Friday can be one of the lonliest days of the week when you knock off work or get out of class only to realize that you’re staring down the barrel of spending yet another weekend doing the same old thing: sleeping in, too much time on the Internet or Xbox Live, maybe catching up on Breaking Bad or Dr. Who reruns via Netflix… it’s enough to make you go mad. You want to get out and meet people, but you simply can’t stand the bar or club scene… so what’s a single guy to do?
Well, as I always say, online dating is a great way to meet people, but if you really want to improve your success with women, you need to live an interesting life… so why not improve yourself as a person while maximizing your chances of meeting new and awesome friends?
Dr. NerdLove’s #1 Rule for Meeting Women
I can’t emphasize this enough: the people who are the best at meeting women and getting dates are people who live interesting, engaging lives. People are naturally drawn to those who lead interesting lives because they have ambition and drive. People living active lives are fun, and they tend to want to share that fun, excitement and sense of adventure. People who lead active lives help introduce us to new and exciting experiences which is an incredibly attractive trait.
Straight talk: whenever you ask a woman out, one of the first thoughts that will go through their mind is “what would my life be like if this person were my boyfriend?”1 You want to live a life that other people would want to be part of, one that will naturally attract people to it.
So if you’re looking for ways to become a better, more well-rounded individual and meet cool women at the same time, allow me to present you with five more awesome places to meet women… that aren’t bars or clubs.
5) The Park
Yup, time for some fresh air and sunshine2. In and of themselves, parks offer a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere – an oasis in the middle of urban city centers full of stressed out office workers and commuters. People naturally flock to parks to enjoy the calm, play games, enjoy the sun, go for a run, enjoy their lunch or even just take a break from the world around them. Spending some time in your local parks helps you de-stress and just enjoy soaking up some much needed vitamin D… while offering the opportunity to meet women who are also enjoying the chance to relax and recharge.
Even if it’s only for a half-hour at a time, hitting up into your local park can provide a much-needed change of scenery and reinvigorate you after spending the better part of your day bathed in the cathode-ray glow of your computer screen3. Bring a book, practice tai chi, join a fitness bootcamp, find someone to kick your ass at chess, or rent a kayak and enjoy getting out and about; spending time in the park can help you get you out of your house and your daily rut and putting you in the presence of women enjoying the same fine day you are.
Hell, in the warm summer evenings, many cities will invite everyone to bring their blankets and enjoy movies or concerts in the park, encouraging a communal experience… not to mention a great instant date. And if you happen to own a dog, you may very well find women coming up to you while you’re out taking your precious pampered pooch for a quick run.
(Doctor NerdLove does NOT endorse buying dogs specifically to meet women. They’re pets, not props. Of course, if you happen to volunteer to pet-sit or walk your friend’s dog as a favor… well that’s another story entirely.)
4) Amateur Sports Leagues
Let’s be honest: most of us simply aren’t active enough, and the prospect of spending 30 minutes to an hour on a stationary bike or treadmill while every TV in the gym blares Fox News and Keeping Up With The Kardashians is more likely to make you want to open a vein than get six-pack abs. Some folks enjoy traditional forms of exercise at the gym but others find them stupefyingly repetitive and boring.
One way to get some exercise – not to mention meeting new people – without driving yourself mad from boredom is to find your local amateur sports league.
Yes nerds, I said sports. I realize that for many geeks, the mere mention of sports produces an atavistic fear response brought on by generations of having seven shades of shit kicked out of you by the jocks in gym class, but stick with me here.
Just about every major city has a host of amateur sports leagues that go beyond the collegate standbys of football and soccer. In fact, many of these leagues are dedicated to the happy regression to your childhood: kickball, dodgeball, disc golf, pool, beach volleyball, cornhole4, skeeball and more. These aren’t for your average musclehead ex-jocks who dream of the glory days back in high-school before they realized they peaked early; the focus is on fun and socialization rather than competition.
Joining an amateur sport league is a great way to expand your social circle; if you don’t have enough interested friends or co-workers to field a team on your own, most leagues will help you find a team to join. The friendly competition carries all of the best attributes of an action date: working together on a team promotes bonding and the endorphin rush that comes from exercise and victory puts everybody in a relaxed, outgoing mood… perfect for when you want to start building that chemistry. Even better, training together makes you both look good; when we anticipate spending time with people at future events, our brains automatically tend to focus on our teammates’ good qualities.
Don’t have a kickball league in your area? Look into other group classes such as fitness bootcamps, or running and biking groups. I have many friends who’ve met their significant others through marathon training or cross-country bike teams.
3) Cooking Classes
Women love a man who can cook. End of.
