

Men's Top 10 Conversation Topics

1) Sex
2) Romantic fantasies
3) Hobbies / interest
4) Hopes and aspirations
5) Music
6) Dreams
7) Movies
8) Entertainment
9) Vacations
10) Travel

Hopes, aspirations and general interests, hobbies and music tastes are consistent favorites for both men and women. Use online dating as an extremely cost effective way to get to know someone, and feel free to disclose your life’s passions and intimate dreams at a comfortable pace. Keep a flirty mood and an open mind. Share what makes you different from the million plus online daters vying for the attention of the person talking to you. Engage the person, close the psychological distance with him/her and enjoy a little bit of surrendering to the moment.

The economic downturn can actually play to a couple’s advantage by fostering creative date ideas that save money, as well as by forcing a couple to pay attention to each other and actually talk rather than indulging in extravagant date activities that can undermine the process of exploring chemistry and compatibility.

Have fun, but as always, remember to maintain safety and security at all times with dating – be it online or in cyberspace. Warning signs of online predators or people with abusive tendencies include someone who: 

  • Makes demeaning or inappropriate remarks.
  • Provides inconsistent information about his/her age, appearance, marital status or employment.
  • Refuses to provide a recent photo or series of photos.
  • Refuses to talk on the phone as the relationship develops.
  • Insists on seeing (or having) photos of your children or knowing considerable details about them early in the relationship.

 And whenever meeting someone offline, note these safety tips!

  • When you’re ready to meet someone in person, choose a public place such as a café or coffee shop, preferably during the day.
  • You may want to keep the first meeting casual and brief (e.g. an hour).
  • Take your own car or transportation. Don’t offer to pick up your date or let them pick you up. 
  • Tell a friend or family member about your plans and where you’ll be on your date.
  • Never bring your children with you when meeting someone for the first time. And be hesitant about showing photos of your child as well.
  • You can have a friend sit at a nearby table in a coffee shop or café to keep an eye on you, if you would feel more comfortable.
  • Carry a cell phone with you on the date for emergencies.
  • Never leave your food or drink unattended.
When it’s time for the date to end, leave on your own. Avoid going straight home and drive to the store or another public place.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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