It’s hard navigating the post-college world of dating. In college, if you were in a frat or sorority, you were set, men and women just waiting to be asked out on dates or hook up with. Hitting on the cute guy in your class for a study session was more of my style, but hey, it still worked. Then there was always the house parties, where you could get wasted and meet friends of friends. 4 years out of college though, it seems that using the strategies now that you used at your alma mater don’t work out so well. As we all get older, we are looking for more serious and meaningful relationships, dates, and even hook-ups. Being an upper-twentysomething, and especially a thirtysomething, getting plastered at a college party and hitting on men/women just seems sad. That’s because it is. Gone are the days that the men we meet in a bar are good enough as boyfriends. Men you meet in a bar are just that, bar-goers. Sure the fun-loving lifestyle was nice when we were all 21, 22, and even 25, but as we take on more responsibility like kids, mortages, real jobs with real consequences, we all want something a little more… mellow. I’ve dated my fair share of younger guys (cause I’m still using those old pesky methods), and everyone of them was still a young guy. Drinking games with the Bros, all night video game sessions, and shirking responsibilities for fun. Sure these things are awesome every now and again, but when it’s on a weekly, or worse, daily basis, it becomes a problem when you want a more serious life.
So where do we meet these more serious life loving, more responsibility craving, and less binge drinking men? Hell, I have no clue! But here’s my top 10 list on where I would start. I’ve asked my older friends where the hell I go to meet 28-35 year olds, because they simply just don’t exist where ever I’m going… unless they are the creepy guy who doesn’t wanna grow up and still drinks with the frat guys and still can’t afford his own apartment, and who wants him? Not me.
1. Coffee Shops: I still find this one intriguing. It shows something about a person who chooses a coffee shop in the evening over a bar for happy hour. Maybe he’s catching up on a case for work, maybe he’s unwinding by reading the paper. What he’s not doing however, is staying up till 2 a.m. getting wasted. And that’s a good start IMO. Plus, sample ice-breaker: “What are you reading there? Looks awful!” or “When was the last time you ordered just a hot chocolate, without the caffeine?”
2. Happy Hour: Now this one is tricky… you KEY is to leave as soon as happy hour is over. Because anyone you meet after happy hour, is most likely gonna be there all night, and wanted to start the drunk boozing early for the cheap drinks, not the social hour. Many professionals partake in happy hour, as they have a short amount of time to bond with fellow co-workers before going home to deal with responsibilities. Which is what we want! A man who can still have fun ($3 martinis anyone?), but knows when to stop and get back to the real world. Also, don’t think late night happy hour is the same thing. Stay far far far away from those when looking to meet quality men. Hit them with your friends though, for sure. Bonus here is he is likely to be all dressed up in a suit, or similar nice work clothes, so make sure you’re dressed to match. Sample ice-breaker: “Long day in the office?” or “What do you do for a living?” Plus, if you want to buy HIM a drink, it won’t break the bank! And if he passes, it was only a few dollars down the drain.
3. Sports bars: Again, doing with the bar atmosphere can be risky. But plenty of single, mature men who have good lives go to sports bars during football season to watch the game with college buddies, co-workers and friends in general. I have actually met a guy from this one. We went on one date and it didn’t work out, but hey, he worked for the DA’s office and just bought his own home, so this one definitely works. The trick is to lean towards the guys who are sharing a pitcher with their buddies and actually watching the game, and shun away from the one’s lining up shots, cause they’re in for an all dayer and an all nighter. This one I def recommend because if you are into sports, and you occasionally know what you’re talking about (“That wasn’t pass interference! C’mon!!?”), that is a BIG turn on for men. The complaint that the wife doesn’t like football won’t ever be a problem for you two, and guys dig a chick who digs sports and can drink beer. Now if you don’t know anything about sports, don’t come off as the cute-ditsy girl (“What’s the guy in the stripey shirty doing in there?”). No woman-respecting man will find that hot. A good ice-breaker would be asking a cute guy some legitimate sports questions, but just don’t sound like a ditz (“Why aren’t they going for the extra point? They can get TWO points?? Do you think the Coach should have called it that way?”) There are plenty of ice-breakers in this one. Just show up with your fave team’s jersey on, looking cute, but not too sexy, and order a decent beer (read: not corona). BONUS: offer to split man food with a cutie.
4. Pet related activities: By this I mean the dog-park, dog beach, or a pet store. A man that owns and cares for a pet says a ton about him: he is partly selfless, responsible, has a stable life, and can take on a financial burden of another life. All these things read commitment. Plus, if you have a pet, then you already have something in common. Ice-breakers can include anything from talking about breeds, to showing off your dogs tricks. And there really isn’t much sweeter than seeing a hot guy loving his dog, throwing a ball for his pup, and petting it. BONUS: Most guys at a dog park who are there along are likely to be single. One, a guy in a relationship will probably just be walking the pup around the block. Two, if he does it at all… these things usually fall under the woman’s domain. Even bigger BONUS: if your dogs get along, offer a time in the future for a “puppy play date”, if he’s into you, he’ll likely catch on and agree, asking for your digits. Text him an hour before the date asking if he’d like a coffee. TIPS: Bring doggie treats and watch where you step.
