I’m tired of dating apps. How do I meet men IRL?
I’m 30 and have never been in a serious relationship. It seems like I’m never attracted to guys who are into me, and guys I am interested in either don’t reciprocate or are already involved. I’m not the club/ bar type, and my idea of a good time is going to the movies or a museum and having an intelligent conversation. Where can I meet guys with similar interests without hitting the online dating meat market? I’m perfectly happy and fulfilled being single, but it would be nice to meet someone really worth it. Please help! —Thirty And Single
I get a version of this question often and thus feel a disclaimer is warranted: There are no bad places to meet people. Life is a piñata of happy accidents, and you truly never know where you’re going to meet the next person who changes your life. I met my last girlfriend through Twitter. (She chastised me for misclassifying bonobos as monkeys. You don’t even need a great opening line.) I’ve met romantic partners through mutual friends, on dating sites and apps, drunkenly at parties, soberly at readings, through coworkers, and on and on.
OK, now that we’ve got the “world is your man-oyster!” tidbit out of the way, if you want to meet men who have similar interests as you and to meet them offline, then you’ve gotta cultivate those interests IRL. What are you wildly passionate about and how can you translate those passions to involve other humans? You said you liked museums, for instance. A cursory Googling proved that the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and about 14 other institutions have after-hours events. Bring a buddy or two to one and start meeting people. Or be ballsy and go alone — this will force you to do the scary thing and not just chat with your friends all night, which many of us are 100 percent guilty of doing. When you do talk to people, do so not just with the goal of romantic connection. Talk to whoever seems interesting. Talk to the museum staff. Talk to the bartender/food service folks. Talk to the people who seem friendliest. Ask them what they find most fascinating about life these days. They might lead you somewhere, either to a friendship or more.
And since you like movies, you could host a movie night and discussion (or do it at a friend’s house if you don’t have room) and tell your friends to invite people you don’t yet know. Then do the same sort of routine as suggested in the museum example above. What other interests do you enjoy? Do you volunteer? Do you like cooking? Find ways to turn your hobbies into learning opportunities that direct you human-ward.
Lastly, don’t forget the time-honored tradition of letting your friends set you up. You could even do this with another single friend and make a game out of it. Whoever chooses the best person for the other gets a free dinner. Or something.
Good luck, TAS, and remember: Cultivate a robust life and approach everyone you encounter with the openness of someone who just might be the next person to take you on a fantastic adventure.
Anna Pulley is a RedEye contributor. Want to ask Anna an anonymous question about love, sex or dating? Email