First Date With a Cocktail Lover? These 10 Brooklyn Bars Serve Local Spirits

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Like finding the love of your life, a unique local cocktail can be elusive.

But if you happen to be in Brooklyn, you’re spoiled with choices. We’ve narrowed it down for you, focusing on places that would be great date venues, as well as haunts populated by cool and attractive singles. Below are our favorite distilleries and bars serving New York spirits to Brooklyners.

Grand Army Bar, Downtown Brooklyn

Grand Army Bar is known for its classic East Coast fare and locally sourced cocktails. Here, you’ll find New York-made spirits stirred into delicious concoctions you can’t resist. “The Buckskin Stallion” from Grand Army’s Fall 2018 menu is a solid first-drink option: It combines New York rye, chicory, Campari, and vermouth into a contemporary take on the original Manhattan.

The Shanty, Williamsburg

The Shanty is the New York Distilling Company’s own full-service bar and is as close as you can get to drinking from the source. Call out any cocktail (or neat pour) you want. Favorites include “Dorothy Parker American Gin”, “Mister Katz’s Rock and Rye”, and “Chief Gowanus New Netherland Gin.”

If you’re a craft beer person who feels at home in a tap room, you’ll love The Shanty’s exposed industrial equipment and barrels upcycled as decor.

Glorietta Baldy, Bed-Stuy

Named after a 10,000-foot-high mountain in New Mexico, Glorietta Baldy is a low-key hang that serves local beers and wines as well as excellent seasonal cocktails. The bar’s founders are mountain-biking enthusiasts, and so they named their Bed-Stuy bunker after one of their favorite places to ride.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the winter cocktail menu features a drink called “Acqua in Bocca!” made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and draft local IPA.

Brooklyn bars

The Gatehouses, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Set by the entrance to the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Gatehouses is Kings County Distillery’s tasting room. The Gatehouses specializes in spirit infusions, letting your taste buds feast on flavors like grapefruit jalapeño moonshine, strawberry ginger moonshine, and chocolate whiskey, (which is infused with ground cacao husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate just down the road). In between drinks, order a honey and hazelnut cheese plate to level out the flavors. For a deeper taste of history, indulge in the distillery tour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Van Brunt Stillhouse, Red Hook

Van Brunt Stillhouse is a distillery that sources wheat, rye, and corn from farmers in upstate New York. While specialized in making different kinds of whiskey, they also offer a craft rum aged in charred barrels. Best of all, Van Brunt organizes an $8-old-fashioneds happy hour every Sunday.

Cardiff Giant, Clinton Hill

Named after one of the biggest hoaxes in American history, Cardiff Giant is no joke. In fact, this bar takes local spirits seriously, only selling booze made in New York State. You’ll find an extensive list of spirits from all over the Empire State, including a few favorite companies such as Finger Lakes Distilling, Empire Spirits, Lockhouse, Pine Barrens, and Coppersea.

If the conversation lulls, you can always hit up one of the vintage, themed game machines in this playful bar.

Eugene & Co., Bed-Stuy

Enjoy some of the best spirits in Brooklyn in the inviting atmosphere of the Standard Wormwood Distillery’s Eugene & Co. Here you’ll find a toddy with Standard Wormwood’s rye alongside chamomile, cinnamon, lemon, and Angostura bitters. Not into whiskey? Eugene and Co. has all kinds of spirits as well as hearty meals to kick off (or follow!) a night of sipping bourbon. Favorites include a brown butter sage gnocchi, a meatloaf sandwich, and roasted brussels sprouts with pickled apple cider reduction.

Brooklyn bars

Widow Jane Distillery, Red Hook

Widow Jane prizes itself on making whiskeys that reflect the character of Brooklyn in both taste and variety. The distilling process uses limestone water from the Rosendale mines of upstate New York to cut each barrel. The high-mineral content of this water enhances the flavor of Widow’s whiskeys and comes from the same mine that sourced building materials for the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge.

Stop into the distillery for tours and tasting rooms, though the former might require a reservation if you’d like to attend on a weekend.

The Moonlight Mile, Greenpoint

Greenpoint’s rock ‘n’ roll-themed bar places special emphasis on American whiskey, with more than 200 varieties lining the bar. While you’ll find authentic whiskeys from across the country, The Moonlight Mile has a great selection of New York whiskeys, including Stillhouse, Kings County, and Widow Jane. The bar also displays local art on its walls and features a customer-curated jukebox.

Interboro Spirits and Ales, East Williamsburg

You can feast on fresh, boozy concoctions at Interboro Spirits and Ales. This distillery prides itself on making simple drinks from basic ingredients: barley, water and rye. But don’t mistake simplicity for lack of taste, their flavor-forward spirits have their own special quality, especially when paired with snacks from the taproom.

Interboro’s tasting room also offers its craft beers on tap, so you will find the whiskey-loving patrons sitting alongside IPA- and farmhouse-sippers. With tap takeovers, release parties and heaps of hot food on deck (looking at you, drunken chicken sandwich), Interboro is the best of both worlds.

The best part about all of the places on this list? They’re low-key hangs that offer world-class libations. No black tie, no passwords at the door – just a friendly setting where you can have a conversation and bond over your shared excellent taste in drinks.

