Originally published in The Hudson Reporter
Okay, so we’re in a recession. I think everyone’s gotten that memo by now. Not only does it present the normal problems like keeping your job or finding new ones, but it presents a host of other problems. How do you meet a girl when you barely have enough to pay bills? Especially around this area! And when you’ve met her, how do you date her when your disposable income for the week is $25? Years ago, when my parents were asking about my dating life, I remember saying that it’s too expensive to have a girlfriend! So I now present to you, How-to-Meet-a-Girl/Guy-on-Limited-or-No-Money-and-Keep-Them-Once-You-Do.
How to meet them:
So you are unemployed or underemployed right now and can’t afford the lofty hotel roof/patio bar/lounges where the chic and sexy congregate. Fear not! There are many ways to still meet people around. Many different organizations hold networking parties or meet-and-greets at some fun places. Look online for your city and you’ll be surprised at the amount of the. If you live in locally, check out Moxieinthecity.net for fun and titillating events (www.meetup.com/moxieinthecity/calendar/10117464/). Most of the time, they will have drink specials and everyone there is usually in the same boat. So not only can you drink for cheap, you may find a great contact. Even if you don’t, the other people there are also in your position. You don’t have to suck up your ego and be chagrined. That hottie next to you is probably someone else who is looking to grow and expand. Feel free to talk about where you want to take your life.
If that is even a bit too expensive for you, there are plenty of places to meet people that require no money. If you happen to be unemployed, use this time to go out and meet people during the day. Bring a book or laptop to an outside café. Go peruse your favorite section in the bookstores. Take a tour of the parks in your area. Bring a sketch pad and sketch some local landmarks. Doesn’t matter if you can’t draw to save your life. I was in Florence and sketched Michelangelo’s “David” and it looked like some weird fusion of a bobble-head doll and child’s drawing. If you live in a big city, find a follow a group of tourists and see where they take you. I have even left my cell phone at home and just wandered out, seeing where the day took me. (I ended up answering a cell phone left in a cab and found myself in an underground/off-the-grid Korean nightclub, btw. True story!) And don’t feel bad that you are unemployed. First off, everyone you meet during the day is, SURPRISE, not at work, so you immediately have something in common. And in these tough economic times, it’s not unusual. But when someone asks what you do, don’t spend time lamenting your current situation. Instead, talk about what your plans are for the future.
So let’s say you’ve met someone and you want to go do fun things with them, but your wallet disagrees with you. If you’re a girl, you may have the advantage of the man paying for everything. However, as a guy, it can be a little more difficult. There are many cheap and free things you can do without coming off as a skinflint. (Look it up, good word.) First off, acknowledge your lack of funds. She’ll appreciate the honesty instead of trying to figure out why “dinner alfresco” means eating hot dogs from a cart. Women love to know that you are thinking of them and that you are planning things. They don’t have to be extravagant to make her feel good. Pitch a tent in your backyard and have a campout complete with a campfire, s’mores and ghost stories. Go to a local toy store and go down each aisle trying out all the toys. Go to a thrift store or Salvation Army and try on fun and silly outfits. Each buy an outfit and go out for the rest of the day in it. Go to a car dealership and test drive some cars. Have fake jobs. Pretend the two of you are secret agents and follow a random person around without being seen. Make up stories about who they are and what they’re doing. When spotted or you lose them, find something fun to do right where you are. Go to the park and climb trees; don’t be afraid to revert back to your childhood delight at the simple pleasures. Spend an entire day trying to get as many free samples as possible. Attend a lecture, discuss it over coffee. Make up a bingo sheet of people (red hat, person with briefcase, elderly couple) and spend the day walking around, trying to find them all. Pack a picnic basket with tablecloth, candles, silverware, etc… and go to McDonald’s. Pretend it’s an elegant dinner. You just have to think outside the box. Everyone appreciates someone with fun, creative ideas.
So get out there and don’t use “no money” as an excuse to sloth it out on your couch. Opportunities abound every day. Go get them!