Where to meet single men (besides dating sites)
June 5, 2012 10:16 AM   Subscribe

What male-dominated activities would be good venues for meeting single men? I'm a single 43-year-old woman, and not interested in the bar scene.

I'm a single woman, age 43. I find it difficult to do online dating, since there are so many trolls on the dating sites. I want to diversify my social life and find more activities with a high concentration of single men, particularly single men in their mid to late 30s and 40s. What activities would you suggest?

I'm upgrading my computer system to a gaming computer so I can play mmorpg's, which seem to be very male-dominated. What other male-dominated venues should I try?

I'm not worried about being the token woman. I grew up with 3 brothers, and no sisters, so I'm actually more comfortable socializing with men than with other women.

Thank you!
posted by lex6819 to Human Relations (75 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of guy are you looking for? A friend of mine in her late 30s meets lots of single dudes through rock climbing, although from the way she tells it, most of them smoke too much pot for her liking.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

My sister's lovely unattached girlfriends in Miami have joined a golf club in the hopes of snagging an eligible bachelor. If stereotypes come to mind, it's no coincidence.
posted by Dragonness at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2012

Following on from the MMORPG idea, anything with a techie/geeky slant. Ham radio? Maker faire kind of thing? Arduino programming? These kind of groups all have meetups. I have a mid-30s friend who joined a Star Wars cosplay society and met her partner there. Embrace the geek.
posted by corvine at 10:21 AM on June 5, 2012

@ roger ackroyd - I'm very straight! I'm nerdy, and I don't drink, smoke, and have never done drugs. So, no potheads for me, thanks! :) I also find that most of the golfers in my hometown are boring rednecks? I think I need a geekier guy, a nice, clean-living midwesterner type who doesn't really follow sports much.

@ corvine - I'm in a smaller college town area, upper south/lower midwest, so I don't think there is a maker faire type of thing here. I will check the meetups on meetup.com for Arduino programming. There are groups and things to do here, they are just difficult to find. If I knew what to look for, I could probably dig up a local group on a yahoo groups mailing list or something. I tried SCA a long time ago, but it seems to me a lot of the members in that group were also into swinging, and I'm very much a monogamist, so I need a very straight-edge, monogamist geek. I'm just not sure which geek society is closest to the mark.
posted by lex6819 at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2012

I don't know if you'd want this kind of nerd, but the first thing that springs to mind is tabletop/card gaming or comic book collecting.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:28 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't necessarily go for the dude rather than go for the activity that is gender friendly. Rock climbing was a good idea. I used to play ice hockey. Unfortuantely they were all married or too young for me (minor league players).

Gaming is a wonderful experience.
Some places have a social outdoor club. Chicago had one where it was social first (finding the mate second; they had all sorts of sport activities).
You could also do MeetUp per your interest (books, comics, gaming, wine, whatever).

SCA--swinging. From what friends have told me, you are correct. Have you tried DragonCon?

Good luck.
posted by stormpooper at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd never heard of maker faires until I read above, and they sound really cool. Why don't you try to organize one for your town?
posted by mareli at 10:33 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hm. Linux user group? Metafilter meetup? ;) Does your local college do any music production or electronic engineering evening courses?
posted by corvine at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

a nice, clean-living midwesterner type who doesn't really follow sports much.

All the clean-living midwesterners I know are pretty much obsessed with sports.

As noted, most things technical are rife with single dudes, if you're inclined to messing about with computers and can stomach the culture in general.

How do you feel about firearms? That's a male-dominated nerd scene if ever there was one, though the politics may tend a bit lunatic.

If you drank, I'd suggest homebrewing, but I guess that's right out.
posted by brennen at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I ever got divorced, I would take up birdwatching. It is a haven of super-nice, nerdy people who are really welcoming to newbs. Lots of single, divorced, and widowed straight men (and lots of single, divorced, and widowed lesbians, though that isn't your target market).
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2012 [12 favorites]

Hm... what do you like to do for fun? If you had a week off work (and the prospect of finding someone new to date was off the table) how would you spend it?

