Right, so you’ve spent far too long on your own watching Simon Basset lick spoons in Bridgerton and Ted Hastings hunt down bent coppers  in Line of Duty (anyone else find him strangely sexy?). But those characters don’t count as actual love interests. No, no they don’t. Living vicariously through on-demand TV channels is just not nearly as fun as the real thing. But how do you get the real thing when you’ve lost all social capabilities like having a conversation and knowing how to flirt? Apparently it’s a thing… FODA, fear of dating again.

Well, at The Handbook, we have pulled together a trusty guide on seduction during the time of Covid. Yes, we might have absolutely zero qualifications in the area, and yes, none of these ideas will probably work but what choice have you got? Another four hours of a boxset or finding your potential true love? We know which one you should choose.

1. Do that thing in movies where you order a cocktail to their table

Simply ask the bartender to serve a particular cocktail to a table and provide you with the bill. We have never tried and tested this method, however, it seems to work for Will Smith in Hitch. Plus, if it doesn’t work, you’ve just made someone’s night just that little bit cheaper.

Why not try your hand at it with one of these fabulous champagne cocktails. And if you do it at the Harrods Perrier-Jouët Champagne Terrace, you have the potential to bag yourself a high-flyer with a mansion in Holland Park… or a tourist. Is it a risk you’re willing to take?

2. Keep two empty seats at the table you’ve booked

So everyone’s struggling to book a table, and everyone wants to book a table. And you’re struggling to find a suitor, and yet there are plenty of suitors. It’s basically all a question of supply and demand.

Book yourself into one of these 10 hot new restaurants, and keep two of the seats free. Then when you spot two very attractive people in the queue, just fake a shock phone call and turn to them and say that your friends have just dropped out of the dinner and would they like to join you and your friend? Job done.

Your acting better be good, or this could be a colossal failure. And you also just have to keep your fingers crossed that there will be attractive single people in the queue or you’ll be having a lovely meal with Phil and Janet from down the road who have endless tales from their 40-year marriage.

3. Forget your coat and hope that a dashing stranger offers you theirs

With all this outdoor dining and shivering, there’s got to be a good opportunity for flirting in there. How about leaving your coat at home and spending the best part of an evening complaining how cold it is. Hopefully, a dashing stranger on a nearby table will kindly offer you a blanket or, even better, their coat. Just like at the end of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Try this tactic out at one of these 18 alfresco restaurants (Jikoni looks like a great spot for it). Obviously, if it doesn’t work you might just get pneumonia. You have been warned.

Bridget Jones knows what to do

Obviously, if it doesn't work you might just get pneumonia. You have been warned.

It will also make you seem like you're a lot smarter than you actually are... which could prove a little problematic later down the line, but cross that bridge when you come to it. 

4. Talk (and flirt) over an art exhibition

What’s art there for other than to pick up love interest? Okay, so there are lots of other reasons for art, but none that are useful for the purpose of this article.

Choose your exhibitions wisely – flirting in front of Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina might give the wrong impression. Cork Street gallery is showcasing Paul Feeley’s first solo exhibition in the UK in over 50 years, Space Stands Still. This is a great opportunity to ensnare someone.

Just lean in while your person of interest is studying the artwork and deliver a fact, such as: “did you know this retrospective explores the development of Feeley’s abstraction over the course of his prolific career?” Not only does it engage the person in conversation, it also makes you seem like you’re a lot smarter than you actually are… which could prove a little problematic later down the line, but cross that bridge when you come to it.

5. Get someone laughing…

Reserve yourself a spot at one of the many alfresco gigs popping up over town. Nothing gets flirting going like a good bit of laughter – just leave someone else to tell the jokes. Once you’ve seen your victim, check that they’re laughing in all the right places, then follow them to the bar at the interval to make your move.

If Aisling Bea, Mark Watson and Jimmy Carr don’t get the conversation flowing, we don’t know who will.

6. Flaunt your sexy beach body

A change of scene can make everyone feel a little bit flirty. Especially the beach. Hit up one of these beach bars popping up over London and get ready for a long night of romance.

Start with The Beach Bar at The Montague on the Gardens where you’ll find palm trees, surf boards, fruity cocktails and even a beach-hut style thatched roof overhead. Don your bikini (or not, as it will be freezing) and offer an ice cream to the person who makes you weak at the knees.

