Nice, single guys that want girlfriends... Where you at?!
December 7, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

[NYCFilter] Where can I meet nice guys for friendship/relationship? 21 year old never-been-in-a-relationship-before single female here. I am NOT interested in online dating at this point. I want to try it the (good?) old-fashioned way first: meeting face-to-face.

Anon because I'm so embarassed to have to ask a question like this. I know its all about location, location, location but I'm never anywhere where eligible guys are. So I am looking to all MeFites to tell me where to go! Many many many details and snowflakiness below.

I attend school in downtown Manhattan and live in an off-campus, private apartment in the same area. This is my last year at the school, so if there were any prospective fellas, I would've met them already. The male population was either gay, taken, or just not for me (and some I think I scared off because I really had never talked to guys prior to college and just didn't know how to act). My building is mostly inhabited by families or older people. I am currently looking for a job and internship (ideally retail job and marketing/pr internship) but no one's hiring, so those are two more places that I can't find a guy. I previously worked in retail and loved it but all the guys there were again: either gay, taken or not for me.

I don't really have any hobbies. I'm usually so tired when I get home from class or whatnot and just want to veg out on the couch and watch TV or surf the internet. I know that that's not fun and no one wants a boring person. But all the things I'm interested in pursuing are too expensive or not guy-oriented. For example, I would like to take up judo/jujitsu, trapeze or aerial arts, or learn squash or how to make stained glass windows (yes I like weird things. Never be normal!). I really don't have money for that. I do volunteer- but its for an organization that helps female domestic violence victims. And I like yoga and pilates. But I'm not going to meet any guys doing that.

What do I do for fun? Um, I walk around and explore the city for fun and also because sometimes I'm too cheap to pay for the subway. When I have money, I love to go to different restaurants. I like shopping. I like going to Barnes & Noble to read the latest tabloids and check out new books. A guy there actually asked me out once and I was planning on going out with him but he was totally unflexible about meeting during times when I wasn't working. The idea of an ultimate frisbee or volleyball meetup is horrifying to me (brings back terrible memories of middle school gym class) so please don't say that. I'm uncoordinated and seriously doubt me getting hit in the head every five seconds and taking 15 minutes to serve the ball will be a turn on to anyone. (I would be a smidge more willing to publicly humiliate myself for a sport that I actually want to learn). I'm not a big fan of indie or live music but if my future guy is, then I'll happily go with him. Although I don't really have anything against Brooklyn or Queens, I also have no reason to go there and my friends don't either so that's out too.

The only way I think I put myself out there right now is by going out to bars on the weekend, and I know that lasting relationships are not formed at bars. (I am seriously thinking about going to bar trivia, but I really doubt that my friends will want to come with me and it's not a smart idea for a female to go to an unfamiliar bar alone). I really do love going out with a girlfriend and having a crazy night. Our gameplan is to get guys to buy us drinks all night and it usually is quite successful... But at the end of the day, I would rather trade the drinks for a date. I've met some really nice guys and even though I rejected all their advances, they would still be nice enough to cuddle with me, chat, and make me breakfast the next morning... or maybe they were just trying to be a good wingman and occupy me while their friend was hooking up with my friend...

I'm ideally looking for a guy a few years older than me because the majority of guys my age still have sex on the brain 24/7, and I also just prefer older guys. But I'll still set my range as 22-30, educated, not broke, sweet, and brave/willing enough to walk a nonexperienced chick through... everything, datingwise. From hand-holding onwards. He MUST be confident enough to approach and pursue me because I'm too shy and inexperienced to know if a guy is interested. If you're a guy like this, where do you hang out?

It's depressing for me to think about how old I am and how I've never even been close to having a boyfriend. I'm nowhere near overweight nor am I terribly ugly... I'm just shy, stuck in a rut, and too broke to extricate myself from it. I know that I shouldn't depend on someone to make me happy... but I would still like to be happy and go through normal life stages like everyone else. I know I can do it, I just need to know where to go.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've met some really nice guys and even though I rejected all their advances, they would still be nice enough to cuddle with me [...]

It sounds like you're not giving guys a chance. Maybe you're expecting to get blown away by someone right off the bat, but I don't think that's how it usually happens. The next someone hits on you at the bar, why not just give him your number and tell him you'd love for him to take you out to dinner sometime?

