Home Big To Do - BG's Dating Strategies




Big To Do
About Us

Our "Going Out" Guide e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

New Kid on the Block:
How to Arrive in Style

by Colin Lingle

Moving from one city to another isn't Hell. It's a gruesome and disorienting purgatory of anxiety that is one bad flu bug short of Hell. And that's when it goes well. Once you've uprooted the delicate tendrils of whatever life you had and replanted them in foreign soil, how do you go about creating a new social scene from scratch? It's not like you can bring your eleven friends, three favorite breakfast joints, and that excellent bartender with you. Get movers involved and you're lucky if your clothes turn up at all.

There are a million (or more) reasons that people pack it up and head to greener pastures. But let's work with the premise that most everyone is a little off balance when they arrive. Even in your own country, there are new rules to learn, new words for familiar objects, new streets with their own manic naming conventions. Imagine David Blaine walking up to you, making all your social skills disappear, and then glibly walking off. It can be that strange.

With this kind of backdrop and no plan of attack, you're going to have to be uncannily lucky -- like lightning-bolt lucky -- to find a new paramour. Case Study #1: Oxygen employee, new to New York, locks herself out of her Manhattan apartment. She knows nobody on her floor, but hears music from the adjacent apartment. She knocks on the door to call a locksmith. Good looking guy answers the door, she calls, locksmith arrives, problem solved. Next day, the new neighbors eat pizza and watch football all day. Now they're cozy like kittens and planning to move to Brooklyn. Sheesh!

Important note: Do not count on this happening to you!

It could happen, of course. It does. It did. But most of you are going to need a better plan than "lock self out of apartment" if you want to get on with the cuddling. In typical Big To Do fashion, we are going to help you develop that plan. Now, you may need to do some creative extrapolation in applying these lessons to your own life, but you're all smart cookies so we're not worried.

Also, note that we are not going to suggest getting a job at a local restaurant or the nearest Starbucks. While this would technically allow you to "meet" lots of "people" we believe that any social interaction that involves tipping is, by definition, not a dating scene. Moreover, you may well already have a job. And if, in fact, you moved expressly to take said job, you will find there are several constructive ways to nurture your budding social life during the workday.

Work It

The Big To Do recognizes that office relationships are strewn with emotional landmines and we're not recommending that you simply find solace in a convenient coworker, however much your bosses might be talking about "convergence." For the detailed whys and wherefores, find out what BG says on the topic. No, you should probably fight the urge to book a conference room and send an email titled "Urgent Meeting" to your Crush of the Quarter. You'll only find yourself unhappy when results don't match projections.

But there are other ways you can put your work to work for you. The first, and most obvious, is the group outing. No matter where you work, there has to be an end to the day. And when that end comes, there may be drinks. Be careful not to invite yourself along with a group that isn't putting out a friendly vibe (this could be disastrous).

However, you can make yourself strategically available by putting together a group of your own. It requires a little chutzpah, perhaps, but you come with a built-in excuse: you just got here and you need to find the cool places. Most people, in the Big To Do's experience, are just looking for a reason to go have fun and relax. Enable them. Put yourself on that sacrificial altar and you'll quickly start to fill your mental map with the right place for any future right occasion.

Another good tip: until you go through a company party, you're not really a member of the team. All of the embarrassing dancing, everything that is hilarious, inconvenient or inappropriate -- more than any mission statement, this is what binds us. Don't miss your first one; after that, they're optional. In fact, if you know how to salsa, this is great time to unleash your skill upon the world. If you don't, well, you can try a few moves, but (white boys take note) you take your reputation into your own hands.

This is probably a good place to mention a phenomenon first officially identified by Breakup Girl and expanded upon in her new book (under a slightly different name): Chaste Co-Worker Flirtation. This is the situation where, even though two colleagues know nothing is going to develop for all the obvious reasons, both get a little buzz -- call it a double espresso shot of friendship -- from working together. Carefully applied, CCF will actually make you more productive and punctual, without the anxieties that accompany a company indiscretion.

The People In Your Neighborhood

The other anchor point to your life in New Town City is where you've chosen to live. After your office, this is the place where you will spend the most time. At least until you get a significant other who lives hellacrosstown. But that's later.