Also, unless sports bores the living crap out of you and you couldn't imaging watching the odd game, I wouldn't rule out sports fans. I know lots of smart, geeky, clean cut guys who like sports. :)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 10:36 AM on June 5, 2012

@ stormpooper I have heard of DragonCon. I think it's over Labor Day weekend. I'll see if I can find some friends to make the drive to Atlanta with me. It's a long trip for a solo woman, but we'll see....

@ MegoSteve - both good suggestions. I will add them to my list.

I've never been into high-adrenaline activities, I'm not sure rock climbing or ice hockey would suit me. I'm not out of shape, but I'm not girl-jock either.
posted by lex6819 at 10:38 AM on June 5, 2012

I'm exactly your age, with brothers as well, and a monogomist geek so....
- Try talks given at the college in male-dominated departments
- Take a motorcycle learner's course
- See if there are any Skip Barber racing/driving skill classes within striking distance
- Instead of watching sports, see if you can take a few "intro-level" sports playing classes, like a basketball refresher or something like that
- I dunno about ham radio. I know a few ham guys and I think my Dad is the youngest of them.
- What about the intramural teams at the college, or even just pick-up game you can watch as a spectator. Swimming, diving, ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, etc.

Good luck!
posted by cocoagirl at 10:40 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

@ brennen I should probably take lessons in shooting. I don't own a gun, but I've heard it's fun to go to a firing range and shoot stuff. I dated a veteran for a while, but he was out of his mind. I didn't mind the recreational gun thing, just the crazy off his nut thing was a deal-breaker. I'm semi-vegetarian, and so I wouldn't be interested in hunting, but maybe shooting clays would be fun? skeet shooting?
posted by lex6819 at 10:40 AM on June 5, 2012

What about outdoors stuff like cycling and/or hiking? Or, borrow a dog from a friend and go to the dog park. I cannot believe how many women I have met at the dog park. And the best part is, the dogs break the ice.
posted by a3matrix at 10:41 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, forgot to add: is there a local Boy's Club? Often they welcome volunteers of both genders, and you'll run into some guys there. You don't need to play or coach sports, because they need all kinds of volunteers, e.g., for mailings and office work, so you could try that.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:42 AM on June 5, 2012

@ cocoagirl I will see what the calendar looks like at the university. Maybe there are some computer classes or something. I don't think motorcycles are a good fit for me.

You may be right about ham radio.

I also noticed most of the guys who hang out at Home Depot are my Dad's age also, so the good news about Home Depot is there are a lot of men who hang out there, but the bad news is they are not the right age group for me.
posted by lex6819 at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2012

Curling - sociable, relaxed, mixed gender, welcoming to newcomers

Historical societies

Civil society groups : some skew by gender
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 10:44 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

@a3matrix - that's good to know about the dog park! I will see if I can borrow someone's dog, or maybe do some dogwalking-for-pay at the park. I have 2 cats myself, but I had a dog when I was a kid, and I consider myself both a dog person and a cat person - am I ambipet-strous? If that isn't a real word, it should be.
posted by lex6819 at 10:45 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I see a problem with the Ham radio and gaming, that being the issue of actually meeting people. You will be meeting, but not meeting people. How about volunteer work? Maybe at the local hospital or something along those lines? Gets you out into a new semi social situation and maybe puts you among eligible bachelors.
posted by a3matrix at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2012

Things I'm involved in that are male-dominated include

- snowboarding
- juggling
- weightlifting
- IT geekery
posted by emilyw at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

@ miss_kitty_fantastico - I don't utterly abhor sports, but I don't want to end up with a guy who will fight me for the remote control to watch ESPN when I'd rather be watching SyFy, myself. I did watch the NCAA final 4 games, during March Madness. Basketball is the unofficial religion here (which probably gives away where I live), but the rest of the year I don't follow sports at all.
posted by lex6819 at 10:48 AM on June 5, 2012

i attend a table-tennis meetup whose make-up would definitely be in your favor
posted by beukeboom at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2012

@emilyw I wish I lived someplace that got a lot of snow! I would love to take up cross-country snow-shoeing. My impression of snow-boarders is there is a lot of casual drug use, and I'm very anti-drug, so that wouldn't be a good fit, but winter sports is a nice idea. Maybe I'll plan my next vacation around some cross-country snow-shoeing...
posted by lex6819 at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2012

