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How to Find a Great Guy

Singles Map

You’d like to meet someone new, someone who has real potential for a meaningful relationship. You know there are a million fish in the sea, but you keep coming across the same bottom feeders again and again. How do you meet a good guy?

I. Go where the good guys are.

Go west, young woman, go west!

Wow, is this a compelling graphic, or what? If I were twenty-something and single, I’d hightail it to LA. I know that’s not realistic for most of you, but even if you are not prepared to relocate, there is a strategic way to go about meeting new men.

It’s all about the touches.

Where are you spending your time? How much of your day is spent in places where you likely to meet someone new? The chances of your having a serious and rewarding relationship with the guy standing in front of you in line at the market are slim. The chances of  your having a serious and rewarding relationship with the guy standing next to you at the bar are practically non-existent. Go out, go all over the place. Maximize the number of human interactions you have each day. Roughly half of those will be with men.

Fly solo.

Leave your wingman at home sometimes. The best way to interact with anyone new is when you are alone and approachable. No one is going to make small talk with you on the subway if you’re gossiping with your girlfriend. Women who travel in packs do not attract men, they just intimidate them.

Be interesting.

If you like art, and you take the trouble to learn about it, and you go to a museum and stare at a painting you love, that is genuine. You never know who you will stand next to in front of that painting. If you don’t love art, are just on the make, and you pop into a gallery opening, you may attract someone, but you won’t have anything interesting to say. Pursue your own interests, and then pursue meeting people who share them.

Be strategic.

Be smart about where you spend your time. If you are a volunteer type of person, that’s great. But you are not going to meet many new people if you devote one night a week to being a Big Sister, admirable though that may be. You’re better off giving a weekend to Habitat for Humanity, where there will be hammers and paintbrushes. When I was single, I once agreed to do some volunteer work for the League of Women Voters. A worthy cause. I met a couple of dozen women, aged 40-60. If they’d set me up with their sons, that might have paid off, but as it was, I spent many hours of my time with women my mother’s age. Get involved with causes that draw interest in large numbers from both sexes.

Become a regular. Amanda Ford, in her article How to End a Dating Dry Spell, says that she has met men by going to her neighborhood Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning. If you go to the same coffee place every morning, pretty soon the crowd of regulars starts feeling a bit like a community. It’s much easier to approach someone if you’ve seen them around before.

II. Chat them up.

Be open.

A while back, the Frisky published The Four People I Fell in Love With Today. Amelia wrote that the best advice she’d ever received was to fall in love with four people every day. Before lunch one day, she fell for a coworker, Chicken Parm Dude, Matthew Fox and Barack Obama. I actually think celebrities should be off limits. You should have no problem finding four adorable guys to fall for right in your own life. OK, maybe you’re not going to marry Chicken Parm Dude, but there are many people with attractive qualities. Get used to looking for those. The point is, when you make an effort to communicate with others, sometimes you’ll find that there’s a spark. You’ll feel the vibe of chemistry. That kind of energy is a great starting point.

Be brave.

I recently suggested that you could make your life more interesting by doing something unexpected, like telling a guy he’s cute in the middle of the day. Steve Santagati, who wrote The MANual (and is the inspiration for the movie The Ugly Truth), tells this story:

“One of the sexiest things a woman ever did was come up to me, grab me by the front of my shirt like she was going to beat me up, and say, “You’re a biscuit.” Which in Capetown, South Africa, means you’re attractive. Then she walked away, giggling. Of course I went and found her.”

  • Take a chance. You have absolutely nothing to lose with a stranger.
  • Start conversations with people who intrigue you.
  • Smile at every single person you find attractive.

Be resilient.

Learn to shrug off rejection. It’s a numbers game. Amanda Ford says, “Embrace rejection. If you aren’t being rejected, you aren’t putting yourself out there enough.” I used to do a lot of acting, and the rule of thumb we always went by for auditions was 1 in 10. For every ten excellent auditions you give, expect to get one part. My acting teacher used to say, “You are not for all markets.” It’s the same principle at work here. Not everyone will love you, or even find you attractive. But if you don’t put yourself out there, no one will even have the opportunity to decide.


I’ll leave you with a list of examples of good places to meet new people. I hate cheesy, trite lists of places to meet men. I mean, really, I’m not going to the planetarium by myself. Nor am I signing up for a bachelor cooking class. Again, it’s all about being authentic, and pursuing your own interests.

