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Posted at 4:53 PM ET, 08/11/2006

Where the Boys Are

By Julia Beizer

Yesterday, a reader wrote into Got Plans? asking about the best bar to meet "great guys" ages 26-32. It was sort of late in the chat and though we responded to this question -- and a couple follow-ups -- I don't think we got to the heart of an issue that's huge in this city.

Tons of singles move here every year looking for jobs, yes, but also for l'amour. If the tenor of Got Plans? and the moans of my single friends are any indication, the search isn't easy. "People here are too focused on their careers," they say. "They only talk about what they do for a living." "All the guys here wear pleated khakis!" All valid criticisms, I'd venture. There are a bunch of driven, type-A personalities in this town, and, well, that's not always so sexy.

But I've lived around here long enough to say that not everyone in this town is some career-driven freak. Where to meet the "great" ones, though, that's always the catch.

Is there a best bar in town for "great guys"? I'd have to say no. On any given night, great guys and gals are all over this city. They certainly don't congregate in the same place underneath a big sign that says "Single." There's also something about certain weekend bar scenes that aren't conducive to getting to know someone. It's loud, it's sweaty, you have to press up against people to grab a drink. One-night-stand vibes? Sure. Long-term, great-guy status? Perhaps, but yeah, it's less likely.

We've offered up the be-yourself-and-do-something-you're-interested-in advice in this space before, and I don't think that's worth flogging again. Sure, if we all felt like taking pottery class or whatever after a long work day, I'm sure we'd meet lots of interesting people. But romance can happen in the most random of places: like finally talking to the guy you see at the coffee shop every day, or chatting it up with that girl in the gym. Seems to me that those everyday encounters offer better opportunities for meeting the great ones. Better than grinding on the dance floor to Sean Paul anyway.

So what do you think, D.C.? Where does one find love in this city? What makes the dating scene in this town lame? And yeah, if you know of that bar where all the great guys hang out, please tell us below.

--Julia

By Julia Beizer  | August 11, 2006; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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On Thursdays, I'm usually at Dremo's.

Posted by: Great Guy | August 11, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Julia Writes: "Sure, if we all felt like taking pottery class or whatever after a long work day, I'm sure we'd meet lots of interesting people."

Julia how did you know? Yes, I take pottery class after work, and I'm very intriguing. And the people are far more interesting than you'll find in a lot of the DC bars (which I frequent as well).

Posted by: PotteryGuy | August 11, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Only slightly older than the age range you specified (more like 30-45) would be the many area running clubs, particularly the marathon training groups.

They don't require you be able to run at all (yes, walkers are aplenty) and there are some marrieds there too. But you'll also find a couple hundred singles every Saturday morning who are a) interested enough in fitness to do something about it and b) looking for someone with whom to run/walk for the next hour or two. If your first partner isn't alluring, there's someone else about ten yards ahead/behind.

You'll see these same people every weekend for a few months, which allows time to get to know those couple hundred at least passably. And you won't have to worry about the consequences of a drunken hookup. What more could one ask?

Posted by: SirRunsalot | August 11, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Uh, for those of you lasses who are not sure a dude who calls himself "very intriguing" and takes a pottery class is A-1 material, you might want to join a kickball, soccer, or softball, or hiking league. Many non-thaki khakis fellows.

Most normal guys are not into dancing clubs too much, and aren't thrilled by talking about nothing at bars. Doing a sport gives a man something to talk about, and creates an instant "in."

Posted by: NonPotteryGuy | August 11, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I work in the Pentagon--24,000 people, mostly men and have yet to meet a single man even close to my age...so keep these helpful suggestions coming!

Posted by: worker bee | August 11, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

hi,

does anyone know of any magazine, newspaper or TV has done any objective reportin, not commentary by the way, on the success of online dating sites like eharmony.com, perfectmatch.com, match.com, yahoo personals, etc.?

can you name if you're read it or watched anything like that?

Posted by: Dave | August 11, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I took some evening classes offered by Smithsonian Associates, and I liked the other people in these classes. Not pottery making, but classes that offered some talking time within the class. As a guy, I thought the women in these classes were terrific. And, because the "askers" here appear to be more women, the other guys in these classes were nice guys. None of the guys, I would imagine, ever spent time in clubs, BTW.

Posted by: Mr Evening Class | August 11, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

for me. But I'd suggest being somewhere else. I'm short, balding, poorly dressed and rarely find much worth while to say -- besides, my earning potential is probably worse than most of the other men around, and, while I'm good with kids, I'm rarely devoted to the women I date.

Of course, that's your fault for asking for help from the people on the internet at 9:00 on a Friday night.

Posted by: You could settle | August 11, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Hi I am 28 yrs old female and have been using the online dating thing(Yahoo and a few more). Been on a few dates but most of the guys i meet are not "settling down" type material. Still searching..Do you know anybody??

Posted by: singlenva | August 11, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

20--32??? Oh, Please broaden!
I am 35, recently separated, datingly clueless, interested in where and also how to meet men, because met my husband a LONG time ago (long for me; I realize is a whisper of time).
I remember in my early 20s in NYC, these issues were also a problem. Regrettably, they do not fade anyway.
I think doing things you are interested in is certainly a great way to meet people, probably better than bars (of course, interest in bars is quite valid).
Finding good venues for that can be a challenge for us (busy metropolis-type people).
Does anyone know about good acting classes?
Thanks.
And, Everyone, please share all good non-bar, good meeting people places.

