A to Z Guide to Dating
Pick up a few tips and techniques with this comprehensive guide.
A to Z Guide To Dating
By David Nayor
Illustrations by Jaime Zollars
Dating in the suburbs is a little like looking for water in a desert: You know it’s out there, but you’re going to have to be a little creative and search extra hard to find it. It’s interesting to ponder what options exist for singles who choose to abandon the comparatively dating-friendly confines of Gotham for the land of Volvo station wagons, PTA meetings and Little League baseball games. Although it’s possible (check out “Z”), in all likelihood you’re not going to meet Mr. (or Ms.) Wonderful while sorting through cantaloupes at your neighborhood Super Stop & Shop. Still, with a modicum of ingenuity, a lot of patience and a little luck, you just might make a love connection.
A Little Sexual Healing
Even all-stars hit a slump every now and then, so don’t fret if you find yourself coming up a little short at the plate. Instead, consider contacting a sex therapist. While the cast members of Sex and the City may have discussed the most intimate and tawdry details of masturbation and oral sex with ease, most of us will stumble and stammer across such intimate details. A certified sex therapist can help you address problems that are too embarrassing to discuss with friends and family. The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and the American Psychological Association offer a list of certified sex therapists.
The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT)
American Psychological Association
(800) 374-2721; www.apa.org
Judith Adler, LCSW
38 Lake Avenue, Greenwich, CT
Elisabeth Tamlyn Harris, LCSW
29 Mitchell Place, Port Chester, NY
Susan Mahler, CSW
47 Echo Lane, Larchmont, NY
Gabrielle Stutman, PhD
547 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley, NY
Spring is in the air—and romance can be, too, at one of the county’s 14 public and private gardens, which are open for viewing. Both Kykuit and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts offer guided tours that include in-depth discussions about the native flora.
You might also want to sow the seeds of romance at one of the Philharmonia Virtuosi concerts, held at Ladson Park and Arboretum in Somers, and the annual opening day of Wildflower Island at the Teatown Reservation in Ossining.
Free copies of Gardens: The Westchester Way can be obtained from the Westchester County Office of Tourism, 222 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 100, White Plains. You can also call (800) 833-9282 or (914) 995-8500, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a complete listing of gardens and garden clubs in Westchester, contact Barbara Schaefer, District IX director of the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State.
E-mail: email@example.com. District IX maintains an office at Ladson Park & Arboretum (Rt. 35, Katonah, NY)
Cutting the Rug
Taking dance lessons for the first time is like learning to type. You have to accept being really slow, and you have to be willing to make a lot of mistakes while the person next to you plows ahead with speed, grace and ease. However, once you get the hang of it, there are few things as satisfying as learning to trip the light fantastic. You may not turn into Fred or Ginger, but hopefully, after a few lessons, you won’t resemble Punch and Judy either.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio
100 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY
2616 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY
Many styles, including Salsa, Latin and Ballroom
Fred Astaire Dance Studios
25 West Hartsdale Avenue
451 East Boston Post Road
172 Harris Road, Mt. Kisco, NY
15 North Broadway, Tarrytown, NY
Offers classes in many styles including Rhumba, Swing, Tango, Salsa, Cha Cha, Foxtrot and Waltz.
175 Tompkins Avenue, Pleasantville, NY
Offering classes in all American, Ballroom and Latin dances including Swing, Salsa, Rumba, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Disco, Line Dancing, Flamenco and Merengue.
Down by the Sea
(or the Riverside)
We Westchesterites are truly blessed to be surrounded by not one but two magnificent bodies of water: the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River. Whether you choose Route 9 or the Boston Post Road, you (and your date) can while away countless hours visiting the many landmarks, shops, restaurants, and other sundry attractions that dot the county’s two shorelines. Now you’ll discover what being bicoastal is all about.
For starters, you may want to visit the Half Moon Bay Marina (Croton-on-Hudson, NY; 914-271-5400). Adjacent to Croton Point Park, Half Moon Bay offers many amenities, including a picnic area and grills, high-speed Internet access and cable TV, tiled showers and restrooms, and facilities for both seasonal and transient boating enthusiasts. Shopping and restaurants are within walking distance of the marina.
Also, look into George Island Park Launch Ramp (Montrose, NY; 914-739-0789), which offers seasonal passes for Westchester residents, and, on the right coast, check out Wright Island Marina, Inc. (290 Drake Avenue, New Rochelle, NY; 914-235-8013). Another great attraction, Larchmont Manor Beach (Helana Avenue, Larchmont, NY; 914-834-9832), features a 13-acre park with many walking trails (steer clear of the residents-only beach).
Founded in 1998 by relationship guru Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eharmony uses precise matching technology to help would-be Anthonys and Cleopatras meet up. Considered by many Internet love hounds to be the best online method for finding a soul mate, eharmony saves you the hassle of searching endlessly through member profiles by contacting you only when it finds a compatible match. The site offers a free seven-day trial. If you decide to stay past a week, you can choose a variety of membership alternatives. Eharmony also offers a free personality profile.
Other popular online dating sites
(for Ivy Leaguers and top college alumni)
(for Ivy Leaguers and other top
(for Ivies and well-educated sorts)
If you can’t stand to be apart from Rover or Tabby, then you just might want to find a companion who will love your best friend as much as you do. Dog and cat people—who usually don’t mix so well—might want to avoid hooking up; however, if you’re set on meeting someone who shares your love of critters, you might want to check out these online sites. Do it fur love!
