Santa Fe Favorites
(Not at a Bar)
You know the drill: Go out with your single friends, have one too many margaritas, end up giving the person you’ve been dirty dancing with all night your phone number, wake up the next morning with a headache and a vague recollection of a slobbery kiss, and dodge the phone for the next two weeks. But isn’t there a better way to meet the love of your life?
Yes, yes, yes! I took an unofficial poll of friends and acquaintances and found that most of them met their partners Not at a Bar. After all, if you’re seeking someone who enjoys early morning hikes, you want to meet them somewhere other than a beer-soaked saloon at 1:00 a.m. (If you really are in search of someone whose main interest is beating the local record for tequila shots per hour, skip this article and belly up to a bar ASAP.)
To help you locate a soulmate who shares your passion for Thai cooking, Kundalini yoga or music documentaries, I’ve come up with a list of places to meet and greet. So, plaster on some more hair gel, pop a breath mint and get out there! Remember to be friendly and strike up conversations wherever you go. Love’s arrow could strike anytime, anywhere—usually when you’re least expecting it.
Benefits. Break out your black tie and attend one of the multitudinous arts benefits that seem to mushroom at all times of the year. Usually they entail drinks, food, dancing, and entertainment, so you get all the benefits (excuse the pun) of a night out at a bar or club, minus the leering drunks puking on your shoes. Not to mention that your money is doing good for the community, and you’ll meet others who are interested in supporting the arts, education, or many other deserving recipients.
Book signings and poetry/prose readings. The perfect environment for stimulating intellectual conversation without having to strain for topics. It’s a no-brainer, brainy! Every week, Santa Fe boasts several signings, author talks, and readings. Usually they’re free, and you might get cheese and crackers or even learn something in addition to enjoying scintillating conversation with the opposite sex.
Classes. It’s almost a cliché, but how could I leave out this obvious way to meet someone who shares your passion for pastry or lust for language? One of the best resources in this area is the excellent Santa Fe Community College, where you’ll find adults of all ages enrolled in courses in just about anything you can think of. Whether you want to learn to sew a shirt, fly a plane, or speak Mandarin, here’s your chance for low-cost education and unparalleled dating opportunities! Hang out in the cafeteria or the gym and meet even more eager students of life. Of course, many other venues in Santa Fe offer classes too, so keep your eyes peeled for local listings.
Concerts. Santa Fe has no shortage of musical events, from classical to alternative rock. And since music soothes the savage beast, take advantage of that heartwarming quality to catch the eye of the hottie in the next row. It works, trust me. When my cousin was visiting me from New Hampshire in 2005, we went to a High Mayhem musical event where she met her perfect partner—and ended up moving to Santa Fe to be with him. Rock on!
Gallery openings. What better place to meet a fellow artistic type than the swirling social scene of a Friday night opening? Dress in your most sophisticated yet understated outfit and join the other art lovers at the multitude of openings every Friday night. Whether the art sends you to the moon or leaves you wondering why you don’t auction off your five-year-old’s Crayola drawings, you’ve got a perfect topic of conversation right before your eyes.
Grocery shopping. We all have to do it, and the grocery stores in Santa Fe are always crowded. Accidentally bump into the hot guy at the deli counter, apologize sweetly, and you’re up and running. Or ask advice of the cute chick hovering in front of the bulk whole grains section, and then offer to try out your new recipe on her. Best places to meet your honey while buying honey: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Worst: Sam’s. That’s where all the married-with-children folks go. And you don’t really want your first impression to include a 24-pack of Charmin Ultra, do you?
Hangouts. When you’re craving a latté or maybe a breakfast burrito, venture out and plunk yourself down for a leisurely brunch at one of Santa Fe’s hangout cafés. I call them “hangouts” because they are places where locals chill, sometimes for hours at a time. Catch someone’s eye and strike up a chat over coffee at hangouts like the Santa Fe Baking Company (where I met my longtime honey), the Aztec Café, Java Joe’s, Body Café, Downtown Subscription, Borders Café and Starbucks.
Health clubs and spas. Do you drink green tea before your morning run? Do you get cranky if the weather’s bad and you can’t hike or ski? Then of course, the perfect place for you to meet your health-minded mate is at a place where active people get together and move. Start a conversation with the guy huffing away on the treadmill next to you, or ask the girl in blue Spandex if she’d like to grab a juice after step class. Guys, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m a Nia instructor at several local spas and clubs, and the smart men know that most classes are at least 75% women. Meet your buff babe at a class! Women, pump some iron and ask a guy to spot you. Then, prove you don’t need him to. Move, people, move!
Lectures. There’s a lecture on something, somewhere, almost every day of the week. Learn about xeriscape gardening, writing your memoir, natural pet care, anthropology, herbal remedies…Whatever the subject, linger afterward and involve someone in serious intellectual debate or light, sarcastic banter. And maybe progress to a cup of coffee at a local café?
Social dancing. Salsa, mambo, waltz, foxtrot, contra dancing—whatever your style, there’s no more fun way to forge an easy intimacy with the opposite sex than social dancing. Santa Fe is graced with many opportunities for shaking a leg, whether you sign up for a class or show up for an evening event. Check out the Dance Station for a wide variety of ballroom and Latin dancing, Avi’s Mambo Room for salsa, Studio East for tango, and the Odd Fellows Hall for folk dancing. Don’t worry if you have two left feet—didn’t you see Richard Gere in Shall We Dance?
Video store. True story: A single friend of mine was browsing the romantic comedies at Hastings when a tall, handsome stranger approached her and struck up a conversation. They ended up renting a movie to watch together…and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. The moral of the story: Tempting as it may be to lounge over to the nearest video store in your ratty jammies, don’t! The minute it will take to get dressed could pay off big-time. Don’t get so engrossed in the lurid DVD covers that you forget to keep your peripheral vision peeled for the next love of your life.