(Editor’s Note: Hunt Ethridge is a dating consultant living in Hoboken. His column runs in the entertainment sections every other week, as well as at www.hudsonreporter.com.)
This week, a letter from a reader:
Hi Mr. Hunt Ethridge,
I am 28 and in real need of some advice on where to start looking to pick up some dates. I am not the bar type of person. I am bit old fashioned. I am more on the conservative side, go to church on Sundays, not a big drinker, etc. I am not athletic but wouldn’t mind improving in that area if it would help. Everyone I know met someone when they were in school. At this point those days are over for me. I have only a few friends and they are just not the social type. They are single. Stuck in the same old routine like me. I work from home so I don’t have coworker potential. My taste in music is on the retro side. I am into music from the 20’s through 50s. This makes it hard to socialize and hang out since I am not into any of the new stuff.
I like ballroom dancing but that just seems to get me always stuck in the older circle of people. Are there any young venues with places to go, besides studios where you have to sign up for classes and monthly packages etc. just to find out that there is no one that I am interested there? Going out on my own just isn’t going to work. I have no cousins my age. They are around 20+ years older, married with kids and live in another country. I have very limited experience with girls. Is there any hope for me?
It seems like I am stuck with a series of dead ends all around me.
Thanks for your time and advice.
Hello Charlie and thanks for writing in. I get many letters like yours so I’m hoping that your situation could help others out there too.
I know that when one thinks of the “singles scene” in the greater NYC area, visions of bottle service¸ Dolce & Gabbana, and $20 cover charges come to mind. And yes, while that is part of it, it’s only thought of because it’s so vociferous and in-your-face. This is the largest city in the country and there are plenty of opportunities of all kinds here.
Let me first start off with saying that to meet more people involves work and will involve some discomfiture. If it was easy, everyone would have someone. But if you don’t risk, there’ll be no reward. You also have quite a few things that you enjoy, so that will open the possibilities for you. You mentioned you like ballroom dancing, which is great as it’s so social! And let’s be honest, a man who can dance has a definite edge in meeting women. There is a studio in NYC called Stepping Out Studios (steppingoutstudios.com) that not only has their own, younger crowd of students, but they also hold events out at clubs where anybody can join without any sort of commitment. That way you can just dip your toe in if you want. I’m sure at the jazz clubs around you could find many Josephine Baker singers or check out 169 Bar in lower Manhattan for some less “up to the minute” music.
If you just don’t want to be anywhere where people are getting drunk, ZOG sports offers some fun extra-curricular activities to join such as dodgeball, kickball, bowling or others. And please believe me when I saw that you don’t need any athletic ability to play/join these teams. It’s all tongue-in-cheek and can elicit a lot of laughter. You just have to have a good sense of humor. There are other leagues like darts or pool (which I belong to) that abound in this area that might be something you could look into.
Also, I know that some people look at internet dating as scary or holding a stigma but I am a big proponent of it. Now, don’t just do a scattershot approach. There are plenty of specific sites for say, Christian singles, singles who don’t drink, singles who like to dance, etc… Also, try meetup.com. They have an insane amount of groups that meet up around here from music to marketing to mixers. Whatever you enjoy, I will practically guarantee that there’s a group of like-minded individuals.
At the end of the day, if you do not change your own life, do not expect anything to change. Sometimes one has to go out on a limb to affect change. Look at it this way, the only thing you can lose is some time and energy. What you could gain could be sky’s-the-limit. Also, if you get rejected or something doesn’t develop out of it, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not that there was something wrong with you; it’s just that the two of you weren’t right for each other. Try not to take it personally, though I know that’s easier said than done. I was an actor for 10 years and I had to learn in my own head that when I didn’t land a job that it wasn’t a personal rejection of me, it’s just that I wasn’t right for that specific part right then. Bring out a friend with you to help you feel more comfortable if you’d like.
Also, be honest with the people you meet, don’t try to play up to what you think they want. Someone is looking for someone exactly like you are now. Just do SOMETHING, otherwise nothing will change! Good luck and feel free to keep us/me updated!
If you have a question that you would like answered in this column or just need some good old advice, please email Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com. Comments also can be left at www.hudsonreporter.com. Hunt Ethridge is a dating consultant and a fashion writer. Visit his website at www.huntforadvice.com.