There are many places where single people are expected to flirt, mingle and pick one another up: parties, church, clubs, even poetry readings are filled with other singles. And then there are always the more impromptu experiences where people meet and make a connection — while waiting for at ATM to open up, for example, or as you’re perusing the blooms in season at a local nursery. In fact, few places are truly off-limits when it comes to chatting up a potential love interest... but please notice that we said “few places” and not “no place,” because that distinction does matter. Allow us to tell you about four spots where some intrepid single men have gone in search of a love connection — and why you’re probably better off not following their lead, according to these less-than-impressed women...

1. The waiting room at a doctor’s office
“I was in the waiting room of my dermatologist’s office, and a man leaned over and asked me if I was there to get Botox,” admits Monica Mason, 30. “I was so insulted! I should have told him I had contracted a highly contagious rash.”

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Lesson learned: That’s an example of a bad line and a bad place that definitely didn’t work together. (Even an expert dating coach might not be able to help this guy out!) When a woman is sitting in the waiting room at her doctor’s office, she could be feeling embarrassed, scared or just plain sick... but sexy and approachable? Unlikely. The whole “what are you in for?” approach is never going to work, but more importantly, she’s probably just not in a flirty frame of mind and ready to give out her number, guys.
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2. At a funeral home while attending memorial services for a friend and/or family member
“I actually had a guy hit on me at my grandmother’s funeral,” recalls Tanya Richter. “He said ‘Hey, what are you doing after this?’ I told him I didn’t think my grandmother would appreciate me skipping her funeral reception for a blind date with someone I just met.”

Lesson learned: When you attend a funeral, just remember to put on your black suit, a serious facial expression — and that it is never OK to try making any moves on the bereaved, no matter what signals you think the woman in question is trying to send you. After all, the poor woman is mourning the loss of someone she loved (and frankly, you should be, too).

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3. In business meetings with potential clients held in the workplace
“I buy media for an advertising agency, so sales people often make their pitching presentations to me,” explains Meredith Harrison. “At the end of one meeting, a sales rep said in front of everyone, ‘And if you go out with me this weekend, I’ll give you an even better deal.’ Needless to say, he didn’t get me — or my business — with that tasteless line.”

Lesson learned: Basically, when a woman’s trying to work, don’t shift gears and start hitting on her in front of everyone. Acquiring a “ladykiller” reputation isn’t a career-booster in any woman’s book, and it could actually hurt your professional reputation, too.

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4. The swimsuit section of any retail store
“I was shopping for a bathing suit at the mall, so I already wasn’t in the best of moods, to be honest,” says Tricia Crawford. “This guy came up to me while I was looking at bikinis and said, ‘That one would look great on you.’ I didn’t want his shopping advice — or a date with him, either. All I wanted was to be left alone, because shopping for swimwear really stresses me out.”

Lesson learned: Look, men, you wouldn’t believe what women have to deal with when they’re trying to shop at the mall: unflattering dressing room lighting, obnoxious sales people, never finding anything in the right size, just to name a few obstacles. If you see a woman looking particularly distressed while browsing through the racks, you probably won’t be able to brighten her day with an out-of-the-blue cheesy pick-up line. (This is doubly true if she’s shopping for swimwear or intimates; you’re just going to come off looking like a creep.) So just grab your button-down shirt and be on your way, and see if you can catch her eye in a more appropriate setting later on. If you notice that she’s having lunch alone in the food court an hour or two later, then hey, that’s another story — and a much better opportunity to say hello and get her number, don’t you think?

Related: Men: 5 lessons for meeting more women

Some quick pick-up pointers approved by single women
So where should men go to meet single women? While there’s no list of universally pre-approved places, some are definitely more conducive to sparking a new romance than others. Nightclubs are still a top spot, according to the women we interviewed for this piece. Think about it: everyone there’s relaxed, carefree and dancing, and no matter how much women may try to act like they’re just into chatting with their girlfriends on a Friday night, they’re all there for the exact same purpose — to meet singe men. Or better yet, specifically to meet you.

Really, a lot of public places are great for meeting a new potential love interest — from museums to your house of worship or even your neighborhood dry cleaner or pharmacy. First, you just have to assess the situation: Is she in a hurry? Does she seem distracted? If so, then this is not an ideal time for courting. But if an opportunity presents itself at, say, the grocery store? Go for it! And while you may still get turned down, as long as the place itself is appropriate and you have a good attitude, a smart plan for breaking the ice and fresh breath accompanied by a winning smile, we promise that your pick-up success rate is sure to soar.

Elsa K. Simcik is a writer specializing in relationships and fitness. She has contributed to Men’s Edge, Daily Candy, Women’s Health and many other publications.

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