Here are places where couples I know have actually met. Some of these were random encounters, but most occurred because the parties were regulars of certain spots or activities:

  • Running groups
  • Cycling clubs
  • Block parties
  • Social gatherings with friends, and friends of friends
  • Dog play group in park
  • Starbucks
  • Acting class
  • Concerts
  • Dry cleaners
  • Chorus

It’s really that simple. It’s all about the touches. You’ve got to get your hands on the ball as much as possible if you want to complete a pass.

  • morning_glory

    I would also add, not turning down someone without giving them a chance. Hell, if they are taking a chance because they think you're attractive, the nice thing to do is at least agree to a cup of coffee. Today I was quite surprised, because a resident I met at my hospital last week asked me out through one of my classmates. Which was really funny, because while I was at his service, he never looked at me twice or even asked my name. I even thought he didn't like me. So much for a good first impression :S But I guess I'm kinda flattered, so I'm saying yes, haha

  • susanawalsh

    Oooohhhh, I'm so glad you said yes! And how interesting, that he paid you no attention, and then went for it through your friend. A shy boy?

    I agree with you, though. I always say give a guy a chance. Chemistry can definitely grow over time. Having the spark up front is great, but sometimes it's 100% physical, and there's no compatibility to back it up. Whereas compatibility, interesting conversation, etc. can spark attraction, it's just not a Love at First Sight situation.

    I want to hear how the cup of coffee date goes, Little Sheep!

  • http://talesfromabarstool.wordpress.com/ Tales From A Bar Stool

    This is one of the best articles I've read on the subject of meeting men. Your tips and suggestions are straight forward and so so true. Flying solo is one of my favourite ways to meet men. It's amazing how many men will approach you when you aren't surrounded by a posse. I've written about a lot of those episodes on my blog.

    I love your blog and look forward to each and every new post :)

    -SA

  • Rebekah

    This map was just further proof that I should never have left Seattle, and those two dots in Montana, just need to have a hoedown and merge!!

    Seriously I loved this post!!! And it is so true….just FYI….I meet the most interesting people at Barnes & Noble

  • susanawalsh

    Thanks, SA, that means a lot coming from you! I gotta say, I love your saying, “No regrets, femmes extraordinaire.” Also, I hope you don't mind if I share three recent Lessons for the Ladies from your blog — they totally reinforce this post:

    My Lessons From a Bar Stool:

    Lessons for the Ladies:

    1. Always send over a drink to a man that you want to meet. Works everytime.

    2. When you aren’t working the next day, don’t sit at home eating ice cream. Get out there!

    3. Always have small talk prepared. Women should be smooth talkers as well. Communication is key.

  • susanawalsh

    Thanks, SA, that means a lot coming from you! I gotta say, I love your saying, “No regrets, femmes extraordinaire.” Also, I hope you don't mind if I share three recent Lessons for the Ladies from your blog — they totally reinforce this post:

    My Lessons From a Bar Stool:

    Lessons for the Ladies:

    1. Always send over a drink to a man that you want to meet. Works everytime.

    2. When you aren’t working the next day, don’t sit at home eating ice cream. Get out there!

    3. Always have small talk prepared. Women should be smooth talkers as well. Communication is key.

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, so true about Montana! Looking at this map makes me want to go find a man from Montana, Colorado, or how about Austin, TX? A man's man, high testosterone, know what I mean? I've spent way too much time with namby pamby Northeast liberal types (no offense to the memory of Teddy Kennedy). And yeah, Seattle is lookin' real good!

  • renu

    I wonder how many men on the West Coast are hetro sexual males?

  • susanawalsh

    Well, I definitely wouldn't send you to San Francisco, that's for sure. It's a good question. I do think those blue West Coast dots should probably be smaller, but even so, the odds should still be pretty good for women.

  • morning_glory

    It was today and he was starving so I had to take him to a late lunch instead of the coffee. And I had a really nice time. I still have to get to know him, but he's kinda growing on me :) Besides, I think I've never gone out with anyone so mature. Or mature at all, period, hahaha. This is definitely a new one for me!

  • susanawalsh

    Whoo hoo, that sounds promising! And mature sounds great — if he's already a resident, he's got his education behind him, and hopefully most of his idiocy as well. I hope this goes really well. I kind of like it that he didn't reveal his attraction to you at the hospital when you were at his service. Very professional. I guess in the end he just couldn't resist our morning glory!

