Getting to know someone during a game of laser tag, on a walk or while visiting an exhibition: this is the principle of “hobby dates”, essentially brightening up someone’s dates with an activity that is off the beaten track, at least for a date.
Identified as one of the top trends in dating by the American dating application Bumble, hobby dating has been gaining momentum since the pandemic.
Sabrina Marzaro is a regular user of dating applications. Her first experience with them was over six years ago. But “basic” encounters in a bar or restaurant are not for her.
The 30-year-old single prefers to suggest a jogging session or going to a stand-up comedy act for a possible date.
“I’m lucky enough to meet people who have the same sense of adventure as I do. On one of my first dates, I suggested we go tree climbing in a rope park. My date said yes, but only on the condition that I try camping for the first time in my life!” she tells us.
And Sabrina is not alone in her preference for hobby dating. This way of dating is certainly not new, but has evolved with the pandemic. In fact, the dating app Bumble identifies it as one of the top dating trends for the year 2022.
“Before the pandemic, it was the norm to meet in a bar or coffee shop. But the ever-changing health situation of the past two years has forced singles to adapt and therefore be a little more creative.
Now it seems to be the norm to want to share your interests and passions on the first date,” Naomi Walkland, vice president of Bumble Europe, told ETX Daily Up.
Flirting while walking or visiting a museum
It is a trend that can be seen in different countries, but the specific interests or ‘hobbies’ can differ from country to country.
According to several studies conducted by Bumble, French singles are especially fond of outdoor activities, such as: hiking or run.
“This can be explained by the fact that after the periods of lockdown we have experienced, we are increasingly turning to nature. This is a trend we have seen across Europe, but the activities differ from country to country, for example skiing, swimming or cycling are more popular in other countries,” says Naomi Walkland.
In the experience of Sabrina Marzaro — who grew up in the United States and lived in New York for a few years before moving to Paris — French people are more likely than Americans to meet during cultural activities such as museum visits.
“In France, interests are largely cultural: cooking, art, photography and museums are among the most popular, while music and festivals are more popular in other countries,” confirms Naomi Walkland.
While “hobby dates” consist of experiences centered on leisure and the desire to have fun, this doesn’t stop them from being conducive to deeper discussions.
According to Sabrina Manzaro, a hobby date is actually a great way to break the ice: “You feel more comfortable being open to each other about more serious topics.
I also think these experiences help to reveal different sides of our personalities. The choice of activity already says a lot about the person: for example, whether he or she has a sense of adventure or has kept something of his inner child.”
Some people may see hobby dating as a way to inject some spontaneity into their date, as a counterbalance to the “formal” aspect of dating apps.
“One day I asked my date to organize a surprise activity for me, so I had no idea where he would take me. Just in case I put on a cocktail dress and heels assuming we were probably going to a restaurant or bar. But I guessed wrong, because he took me to Disneyland!” Sabrina recalls in a burst of laughter.
But it is precisely this element of the unexpected that appeals to the young woman. “One of the great joys of hobby dates is that you can learn and discover new things thanks to each other’s interests.
I’ve tried astronomy, I’ve tried new sports. It takes more effort and organization, but it’s worth it because you create experiences together. Great memories are made.”
The experience of going on these hobby dates even inspired her to write an illustrated book. Entitled Swipe for Prince Charmingthe book tells the story of a girl looking for love in Paris, with stories from the Italian-American’s own adventures.
“It is a book about the search for love, but also about self-love and the pleasure you get from traveling,” Marzaro summarizes.