7. Dance with someone at a festival

Obviously only take up this one if you can dance – you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Sign up to one of these festivals that are going ahead this year, lather your face in glitter and show off your moves across a crowded field.

Slow dance to Rag‘n’Bone Man at The Big Festival in The Cotswolds or dance like a care-free teen to Snow Patrol at Latitude in Suffolk. Just make sure you don’t take too many magic mushrooms before you do it or you might come off too strong.

8. Get involved with a bit of sex, drag and rock n roll

Walking tours are a great way to just ‘bump’ into someone. Going on a walking tour you feel a bit like a tourist, and with that comes a greater sense of freedom. So what if you want to flick you hair and giggle? So what if you want to drop a pen on purpose for someone else to pick it up?

You’ll feel even more liberated with a night of stellar cocktails from London’s finest speakeasy-style bars and an evening tour of Soho’s seedy past with the Sex, Drag, Rock n Roll tour. The walking tour is hosted by Just May, east London’s greatest rising star from the drag scene and as they put it ‘the world’s premier Geri Halliwell impersonator’ – who might have a few flirting tips of their own.  

9. Impress someone with one of these fancy drinks in the park

The park is the perfect place to do some chatting up. People feel comfortable in the park. There’s space, you don’t need to wear a mask, and you can curate a luxury picnic to while away the hours in case you’re unsuccessful (which of course you won’t be).

Why not add a couple of these fancy boxed boozes to your haul? That way when a fit passer-by throws their frisbee into your brie, you have a way of keeping them hanging about for a bit longer.  A can of gin that’s been hand-steeped in raspberries anyone?

That way, when a fit passer-by throws their frisbee into your brie, you have a way of keeping them hanging about for a bit longer

10. Drive in for a movie, leave with a date

This one relies on your parking abilities. So if you can’t nail a three-point turn, parallel parking or just a general reverse, step away. It could be detrimental to your dating life.

First pick your film. This will tell you a lot about what kind of person you’re likely to pick up. The Gruffalo = has kids. The Greatest Showman = probably a bit camp. Pulp Fiction = has a dark side and likes to jive.

Next, park your car as close as you can to theirs. That way you can spark up conversation around the best bits of the film. Perhaps offer them some of your popcorn or one of those boiled travel sweets in your glove compartment – nothing says romance like a gift from your glove compartment (okay… that just sounds a bit suspicious).

11. Use your lockdown puppy as a pick-up line

Are you regretting your impulsive lockdown puppy purchase? Well, don’t throw it away just yet. It has its uses. Everyone loves a dog, and it’s the perfect way to get people talking.

Train your dog to hunt down attractive strangers and sit on their lap. Then you can run over, profusely apologise and then get their number. Job done. God we’re good at this.

Train your dog to hunt down attractive strangers and sit on their lap. Then you can run over, profusely apologise and then get their number. Job done. God we're good at this.

12. Try something a little alternative…

If none of these ideas are cutting it – try going a bit off-piste with some of these suggestions, which include: writing a note to a stranger and posting it through their letterbox, flirting with someone on a street corner or just date your housemate.

Because why not? You’ve got to make up for lost time so make every moment count!

13. Head to a food festival full of single people

Teaming up with the infamous Taste of London Festival, Inner Circle are offering an unforgettable day of mixing and mingling in the July sunshine. They’re taking over a huge hospitality tent at the event in Regent’s Park, making it an area strictly reserved for London’s single people. Tickets will include unlimited cocktails, delicious food, and access to the entire food festival.

Inner Circle is the app that takes a very different approach to online dating – it gets its users offline ASAP. And no better way to put your rusty flirting techniques to the test than at a food festival! Simply register with Inner Circle here, go to the ‘discover’ section, and grab you and your single friends a ticket!

14. Try out the world’s most exclusive dating agency

If you’re sick of swiping left or right, the Berkeley International might just have the answers you’re in search of…

Berkeley International is a specialist elite agency, helping its affluent members to find the perfect match and soul mate. If you’re interested, you enquire, come in for a chat, tell them all about yourself, your interests, your profession and what you like and dislike in a partner and they’ll introduce you to likeminded people.

Sounds like you? Enquire today. 

We’re also running a competition with Berkeley International to win an annual membership to the exclusive dating agency and dinner for two at The Mandrake Hotel. Enter here.

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