Also, co-ed intramural sports are great while you're in college, and rec leagues when you're out. Join a ballroom dance class at school. Drag a friend that that bar trivia, it sounds like a great idea.

also internet dating
posted by auto-correct at 6:44 PM on December 7, 2010

Oh hey, look, it's me 7 years ago. I was you- I lived in New York City and I went to that school and I know some of the challenges you face. Here's my thoughts.

Ok, so you don't want to do online dating, you can't do things that cost a lot of money, you've written off every single guy at your HUGE learning institution, and you won't go concerts, game meetups, Brooklyn, Queens, or anywhere alone... what do you want us to say? You have a lot of excuses. You have to do something. Doing nothing is not going to work. You need to put on a new attitude.

For starters, "it's not a smart idea for a female to go to an unfamiliar bar alone" is false. Getting drunk or going home alone with an unfamiliar person is not a smart idea. Going to an unfamiliar place alone is a way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. If you go with friends, you'll just sit around with them all night and never meet anyone new. Your 21-year old friends are going to hold you back from this new grown-up dating stage you want to hit (you go out looking to drink all night on somebody else's dime? Set higher goals for yourself). Bar trivia sounds like a great idea. Keep looking around and nonsense nyc and IRL for the kind of events you're interested in, and go to them. Try everything once. This is New York City, there's a lot of fun to be had out there.

But I should warn you that dating older guys to avoid guys who "still have sex on the brain 24/7" is probably not going to work. Those older guys are going to want to have sex, too; they just might (might!) be more mature about it. Think about that in advance- think about the standards you want to keep for yourself, the things you're ready to do now and the things you want to wait on.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [28 favorites]

Hey, I'm female, your age, living in the same place as you, probably go to the same school as you. If you want to go out but don't want to go alone (I know sometimes that's a hurdle for me) I'd be happy to come with you and be your wing woman. And I love sports/working out so if you wanted someone to do one of those activities with you so it's not so scary the first time, I'd be happy to. Or if you just want to grab some coffee (maybe with a few of my other friends, we're nice) and discuss the overall dating scene, how its going, etc, I'd be more than game. Whatever you think would help you. Just memail me :)
posted by afterdark at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]

What TPS said, and the whole meeting people at bars thing doesn't lead to lasting relationships is crap. My fiance and I met in a bar and he is really one of the most wonderful people I've ever met. Heck, a number of my friends meet their SO's in a bar, and when I think about it, I met a number of my friends in a bar.

What ever you do, where ever you do it, you have to talk to people and be open to rejection. Randomly talking to strangers about the weather, life, crap on tv, whatever, is the only way that you are going to even have the opportunity to discover if someone is right for you.
posted by teleri025 at 6:59 PM on December 7, 2010

That's a lot list of excuses in a long question about how to meet people when you're already meeting guys in various ways.

You sound your age or slightly younger. Be open to guys your age. Date the ones who approach you. Don't turn them down based on first impressions or on an arbitrary set of standards culled from the media or your peer group or wherever.
posted by vincele at 7:05 PM on December 7, 2010

One thing to keep in mind is that you're not going to meet Mr. Right the first time. Or even the twentieth time. It is kind of a numbers game--you need to put yourself out there and try new things.

Accept that you'll go out on a bunch of bad, disappointing dates. That's okay--think of it as practice. (Online dating is good for this--a first date is not a commitment to anything beyond a couple of hours and a cup of coffee.) And who knows, maybe someone will surprise you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man. So many ideas. Soooooo many ideas ...

You want to take judo/jiujitsu but don't have money? I would bet my bottom dollar that your university has a martial arts club for sure, and maybe one specific to either of those martial arts. If it's a club, you shouldn't have to pay (as opposed to an intramural group where you do pay. But even then, you don't pay much.) If your university doesn't have one, you can contact a university that does and ask them if you can join it. At my university, anyone, even non-students can join any of the martial arts clubs or intramural groups as long as they have gym access, and anyone can join the gym if they pay. And it's not expensive. I think this is your best bet, you're likely to be one of a handful of women in the midst of a roomful of dudes.

You already volunteer ... would you have time to volunteer more, maybe once a week on a Saturday or something? I recommend Habitat for Humanity for meeting guys. If the volunteering takes place outdoors and it involves using tools, in my experience, it's more likely that there will be guys there. There are also many museums where you can volunteer as a docent, and you'll meet dozens to hundreds of young straight guys every day doing that.