  • http://ft.com/ VJ

    This map is pretty silly stuff, and is looking apparently at just one variable here. That's always pretty foolish for any number of real practical demographic reasons. For example there's apparently more single gals in & around NYC & the 'Boston-Wash' corridor. Has anyone ever tried to actually Date women from this region recently? Possibly some of the most demanding, frustrating & picky females on the face of the earth! These are the ladies for whom the full blown incredible fictional fantasy of 'Sex-in the City' was created for.

    And anyone thinking it's a guy's 'paradise' dating in this Eastern seaboard megalopolis is just not paying attention and/or living in reality. Ditto for looking for all those single dudes in FL (retired & elderly for certain) or even out West in 'fly-over country', where many are the infamous “Norwegian/Swedish bachelor farmers” of legend & yore, older taciturn gents & deeply conservative to boot! Ditto for the famous Alaskan fishing guides & bush pilots. Many have been single for a very long time, and are 'out there' making a hard living on the desolate land farming in remote villages or working in traditional mining & timbering towns with simple single 'extractive industries' keeping the entire county precariously afloat.

    In TX that would be the oil & gas industry, which although not a bad bet for some, is still fraught with plenty of problems, hazards & difficulties of typical extractive 'boom & bust' cycles. In Nevada it's hard rock mining for various minerals. Ditto for CO with coal etc. In Washington state it's probably skewed heavily by a focus on farming, timbering and fishing industries, with some ever dwindling aerospace thrown in their for good measure. In CA this might be the happiest of circumstances with all the computer nerds in the traditional 'Silicon Valley' areas. But that's declining quickly now too. In SF this may be skewed by single men who really do not date women much either. In LA it's almost invariably the many, huge & varied immigrant communities located there. AZ is almost certainly again skewed heavily by the many retiree communities too.

    So sorry to burst your bubble folks, but nothing is ever as easy as it looks at first too. And of course the data is now 2 years (at least) out of date too. Stay where you're at, it's cheaper! Just look a bit harder & be a bit more open & willing to explore new possibilities out of your 'usual' & typical 'comfort zones'! Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    VJ, you are certainly right about the diverse makeup of these various geographic populations. Even so, I find it fascinating that this map splits so distinctly at the Mississippi River.

    I call foul on your describing the lovely women of the Northeast as demanding and frustrating. Picky I can live with, and we have every right to be choosy. Personally, I could see going for a man's man in farming, timbering or fishing rather than an arrogant, unemployed investment banker. I doubt there are many relationship-worthy guys hanging out at the Hamptons, but you might find one on a ranch in CO.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/28/us-farmers-see-their-inco_n_271019.html VJ

    Well Susan, When you get deeper into the numbers, some consistent patterns do appear. Why the surplus of men in the West? Well One reason is also that women on the Eastern seaboard remain unmarried Longer than their counterparts out West. They also are a bit more likely to remain so (or single) for longer stretches of time. Why is that? Well they tend to be better educated on average than their counterparts out West. They're much more likely to be living in cosmopolitan larger cities, with the attendant possibilities of 'meeting anyone in the world', whereby they come to feel that their options are more numerous & broader than their sisters out West. Perhaps they are. But again part of the reason behind the surplus of men out West is the earlier marriage of women there compared to 'here' on the Eastern seaboard Mega cities.

    That fact does indeed have something to do with the prevailing culture too, and what the Media is constantly 'playing back' to these ever present media consumers. That will tend to produce & reflect, yes, different prevailing cultures. This is also present & notable in their different political cultures too, the Deep Blue more 'liberal' states in the NE prevailing, and Deep Red much more Conservative states West of the Mississippi. Again there's many reasons behind this fact, some of which go back historically over 50-100 years. Believe it or not.

    So yes in the end? There's a reason behind all the stats. Part of it is certainly that many women on the East coast are indeed, generally more pickier & demanding than women in the West. And this is reflected in the demography & the basic statistics cited above. It's not just that there's a 'pile up' of Huge excesses of available & desirable single marriageable men there. It's also that women on the East coast tend to marry later, get more post HS education, and are more 'married' to their careers, and hence skew the stats as well.

