Summer lovin'

In the Northwest, we quickly learn not to define the summer by the weather. In North Seattle, we can learn to define summer's arrival by certain events, such as the University District Street Fair. Such events provide some of the best opportunities for singles to get out into our neighborhoods to encounter other sentient beings, being far from sedentary.THE WHATStreet fairs, parades, festivals and art walks scheduled for nearly every day of the summer provide great excuses to crawl out from our winter dens. Shoppers can now stroll a growing collection of neighborhood outdoor markets. Woodland Park Zoo, University Village and History House offer summer concerts, and the Greenwood Car Show and the Haller Lake Chili Palooza bring those of us with common interests together.Events that take place nearly on my doorstep give me a chance to meet people who live nearby. Too many modern dating resources - speed dating and the Internet - match Seattle singles with those who live in...Mill Creek. When every date becomes a field trip, I quickly lose the eco-friendly, fiscally conservative "cred" I cultivate.Flirting among neighbors - especially at Seafair events like the Milk Carton Derby on Green Lake and Lake City Pioneer Days - gives me opportunities to check out local talent. Night Out Against Crime and block parties involve non-singles as well, but one of them may know of a cousin or friend of a friend....Summer provides far more than events. Kite flying at Gas Works Park, a swim at Matthews Beach or transporting work and reading to a local park all get me out there. Flirting from my bike on the way to work or while I walk is a multitasking worth investigating. Rowing, sailing or renting a kayak, fun runs, 5Ks and fund-raising walks all mix exercise and mingling.THE WHOEvery opportunity is about finding a new audience. For us shy types, community involvement - even passive involvement like watching sporting events on a sunny day - provide opportunities to glance around and trade smiles. Encountering a familiar face even more than once can lead into easy conversation, sometimes just a question about the next event.It helps to bring a wingman. This is a friend who helps showcase positive qualities and knows when to make an exit - and a re-entrance. If attending in a large group, make a point of breaking off into smaller groups of one or two regularly. A gaggle of girls or a gang of guys can intimidate and overwhelm all but the most interested or clueless.As for dates, summer activities provide outstanding, creative date solutions beyond those that focus on ingesting calories, e.g. restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Besides, many of summer activities are free. One advisory note: Never take a date to an entirely unfamiliar event; too many surprises can jeopardize a great experience.THE WHATFinally, warmer weather does require extra preparation.Wardrobe - In the season of miniskirts and spaghetti straps, of sandals and shorts, I always ask, "What image do I project?" A too-low neckline or muffin top of flesh that spills over tight shorts are an over-share. Packaged right, even Silly Putty looks attractive. I sure wish the guy wearing the shorts, white socks and sandals would get the memo. Eww!Hygiene - Being clean and minty fresh are year-round concerns. In warm weather, it is important to add scheduled costume changes (and possibly a quick shower) between activities.Interference - Sunglasses are necessary: They come in handy to disguise leering looks. However, they block important social cues. How does the cutie know the smile is directed their way when they didn't see the look? Take 'em off. Ditto for earphones. Nothing says, "Don't bother me," like headphones.During summer I do feel lonely. As I am out enjoying myself, couples stroll by hand-in-hand. Maybe this year I can be one of them. It just means getting out there since I won't be as long as I lay prone on my sofa.Sofia lives in North Seattle. She can be reached at[[In-content Ad]]