My parents met in graduate school. My oldest sister met her husband in college. My other sister, in some sort of Cory and Topanga bullshit, met her husband in middle school. Now that’s just not fair.
The thing about dating in your twenties (and beyond) is, if you didn’t meet your significant other in school, then where the hell are you supposed to find them?
I’ve been talking with some single girlfriends lately and this has been the theme. We missed that brief window in our education to get our MRS degree. Instead, I wound up with a BA (two majors and a minor) and an MA…and what good is that (for matters of the heart, anyway)?! Now that university is just a memory, where do you find a suitable match?
Now obviously if you’re reading this blog, you know the obvious answer is “online,” but clearly that hasn’t worked out for me so far. Plus, meeting someone “organically” is generally the single-gal preference…but how? I often hear, “well I was introduced to my significant other by mutual friends” or “we met at a party with mutual friends.” I want to know who all these people are with all these friends! I have like five solid friends and trust me, I’ve already sorted through their “mutual friend” pool and come up dry. Which basically means I have this song running through my head ALL the time.
I was chatting with a coworker/friend at work about this recently and my boss came in and quickly jumped into the conversation. She said she met her husband playing volleyball, but I usually rule out athletic clubs for meeting a mate because it implies that I’m an athletic person, which just isn’t true. I don’t want to meet a man playing a sport and then he thinks he can take me hiking all the time, or that I’m going to want to go for a five mile bike ride on Saturday mornings. Please, I have a plate of waffles calling my name and the only race I want to have is who can finish them first.
So my boss suggested (somewhat jokingly (but actually pretty seriously)) literally riding the Johns Hopkins shuttle around in loops so that I could meet the doctors and businessmen who ride the shuttle to work. While I entertained that idea for about 30 seconds, I suddenly realized that riding the shuttle in loops would make me that girl who randomly pesters people trying to get to work in peace, and that basically makes me feel like this…
So my friend Meagan and I were texting, going back and forth about our mediocre dating lives, when I finally just blurted out…
Meagan agreed…. where do we meet men? She’s met awful men out at bars and on online dating sites. Meagan was at a loss. Which led to my next tirade…
As if the gods heard me, that same day I saw an article posted on Facebook called 5 Places to Meet Your Husband if You Didn’t Find Him In College. WHATTTT!?!?! Yes, please! This is literally the question I’ve been asking myself all week (if not, you know, forever).
So I start greedily scanning through this article like someone who says “oh, sure, we can share popcorn at the movie theater!” but then quickly realizes the other person is taking more than their share, so you start grabbing giant handfuls so you make sure you get the good stuff with the butter before it’s all gone (oh, don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about). You can read it yourself, but I’ll also break it down:
- At the bar.
Like I said, you don’t meet your future husband at a bar. You meet a random drunken hookup at a bar. And if you met your husband/wife at a bar, you, my friend, are the exception, not the rule, and you know it. NEXT.
- Mutual friends.
We already covered that. NEXT.
- On the street/At random.
WHAT!?!?!? Stranger danger is a real thing, people. I don’t live in Boise, Idaho, I live in freaking BALTIMORE. I am 100% NOT going to walk up to randos on the street and be like “hey, are you looking for a date?” I’m pretty sure that’s how you get arrested for prostitution. NEXT.
- An ex.
OMFG are we kidding here? I broke up with these guys for a reason. Sure, most of my exes are actually super awesome people, but we weren’t good for each other, which is why we’re not dating. Maybe some people broke up for reasons like distance or something, and now they live close again, so maybe it’ll work… but that’s not my situation… sooooo NEXT.
- In a coffee shop.
This is the very last of their “solutions” and the problem once again is that I don’t live in a city or a culture where striking up a conversation with a random stranger is really okay. I go to coffee shops a lot and I’ve never had more of an exchange than the cursory mumbled “excuse me” as you both reach for the skim milk.
I totally get that I’m knocking down probably very reasonable ways to meet men, but the thing is, it’s not that reasonable for me. I am not a “strike up a conversation and win them over with my witty personality” kind of woman. I am the…
…kind of woman. The number of times my friends have tried to teach me how to “smile and look away” or casually flirt have all ended with a “never mind… let’s do something else.” It’s just not who I am, it’s not my style, and my resting bitch face basically makes me zero-percent approachable in potential dating situations.
This is why I do online dating. Meeting someone organically has proved about as fruitful as the watermelon seed I planted in my parents garden when I was six.