I'm new in town, single and ready to mingle! But I'm not into the bar scene. Where else do people hang out around here? — Singleton in Town
What, beers and bad karaoke aren't your idea of romantic? No worries! Hang out at whatever "scene" you happen to be into — the people you see there just might be "single and ready to mingle," too.
Check meetup.com or flip through Seven Days to find group activities and events that match your hobbies and interests. If you're an outdoorsy type, the L.L.Bean store on Cherry Street offers free classes on kayaking, fishing, birding and camping. If nature isn't your thing, try ArtsRiot's Friday night Truck Stop, a summertime block party with food trucks and live music. And java joints like Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea and Speeder & Earl's Coffee are prime real estate for people-watching — and spotting that special someone.
Help! Dating is expensive, and my grad-student budget is tiny. I need slam-dunk date ideas that won't break the bank. — Frugal Flame
Good news: Nature is (generally) free and opens up a whole world of wooing options. Got a hot date? Try cooling off together at a swimming hole or catching the breeze on a romantic waterfront stroll.
Don't forget about happy hour. Between 4 and 5 p.m., Hen of the Wood offers $1 oysters and Honey Road does $1 wings. And Duff Hour at Three Needs Brewery & Taproom is famous: Every weekday starting at 4 p.m., $1 pints are poured until the keg kicks — or you do.
Um, are there really no gay bars in Burlington?! Where am I supposed to meet people? — Here and Queer
It's a bummer that there are no official gay bars — but that doesn't mean you're on your own. Vermont was the first state to legalize civil unions almost two decades ago. In Burlington, nearly all the bars are gay-friendly. Some favorite LGBTQA haunts, according to the 2018 Seven Daysies readers' choice awards: Light Club Lamp Shop, Drink and Half Lounge, to name a few.
The Pride Center of Vermont's website lists events at which you can mingle with LGBTQA singles. Make sure to check it during Pride Week (in early September) for a list of social gatherings — from marches to beach parties to a 5K walk.
The LGBTQA Center at the University of Vermont is another good resource. UVM hosts a National Coming Out Week in October and workshops and conferences throughout the year.
I keep making sexy eye contact with the same guy all over town — but I'm too shy to make the first move. What do I do? — Hungry Eyes
For starters, smile! It's an easy thing to forget if you're nervous, but flashing those pearly whites says you're into him and want him to approach you. Smiling can also give you the boost of confidence you need to strike up a conversation.
If you're in a bookstore, for example, comment on what he's perusing: "Is that Bernie Sanders' new book?" If you're at a bar, ask him what he's drinking: "Gin and tonic? Have you tried Barr Hill gin?"
You can also place a flirtatious ad in Seven Days' I-Spy section — a page dedicated to missed connections. "Spying" him will let him know that you're smitten but too shy to make the first move.
I just got out of a long-term relationship and am on the rebound. But I want to be safe about hooking up. What do I need to know? — Close Encounters
Kudos to you for putting safety first! For safe dating, screen people you meet online before meeting face-to-face. Same goes for any love interest outside your professional and friendship circles. Google them or check them out on social media to get a sense of who they are. If you decide to meet in person, do so in a public place and not late at night. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable situation with a stranger.
For safe sex, latex condoms can reduce the risk of STDs. Visit the Planned Parenthood on St. Paul Street for private and confidential counseling by trained staff. Female and male condoms are available, as are other birth control options and vaccines for HPV and hepatitis B.
My partner and I broke up, and I need a good vibrator to get me through. Are there sex shops in Burlington? — Boy Toy
Good Stuff has locations all over the state of Vermont, including one on Church Street. There you'll find vibrators and other sex toys, plus a healthy selection of smoke-shop paraphernalia. Ten minutes out of town in Colchester, Imago offers vibrators in all shapes, sizes and velocities, as well as a wide selection of X-rated DVDs and magazines, bondage gear, and other naughty supplies. Wishing you good vibes!