by March 26, 2013 at 11:30 am 0

From Lauren Levine. Email her at lauren[AT]


Get out and date. (Luis Gomez Photos).

Believe it or not, in just a few weeks thousands of tourists will descend upon our city to witness the return to life of our cherished cherry blossoms. And with it will come spring romance.

Yes, it’s freaking adorable to stroll around the tidal basin hand-in-hand with your special someone rather than just a Starbucks iced latte (though both is ideal). So if cold winter nights got you down but watching other people coupled up in the sun sharing a picnic in the Circle makes it worse, here’s a few ideas to find the Portia to your Ellen.

Get Out There!

It’s finally almost nice out – which means that all the good looking people who have been hiding in their gorgeous Logan Circle apartments reading the New Yorker and watching House of Cards are finally venturing outside. Wait in line at some of DC’s public tennis courts for four hours and you’ll be sure to bond with strangers –or in line for brunch at Open City, for that matter. Hit up a rooftop bar, or get a group together for a hike on the Billy Goat Trail and have everyone bring a new friend.

Stop Being So Intimidating

Yes, you. I’m talking to you. If you’re trying to pick someone up, or get noticed, you probably don’t want to surround yourself with nine friends who act like they’re the Justice League. Even if you manage to get a table at American Ice Company on a beautiful day, you’re not more special than everyone else. Try to give off a welcoming vibe — a foreign concept to many serious and ambitious DC young professionals.

Don’t Get Wasted

There are a lot of drinks to be consumed in our lovely and stressed out city. After a 70 hour week, I understand that you want to let loose at a Nats game, the Pride Parade or Jack Rose. But we all know that the sexiest person in the room is not the one with horrible beer breath, slurring their speech as they try to invite you to brunch at Mintwood Place. We’re now in the era of “tipsy,” and “sloppy” should be reserved for special occasions.

Be Brave

I’ve observed that your best love potentials are the people right there in front of you. If you’ve got a crush, or if we’re trying to be grown up about it, a hunch that someone might be right for you, you’ve got to go for it. Let’s be clear – this goes for males and females. If the concept of “date night” scares you away, then take advantage of some of DC’s awesome activities – like a museum, the cherry blossoms, the drum circle at Meridian Hill Park, Eastern or Union Market – to create a date that is unique, less stressful, and fun!

The Internet is Not Going Away

Let’s face it, people. If you’re not internet dating yet, and you want to find someone, you probably should. You trusted the internet to find your apartment and file your taxes, so take one month to try out an internet dating website. The worst thing that happens is you get a good story and you’re in the same place you are right now.

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by June 15, 2012 at 9:30 am 1,806 0


Taxi dates. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Scott Thompson writes a biweekly column for

From Scott Thompson. Follow Scott on Twitter @foureyedblond or email him at thompson[AT]

Five Similarities between a DC Taxi Ride and a DC First Date


I approach a taxi cab the same way I approach a first date: with optimistic trepidation.

It’s a rule of thumb I developed after having survived a healthy number of first dates in Washington and an unhealthier number of cab rides, given my genetic allergy to snooze buttons. The reason is simple. Both taxi rides and first dates follow the same, well-choreographed conversational arch and culminate in one of two ways:  joy or anguish.

The run of show generally proceeds as follows:

1) The Apology Stage

The first word out of one’s mouth on a DC first date is most often, “Sorry!  I’m late!”   Traffic or Bikeshare dilemmas are usually blamed, followed by pronounced embarrassment at such ‘uncharacteristic’ tardiness.   The first few moments in a taxi cab are no different – except the expression “Sorry! I’m late” is used not to extract sympathy, but rather to ensure that the driver knows that you, unlike any of his/her other customers, are actually in a hurry and have no time for stop lights.

2) The Small Talk Stage

After apologies subside, participants in a date or taxi settle into a perfunctory small talk routine to break the awkwardness of two strangers sharing oxygen for the first time. “Wow – long day.” The received response serves as a bellwether of how the remainder of the conversation will flow. If either party perceives a hint of boredom or overextended enthusiasm, the imbalance will sink the conversation immediately. If mutual tolerance and interest does develop, participants move swiftly into the Conversation Stage.

3) The Conversation Stage

At the threshold of the Conversation stage, neither party knows exactly what to expect, which provides equal levels of intrigue and worry. It’s possible that the conversation may involve an engaging exploration of each other’s family backgrounds, musical tastes,  and opinions on the best Ethiopian restaurants west of 12th Street NW. It’s equally possible that one remark about the U.S. election provokes a political filibuster that drains all joy and potential from the relationship.

4) The Realization Stage

If the Conversation Stage goes well, participants may realize a long term potential with each other. Business cards or phone numbers will be exchanged and the date/drive will conclude with a sincere  “thank you – I really enjoyed meeting you.”

Most often, however, the opposite occurs. After crawling out of the Conversation Stage, participants begin to look at their phones or watches. Time begins to slow and the need for a swift exit strategy becomes apparent. Statements like “can you please speed up — we can make this light” or “I think our waitress forgot about us” start to pepper the conversation. Many participants will accept an urgent, fake phone call from a concerned friend, or simply feign imminent nausea.  Almost all will find themselves staring out the window at happy couples blithely passing by on the sidewalk. Oh, it’s SO easy, isn’t it?

5) The Frustration Stage

If and when participants reach this stage, inner monologues disintegrate into Sally Field territory.  “WHY am I stuck here?” “WHY did I agree to pick up this awful person!?”  “WHY didn’t I just walk straight home after work?” At this point, the financial burden of the experience becomes apparent – fueling both anger and anxiety. In a cab, one may choose to throw money at the driver (or customer) and bail out three blocks early, either out of frustration or actual dearth of cash. On a date, one may decide to split the drastically imbalanced bill simply to save time.

At the end, when the doors open and participants are thrown back into the real world, we question why we subject ourselves to this same, emotionally draining experience week after week, month after month.  We question if life would be easier and more peaceful if we lived in a different city.

Above all, we think of our college crush – and his/her car.


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