There are a great many places you can fall in love in this world.
You can heat things up with the cute accountant at work, and have a water cooler romance over post-it notes and sneaky encrypted emails. You can exchange anecdotes with your flat mate’s colleague at a housewarming mixer, before exchanging numbers (and sweet kisses) at the end of the night. You can even share a giggle as you reach out for the same book — Erich Segal’s Love Story — as the bearded heartthrob at the bookstore (who ultimately buys it for you for your first anniversary). Your daily commute. The farmer’s market. Your sister’s reunion.
The list of places to find the next big love of your life is endless.
But then again, so is the list of places where you shouldn’t be looking. Want to know which ones to skip? Here a few spots you should definitely avoid:
1. The gym
I’ll tell you a small secret. The gym is indeed a great place to cruise, especially when it’s pumped up with machine after machine of glistening muscle (we’ll all pretend we don’t see the cellulite fat) — so don’t get me wrong when I say that it can be difficult to not let your mind stray, considering there’s very little to look at apart from the all the biceps, arms, pecs, or worse, men wearing really tight cycling shorts.
But that’s where your proverbial ‘man of steel’ dreams end.
It’s difficult to look for love at the gym, when more than three quarters of your potential mates are busy looking at their abdominal muscles. Sure, you might find a helpful hottie who gives you tips on everything from the best way to eat raw eggs to effectively holding a plank for longer than 40 seconds, but there’s a catch (that has nothing to do with the one in your lower back.) Yes, he’s just offered to split his protein shake with you post your workout — but he’d rather be splitting your legs in the showers instead. Let’s get it straight. Mr Right is probably not sweating it out by the sauna, because the only way you can spot your next big love at the gym is by spotting his reps in the free weights section — and you’d probably do it wrong.
It’s better that you leave your working out for the bedroom.
2. Your gourmet supermarket
You are stocking up on your supply of chicken breasts (free range) for the week when you make eye contact with a tank top-wearing muscled hottie by the cheese section. He’s picking up feta and Gruyere, while you are busy thinking of picking him up.
You dart past the counter selling organic olive oil, rush through stacks of multigrain pasta, and scuttle over to the refrigerated area to help yourself to some cheese (and a view of his well-defined buttocks). A quick peek into his shopping basket (a trolley would suggest he stays with more people — parents, a wife, or worse, a tanned boyfriend who teaches French and holidays in Rio) reveals the following items:
- Organic quail eggs (ooh, a hipster)
- Kale and spinach (he’s getting his fibre)
- Almond milk (a vegan?)
- A six pack of Gatorade (we’ve got ourselves a runner!)
- Anti-fungal cream
Eww. You’ll pass. You slide away from the cheese section, far away from your five-minute fling, and his (possibly) soiled jockstrap. The fact that you can’t really fall in love with someone over his shopping list aside, what else does that teach you?
That it’s probably not a good idea to follow someone down the aisles of your neighborhood supermarket — because that’s not how most ‘How-We-Met’ stories begin (restraining orders, yes). Now how about you go get those avocados that you actually came here for?
PS: the contents of someone’s shopping basket are no measure of the contents of their bedside drawer — your peppermint tea-loving crush just might be a BDSM-loving dark soul back home.
But then again, so could you.
3. The park
The park is a treasure chest of things to do and places to see, some of which include:
- Going for your morning jog, which is just a brisk walk because you can’t manage to wake yourself up so early in the morning.
- Enjoying yoga because it’s a great photo op.
- Complaining about how the world has too many children.
- Sneaking up on couples hidden behind bulbous trunks (and under shaded groves) so that you can report them.
Sadly, falling in love is not one of them.
Because do you really have time to smile at the handsome man running next to you, as a gaggle of snot-faced cyclists swerve past? Can you really lock eyes over brats locked in a fistfight? Is it easy to exchange hearts over an intense game of hide and seek?
Plus if he’s not here with his wife, children and a golden retriever who poops along the sidewalk — every single man who comes to the park has the potential to be on the Neighbourhood Sex Offender’s list, especially if he’s here all by himself.
And if that still doesn’t get to you, maybe the signboards will. Stuck between the ‘Don’t walk on the grass’, ‘Don’t pluck the flowers’, ‘No loitering’, ‘No soliciting’, ‘No littering’ and ‘Playground equipment is for children only’ — you really don’t get the time to be out on the prowl. Can one really find love with so many rules?
Not really. Now go smell the flowers.