According to a Harris Interactive survey, most people meet their dates at work, school or church. That’s because people tend to work, learn and worship with people of similar social stature, creating more opportunity for love. But what if you work at home, aren’t a student or don’t go to regular religious services? Where can you go to find love?
We’ve assembled a list of great places that can make finding your match as easy as A-B-C:
1. Auto shop
“I’ve had some luck meeting men in the auto shop waiting room,” admits Brett Blalock of Tempe, AZ. “You’re there with time on your hands, so why not make it interesting? Those magazines are so out-of-date, anyway.”
Tip: “Try to scope out the gentlemen before they come in. Minivan drivers: off limits. If his car looks terrible, he’s probably not going to take good care of you either. But if it’s too clean or fancy, he’s probably too high maintenance,” says Blalock.
Conversation starter: “Asking about his car doesn’t have much flair, so I bring some really delicious baked goods with me,” offers Blalock. “If I see a hottie waiting on his car, I sidle up and ask if he’d like to share. It almost always works.”
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2. Bookstore or library
“When I’m bored, I go browse my favorite independent bookstores,” says Marcia Pena of Boston. “And I’ve been known to peruse more than just the new titles. I’m a voracious reader, so finding a man who shares that passion is important. If someone catches my eye, I’m more inclined to approach a person in this setting because I can pretty safely assume we have books and reading in common.”
Tip: “What a person reads can tell you a lot. And if you’re looking for a quick pickup, try ‘browsing’ the erotica section.”
Conversation starter: “It’s easy to start a conversation about a book. Ask what this person’s heard about it or why he or she picked it. If you’ve read a review, offer a comment. And if your love interest’s looking randomly, offer some helpful advice. These are easy icebreakers that get you talking.”
Bonus tip: This approach also works at music, antique and video stores.
“There are folks from all walks of life who enjoy coffee, so you are likely to see and possibly meet more people than, say, at a nightclub,” explains Scott Conary, owner of the Open Eye Café in Carrboro, NC. “Folks feel a little more relaxed and open and maybe more likely to talk to people they don’t know or see only once in a while. When is the last time you met someone new at dinner?” asks Conary.
Tip: “Assess the situation and see if that person seems to be interested in meeting someone at all,” suggests Conary. “Sometimes people are there to relax alone or get work done and really don’t want to be bothered.”
Conversation starter: “I have seen any and all connections made over simple things, a particular piece of jewelry or a music sticker, printed shirt or whatever. Largely, these interactions happen without the intent of a comment being an opening line,” observes Conary.
4. Dog park
“Dog parks, unlike other single-centric locales, really bring people together with the focus on their pet’s needs, and as a result, they have a tendency to show their real selves,” explains Zack Grey, a Hollywood-based dog trainer. “Our attention is shifted from getting people’s numbers to getting Fido out for some rest and relaxation.”
Tip: “Behind every great dog is a great owner, and behind every freaky dog... well, you fill in the blank. So if you want to meet people in a dog park, the good dog and its owner get the attention, and the bad dog and owner get the brush-off,” suggests Grey.
Conversation starter: “Complimenting a dog is like complimenting the owner,” notes Grey. “Start with something like, ‘Your dog’s coat is so beautiful. What do you feed her?’ or ‘Who is your groomer?’ or ‘Your dog is so obedient. Did you train her yourself or do you have a trainer?’”
5. Grocery store
“Women love helping hopelessly lost guys find their way, especially in the grocery store, where there are so many items to choose from,” says Davis Stillman of Nashville, TN, who met his girlfriend in the produce department. “Plus, you have to go there anyway.”
Tip: “Your chances are better at busy times, like right after work, Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. But make sure you look for a wedding ring or kids before you pull a fast one and ram your cart into hers,” advises Stillman.
Conversation starter: “I was buying apples, but I saw a cutie checking out the star fruit, so I asked her what it was. That got us talking. And it works on any aisle. If you fancy yourself an expert in the cereal or beer aisle, offer up a few of your favorites,” suggests Stillman.
Bonus tip: This approach also works at clothing stores.
Now that you’re armed, get out there and start talking!
Margot Carmichael Lester, a freelance writer based in North Carolina, met two of her former boyfriends at art galleries. But like the exhibits, the relationships were for a limited time only.