You're looking for a retail job ... have you thought about looking for a job in a store whose clientele is mostly male? I'm thinking like sporting good stores here. If you're just looking for a job, any job to pay the bills right now while you look for a career-type job in marketing, I promise you that if you become a waitress or barista in NYC you'll meet so many guys it will make you sick.

Finally ... what about just striking up conversations on the street? It doesn't have to be witty at all. It can be a completely mundane and boring comment. Just make a comment about the surroundings or even the weather and smile. "Wow, does the stoplight always take this long?" etc.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't necessarily discount the internet as a place to look. It could be as simple as putting up a quick OK Cupid profile or checking out Craigslist every once in awhile. If you're interested in going through the motions of actual "dating," that might take some of the guesswork out of trying to set up dates, as opposed to after-last-call-hookups.
posted by pourtant at 7:29 PM on December 7, 2010

and I know that lasting relationships are not formed at bars

relationships can be formed anywhere that one person talks to another

Our gameplan is to get guys to buy us drinks all night

this is actually a crappy way to treat men - of course you're not going to meet anyone really nice if you're approaching guys with a plan to sucker them. Buy your own drinks, and make friends with the guys you meet, you'll have much better luck.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [15 favorites]

Most couples I know either met in college or met through friends of friends, at house parties, and things like that. All except 2, who've been together a couple years at this point.

and I know that lasting relationships are not formed at bars.

Those 2 couples met at bars.
posted by oreofuchi at 7:48 PM on December 7, 2010

Through working in web stuff I have some acquaintances and friends-of-friends who are single, nice, smart guys your age, and they're on OK Cupid -- because they're a little shy too and not so good at randomly approaching girls who may or may not be interested! Although some of them are in Brooklyn, so maybe that double-disqualifies them. :)
posted by dreamyshade at 7:50 PM on December 7, 2010

I'm 30, educated, not broke, etc. And also very taken, but for the sake of reference, here's where I hang out: Mostly with my friends, and mostly at my friends' homes. Most of my time is spent socially is spent hanging out with friends I already know, doing things we already like to do. I rarely meet new people, but when I do, they're always coworkers, friends of friends, or neighbors. Potluck parties are a big success with me.

When I was younger and more single, My pattern was mostly the same. Hanging out at home with friends. I also went out dancing a lot. I've met some people that way, but usually it was more of a "hey, you're fun, let's hang out for a bit and then never really keep in touch" sort of thing.

I go out to restaurants and coffee shops reasonably frequently, but I go to those places to get food in me and get work done. Approaching the women there, even when I was single, was the last thing on my mind.

Reliably, if you wanted to date younger me, the best way to meet me was to be introduced to me by a friend. If you do some sort of regular activity with friends, usually involving food, games, movies, or other general low stress hanging out. If the circle has an open door policy to inviting more people, you will meet interesting folks, some of whom are probably dating compatible. It also gives you an opportunity to know what you're getting into before you dive into dating someone. First impressions are important, but they are also often misleading. Someone you you don't initially like might grow on you, or someone you are initially attracted to might turn out to be a bad idea.

You said you like hanging out at home and vegging out. Once a week or so, hang out at home and veg out with friends. It's a slow process to go from that to dating someone, but it's a small step that will get you started.
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:51 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm having a drink in a very nice bar in the middle of (probably) your school right now, and there's an attractive woman sitting to my left reading something and having pizza and red wine. If I didn't live with a wonderful woman - whom I also met in a bar - then when she looks over and smiles I would ask her what she's reading. But this (well, something similar with an age-appropriate man) will not happen to you because you don't think you can meet relationship-worthy guys in bars. Rethink that!
posted by nicwolff at 7:56 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm usually so tired when I get home from class or whatnot and just want to veg out on the couch and watch TV or surf the internet.

Get more sleep. I'm serious. You're willing to go out with your friends on a crazy night to get guys to buy you drinks... but you've already crossed way too many other things off your list. Campus clubs exist for a reason. Join a hiking club (or a hiking meetup) - lots of guys there!

Don't sit there and expect the world to come to you, especially if you've shot down all the guys who have tried! And this: He MUST be confident enough to approach and pursue me because I'm too shy and inexperienced to know if a guy is interested.

Is just a recipe for unhappy waiting. Really, you'll figure this out, trust me. Take risks. if you think someone might be interested (and more to the point, you like them) ask them out!

"I'm going to [do X thing on Y date], want to come with me?"

