10 Offbeat Places To Meet Guys

Skip that Norah Jones concert! Here, an insider’s peek at where the guys really are… so get out there and go get ’em!

By Lisa Lombardi

eard about the woman who met an amazing guy browsing placemats at Williams-Sonoma? Us neither. Fact is, dating is an odds game—if you want to meet a guy, you’ve gotta go where the boys are. Here, in no particular order, are 10 surprising hot spots. But keep in mind that you can find someone practically anywhere, so don’t overlook the guys you whiz by every day as you pick up your dry cleaning, add cinnamon to your latte or scarf down your sandwich at your cubicle. As Steve Santagati, author of the book The Manual, puts it: “There’s probably a guy within 10 feet of you checking you out right now.”

1. Your local hardware store
If Flip This House has taught us anything, it’s this: Cute Homeowning Guys
Head to your local Guitar Center for an easy way to meet men…
Do Their Own Renovations! (And save a bundle in the process.) Your neighborhood hardware joint is a hangout for not just handy condo-owning types, but all guys—even the ones whose last big project was the pig-shaped cutting board they made for Mom in eighth-grade shop class. “Being surrounded by tools brings out any man’s masculine side,” explains Patrick Carone, an editor at Maxim magazine. “Added bonus—if you go alone, you’re pretty much letting him know you don’t have a man in your life.” Ask for his advice on a DIY project (“Do I need special hooks to hang a giant mirror?”). Whatever you do, “don’t introduce yourself,” advises Santagati. “Just go up and start talking as if you know him.” Because now you do.

2. The driving range, early on Saturday afternoon
Used to be, you’d only find two types golfing: guys over 50, and guys who dress like they’re over 50. These days, though, it isn’t just your dad’s cardiologist teeing off: Cute non-prepped-out guys are hitting the links en masse. Don’t feel like killing 18 hours at an actual golf course? Luckily, hitting balls at the driving range is a quicker way to sink a Saturday night date. “At a driving range, you’re close to the other golfers, making it easy to fall into conversation,” points out Carone. And when you go after lunch you’re more likely to find guys who just want to hit balls for fun (scary serious-golfer dudes show up at the range in the late afternoon, after they’ve finished their regular round of golf). How to spark something? Just ask the cutest golfer in the immediately vicinity if he can show you how to hold the club. “Voilà, he’s got his arms around you already,” says Carone.

3. Jury duty
So you think the only men in the jury pool are ones who weren’t bright enough to get out of jury duty? Linda Barlow, of Warrington, PA, begs to differ. “I met my husband Bruce at jury duty,” Linda says. He asked her to lunch; she said no, but quickly reconsidered because he didn’t seem like an axe-murderer. “I always tell my girlfriends who complain about getting jury duty that it’s a great place to meet men,” she notes. And all that waiting makes it a natural hook-up spot: “The guys are bored and thinking about women,” promises Santagati. That means making one small move (from “Hey, any interest in the other half of my muffin?” to “Want a section of my paper?”) can reap a big romance payoff. And, as Linda and Bruce can attest, you can’t fail with, “Know where to get Chinese/Thai/good sandwiches around here?”

4. Improv class
Why? They’re jam-packed with men, for one. (Which gender loves Second City and consistently stays up for Conan? The men.) Two: The class is all about interaction, notes Carone, so you don’t have to think up cheesy lines (like, “Who’s your favorite comedian?”) to start a conversation. Not to mention, the nature of spontaneous ad-libbing gives you a chance to see if you two have Bogart-Bacall chemistry, says Debbie Magids, Ph.D., author of All the Good Ones Aren’t Taken. By the time your first date rolls around, don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve known each other since back when Saturday Night Live was funny. “You are opening up to parts of yourself that are hard to get to, and it could really make for a true connection,” says Dr. Magids.

5. A store’s flat-screen TV section
Have you noticed that every guy is in the market for a plasma TV? “Single guys between 18 and 34 are much more likely than the general population to say they plan on buying a
Try a driving range if you don’t have the patience to play 18 holes.
plasma TV,” confirms Carone. So he already has one? He wants a bigger one! So he can’t even afford an iPod? He heard the prices are dropping fast! Next time you’re in Best Buy or WalMart, swing by the stupidly-big TV aisles and do a little shopping of your own. If you want to strike up a conversation, say, “What’s the first movie you’d watch on that?” His answer could be a deal-breaker (think: Big Momma’s House 2) or a deal-sealer (insert name of obscure movie you love here).

6. The blackjack or craps table
“This is the absolute best place to meet,” says Santagati. “Everyone’s close to each other and having fun.” And few guys can resist a woman who knows her way around the real games. “Slots are for old ladies,” adds Carone. “When a man sees a girl at the craps table who’s doing more than just blowing on dice, he takes note. And if you roll and double his money, he’ll be in love.” Just please don’t blow the rent money, OK?

7. In line at the DMV
At first thought, this doesn’t seem like the optimal place to meet your soul mate. Almost everyone’s cranky, the lighting is horrible and filling out 70 forms doesn’t leave you much time to flirt. But the DMV is actually a great place to guy hunt. Here’s why: If a man can stay good-natured and polite even though he has 800 people in front of him and just waited half-an-hour in the wrong line, he’s a good guy. Actually, lines in general are underrated: Eva Pereira, 31, met her husband, Ron, 33, buying coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. He asked her if she was following him (she had parked next to him, then ended up behind him on line). This made her laugh. “We spent the next hour drinking our coffees and chatting,” she says. “We’ve been together ever since.”

8. The nearest bar to the sports arena after a big game
“Sometimes, numbers count,” says Dr. Magids. “The more men you meet, the better shot you have of finding the one.” Where can you be guaranteed to find guys in bulk? At the pub closest to your local sports arena. (It has to be the closest one, because guys in search of a post-game beer don’t walk far). “This is a great place to find men in partying mode,” says Dr. Magids. If their team won, you know they’ll be in a great mood. And if they lost, you’ll be a welcome distraction—just don’t say, “It’s only a game!”

9. Sam Ash (or another musical instrument store)
If you have a thing for brooding band guys, hit up your local instrument store. Bonus: the guy-girl ratio tends to be more favorable than Alaska, so you don’t have to sweat the competition. “Many women compare and contrast constantly, and when they have a lot of competition they wipe themselves out from the game,” says Dr. Magids. “Without that element, you can just be yourself.” Don’t worry if you haven’t picked up an instrument since the 4th grade. “See if he’ll play a chord from your favorite Fall Out Boy song,” suggest Carone. “Even if he can’t, it’ll lead to a rocking conversation.”

10. Frequent-flyer lounge in your hometown airport
First off, you know he isn’t an international terrorist (thanks, security check!). But there are other perks to mingling in the VIP lounge. It’s easy to strike up a conversation because you have “an easy opening topic,” notes Dr. Magids. “Where are you going? Then you can start talking about where you have traveled in the past. Also, if there is a delay, people naturally start to commiserate.” So he’s not in the VIP area? Go ahead and board, because Passenger Right may be seated right next to you, which is the serendipitous situation Vanessa Ton found herself in on a flight from Detroit to her home base of Los Angeles. “We talked for four hours straight, about everything,” she reports. “Now he’s moving to L.A. to be near me.” Memo to airlines: Make that perk standard, and you’ll all get out of chapter-whatever-it’s-called fast.

Lisa Lombardi has written for Marie Claire, Glamour, Maxim and other magazines. She met her husband in a job interview.

For the male perspective on this topic, read Love Where You Least Expect It.

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