Why Dating in New Orleans Is Different Than Anywhere Else in the Country

Forget Venice or New York or Napa, if you live in the Big Easy, you’ll know it to be one of the most romantic places on the face of the planet. People fall in love with the city, and then fall in love with other people who have fallen in love with the city. It’s a beautiful thing. That being said, dating in New Orleans comes with its own set of customs and rules. Here are some of the bigger things that set this town apart when it comes to the delicate art of courtship.

People actually go on dates here

Yes, actual, honest-to-goodness dates. Not just "hanging out" or "hooking up" (though those happen, too -- this isn’t Pleasantville), but a pre-planned afternoon or evening of events. A little square? Sure, but learning to appreciate the art of the date comes with it its own benefits.

One of you’d better have a car

Unless you’re bicycle enthusiasts, a pair of gutter punks, or you’re cool with basically never leaving your own patch of turf, if someone involved doesn’t have a car (or at least a scooter), your date night options are going to be limited. Also, how else are you going to get catfish at Middendorf’s

You can’t call it an early night

This is a serious music city, and all the best shows really get going around midnight, so you’d better be up for the long haul, lest you be outed as a killjoy Grandpa.

It will be hard to tell whether your date is simply having a good time or is just an all-out lush

Alcohol is everywhere, from music venues to festivals, parks, and even freaking Little League games. Speaking of which... 

You will be drinking, but you will also be pacing yourself

No decent New Orleanian gets blotto and calls it quits in the first hour. That’s some amateur-night nonsense.

Dancing is non-negotiable

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re any good at it, you’re gonna have to move your feet and shake your butt, because everyone -- up to and including on-duty police officers -- gets into the groove here.

You can spend virtually nothing on a date and not be considered a cheapskate

There’s so much fun, free (or at least cheap) stuff to do in New Orleans, you don’t have to break the bank to have a beautiful time.

If you’re vegan, best of luck to you...

You will only be able to date other vegans, for the most part, unless you’re willing to make some serious concessions. Between the muffalettas, melted cheese, fried seafood, butter, and pork in just about everything, NOLA has too many delicious and decidedly un-vegan things to offer to just shun animal products.

You’re going to cook together at some point

This is a town that loves to eat, but not just in restaurants. Cooking dinner is one of the best dates New Orleans can offer, so you’d better have some chops. Also, attractiveness quotient increases in direct proportion to culinary skill. It’s a fact.

It is guaranteed that you will be infected with a particular STD

The scientific name for it is “glitter” and it is the herpes of the art world/Carnival season. It will wind up in places where you didn’t know you had places, and it’s impossible to get rid of. But don’t worry, because everyone here has it and it’s non-life-threatening. 

The necessity of being good to your exes

New Orleans is big city, but also a small town. It’s a provincial place and everybody tends to wind up in the same spots and the same events, so you’re going to run into your ex at some point, and in some cases, frequently. Best to be on solid terms.

Your attractiveness jumps considerably if you have a balcony 

It's the most coveted real estate in town. 

Knowledge will get you lucky

Particularly, things like “where the good bathrooms are,” “which world-famous musician is sitting in on a secret show with a local group,” and “which bars have amazing free food,” among other things. 

You couldn’t even imagine dating anywhere but New Orleans

Ain’t nothing like it. Never was, never will be.

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