Images by: Michael Discenza, Adam Jaime, Shangyou Shi

The League’s Most Eligible Valentines


For Valentine’s Day this year we’re giving you a shortlist of our ‘MOST VALENTINE-WORTHY’ users. We cross-ranked the most popular League Profiles (think 99th Percentile) with the most popular Instagram accounts also in our community (hey, people have followers for a reason), then eliminated the Flakes and voila – here’s your list of eligible Valentine’s to drool over. Let the Instagram stalking begin!

PRO TIPS: Want a shot at a date with one of them? We don’t blame you. Head to the Messages tab in your League app and click on the Instagram Search , type in their @handle, use a League Ticket to Power Move them and we’ll add you as an extra Prospect in their very next League Batch. Given that 99/100 people that see ’em, heart ’em, you’ll need to do a bit more to stand out from the crowd. Use the ‘Send A Note’ feature to send a thoughtful Valentine’s Day Message that their Concierge will send on your behalf, which improves your chances of matching by 3X (depending on how good of a writer you are we suppose). As a surprisingly few users take advantage of the Power Move ‘Pass a Note’ feature, you’ll stand out from the crowd, we promise.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

THE WINNERS (click photo to follow)








Plan a First Date on Valentine’s Day

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Indulge in the mushiest, corniest behavior known to man! A chance like this comes only once a year!

Yes, we’re suggesting a first date for Valentine’s Day. It might seem counterintuitive to celebrate with a stranger, but dating is always a gamble, so why not let it all ride. Not convinced? Hear us out.

Why Valentine’s Day Makes a Great First Date

Go against tradition and defy societal norms. Actually, if you’re considering it, you’re not alone – 53 percent of respondents in an AskMen survey admit that they’d go on a first date on the holiday, writer Candice Jalili says.

And here’s an unanticipated silver lining – it’s also an opportunity to escape the cringe-worthy plans of your single friends. Not so keen on eating mint chocolate chip and hearing people bash their exes? Plan a date, suggests Lily Feinn, writer at Bustle.

Elite Daily writer Jamie Kravitz adds her own twist: “Pick an activity that is so cheesy that you can poke fun at how cliché you’re being. Go to a roller rink and rock the couples’ skate, or dine in the dark à la About Time. If you can’t get to London or Paris, consider DIY-ing a similar setup in your apartment with croissants and Camembert.” Basically, the holiday gives you permission to have fun being facetious together, and even doing a little playful imagining of what life together could look like.

It’s a good plan… acknowledge the pressure that many people feel around the day, and then upend that pressure with humor and creativity.

valentine's day

Or You Could Just Embrace the Day

Tacos and 5Ks aside, the real fun of dating on Valentine’s Day is you get to tackle cultural expectations head-on. What’s more, someone in your city is probably putting on a Valentine’s Day event worth checking out:

  • In Boston, the Cambridge Museum of Science has a drag king show in the planetarium.
  • In Brooklyn, Handmade Events throws a masquerade ball. There’s something about going on a first date with mask and costume that helps build anticipation. Plus, you’ll both be dressed to impress.
  • In San Francisco, an annual Valentine’s Day pillow fight brings more than 1,000 people down to Justin Herman Plaza. The team at Pacific Tradewinds Hostel has more details.
  • In Tulsa, Oklahoma, I AM Yoga + Wellness is organizing a partners yoga event so you and your date can boost endorphins, sparkle with sweat, and perhaps connect on another level.
  • In Denver, Colorado, residents can explore the romantic side of sea creatures by watching Sex and the Sea at the Museum of Nature and Science. This event will feature ocean-themed aperitifs and will follow the stories of whales, groupers, lobsters and other animals making love under the sea.
  • In Atlanta, the Atlanta Balloon Glow in Piedmont Park promises tethered hot-air balloon rides, food trucks, and music. This family-friendly event will likely bring together people of all ages. If you’re brave enough to turn your first date into the second act of a ‘90s rom-com, then consider going for a hot-air balloon ride.

Or You Could Keep the Date Casual

Kravitz’s idea of doing croissants and Camembert might require a little more chemistry than your average first date. If you don’t feel like satirizing the tropes of romantic love, you can approach the day of love from the flip side. Bustle writer Natalia Lusinski describes a Valentine’s Day in which she and her first date went somewhere that wouldn’t be celebrating the holiday at all. This allowed them to simply enjoy each other’s company and not “force love,” as she writes. After all, it’s hard to connect when you both feel pressure to perform.

Unfortunately,  this might rule out many restaurants for the evening. If you still want to dine, consider Esquire writer Sarah Wexler’s advice that you go on a taco tour. “Planning a route so you can try delicious tacos (and accompanying drinks) at different stops along the way is more fun than sitting still,” she writes. “Call it a mini-adventure.”

You could also do something adventurous like go to a rock climbing gym or participate in a 5K. Doing something active will get your minds off the holiday and lets you pretend that February 14 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

valentines day

Take a Chance — You Will Be in Good Company

Many couples have had their first dates on Valentine’s Day.

For example, Cosmopolitan’s writer Samantha Swantek has the story of one woman’s first date with her now-husband. They had been friends. With no ice to break, they were able to keep the date simple: he brought cupcakes to her house, and they ended up talking all night. No pressure, no being surrounded by other couples, and no sparkly heart-themed decor.