Re: the motorcycle learner's course, it's 2-4 days, tops, and the goal isn't to rev off on a motorcycle, it's to meet a guy, so don't write it off to fast :-) Plus there's a classroom and written section of the test so you can always suggest a study group the day before the test.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2012

See if there's a singles group that goes out to movies on opening night, or start one on!
posted by cocoagirl at 10:51 AM on June 5, 2012

Metalworking / welding or woodworking courses at the local community college?
posted by true at 10:51 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know someone who met her husband doing a Habitat for Humanity build.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am 47 (er, in a couple of days, anyway) and female. During my divorce, hanging out in male dominated forums and learning enough code to twiddle with my own websites was an easy way to meet men -- so easy, in fact, that I had to eventually figure out ways to send out "not available" signals. I was plumper at the time, thus bustier than I am currently. My subjective experience was that a lot of geeky men only needed to know I was a D cup and wrote a smidgeon of html and they wanted to hit that.

I was also a role playiny gamer in my teens and married one of my gaming buddies. I think it helps to find something you are genuinely interested in which just happens to be male dominated. I think if it were me, I would make a list of activities to try and take this on as a project to expand my horizons while incidentally increasing the odds of meeting Mr. Right. I would try out different things until something clicked.

Another thought: Although daddy was retired military and also grew up on a farm, thus I was taught to shoot (and was a fair shot at one time), hunting never clicked for me. But archery did click. I imagine that could have been an avenue to meet men if I had not already been hot and heavy with the future ex. Last, the future ex was an astronomy buff. I am into astrology. While married to him, I got some exposure to astronomy. I ended up finding astronomy more interesting than I expected. It seems that tends to be kind of a guy thing too.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 10:53 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Speaking as a male geek and avid boardgamer, I can guarantee boardgaming groups (mine's Euro-strategy-oriented which I would suggest as your best bet, but the demographics are the same for most groups: light/silly games tend to trend younger, while chess and go leagues tend to be less socialization-oriented) are pretty male-dominated, often laid-back socially (one reason I like them is that a boardgame is an activity allowing, but not requiring, socialization), and have a pretty wide age-range; mostly 20s and early 30s in my experience but not entirely lacking people outside that range. If you have a local board game shop, they might be able to put you in touch with the local group.
posted by jackbishop at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2012

@ cocoagirl, I am just not sure what I think of guys who ride motorcycles? After the whole Sandra Bullock thing, I kind of want to steer away from the tattooed, pierced, motorcycle gang types.
posted by lex6819 at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2012

What about NERO? I don't know much about live action role playing, but has anyone tried it? Is it too geek, not geek enough? Similar to SCA (i.e. too many swingers/polyamorists)?
posted by lex6819 at 10:55 AM on June 5, 2012

@jackbishop There is a comic book/board game store near where I live. I could go and browse. What would you suggest is an inexpensive item I could purchase there, so if anyone asks what I'm looking for I will have an answer besides "true love"? :) lol just kidding (sort of)...
posted by lex6819 at 10:57 AM on June 5, 2012

My impression of snow-boarders is there is a lot of casual drug use, and I'm very anti-drug, so that wouldn't be a good fit

Like any group of people, snowboarders are individuals and differ widely from one another. Some of them use drugs. Some of them don't. Some of them are like THIS and some are like THAT and many of them are something else altogether.

The same can be said of motorcyclists, tattooed people, geeks, etc etc.
posted by emilyw at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

@ Michelle in California - I'm a slender pixie-type, so maybe I'm not "bbw" enough for the geek crowd? Who likes skinny women any more? Anybody?

Archery sounds like fun. What about Kendo? Isn't that the Japanese form of archery? How many different kinds are there? I don't really want to hook up with a redneck survivalist, just a nice, normal guy with maybe some nerdy hobbies.

