Cuffing season: Dates for the taken and solo trips for the forever alone

Media Credit: Jordyn Glantz | Hatchet Photographer

Splurge on comfort food in the form of gourmet pizza from All-Purpose at 1250 Ninth St. NW for a solo date this winter.

As we watch the leaves drop this month, something else drops for students – their interest in random hookups and flings from warmer months.

The term “cuffing season” has been used to describe the phenomenon that begins at the end of autumn, when colder weather incentivizes finding “the one” to stay inside with through the cold months, instead of venturing out to find a new one night stand every weekend.

Whether you’re trying to make your fling last through cuffing season or want to take yourself on some solo dates and avoid the relationship department altogether, here are the best date ideas to get you through the next few months:

Dates for the cuffed:

Spice it up on a chocolate-covered date
Nothing is more romantic than chocolate, and no other restaurant in D.C. has the sweet brown confection coursing through its menu like Co Co. Sala, located at 929 F St. NW. Be prepared to splurge on decadent desserts and chocolate infused cocktails at this Penn Quarter establishment. For those who’d rather skip the sit-down dinner, Co Co. Sala also owns a chocolate boutique across the street, where you can buy artisanal candy bars and chocolate-dipped bacon treats then go on a stroll around neighboring City Center. This is the perfect date for anyone who appreciates decadence and doesn’t mind shelling out cash on $15 desserts and $13 cocktails. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac, so a dash of cacao might just spice up your fling.

Cozy up at a holiday locale
If your relationship can survive Thanksgiving Break, take your date to the Smithsonian National Zoo’s annual ZooLights holiday display beginning Nov. 24. The zoo, located at 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, is decked out completely in multicolor lights and light constructions in the shape of your favorite animals every night from 5 to 9 p.m. You can check out the lights throughout the zoo but if the date goes south, at least you’ll have the Instagram from your shot of lit-up elephants as a memory. This is an ideal first date for a cash-strapped college student, as it’s free to attend, and its location means that a date going well can transition into dinner at one of the many spots around the Woodley Park Metro.

Jack Borowiak | Staff Photographer

For a drinks date with added entertainment, watch local jazz musicians jam out at Columbia Station, a popular Adams Morgan watering hole, located at 2325 18th St. NW.

Live jazz date at Columbia Station
For a drinks date with added entertainment, watch local jazz musicians jam out at Columbia Station, a popular Adams Morgan watering hole. The unpretentious, intimate vibe at 2325 18th St. NW and diverse crowd will bring you and your date out of the Foggy Bottom bubble, making you appear thoughtful and mature — even if you’ve never voluntarily listened to the genre. Order from a list of no-fuss entrees and get smashed on inexpensive cocktails named after jazz legends. This date is most effectively staged with a person who is creative and unconventional, so keep the references to La La Land to yourself and let the music linger over you both.

Outings for the forever alone:

Judgement-free food fest at All-Purpose Pizzeria
One thing you don’t worry about when dining alone is someone commenting on how much you’ve eaten. So splurge on comfort food in the form of gourmet pizza from All-Purpose Pizzeria at 1250 Ninth St. NW. You can’t buy by-the-slice here, so forget the laws of mozzarella’s effect on your waistline and indulge on a full oversized personal pie for yourself for about $18. At this pizzeria you can catch up on class readings at a table or make friends with strangers at the bar. As a long time loner-eater myself, the prosciutto-topped slice tasted even better with a side of silence. Fill up on a whole pie by yourself without judgement or save some slices for the inevitable Gilmore Girls marathon that will ensue when you return home.

Analyze art on your own time
Find yourself within the splattered paint as you brood in the rooms of Rothko and Pollock, relaxing in solitude. At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, located at 150 Fourth St. NW, the modern artists exhibited knew about capturing isolation on a canvas. Going to the museum with others means you may not be allowed to linger on art pieces that speak directly to your emotions, so take a solo date and wander endlessly.

Liquid courage the classy way
One of the best ways to counter loneliness is to drink among strangers. Attend a local beer and wine tasting at a classier establishment around town instead of your usual night playing fraternity boy roulette in a dingy basement. Make a power move and attend a tasting alone because it will force you out of clinging to an old friend as an anchor of interaction. After a few beers at a local brewery like D.C. Brau or a half bottle at ENO Wine Bar, a little liquid courage might coax you out of any shyness and maybe you’ll get a phone number or two. Take that, Tinder.

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