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Rite of Spring:
Adding Heat, Getting Chemistry

or, Is That a Vernal Equinox In Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

by Sherise Dorf

So, the days are a little longer, and you choose to take a long, leisurely stroll home from work rather than smoosh yourself onto a crowded train. And as you walk, congratulating sexy, sexy you for doing three-inch open-toed mules so early in the season, you find yourself gazing out into the general public. And it's at this point, even behind those stylin' new sunglasses, that you make eye contact.

Yes! Eye contact in the crowded city! You realize you're smiling (naughty you!) and suddenly, (this is so Ally McBeal of you) you find yourself at a bar sitting across from the object and cause of your provocative smile. And, over Pear-tinis or whatever alcoholic concoction you're drinking these days, you think to yourself, "I'm the luckiest girl -- whoops -- woman in the world!"

Are you in love? Are you glowing? Are your palms wet? Have you failed to hear a word he's said since he swept you off your perfectly pedicured feet and into the nearest watering hole?

Fellas! Do you find yourselves dumbstruck by women in the street? Are you smiling sweetly and -- somehow -- murmuring, "Gee, I really like your Kate Spade"? Are you taking phone numbers and then actually dialing them? Committing to dates on weekend nights? Letting friends set you up with women with cats?

Blame spring.

May I Take Your Coat? And Sweater? And Shirt? And...

Spring comes but once a year, and when it does, it sends singletons from Santa Monica to Soho into a collective flurry to find Mr. or Ms. Right - for the right or the wrong reasons. What is it about spring that aids and abets us in our search for love... or at the very, very least, a fling to remember?

1. People are taking off their coats.
This sends a sign to interested parties that the barriers are coming down. One less layer of stuff to get to the real you that's hiding inside.

2. People have a leisurely "notice me" pace.
You can actually check out desirable women or men -- and take note of things like wedding bands -- when they're strolling by the lake, lounging in the park, and so on. It's much more difficult when they're wearing overcoats, jumping in and out of cabs, scurrying into buildings with heat.

3. People are going out, not staying in.
If you ask someone out on a date in winter, you've got the "promise of coziness" factor working for you, but little else. Chances are, you've got inches of snow to contend with, your date won't wear shoes she considers sexy, and after eating "comfort food" on a cold and snowy night, the first thing on most people's minds is running home to dive under the down comforter... to sleep.

But come spring, kick off bulky boots in favor of strappy sandals, toss aside wool for finer fabrics; suddenly the desire to crash becomes the desire to crush.

Caution! Cute Shoulders Ahead!

One springtime disclaimer: when following your pheromones, be sure you check in with your head every so often to make sure you're avoiding the pitfalls of throwing yourself out there heart first. Just because spring rhymes with fling doesn't make it any safer.

All right! Ready to put yourself out there, for better or worse? Optimists, read on!

Take thee to the park! Or nearest schoolyard!
I've got a friend who moves to a new city every year. And every year, not only does he make new friends, but he dates plenty of women. Is he incredibly handsome? Not really. Is this a guy who always knows what to say and when to say it? Nope. Then how does he do it? Ultimate Frisbee. When he plays, every weekend, he's surrounded by team spirit, the great outdoors, and sweaty members of the opposite sex. And after an afternoon spent running, jumping, and hurling a disc in various directions, he's got the one thing that will ensure he asks someone to join him for a drink: adrenalin. Coming soon to large green expanse near you.

Dance, fool!
If I ask one more friend how he or she met his or her new girlfriend/boyfriend/fiance/wife/husband and the answer is "learning to dance," I'll... I'll... open a dance studio of my own. Apparently, the lure of the smooth, open dance floor, the click-click of a would-be paramour's heels on that shiny wood, the swaying skirts, it's too much to resist. It's so strong, people even find themselves in the mood for an uncoordinated foxtrot with total strangers. Swing, samba, or salsa. Choose your step, then sign up solo for a class. Before you know it, you'll be dancing cheek-to-someone-else's-cheek.

Get Inside Out
While everyone else is hiking, running on the beach, playing polo, don't forget you'll want to find a place to cool off. Make a list of movie theaters (air conditioning) and cool museums (shadey, but with garden cafes). You can even take advantage of the fact that non-spring-type places will be less crowded. Find yourself an ice skating rink, and while whipping around on rental skates, check out your fellow skaters. Plan your graceful spill strategically so you just happen to be sprawled at the feet (and mercy) of the one you think is most attractive. Clever you. It'll be a great story to tell your kids.

Walk It Off
Walking tours are the perfect solution for the less athletically inclined amongst us to spend a day (or morning) outdoors, accompanied by a variety of people that share our specific interests. Surveying architecture, art, or neighborhoods, the best thing about this type of group activity is that if there's anyone there that vaguely resembles you in the way of age or style, the two of you will be drawn toward each other - as if in a dream.

Ah, springtime! It's all about getting out there and learning something new, pushing yourself to new limits, tackling -- ahem -- a new "interest." And most of all, it's about enjoying the fact that wherever you go, whatever you do, now that it's spring, you won't have to figure out where the hell to stow your coat.

Sherise Dorf gets her fair share of sunshine, living as she does in L.A. When she last graced the BTD, she elucidated us on You 2.0: Upgrading Your Bad Self.

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