"future ex"??? lol
posted by lex6819 at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2012

Oh gosh, there's a wide range of riders where I am. I could stereotype by bike they ride, but I won't do that. I'll just link to Long Way Round...
posted by cocoagirl at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

@ emilyw I didn't mean to sound like I was making a sweeping generalization about everyone individually who snowboards; it's just an observation I have about the snowboarding culture generally. Different groups, sports and organizations have their own group culture, so I'm just trying to find one with the right cultural fit for me, to up my chances of finding not only a guy who is compatible, but an activity I will enjoy long term as well.
posted by lex6819 at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2012

[OP, this isn't really a discussion forum more of an "ask questions, get answers" sort of situation. Please maybe try to keep the replies down a little? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Do you have any interest in Alternate Reality Gaming? There might be a bit more collaboration/discussion (online, granted) than in a standard video game, and probably draws out the geeky/analytical/puzzle solver kind of people moreso than just keen-on-games people.

Geocaching might be another route, if you have groups that do that locally.

I admittedly don't know the age groups that participate in these, and I suspect they might skew a little young. But they certainly provide lots of opportunity to interact.

I do agree that it's probably best to do the things you are into anyway (unless they are heavily female-centric), but on a wider level or with new groups. But if you're trying to break into a new hobby, most kind people I know would be happy to give a friendly newbie their opinions on what comics/game strats/bird species/bowling balls are the best.

Shooting is super fun! Why worry about the potential politics until you need to cross that bridge?

On preview: Lots of people, geek or not, like skinny women. Don't worry!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 11:04 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Local pub quiz!! Guys might skew a bit younger but there should be a lot of late 30-something nerds. Go by yourself, join up with a team that looks friendly, and take it from there. Even if they're too young or not single, everybody's got friends/siblings/neighbors to meet.
posted by jabes at 11:05 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

lex6819, it seems like you have a lot of preconceptions about who's doing what activity that don't map to my experiences of those activities. Most guys your age who ride motorcycles aren't "pierced, tattooed" Hell's Angels types. Most guys your age who snowboard aren't stoners. You're talking yourself out of a lot of things based on I don't know what.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:07 AM on June 5, 2012 [13 favorites]

Male gamers are interested in a broad range of women. In my opinion, they are, when taken as a group, more forgiving of outside-the-norm body types than many other groups of men might be, but individual gamers are going to have individual preferences.

Don't just go to a game store and hover. Go find out where/when your local board gaming meetups take place and go there and play games with them. There'll be lots of games to be played, so you won't need to bring your own. Once you've played some games, you may want to buy your own copies of things you really like.

If you need a line to explain why you're there even though you know nothing about board games, just tell them you read that were a lot of new, different games coming out that weren't the same old Monopoly of your childhood and you wanted to try them. Slagging off on Monopoly is almost guaranteed to grant you immediate acceptance into the circle of Euro-gamers.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, don't learn to ride a motorcycle if you aren't actually interested in, or would enjoy, riding motorcycles. That's pretty different from "Oh, I might wind up with Sandra Bullock's creepy ex-husband!" as a reason not to do it.

Do you ordinarily catastrophize in advance to this extent? That might be something to look at.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Not all geeks are into bbw's. For some time, the bane of my existence was a crush on a serious geek who would not give me the time of day because his thing was waifs.

I mostly meant "female and could code (even though only a tiny bit)". Older men thought I was a pretty young thing. Younger men thought I was hot because I was experienced. Every man had a different explanation of why he was attracted. I am sure plenty of geeks would be thrilled to hang with a pixie if she can speak geek, even just a little.

I don't know anything about kendo, but that sounds like a well thought out take on things: Avoid the redneck survivalists and find someone into martial arts and possibly Eastern philosophy and culture. Try it out to test your hypothesis and go from there. :-)

Take care.
posted by Michele in California at 11:12 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

@ Sidhedevil I don't want to snowboard. I don't want to ride a motorcycle. I'm not into high-adrenaline activities. I don't want to bungee jump. I don't want to downhill ski. Maybe cross-country would be okay. I'm an HSP (highly sensitive) introvert, so some of those activities are just overstimulating to me. I don't need to be talked into snow boarding or motorcycling. I just posted this question on metafilter to get some new ideas for activities I might enjoy and which would be more male-dominated and maybe have more guys close to my age.

