You’ve hopped from cool bar to nightclub to party to speed-dating event and back to cool bar again, and you still haven’t met the man or woman of your dreams. That’s probably because they’re busy queuing in the supermarket or waiting for the bus.
Most people, including most single, attractive, eligible people, do not spend their lives hanging out in pulling hotspots. They’re too busy doing normal day-to-day stuff.
Here are our top 10 everyday places to meet members of the opposite sex.
1. The train station ticket queue
Stop wasting your money on cocktails in singles bars, and start queuing for a season ticket. Every day, if necessary.
The 8am train ticket queue is stuffed with eligible people – that is, people who have jobs and a reason to get up in the morning. It’s also very easy to get chatting to strangers here. They’re a captive audience, and you’re united against common enemies: the trauma of getting to work, the ridiculous price of train tickets, and the bloke in front who’s taking 10 minutes to find the right change.
Chat-up line: Just smile, sigh and unleash your dry wit as you mutter: “D’you come here often?” Pause. “Rubbish, isn’t it?”
2. The coffee stand
Caffeine boosts mood as well as energy, so take advantage of your fellow addicts’ coffee high. You won’t have trouble finding a coffee-happy face with whom to compare latte orders and chat over the sugar-and-sprinkles section.
Chat-up line: If you fancy a fellow customer, eavesdrop on their order, then order the same thing. Voila, you’re coffee soulmates.
3. The park
Dogs are nature’s great match-makers. Pooch-walkers are like a secret swingers’ cult, exchanging smiles and flirtatious glances as they give Spot his daily romp through the dewy grass. Just ask Davina McCall, who pulled her husband by accidentally-on-purpose coordinating her dog-walk with his.
Chat-up line: “I think your dog fancies my dog.”
4. The cat rescue centre
Cats, like dogs, are excellent pulling accessories. According to research for Cats Protection Week, women think that cat-loving men are twice as nice (translation: twice as shaggable). So get down to the rescue shelter, several times a week if you can, and mingle with your fellow moggy-lovers.
Chat-up line: No words necessary when there’s a strokable cat to hand. The vintage Bond villain Blofeld knew that stroking a cat whilst silently staring into someone’s eyes makes them putty in your hands.
5. The clothes shop
Hit the shops at lunchtime for some cheeky eye-contact over the clothes rails. Shoppers tend to be wrapped up in their own business, but you can take advantage of the fact that they’re sensitive to compliments.
Chat-up line: Choose your words carefully. “Hey, I like that” to someone trying on a jacket on the shop floor is good; “Can you point me to the knickers?” is not.
6. The DIY shop
Couples often shop for home-improvement stuff together, so there’s a good chance that your average solo DIY shopper is single. Men can find self-reliant single women who won’t wimp out of changing a fuse, while women can find men who know how to handle a rotary hammer drill.
Chat-up line: Much easier for women – simply say that the DIY manual specifies a certain drill bit, and you wanted some advice from someone who looks like he knows what he’s doing. Men must not use this strategy under any circumstances. Just look her in the eye and smile. Worth a thousand wisecracks.
7. The airport carousel
Airport cafes are stuffed with lost souls waiting for a connecting flight. They’re trapped and bored for hours, so make their day with some flirtatious travel-chat. Just remember to swap numbers before take-off.
Chat-up line: “Do you know where I can get a decent coffee round here?”
8. The 24-hour supermarket
If you’re both shopping for semi-skimmed at 3am, you already know that your sleeping patterns are compatible. It must be fate.
Chat-up line: Head for the wine aisle, and find a good-looking stranger who’s got singleton food in their basket (frozen ready meals, tinned beans etc). Ask them which wine they’d recommend for a 4am nightcap.
9. The bus queue
No bus in sight, but there is an attractive member of the opposite sex. Excellent news. If you’ve seen the same attractive stranger here a few times, try to coordinate your bus-waiting times with theirs. Make the odd bit of eye contact until you’re bus-queue buddies.
Chat-up line: If you’ve never seen the person before, try the “do you know if this bus goes to…” approach. If you’re both regular morning-queuers, say something like: “I wish they had a coffee stand here. Or they should serve it on the bus.”
10. The smoking huddle
That sheltered bit outside the pub is the grown-up equivalent of the bike sheds. Here’s where all the cool kids come to answer the call of nicotine and chat each other up. On the downside, it’ll kill you.
Chat-up line: “Got a light?”
Five chat-up tips
1. The best chat-ups are not chat-up lines as such, they’re “approach scenarios”. Find a reason to talk to this gorgeous stranger.
2. Questions work best, because they invite a response. Your work isn’t done when they respond – you need to show genuine interest.
3. Read their body language. If they’re giving you “get away from me” signals, obey them.
4. Don’t outstay your welcome. If they’re not interested, give up. If they are interested, leave them wanting more.
5. If you get a mobile phone number, text them a quick “hello” the next day instead of phoning. It’s far less nerve-wracking for you both.