Sex + Dating

The Basic Bro's Guide to Fall Dating

People in the woods in autumn

Hello, basic bros! It's fall: the season of gourds shaped like dicks, and also cute-ass dates. To help you cultivate love during this amorous annual moment, we present you with Thrillist's Basic Bro's Guide to Fall Dating: a handy collection of tips, hacks, and ideas to get the very most rustic, cozy, pumpkin-spiced eroticism out of autumn as humanly possible.

First of all: get a girlfriend

If you’ve already found a benevolent woman brave/stupid enough to date you, congratulations! Scroll down.

If not, that’s OK! Fall is the ideal time to find a new girlfriend. In the Western Hemisphere, autumn is traditionally considered the beginning of “cuffing season," a perfect term (thanks Black Twitter!) to describe the cuddle-heavy, relationship-inducing months. For the sake of simplicity and hope, let’s assume that even if you’re currently single, you’ll be swept up in the season and cuffed to an amazing/hot/acceptable lady real soon, because fate, and meteorology, and stuff.

Holding hands in the park

Dress for the season

Since mid-August, your new girlfriend has probably been thinking about chunky sweaters ("love!"), leggings that can pass for pants ("LOVE!"), and riding boots ("AHHHHH LOVELOVELOVE!"), and all the different ways she's going to wear them on dates. Don't be alarmed; this is all fairly normal. But that means you need to step it up.

Now, your natural instinct is probably telling you to go buy like, seven different Patagonia fleeces and a pom hat with your NFL team's logo on it. This is a bad idea because a) you graduated from Colgate like three years ago; b) it will cost you a bajillion dollars; and c) your significant other will accuse you of "not trying." Quelle horreur!

Eat whatever you want, 'cause layers are superb at concealing flab.

As an alternative to looking like The Great White Dope, consider flannel. Flannels and sweaters are your fall dating comfort zone, OK? They're comfortable, and make you look sorta-presentable. No, you're not going to win any awards, but between the (minimal) effort and the lumberjack vibes, your lady will probably deign to be seen with you in public . And bang with you in private. Super!

Be very, very judicious with things made out of tweed; be reckless with wide-wale cords because THE LADIES LOVE WIDE-WALE CORDS, MY DUDES. If you’re able, grow a beard. (If you’re not sure whether you’re able to grow a beard, that means you aren’t.) 

A brief note on hoodies

For vaguely scientific reasons, women tend to get colder more frequently than men, which means your girlfriend will ask to "borrow" your sweatshirts all fall. Spoiler alert: you are not getting that shit back. Ever. For this reason, it's recommended that you purchase basic, non-sentimentally significant hoodies to offer her as decoys when she’s chilly (i.e., always.) Otherwise, your beloved Colgate JV hockey half-zip will wind up in that Great Walk-In Closet in the Sky, and you will wind up sad.

Couple outdoors

Get fat together

Now that you’re dressed like a goddamned vision, it's time to talk about the menu. Fall is the time to go utterly H.A.M. with your food & drink intake because sweaters, flannels, and other layers are superb at concealing flab. As long as your girlfriend is Laid-Back and Not Intense, she is probably down with you letting yourself go a bit. 

A farm date is inevitable. Don't fight it.

For that matter, she may even be planning to do the same. Support her in her decision, because beauty standards are unrealistic. Plus, she has to look at your tubby ass all winter, man, and if she can handle that, you can do the same. This is called a "pudge pact," and it is glorious.

Once the pact has been initiated, calories basically won't “count” again until like, March. So go berserk. Eat a half-dozen cider donuts arm-in-arm as you walk to a bar with a fireplace (we can help find one), then order like nine pumpkin beers apiece and day drink until it’s time to eat again. Order grilled cheese, mac & cheese, and nachos with cheese. Switch to whiskey. None of it matters. Stare into your your girlfriend's eyes over a bowl of French onion soup. Burp softly.