So far, I like these ideas (among others):

dog walking at the dog park
comic book stores
Alternative Reality Gaming
skeet shooting/firing ranges
archery (maybe Kendo)

etc etc

So, no, I'm not talking myself out of a lot of things. I'm accepting good suggestions, based on my age, preferences and personality type. I have rejected motorcycles and snowboarding for the reasons I give above.

Please everyone, let's drop discussion of motorcycles and snowboards.

Moving on...
posted by lex6819 at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2012

Like others are saying, you are extremely invested in this whole "X people do this and Y people do that" framework, which is a pretty immature way of thinking about it. If you stop doing that and instead meet people as individuals, you might find available men already doing the things you enjoy doing instead of trying to contrive ways to find the motherlode of single men.
posted by crankylex at 11:26 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Kendo is not archery, it's Japanese sword fighting. It might be a good martial art for you to try out if you don't want body contact. If you do want contact (without too much of getting punched or kicked), try aikido. It's a defensive grappling style, primarily focused on deflecting attacks.

If you're interested in martial arts as a way of meeting single men, there are lots and lots of different styles. Seeing as how you want to avoid adrenaline junkie tattooed types, you'd probably want to stay away from any of the popular mixed-martial-art styles.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:29 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lex, I say this every time a man posts this sort of question, but if you go into things SPECIFICALLY looking for a mate you're not going to have any luck. It's just offensive for everyone. It's seeing men as a prize rather than as individuals. I think it's going to go better for you than it does for dudes, since most ladies have figured out how to deal with this sort of pedestal. But that doesn't make it right.

So: What do you LIKE to do? What are your hobbies? Hate motorcycle, fine, just say so. Don't make it about the kind of man who'll be there. Love knitting? That's awesome. And yes, you're not likely to meet a man at a knitting circle, but maybe making chain mail will scratch the knitting urge.
posted by AmandaA at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

Playing music. Open mics (attending, even). Sitting in on sets at Irish bars. Jazz.
posted by xo at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

@ AmandaA I never said I would take up an activity just to meet a guy. I wanted to brainstorm with you to think of some new activities I might try (which aren't as female dominated as knitting!) in order to expand my social circle. Ultimately, I'd like to meet a guy. I'm pretty well stocked up on female friends. That is why I wanted suggestions for male-dominated activities that might interest me.

I don't understand why everyone is so gung-ho to turn the discussion into an attack on me personally?


Let's keep things civil and polite, everyone, please. Thank you. :)
posted by lex6819 at 11:34 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

[On-topic answers please folks? OP, please stop threadsitting, this is not Twitter. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:34 AM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

So, I think I get OP's perspective here about categorizing hobbyists into groups. I mean, spare time and money are precious, and you don't want to waste time doing things you a) don't think you'll enjoy, or b) don't think will expose you to the people you'll fit with. And while lumping "people who enjoy X" into one broad category may not be the most accurate, it's some way to parse the "hobby universe" into manageable chunks.

However. I really do agree with the sentiment that it can be unhelpful to do this rigidly. I've dated guys who, on paper, have so many things in common with me, my interests, etc. And alot of them were meh-to-bad relationships. On the other hand, the best relationship I've had was with a guy, who if you wrote down his "demographic" details on paper, I would've been like "oh, hard-living frat-boy jockish type", which is SO not me. But it really had more to do with his personality and how he approaches and participates in the things he does, not the activities themselves that mattered.

So, I guess... don't join the motorcycle club if you think it'll just be a nightmare for you to endure. But if that nice man at the boardgame meet asks you to see a basketball game, or if your new group of friends has planned a rock climbing outing... maybe give it a shot if you don't think you'll be too uncomfortable. You just never know.

Sidenote: I actually did not find (indoor) rock climbing to be very adrenaline-rushy, and I am TERRIFIED of heights. For one, you're strapped in so much it would be very difficult to seriously hurt yourself. And mostly, it was just almost ... a zen experience. It's very in-the-moment, and all you think about is where you have to put your hand and foot next, to get to the next spot. Great for clearing one's head, and the people I met were all very normal and relaxed (speaking as someone who is also not into drugs). I'm awful at it, but I can see why so many people like it.

