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October 20, 2004

Dating: Last call at the Singles Bar

It's funny how your late twenties can transform you. One day you're footloose and fancy free and the next you suddenly you realize that it was last call at the single's bar and you got stuck with the bill.

For some people this isn't a problem. The site of their friends marrying off, having kids and embracing the suburbs is no big deal. For others it's the beginning of a descent into an anxiety filled swamp, a swamp where there seems to be no safe exit in the arms of someone who cares.

The problem is that from the moment you notice you’re one of the last singles the formula kicks in. What formula you ask? This one:

MS = SUM(L+DthC*PP(F+F))

Translated: Your mental suffering is equal to the sum of your lonliness and desire to have children multiplied by the combined peer pressure of your friends and family. (“When are you going to settle down?” and “Don’t you want to have children?” were always my favorites.) It’s got some variables but that’s the heart of it.

Here’s what you have to realize: its hogwash.

Not all of it. There’s certainly some truth behind the feeling in flux bits. That’s normal. The abnormal part is to let it change your outlook or personality. Biological clock ticking is fine but a maddened quest to get married and have babies with little regard to your well being is nuts.

I’m often asked where “good” single men in their thirties can be found. I’m always amused by this because the question seems to indicate that I’m dialed into the single men in their thirties hotline. I suppose it’s a compliment. Were I really swift I would market a duck blind for single women to lay in wait, “Oooh. Look! Check the guide! I think that’s a Well Groomed Single Corporate Analyst!”

Here’s my advice for meeting someone. It’s pretty easy: Live your life. Most everyone I’ve ever dated I’ve met through simply doing what I would normally. Be it a classmate or someone you run into at a store the odds are that the setting of your meeting is a shared experience you both enjoy. If you’re out with friends and the person catching your eye is out with their friends then right off the bat you know they’re active enough socially to HAVE friends.

Moping at home while laying around in your sweats saying things like “Woe is me!” and playing your Cure albums over and over is the fast path to becoming either a crazy old cat lady or one of those guys you steer your kids away from at the mall.

It’s a lot like game theory: You have to play to win. Getting out of your home and doing things you enjoy dramatically increases your chances of meeting someone. You would think it’s obvious.

The key to being stiffed with the bill at the Singles bar is to realize that it’s a one time tab and that the next bill you pick up for someone besides yourself might be a twosome. Really.

Posted by Jim at October 20, 2004 10:39 PM