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I’m Not Saying It’s Bad Advice, I’m Just Saying…

Im Not Saying Its Bad Advice, Im Just Saying... rant  iStock 000008645527XSmall 290x300Alright, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Whether or not I wanted to go there. I might regret it, but fuck it.

A while ago (a mag I like, this is not me beating up on or on anyone) posted a piece on where to meet good men. It was a perfectly nice article, and mentioned the same 5 places you see mentioned in just about every, where to meet good men piece:

  1. In a class
  2. Volunteering
  3. A potluck-at your place
  4. Hardware store
  5. shop

I am begging my female readers to please NOT follow the advice.  Or, at least, not some of it.

As some of you already know, my old career was in the not-for-profit world where I had the pleasure of working with many volunteers (and where I’ve done a lot of volunteering myself). Some of the organizations I worked with were quite dependent on their volunteers. Without the generosity and hard of volunteers, the mission/ of those organizations couldn’t be realized.

Which is why it really sucks when organizations spend countless staff hours training new volunteers who are only there in the hopes of meeting a man, only to see them quit a few months/weeks/days into their commitment when they realize that the vast majority of volunteers are either female (many of them also there because they heard that volunteering is a great way to meet a man) or senior citizens. Really sucks. It’s a massive waste of resources.  So please, don’t ever volunteer in the hopes of meeting a guy. If there is a cause you believe in and you have free time then YES you should absolutely volunteer. You’ll probably love it, it’s amazingly rewarding and it will make you feel better than any shopping spree ever could. But don’t expect to get a boyfriend out of the deal.

Also irksome to me is the “in a class” advice.  I read a very similar list when I was in my early 20s, way back in the dark ages. I’d just moved to Manhattan and was spending way to much time in bars, etc. So I decided to take some classes, in the hopes of meeting a “nice, smart guy”.  Several thousand dollars later I came to realize that, YEP, 95% of the people taking night classes were women who read it was a great way to meet men.  I’m sure that’s not always the case.  I’m sure there are some guys in some night classes.  I just picked the wrong ones. My guess is that there are lots of wrong ones.

This isn’t advice, this is me having a very strong opinion. Volunteering and taking classes are things you should be doing for you. Because you have a genuine interest, desire, whatever. They take your time (or money). Making that kind of investment in the hopes of meeting a guy is not smart, in my opinion.

Ahhh, that felt good.

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29 to “I’m Not Saying It’s Bad Advice, I’m Just Saying…”

  1. Christan says:

    Most organizations have screening processes to weed out the mate-searching volunteers. As for classes, ymmv. I think taking classes in things that you’re genuinely interested in but that attract a broad audience is a great option. Home repairs are great. Everybody says Home Depot and I think that’s a win, too. You can also take classes without having to pay for anything. Meetup groups offer all kinds of free classes from investing to buying real estate to bartending.

    The thing is that many women (and men, but mostly women) only use online dating services to get dates. I did a small informal poll last month and out of the 25 women I asked, about 80% of them got almost all their dates from online. Given the fact that many men on these sites in our age range (38+) aren’t really looking to settle down, that leaves a huge void for us.

    So, where do we meet men our age that want a substantive connection/relationship? Because online dating isn’t it. I think may of us keep going back tot hat empty well because we don’t feel there are other options.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yes, most organization screen their volunteers. And as in all areas of life, many people fib/lie to get what they want. It’s a sad but true fact. Women will say they are committed to volunteering and then disappear when they realize there are no eligible bachelors around.

      I am not suggesting that women who are interested in meeting men make no effort to do so. I’m suggesting they think about the impact of their decisions on others, and the actual investments they’re making.

  2. I just hate the idea that any single woman has NOT thought of these places yet as places to meet men. HELLO!!

    • Simone Grant says:

      A long time ago I wrote a post called, “go outside” or something like that. As far as I’m concerned there is no bad or good place to meet a person. These lists are just kind of silly.

  3. I think this article (theirs, not yours) is just like one of those annoying things couples say to single people…like…just go talk to him…like it was that easy. I don’t even think its saying to go out and do these things…I think these articles are usually commenting on the…if you’re already in school…a great place to meet a guy is in class (yeah thanks dimwit)…or if you’re already have a pot-luck party and its coed…hey guess what…that’s a great place to meet guys…as if I didn’t already know that…plus I think the whole notion of “meeting men” depends a lot on who you are and how good/confident/able you are at talking to strangers…

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yep. Some people are comfortable in social situations, talking to strangers. And some aren’t. And some people live in places with lots of singles. And some don’t.