Worst that happens is that they say no, and you're no better off than you were.
posted by canine epigram at 8:02 PM on December 7, 2010

He MUST be confident enough to approach and pursue me because I'm too shy and inexperienced to know if a guy is interested.

Why must you know if he's interested at first? Just try until it works. This is about overcoming fear of rejection, nothing else.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your post is long litany of negativity - it seems like you've considered lots of possibilities and found ways to reject them without trying them, because you just know it would be a disaster for xyz reasons. You're in college, and you're learning a lot of things - it would be an excellent idea to learn to drop this attitude as well. The only way anything is going to work is if you try it. This is especially true with dating. Here's why:

Successful dating involves a lot of failure.

This is just the way it is. You're going to find the right guy by finding a lot of wrong guys. You're going to embarrass yourself, and go on terrible dates that feel horrific at the time, and you're going to die laughing about them with your friends the next day. This is just part of the deal with dating. So every time you catch yourself saying "well, I can't do that," go give it a try. None of the practical advice that anyone's giving you in this thread is going to do you any good if you approach everything with an attitude of "oh, I could never do that."

So, on to the practical advice.

1. Improv classes. The serious eight week classes typically run around $300, so that may be too much for you. But the Magnet Theater offers a free introductory class: check it out. It's a great way to meet people, and it tends to be male-heavy.

2. Book club. You said you like to read, so this is a good option. I can personally recommend the Williamsburg/Greenpoint bookclub. They're meeting tomorrow, so you can drop by if you've already read Freedom. Otherwise it's Notes from the Underground for next month. Check them out here. The way they work is that once you come to a couple of meetings and the people know you'll be sticking around, you start to get invited to some social stuff. Speaking of which...

3. Parties. But not just any parties. When I was younger, there was one kind of party I absolutely would not go to: the party where the only person I knew was the host. Who would I talk to? It would be awkward. I couldn't possibly do that (you see, I know about your preemptive negative responses from personal experience). What I eventually learned was that, as a single person, this is the best kind of party. It means you're meeting all new people! And you're forced to talk to them! I met my current awesome girlfriend at such a party.

Good luck! 21 isn't that old - you'll get the hang of it soon enough.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:11 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm going to be blunt, because 2 years ago I was you and I wish someone had said this to me sooner:

You don't sound ready to be in a relationship. Your entire post is all about you, you, you, and yet, when I really started sifting through all your requirements and your excuses, the big thing that struck me is that you do not seem to know who you are and how you can compromise in any way, shape or form.

You wonder why you're not finding any guys who are quote unquote worthy or worthwhile? Because you're not offering anything in return. You've got a very juvenile perspective about what it means to date and be in a relationship, and that is going to damage your chances of finding someone stable and good in the long run.

I mean, shoot, I were male, I'd be pretty turned off to discover that I MUST be x, that I MUST be y, in order to be qualified to even come near you. You're not allowing yourself to be attractive because really, you've done nothing to meet any potential suitor half way. So you're shy. Get over it. So you're poor. Get over it. So you're inexperienced. GET OVER IT.

You said it yourself: "I know that I shouldn't depend on someone to make me happy... but I would still like to be happy and go through normal life stages like everyone else. I know I can do it, I just need to know where to go."

Go inward. Seek out opportunities to get to know yourself, to better your mind, body and soul. Read, because you like to read. Explore the city, because you like to explore. Volunteer. Break down your comfort zone. Expand your thoughts and your heart and give back to your community. Then ask the universe, "I think I am ready to get to know someone. If you agree, please help us find each other."

Improve yourself. Take risks. Build up your bravery and your self confidence. And be ready and WILLING to meet guys halfway. No man should have to teach you how to be in a relationship. That is such an emotional and psychological burden to be placing on a potential boyfriend. You alone are responsible for learning about what it means to be in a partnership -- a partnership not only with another person, but also with yourself.

Good luck. You will find the right person. You just need to re-frame the way you look at both yourself and the people and situations around you.
posted by patronuscharms at 8:18 PM on December 7, 2010 [23 favorites]

Whatever you do, don't procrastinate on taking action on this.

Don't be like me and wake up at age 29, and suddenly realize that (a) being single & lonely & miserable sucks (b) you never took the time earlier in life to develop the social skills to help you get out of that situation easily.

Keeping (b) in mind, I don't have a whole lot of what to do to suggest, just don't do like I did and fail to develop social & dating skills during the most opportune time for doing so. Once you're out of college, it becomes much more difficult (at least it did for me) to keep up with a large social circle, which (keeping in mind what someone said upthread) reduces the number of people who may be able to introduce you to someone you'll click with.

