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This is where to meet guys in Boston

Posted by Karyn Polewaczyk  September 24, 2013 04:15 PM

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Number,_Napkin,_Lipstick_tiny.jpgNot my lipstick, or my number. But you get the point. (Credit: iStockphoto)

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog—first of all, thank you!—you’ll know by now that my personal preference toward online dating is skeptical at best. Yes, I’ve seen it work for other people, including close friends, and no, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. It’s just something I’m not comfortable with, maybe just right now, or maybe ever, which is admittedly weird, given that I just bared my soul at Mortified last month (never mind writing for the Internet, which comes with its own set of grievances—hello, mean commenters!).

That said, I do date a lot—it’s one of the reasons why I’m writing about it to begin with—and one of the questions I’m frequently asked is where I meet the guys I go out with, since I haven’t (yet) stepped foot into the online dating corral; almost as if I'm hoarding secrets, or have some magic wand to wave and make a date appear. While I’m happy to volunteer my answers to people who ask me face-to-face, it’s always struck me as a topic that’s too condescending to share online. As in: I certainly don’t think I’m the end-all, know-all expert, or that people who date online (or have trouble meeting guys) are pathetic. If anything, I think meeting people in real life comes with its own set of challenges; namely, that it requires being okay with rejection (which is par for the course as a writer) and the willingness to go out alone (more about that below). Still, I’ve been asked about it enough times, both by readers and acquaintances, that I felt compelled to put together a short list of where (and in some cases, how) I’ve consistently met men around Boston.

Yes, a short list, and one for the ladies, because opportunities to meet people romantically or otherwise abound—if you’re willing to put yourself out there. There’s also something to be said about the willingness to let go of expectations (see my note about rejection, above), and have fun with it. But I digress: this is my blog—thanks, Boston.com!—and if you weren’t interested in what I have to say, you wouldn’t still be reading.

Right?

(Cue awkward silence; uncomfortable laughter)

The Good Life and the Middlesex Lounge

Yep, I’ve put two completely separate places next to one bullet point. Why? Well, if I'm in the mood to go dancing, I head to one or the other. You’ve probably seen these names in some of my previous posts; that’s because they’re my hands-down favorite spots to go out in Boston. They both hit the nail on the head all-around—from the ambiance, to the DJs, to the drinks, to the people who show up—to be frank, there aren’t many other places I like to dance in the city (and believe me, I love to shake some booty). Not surprisingly, I’m a generally a happy camper when I’m at either locale, and it’s probably my cheery attitude that's attracted me to the men folk, and vice versa. If you’re not much of a dancer, or if you’re not a fan of either place, then simply substitute a favorite destination that keeps a smile plastered on your face.

On a side note, I used to look down on meeting people in bars and clubs—it seemed cheesy and obvious—but if you take away the alcohol (I don’t recommend getting wasted if you want to meet someone to date; if you’re looking for something more casual, like a sloppy makeout session in the bathroom, then suit yourself—trust me, I'm not judging), it’s a great way to meet a variety of people.

Athan’s Bakery

There’s something in the air at Athan’s—ah, yes: the scent of baked goods!—because I’ve literally been approached by at least one guy every time I’ve gone here (usually, to write). It’s never been a game plan of mine, like, “I need an ego boost! Oh, I’ll just go to Athan’s and hope someone talks to me,” but it happens. And I’ve seen it happen to other people, too, which is why I’m including it on the list.

From what I’ve observed, there seems to be a good ratio of men-to-women (again, I’m writing this from a heterosexual point of view), and most people seem friendly and approachable. One conversation circumvented around having the same magazine on each of our respective tables; another started when I asked if I could swap places on the electrical outlet totem pole. Either way, the key here—and in general—is to keep the earbuds out. Also, I recommend their gluten-free chocolate cookies. Delicious.

The Paradise, Brighton Music Hall, the Middle East, Wilbur Theatre (and so on)

At the risk of sounding trite, I’m a music fanatic, and seeing live shows is an important part of keeping my creative juices flowing. (Are you seeing a pattern here? Following your interests first, and letting everything else happen, etc.?) I generally inquire among friends if they’d like to join me for an event first, music-related or not; if no one else is game, I just go by myself.

Which is how I’ve met guys at the last several shows I’ve been to. There’s lots already written about the benefits of going out alone (including a piece crafted by yours truly), the most important takeaway of which is that you (women) are less intimidating to men when you roll solo than when you’re surrounded by a flock of your girlfriends. All of these venues are small and intimate compared to places like the Garden and Pavilion, and aren't overwhelming for those who decide to go alone for whatever reason; plus, I just prefer to experience live music that way. Most of the men I’ve met in these places have seem impressed, if not shocked, that a woman is out at, say, a Wu-Tang show by herself (oh yes I did); then again, when many of your friends are married with children, the choice is to either sit at home and wish you were out, or go alone, practice your best DGAF and enjoy your own company.

Boston Common

Benches. Wide-open swaths of green space upon which to park one’s behind atop a blanket. Fountains. Pigeons. (Shudder)

The thing about the Common is that most, if not everyone, is there intentionally. If you need to get from the Theater District to the Back Bay, you could easily walk down Boylston Street—or you can cut through, and put yourself literally on the path to a lot of people. Allow me to repeat myself: keep your music devices tucked away. I love me some get-pumped music (bow down, y'all), and I often rely upon it to survive horrific rides on the T. But nothing says “Leave me the eff alone” like someone storming angrily through the sidewalk, eyes averted, white buds shoved into ears. (Yes, I’ve been that person, and yes, it’s scary/ugly.)

Got a book to read? Bring it to the Common (and if you need a recommendation, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is fantastic). Have a snack to munch on? Eat it in the Common (and for the love of God, don’t feed it to the pigeons). Want to zone out for half an hour? Meditate in the Common. If nothing else, you can enjoy the slowly-closing window of decent weather we’ve got before it gets nasty outside, which is right around when everyone starts pining for humid, 105-degree days while parked on their couches.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Karyn Polewaczyk lives and writes in Boston, and believes that heading out into that good night, like any adventure, begins with the first step. Let's Go Out is a conversation about dating and nightlife in our notoriously chilly city, with first-hand tips from the trenches. Karyn's writing, which focuses largely on women's lifestyle topics, has appeared in the Weekly Dig, Jezebel, xoJane, Northshore Magazine and More.com, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @KarynPolewaczyk.

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