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.
5. We Will Take Advantage of the City
If you think it’s tough dating in Denver, consider how much tougher it must be in a town that doesn’t boast all the features that our city does. Count your dating blessings: Between a vibrant restaurant scene, dozens of musical venues, and fun and goofy options like Lakeside or national-league sports or Casa Bonita, the options are wide at a mile high. Dine Sinatra-style at Bastien’s. Check out tribute night at Ophelia’s. Picnic over some unmarked graves at Cheesman Park. Root for the home team, any home team. Go to Red Rocks — for any reason. You get the idea. We get so used to the beauty around us that we become blind to it, but we're pretty lucky to be here.
4. We Will Not Tell a Lie
The cornerstone of any relationship of any real depth is honesty. Dating is all about becoming more transparent— revealing ourselves in increments to a potential partner, seeing if our respective jigsaw pieces fit together to create a pretty picture. Being honest doesn’t mean being without filter, mind you — it’s still important to be kind, and as your grandmother either said or should have said, if you can’t be kind, be silent. But be honest, too; otherwise, even if you get someone to fall for you, it won’t really be you for whom they’re falling. In other words: If you hate camping, don’t pretend to love tents and shit. If you love Star Wars and want to name your kids Luke and Leia and celebrate Life Day with your dog Chewie, don’t try to pass off as a casual fan. If you’re an avowed Trump supporter — well, I can’t help you at this point.
3. We Will Relax
Most of the anxiety surrounding a date has more to do with your brain creating worry around things that have not happened yet and will probably not happen yet than reality. Because your brain, like all brains, is evil. It exists to both support and undermine you. It waits until you’re on the way to work before wondering whether or not the iron is unplugged. It waits until you’re sleeping to dredge up horrifying memories of your worst decisions. It recognizes when you’ve accomplished something, and then poses the question: Is it possible that this isn’t as cool as I think it is, and that others will find it dumb or uninspired or in some way crappy? Thanks, brain. Your brain will fuck with you, but don’t play into your brain’s bullshit. Practice forcing yourself to relax. Anxiety makes you unattractive. And, yes, I understand that statement will, in itself, create anxiety. These are the things we must overcome.
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2. We Will Remember: It’s About Them
The success of your date isn’t really about what you say. It’s not about the clothes you wear, or the haircut you got last week, or whether you chose the right lipstick. Whether or not a date will be judged to be good or bad is entirely — and I mean completely — about how you make your date feel around you. It’s everything. It’s how those couples who have the how-we-met story where they weren’t immediately attracted to one another have made it work successfully. Because while love at first sight exists, the deep stuff gets even deeper because we fall for someone who makes us feel like the best version of ourselves.
1. We Will Try
Too many Denver daters say, “What dates? Who even dates anymore?” But we must. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play. Do or do not; there is no try. Take the first step into a larger world and put yourself out there.