Good luck!
posted by AMSBoethius at 8:31 PM on December 7, 2010

Why are you opposed to internet dating? If you want someone X age in Y location who wants to go on grown-up dates and has A education and B income and willing to pursue you enough to take the guesswork out of it for you... you can just set up a filter and find a lot of guys like that.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:42 PM on December 7, 2010

He MUST be confident enough to approach and pursue me because

There's your problem. No point wandering round waiting for lightning to strike. Screw your courage to the sticking place place and ask someone out who seems interesting. I met my AMAZING partner on a years ago on a political youth forum and after innumerable real-life catch-ups however mutual friends with lots of aquaintances and no pressure events, e.g bowling, bbq or something at the park, etc can also be a good way to meet people.

Also, I can't believe there's not a single guy in your whole degree who doesn't at least make you think "hmmm" on the inside, you must be in the shittiest course ever. When I was at uni there were dozens of girls in my courses that - looking back - I would have been happy to get to know a little better. They were smart, engaged (with the world, not other men), interesting girls that seemed cool.

At the end of a semester someone in the tute group would always propose going to grab a beer at a nearby bar, and further socialisation ensued. Get out there a little!
posted by smoke at 8:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I do not live in NYC and I'm afraid I can't advise you on where to go to meet guys. But I can tell you that I once did an 8 week internship in Boston, where I knew just one person. I didn't want to sit alone every night and be lonely on weekends, so I made a decision: unless it seemed dangerous, I would say "yes" to anything anyone asked me to do. Did I want to see a weird movie with some folks from the office? Yes. Didn't matter that I had no interest in the movie. Did I want to go to Cape Cod with the one person in Boston I knew, and a bunch of people I didn't know? Yes! Did I want to have dinner with the friend of a friend? Yes. Not all of these experiences were great, but I had a great summer.
My advice is to be more open. I know the big wide world is scary. Dive in anyway. Use your common sense, but dive in!
posted by cleverevans at 8:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]

Don't wait around for awesome guys to ask you out in public or at outings. Not likely. Do you have male friends? Do you interact well with guys generally? You should work on befriending guys.
There's some episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon is told to stop focusing so much on what she doesn't like and more on what she likes. You could do well to follow that as well.
Just to let you know, guys in the age range you mention are not really any less interested in sex than college-aged boys, they're just interested in more other things, too.
posted by elpea at 9:01 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try volunteering. This might be a good start.
posted by bananafish at 10:13 PM on December 7, 2010

I met a great guy through my university's Catholic Center. You might try Church. Perhaps one Sunday you'll find spiritual salvation AND a date. ;) It was really getting involved in the student community, not just going to Mass, that made the difference for me. It wasn't the type of group full of religious nutsos either--just a nice mix of young people with diverse interests and personalities, all pretty level headed. I unexpectedly got my first boyfriend, who I met when I was 21, out of it. Also, it's perfectly alright to date a guy who's even a bit younger. It can be nice to both be starting out, learning about these messy things called relationships, and how to be in one. In this situation, there's no baggage, which can be a good thing in many ways. You might find there are some quality guys you'd like to get to know better if you keep an open mind about these things. And remember--it's okay to be friends(-ish) first!
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:17 AM on December 8, 2010

Cut the tv cable plan from your budget and funnel that money into buying your own drinks at a good bar on trivia night. If you want recommendations or hell, even a fun, friendly female to go with you -- memail me.

This is a fail safe way to get smart, well-rounded, and generally decent guys to notice you, especially if you beat their pants off! And hey, you might even have fun.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:49 AM on December 8, 2010

I once lived with a super-brilliant, dedicated roommate. Undergraduate and graduate awards and honors and success and practicality....this woman had (and has) them early and in spades. Also, she's awesome. I just want you to know she has the 'right' pedigree to give you the following advice, which is one of the most astute statements I've ever heard:

'Never confuse education with intelligence.'

Education is not a stand-in for the other traits that make a good partner.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 5:08 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

For example, I would like to take up judo/jujitsu, trapeze or aerial arts, or learn squash or how to make stained glass windows (yes I like weird things. Never be normal!)

Just want to point out that these activities are so far from being considered "weird" in NYC. You see things like this recommended in Time Out all the time, which is like THE mainstream social activity roster. The only reason I mention it is that I think you might be holding yourself back via self-consciousness, or not being open about your real interests with people when you talk.

