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How to meet someone new today in Halifax 

You're single and it's summer. People are out, milling about. How do you meet them? Here's a primer for a successful dating season.

I'm single and bored, but too proud to admit bored means "lonely." Maybe you're of the same ilk. I did some research and it turns out we're not alone. The Coast Love & Sex survey found that the majority of pollers are single, too, and they're "bored with it." I also did some research on the amount of time I spend on my own futon watching Gossip Girl re-runs and the verdict is in---it wouldn't hurt any of us to try and meet someone new.

There are lots of ways to stay single: the aforementioned futon method; avoiding situations that are potentially awkward; not knowing what shoes to wear with that top. And even though meeting new people will always be terrifying it can also be thrilling and it's the absolute best way to get out of a mega video addiction---I mean, a rut.

Being open to meeting someone is a great way to open up multitudes of other exciting things in your life. Morning, noon and night, a sweaty, circadian rhythm of good-looking people waft through this city. They're waiting for you to say hello. Don't believe me? Give it one day.

Morning
On sunny mornings, the kind of single people you want to meet are out doing things. Right now, it's Sunday morning and you're going to the Forum Flea Market (2901 Windsor Street, 463-1406). The market costs $1, it's open from 9am to 2pm and is swarming with, well, everything. A perfect opportunity for you to break the ice by making a jest about baseball (cards), the size of their pocket (watches) or the age-old "Is that a banana-coloured lampshade in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Another approach is buying more caramel fudge than you can possibly eat, and offering to share it with someone. Fudge is irresistible unless you are a vegan---in which case the Farmers' Market offers a lovely dairy-free alternative. The Farmers' Market runs Saturdays from 7am to 1pm (1496 Lower Water Street, 492-4043). The charm of treat-sharing is a great option at the Farmer's Market where hungry shoppers are wont to taste every sweet they can get their hands on. A person with some fudge can be a hot commodity in this environment.

If you have a dog, you can take your fudge and your puppy to the Halifax Common, Fort Needham or Point Pleasant Park. Puppies are proven ice-breakers and the fudge will give you a nice follow up to keep the interaction going beyond the initial "Ohhh, what's the little guy's name?" Even sans fudge and pooch Point Pleasant is magical because everyone you pass will say hello.

You may find yourself without a dog or fudge to lure in someone, in which case you can attempt to intercept a person by being the proactive one and ask about them about their dog, their fists full of fudge, their shoes, or whatever. Snagging a new friend or a date is like reading a book. If the author is pulling a James Frey and feeding a platter of bullshit, the reader will know. Don't tell someone your dog is a descendent of the Egyptian empire, because that's weird and you're lying. The key is to show genuine interest. Be honest and offer a compliment or question.

This theory can also be applied to your public transit commute (halifax.ca/metrotransit). Especially if the same cute guy is on your ferry every single morning and you're getting sick of all the music on your iPod. Take out your headphones and sit beside him. "Come here often?" maybe won't work, but you can safely deduce the dude has a destination. Ask him about it. If you talk for the whole ferry ride, ask him to lunch sometime. Or string it out and ask after a week of commute chatting. The same can be done to the regulars you scope with their morning latte and croissant at Steve-O-Reno's (1536 Brunswick Street, 429-3034), Two If By Sea (66 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth, 469-0721), Just Us (1678 Barrington Street, 422-5651), Uncommon Grounds (1030 South Park Street, 431-3101) or Ireland 32 (6220 Quinpool Road, 444-7555).

Afternoon/Evening
A hot summer afternoon is ripe with possibility. My personal experience shows that people are more approachable when the sun is still out and nowhere are people more comfortable than sipping a mojito on a patio. Alteregos Cafe (2193 Gottingen Street, 431-3170) and Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street, 423-8667) are just two examples but patios literally burst up from the pavement all across Halifax this time of year.

Unfortunately Mother Nature doesn't always co-operate with your outdoor flirting plans. In this case you have other options and nothing is better than a film on a rainy day. Video Difference (6086 Quinpool Road, 425-3029) usually has a couple of single people hovering around indecisively, waiting for direction. Books are more your thing? Try Outside the Lines (6297 Quinpool Road, 422-3544) or Bookmark (5682 Spring Garden Road, 423-0419). Strike up a conversation about contemporary fiction with the clerk at the library (halifaxpubliclibraries.ca), or the girl staring curiously at some graphic novels at Strange Adventures (5262 Sackville Street, 425-2140).

Imagine for a moment it is true that it's not who we are, but what we like that connects us. Bike shops, hair salons, grocery aisles, beer coolers, stationery stores, softball games, barbecues---all offer opportunities to find like-minded people. But if you're really feeling nervous, try the cure-all for ice breaking. "You're making that ____ [bike, coffee, velour suit] look good." Sure it's silly, but it's forward and can be applied to anything. Confidence is a loaded gun when it comes to sniping that new friend/soulmate.

Nighttime
Alcohol is an inhibitory drug. Side effects include myopia and dancing all night long. It decreases the functions of our long-term planning abilities, so that thing right now that seems really great? You won't really think about what it will mean later. Anyone you want to talk to will not only look more attractive, but will seem more approachable when you have a drink or two in you. There's just no denying that. Despite the shark-like nature of nightclubs, most people still want to be charmed or courted. It's another well-hidden fact. I am simply not afraid to admit it because I have had exactly four gin-and-tonics. Just kidding. I've had five.

Halifax's nightlife is a sexy veil to throw over any doubts you have about talking to someone you've never met before. The best thing to do before jumping in there is to assess the situation. Are they flirting with someone else? Red light. Are they gabbing with their friend and only trying to make it look like they're flirting so that you will think they are fun but they actually want you, hell, anyone, to come over? Green light. Eye contact is a good indicator. Someone whose eyes constantly glance around the room are looking for someone more interesting. Tribeca (1588 Granville Street, 492-4036) on weekends or Charlie's (5580 Cunard Street, 429-1401) on a Tuesday are good places to test this theory out. Just keep it simple. "How are you?" "How's your night going?" "I noticed ____ about you." "I think you look familiar." Whatever, just go for it.

Feeling particularly brave---not to mention quick-witted? Trivia is every Wednesday night at Rogue's Roost (5435 Spring Garden Road, 492-2337) from 10pm to midnight, and gives you a unique opportunity to meet lots of people. Keep in mind that most teams show up early or it's hard to get a seat. To land a team you need to infiltrate that crowd like a Trojan horse of knowledge. The thing about trivia is that each team is only playing for beer and bragging rights. If you show with a pitcher of beer, ask to join their forces, and even drop the hint that you've got an encyclopaedic memory or an iPhone, and you just might be the new team rookie.

The pitcher of beer infiltration may be applied to other establishments in the city. Gus' Pub (2605 Agricola Street, 423-7786) has a Motown night called It Felt Like a Kiss one Tuesday a month, and you might meet your soulmate while dancing to The Supremes. Look for nights at the Khyber (1588 Barrington Street, 422-9668) when Ladies Beverage Room or Stewart Innes are DJ-ing. Big shows at The Paragon Theatre(2037 Gottingen Street) always seem to have people you've never seen piling out of the woodwork, and that place is big and dark enough that you could get married twice and still make out in the bathroom.

Someone told me once that you can find something intriguing in absolutely everyone. Let's say someone is a stamp collector---what, you think that's boring? Then don't ask them to name every stamp ever. Let's try "what is it about collecting that you love." Unique passions are interesting in every form, and ultimately, Halifax is full of stamp collectors waiting to meet you.

All you have to do is get off the futon and go tell them "you're making that stamp collection look good."

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