“It’s so hard being single again, I’ve been in a relationship for the last 4 years and it feels like starting from square one all over again. I’ve slowly gotten over my breakup, I’ve been dressing better, have gotten back into shape, yet at this point, I have no idea what to do or where I should even try meeting women since I hate going to bars & clubs.”
So why does the alcohol-soaked pick-up scene still exist? Aside from the obvious reasons (tequila, vodka, rum), there's a surprising one as well: inexperience. Men are new to this 21st-century version of the boy-meets-girl game. In 1970, the median age for marriage was 23 for men and 21 for women. Today it's 28 and 26. "It used to be that people felt they'd somehow missed out if they didn't have a spouse by the time they graduated college," says David Popenoe, Ph.D., founder and codirector of the National Marriage Project and a professor emeritus of sociology at Rutgers University. "Today, people feel they need to establish themselves economically first." The postponement of "I do" means most men will be single in their 20s, a trend that populates the bar scene and empties the church aisles.
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"I met my girlfriend Stephanie at a book signing for Karen Russell," he says. "The line was kind of disorderly, so I turned to the person behind me and said, 'I didn't cut you, did I?' and she said, 'No.' That was Stephanie. I said, 'So are you a big Karen Russell fan?' and she said, 'Yes.' I asked who some of her other favorite authors were, and we chatted briefly. She got her book signed, then I got mine signed. Afterward I turned around, and she was standing there waiting for me. It turned out we were both going to Grand Central, so we walked there together. We had very immediate, very obvious chemistry. We got to the corner where we needed to split up, and Stephanie said, 'I want to keep talking to you though.' Her train was leaving shortly before mine, so I went with her to her train, then jumped off just as the doors were closing and hurried to catch my train. I had given her my business card, and she emailed me the next day. We've been together for almost five years."
A quick tip: a great time to chat people up is when you’re in line for the show or at the concession stand before the show starts, I wouldn’t recommend trying to talk to a girl you’re interested in during the middle of the show. If it’s a show where people are dancing, if you took my advice by taking dance classes this is where it would come in handy. Don’t forget to have fun & just please be mindful & don’t try to grind on her or be the creepy guy who grinds on women from behind.
But it's not just the friend famine that's starving our sex lives. Socially inbred crews are detrimental, too. "In a tightly knit group, you know the same people," says Parks. "Your friends can't introduce you to women you don't already know." That's why access to a new resource, whether it's an unadvertised job opening, a lead on a house listing, or an introduction to a woman you might click with, is more likely to come through casual friends than close ones. It's what social-network theorists call "the strength of weak ties," and the greater the number of unique casual connections you have, the better positioned you are to benefit. These types of people are essentially network bridges, says Parks. They connect you to women you might not otherwise have met through your close friends. The secret isn't blind dates and setups; it's party invites and casual introductions.
Sometimes you'll be rejected because it's not the right time in her life to be committing to a relationship. Perhaps she's going through a messy divorce, perhaps a big career move is on her radar or perhaps she just needs time to heal after a bad relationship. If she is really worth it, give her wide berth while remaining friendly and just be patient. Otherwise, wish her the best of luck and keep looking.