And also, there are lots of women in the NYC martial arts scene, but it's mostly straight guys. And that's one of the few regular group activities that I've found where this is true. Lots of classes offer a free trial lesson so you can meet the people and get a feel for the class. Even if you can't afford to buy classes right now, why not start dropping in on various classes and see what catches your eye? It would be something to do at least.
posted by hermitosis at 6:52 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, you're wasting your time at the bars, especially with your plan about aiming for guys to buy you drinks. The guys most willing to chat up strange women at bars and pay for their drinks are looking to get laid. Since you say you prefer someone a little older who doesn't want "sex 24/7" this does not compute.

And in general, the guys in the bar with the most courage and confidence w/r/t approaching women are the ones you have to watch out for the most, because they are the ones most inured to rejection after hundreds of failed attempts. I have a relative who claims to be really attracted to "confidence", but since she only meets men at bars, her dating life has been a hideous parade of insufferable drunks and douchebags (whose behavior by now she has accepted as perfectly normal, because I don't think she's literally EVER given a nice, thoughtful, considerate man a chance).
posted by hermitosis at 7:01 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, clearly you're not going to meet nice guys in bars if your idea is to go out and play into every fucking creepy sexist stereotype in the world ("Hee, hee, giggle, guys bought us drinks!") Jerky behavior attracts jerks.

Nice people go to bars. Nice people meet each other in bars. (My brother and sister-in-law met at a bar!) Nice people steer clear of a bunch of drunk girls thinking they're hot stuff because they're stringing guys along for free drinks.

That said, I think at 21 the bar may not be the ideal place to meet interesting dates. You also sound pretty young for your age, so I think you should be focusing on dating guys in your age group, not people who are older and more established.

Join clubs on campus; do martial arts on campus; volunteer on campus. Have a thing with one of your fellow students. That's a big part of what college is all about for many people. You've already skipped one set of experiences--high-school dating--so why are you so all-fired anxious to skip college dating as well?

As others have said, learn who you are, what you want in a relationship, and what you have to offer in a relationship. Discard as much as possible of the cultural programming you've learned from TV and movies about how dating works. Get to know men you find interesting and attractive, and go from there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:50 AM on December 8, 2010

[removed mailinator address since it's available to anyone without a password. OP, can you send us a non-mailinator update address? thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:55 AM on December 8, 2010

From the OP:
I'm not opposed to internet dating. I just want to try the old-fashioned way first. If that doesn't work, then and only then will I try internet dating.

I personally think that you can form a lasting relationship if you meet at a bar... I just wrote that because people always seem quick to say that you can't and I wanted to avoid that whole can-you-or-can't-you discussion. Oh well.

"Also, I can't believe there's not a single guy in your whole degree who doesn't at least make you think "hmmm" on the inside, you must be in the shittiest course ever. When I was at uni there were dozens of girls in my courses that - looking back - I would have been happy to get to know a little better. They were smart, engaged (with the world, not other men), interesting girls that seemed cool."

There were some guys in my school that I was interested in back in freshman year, but like I said in my OP... I think I literally scared them away (long story and I've already written enough of a novel. If you truly want to hear it, shoot me an email). I realized when the year was almost over that one of them might have been interested in me and I tried to be nice to him... but I guess he was over me and I can't blame him. He had a very cocky approach (can't really explain it) so I never knew if he was trying to be funny or trying to flirt... and I asked my girlfriends what they thought and not one of them thought that he liked me. He was always saying we should study together but it was a class I hated so I had no intention of doing any extra work for it and I didn't get the clue... He tried to introduce me to his brother who came to visit one time and I literally ran away because I was scared. So yeah, haven't kept in contact with any of those guys and I've burned those bridges. It looks like I will skip college dating too because it's just too darned late. I can't go back in time and change how I acted around those guys and I know most of the eligible guys in my graduating class.

And I really honestly just like older guys more. Maybe I'm way too immature for them, but I can't help what I'm attracted to.

So I've actually come a long way. If I seem immature and juvenile right now, I shudder to think what I would have sounded like 3-4 years ago! I've recently been feeling a LOT better about myself and my self image and truly think I'm ready to date. I already wrote a novel before, and I'm penning a sequel here but I know that I'm a good person. I'm a great friend and a loving person and I have a lot to offer (as well as a lot to learn).