Familiarize yourself with your surroundings; resist the urge to hide under the refrigerator for the first few days. Make sure that you actually know more of your hood than the route from your house to the office (and alternate routes home don't really count, unless you're dropping by one of the cool spots above with friends). Come the weekend, marshall your will and set out on a routine expedition in any safe direction. Don't worry about covering the same ground repeatedly (hint: that is how we learn). Walking is best, but if you live in a geographically expansive city you may drive. Just remember to get out of the car every once in a while. Otherwise, you're just burning fossil fuels and we don't have enough ozone for that anymore.

Another trick for newbies: get a habit. Not a bad one like smoking or the Backstreet Boys, but a good one like Sunday afternoons at the local bookstore. Or something equally cliche. This way, you set a pattern and anyone in a similar pattern will recognize yours. "Hey, I always see you in here..." is one of the better lines you can hear or deliver (unless you're in a holding cell or an adult chat room).

Now, the Big To Do has said this before, but there are plenty of clubs, activities, and organizations out there with which to get involved. There's nothing wrong with joining a food co-op, a dinner club, or a bird-watching society to meet people (and eventually seduce them), as long as you actually enjoy whatever the activity is. But there is a caution in this category: don't get caught. Remember, you're just there because of your heartfelt dedication to Whatever. (You'd hate to have the guys on the rugby team find anything out the wrong way, right?)

And do we even have to mention again that this is a great excuse to go volunteer your time for a worthy cause? Didn't think so.

Mission: Ludicrously Possible

Once the two previous machinations are in effect, you may still want to enhance your mastery of your new environment. Yet, you don't have the in-depth social circle that would allow you to hone your catalogic knowledge of hot spots. What to do? Give yourself a mission. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it is. It's such a great tactic, in fact, that even when it isn't easy, it is. Wha? Read on.

Case Study #2: Under normal conditions, who among us would accept an invitation to venture out on a valuable weekend day into sub-freezing wind chill and shop for... a lamp? Right: only lamp fetishists.

However, when you are new to town, this is an irresistable opportunity, even if you had the flu two days earlier. Why? Because it is so blinking random that you are bound to discover something cool. You have to find several places that sell lamps, you have to get there, and you have instant and ample conversation pieces ("I'd like this better upside down"; "The illuminated peacock is spectacular."). Moreover, you then have to find somewhere to eat, because, quite frankly, it's exhausting to shop for lamps. When opportunity calls, just go.

This would be the point where you extrapolate to your own life. If you don't have a Lamp District in your town (like we do here in New York), then pick any other object or objective to give your day structure: a purpose, a destination, and a companion. It's best if the requests are coming in, but you can also attempt to jauntily persuade Hottie A (them) to join Hottie B (you) on your adventure.

Try this on for size: "Hey, I'm going to the [LOCATION] this weekend to try and find an [OBJECT]. Want to come along? Lunch is on me...!" It's forward but friendly, and, as long as you pick your variables well, perfectly above board. Who doesn't want to go to IKEA to try and find a BLERN? ... to the BEACH to try and find PETROGLYPHS? ... to PARIS to try and find HAPPINESS?

OK, so maybe you can get carried away. But the truth of the matter is, whether ultimately romantic or not, your missions will give you the knowledge and experience you need to be part of the city you now live in. And before long, you'll be the one saying, "New to town? Let me show you this one awesome place! You're gonna love it..."

Colin Lingle is going to BARNES & NOBLE this weekend to try and find BG'S NEW BOOK. You're all welcome to come along.

Back to Main To Do Page | Next Date


blog | advice | comics | animation | goodies | to do | archive | about us

Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
© 2008 Just Friends Productions, Inc.
| privacy policy
Cool Aid!

Important Breakup Girl Maxim:
Breakup Girl Sez

The 10 worst first-date locations

True Story: I even moved to be near him

3-Day Free Trial Offer

Next To Do
What's This?

Web BG.net

Staying In
San Fran
New Years
Look Back
BAR Tampa
Dawson, NC
Blah Blah
Big Sib
Change of Heart
10 Things...
TalkBoy Pen
Oscar Party
Kurt Elling
Amy's Machine
V-Day TV
Sex on the Web
1st Saturdays
Il Buco
Mary Jane...