There’s been something of an uproar since Denver was named the “Worst City for Dating” by the Great Love Debate in late 2017. Men and women alike have concurred and complained, denied and demurred, and in the end commiserated that, yes, wherever Denver might land on the scale of awfulness, dating here (and possibly everywhere) pretty much sucks.
So what is there to do? In our Denver resolutions, we offered a succinct suggestion: that ladies should expect better, and men need to work to exceed expectations. Maybe that’s easy to say in concept — but what does it mean in practical terms? Here are ten ways that you can create a better Denver date in the new year:
10. We Will Believe It’s Possible First things first: Even if dating in Denver is the pits (though some of our readers have been quick to come to its defense), you shouldn't enter the dating scene with a negative perspective. That’s just self-defeating. You have to start believing that there’s more than some shade of disappointment around the next corner, so that you don’t settle for less than you really want and deserve. Remember: You’re out there looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, not Mr. or Ms. Right Now.
9. We Will Make Time One of the biggest criticisms of Denver dating is that fellas in Denver make almost no effort. It makes no difference whether this apathy is due to natural laziness, a bigger interest in pot than in finding romance, or a focus on career over pretty much everything else; it’s all off-putting and of absolutely no worth to anyone interested in finding someone. Like the Eagles (who play Coors Field in June) said, you can spend all your time making money, and you can spend all your love making time. Neither of those sound like good choices if you’re interested in a decent date.
8. We Will Mind Manners Hold doors open. Pull out your date’s chair. Walk on the street side, and offer your arm. It doesn’t take much, and you don’t have to go to extremes — no one’s asking you to lay down your North Face over a gray-water puddle of melting snow — but gestures are important. On the receiving side? Learn to accept the gesture with grace. Holding a door open isn’t about power, and it's not an attack on feminism; it’s about showing respect, regardless of gender and regardless of politics.
7. We Will Remember That We Are Not Alone There’s a reason that this list uses the communal “we” — because single Denverites are more or less in the same boat. It should be comforting that it’s not just you, right? It’s everyone. That means there’s someone out there feeling the same way you are, wanting something more in their romantic life, and chances are good that there’s more than one person in town whose dreams match up with yours. So, yes, it might be tough going, but it helps to know that you’re not the only one in the slog.
6. We Will Practice Our Interview Skills People often talk about making conversation on a date being paramount, and that the key to making good conversation is asking questions. That’s a good place to start, but if all you have in your pocket is a list of questions, that date is going to be pretty short, and mercifully so. This isn’t an interrogation; it’s more of an interview. That means that the key isn’t the question — it’s the followup. It’s not about what you ask, it’s what you ask next. Followups dig in; followups express interest. Followups allow for discovery. Which is what it’s all about.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.