Good Sex Can
Keep You Young
Yes, it’s true—at least according to Michael F. Roizen, MD. In his best-selling book, Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be?, the good doc makes the case for the antiaging effects of sex, maintaining that men who have sex at least twice a week can take 1.6 years off their “real age” (i.e. biological, not chronological age). Dr. Roizen is not the only one to make this claim. David Weeks, MD, neurophysicist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, says that long-term studies have shown that sex in a committed relationship can help a person look four to 10 years younger. Dr. Weeks attributed this improvement in appearance to reduction in stress, better sleep and greater contentment.
You can learn more about Dr. Roizen or purchase Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be? at www.realage.com.
Does the thought of you (and your date) riding bareback (and bare) across a windswept beach inspire you to romance? Unfortunately, the Rye city fathers probably won’t let you ride your trusty steed across their pristine sands. Fortunately, there are many places in Westchester to fulfill your (and your date’s) equine fantasies. Lessons, memberships and beginners’ packages are available at a number of county facilities.
Scarsdale Riding Academy
291 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale, NY
River Ridge Equestrian Center
960-A California Road, Eastchester, NY
Sleepy Hollow Riding Academy
Route 9 Briarcliff Manor, NY
777 Albany Post Road, Scarborough
Fox Hill Farms
204 Old Sleepy Hollow Road, Pleasantville
Inexpensive Dating Ideas
Let’s face it—excess ain’t what it used to be. In the age of downsizing, expensive dinners—particularly for first timers—are now more the exception than the rule. Luckily, Westchester is full of opportunities for the impecunious romantic who wants to make a great impression without blowing the rent money.
Check out some of the county’s historic landmarks, including Estherwood Mansion and Kykuit. Home to four generations of Rockefellers, Kykuit offers breathtaking views of the Hudson and occupies a landscape replete with fountains terraces, and gardens. Built as a private residence in 1894-’95, Estherwood, now owned by the Masters School, has some of the county’s finest architecture.
200 Lake Road, Pocantico Hills, NY
49 Clinton Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, NY
(914) 693-3322; www.estherwood.com
Also Worth a Peek
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside
West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown, NY
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
Route 22, Box 832, Katonah, NY
(914) 232-8085; www.johnjayhomestead.com
Jacob Burns Film Center
Why not show your date that you know more than a few tag lines from the latest dopey slasher flick? The Jacob Burns Film Center (364 Manville Road, Pleasantville, NY; 914-747-555; www.burnsfilmcenter.org) offers a great selection of quality films. Come to think of it, a movie may be the perfect first date. It’s dark, you’re close, you’ve got popcorn, and you don’t have to make three hours of uncomfortable conversation.
Katonah Museum of Art
With eight to 10 new exhibitions a year, a multi-media learning center and a beautiful sculpture garden, art lovers from all over should flock to the Katonah Museum of Art (Route 22 at Jay Street, Katonah, NY; 914-232-9555, www.katonahmuseum.org). Founded in 1954 as the Katonah Gallery, this 10,000-square-foot building offers two galleries, unlimited tours and art and film classes, as well as lectures, concerts and performances. The outdoor
garden is available for weddings
First, the good news: Some rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. have been declining for nearly a decade. Now, the bad news: Gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise in several major cities, including Atlanta, Detroit, Newark, Washington D.C. and Chicago. These increases may be due to more aggressive screening for the diseases and better tests to detect them. Gonorrhea and syphilis, two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, are highly treatable if caught early. However, if left unattended they can cause a host of problems, including infertility, blindness and many maladies associated with the heart and brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gonorrheal infection also increases the risk of contracting HIV by two to five times. For more information on STDs, visit:
New Rochelle District Office
420 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY
Westchester County Department of Health
(914) 813-5000; www.westchestergov/health
White Plains District Office
85 Court Street, 1st Floor, White Plains, NY
Yonkers District Office
20 South Broadway, 2nd and 4th Floors
Mind Your Manners
Who doesn’t want to make a great impression on a first date? For starters, try a little chivalry. Here are some painless ways to ensure a second date.
Open the door. Fellas—please don’t walk through the door before your date. And when you hold the door, step to the side and allow your date to walk through.
Help her into and out of her coat. Simply stand behind your date and hold her coat by the shoulders as she takes her arms out or puts them into it. Do not, however, help her button the coat (unless you’ve just proposed).
Pull the seat out for her. This maneuver takes a little bit of practice, but it’s worth it. Just be careful not to get too overzealous and yank the chair from underneath your unsuspecting date.
Pay! Even if she asks you out first, offer to pay. There’s nothing worse than having a woman reach for her purse before you go for your wallet.
Technically, it’s South Norwalk, but I needed an “N.” It’s not Westchester, but charming little Norwalk’s completely revitalized downtown boasts some of the area’s hippest bars and clubs this side of the Big Apple. With clubs like Ego, Amberjacks, Liquid and the Loft, SoNo—as it’s popularly known—has become the “it” stop for twenty- and thirtysomething singles looking for love.
Some to consider:
Ego Bar and Lounge
18 South Main Street
The Loft Martini Lounge
97 Washington Street
98 Washington Street
112 Washington Street
99 Washington Street
Voodoo Martini Lounge
11 Washington Street
Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar
63 North Main Street
Old Time Religion