Elite Daily’s Willa Bennett has a similar story. Hers didn’t go quite as planned:. “He inched his body closer to mine, eventually grazing his cheek against my collarbone,” Bennett writes. “Moments later, I leaned in to kiss him. He grabbed my hand and then bit my ear, moving his lips back to mine. My heart was racing. But suddenly, he pulled away and started apologizing profusely. Confused, I backed away. He apologized again. I looked up. ‘I’m SO sorry, but I think I’ve bled all over your face,’ he declared as he wiped the blood pulsing out of his left nostril. He had in fact, gotten a nosebleed all over my face.” Amazingly, the two laughed it off,had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day, and have lived happily ever after.

Another reason to take your chances on Valentine’s Day: You never know who you’ll bump into. Just take the case of UMass Amherst students Alex and Daniel Smith. The two met on Valentine’s Day — at the movie theater concession stand while Daniel was on a date with someone else. Daniel had struck up a conversation with one of Alex’s friends, and the group chatted briefly while waiting for snacks. “The next day, I got a text message from my friend saying that that random dude I met had liked me,” Alex writes. “Less than a week later, we went on our first date. Two and a half years later we moved in together, and three and a half years later he proposed.”

The moral of the story… good can come of any experience. We know there’s a certain pleasure to sitting on your couch inhaling conversation hearts until you’re pink in the face. But dating is like most things in life – you have to play in order to win. Valentine’s Day heightens the stakes, so play big – you might come out a winner.

Dating After Divorce: How to Discuss Your Past Marriage in a New Relationship

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Previous marriages are a difficult topic of discussion, especially in new relationships. Although divorce has become as commonplace as 10-year anniversaries, many divorced people still fear they have a mark on them -– that they’ll be judged or rejected if someone finds out about their past.

Learning how to talk about your past openly and honestly is a signal that you’re ready for a new relationship. Plus, it shows your partner that you’re able to learn and grow from the unending challenges of life.

The Challenge of Talking About Marriage and Divorce

On the flip side of divorce, talking about tying the knot can be difficult as well. Confronting a situation where you and your new love have diverging views on marriage can have major consequences for the fate of your relationship. Kayla Knopp, a clinical graduate student at the University of Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies, explains that marriage feels extremely consequential for many people. If one partner wants to get married and the other doesn’t, for example, confronting this fact can greatly complicate things.

While bringing up a history of divorce might feel outright taboo, discussing your past relationships is an important way for you and your partner to bond, says Dr. Paulette Sherman, a psychologist and the author of “Dating From The Inside Out.” “That is one way to reveal who you are and what you want without putting pressure on them to make any immediate decision about you,” Dr. Sherman says. “Oftentimes when you bring up your life and relationship vision in general, the other person will reveal theirs too.” She adds that talking about marriage can give you both an idea of whether you’re on the same page.

Someone who hasn’t been married may be afraid to talk about the subject for a different reason. As Peg Streep writes in Psychology Today, “Each of us brings into marriage a boatload of unarticulated thoughts about what it means to be married based on what we’ve seen, heard, experienced, or formulated in contrast to our parents’ example—and those unconscious thoughts influence our behavior and reactions.”

So, someone might feel uneasy about topics like marriage because of experiences with their parents’ divorce, for example. Acknowledging the fact that your partner might also have reservations and fears about discussing marriage, even if they haven’t experienced divorce themselves, can level the playing field in that you both have fears about the topic.

dating after divorce

Embracing Your Relationship Past

Dating after divorce is daunting, and you may feel more guarded and emotional than you were before marriage. However, you might need to jump into the dating game before you think you’re ready. As The Art of Charm’s A.J. Harbinger explains, “…for divorced guys who are looking to get back in the game. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s necessary for you to completely heal and move on.”

In a similar way, talking about your divorce might accelerate the healing process. In order to be whole, you have to embrace all of your failures and challenges as part of who you are, explains Erik Newton, founder of the relationship-media platform Together. The ability to be open about your past shows that you can overcome challenges and learn from them.

Plus, your partner will likely want to know how your past will influence your relationship with them. Being transparent can help your partner know that you have nothing to hide, and show that you’re ready to start anew regardless of your past.

When to Talk About Your Past Marriage

There’s no perfect time to bring up your past marriage because every new relationship moves at a different pace. But if you’re open and ready to start dating again, sooner might be better — even if this means the first date.

“I’d recommend the topic be raised during a first date,” says California State University psychology professor Dr. Kelly Campbell. “People don’t have to force the topic, but whenever prior relationships naturally come up in the conversation, they should mention their divorce.”

If the topic doesn’t come up naturally during the first date, be ready for it to arise at any time. There’s really no need to hide what you’ve been through, so if your partner starts asking questions about it, you should be prepared to talk about it.

Talking about divorce early on is especially important if you have obligations that bind you to your previous spouse, such as child support, divorce fees, or a mortgage. Being upfront about these obligations can prevent your partner from harboring resentment should you get more serious in the future, says Beth Kobliner, a writer and personal finance expert.

