Valentine’s Day may well be a black-hearted marketing scam.
But for the single gent, it tends to provoke some self-reflection.
We like to think of time between relationships as a laboratory for self-improvement — a time to make ourselves smarter, kinder, wiser and ultimately, more dateable men.
Ergo, we tapped five SF tastemakers for some tips aimed at making you a more covetable bachelor.
And for those among you who are already coupled, remember: when relationships stop moving forward, they die. And when the people in them stop giving a shit, they … make for bad partners.
Our mini-guide to reinvention, below.
On Talking to Women at Bars...
You know the scenario: you, a bar, a pretty girl. How to make the next move? Seems easy, but it’s not. Here with some guidelines: Michael Waxman, founder and CEO of Grouper, the app that aims to help you meet more people, with the aid (and company) of your friends.
1: Say “Hi.”
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I think swiping apps have made many guys even more shy. Don't be. In fact, since so much of your competition is heads-down on their phones, you can stand out by having the stones to make a move in real life. Also, don't overthink it. Literally, just say ‘Hi.’ Breaking the ice is easier than people think.”
2: Ask questions.
“Everyone likes to talk about themselves. But fight your own urge to do the same, and let her talk. Be curious. Listen to her response. Just doing this gives you a leg up on the vast majority of the guys they talk to.”
3: Involve her friends.
“Being too single-minded can come off as creepy to her, and annoying to her friends, as you steal her away from them to make your move. Instead, involve her friends in the conversation. Be fun. Plus, when she's deciding whether or not to follow-up, it can't hurt to have already made a good impression with her trusted advisors.”
4: Exchange numbers.
“If you really want to see someone again, then go in for the full contact info exchange: 1) ask her for her digits, then 2) use them to send her your number, which also confirms that it's her actual number. Obviously, if she flat-out refuses or gives you phony info, it sucks, but it's better to know right away than later. And I think you'd be surprised how few girls say ‘No.’ And how few guys even ask.”
On What to Wear...
The problem with first dates is that they sometimes catch you unprepared. Have these staples in your wardrobe and you’ll be good to go, says Arthur Louie, owner of forward-minded menswear shop The Archive.
- A simple, classic leather jacket is masculine and shows confidence.
- A casual, soft-collared shirt. A little bit of color is nice — no ugly plaids.
- Clean jeans. A slim fit is key: no fading, rips or excessive details.
- Casual leather shoes in current, round-toed shapes.
On Your Performance in the Kitchen...
Every man should have one go-to showstopping meal in his back pocket. This one — guaranteed to be as easy to prepare as it is impressive to a date — comes courtesy of Nicolas Delaroque of Nico: “It's a little work before the date but nothing at dinner time — just carving and the fun of opening the bread to discover the chicken. The buttery sauce to dip the bread in makes it playful, with no waste!”
Chicken cooked in a bread crust with a vin jaune sauce
It is an overnight process to prep the bread dough, but pretty simple after that. Also very cool once it's done: It's a chicken inside a loaf of bread. It keeps the chicken super moist and tender.
Make bread dough the night before:
500g flour with
0.4g dry yeast
Mix together and leave outside for 12 hours. The following morning, mix the bread starter with:
24g fleur de sel
3g dry yeast
Work the dough and split it in half. Leave in fridge until two hours before dinner.
Stuff one whole chicken with 4 shitake mushrooms, 1/2 an onion, thyme, garlic and salt to taste. Leave it out one hour before cooking it. An hour before dinner, put the bread out in a warmer area of the kitchen to let it proof.
After proofing, put in cocotte (Le Creuset/Dutch oven). Place 1/2 of the bread dough in the bottom, the chicken on top and the other 1/2 of the bread dough on top. Close it and bake it for 40 mins with lid, 10 without, at 450 degrees. Pull out and wait 30 minutes before cracking the top.
Vin jaune sauce:
300ml vin jaune
1/2 lb butter
100ml chicken stock
Fine dice shallots, reduce with wine. When syrupy, add stock reduce little more, whisk in butter. Serve with fresh herbs: chervil, tarragon, cress.
On Books That Will Make You Smarter...
If we used Foursquare, we’d be checking in at Dog Eared Books daily. According to staff members Alvin Orloff and Dan Weiss, these five books demand the attention of the well-rounded man.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“A manifesto for one of the most intimate and universal issues of our time.”
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
“At the intersection between poetry, creative nonfiction and critical theory, this book is required reading for all past current and future lovers and/or human beings.”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
“Novels about the immigrant experience are a staple of American literature, and this latest iteration of the genre is one of the best.”
Stoner by John Williams
“A book about the beauty and sadness of mediocrity. The greatest novel ever written about not ever achieving greatness.”
Just Kids by Patti Smith
“A charming memoir about the pains and perils of devoting one's life to art and similar bohemian pursuits.”
On the Importance of Perspective...
Everyone loses it (or just loses) sometimes. That’s why we asked Alex Van Gils, director of SF “healing” collective Shambhala, for one idea we can all turn to when nothing is going right. You can
“In times of stress, the one sentence I would come back to would be I am basically good. Ultimately, we need to remember this. In our world today, we are constantly being told we need something else to make us ‘good,’ ‘whole’ or ‘worthy,’ like accomplishing something at work, owning some asset or looking a certain way. To counterbalance this, we can remind ourselves that as a human being, we have everything we need — strength, kindness, patience, wisdom — as part of our fundamental nature.”
All images from www.voxsartoria.com