Couple apple picking

Lump all the farm shit together in one trip

Fact: Your girlfriend is going to want to go to a farm. Honestly, you should too. Farms are the perfect fall-date venue if you live in a city, because they're impossibly pastoral and smell like not-trash. Plus, you can pick apples & pumpkins, take hayrides, and spend $984 on three local beeswax candles and a small bottle of maple syrup. Ain't love grand?

But even if you don't want to go participate in this commodified agrarian charade, doing a farm date is inevitable. Instead of fighting it -- which is stupid and impossible -- focus on making  it as painless as can be. 

Choose a Halloween costume that shows you're thrilled to bang each other.

To do so: Find a spot nearby that has it all, from apple orchard, to cider press, to corn maze, and knock everything out in one weekend. Wear jeans & boots you don't care about getting dirty, because everything on farms is dirty. Your girlfriend is going to want to take pictures; take the pictures. Memories are dope, plus they'll be good #tbt fodder next spring. If you care about football, make sure to schedule this trip early in your team's schedule, to avoid missing a critical later-season game.

When it's all over, you'll find yourself with 10 pounds of squash, an ornamental stalk of maize, and the frustration of a weekend spent not watching football that hardly matters anyway. But you'll also have the peace of mind knowing that you crushed all your farm-date obligations in one fell swoop. Which brings us to...

Football: love it, hate it, tolerate it

According to harmful and misleading gender stereotypes, you're probably happy sitting around all fall watching football, and your fall girlfriend totally hates it.

This may or may not be true for you: there are a lot of girls who love sports, and a lot of guys who hate them. But for the vocal majority of bros out there who want to spend their Saturdays making fun of Kirk Herbstreit and their Sundays making fun of Keyshawn Johsnon, a gentle suggestion: be considerate of your girlfriend's time.

This is her weekend too, after all. If she wants to wear your team's jersey and hang out with all your buddies' girlfriends while you crush hot wings and compliment each others' Greg Jennings impression, hey -- that's terrific. If she doesn't, don't give her grief about it. And if it's really nice out and she asks you to watch, like, just a little less football and go do outdoor brunch instead, maybe do that every once in a while.

This is called a compromise, and it's critical to maintaining the strength of your pudge pact.

Rabbit and horse masks

Crush Halloween

Two words: Couples costumes! Two more words: Are hilarious! There are all manner of totally affordable tandem get-ups in which you & your special lady can get down.

It's the recommendation of this guide that you opt for the classic outlet and plug ensemble (do you get it?!), but the decision is up to you. Just remember to pick something that shows you are fun-loving and lighthearted, and also thrilled to bone each other.

Fall relationships are more than just doing stuff to each other's butts.

If you still don't have a girlfriend by Halloween, keep in mind that it's basically your last shot at locking down a companion before the long lonely winter ahead. Embittered by all the joyous couples dressed like electrical outlets, you may find yourself wanting to dress up like Tom Cruise from Top Gun and call girls' costumes "slutty." Fuck love, right?

No. Wrong. Fuck you, Maverick. Fuck you and your slut-shaming bullshit. No wonder you're still single.

Couple kissing

Netflix & chill as much as possible

Depending on how clueless you are, you may already know that "Netflix & chill" is just a euphemism the Cool Teens™ use to discuss sexy time. And, yes: fall dating is a great opportunity for sex, because as the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, there's less and less to do with your girlfriend except drink, smash, and perhaps engage in some recreational butt stuff. Hey, whatever you're into.

But fall relationships aren't just about doing stuff to each other's butts; they're also about growing closer together. So consider Netflix-and-chilling in the literal sense. Plop down on the couch with your significant other and watch all eleven thousand episodes of Law & Order: SVU. Maybe schedule a weekly movie night, if you're feeling particularly domesticated.

The idea, my dudes, is to become comfortable with the person you're having sex with -- and if you can't watch Narcos and silently check Instagram next to your girlfriend without feeling awkward, then what's the point of any of this?

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Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist. He used to be a basic bro, and a pretty obnoxious one, at that. Follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.