On preview: crap, sorry mods, please delete if you feel this is too off topic.

posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 11:42 AM on June 5, 2012

Who likes skinny women any more? Anybody?

You must be kidding.

Anyway, a few ideas. It occurred to me while reading this thread that I see guys fishing all the time, and never women. Also, photography meet-ups that I've seen pics of on Flickr (they often take photos of places that I'm looking up) always seem to have a good ratio of men to women in them. And lots of people are apparently into building model things (trains, planes, etc) and I can't imagine that's a heavily female activity.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2012

If you're where I think you are, then you should stop by and say hi to my friends at:

* Drinking Liberally (note: drinking is not required)
* March Madness Marching Band
* Morris Book Shop
* Debra's Social Stimulus

I was quite heavily involved with the local political scene, and I met folks of all genders and ages while volunteering for local campaigns as well.
posted by evoque at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Contra dance.
posted by jvilter at 12:04 PM on June 5, 2012

Yup, dancing is the best ever!

What do YOU like to do? What about joining a walking or hiking club? Checking out the local museum and university for stuff to do--Our university has day and weekend expeditions for geology and archeology geeks. Our historical society has great tours also. Take an adult ed class. Volunteer at the local humane society to walk dogs, and put up a sign to coordinate times with another volunteer (perhaps male!) Join an organization you normally wouldn't consider. For instance, we have the Friends of the Weiser River Rail Trail--a group that is working on conserving 100+ miles of former railroad and using it for recreation. They need workers, grant writers, etc. What about Habitat for Humanity? Book clubs? Writer's groups?

What would you like to try that you've never done before?
posted by BlueHorse at 12:23 PM on June 5, 2012

(SCA=Society for Creative Anachronism, a worldwide medieval re-creation organization.)

I would just like to point out that the SCA is a large organization. SOME members of the SCA like to swing or otherwise do non-vanilla sexual stuff, but most don't. Swinging is definitely not an activity of the organization or its events, though of course what people do in tents at camping events is their own business. (This is what "quiet camping", "family camping", and "loud camping" sections at camping events are for!) I speak as a longtime SCA member and 41 yo single straight woman who is looking for pretty much what you're looking for, it sounds like.

That having been said, one of my main reasons for joining the SCA was finding a man, and I have not so far been successful, though I've had a couple of short-ish relationships. What I have done in the SCA is discover a lot about myself and the tons of SCA-related activities that I deeply enjoy, learn and grow socially, and take some small risks that helped me learn what is comfortable for me and what I want and don't want in life (and in a man). I honestly credit the SCA for my level of comfort with flirting/dating, and for all the supportive friends it's brought me over the years, giving me more confidence that I would have otherwise had.

I'm not saying "go back to the SCA", because if you don't like it for its fun activities, you're not going to snag a guy there--no one's attracted to a woman sitting on a chair in a costume, looking bored. But if there were things you thought you might enjoy about it on an ongoing basis, you might try going back, even if that might mean you want to avoid the local group and instead go to some "away" events where you can meet a different mix of people.

Feel free to contact me personally if you have SCA-related questions. I'm from WI and hence a different Kingdom than you, but have lots of contacts in the Midrealm.
posted by gillyflower at 12:30 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

@Lex.....with or without friends, everyone is pretty friendly where you can assimilate into a group so I wouldn't be too shy about going alone. Some fantastic adventures of the good kind do happen alone.

If I knew we were going this year you could join us. Midwestern (Chi-town) gal here. My friends---for the most part are clean living (no drugs; no drinking; if they do, it's drinking). We're a friendly bunch. Not sayin we're single (one is and he's in GA) but for the most part, it never hurts to meet new friends in a good bunch.

As for MeFi meetups--great idea.
posted by stormpooper at 12:35 PM on June 5, 2012

When I started going to shows with my boyfriend I realized that live music of most sorts almost always seems to have more men than women in the audience. It could be mellow coffee-house or classical music, even - whatever you're interested in.
posted by ldthomps at 12:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in martial arts as a way of meeting single men, there are lots and lots of different styles. Seeing as how you want to avoid adrenaline junkie tattooed types, you'd probably want to stay away from any of the popular mixed-martial-art styles.

