10 Fun Places To Meet Midlife Singles

Dreading yet another night alone — or tagging along as the “third wheel” with your married friends? Here, we offer a few fresh new places to meet someone for those single and looking in midlife.

By Theo Pauline Nestor

f you find yourself single in what’s traditionally thought of as the child-rearing years (i.e., your income’s probably going to a mortgage rather than student loans), it can sometimes feel as if you’re the last single on earth. As you show up at yet another party populated exclusively with “Smug Marrieds” (from the Bridget Jones’s Diary lexicon), your chances of meeting someone within your little social circle can start to feel downright abysmal.

But the good news is this: It’s not true! There are actually lots of other single people out there looking to meet someone special — the trick lies in knowing where they’re looking, it seems.
You might have to venture out of your comfort zone to find someone eligible to date.
Keep in mind that men and women don’t tend to gravitate to the same places when they’re out looking on their own, so you might have to venture out of your comfort zone to find someone eligible to date.

Five great places to meet women...

1. At your married friends’ homes
Every married woman I know has a handful of amazing single friends looking to meet a great guy. It might take a bit of gumption, but put aside your pride and mention to your friends’ wives that you’re single and looking; you might be surprised how eager they are to do some freelance matchmaking on your behalf. Also, make an effort to attend friends’ parties, barbeques and more casual gatherings. It may sometimes feel like the same routine starring the same old crowd, but you never know when someone new might show up.

2. Adult education classes
Midlife women seem to enjoy taking classes. Attend any university extension or community center class on writing, cooking, painting, ceramics or whatever else sounds engaging, and you can be sure that the majority of the class will be female — some of them single, naturally. Keep in mind that you might not meet the woman of your dreams in that class, but it’s good to be out there meeting people and practicing your conversation skills. And remember, single women tend to have lots of single female friends, too.

3. Church events and spiritual gatherings
If you’re so inclined, check out your local church, synagogue, or meditation center. There, you’re sure to find the male/female ratio is tipped slightly in your favor (according to a White House Project Report called “Benchmarking Women’s Leadership” published in November 2009, women account for over 60 percent of churchgoers). In addition, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher and sociologist Philip Schwadel published a study in April 2010 issue of the journal, Sociology of Religion, showing that women attend an average of six more religious services annually compared to their male counterparts. Plus, if you’re interested in spiritual matters, you’ll increase your odds of meeting someone who shares your values by getting involved at your preferred house of worship.

4. Book stores and library events
Author readings and book signings often tend to draw a largely female crowd. Check your local library and book retailers’ event schedules online and especially look for readings or discussions that interest you. Your chances will be even better if you’ve read a book by the author and are prepared to strike up a conversation about what you love about his or her work with someone who catches your eye.

5. Community and school organizations
If you’re a parent, you could meet women (yes, some of them will be single) through the school PTA, while chaperoning field trips, by volunteering with your kids’ sports teams, or participating in other after-school programs. Otherwise, consider volunteering with a community-based organization, such as your neighborhood association or a local environmental group.

Five great places to meet men...

1. A friend’s party
You might think you’ve already ruled out all of your own friends (and all your friends’ friends) as suitable dating prospects. But according to a study by Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, meeting someone “through friends” is one of the most commonly reported ways that couples meet — so don’t automatically discount this possibility
A sushi bar is one of the few places men will eat alone.
out of hand. Geri S., a 32-year-old management consultant in Seattle, WA, met her boyfriend at a friend’s party two years before they started dating.

“He was new to the area and one of my friends met him at a different party,” Geri says. “She made him her ‘plus one’ for various barbecues, concerts, dinners, etc. We always asked her if/when she was going to start dating this guy, but she always insisted there was nothing more than friendship between them.” After two years of “letting this guy go to waste,” Geri decided to set him up with another of her friends. But when her friend bailed right after Geri had ordered another pitcher of beer, she ended up chatting with him for a long time. Although Geri says, “Everyone else saw it coming from a mile away,” it took the two of them running into each other a few more times at social gatherings before they realized they were destined to become a pair.

2. Sushi bars
In her book, Become Your Own Matchmaker, Patti Stanger (of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker reality show) says that a sushi bar is one of the few places men will eat alone. “Don’t ask for a table,” Stanger advises. “Sidle up to the bar, make friends with the sushi chef and just see who plops down on the stool next to you.”

3. Ski resorts
“The male/female odds are in your favor at all ski resorts,” Stanger says, “and you get the added benefit of having singles and couples pre-sorted for you in the lift lines.” If you go with a friend, go for the chair rides separately… you never know who you’ll be paired with when you yell “single!” at the top of the slope. It’s also common for skiers to share tables inside the lodge, which means that going inside for a hot chocolate now and then may be a good idea.

4. Golf driving ranges
As you might expect, golf courses tend to be more populated by men than women, and the great thing about driving ranges is that it’s not out of the norm to go there alone to hit a bucket of balls to practice one’s swing. “Don’t worry if you’re not that good,” Stanger says. “Men love to coach you and are flattered when you make positive comments about their swing or ask them for tips.”

5. Dog parks
Dogs just naturally seem to break through the boundaries that exist between people, turning strangers into instant friends. Remember the scene in 101 Dalmatians where the couple meets after their dogs’ leashes become entwined? “What breed is your dog?” is an easy conversation starter with no hidden agenda behind it. Don’t have a dog of your own? Borrow a friend’s!

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of How to Sleep Alone in King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over and a regular contributor to Happen magazine.
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