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So, if you guys made it past obsessing over that Lindsay Lohan piece in the NY Times Mag this Sunday, you may have noticed that the COVER STORY in the Style Section was all ABOUT “The End of Courtship”. To summarize this vaguely-worth-cutting-your-wrists-for article, it is all about how people (our age, presented as emotionally detached aliens of sort in the eyes of Alex Williams, a gender ambiguously named person that wrote the story) have been having issues transitioning from a lifetime (!) or so of just hooking up and hanging to real dating. Apparently, the word DATE should be erased from the dictionary entirely, since IT JUST DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE, and we are all to be content with a series of group hangs and late night dance parties with bouncers featuring Ratatat and MGM remixes and boxed mac’n’cheese (really guys, MGMT? RATATAT? are we republishing 2008 stories these days?).

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ANYWHO, then the same night GIRLS premiere happened and the phrase MAIN HANG entered our hearts and minds (never to leave again) and since it is EXACTLY one month till Valentine’s Day (which apparently will never be erased from any dictionary) AND BYT offices have (between all of us) several decades of non-committal hangdate experience, we figured we’d throw your way some solid options for “dating like you don’t quite mean it yet” locales (plus, alternatives, if you choose to change your minds and CARE FOR ONCE). You’re welcome.

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First, some ground rules. What exactly DOES constitute a non-committal datehang?

  1. it is free and/or (very) cheap
  2. it is either relatively early or relatively late, leaving a portion of one’s evening open for other activities
  3. it involves alcohol (and never coffee, BYT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN COFFEE DATES, in fact a COFFEE DATE is worse than a non-committal datehang, since it is trying to be a non-committal datehang too hard)
  4. it has potential for group involvement
  5. has built in distractions/conversation topics/activities within it (Even if those are things like HEAVY DRINKING) for purposes of never once risking actually getting to know each other
  6. requires minimal pre-planning (so-no reservations, no grocery shopping, no pre-purchasing of tickets)
  7. it is geographically convenient for everyone involved (for this, you’re on your own-we tried to spread the stuff below across locations) – which also comes in handy if your non committal datehang turns into a non committal hook-uphang

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ok-lets dive in. TOP 5 NON COMMITTAL DATEHANG SPOTS IN DC for us right now are:

  • MUGGLE MONDAYS @ BLACK CAT – Mondays are the ultimate non-committal datehang night. Add to that – low cost of overall evening (free entry + butterbeer drink specials), convenient location, early time frame (8pm-which with movie length included means you can be tucked in in bed by 10:30pm) AND built in nerdery to talk about and you’re gold for life. Plus, everyone has seen every wizard movie ever (otherwise, you’re not worth even a datehang in our book) so if the conversation does take off, you don’t have to feel bad about missing anything. Bonus: jukeboxes and pool tables. FULL COMMITMENT HANG VARIATION OF THIS: Hanging out at one of your respective couches and making a time-commitment to a TV/movie marathon of some variety at least one of the parties is very emotionally invested in. Must involve a bare minimum of 15 hours of time spent together in the near future (“Downton Abbey”, “Lord of the Rings” marathon, Wes Anderson marathon, Best-of-Bill-Murray marathon, “Wire”, “Friday Night Lights” all fit into this category)

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  • $2 MOVIE NIGHT @ ARLINGTON CINEMA AND DRAFTHOUSE – I’ve had some of my best dates with the people I didn’t have any other good dates with here. The good news about Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse’s $2 movie night is that it is cheap, that there is cheap fried food and cheap beer being served during the movie and that not only does it take place on an off night (Mondays and Tuesdays) but with the multiple movies playing (this week you can pick anything from FLIGHT to TWILIGHT to WRECK IT RALPH to KILLING THEM SOFTLY) you can pick whether you want it to be an early or a late evening and just how emotionally involving this movie needs to be. Plus, did we mention that they serve you fried food while you’re there? FULL COMMITMENT HANG VARIATION OF THIS: proper dinner (WHAT?) and a movie (preferrably somewhere with street cred, like E Street or AFI Silver or West End Cinema) with (GASP!) drinks afterwards (to talk about the movie, duh. At least one person involved should be willing to make a compromise as to what they are willing to watch too.

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  • ANY NIGHT @ BEDROCK BILLIARDS – Bedrock Billiards is a great example of a non-committal hang bar. Drinks are cheap, there are built in activities (pool, maybe even shuffle board, a jukebox), it is never really crowded and people that work there are really nice. You can roll in any time, any day of the week and be a-ok for 30 min or 3 hours. FULL COMMITMENT HANG VARIATION OF THIS: Columbia Room.

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  • FREE SHOW AT MILLENIUM STAGE – Every day at 6pm Kennedy Center hosts a free show. They also serve drinks in the lobby during it. Which is great because it fits into the happy hour hang situation but with an added activity (which costs nothing and tends to be interesting enough 99% of time to distract you from the potential non-interestingness of your datehang companion). You can also show up pretty much at any point even during the show and everything will be ok, in terms of getting seats etc. Added bonus here is that if you are dealing with a person who is maybe averse to the non-committal date hang concept, the grandness of the Kennedy Center makes them feel like they are on a date date. Not that we are propagating dishonesty in intentions here or anything. FULL COMMITMENT HANG VARIATION OF THIS: A sold out show @ 930 club OR seeing a proper play at the Kennedy Center (ballet wins for extra points always, with the ladies)

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  • QUE SERA @ NAPOLEON or OUTLAWS @ MARX CAFE – really any free dance night will do, as long as it is ACTUALLY FUN. We personally think these are the most fun of all, so we’re putting them on here as examples. A REALLY FUN free dance night should include: music everyone can dance to, a bar with decent drink specials (whether it is champagne cocktails or whiskey+PBR combos, we don’t care), a nice descent into insanity over the course of the evening and enough people you know (even a little) to deflect from the date aspect of the datehang. FULL COMMITMENT HANG VARIATION OF THIS: Giving them your dance card, with nothing but their name on it. Adding a dinner beforehand (both for time spent together AND delaying the extreme drunkenness effects ahead).

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let us know your picks in the comments (or call us non-committal datehang pigs, either way)

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