  4. Deedee says:

    Thanks for this post, because it debunks the constant (not very helpful) advice. I think the best way to meet men is ONLINE DATING, imagine that! It is simple: everyone is there for the purpose of meeting a date. But there are still people who simply won’t try it, and that includes a good pal of mine. She still trolls bars, sporting events, and anywhere else, which I think is terribly hit-or-miss.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’m also a fan of online dating. I think it’s an efficient, low-cost way of meeting lots of new people. And I know several people who’ve met their significant others online.

      I don’t get the naysayers.

  5. having worked in 2 non-profit agencies myself, I agree. Anyone who’s there for any other reason than to help the organization fulfill it’s mission needs to get on out… before people like me fire them. ;-)

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you! I’ve seen this happen in multiple agencies. And yet, what are volunteer recruiters/managers supposed to do? Reject all single female volunteers just in case they’re only out to find a guy? It’s a hopeless situation. And what makes it more hopeless is that every few months someone rights an article saying that volunteering is a great way to meet men. ARGH!

  6. Brittany says:

    I’m surprised that list didn’t recommend women start going to church or another house of worship solely to meet a man. I completely agree that these things need to be done for personal growth and accomplishment and not as an attempt to meet a man.

    • Simone Grant says:

      YES and UGH, another one that pisses me off. Look, I’m so far from perfect it’s ridiculous. And I don’t go around telling women where to meet men because I think it’s a ridiculous topic. But one thing I do know is that people need to build their own lives first, their own hobbies, their own minds.

  7. AOC Johnny says:

    Well Simone, I tell my clients to go to classes and volunteer to meet cool women! LOL Guess My guys have not shown up yet!!

  8. Lucky Girl says:

    It’s interesting. Flying back from Miami, I struck up a conversation with an absolutely lovely woman. She’d been stranded there for two days because of the storms back in Jersey. She’d gotten her daughter the one available seat out and stayed back, waiting patiently for her own ticket home. And while waiting, she shared with me. I don’t know how it came up – we’d talked about a myriad of topics – but she told me the story of how she met her husband. She was 30 and had been volunteering at the Covenant House for years. One of the kids one day pointed at a man and said “You two are a lot alike. You should go out with him. You’ll marry each other.” He’d said the same thing to the man. And so they agreed, more out of respect for this kid than anything, to go on one date. And on the second date, they knew they were going to be together. It was a really beautiful and touching story.

    But I guess the POINT is that OF COURSE this CAN happen. You can meet someone ANYWHERE. In line at the grocery store, on the subway, in the park, at a comedy club, at a hardware store, coffee shop, class or, yes, volunteering. But in the end, none are guarantees.

    If you hang out at the home depot and have zero percent interest in home improvement, you’re NOT going to meet the man of your dreams. Same goes for volunteering for a cause that doesn’t matter to your heart or taking a class you’ve no interest in. What drew this woman and her husband together was their common interest and passion for something, not the room. And so, as you suggest, Simone, doing something for YOU, out of genuine interest – well it may bear more fruit than we plan. But doing anything for the wrong reasons, well that seems safely poised to backfire.

    While we’re at it, I’d like to take issue with the “Potluck at your place” suggestion. Because if he was AT my place, I wouldn’t have to go out looking for him. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for this thoughtful, provocative, honest post.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I love that story. And, in fact, I do know a couple of couples who met while volunteering. It does happen. But in each case they were volunteering for a long time for the org. in question and deeply committed BEFORE they met. I just HATE it when when women volunteer in the hopes of meeting men. It makes me angry. I’ve volunteered many times/many orgs, but it was always because it was something I WANTED to do. Guys were never a part of the equation (but then, my life doesn’t revolve around meeting guys).

      Over the years I’ve met men in hotel lobbies (dated him on and off for TOO many years), bars, the take-out line of a local restaurant, Central Park.. I really don’t think there’s a bad or good place for it. I also don’t think it’s something you can plan for. It just happens.