Sometimes you might notice that you have an urge to get this topic out in the open as soon as possible. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to check in with your intentions around why. Sometimes people have an agenda to share things for shock value or in an effort to come across as “open.” Or, there could even be a hidden desire to sabotage a potential connection out of fear of getting close to someone.

Whether you want to clear up a misunderstanding or simply gain a better perspective of your partner’s opinion on the issue, it’s important to check in with why you want to talk about divorce before you bring it up.

dating after divorce

How to Talk About Your Marriage History

Taking the right approach to conversations about marriage can make it easier to discuss your past marriages and divorce.

First and foremost, it’s important to approach these topics when you and your partner are both in a relaxed setting. This will help your partner feel like it’s more of an open and natural conversation rather than an interrogation, explains Anita Chilpata, an author and a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Chilpata adds that it’s best to approach this topic slowly, understanding that it may take many conversations to get to the heart of the matter. Be patient, stay open to the other’s questions, and as marriage consultant Sheri Stritof advises, “Maintain eye contact.”

If you’re dating someone who’s also divorced, asking the right questions can help to open a dialogue about what you’re both looking for, wellness and relationships writer Korin Miller says. It’s important that you’re both willing and able to talk openly about your pasts. If people are carrying a great deal of anger toward their exes, for example, this will impact their current feelings toward one another.

Asking your partner if they believe they can spend their life with someone will show you how their past has influenced them, positively or negatively. Be aware that in asking the question, you’ll want to be prepared to answer that same question openly and honestly yourself.

Lastly, while your divorce is an important part of your story, it doesn’t define you, Woman’s Day writer Stacey Freeman shares. It’s just one of many things that have happened to you throughout your life. The right partner for you will want to be with you for who you are, with all of your past experiences having shaped you. Don’t rob them nor yourself of that opportunity.

Images by: Brodie Vissers, Thought Catalog, Brodie Vissers

14 Smart, Funny Dating Podcasts to Inspire Your Love Life

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It’s ironic that dating can be a lonely experience. For anyone who has to balance a demanding career, a busy social life, and any number of other passions, finding someone else on your level can be a thankless solo journey leading you to reenter your relationship with Netflix.

Connecting with the stories of others is a great way to motivate yourself to keep looking, and dating podcasts can provide a wealth of information and inspiration.

With true love stories, real talk about intimacy, or advice from the LGBTQ community, here are 14 dating podcasts that will hopefully keep you from a series of mind-numbing first date conversations and deliver you the One you seek.

Modern Love

The Modern Love podcast, a spinoff of the Modern Love column in The New York Times, is a favorite among the New York elite. Following a unique format, the podcast invites actors, authors, and influencers in the arts to read essays and stories submitted by everyday users.

Dear Sugar

In every episode of Dear Sugar, best-selling author Cheryl Strayed and her co-host, Steve Almond, read and answer letters from people from all walks of life. They’re not afraid to tackle difficult issues, answering questions on loneliness, dating as a single parent, overcoming jealousy and finding your sense of worth.

While Dear Sugar ended in 2018, the advice is timeless and universal. Since there’s no sequential order, you can browse the episodes and find a topic that speaks to you.

Savage Lovecast

If you get easily embarrassed talking about sex and intimacy, Savage Lovecast will desensitize you — and quickly. Answering a handful of calls on each episode, Dan Savage is ready to cover any topic, including many NSFW.

Whether it’s having a sex addiction, reconciling with a partner after cheating or navigating LGBTQ dating, this podcast opens up real conversations and shares endless nuggets of wisdom on love and modern relationships.

This Is Why You’re Single

Ready for a straightforward and hilarious conversation about modern dating? This Is Why You’re Single is hosted by comedy writers Laura Lane and Angela Spera, who began collaborating on sketch comedy after meeting at an improv theater.

The podcast confronts the hard truths about dating in the digital age, using real-world dating stories as launchpads for practical conversations. Laura and Spera’s advice is real, practical and relatable. There’s also an eponymous book that tackles many of the same topics.

woman in headphones listening to dating podcasts


Nancy is one of today’s leading podcasts documenting the modern queer experience. Tackling topics like coming out, sex toys, growing up trans, and finding love by speaking up, Nancy somehow manages to be sad, funny and uplifting – and all at the same time!

We also like Nancy for its no-frills approach to politics and society. The LGBTQ community, with its civil rights constantly under attack, needs more unification and support than ever and Nancy blazes the trail with wit, ferocity, and class.


This podcast is specifically geared toward the young professional dater, for whom dating can get frustrating and lonely. Date/able shows its listeners that there are others facing these same issues.

Better yet, listeners can submit their stories, questions, and experiences (anonymously or publicly) for discussion on the air. If you’re ready for stories that are honest, heartbreaking, and hilarious, don’t miss Date/able.

I Do Podcast

Despite its title, the I Do Podcast covers much more than marriage. In fact, it offers incredible advice that can be applicable to people seeking or entering new relationships too. It helps its listeners tap into their own issues and consider what might be keeping them from healthy, happy relationships.

Past episodes have included how to deal with rejection in romantic relationships, how to identify whether you have narcissistic habits, and how to address honesty and conflict resolution.

