In part because last week was The Week of Waiting to Have Sex With Someone New over here at the blog, I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to get to know someone slowly. I don't know about you guys, but I'm really sick of DATING--of going out to meet someone and knowing from the get-go that it's all about whether or not you will get into a relationship. In the few instance where I've gotten to know someone pretty well first--either through friendship or through a college class--and then we've progressed, it's felt so much more natural and comfortable and less anxiety-producing.
For an adult, I think one of the best ways to get to know someone slowly it is to
HAVE AN OFFICE ROMANCE.
I find I've been craving a slow-burning office romance ever since reading my friend Teddy's new novel KAPITOIL--which, incidentally, was just called "one of the best novels of my generation" in The Boston Globe. The workplace courtship in the book is so delicious it made me long for one myself. The two co-workers with amorous inclinations towards each other, Rebecca and Karim, start getting close because they are allies among a group of dysfunctional employees. They go out for coffee breaks together. Karim helps Rebecca fix her computer after a virus shuts it down. She sends him a consoling email after one of their supervisors makes an offensive remark. And slowly but surely, their relationship expands outside of the skyscraper they work in ...
Of course, you can't just force an office romance if there's no one cute around, or you've already dated half the sales team, or whatever. In my case, the big obstacle is that I don't actually work in office. I work at home, in stripey pajamas during the cooler months, and in nothing but underwear, tank top and red-and-white star slippers on especially hot days. The most significant conversations I have most days occur between myself and my new tea pot. (He's really cute--but obviously, a bit limited as a potential partner.)
Regardless, I'm all for the whole office romance thing--as long as you stay away from working over anyone who directly reports to you, or to whom you directly report.
If you've got no possibilities at work, what are some other ways to get to know someone slowly?
TAKE A CLASS
Remember how nice it was, back in our days as undergrads, when we became aware of the new guy because he was taking Romantic Poetry 502 with us ... and the fires in our hearts and loins burned quietly ... until the end of the semester when they erupted into a full-blown conflagration? God, those were the days! That's why I'm hoping to take a comedy class (if one EVER opens up) at the Upright Citizens' Brigade, a training school for comedic actors and writers. I'm also thinking of taking a Philosophy class as a Continuing Education student in the fall. If these kinds of co-educational opportunities aren't up your alley, there are plenty of others; consider a cooking class, or a wine-tasting seminar, for example.
JOIN AN AFTER-WORK SPORTS LEAGUE
I personally no longer have ankles or knees that are tough enough for me to be a decent soccer player--I sprain at the mere thought of a but whenever I see people having co-ed soccer games in places like Prospect Park or at Chelsea Piers, I wish I could join in.
JOIN A RUNNING, HIKING OR BIKING CLUB
If team sports aren't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to meet new peeps while doing athletic activities. Google should help you find your way to organizations in your neck of the woods.
A friend of mine is really active with a meditation organization in New York City called Shambhala ... and the number of people she's met (and dated) through her involvement with them is staggering. (I guess they're all really eager to talk and hang out after sitting around with folding legs in silence for so many hours!)
GET INVOLVED WITH LOCAL POLITICS
Call your favorite local politician--your town mayor, your governor, even the person who represents your district on Capitol Hill--and ask about ways you can help out. Or run for local office yourself!
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: It's a great way to get to know peeps in your community--and to make the world a better place. Call a nearby museum, hospital, church or community center to ask for suggestions if you're not sure which groups could use some help.