I was looking for suggestions along the lines of 'sit at Starbucks', 'go XYZ store', or Dec 10 is National Mens Yoga Practioners Convention or something but thanks everyone for your advice and listening to my 'long litany of negativity'. I especially appreciate hearing from those of you who have been in my shoes.
posted by jessamyn at 9:56 AM on December 8, 2010

You shouldn't feel too bad about your situation. Truth is, you're still really young. And there are many people who are just like you who have managed to find awesome relationships. You just have to be open to the possibility that the right guy could come along at anytime and anywhere. While I don't necessarily think meeting guys at bars is the best option, it's certainly not a terrible idea. I would suggest going out with a friend or a couple of friends. If a guy starts to hit in you and you have any sort of interest(I me any) then indulge him a bit. If he asks for your number give it to him. And if he calls, go out on a date. What do you have to lose? As long as you play it safe and don't put yourself in dangerous situations, you'll be fine. It's a numbers game. So you've gotta play the numbers. You'll go out with a lot of guys you don't like, but eventually you'll find someone you do. As a side note...I'm a 30 year old guy, and I'm just about to get married. I'm getting married in a week and half. Where did I meet my wife to be??? Online dating site! You heard it. When I was 24, single, and not that many relationships under my belt I was encouraged to start doing some online dating. I was very against it at first. But eventually I gave in. And while I'm not gonna say I loved everything about online dating, in the end it turned out to be a great place to meet a lot of people in a non threatening fairly open environment. Online dating gives you the ability to learn about people without even meeting them yet. It's a lot easier for those who are on the shyer side. I met my fiance about 2 years ago. And we hit it off right from the start. But it took a lot of dates, and a lot of online sites. But I found my soul mate...and I couldn't be happier. There are some free websites out there. Plentyoffish is's where I met my wife to be. So perhaps it's time to try online? Up to you. But hope this helps.
posted by ljs30 at 11:17 AM on December 8, 2010

It looks like I will skip college dating too because it's just too darned late. I can't go back in time and change how I acted around those guys and I know most of the eligible guys in my graduating class.

And you can't date any of the other guys in any of the other classes?

You have a lot of preconceptions that are getting in the way of what you want. You don't want to meet anyone through on-line dating, you don't want to meet anyone your own age or younger, you've written off your entire college/university as a dating pool because of some weird mythology you have that it's "too late"...

There isn't a magic Starbucks where you can go sit and someone will ask you on a date, because that's not how dating works. Get to know a bunch of guys--volunteer for something, maybe?--and see if you make connections with them. That's how dating works.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know you asked where to go to meet guys and that's it, but you wrote a long opus with lots of stuff you don't like or are not interested in (internet dating, meeting people in bars, meeting people in yoga/pilates, meeting people at school, meeting people at retail work, guys who are your age, going to Brooklyn or Queens, ultimate frisbee, etc.) coupled with requirements these guys must meet (22-30, doing all the work), so that's probably what people are reacting to. Inflexibility is not a good dating vibe.

Life is too short for all these requirements and limitations. If you've never really dated before, how could you rule so many people out? I could tell you to become a regular at a cafe in your neighborhood and go there after work instead of watching tv, but it's not going to help unless you relax a little and give someone a chance.
posted by *s at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2010

There has to be SOME rec sport you can play. They are a forced weekly hangout with the same group of people, giving you a chance to get to know people. I met my boyfriend at kickball, and honestly I probably woudn't have given him much of a chance had I just met him once. It's all about the regular meetups and being able to get a sense of who someone is more than you would if you just met them at a bar for an hour.

How about bowling? Or kickball? I've done both of these here in NYC, and let me tell you, athleticism is definitely not a signup requirement. Plenty of people are quite bad at the sport yet still manage to be "attractive" to others. I'm sure plenty of guys can look past an occasional gutter ball if you're nice and friendly and funny.
posted by coupdefoudre at 1:25 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Higher-end hotel bars have older guys in them. They tend to be classy, quiet, and a bit staid.

Uptown/midtown is a wealthier business-y vibe, downtown is a bit younger and more competitive.

Go alone, but to feel safer, start the evening a little early (6ish or even earlier) and chat with the bartender.

Dress up a little bit. Think little black dress, boots, jewelry. A little funky is fine but be put together.

Drinks will be pricey so consider ordering something virgin. They might have fancy virgin drinks, or even just a soda is fine. Or get one drink and nurse it.