Dating While Black

Taking aim at the often uncomfortable discussion of race in the context of dating, Dating While Black offers a realistic look at the challenges faced by many people in their 20s and 30s. Recent episodes of Dating While Black have discussed topics like limiting yourself to a type, how to date effectively and what it means to have (or encounter) emotional baggage. If you need something uplifting and funny to accompany you on your commute, give this podcast a listen.


Speaker, writer, and personal coach Susana Frioni discusses all things driving and halting desire in our daily lives. LOVE SEX DESIRE takes a gentler, more sophisticated approach to topics like intimacy, consent, attraction, and sexual pleasure.

Fironi interviews life coaches, bestselling authors, psychotherapists, and other experts for a well-rounded perspective on dating today. Her ultimate goal is to find out what it really takes to create a thriving partnership — and she invites her listeners along for the journey.

Why Won’t You Date Me?

Hosted by comedian, actress and writer Nicole Byer, Why Won’t You Date Me? offers comedic relief for those feeling lonely. Byer invites her exes and past flings to the show, asking them about why the relationship ended. She also invites on guests to talk about their dating life and, without hesitation, asks them whether or not they’d date her. The result is a fresh and hilarious approach to singledom that will have you laughing till the very end.

couple chatting, representing dating podcasts

Where Should We Begin?

Psychotherapist and bestselling author Esther Perel hosts Where Should We Begin? an intimate podcast on relationships. Perel interviews real couples about their relationship issues, successes, and heartbreaks throughout the years.

By examining the love lives of a varied range of people, this podcast sheds light on issues considered too taboo or impolite to talk about in everyday life.

Making Gay History

Making Gay History sheds light on the most influential gay activists of the current era. Each episode documents the seldom recognized life efforts of courageous and devoted LGBTQ civil rights leaders. While not directly about relationships, this podcast offers endless inspiration.

U Up?

Betches Media presents the U Up? podcast, hosted by Betches founder Jordana Abraham and comedian Jared Freid. This podcast does a great job of investigating male and female perspectives on modern dating. It sheds light on what it means to use today’s dating apps, how hookups make us feel, and why relationships come to an end.

The Heart

Although no longer in production, The Heart podcast has years of episodes on life, love, relationships, and becoming your best self. It is one of the foremost podcasts discussing these topics, and we love.

With its artistic and off-beat approach to love, The Heart’s archives are organized by category and listeners can sort through topics like sexual abuse, breaking up, body positivity, and being queer in a Christian family.

May your listening lead you swiftly to love.

The Science of Attraction: Why We Gravitate Toward People Who Love Cooking

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If your eyes light up when you read that a potential date loves to cook, you’re not alone.

An analysis of over 3.7 million dating profiles performed by Zoosk found that both men and women are more likely to message potential partners if the other person’s profile mentioned food, The Independent’s Rachel Hosie reports. This trend also holds true when people mention a love of cooking in their profiles.  

Food and health appear more than any other interests on dating profiles. A passion for cooking implies a passion for food as well, giving those who list it a two-for-one hobby in terms of attracting the interest of dating prospects.

Why cooking? What is it we love about people who enjoy spending time in the kitchen?

Food and Courtship: A Tale as Old as Time

Why has the dinner date endured as one of the most popular courtship activities? According to Helen E. Fisher’s classic piece in Psychology Today, the reason is innate, not cultural.

“Around the world men have given women presents prior to lovemaking,” Fisher says. “A fish, a piece of meat, sweets and beer are among the delicacies men have invented as offerings.”

Other species do this as well. Many creatures give their partners food as a way of demonstrating their worth as providers.

For humans, sharing food is linked to perceptions of attractiveness and intimacy. In a 2013 study published in the journal Human Nature, TR Alley and colleagues showed videos of couples dining to a group of university students. Afterward, the researchers asked the participants to rate the mutual attraction and intimacy of each couple. The students found couples to be both more attracted and more intimate when they fed one another or shared food with one another.

Sharing food is also tightly linked to our earliest and most deeply ingrained feelings about safety, security and emotional regulation, Myrte E. Hamburg, Catrin Finkenauer and Carlo Schuengel note in a 2014 study. That study linked the act of food offering to emotional regulation.

Put simply, humans are more likely to approve of people who share food. Why? Because sharing and receiving food feels good. And those who say they love to cook are communicating on an emotional level: “I like to care for others”

young couple cooking

Enjoying the Multisensory Experience

Some studies indicate that the foods can change body chemistry in a way that alters one’s attractiveness to potential mates.

For example, a 2016 study by Jitka Fialova, S. Craig Roberts and Jan Havlicek in the journal Appetite found that men who ate garlic regularly had body odor that was rated more attractive and more pleasant by women.

A similar study in “Evolution and Human Behavior,” led by Andrea Zuniga, found that women preferred men’s post-workout body odor when the men ate diets high in fruits and vegetables.

Food may introduce a tactile element to attraction, as well, says Dawn Maslar at MindBodyGreen. For instance, one study found that people meeting a potential first date while holding a cup of hot coffee rated the other person warmer and more generous. While holding an iced coffee, they were more likely to see the other person as more stoic.

Human attraction appears to be based on a wide range of sensory input. Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch all play a role. According to Sara Chodosh at Popular Science, the reason may be that weighing information on multiple sensory channels allows our brains to make more informed decisions about whether someone is a good potential mate.