    That's what I'm saying. I guess 'frustrating' was just a personal commentary though. And of course 'unemployed investment banksters' have their 'Daba Girls' fans as well. And most will be doing just fine. And many farmers are in worse condition, with nothing to fall back on. The I banksters? They still have got money in the bank.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/28/us-far

    Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    Yeah, well, I was kind of playing devil's advocate there re the I bankers. And there's no reason to believe your average cowboy would be any better at the dinner table, though I bet he would be better in the sack.

    I do find it interesting to consider how this map correlates to the Red States/Blue States divide. You've made a lot of good observations. I'm sure there's a PhD thesis in here somewhere, if it hasn't been done already.

    As I point out up front, though, very few people will relocate for the sole purpose of finding a mate. If I were willing to do that, I'd find an advanced degree program with plenty of men and go study. I really believe the key is finding someone with common interests.

  • susanawalsh

    VJ, you are certainly right about the diverse makeup of these various geographic populations. Even so, I find it fascinating that this map splits so distinctly at the Mississippi River.

    I call foul on your describing the lovely women of the Northeast as demanding and frustrating. Picky I can live with, and we have every right to be choosy. Personally, I could see going for a man's man in farming, timbering or fishing rather than an arrogant, unemployed investment banker. I doubt there are many relationship-worthy guys hanging out at the Hamptons, but you might find one on a ranch in CO.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/28/us-farmers-see-their-inco_n_271019.html VJ

    Well Susan, When you get deeper into the numbers, some consistent patterns do appear. Why the surplus of men in the West? Well One reason is also that women on the Eastern seaboard remain unmarried Longer than their counterparts out West. They also are a bit more likely to remain so (or single) for longer stretches of time. Why is that? Well they tend to be better educated on average than their counterparts out West. They're much more likely to be living in cosmopolitan larger cities, with the attendant possibilities of 'meeting anyone in the world', whereby they come to feel that their options are more numerous & broader than their sisters out West. Perhaps they are. But again part of the reason behind the surplus of men out West is the earlier marriage of women there compared to 'here' on the Eastern seaboard Mega cities.

    That fact does indeed have something to do with the prevailing culture too, and what the Media is constantly 'playing back' to these ever present media consumers. That will tend to produce & reflect, yes, different prevailing cultures. This is also present & notable in their different political cultures too, the Deep Blue more 'liberal' states in the NE prevailing, and Deep Red much more Conservative states West of the Mississippi. Again there's many reasons behind this fact, some of which go back historically over 50-100 years. Believe it or not.

    So yes in the end? There's a reason behind all the stats. Part of it is certainly that many women on the East coast are indeed, generally more pickier & demanding than women in the West. And this is reflected in the demography & the basic statistics cited above. It's not just that there's a 'pile up' of Huge excesses of available & desirable single marriageable men there. It's also that women on the East coast tend to marry later, get more post HS education, and are more 'married' to their careers, and hence skew the stats as well.

    That's what I'm saying. I guess 'frustrating' was just a personal commentary though. And of course 'unemployed investment banksters' have their 'Daba Girls' fans as well. And most will be doing just fine. And many farmers are in worse condition, with nothing to fall back on. The I banksters? They still have got money in the bank.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/28/us-far

    Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    Yeah, well, I was kind of playing devil's advocate there re the I bankers. And there's no reason to believe your average cowboy would be any better at the dinner table, though I bet he would be better in the sack.

    I do find it interesting to consider how this map correlates to the Red States/Blue States divide. You've made a lot of good observations. I'm sure there's a PhD thesis in here somewhere, if it hasn't been done already.

    As I point out up front, though, very few people will relocate for the sole purpose of finding a mate. If I were willing to do that, I'd find an advanced degree program with plenty of men and go study. I really believe the key is finding someone with common interests.

  • verie44

    This is a late post, but I have to disagree on LA being a good place to meet men. Unless you're into hedonistic guys that wear Ed Hardy & sport sleeve tattoos, you're not really going to meet your target demographic — WAY more cads than dads. Even the gross men in LA are also used to a bevy of 10s courting their attention, as a lot of the most beautiful people in the world move there to have a career in television / film. If you're not in that top 10% in terms of looks, you're not going to get much, if any, play. I'd say the men (and women) in LA are, on average, dumber than in SF and NY. It's just not cool to talk about intellectual things in general, it's a culture of appearances and money.