      Which is why I love online dating. You can plan for it, and make it happen. And being the control freak that I am…

  9. Matt says:

    where to meet men? Two words: sports bars. I tell women this all the time and they think I’m nuts, but it’s true. And they’re not all lame sports guys – lots of cool men like sports and go to these places. If you are a woman in one of these places, you will get talked to.

  10. Matt says:

    How do I change my avatar on this???

  11. Damiella says:

    I’ve known plenty of people who made friends and found significant others through groups centered around activities (especially sports). If you’re going to advise against what doesn’t work, it would be helpful to give folks a glimmer of hope as to what does work (besides online dating, which is not effective for everyone).

    • Simone Grant says:

      This is a post about women not blindly following advice without thinking about the impact of their actions (i.e., volunteering for selfish, shallow reasons) and the true investments they’re making (taking courses to meet men, which I think is silly unless they’re REALLY interested in the course/class). Not about what does and doesn’t work. The Yourtango article in question mentions 3 other ways to meet men that I don’t say anything about, because they’re probably perfectly fine ways to meet guys.

      I wouldn’t know. As I seriously haven’t gone out of my way to meet guys in about a decade. I just live my life. I’m friendly. And sometimes I meet men.

      This is not an advice blog. People looking for advice of where to meet men, or “glimmers of hope” should look elsewhere.

      • Damiella says:

        You say you’re BEGGING your female readers not to follow all the advice YourTango gives, namely that classes and volunteering are good ways to meet people, so in a sense you are advising them. I just want to point out that you may be steering them wrong, especially if the classes you took were 15 years ago. Who knows how much might have changed since then? How can something that you recognize as being “in the dark ages” be relevant today?

        I agree that activities shouldn’t be pursued with the sole interest of meeting a significant other. I just think discouraging women from doing something that didn’t work for you 15 years ago is unwise.

        Also, you CONSTANTLY say you “don’t give advice”… From

        * Opinion about what could or should be done about a situation or problem; counsel.
        * Information communicated; news. Often used in the plural: advices from an ambassador.

        By BEGGING your female readers NOT to follow someone else’s advice, you are still, in essence, giving them advice.

        • Simone Grant says:

          That’s correct. Begging them not to volunteer for selfish reasons. Sorry if that’s not completely clear. As I dedicate the following 2 paragraphs to that theme, I thought I was being clear. And it has nothing to do with being good or bad advice. I just think, as I’ve said, SELFISH and wrong-headed.

          I threw in the “also irksome to me” about the classes because I think it’s sad that anyone, women or men would be scheduling chunks of their lives or potentially chunks of money around meeting members of the opposite sex w/o thinking it through. But, of course, you’re right. It could be a great way to meet guys – NOW. I’d still think it was odd to take a class for the express purpose of meeting a man, but people do all kinds of shit I think is odd.

          And yes, I don’t “give advice” in that the purpose of this blog is not for people to learn anything, find information or glean new ideas about dating or relationships. If people choose to take my opinions about anything, that’s on them. I’m certainly not in the business of trying to push my opinions on to people. If you’d like to interpret my begging my female readers to not be selfish (and volunteer in the hopes of meeting men, rather than because they’re genuinely interested in giving of themselves – something I think they everyone should do) then so be it. It really ain’t that complicated.

  12. pups4me says:

    I read the post yesterday and thought there were lots of conversations going on that weren’t in the spirit of the post…so I went on my merry way with no comment.
    Then I check in today and see even more silly posts…people bashing others for no good reason…
    Many of you need to just relax …this is not an advice blog or someone telling others how to live…it’s just someone’s opinion.
    Why can’t we just take what we want from the posts without criticizing or condemning others?

    I really think some people are out to get others…what a sad state of affairs.

  13. Kaye says:

    OK, I have to weigh in on the Hardware store. I’m in my local hardware stores quite a bit, as I like to work on my house and also get artist supplies there. Sure, there are a lot of men, but they are focused on getting their supplies, not trolling for dates. Also not a good place to “meet men”.

  14. Simone Grant says:

    My “fault”? It was my choice to take some short courses at the New School in topics that interested in me. And I enjoyed them. So it wasn’t a total waste of money. But I didn’t feel, at the time, that I got what I wanted out of the experience.

    As for women becoming less open as they get older, um, please speak for yourself.

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