Love Me, Love My Hobby

As suggested above, hobbies like cooking that indicate a kind or generous nature may make people appear more attractive to others.

A 2014 study published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” found that when a group of participants viewed photos of people with neutral facial expressions, they tended to rate their attractiveness neutrally. When told the people in the photos were known for their kindness or generosity, however, the attractiveness ratings went up.

“We find that ‘what is good is beautiful,’ with personality reflecting desired traits as facial attractiveness,” Yan Zhang and fellow researchers write. “We can thus presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference.”

Once you’ve found The One, sharing healthy hobbies like cooking and exercise can benefit both you and your relationship. A 2015 study by Sarah E. Jackson, Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle found that partners who made health changes together were more likely to stick to their new healthy habits.

middle aged couple cooking

Changing With the Times

Our parents or grandparents might have assumed that men were the ones looking for a partner who could cook. Meanwhile, women were the ones listing “cooking” among their interests in order to attract a male partner. Today, however, this stereotype is wildly out of date. According to chef Todd Mohr, cooking classes for those interested in preparing romantic meals attract students of all genders and orientations.

Researcher Alice Eagly’s social role theory may help explain why we’ve moved beyond the days when cooking was tied to our ideas about gender. Eagly’s theory posits that our assumptions about attractiveness are influenced by our expectations about social roles. In a world where people of all genders and sexual orientations participate in the work and home world, cooking no longer belongs to a particular gender. Instead, it has become associated with traits like enjoying food, giving generously or caring about health.

According to Julia Kitlinski-Hong at Lifehack, people who love cooking are likely to have better emotional control, be more open to new experiences, appreciate subtlety, and enjoy learning new things. These are traits typically desired in potential partners.

The Best of Both Worlds

In a 2005 study in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences,” researchers Todd K. Shackelford, David P. Schmitt and David M. Buss identified four dimensions by which people rate their long-term partners. One of the four, “Dependable/Stable versus Good Looks/Health,” implied that people are willing to accept a less attractive or healthy partner who is highly dependable.

A partner who loves to cook may have better health and also demonstrate dependability through their desire to nurture others. And so it follows that potential partners that enjoy cooking can rate highly in both dimensions!

Images by: langstrup/©, Siarhei Lenets/©, Fabio Formaggio/©

Too Busy to Date? Learn to Make Time for Meaningful Connections

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dating busy

It is easy to feel too busy to date, especially when working long hours, rushing to late dinners with friends, and squeezing in workouts at the gym. Here’s how to revamp your mindset and schedule to bring some romance into your fast-paced existence.

Let go of your picture of what dating looks like

You might need to challenge your current views on how dating should happen. Here are three suggestions:

1. Integrate Dating into Your Social Life

Constantly choosing between dating and seeing your friends? Why not combine the two? Andrea Bain, host of the podcast “Single Girl Problems,” points to a client of hers who found love by going on a group date with her single girlfriends and a group of single guy friends. She adds that this is a practical way to date without having to sacrifice the plans in your busy schedule.

“If I was dating right now and I met someone online, I’d invite them to join me on an outing I already had planned with friends — something short and casual like grabbing a drink after work or inviting them to stop into a birthday party I’m already attending,” Bain says.

Group dates have benefits in addition to saving you time. For one, they’re less awkward and less stressful because you don’t have to spend your entire night with the same person, writer Brittany Smith explains. You also get the opportunity to see how someone interacts in a group environment, which can help you see a side of them that you wouldn’t normally experience in a traditional one-on-one date.

This can also work well if you already have a game night or dinner night planned with friends. Inviting your date along can make the entire experience less stressful, especially if your date decides to bring a friend. Babble’s Krishann Briscoe suggests ideas for group first date nights including skating, miniature golf, wine tasting, a concert, or a cooking class.

2. Connect in Casual Moments

Think outside the box. If you don’t have time for long dinner dates, then small lunches, walks, coffee dates, and shopping might have to do, says Verily co-founder Kara Eschbach.

Double up! Meet someone while getting something done –  it can be a good compromise if it works for both people. When the person you’re dating is also a busy professional, he or she will understand your struggles and might also benefit from this model.

3. When it Comes to what Works, Set Your Own Rules

You might be bombarded with your married friends’ lives on social media. Or you might have friends in relationships who see their partners every night. Remember that everyone is different, and what works for you might not be what’s working for them. Your career may be more of a focus, or some of your friends’ relationships might be stale and the sex may have tapered off. Rather than measure what you have against facebook posts or friends’ experiences, ask yourself what’s most important to you and make a plan to see it through. This might mean a relationship where you only see each other on weekends, or one where you have one overnight date and one lunch per week. If it works for you, then there’s no reason to second-guess it.

Letting go of the need to meet expectations and norms can help you realize that quality is often more important than quantity. As the The Lipstick Project points out, it can free up more room to help you figure out how dating can fit into your life, while communicate those expectations to your dates.

Change Your Schedule — and Your Priorities

Busyness has become a rite of passage among modern professionals. The busier you say you are, the happier and more productive you must be, right? Life coach and writer Amita Patil disagrees. She believes that we need to stop glorifying busyness as a virtue in our culture. This is because many of us are busy doing things that don’t make us happy.