5. Dinner parties: I don’t know why, but as we grow older, our friends throw less all nighter kick-backs, and more sophisticated dinner parties/game nights. I personally prefer these types of parties, I love competition and I love board games. As long as the night doesn’t turn into a couple’s night + you, then this could be an excellent way to meet a guy. More and more I feel like my future husband is going to be a friend of a friend, and not someone I meet on the street randomly. So make sure to ask the hosts to invite some single hotties for you. Flirting should be easy in this type of environment, as you have mutual friends to converse over, and familiar faces to put you at ease. Bring a bottle of good wine that you know a few things about for conversation starters. And if it does come to game time, don’t be shy or embarrassed to start things off! Every guy loves a confident woman who can make them laugh and isn’t afraid to put herself out there. Ask him first to be on your team, if he is being shy. I once went to play laser tag with my boyfriend, and when we got there, it was literally all little kids and then us. When we went into the arena, I had about 1 second of “I’m gonna look so dumb”, but then some little shit killed me and I got into it. I said, “lets go!” and started ducking behind walls all Mission: Impossible style. Later he told me that if it hadn’t been for my excitement, he wouldn’t have been so open to getting into the silliness of it all. So let go, and make a total ass of yourself at charades, don’t be insecure, and you’ll likely catch his eye. BONUS: since it’s a dinner party, you’ll likely be in some cocktail sexy dress with some nice heels, which will already give you that confidence boost you need, and will definitely catch his eye.
6. Work: You may not see anybody interesting (or have anyone, as in my case: I work alone), but make sure you go to ALL work events. These are likely to include different departments, other locations, and if it is an open, bring your friends event, then the network is even bigger. Just be careful with whom you hit on. No one wants to make work awkward the next week! And be sure to look out for that ring! Work affairs are messy and a huge no-no. Just make sure you don’t get too sloshed and make an ass of yourself, or you’ll be known as the chicken dance lady from last year’s Christmas party all year long. “Hi, I’m Lizzy. I think we met at the Holiday Party?”, “Oh yeah! You’re the Chicken dance girl! That was funny.” End of conversation. Make sure you especially attend your company’s holiday party, as it will likely be formal (hot cocktail dresses and suits? yes please!), it will likely be BIG, and it will likely have a bar. And really the holidays are especially romantic when you’re all dressed up, cocktail in hand, and a band playing for dancing.
7. Concerts/festivals: Can you say Beer festival? An all day band festival? Oktoberfest? Men love these events, and if you love music or whatever is being celebrated at the festival, then you have get a double bonus! Hot guys who have your same interests, and an easy way to start up conversations. Plus, if it’s a total bust, at least you got to see that local band you’ve read so much about, or sampled craft beers for the first time. The key here is to bring 1 or 2 friends of the same sex at most. Too many girls, and you’re no longer approachable. Any guy in the group, and it’s hard to judge if you’re together. Coming with another couple is bad too, it could just look like 1. you have no friends, or 2. your bf is meeting up soon.
8. Church: I’m not particularly religious, so this one wouldn’t really work for me. But if you are, maybe it’s time to look at your weekly Church visits as two-fold. Love God, and find a mate. Most churches these days have a twentysomething-specialized service that is chock full of younger adults. Churches also push for mingling, before, during, and after the service. Introduce yourself to a member of the church, and ask them to introduce you around. A few weeks of attending, and you can finally say HI to that cutie long enough to ask for a post-church brunch, or coffee date. Some bonuses here are that you’ll both be in nicer clothes, showered and cleaned. And the major bonus is you know your deepest values are shared, so a year down the road you’ll never have to have that conversation about kids/abortion/marriage and the like. Another big bonus is you know the man has the capacity to love something greater than himself, and is likely to feel like he has a purpose in life (other than playing Halo 4). It could also show that he cares about others, and can keep important commitments, like going to church every week.
9: Persue your Passions: This one should seem obvious. Go out and do things you love, and you’re bound to come across a hot guy who loves those things too. It’s statistics! Run marathons-ask a hottie to train with you. Make pottery-ask a hottie for tips on this new vase you’re trying. Practice yoga-ask a hottie for a post-yoga whatever-they-drink (wheatgrass shot?). Gym rat-ask a hottie to spot you. Total geek-ask a hottie if he accepts the alt reality in the new Star Trek. If you’re out there doing what you love, you’re gonna be happy and become a much better woman for pursuing your passions, and every guy will notice that and fall for you for it. Don’t be afraid to do these things alone. Afterall, it’s your passion. Showing you’re independent and follow your dreams, and don’t just sit at home watching rom-coms, is a big turn on. And even better, if you are out there living your life, being single won’t really matter, and you know what they say: They often come when you’re not looking.
10: Running Errands: This one follows the logic of #9. Grocery shopping, going to the gym, doing your laundry, dropping off drycleaning, hell even going to the dentist… all people of all genders do these tasks. You just have to be confident enough that when you see him, or even better, when he sees you, you’re happy, because that will come across in a conversation more than any cheesy line will. If you live life and allow things to happen, they will. And if you’re in your Saturday sweats and ugg boots, even better. Because this is the real you, the everyday, in and outs of life you, and ultimately that is what he is going to have to love. If a guy hits on you when you’re “basic you”, you’re going to sweep him away and blow his mind when you’re “date you”.