I'm now in my early 30s and spent most of my early years trying to survive. I have just about everything I could want (that money can buy), but I have yet to be in a relationship or even go on a date. I've tried personal ads, asked friends, a professional service, and even asked a few strangers to no avail. Granted, I'm not buff or great looking, but I'm not a couch slob either.
So I ask, where do you go to find a potential date?
Off the Market
Ah, dear OTM, the thing to bear in mind is that potential dates are everywhere: sitting next to you on the bus, bagging your groceries, cutting your hair, married to your best friend, corresponding with inmates at the house of detention, running for office, downloading porn, or home baking cookies. Do not rule anyone out.
The first thing in your favor is you seem to have a job. Assuming you don't still call mom's basement home, that puts you leagues ahead of most of the losers who've crossed my path. And as far as the looks thing goes—don't sweat it. Plenty of hideously ugly men have girlfriends, so this should not be a concern.
So I'm thinking with these two things going for you, the problem might lie with your personality. Chicks can smell desperation a mile away, and nothing makes them flee faster. And asking strangers out on dates smacks of desperation. Stop it. There's also the possibility that you have become bitter and angry. Again, not a charming personality trait. (For instructions on how to become well-adjusted, call a shrink or go to the self-help section of your bookstore. I've only got 800 words here.)
That said, here are my five tips on how to meet women.
1. Do not underestimate the power of alcohol. Liquor has gotten a bad rap in the last decade or so, but a shy guy needs a little social lubricant sometimes—plus, beer goggles are not a myth. My friend Tracy met her boyfriend Kevin one drunken Saturday afternoon. Tracy, fresh from a divorce and on month two of celibacy, thought Kevin was an asshole when he first sat down at their table. But as the drinks kept coming and his hand wrangled its way into her back pocket, cupid's arrow took aim. By the time he slid his beeper (set on vibrate, naturally) in between her thighs and then doled out quarters to everyone sitting with them so they could page him from the pay phone, she was his. Four years later they're still together. (Warning: Kevin is an especially charming man—this method is not recommended for amateurs.)
2. You must genuinely like women—even women who aren't ever going to have sex with you. If you don't have any, cultivate a few female friends. If you're a good boy, they'll force you to banish those hideous Tevas from your wardrobe and perhaps even fix you up with their friends and sisters.
3. Be realistic. Take a hard look in the mirror. Note the way your belly creeps over the top of your pants, the way your hairline seems to be fleeing your forehead. Now think about the women you're attracted to. Sorry, boys, but most of you aren't going to end up with Pam Anderson. She goes out with models and rock stars with prodigious members, not you.
4. Be a good flirt. This is where you guys always fuck up. Flirting is about making another person feel good about him- or herself. Flirting is not a euphemism for leering or sleazy behavior. When you meet a woman, make eye contact (NOT eye-to-breast contact) and shake her hand. Then ask her questions about herself. LISTEN TO HER ANSWERS. If you can manage to retain what she's told you and regurgitate it back at her in an even semi-sincere manner, she'll be impressed. Compliments are always encouraged (again, "nice rack" is not what I mean). You should flirt with every woman who crosses your path—even if you have no interest in seeing them naked, it's good practice.
5. Be nice. I always hear men whimpering that women like assholes, not nice guys. This is bullshit. (Sure, there are women out there who prefer scumbags, but hopefully they'll hook up with the guys afflicted with the crazy chick fetish, and eventually the whole sorry lot will render themselves extinct.) Women like nice guys who are genuinely nice—not nice guys who are only nice because they think they'll get laid if they're nice.
Be nice and write firstname.lastname@example.org or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104.