Stephen Clare / The Silhouette

 

Like all good Sex and the Steel City articles, this one starts with a calculus analogy. Imagine graphing a date, with time on the x-axis and quality on the y-axis. The function is a polynomial, with intriguing conversations on the peaks and bad jokes and boring stories on the down slopes. Now look for the inflection points: the changes in slope of the graph, when the date goes from good to bad (or vice versa).

Those moments are quiet ones. The dreaded awkward silences, the bane of every hopeful suitor’s existence. Many people feel the need to fill every minute of a date with conversation, thinking that even a few seconds of silence betrays their insecurity or plainness.

That’s not true, though. In fact, moments of silence can be the best part of any date. Yes, they can be awkward, but they also represent opportunity. When is there silence? At the end of a conversation, or before an answer to a question, or when both you and your date are taking a moment to think about how things are going. All of these are times when you have an opportunity to change the tone or direction of a date. A chance to bet a little more.

So use them. Don’t just sigh and say “So... what do you have planned for the summer?” That is boring and awkward. That’s why people fear the awkward silence.

Try to deepen the conversation by asking something more meaningful. Once you’ve got the hometowns and summer plans out of the way you can get more intimate in conversation (though of course you have to get comfortable through less personal talk first). Use the silence to make this transition.

The ultimate thing to do in a momentary silence is go DEFCON 1 and lean in for the kiss. It is your best opportunity, and if you keep waiting until the “perfect moment” you will go home disappointed. Now obviously this takes some finesse. Don’t go for it in the awkward beat after your date just finished telling you about how their dog got hit by a car or they didn’t get the job they wanted or something like that. But if an intense conversation just trailed off, and the room is quiet but also there’s this intense buzzing in your ears, and they’re kinda looking at you in that certain way where their head is tilted a bit to the left and their eyebrows are pricked slightly up, and nobody seems to want to talk anymore... well.

And that’s why I like awkward silences: they’re not a dead end, they’re an intersection. So don’t miss your exit. Make sure the slope of that graph keeps climbing.

By: Ana Qarri

 

Are you crushing? Are you broke? Are you having a hard time believing that money can’t buy you love? Lucky for you, we’re here to restore your faith in popular sayings and Beatles song references. Here are five totally acceptable cheap date ideas:

 

Candy Picnic.

Candy picnic? Yes, a candy picnic. Now that you’ve read this phrase three times, and it hopefully sounds normal enough, we can talk. What’s cuter that going up to someone and saying “Hey lovely, would you like to eat your favourite candy with me at some park as we look up at the Hamilton sky, where stars could potentially be spotted?”

The ‘lovely’ is optional.

The wink that follows is not.

 

Urban Exploring.

If you aren’t into watching the stars and reciting poetry on the first date (or ever), walking around the city and finding abandoned sites, old buildings, and hidden spots could be just what you need. You can get to know Hamilton as you get to know your date. If things don’t work out with this one, at least you’ll get a long list of places to choose from for your next date.

 

Art.

Whether or not you’re actually artistically knowledgeable, speak with a fake (or real) British accent and charm your date with your humour and wit. Conversations about art are never boring. Luckily for you, Hamilton delivers with its monthly Art Crawls and McMaster’s own Art Museum. So grab a hand (consensually) and get some (culture).

 

Skating, Biking, etc…

Take your fairly-significant other skating. If they don’t know how to skate, you can hold their hand and teach them. If you both own bikes, get on them and ride away into the sunset, wherever that may be. Probably west.

 

Your bed.

Alright, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but beds can be pretty comfortable; the weather is horrible and you want to stay indoors. So watch a movie, listen to music, bake some cookies, make some tea and talk about your lives - all from the comfort of your very own bedroom.

Making out is totally an option, too.

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