If youíve been a regular reader of this blogófirst of all, thank you!óyouíll know by now that my personal preference toward online dating is skeptical at best. Yes, Iíve seen it work for other people, including close friends, and no, I donít think Iím better than anyone else. Itís just something Iím 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 grievancesóhello, mean commenters!).
That said, I do date a lotóitís one of the reasons why Iím writing about it to begin withóand one of the questions Iím frequently asked is where I meet the guys I go out with, since I havenít (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 Iím happy to volunteer my answers to people who ask me face-to-face, itís always struck me as a topic thatís too condescending to share online. As in: I certainly donít think Iím 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, Iíve 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) Iíve consistently met men around Boston.
Yes, a short list, and one for the ladies, because opportunities to meet people romantically or otherwise aboundóif youíre willing to put yourself out there. Thereís 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 blogóthanks, Boston.com!óand if you werenít interested in what I have to say, you wouldnít still be reading.
(Cue awkward silence; uncomfortable laughter)
Yep, Iíve 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. Youíve probably seen these names in some of my previous posts; thatís because theyíre my hands-down favorite spots to go out in Boston. They both hit the nail on the head all-aroundófrom the ambiance, to the DJs, to the drinks, to the people who show upóto be frank, there arenít many other places I like to dance in the city (and believe me, I love to shake some booty). Not surprisingly, Iím a generally a happy camper when Iím at either locale, and itís probably my cheery attitude that's attracted me to the men folk, and vice versa. If youíre not much of a dancer, or if youíre 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 clubsóit seemed cheesy and obviousóbut if you take away the alcohol (I donít recommend getting wasted if you want to meet someone to date; if youíre looking for something more casual, like a sloppy makeout session in the bathroom, then suit yourselfótrust me, I'm not judging), itís a great way to meet a variety of people.
Thereís something in the air at Athanísóah, yes: the scent of baked goods!óbecause Iíve literally been approached by at least one guy every time Iíve gone here (usually, to write). Itís never been a game plan of mine, like, ďI need an ego boost! Oh, Iíll just go to Athanís and hope someone talks to me,Ē but it happens. And Iíve seen it happen to other people, too, which is why Iím including it on the list.
From what Iíve observed, there seems to be a good ratio of men-to-women (again, Iím 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 hereóand in generalóis to keep the earbuds out. Also, I recommend their gluten-free chocolate cookies. Delicious.
At the risk of sounding trite, Iím 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 theyíd 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 Iíve met guys at the last several shows Iíve been to. Thereís 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 youíre 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 Iíve 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.
Benches. Wide-open swaths of green space upon which to park oneís 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 Streetóor 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 ďLeave me the eff aloneĒ like someone storming angrily through the sidewalk, eyes averted, white buds shoved into ears. (Yes, Iíve been that person, and yes, itís scary/ugly.)
Got a book to read? Bring it to the Common (and if you need a recommendation, Cheryl Strayedís Wild is fantastic). Have a snack to munch on? Eat it in the Common (and for the love of God, donít 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 weíve got before it gets nasty outside, which is right around when everyone starts pining for humid, 105-degree days while parked on their couches.
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