Honestly, and this is somewhat gym dependent, BJJ (which is a 'popular mixed-martial-art style') is full of both really geeky really fit really geeky people and cops and stuff. There's a significant difference between the fans and the practitioners, in this case. Of course, BJJ has a great deal of close body contact, which you may not be comfortable with.
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:06 PM on June 5, 2012

YMMV on the religion front, but the folks at UUCL are a warm and welcoming bunch with a variety of events and activities always going on, and as far as UU congregations go, they definitely skew more towards the secular.
posted by evoque at 1:13 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I joined a co-ed hockey league just because I enjoyed the HELL out of it! Met some great guys too.

Met Husbunny on-line in a chat room, it was the most improbably romance ever.

Basically, you're doing this bass-ackwards. Find activities you enjoy and you'll find nice guys along the way.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Volunteer for causes, you will find other men there who care about the same things you do.Not sure why you would give up totally on online dating since there are many men there who face the same problem you do (not meeting the right women or just getting hit by mail order bride/spams)
posted by pakora1 at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

In my experience, the group closest to your description is a skeptics / atheists meetup. I regularly attended a local "Skeptics in the Pub" group for a while, and it was overwhelmingly made up of intellectual single males in their 30s to 40s. I joined to meet people in a new city, not necessarily men, but yeah... as a rare female in this group I drew quite a bit of attention.

Anything computer related usually attracts more men than women, as has been my experience with Metafilter and web design meetups.

Finally, my advice is if you're joining a group in order to meet men, it might be more natural if you go for groups that are a bit more balanced. I'd say language learning groups are a good place to meet a variety of people, including men in the target range you describe.

Don't be the female equivalent of the guy that joins a yoga class to meet ladies. It can be creepy and obvious if you don't act subtly.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 2:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My dad is a beekeeper and always talks about when women go to the beekeepers association meetings.

I heartily second birdwatching.

But, if you want to diversify your social life, why don't you focus on any activities you have a real interest in? You'll meet men and women, and you may be introduced to their (single) friends at some point. And I think it's a plus that you will come across as genuinely interested in the activity.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can't *plus* the last four responses enough. So many good suggestions there! And not one of them used the heinous phrase male dominated. Yi!
[writing on a prescription pad] OP, for you, I suggest Toastmasters. The meetings are a good blend of both genders (just like life!) and you will have a ripping good time, take it from me.
Another blast of a time is getting involved in your local community theatre group. Volunteer to build or paint sets (lots o' guys will be doing it with you) or "hold book" for rehearsals. You'll be able to chide good looking guys for not getting their lines right! Whatta dream!
Have fun and keep your mind O-P-E-N.
posted by BostonTerrier at 3:09 PM on June 5, 2012

I second Ruthless Bunny. You may not meet any men you like in these ways, but if you're doing something you enjoy, then it's not as big of a deal. Don't take up any of these things if you are only doing them to meet men. Optimally, they'd like to meet someone who is genuinely into that hobby, not someone who joined the camping group to meet men but secretly hates camping.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:26 PM on June 5, 2012

What about a hiking club? The ones I've been in have about a 50:50 gender split but most of the men seemed to be single and looking. The people are always friendly and fun, and for some reason hiking seems to attract nerdy science/engineering types, if that's your thing.
posted by procrastinator_general at 5:16 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 rock climbing. It's pretty different from what you expect. Or at least from what I expected. It's a quite meditative sport ... hard to explain. Not jocky at all, at least, promise. All the climbers I know are wonderful people. "Mountain people", according to a friend. Kind, quiet, deep, interesting, individualistic and reliable people. (Excluding myself of course.) No pot smokers at my gym. :)

And my god, rock climbing women are gorgeous. Elegance and power, a fluid lionesslike charm. It's not a "sexy" gorgeousness - just pure beauty.
posted by krilli at 5:37 PM on June 5, 2012

What would you suggest is an inexpensive item I could purchase there?