For busy professionals, finding time to date will likely mean giving something up. If you want to create more opportunities to meet someone, you have to prioritize it. Priorities are what guide our everyday actions.

Author Frank Sonnenberg explains, “Priorities serve as a guiding star to keep you on course… Every action that you take and every decision that you make will put you one step closer or one step farther away from your goals.”

Are you wanting to date but not prioritizing your search for matches? You’re likely making choices and taking actions that put you farther away from your goals. Part of this prioritization will require that you literally change your plans and cut out aspects of your daily schedule that are demanding too much time. If you’re not willing or able to make great sacrifices, consider carving out a small, consistent block of time for dating. For example, there might be one night a week that you can reserve as your dating night. This night can stay free whether or not you fill it with a date.

As writer Maria Del Russo explains at Refinery29, you can take an evening to yourself to spend some time decompressing alone. And if you do end up making romantic plans, you’ll always know that this is your go-to free day of the week.

coffee date - too busy to date

Transform Your Dating Mindset

Saying you’re too busy to date is an easy way out. Being too busy lets you avoid the potential frustrations and setbacks the dating experience might bring. According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D, using busyness as an excuse might even be a coverup for letting in the right person..

On the flip side, when you prioritize dating, you create emotional and mental space for the possibility of finding the right match. Making room in your life will make you more open to dating, relationship expert Betty Russell explains. This will help you to recognize and hold onto your match when you meet him/her.

Russell adds that being vulnerable in the dating process can also help create more space in your life for finding a match. To make time for dating (and have that time be well spent), you must be vulnerable and open about who you are. This will ensure that the time you spend dating is more meaningful, even when it doesn’t work out, author and writer Marisa Donnelly explains. “The sooner you can be open about your past, where you’ve been, what has shaped you, and how you’ve changed—the sooner you’ll be able to have raw, honest, and beautiful relationships.”

Life coach Sharon Stokes agrees. She adds that people should take time to think about why they want to find someone, and what finding a match really means to them.

“We all live such busy lives these days and it makes it challenging to do everything on our to-do list,” Stokes says. “To make sure you’re able to focus on your priorities it’s important you ask yourself the ‘why’ behind everything you do. Once you have a deeper understanding of why something is important to you, it makes it easier to follow through with getting it done.”

Once you uncover why you want to date, your priorities will naturally shift to support this goal.

Although some investment of time is necessary, dating success does not directly correlate with the number of hours you devote. What’s important is that you know what you want, you make at least some time available, and you find creative ways to integrate dating into your life.

Date Smart in 2019: 10 Pro Tips

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Burned out by online dating? Ghosted one too many times? Time to refine your game. Kick off 2019 refreshed, positive, and optimistic with our 10 Top Dating Tips, complete with dating wisdom from relationship professionals.

1. Use Sophisticated Icebreakers

Are you opening chats with “hi” or “what’s up”? Come on now – you can do better than that! It’s competitive out there, so break the ice in creative and memorable ways. Not sure where to start? Take a tip from The Verge’s Megan Farokhmanesh: “If you want to be more than a bubble in someone’s DMs, treat them like more than a face in your matches.” To write a good opener, take your time and take the person in, following clues in their pictures and words. Take a risk while being respectful, be personal without being creepy, and be unique without trying too hard! It’s a lot to juggle, but with practice and a little faith, you’ll be firing off one-liners that instantaneously win people over.

2. Put Your Best Photos Forward

What’s the first step in creating a profile that delivers? Top-notch photos that look like you. Of course you at your best, but still you. Have you sat across from someone who didn’t live up to his/her picture? Not only awkward and disappointing, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Psychologist Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D., author of “From First Kiss to Forever: A Scientific Approach to Love,” explains what online daters are seeking: “Women [are] more attracted to men displaying pride in their photos, like having their head tilted up, shoulders back, and an expanded stance. Men [are] more attracted to women displaying happiness, like a big smile.”

Photos are key. Find a friend who also needs to up their photos and make a day of snapping fun, genuine, and appealing pictures. As photos are the key to online dating success, you’ll find the investment well worth your while.

3. Message Less, Meet up More

Too much pre-date messaging can make first-date conversation challenging. It can also smother a spark. According to life coach and author Christine Hassler, “It’s like you’re on your second date in terms of info, but your first date in terms of physical chemistry, which can make things awkward.”

Too much information up front can interfere with good ole chemistry. The fix? Get to dating faster. If you find someone you like, be direct about meeting up a few days after matching and chatting. If they seem flaky or wishwashy, move on!

couple holding hands – Date Smart in 2019

4. Stop Playing Games and Start Breezing

“’Breezing’ is a simple dating trend that focuses on not caring. No, really. It’s about being carefree, confident within yourself, and not worrying too much about what you’re supposed to be doing and what [the other person’s] thinking,” journalist Giulia Simolo explains.

Instead of trying to anticipate what the other person wants, go about your day and meet your own needs. This approach isn’t selfish – it’s empowered. And to potential matches, it’s a refreshing change to a landscape that is oversaturated with over-trying and insincerity. Be the flame – the moth will come.