Posted by: Alice | August 11, 2006 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Can I suggest an organization called MeetinDC? (Their website is http://www.meetindc.org)
MeetinDC events are organized by members of the organization (which on the website looks to be around 5600, don't know how may are active though), and range through a whole variety of events. Just a quick glance at their website shows meetups for dinner, a Smithsonian tour, a Bethesda artwalk, etc. They do not charge extra than what an event would normally cost (unlike some other social organizations in the area). Most people are in their 20's and 30's, and there is also an over 40 group. It's not a singles organization, but a lot of people in it are single, new to town, etc. I do know several people who have met their partners through it. And I dated someone I met in it's precursor organization, SFinDC (San Francisco in DC), for awhile.
Lots of opportunities abound for meeting new people at places besides bars, taking a look at the events section of craigslist.org will give you some ideas too!
Good luck! (Yes, home alone on a Friday night, but because I choose to take some time for myself sometimes!)

Posted by: happily single | August 12, 2006 12:06 AM | Report abuse

There are a couple of tricks to meeting people that I've found over the years.

First and foremost the best way to meet people is in public while you're doing whatever it is you normally do. If you see an attractive person on the metro or while you're shopping just strike up a conversation. Most people think its really hard to do this but I'd say a lot of times its easier than doing it at a bar/club because people don't have their guard up when they're just doing their daily routine. Don't come out and just hit on people (unless you know what you're doing), just be friendly and at the end, ask for an email address. Email is a lot lower pressure and easier to follow up on than calling somebody.

My other advice is to network, network, network. Make a conscious effort to hang out with friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. If you're not drawing from a big enough pool make a conscious effort to expand your network. Its orders of magnitude easier to meet people through friends (or even distant acquaintances).

Posted by: Gerald | August 12, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

sell furniture and other sporting type equipment on craigslist. i'm not kidding! ever guy that came to pick up something was cute, friendly, single and active. of course, then i moved away...

Posted by: moved away | August 13, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I met a really cute guy once in Dupont Circle while visiting D.C. from Arizona. We were both at the edge of the circle waiting to cross the street. I smiled at him prior to crossing traffic and then headed into a bookstore. I later saw him in the same bookstore looking for a book (some coincidence!)...We exchanged numbers and I found him to be an exceptional person. We had a wonderful three day affair. I think all you have to do is smile and keep an open mind. One can meet a quality person at any given moment. I think it's easier than one thinks.

Posted by: Rod | August 13, 2006 11:46 PM | Report abuse

hang out at a dive bar.

Posted by: han | August 14, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

i've met a ton of cool people on a kickball team....both people who i've become friends with and people who i've dated. highly recommend.

Posted by: dc | August 14, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I think it's quite funny that the (vast) majority of these posts are from men. Apparently the woman who wrote in during the online chat last Thursday is the only one who's worried about this problem.

I think this is indicative of a more widespread problem: women bemoan the lack of good guys in the city but aren't ready to put themselves out there and take a chance. Many women I know in the city either have unrealistic expectations or have overly narrowed potential dates with qualifiers such as "wears pleated pants."

Maybe the women in DC shouldn't worry so much about the small things (i.e. fashion) and simply focus on meeting a nice guy. There will be time to update his wardrobe once you start dating him! (Worked for my wife.)

Posted by: Married Guy | August 14, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I have been trying out an online service, as well as going out more. I have become a regular at a couple places, so the staff there recognize me and are extra friendly, which will hopefully encourage others who are just meeting me that I'm not just another stranger.

I also have to agree with the comment that the women in the DC area are being too unrealistic. With the online dating, it's almost hilarious that by far the most common excuse for a N-Va girl to close communication is that I am too far away for them--just up in Montgomery County, Md! Big Deal! I commuted 58-miles around DC for two years. If they are just looking for someone living within seven short blocks, they have only themselves to blame for the pool being too small to find any fish.

Posted by: dippy_in_dc | August 14, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Just go out that door, go to places that interest you, make some friends, and meet new people. But you must (I have to agree with some people here), smile and keep an open mind. I have a friend who bemoans being single, but dumps guys for really superficial reasons (height requirement? I've told her straight on that).

I met my husband at a friend's birthday party. Don't put unrealistic expectations on someone because they live too far (Before we got married we commuted between NJ and DC for 3 years), they're short, or not Mr. Trump. What matters is that you have fun, get a long, and all the other important relationship stuff.

Posted by: Married Girl | August 17, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Somebody asked about acting classes and I see that the Shakespeare Theatre Co. now has a 'Scene Study for Singles' class...could be fun.

Posted by: single2 | August 21, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with the person who chimed in about networking. I met my boyfriend at a democratic reception that I wasn't even going to go to. You just never know where you are going to meet people. I went in thinking it would be another lame reception, but left with a wonderful new boyfriend!

Posted by: Chrissy | August 22, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

You should definitely check out Professionals in the City. They offer different events every day, and they get a great crowd. Their website is at http://www.prosinthecity.com.

Posted by: Chuck | August 24, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone take a class from First Class Inc?

http://www.takeaclass.org/

Are they any good? What are the demographics of the people that take the classes? They are fairly affordable as opposed to Smithsonian!

Posted by: Classes? | August 24, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to thank all the guys wrote in and gave such great ideas. I'll be out there, and hope to meet you all soon!

Posted by: gratefulgirl | August 24, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It sounds very typical but I met my boyfriend of two years in my apartment building! He lived downstairs from me, and then we got to know each other better by playing kickball in the same league. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can meet "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right" anywhere!

Posted by: Arlington, VA | August 24, 2006 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I really love that all of you have time to take a pottery class or otherwise. But when i get off work (yes, my career matters), sometimes there isn't much more to do than go to a bar. Who can make a weekly 6 p.m or even 8 p.m. committment? Surely not me. And while sometimes I go to parties, cultural events and I always smile at strangers on the street, I also meet interesting people out. Not everyone at the bar sucks (and sometimes the ones that do are hilarious).

Posted by: career-party girl | August 25, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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