Spring Restlessness: Not Sure How to Follow Through
March 9, 2007 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Where -- in South Central Wisconsin -- are the best places to hang out, if you are a divorced, middle age, overweight, woman who recently decided to proactively search for short term companionship?

My last long term relationship ended ten years ago. The last time I had sex was probably over five years ago. I know that looking for causal sex is a high risk activity. But there has got to be a strategy for increasing the odds of at least being presented with the opportunity.

Over the last several years it is becoming more and more difficult for me to ignore my desire for sex (with a partner). As Spring approaches this year, I am feeling very restless. I am wondering if getting some would at least remove my ever growing fear that I may never have sex again. I spend a lot of time wondering about my human touch deficiency, and what that means in relation to wholelistic health.

I am 44 years old and I have no real social life. I spend all my free time playing on my computer or watching TV and movies. Although, I do occasionally attend workshops, lectures, or classes; and I work out at a health club several times a week. I recently started attending church again. The problem is that none of the places that I frequent, offer the opportunity to find casual friends. Yet, in truth, I really don't want to find casual friends in the places I currently go. I suppose a big problem is that I hate bars and hate smoke… and avoiding bars severely reduces the chance of meeting men, who, uh, would consider me attractive.

I have a profile on Yahoo! Personals. I read craigslist. But that's not exactly what I want. It's way too much work, and scary, to post or answer ads. I'd like to skip all the emailing and exchanging photos. I want to be somewhere to meet people in person.

What I'd like to know is where are the safe places to go that I might get "hit on." Or, how does a woman -- who is clueless about such worldly matters -- research the process of hiring a professional? Is ignoring my fears and desires perhaps the better course of action?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total)

Does Chicago count as south central Wisconsin?
posted by beatrice at 8:10 PM on March 9, 2007

Also, massage could help with the touch deficiency, and yoga would help you get in touch with your body (overweight or no, if you feel beautiful, you'll look that way). If there isn't yoga in your town, I'm sure there's a Curves or something.

Oh yeah, and did I already mention Chicago? ;) Smoke-free locations where you could get hit on include Lake Shore Park, the Northwestern campus, and outdoor music festivals.
posted by beatrice at 8:22 PM on March 9, 2007

I know you said you don't like bars, but the bars in Madison are at least smoke free.
posted by altcountryman at 8:29 PM on March 9, 2007

I take back the Curves suggestion! It's for women only. Join a gym or the Y, where you can meet men. (And I'm suggesting you work out not so you lose weight, but because you getting in touch with your body is one step toward someone else "getting in touch with it," if you know what I mean.)
posted by beatrice at 8:43 PM on March 9, 2007

Aw man, I just read your 4th paragraph! I suck and am hereby ending this string of uninformed suggestions.
posted by beatrice at 8:45 PM on March 9, 2007

How about a coffeeshop? I almost choked laughing recently when I learned that a bunch of my nerdy, overweight, introverted coffee shop acquaintances had an orgy together one night, purportedly "because they were bored." Sometimes I just have to laugh when my unthinking assumptions about people lead me into complete surprise. This group of people also exchange massages frequently.

I don't think you'll have any luck trying to pick people up immediately, but a hole in the wall coffeeshop with good coffee probably has the right atmosphere for you to experiment with being social, and that could lead somewhere. You can always retreat back to your book or laptop if things are going badly.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 9:07 PM on March 9, 2007

Rather than offering a specific spot to pick up dudes, I'm going to go on a limb here and offer some suggestions about creating an internal atmosphere that will make hook-ups come more easily to you. I certainly am not able to follow all of this advice all the time, but I think that following most of this advice most of the time has allowed me to be the social person I am with a relatively active sex life (at this point fairly monogomous, but present!)

a) Work towards seeing and celebrate yourself as a sexy person. Working out at the gym might be helpful in this regard – if it helps you to feel connected with your body in a positive way. Or it might be making things worse if you're on the treadmill thinking negatively about your body. A couple good books for someone who identifies as 'overweight' are Fat!So? and Big Big Love. Both of these are affirming books by and for fat people. Big Big Love specifically deals with sexuality. You could also rent the x-rated Voluptious Vixens.

b) Create a practice of socializing. Right now, you seem to be in the TV/internet habit (and I have that too!) Try to get in the socializing habit instead or at least as well as that. Church is a great start. What else are you interested in? The classic suggestions – volunteer work, clubs, book groups, etc, might work for you or they might not. But being social is basically a habit, and one that you have to practice. I have people over a lot. For some reason that is easier for me than going out, and it keeps me in the habit of socializing. Also, if I am going out - to a movie or whatever, I generally invite a friend.

c) Go ahead with the craigslist. I live in the SF area where that type of thing is probably a bit easier/more socially acceptable/etc, but for hookups, it works. I have a number of straight female friends who use craigslist for dating or for casual encounters. They are successful when they are very specific in their ads, and when they don't compromise. If they put out an ad and get 20 crappy replies, they don’t' respond. But they seem to mostly get at least 1 or 2 good bets.

