Sunday, May 3, 2009

For Those Skeptical of Online Dating...

There is a perception that for the young single woman online-dating is a faux pas.

So first, why don't I go ahead and explain what is considered socially acceptable in today's dating scene.

You're single. Your best bet at meeting a man (post-college) is through work or through friends (or friends of friends). These are both great options for meeting people, but unfortunately, these options can be too easily tapped out. This can happen in two ways--you work in an office that is lacking single men or you don't have a lot of friends (and thus, friends of friends) where you live. This is especially true if you are new to the town or city you live in.

Let me explain. First, let's say you work alone or mostly with women--neither are going to be conducive settings to meet single men. Currently, I work at a non-profit (my office is easily 85% female) and there are many occupations that are like this -- nursing, teaching, fashion, magazines, etc. I understand I may be sounding a little stereotypical--and of course there are male teachers and nurses, but for the single woman I am trying to be realistic in saying that these may not be the best conditions in which to meet eligible bachelors. Also, there are many jobs these days in which people work from home and/or on the road. My first job after college was selling pharmaceutical drugs--I spent the entire day in my car going in and out of doctors offices. The closest thing I had to co-workers were the baristas at Starbucks. (Note--you're probably thinking I could have dated doctors too, right? Wrong--unless dating men over 60 is your thing, this wasn't an option, and the one cute doctor on my route was married.)

Okay, so you fall into one of the above situations and probably won't be successful at snagging any men through work. The next option is friends of friends. Again, this is a great way to meet like-minded singles, and several people meet their significant others this way--we are just saying that it may not be the most dependable option. You may be new to the city you live in, you may already have met most of your friends friends network and unfortunately, never hit it off with any of them. Certainly future opportunities will arise in which new singles will mix into the "friends of friends" network--but it may take time and lots of energy always going to social gatherings hoping that the next "friend" will be the love of your life. The odds, however, are against you--and the way he burped after chugging the bud light cheering to the baseball game at the bar--may suggest that he's probably not the one for you. Unless you are into that ofcourse, and then by all means...go for it.

So, the most common third go-to for meeting singles in your early 20s is the infamous and socially acceptable bar scene. (Note: no longer having to participate in this animalistic ritual is by far my favorite part about joining later.)

The bar-scene, in a nutshell:

You spend several minutes (or for some of you, hours) pampering and prepping for the Friday night bar scene. You get your nails done, eyebrows waxed, tan sprayed on, and so forth. You shop for the latest cute outfit or resort to your "going-out" tops section in your closet. You style your hair, put on extra eye-liner, and accessorize, all in an effort to look cute and approachable for that evenings single scene hot-spot (although, you never admit that you are looking for singles, but rather position the evening as a night on the town with your girlfriends, which everyone knows is code for being on the prowl.)

So, you meet with your friends, hail a cab, and stand in line at that night's club or bar. You get in (probably don't pay a cover if you are a lady) and get into the coveted bar scene. The hot, smelly, expensive, bar with the 20-minute-long line for the bathroom.

What girls hope and believe the bar-scene will bring them:

A room full of cute single guys all interested in you. So with that said,

MAYBE you make eye-contact with a cute guy.
MAYBE cute guy approaches you.
MAYBE cute guy is even cuter during conversation.
MAYBE he asks for his number.
MAYBE he calls.
MAYBE you go on a date.
MAYBE he calls.
MAYBE you go on a 2nd date.
MAYBE you eventually become exclusive, Facebook official, get married, have kids and live happily ever after with the love of your life.

OR...(the more realistic version):

Maybe you do make eye-contact with a cute guy--OR maybe at the same moment he leaves the bar, or is with his girlfriend, or begins flirting with another girl.

Maybe cute guy does approach you--OR maybe his looks are all that he has--and he is a complete dud when in conversation.

Maybe you do have great conversation--OR maybe one of you gets pulled aside for a moment and never find each other again (since these bars are dark and crowded), or maybe he says "be right back" and leaves, or maybe he is in town for one night from Calcutta, or maybe he is simply too nervous to ask for your number.

Maybe he does ask for your number--OR maybe he asks 5 other girls for their number as well, maybe he loses your number, or maybe he has a girlfriend.

Maybe he calls--OR maybe you never hear from him again.

These bar nights usually end with women spending lots of money, having to use lots of eye make-up remover, feeling depressed, and being alone at the end of the night (I used to console myself in unhealthy late-night snacking). Then the next morning, I was usually too tired to have a productive day because of my horrible headache from the "maybe I'll look sexier" shots I took at the bar.

Most of us work 40+ hours Monday-Friday--our free time is precious and should be used wisely. We should not spend our nights at the bar because society tells us that is how we should be spending our free time and how we should meet guys. So the point of this long-winded ranting: The bar scene is simply not a conducive way to meet men.

Ladies, you should celebrate this realization! Cheer! Scream! Open champagne! It is quite a revelation when women realize this! If you don't know why to celebrate or be will. It took me 2 weeks after joining to have my revelation--and I still smile whenever I walk by a crowded bar scene--as if the dating gods above shared with me a dirty little secret that is online dating. :) And here's to sharing it with you. Cheers.

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