New Way to Meet New People

Isadora Alman

So Valentine’s Day has come and gone and you’re alone with your discounted heart-shaped box of drug store chocolates and fond memories of grade school when you were sure of getting at least a few little paper expressions of your desirability because Miss Rothermel insisted that if you were going to drop little remembrances into the doily covered box in the back of the class, there had to be something for everyone. So now you’ve discovered that Noah might have had something there after all and you want to meet Someone. Here are some tips on doing exactly that.

* Display a discrete symbol of your affiliation. A rainbow bumper sticker, a college ring, or even a tongue stud will mark you as a recognizable member of an inner circle, open to approach from others of your tribe. For those less into subtlety, tee shirts do it loudly and clearly. “Gay and proud” emblazoned across your gym-toned torso will leave no doubt for the Safeway shopper eying your grocery cart filled with items for one.

* Think again about bars when it’s a comfortable, neighborhood place where you can become a “regular”, even if all you’re having is a Calistoga. Not every one is like “Cheers” but there is a definite “our gang” feeling from being among the familiar faces. Neighborhood restaurants catering to single people – with counter seating or community tables- work just as well.

* Widen your net. If you regularly go to the gym, church, library or any such local gathering place, experiment with a few new ones, just to check out the participants.

* Beg or borrow a baby or a dog – if you have none of your own – and take them to the park. Addressing the animal or the kid is much easier than talking to an adult stranger. Dog owners are a friendly lot, by and large. Weekend single daddies and yummy Mummies who may work all week are out for fresh air, quality time with baby Madison, and friendly conversation.

* Resolve to go at least one new place a week and to speak to at least three people there. Social skills, like any other, improve with practice. If the places you routinely go aren’t providing a good enough selection of possibilities, make a concerted effort to play the numbers by interacting with more people.

* Speak to strangers. Checkout lines, movie lobbies, bookstores, the park, are all nonthreatening situations wherein a comment about whatever situation you two are sharing – the slowness of the busses, the event, even the weather – might result in a new friendship. You’ve lost nothing if they don’t respond (maybe because their mama told them never to talk to strangers. Pity.)

* Wear something that invites comment. Unusual jewelry, a hat, boutonnière, bright tie. Don’t forget to add a pleasant facial expression and you won’t have to do much beyond show up somewhere where people are.

* Carry a book with a conspicuous cover. Dostoevsky or T.S. Elliott used to be as clear a signal on campuses as the pocket hanky code in leather bars. Looking for a “suit”? A copy of The Three Minute Manager will work just as well.

* Tell your friends and associates you’re looking and for whom. Don’t deny them the opportunity to match-make and yourself the benefit of all those eyes out on your behalf. (Lest you think I don’t follow my own good advice, reader, I might be available to the right witty, broad-shouldered, merry, self-accepting man.)

* Consider an entirely new method. If you’re not a joiner, join something anyway, perhaps a political action group. Take a class which will attract more of what you’re looking for (like auto mechanics for heterosexual woman). Try an online matchmaking service. Place a personal ad. Take a bold step in the right direction. Even if Mr/Ms/Dr. Right does not appear as a result of your efforts, you can feel proud that you did SOMETHING.

@copyright Isadora Alman. All rights reserved