Good luck and have fun! (and be safe!)
posted by serazin at 9:12 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

The way to make casual friends is to get out of the house and join groups that do the things you like to do (or might like to do).
Coffeeshops are good, if you can go to one regularly and become a regular or at least get a sense of who's there regularly. It gives you a pretext to strike up a conversation, that might lead to meeting for lunch sometime, that might lead to...
Another good strategy in the same vein is to join a town sports league like softball, frisbee, etc. Maybe your church has adult social outings (art gallery trip, bowling, whatever)? You like watching movies, so maybe you could start a movie night at the church, or at some other venue in town?

Also, for touch deficiency: consider getting a dog. You'll get some of that warmth and affection that you're missing right now, and you'll have a good reason to get out of the house and exercise and be seen around the neighborhood, etc. Is there a dog park near you where dog owners congregate? etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:57 PM on March 9, 2007

Folk dancing could meet a lot of your needs. I'm most familiar with contra and square dancing, so those are what I'd suggest off the top of my head.

You'll get friendly, nonthreatening physical contact with a lot of people. There's a pleasant, low-key flirty energy at a lot of contra dances; mostly it doesn't "go anywhere," but it's still enjoyable for its own sake.

And more importantly, social dancing lets you use your body to make people happy without needing to look a certain way. If you interact with the people you dance with — make eye contact, try new moves, that sort of thing — they'll have more fun and so will you. That sounds minor, but trust me — it's the only situation outside sex where you can give someone that much pleasure just by catching their eye or shifting your body a little. Even as an inexperienced dancer, just being friendly and enthusiastic will do the trick. It's hard to describe just how much that can boost your physical confidence.

Mind you, it could also get you laid. Lots of single adults do take up folk dancing to meet members of the opposite sex. Most of them, from what I've seen, eventually succeed. But regardless it'll give you the touch and physical give-and-take you're craving while you wait to meet someone special.

(I don't know about the rest of the state, BTW, but Madison has an excellent contra dance.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:07 AM on March 10, 2007

(Here — check out their website. It mentions that beginners are welcome, and that there's an introductory lesson at 7:30 before each dance. Lots of good links at the bottom of the page, too.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:10 AM on March 10, 2007

i'm interpreting this post quite simply, as a cry for sex, not love and companionship. the more physically attractive you are, the more sex you will be offered. that's a cruel fact of life. you're already facing Chronos, and no-one can beat him. so you have to take other steps. you have to lose weight, period, and you have to tone your body as you lose it. we're talking about abstinence (no chocolate, no cookies, no burgers, no oj, no ice-cream etc) and hard work, not just for a few days or weeks, but FOREVER (or at least as long as you want to go on having sex). i mean, to put it in a nutshell, if you want to find sex begin with the vow that you'll never eat ice cream again. btw, guys of your age have to take exactly the same steps if they want to stay in with a chance. now, you also won't manage that abstinence sitting at home on the net... you'll find your fingers straying from keyboard to cookie jar. so quit surfing and get out regularly. that will start to turn you into the kind of social animal that people are attracted to. the dog seems like a good idea, because men with dogs are usually looking for sex in my experience, and all the other suggestions above.
posted by londongeezer at 12:12 AM on March 10, 2007

Geez, londongeezer, isn't that a bit extreme?! If you ever want sex again you can't eat anything you like ever again, even a little bitty bit? Even Weight Watchers doesn't go that far.

Oh, and fat people DO get laid. Even single ones.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2007

Sorry, one more idea: you might try a BBW and admirers group. Here's an event in Milwaukee. That was the first google hit for "BBW dance Wisconsin". There are sure to be many more.
posted by serazin at 10:33 AM on March 10, 2007

londongeezer simply could not be more incorrect. You don't need to lose weight to flirt with men, receive admiration and attention, get hit on, kiss a hot man, have amazing sex, fall in love, or get married to the love of your life. As a fat chick myself, I promise you this is true. Sure, lose a little weight if you want to. But please don't for even a second buy into that hegemony he's pitching you. It just ain't true. Look around you: fat people are getting laid ALL THE TIME.

