By Julian Makar
Swipe left, swipe right. I’ve heard from many female friends that they are getting tired of using social dating apps. They want to know how to meet guys in person, to have a conversation, drinks, and flirt.
Dating online is convenient but exhausting, and doesn’t create the same excitement as meeting someone in person. It can be difficult to choose from hundreds of dating profiles that all start to look the same. And often there is a sense of pressure and awkwardness when you meet for the first time, rather than flirtatiousness and chemistry. For many people, this is a difficult foundation from which to build a relationship.
Thankfully, there are still opportunities to meet guys in person. The best way to meet men this way is to choose your time and place carefully and make sure you’re fully prepared for the occasion.
Let me provide you with six tips that will help you maximize your opportunity to meet guys in person:
1. Timing is Everything
If you’re going out with the goal of meeting men, you need to plan your timing. I recommend trying to meet men on Thursday evenings after work. Thursday tends to be the most popular day for happy hour specials and industry events, both of which draw single people out to socialize.
By Thursday evening, most people are beginning to get excited in anticipation of the weekend, so they’ll let loose a little more than on an earlier night of the week. However, unlike Friday and Saturday nights, most men you’ll meet probably aren’t getting blackout drunk with the aim of getting laid. Instead, they’re meeting up with friends for a low-key evening of drinks, conversation, and fun. The opportunity is ripe for an encounter that can lead to something better than a drunken midnight makeout at the club.
Thursday happy hour tends to draw a larger proportion of mature men, aged 30-40, who are well established in their careers and lifestyles. At this stage, most men aren’t spending their Saturday nights trying to meet women on the dance floor at the club. If this is how you are accustomed to meeting guys, you’ll need to break out of your comfort zone a bit and try something different. Otherwise, you’ll continue to meet men in their twenties who may or may not be looking for something more than a hookup. Which brings me to my next point:
2. Location, Location, Location
Now that you know the best evening to meet men, you should plan where you’ll go to meet them. There are tons of options in Toronto (and any city), but to help you narrow it down, I’ll emphasize three points:
- Think about price point – this will determine the type of man you’ll find there. Avoid cheapie bars that attract students and people under the age of 25. Choose somewhere that the price point is a bit higher if you can afford it. Part of the benefit of going out for Thursday happy hour is that most places will have drink specials that make it more affordable.
- Neighbourhood matters – you’ll find different types of men in different neighbourhoods. If you want to meet wealthy men who work in law or finance, choose a trendy spot in the financial district. If you want to meet guys who are into sports, choose a pub near a sports venue (for example, a bar near the ACC or Rogers Centre on game night.) If you want to meet a hipster or artist type, travel out to Ossington or Dundas West. Whatever your taste, opt for a classy variant of your intended destination, keeping my previous point in mind.
- Do your research – talk with other girlfriends and guy friends to learn where they’ve had luck meeting guys before, and where they’d recommend going. Look online and read reviews for different places in your city. Keep track of your experiences at the places you’ve tried, and go back to the ones that seemed promising.
Location also matters once you arrive at your destination. Always locate yourself strategically. I recommend standing or sitting at the bar, as this is the place you’re most likely to interact with multiple people. Men will come up to get drinks, you’ll be able to chat with the bartender, and the other people sitting at the bar will likely be open to chatting.
You’ll also have a great vantage point from which to see and be seen, which is key. If we can’t see you, we definitely won’t approach you. Aim to be noticeable, which means being visible, centrally located, and sociable. Being part of the action is what makes sitting at the bar fun. Plus, if the bartender is cute, you can flirt with him and maybe some free drinks will come your way.
3. Don’t Go With a Group
There is nothing more intimidating than a big group of six girls chatting and laughing amongst themselves. While guys may want to approach you in this context, only the brashest (or drunkest) among us will actually do it. Then the challenge is, how can we tactfully focus in on the one we’re interested in without offending the others? It’s too delicate a situation for most guys to attempt.
Instead, bring two girlfriends at the most. This is critical to the operation. The best number is two, but three can work, and so can flying solo if you’re comfortable chatting up strangers or reading a book at the bar. However going with one girlfriend is easiest because you have someone to chat and have fun with, even if you don’t end up finding a guy there.
4. Unplug and Stay That Way
Put down the phone. Better yet, leave it in your bag on silent.
I know this can be difficult to do, but how do you expect us to notice you when you’re hunched over with your eyes glued to a screen? How will you make eye contact with that cute guy 15 feet away when you’re busy scrolling through Instagram? It’s a turnoff, and it takes your eyes off the prize.
Even if you’re a bit socially anxious or want something to entertain you while your girlfriend goes to the washroom, don’t! The moments that you’re alone are the moments you’re most likely to be approached – if you look approachable (which you don’t, when you’re focused on your phone.)
Just enjoy being in the space, and let yourself experience it – even if it feels a bit weird. Look around at the room, chat with the bartender, and sip your drink. This will set you apart from everyone else whose noses are buried in their phones.
5. Smile, Laugh, and Look Happy
Women often assume that men will approach the prettiest girl in the room. However what we are actually most attracted to are the women who make themselves stand out by smiling, laughing, and looking like they love life. These women are magnetic, and we want to approach them.
When you arrive at the bar, make sure you project this. Walk confidently with your chin up and shoulders back. Sit tall in your seat and act alert and engaged – scan the room, smile, and chat with the people around you. Orient your body so that you seem open and approachable. This evening is not for serious conversations about politics and religion – it’s for you to go out and have fun!
6. Dress the Part
Much as men don’t approach women solely for their looks, I won’t lie and tell you that appearance doesn’t matter to us – it does. Quite a lot. We are visual, and the first impression a woman makes influences our perception of her for the entire relationship.
We are more inclined to find you attractive if you look like you’ve put effort into your grooming, outfit, and appearance. We probably won’t notice your freshly done manicure or intricately winged eyeliner. But we will notice if your hair is clean, your outfit looks sexy, and your shoes have a heel.
When going out, aim for sexy, not for cute. Cute can work to your advantage on a date or in a relationship, but it probably won’t help you get approached. Dress in clothing that is trendy and flattering, like you would wear on a first date. You can’t go wrong with a form-fitting dress or office chic look. Steer clear of athleisure wear, sweatpants, and baggy clothes – these won’t help you stand out.
Know that we will notice your shoes. Don’t wear beat-up sneakers or clunky boots. Heels of any sort are the most attractive and can make all the difference between looking cute and looking gorgeous.
Wear at least a bit of makeup (even if you go for the “au natural” look, which can be very attractive.) Keep your hair down if you can. I won’t tell you how to style your hair because we have different tastes – some guys love shiny smooth hair, others love a sexy curly or wavy look. Just style it in a way that makes you feel sexy and confident.
Taking all these tips into account, your aura of confidence, happiness, and openness will make you stand out from everyone else in a crowded room. Guys will be certain to notice you, and won’t be able to resist approaching you to say hello.
Written by Julian Makar
Edited by Nicole Gaasenbeek