By: Kristen Walker
Until fairly recently my only real ventures into the world of singledom were in college. And honestly, what could be better? I was a single girl constantly surrounded by guys in my age bracket who, considering they’d made it to college, had at least a few more active brain cells than the average male specimen. I went to a large state school with a disproportionately high male-to-female ratio, so my dating pool felt nearly endless. If I liked a guy but it didn’t work out, there were quite literally thousands of other “fish in the sea,” all within a mile radius.
Dating in the real world (let’s be honest, college is wonderful but it’s a far cry from the real world) is wildly different. It feels like I’m playing the same game, except someone switched up all the rules so my strategies no longer apply. I’m scrambling to simultaneously relearn the game and maintain a winning streak. Not an easy feat, let me tell you.
As any of you single girls surely know already, the absolute hardest part of dating when you’re a full-time working adult is figuring out where the heck to meet guys your age. In stark contrast to my college environment, my workplace has far more female employees than male, and of the few men there are, most are married. Besides, dating in the workplace is risky and can be considered unprofessional.
So, no, my office is not a viable source for dating prospects, even if I do spend the majority of my waking life there. Instead, I decided to try out some advice a friend recently gave me. Go places you enjoy, do activities you love, and you’re bound to meet other people (including guys) who share your interests. Sounds like the perfect way to begin a compatible relationship, right?
The problem: When I realistically thought about that plan, I realized that the things I love doing most are going to yoga classes, and shopping for clothes, and going to wine tastings, and reading a temporarily life-consuming novel at my local Starbucks. Unfortunately, I’m not attracted to men who can give me pointers on deepening my “downward-facing dog” pose or who would rather twirl chardonnay in a tasting glass than watch a football game on a Sunday afternoon. That’s what I have girlfriends for. I’ve always been naturally attracted to more masculine men. So if I’m feminine girl looking for a masculine man, I’ve come to the realization that I have essentially two options. I can go to bars like all the other single people in the world and try to wade through the skeezy guys to find a decent one worth talking to. Or, I can start participating in activities and events that may push me outside of my comfort zone and allow me to meet people whom I otherwise never would.
The last thing I want to do is neglect the things I love that make me who I am, and I certainly never want to force myself into activities I don’t enjoy. Instead I’ve decided to branch off from my current interests and find things that are similar but more gender neutral. For example, I love exercise classes, but instead of always going to female-dominated yoga classes, I’ve tried boot camp and body combat classes that are geared toward men as well as women. And surprisingly, I love them! Similarly, I’ve looked into young alumni events, social kickball leagues and part-time classes at a local college, all of which are activities that will benefit me while allowing me to expand my social network and put myself into a position to meet guys my age. While I still love wine tasting and delving into a good book, pushing myself out of my normal routine has helped me make some great friends and find more activities that make me happy. I encourage you to try something new this week: take a rock climbing class, go to a local concert by yourself, volunteer to walk local shelter dogs, or anything else that may interest you. You’re bound to meet interesting people who could become great friends or maybe eventually a boyfriend.
I wish it were still as easy as asking a cute guy in psychology class for an extra pen, but dating takes more effort after college ends. The good news is, trying out new activities and experiences will give you opportunities to meet guys, plus you’ll learn a little more about yourself and what makes you happy.