Sit somewhere where someone can approach you without making a huge brave move--meaning stay at the bar. Chat with men who come in your vicinity.

The Union Square W earlier in the night is good for this but use your imagination. Hyatts, Hiltons, independent chains--all fine.

Be a little coy, give out your number, don't make out with them or go anywhere to "cuddle".

Only downside is that some people might think you're a high end hooker; they do this to meet older, educated men too! No offense, seriously.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:54 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

More ideas:

--Student/alumni events or, once you've graduated, alum events. Usually there are mixers, fundraisers, etc.

--School events open to the community like gallery shows, film festivals, poetry readings, etc.

--The org you volunteer for might have galas or award ceremonies

These aren't bars so more thoughtful guys aren't going to straight-up hit on you. Ask for their business cards/info. It's silly to judge a man's confidence by whether he makes the first move. People are more complex than that.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:45 PM on December 8, 2010

I would like to take up judo/jujitsu, trapeze or aerial arts, or learn squash or how to make stained glass windows (yes I like weird things. Never be normal!).

It is in Brooklyn, but FixersCollective might be worth checking out.
posted by mlis at 7:17 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, my original comment was not intended to say anything along the lines of, "You're not a good person." That's not what I was trying to say at all. What I was saying, though, was that from what you've written, I think you may have a very artificial conception of what it means to be in a relationship, which ultimately isn't your fault or anyone else's because you're new to the whole thing and that's totally okay. I struggled -- and continue to struggle -- with being in the dating scene because honestly? Dating is flipping HARD. What I've found is that in going inwards and in being truly introspective, I've discovered that I need to reprogram myself so that my expectations, standards, and boundaries for dating are a) more realistic and b) better for me in the long run. I used to have some super strict requirements for guys that effectively made most men go, "Hey, so where should I submit my resume?" when they met me. It's absolutely okay to have some strict standards by which to gauge if someone you're talking with has long-term to life potential, but it may be that what's setting you back right now are some attitudes about dating that are too stringent for the environment you're in.

Rest assured -- I can tell you're a good person. But, you asked us where you should go in order to meet new guys. My honest answer is that you should just keep doing what you're doing, and go inward so that you can continue to develop yourself as much as possible. Be as whole and as awesome as you can be before entering into a relationship with anyone, and you will find that your relationships will be significantly more fulfilling because your partner doesn't have to take on extra work and extra responsibility just to make you be a functioning member of the connection.

Hope that clarifies where I was coming from.
posted by patronuscharms at 8:44 AM on December 9, 2010

Starbucks in Manhattan is more like a bus depot than a center of culture and conversation. Anyone worth talking to there mostly minds their own business.
posted by hermitosis at 9:07 AM on December 9, 2010

I'm currently between girlfriends (ha, or so I hope, because that would be sad and depressing if I spend the rest of my days alone), so I guess I have some cred here. Nice single guys are everywhere, hidden in plain sight, but I guess there are certain places when I'm more likely to come out of hiding and am more up for chatting with gals.

1) at small gatherings, like birthday parties or group dinners, where I can meet friends of friends; definitely go to all of these that you can. I suck at huge house/industry parties and spaces filled with too many unfamiliar people, though I have met people this way. It's just so much easier when you can walk up to someone and not feel like a creep going in for the kill. Though I have to admit, there's something about sports bars and watching a game that makes it so much easier to chat somebody up. It's having some sort of fallback conversation I guess. If you at all are interested in any sports, maybe try that.
2) at the library/cozy bookstore (I like books, and I like girls who like books, so if I see a cute one with a book that's not Eat/Pray/Love, I'll usually screw up the courage to say something mundane and see if it leads to a reply. But don't just stand around the photocopy machine dangling a copy of Rilke waiting for a fish to bite. Go up to guys like me and say something as simple as "That book looks interesting." You don't know how much interest that generates.)
3) when it's warmer, I like to go to a local track and run. I think this is easier for meeting folks than say on a trail in the park because you see them more often, and you can "accidentally" end up running alongside them. Just a thought.

Anyway, that's just me. Personally, I can't pull off the approach a stranger at a coffeeshop/bus stop, but every guy is different. So yeah, join book clubs, rec leagues, whatever. Places where you make regular appearances. Hope that's helpful. Good luck and don't be so down. You're young and still figuring things out (as we all still are). Just be open-minded.
posted by jng at 1:08 AM on December 18, 2010

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