What you really want to do is this: be great, and just get out there. Live a life that makes you happy and someone people want to be around. Stay curious, and spent time with people with similar interests. Also, don't completely discount internet dating - it can be an efficient and rewarding way to get the wheels in motion again after a long park in the driveway.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:48 AM on March 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Since you are anon, I know we can't easily get any follow up information, but do you have a dog? (not that it's really necessary for this,) but you could try going to a dog park. It's free, very social, and a lot of fun. We usually bring our dogs, but have on occasion gone by ourselves just to make taking photos easier. People are always chatting and hanging out, and watching the pups act nuts is a great social lubricant. People can't help but laugh and discuss how goofy dogs get when in groups. (people too for that matter.) Appearance isn't much of an issue either, because it's likely everyone is going to get muddy at some point. I know of at least two in the Milwaukee area. Email's in my profile if you are looking for more info.

Also, what about joining some clubs. Photography, literature, computers (there is a huge Apple group in WI called double-click. Lot's of interesting folk attend the meetings.)

Good luck, and remember; if you feel good about yourself, others will feel good about you too.
posted by quin at 1:20 PM on March 10, 2007

i have no idea what your interests are, but your questions immediately made me think of a certain subculture that seems to have a large range of body types and ages and a lot of sex (casual and otherwise) outside of bars, which could loosely be defined as the sci-fi/fantasy/medieval reenactment and to some extent pagan community. i guess pagan is out for you if you are christian, but if you have any interest at all in the other things i mentioned you might consider checking out a few events-- and not just tiny local meetings, i'm suggesting more like a festival or something.
posted by lgyre at 1:30 PM on March 10, 2007

If this has truly become (as it seems to) a top priority in your life, then you need to approach it as such. If you decided to be an athlete, you'd work out several hours per day...it comes with the territory, and your drive to succeed would see you through those rigors. If you decided to become an opera singer, you'd spend hours per day in the practice room, invest in lessons, etc.

To attract people, it inarguably helps to be attractive. Most people balance their desire to attract with other things in their life, and maybe allow themselves to get a little overweight, not focus as much as they might on their appearance, grooming, clothing. Attraction may not be their very highest priority.

But you've decided to prioritize this. So it's now worth it to you to much more seriously prioritize this stuff. Whereas you may have previously prioritized the pleasure of chocolate to your desire to maintain your figure, that formula must change to fit your shifting life priorities.

Work out two hours per day. Cut your calories in half. No more deriving pleasure from food, alcohol, relaxing on the couch. Double your expenditure on clothes and grooming. Hire a personal trainer. Read the silly magazines on these things that you'd previously spurned. Finance this (and make the time) by cutting out other things in your life that have now descended in priority.

Am I being superficial? Ought attraction be based on deeper factors? Hey, you're the one who says you want sex, period. That's not real deep, but, hell, I'm not judging you. But if, as appears to be the case, you intend to take a forthright proactive approach, then it's time to reorder priorities to maximize success.

If you just kinda want to get laid in a far off winsome way, then your priorities haven't truly shifted, and you won't do this stuff. And if you're looking for your one true love, that's a whole other thing...but it can't hurt to look your best even so.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 4:44 PM on March 10, 2007

If you're into spanking/being spanked or getting tied up/tying people up (or at least not opposed to the idea), the BDSM community is fairly active in Wisconsin and is very welcoming to overweight people.

See this interactive map to find nearby groups.
posted by desjardins at 5:21 PM on March 10, 2007

I would recommend heading down the the local bus station and hanging out without wearing any panties. It has always managed to get my attention.

-Leon Phelps
posted by koolkat at 6:25 AM on March 12, 2007

Good Lord.

I'm sorry to be late to this thread, but here's an actual answer to your question: hotel bars.

The tend to be more genteel than bar-bars, and the clientele tends to be older than the folks you'll find at Those Bars. (Ugh.) They tend, by definition, to be filled with transitory people, often on their own, especially week night evenings - there are millions of business men travelling and staying over in random cities on any given weeknight. And heck, the room couldn't be any closer.

Sit at the bar. Don't get drunk. Its fine to bring a novel or something as well. Try a few places on a few different nights of the week; you may find a particular hotel is very different on a Wednesday night than on a Saturday.

You do not need to diet, exercise or do any of the CRAP being thrown at you by some posters who think there's some threshold for being worthy of casual sex. Or in love sex. Or married sex.

There is not. Plenty of people are looking to connect with a friendly, engaging person for a momentary flight of fun.

But yes: hotel bars.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:08 PM on March 21, 2007

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