02/28/2011 06:31 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Green Dating: Why You Should Recycle Your Dates

We have a dish in my native Australia called Bubble and Squeak. It involves throwing leftovers into a frying pan, throwing in a couple of furiously whisked eggs and a generous pinch of salt. Then you hope for the best. Surprisingly, the result is usually quite flavorsome. The point of the dish is to avoid wasting quality produce by repurposing ingredients so they don't end up in the garbage bin. Similarly, while a discarded date may not be for you, it doesn't mean they can't play a role in your life.

Let's face it, unless you are Zsa Zsa Gabor or Larry King then you will probably only get married once or twice. And even Kim Kardashian can only have so many boyfriends. If you like a date but they just don't take your fancy, then why not stay in contact if they are open to it? There are plenty of ways discarded dates can add to your life, and you can potentially add to theirs.

Apart from being a highly rewarding hobby, dating is a great way to expand your social network. A discarded date may even introduce you to a friend down the track who is more to your taste. On the other hand, you may introduce them to the love of their life. This person potentially represents a Rolodex of contacts and a constellation of talents, so don't throw them on the social heap just because their nose doesn't crinkle in the precise way that gets your heart palpitating. Here are five ways to repurpose a non-potential partner:

  1. Add them to the hormonal soup at dinner parties and soirees. We've all been to gatherings where the testosterone to estrogen ratio is so askew that you feel like you may as well be chasing down beers on an oil rig or, in contrast, sipping Cosmopolitans on Cheerleader Island. The best soirees require a tiny bit of frisson between the opposite sexes to really fire up. Add your discarded dates to the mix to even out the hormone ratio.

  • Ask them to be your wingman or woman when you go out trawling the city for likely suspects. A member of the opposite sex is a far better co-pilot in a crowded bar than a same-sex friend. A wing-woman can tell you if the woman you've been ogling is interested or it's only incidental that she's pointing her breasts at you as if they were gun turrets. Conversely she can tell you if a likely gal is not laughing at your jokes but just trying to suppress her gag reflex. Women have more body language receptors than men; while guys have a better douche-bag detector. A wingman can tell you if he is a poser or has real potential. Befriend your discarded dates so you can guide each other on the singles safari.
  • Mine their contacts of cute friends who you haven't met. Work on the theory that we are all only several degrees removed from our soul mate. This person has buddies, cousins and an umbrella of contacts that might lead to you meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. They can also give you the dossier on the person of your dreams. There is nothing as powerful as a personal referral to back up your gut feelings. Your latest love interest may seem as sweet as spun sugar, but you might find they have a past more stained than a cafeteria tabletop after rush hour.
  • Make use of their skills. If you utilized the combined talents of your former flings then you could probably not only get the Ark built but have it furnished and equipped with gourmet dinners and 24/7 entertainment. It would be a luxury liner afloat that would even make Captain Merrill Stubing a tad envious. While your ex-dates may not have the right stuff to qualify as a regular squeeze, they will likely have plenty of other skills. I for one found a broker, a designer, a contractor and plenty of other clever men on my dating odyssey.
  • Wear them to weddings and other social functions. There are some events that it is de rigueur to ask a date. No one wants to be the only single, apart from ancient Aunt Ethel, at a wedding, sitting out every dance like a wallflower at prom. Neither do you want to be cornered by concerned relatives at birthdays, bah mitzvahs or barbecues about your perpetually solo status. Your smug married friends and pining-for-grandchildren parents will never understand why you are still sampling the singles smorgasbord. Private jokes are as much as TV dinners and a date will give you someone to share a laugh with and your family's idiosyncrasies will seem less odious and more endearing.
  • It is also great dating karma to introduce discarded dates to friends they might be better suited for. Spring is on the way and it's an ideal time to go through your social closet. Just as you might give up a once cherished handbag to the local consignment shop, consider it a community service to set up ex-flings with your friends. Maybe they can do the same for you. Perhaps, take it one step further and host a Left Luggage dinner party and get everybody to bring an ex-date they can vouch for. There is almost a guarantee that the sparks will fly between at least one couple, maybe even you and someone else's repurposed ex would-be partner.


    Babe Scott is the author of "Delicious Dating: The Single Girl's Guide to Decoding Men by Their Wining and Dining Styles," a new book that identifies the 10 Male Dining Types and explains the corollaries between men's culinary styles and their mating styles. This one-time magazine maven is a self-declared manthropologist and culinary Carrie Bradshaw. Visit her at, and follow her online at "Delicious Dating" is available at, and other online retailers.