Ready to Date Again
May 15, 2009 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Seeking advice on where a woman can meet a man in the Boston/Cambridge area.

Asking for a friend—let’s call her Beth—who is in her mid-30’s—lovely, approachable, hip (but not tragically so), witty, kind, and authentic.

I ask myself: who would NOT want to meet this woman? I’d love to help Beth find her next date/relationship. However, I haven’t been in the “dating scene” for about 10 years and have no idea where to start – thought Metafilter might have some ideas.

Details: A little over a year ago, Beth ended a long-term relationship with her boyfriend (they were together for about 13 years). She hasn’t met anyone since that time perhaps because many of her activities take place away from where the boys are (she works at home and attends a women’s gym which she highly values) and nearly all of her friends are permanently partnered/married. She has a well-rounded set of interests, and doesn’t sit home on weeknights or weekends—she takes the occasional hobby-related class, goes out for dinner with friends, and frequently attends events like art openings or other creative performances. She’s a professional (if it matters), but isn’t focused on same to the exclusion of others. Basically, she’s just looking to get out and date a little, enjoy romance, not necessarily get into a 100% exclusive relationship right away (not necessarily, anyway).

To my question: I really think she has the right mindset and perspective so I’m not looking for general advice for her (i.e., like “be approachable,” or “smile!”) but am seeking Boston- or Cambridge-specific advice, for particular places to go or activities to engage in that are good places to meet quality people. She hasn’t looked into online dating, so any thoughts on that too would be welcome.
posted by dreamphone to Human Relations (9 answers total)
There is this little 10th anniversary shindig coming up. You never know who or what you'll meet at these things (seriously, I've never been to a meetup, so I really don't know who or what one might meet).

As for online dating, I had an awful experience on Plentyoffish but somewhat better and more interesting luck on OKCupid. I've also experienced much miserable failure on OKCupid, but that's because I talk when I absolutely shouldn't and say completely ridiculous and generally unintelligible and geeky things that are really best left to fester in the decrepit attic of my brain.
posted by zerokey at 8:08 AM on May 15, 2009

Be sure that Beth wants help dating.
posted by k8t at 8:20 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Does she like to dance? I remember there being a lot of fun contradancing going on in Cambridge.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:23 AM on May 15, 2009

Response by poster: k8t: Yes, Beth approved this message!

ocherbraco: what is contradancing?
posted by dreamphone at 8:29 AM on May 15, 2009

Contradancing is a New England-specific kind of folk dancing, sort of like squaredancing - the dances can be partnered dances that are also group dances, if that makes any sense. I think every 7th grader in New England learns it in gym class.
posted by rtha at 8:33 AM on May 15, 2009

I'll second the OkCupid recommendation, and they also have a more spontaneous site called Crazy Blind Date. seems a lot better for meeting people than hobby classes. In addition to interest-based ones, they also have meetups specifically for dating.

As for actual events, I think concerts & live music are a traditional venue for meeting people, so long as the performers are ones playing music more likely to draw a crowd of her generation. You said she attends 'creative performances', but that makes me think of plays and fine arts, where attention is focused on the performers to the exclusion of all else, and where most people are attending with a date, rather than hoping to find someone.

Good luck, Beth!
posted by ElfWord at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2009

She may want to check out MFA First Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts. attends.
posted by ericb at 10:02 AM on May 15, 2009

Best answer: I'm going to tackle some online dating stuff...
I don't reccommend craigslist for anyone who is looking to date seriously. However, I think it is a great resource if you want to meet people to get back into the swing of dating. Its a free service and that means it can attract some crazies (not just the craigslist killer variety crazies). I'd reccommend exchanging several emails before agreeing to a date - in a well lit, crowded area.

Include a good picture of yourself that shows all of you. Yes, beauty may be only skin deep, but if you want to be noticed, you don't want to draw negative questions such as "What is wrong with this person that they don't have a picture?" If you don't show a picture, the assumption (right or wrong) is you aren't attractive. If you show a partial or blurry picture, the assumption (right or wrong) is you have a horrible physical defect and are trying to hide it. If you are larger, aren't happy with your picture, or do have a horrible defect - get it out up front and show it. You'll cut out the juvinille crowd that can't get over that sort of thing: You don't want to be dating them anyway.

Like all free things though, sooner or later you realize that craigslist is not STATISTICALLY a great site to find a serious relationship (I say statistically because I'm sure many mefites have found love on craigslist - it does happen - the odds are low.) But, think of it as a bike with training wheels, once you are back in the swing of things and are comforatable adjusting to a couple of dates each week, find a real dating service.

I picked eHarmony. I think it is geared more for people who want to settle down, but suck at picking the right person. In my case, this was perfect for me; I'd been divorced, I'd had several long term girlfriends prior, and I had the overwhelming feeling like the girls I was dating on craigslist, while each was appealing and unique in their own right, were long term time bombs waiting for me to not be happy in yet another relationship. I went into eHarmony with a great objective. I knew what I liked from each of my prior long term girlfriends, and I knew from the more short term girlfriends what qualities I was not looking for in people. It allowed me to both identify what it was that I was looking for, while also provided me enough internal insight to tailor myself and my profile to that type of person.

But, the best part was I didn't have to pick them from everyone. I didn't have to know too much about each person, and it was easy to rule out folks that I really wasn't interested in. It kept me safe from jumping into dating too fast. I scored a 5-6 different dates off of eHarmony - each was a fantastic person that I could have seen myself with long term, but when I found my wife - things just *clicked*. The forced length of time that eHarmony imposed on me forced me to really evaluate what I wanted out of a partner, and when we found eachother - it - well, probably belonged in a commercial - it just worked.

Even though I no longer use the service, I still get great little reminders from the site, giving me advice on how to be more caring and compassionate with my wife - how to reorganize how I relate to people. Its been a great tool that I'm quite honestly very thankful for.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:35 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Through friends is a great way to meet possible dates. Do you yourself know any single men, or have friends who have single male friends? I think it is o.k. to be this direct.

Even if you are taken, you can still be on the lookout for possible dates for her. Pre-screen them, and set them up!

(I had a friend (male) who was set up by a coworker. The coworker was getting a haircut, had a great conversation with the woman in the chair next to her, asked her if she was single, set her up with my friend, they dated for years)
posted by Vaike at 6:35 PM on May 17, 2009

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