Are you “socialating”, dating by daylight and dressing your relationship status? Julia Hobbs breaks down the dating rules for now.
Dress your relationship status
Newly single? Dress with intention (a potential date can pop up at any time). Save obvious man-repellers – like oversized leather trousers – for dinner with girlfriends and opt instead for simple, alluring silhouettes.
Hunt outside your circle
Seek like-minded prey. Depending on preference, join the London Library for its members’ games nights, sign up for the Ginger Pig’s butcher course or join the ICA for regular artist talks.
Remember, love can hit at any age. Case in point: Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch.
Take a fresh swipe
Digital doesn’t mean digit-all. Avoid sites where your details are shared. Instead, join under-the-radar app Raya, which connects the upper echelons of the creative industries.
Phone a friend (or two)
It’s now all about “socialating” (sociable dating). Whether it’s a low-key supper at Primeur, a tennis match or a Jamie XX gig, mixing your date with your best friends makes for more fun.
Date by daylight. Book a long lunch at a flatteringly lit restaurant. Try table number 31 at J Sheekey.
Seek out experiences to share
Show your adventurous side on an outing with a difference. Hit Vauxhall for gallery openings, Walthamstow’s Lighthouse Indoor Market for a weekend stroll, or keep it lighthearted with a comedy show at the Soho Theatre.
Remember, loud music kills cocktail hour. Say yes to the Swans Bar at Maison Assouline, or Duke’s Bar, to whisper audible sweet nothings while your martini is mixed at your table.
Stage a home movie night
Trump the Friday night cinema outing and upgrade your Netflix-and-chill with a home movie projector and an on-demand delivery from Lucky Chip.
Do the gallery show after hours. Sir John Soane’s Museum holds candlelit tours on the first Tuesday evening of every month.
Sparkle their interest
Wear Cartier’s diamond Juste Un Clou pendant necklace in reverse against a bare back.
Easy on the “like” button
Scoping out a potential beau online is prudent (call it research), stalking is not. If you know his aunt’s name and what each of his sisters studied at university, or have added his ex to your Instagram feed, you’ve crossed the line.
Blushing? Cute. Heavily blushed? Not so much. Try the Face Gym at Selfridges for a natural, make-up-free glow.
Keep nails pretty in pink
Wrap him around your (neat) little finger. Hands are the first things you notice about a prospective date so be sure to banish chips. Keep nails short and sweet with a lick of Essie Ballet Slippers.
Say it, don’t over-spray it
Spritz Malle’s Carnal Flower – with a light hand. Over-zealous use will snuff out even the finest first-date conversation.
No crying shame
Ask him when he last cried. Psychologist Arthur Aron found that this intimate question boosts the chances of falling in love.
First impressions count: the key to dressing for the first date is to wear the more casual look you would pull out on the second date. Try a button-up dress (unbuttoned a few fastenings above the knee), a scoop-back dress (for the walk to the bathroom), or a failsafe crisp white T-shirt with lace-up stiletto booties.
Mouth to mouth
Kiss like it’s going out of fashion, safe in the knowledge that it never will.
Post-date: turn off Read Receipts – you have four hours maximum to reply. The only games a grown woman should play are pétanque, backgammon and bridge…
The “get out of jail free” card
Need a potential date escape route? Download SMS Scheduler to automatically text three of your closest friends to call you one hour in.
Boyfriend or BFF?
Most modern relationships are undefined. Enjoy the friendzone if that is all that transpires. It can still offer lots of benefits.
Keep your options open
Shopping around is a recent perk. Don’t assume it’s exclusive for the first five dates: he’ll still be looking and so should you.
Breaking up in the online world
• Refine, rather than eradicate, traces of your ex. The snap from that big birthday three months ago can stay.
• Agree your online parting etiquette. A swift mutual unfollow will help to take the sting out of a looming separation. If you’re aiming to stay friends, use Eternal Sunshine to temporarily hide all trace of your ex from your feed without permanently erasing anything.
• No matter how tempted you are, don’t ever publish your message thread to TextsFromYourEx.
• Silence is golden. Designated Dialer will stop you calling during that first crucial month.
• Rule out any hiccups. Sober is now sexy. Lose the booze entirely, or stick to a maximum of two French 75s.
• Cut the slack. Running five minutes late builds anticipation, 30 minutes signals disaster
• Don’t talk work.
When it hasn’t worked out…
Take a deep breath and step back into the real world. The tangible solution? Nothing soothes an aching heart like a new pair of Céline shoes.