5. Let go of your fantasy and meet the person in front of you

Creating fantasies about future first dates can only lead to disappointment. Not only will a person not likely live up to your fantasy of an ideal date, he or she will never exactly match your fantasy. Psychiatrist and mental health expert Grant Hilary Brenner, MD, has discovered the following: “When people were overly positive…, disillusionment was very likely; …people maintain positive illusions in the absence of information about the other person, leading to a greater risk of being disappointed.”  When your mind wants to wander off into projections about what a person or a date will be like, do you best to stop it dead in its tracks and stay open to possibility. Not only will you avoid being let down, you may well set yourself up for the most meaningful of surprises.

6. Don’t Pre-Judge

Don’t draw superficial conclusions! Suspend judgment until meeting IRL. As millennial love expert Samantha Burns explains, “A judgment is an assumption… you’ll never know the truth about [someone] unless you put in the effort to talk or go on a date.”  Judgments might be coming from your defenses, and when you latch onto specific “flaws,” you might overlook a person who is an amazing match. Also, the heart might want someone the head disqualifies. “Always ask yourself why you’re ruling someone out,” Burns continues. “If it’s a superficial reason, you might fall into that ‘too picky’ category, in which case consider giving this person another look.”

7. Hone in on What You’re Looking For

It might be a good time to re-evaluate what you’re looking for in a date and why. We often focus on traits in other people because we want to fulfill an insecurity in our own lives. “If a person isn’t financially secure, for example, it might be something he or she is wanting within his or her own life, which is why he or she is finding it attractive in someone else’s,” psychotherapist Tristan Coopersmith says.

We all know the remedy: first fill those needs in ourselves. If we want someone else to show up in a certain way, we first have to show up for ourselves. Of course, as Ben Harper sings, “It’s so hard to do, and so easy to say.” Self-discovery is an ongoing journey.

wine glasses – Date Smart in 2019

8. Ask the Right Questions

While you don’t want to get stuck in endless messaging, it’s a good idea to ensure you and a potential match are on the same page. If someone’s religion or smoking/drinking habits are deal-breakers, it’s better to find out sooner than later. In addition, you might ask a few questions to get a feel for who people truly are and what matters most to them.

Writer Eiman Jawed offers 17 questions that can jumpstart the process of getting a true sense of a potential mate. A few examples: “Who is your biggest role model,” What about my profile stuck out to you?,” and “Why are you on here?.”

9. Be Brave

In this disposable culture of ghosting, do your best to stay brave, confident, and open. While being open doesn’t mean you wont get hurt, occasional heartbreak is a small price for a rich and fulfilling life. Relationship expert John Kim, also known as The Angry Therapist, puts it bluntly: “You can protect yourself by living behind your fear walls and you’ll end up creating a moat around your life castle. You’ll end up becoming a prisoner and merely exist instead of live.”

At the League, we do our best to value quality over quantity, placing the emphasis on fostering fewer quality connections over amassing great numbers of connections that are likely to fade. We want to minimize your chances of coming across ghosts and maximize your chances of meeting considerate, reliable, and real human beings.

10. Mindfully Consider Matches

Give an attentive and thoughtful read to your matches’ profiles. Jamie Price, co-founder and president of Stop, Breathe & Think, advises “Every step of the way, from swiping to replying, ask yourself if this is someone you’d actually want to meet up with or just white noise that will ultimately make you feel more stressed.” Without the noise, your intuition can take over and guide you toward the people you’ll really connect with in a meaningful way. Not only will this maximize your chances of meeting that special someone, it will also set you up for more connected first-date conversations.

Dating is no easy thing, but it is doable, and it can even be a lot of fun. We hope these tips set you up for the most pleasurable and successful of dating experiences in 2019!

Top 5 Worst Selfie Offenses

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TLDR; Those who don’t have selfies on their dating app profiles see a 3x higher Match rate than users with selfies.

As we’re sure you already know, June 21st marks one of the most abominable holidays of the year…National Selfie Day! At League HQ we’ve spent weeks pondering how on earth there could be a holiday to celebrate the lowest performing type of photo on The League. We asked our Drafting Team to break down the top 5 worst selfie offenses they’ve seen:


  • Car Selfies – There are better places to take photos than in the car. Period. We’ll put it bluntly… when we see a seatbelt and poor lighting it’s a no for us.
  • Mirror Selfies – You would think that after the advent of the front-facing camera these would have gone away but….nope! If you’re wearing a sharp looking outfit have a friend snap a photo of you, that way you can avoid a horrible flash right in the middle of your shot.
  • Gym Selfies – Okay, we get it…you work out! There are tons of other ways to show that you lead an active lifestyle besides a selfie near the free weights! Do you have a picture of yourself hiking or running? Not only will these types of photos highlight that you like to workout but will also show off what makes you unique!
  • Selfie Arm  – There’s nothing more awkward than a selfie featuring your forearm reaching out in front of you. Take advantage of your “self-timer” on your phone to avoid this type of shot!
  • Having a Selfie in the first place – That’s right, no selfie is a good selfie! Our data scientists crunched the numbers and found that those with a selfie on their League profile had a lower Match and League score than those without!

Are you ready to delete that selfie? Good!  Replace it with something better and message your Concierge for advice on which of your photos should be in the first position!