If I were to ask you to list me some stereotypes about single men – especially single men living alone – and one of the first that will come up is “a complete inability to cook”. The idea of a bachelor subsisting on frozen waffles, cereal and canned soup is endemic in western culture. The ability to prepare a meal beyond “cut vent in plastic, microwave for 2 minutes, rotate twice” is an attractive mark of maturity; it’s a sign that you’re someone who knows how to take care of himself, rather than waiting around for your girlfriend or wife to take care of you instead.
And let’s face it: the ability to prepare a delicious candle-lit dinner is an aphrodisiac.
Cooking is an art – and an incredibly attractive skill to cultivate at that. You could run out to the local bookstore, load up on Jaime Oliver and Rachel Ray cookbooks and experiment in the privacy of your own home…
… or you could sign up for some cooking classes and meet people.
Cooking classes are available all over the place; you can find courses dedicated to preparing ethnic cuisine, improving your knifework, even how to create absurdly elaborate meals involving vaporizers and molecular gastronomy via some careful Google searches. Even grocery stores are getting in on the act; Central Market and Whole Foods both offer regular cooking classes for just about every level.
Cooking classes encourage socialization; these are all about the hands-on experience rather than sitting quietly and passively absorbing a lecture. You’re expected to get to know one another as you trade tips and recipes and help get down and dirty kneading dough, basting meats and chopping vegetables. Asking for help is an easy, low-risk way of starting a conversation with that attractive would-be sous chef next to you and getting some help with the proper way to tenderize beef is a great ice-breaker.
And in a worst-case scenario – all your fellow classmates are unavailable – you’re still learning a new skill and becoming a more interesting and well-rounded person in the process.
Volunteering is an amazing way to meet women and do some good for your community in the process.
The odds are almost absurdly in your favor; surveys and studies have found women volunteer far more than men do. Going out to do community service will instantly make you stand out by virtue of being one of the few men there at all.
Getting involved in politics, especially in an election year, is one way of meeting women. Not only are you helping support your candidate, but electioneering is an incredibly emotionally charged process. You can easily get caught up in the swell of emotions; passion, after all, tends to breed passion in other areas as well. Many hook-ups have occurred between volunteers and staffers on the campaign trail.
Even outside of politics, there are ample opportunities for volunteers. Animal shelters are almost always desperate for help, although you may have to be careful that you don’t end up going home with a new furry friend or two… or three. Local theater groups, music and movie festivals, symphonies and orchestras are also great places to volunteer your time and expand your cultural horizons while meeting new people. If you’re looking to do some good for those less fortunate than you, church groups and soup kitchens almost always need a hand, especially in the “off-season – that is, any time that isn’t Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Volunteering works on multiple levels: you help keep your karma positive, give back to your community, show yourself to be a caring, nurturing individual and meet women at the same time.
1) Dance Lessons
If you’re looking to meet women without going to bars and clubs, one of the best places to go are… dance clubs.
No, I’m being completely serious here.
You’re not looking for a nightclub, you’re looking for social dancing groups, dance classes and clubs that specialize in specific styles of dance: Latin, swing, ballroom, even country dancing. I’ve talked before about the value of learning how to dance and the benefits of dance lessons as a first date and these all still apply whether you’re going to Swing Night with a date or flying solo. Social dancing like Latin and swing are all about meeting and dancing with new people of every level of skill and experience. You’re actively encouraged to talk to strangers, take them in your arms and learn how to move together as one.
Almost every club hosting a swing or Latin night will start off the evening with dance lessons for the beginners and those looking for a refresher course if they’re feeling particularly rusty. Dance schools, on the other hand, regularly host group lessons and you’re expected to dance with everybody there. If you find that your latest partner isn’t someone you’re interested in, don’t worry, you’ll be switching to somebody new in a matter of minutes. If you find that the two of you have incredible chemistry… well, you’ve got an obvious date idea to invite them on, don’t you?
In addition, many dance schools offer mixers and dances specifically for expanding your social circle, even meeting that special someone on the dance floor.
Social dance groups are an open and welcoming community… but be warned that it’s very small in some ways and very interconnected. Jerks, creeps and people who are otherwise disrespectful will find themselves ostracized in short order… and their reputations will frequently follow them to other dance groups. Getting into swing dancing just to pick up women is a good way to piss off a lot of potential dance partners. However, if you’re looking to expand your horizons, cultivate a new hobby, meet cool new people, and become a more interesting person, it can’t be beat.
And women? They love a man who can dance.
- Men, on the other hand tend to worry about that somewhere after “So… how soon do we get naked funtimes?” [↩]
- Or as I like to call it, the manifested hate of the Cursed Star [↩]
- Yes, I know that most computer monitors and TVs are LCDs now. Shut up and enjoy the imagery [↩]
- fnar [↩]