Honestly, best bet is just to ask the proprietor if he (in game shops that's almost certainly the right pronoun; combine with a comic shop and the probability goes down to maybe 90%) knows of a local boardgaming group. If they have an event space they might well host such a group (my local game shop does, FWIW). In my experience you're not obligated to buy anything on your first night out, although if the shop is indeed hosting then it's good form to make a purchase there occasionally. If they give good advice and they're not hosting, then, sure, pick up a little something as a coutrtesy and so you don't show up to a meet empty-handed. Not that that's terribly a faux pas either, since often there are other people there who are gung-ho to put something they brought on the table.

There are a lot of small, light card games which fit into a boardgaming scene pretty well and typically run $10-$20. If you're trying for a more strategy-oriented group, Coloretto, Master of Rules, No Thanks, For Sale, and Biblios are compact, light, and adaptable to a large number and wide range of players but strategic/abstract enough to put you firmly in a Euro camp. If you're more into the high-chaos American games front, then, er, I used to be more enthusiastic about those, and back then I played a fair bit of Fluxx, Munchkin, Chrononauts, Illuminati. Maybe Killer Bunnies? I'll admit these aren't really my scene any more.

If the gamegroup happens to be into epic marathon American-style games (Starcraft, Game of Thrones, Arkham Horror, the AD&D adventuring games, etc.) then you might be in for a rougher ride, but I rarely see people who only play those.

You can let people know you're new to the hobby. Most folks are friendly and eager to share their interest.

(Word of warning: some Eurogamers don't much respect high-chaos American-style games, while those who dig those games usually don't have any negative attitude towards Euros -- especially lighter Euros -- so a light strategy game rather than a game with a lot of randomness will fly better in a wider range of groups. Put an enormous box of wooden bits on the table and they might find somewhere else to be, but a card game that finishes after 30 minutes can usually pull anyone out of their shell. Play it safe at first, and after you've sussed out kind of games they play, hop onto boardgamegeek.com and figure out where your style and theirs intersect).
posted by jackbishop at 6:29 PM on June 5, 2012

Photography. Seriously, when I was in Seattle Flickr meetups, there were so many smart, creative, occasionally geeky folks, wide range of ages but about median 35, about 60/40 men to women. There were lots of folks paired off from the group during that time period, there's been several marriages out of that group*, a few more couples that have been living together for a few years, and the first baby is on the way. Maybe it was a unique confluence that couldn't be recreated in another time and place, but I'd still say check out if there's some kind of Flickr or Instagram or Tumblr meetup, or whatever the social blogging/photography platform is these days, in your area.

*Including mine.
posted by matildaben at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2012

Trail running with a group is a great way to meet people these days, although I can't vouch for other runners' relationship statuses.

I'm a happily married male, but in the last few years, most of my newer friends and acquaintances have been people (mostly guys) I have met on the trails. I have seen and heard of a few couples meeting this way.

At least in my city, the trail running community is super welcoming to newbies. Usually the shorter distance available for group runs is about two and a half miles (~30 minutes running).

Orienteering is another activity that crossed my mind when I saw your question. It doesn't have quite the same social aspect that trail running does, but might be worth trying.
posted by eelgrassman at 10:26 PM on June 5, 2012

+1 on the shootty thing. Good way to meet really nice people. Read agirlandhergun.blogspot.com for an idea of what to expect.

The gunblogging community will give you an easy intro into the whole thing, depending on where you are or how far you're prepared to travel.

And lemme tell you an IDPA shooting girlgeek will be beating the guys off with a stick :-)
posted by wrm at 3:17 AM on June 6, 2012


Science fiction fandom - there are conventions all over the US. It's polyamory friendly, but in my experience still plenty of monogamous people.

Some parts of the country have geology/rockhounding clubs. I have never been to one, but I would be surprised if it's not mostly men. There are also stargazing clubs.
posted by Surprised By Bees at 3:33 AM on June 6, 2012

Seconding woodworking. I had a friend who taught classes in it and he said that if he were a woman looking to date he'd go to wood working classes. They might skew a little older at times depending on what their curriculum is, but you would not only get to meet people, you could building some thing nice. And there is nothing like seeing someone work on an intricate, patience requiring project to suss out their personality.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:27 AM on June 6, 2012

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