As much as I’m happy being on my own, I have to admit that sometimes being single can be tough. Not only do singles have to endure painful first dates and worry about screwing up seating charts at friends’ weddings, but now we have to worry that we’re knocking on death’s door. I can already picture my mother shaking her head at my funeral and sobbing while crying out, “If only she got married like I told her to!”
What coupled people often don’t understand is that meeting people is hard — and meeting people you actually like is about as rare as a post-1965 Lennon/McCartney song that wasn’t written under the influence of hallucinogens. And, as if we weren’t all lost enough about where to meet men, magazines and blogs give women the worst advice about where to look. For example, Cosomopolitan recently directed women to find available single men at a “Fortune 500 or tech company.” Really? You might as well tell the average American woman to sign up for an all-male expedition to Antarctica because the likelihood that the majority of us outside of New York City or Silicon Valley could pull this off is about zero. And Ladies Home Journal recommended meeting “an altruistic hottie” at a blood drive — which is so obviously ridiculous that I won’t even bother trying think of a snappy comeback.
So, I’m here to set the record straight. Forget everything that articles written by know-nothing 40-somethings who are about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversaries have told you about the “top places” to meet men. Because it’s a dating urban legend that you’ll meet available men at any of these places:
Dog Parks. When I was in law school, I took my dog, Kenzie, to the most fashionable dog park in downtown St. Petersburg almost every evening. I met a ton of people there — many of them very nice. But the only single man I met there was a bearded 60-something named Bob who covered his pot belly with self-designed t-shirts that displayed inflammatory political statements. Don’t get me wrong, Bob was very nice, but he made Santa Claus look like a stud. He was also slightly off his rocker, insisting that I “do something” with Kenzie’s “obvious talent for running.” Were there younger, more attractive men than Bob at the park? Sure. But they always showed up with their wives or girlfriends.
Grocery Stores. I hate grocery shopping. I hate it so much that I end up at Publix nearly every day because I have trouble investing the time it takes for a weekly trip. And, despite my daily attendance at this supposed mecca of men, I have never been approached by a stranger. You know why? Because it would be weird to walk up to a woman you’ve never met while she examines vegetables and say, “Nice cucumber. Wanna have dinner?” On what planet would this actually be acceptable and not creepy? (Maybe Melmac, since they do eat cats there and all.)
Public transportation. Is there any place less romantic than a city bus or subway system? You’re uncomfortably smashed up against complete strangers, trying your hardest to avoid eye contact while praying that the person with BO gets off at the next stop. Granted, most of us in Central Florida don’t take public transportation — which is all the more reason why you won’t meet someone there.
Coffee Shops. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in coffee shops. In fact, I’m sitting in one as I write this. True, there are often several men hanging around in coffee shops, but I’ve never exchanged words with any of them. It doesn’t matter if I’m dressed up with full make-up or wearing sweats — the fact that we’re all hammering away on keyboards with headphones in our ears doesn’t exactly invite “getting to know you” discourse. And people who aren’t there to work are generally in too much of a hurry to be concerned with meeting their soulmates. (Of course, part of the problem could be that I tend to hang out in the Thornton Park Starbucks and I’m really just not these guys’ type.)
Weddings. As a general rule, meeting men through friends is great. (Except for that one time I dated my best guy friend’s fraternity brother and — while I was visting him in Miami — he spent the weekend cheating on me and my car was stolen.) However, short of fiction, I’ve never heard of anyone dating someone he/she met at a wedding. You’d think the recipe of friends, romance, dancing and an open bar would be ideal for love to blossom, but it’s really just ideal for hooking up.
So, where should fabulous single women go to meet equally fabulous single men? Workout groups/gyms. Sports bars. Clubs/organizations. Classes. Friends. Airports/airplanes (no, really, I’ve known a bunch of people who have met this way.) Online. Work (I got two serious relationships out of men I met at work.) And — as much as (coupled) people will insist it’s a terrible way to meet people — bars and lounges.
Of course, what do I know about meeting available men? I am still single, after all.