    San Fran has a lot of gay guys which discount the available population. I think San Jose is pretty great for men (lots of nerdy tech types which are great, but a lot of smart, businessy ones as well), but it's boring as all get out to live. If you're serious about marriage though, silicon valley (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, etc) is the best place to meet smart men.

  • susanawalsh

    verie44, this is a great analysis! I lived in LA in my early 20s, and I have to agree with your assessment. From there I moved to Philadelphia for grad school, and it was heaven by comparison to suddenly be surrounded by smart, interesting guys. If I were a woman feeling totally frustrated by a lack of single men, I would head out to silicon valley and get a job there asap. The demographics are great, the climate is great, the economic resources are great!

  • Rick

    This varies alot I can’t really comment. I differ from almost every guy I know, because I’m artistic. Every guy I know differs on where he’s met girls and his “type”.

    Advice? You’ll have to establish your “target type” and that will narrow it down.

    Bad boys hang at sports bars and strip clubs. Nice guys go to museums and lectures. Artistics (like me) watch live jazz and 9:30 Club shows. Etc, etc, etc.

  • http://dittoeffect.com/ Adam Clarke

    I came across your blog yesterday and it looks great. You must have quite a few fans!

    Awesome map. Its amazing to think that some areas may have larger densities of single men or women. Its nice to come across some great advice in a well written piece.

    For me I found that once I knew how to be resilient the rest simply fell in its place.

    For me what worked best was making sure that everything I do is fun for me and then on top of that to genuinely take interest in the other person or people involved. Open up and share a little bit and you will form some great connections.

  • pjay

    How to find a great guy:

    1. Bring beer.
    2. Be naked.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Adam
    Welcome to HUS! We have a great community of commenters here, including sassy PJay right below you.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @PJay
    Well that will bring out all the guys….many of whom will not be so great.

  • pjay

    @Susan:

    At least you’ll cut out the gay guys. There’s just a little math involved from then on.

  • Jennifer

    Why on earth would good guys be in LA? Or not the East??

  • Maria

    Guys are easy to find… But yet its hard to find the right guy thats commited to the relationship in my age… btw im 16

  • Alexandra

    Seriously this is the most bogus advice ever. I am in my late twenties and just left Los Angeles for the east coast.

    LA has SO MANY beautiful women – everywhere! Beautiful girls from around the country go there to get into the industry. I was always in awe of beautiful women and how cheaply they would give themselves away to men and screw things up for all of us. There male to female ratio in that chart is skewed by MANY factors for example it is counting all of the immigrant men (thousands and thousands) that are working and sending money back to their families in Mexico/South America and more. Also there are THOUSANDS of gay men whole neighorhoods in LA are completely, 100%, gay.  Not exactly in the dating pool.

    Men that move to LA are DOUCHES, I have never met a man that moved to LA (besides for school or work necessity) who was not a douche – the greasiest guys I have ever met in my life swarm the streets of Los Angeles and I have lived in Europe, the East Coast and the middle east so that is saying a lot.

    I knew DOZENS of girls that had the whole package – looks, intelligence, education, personality, everything that were dating guys WAY below their level and were getting CHEATED ON. Imagine a complete worthless douche cheating on a woman like that? I saw it happen so often it made me sick and I had to leave – it wasnt isolated instances it was part of the culture and lifestyle there. Hundreds of guys over my years of living there would tell me and their other friends that all men cheat and that is how it is (not realizing they are filtering their observation by only associating with the scum of the earth). Guys treat women like they are lucky to have a date with them and every time you go out there are 3-4 women fawning over each man. I am back on the east coast now and notice a complete reversal. I have been treated with so much respect and asked out more in the past month than I did for a year in Los Angeles. Move West if you want to get cheated on by worthless douche bags whose only dream is seeing their face on the big screen.

  • ali

    I was, for much too long, the “Nice Guy” who “finished last”, as the saying goes. After years of practically waiting around for the ‘right girl’, not actively going out to get ‘her’ I did one of the worst things possible, I “settled” for what I had. Not having the balls be more of a ‘Man’. I got married and immediately this bitch I called my wife just walked all over me, ten times worse than she had ever done before. It gets worse, I ALLOWED it, she was my “wife”…

    Jumping ahead… I had one crystal clear thought months later, “she wasn’t worth it…”, now the problem was I had to TOTALLY believe that… I was to “nice” to totally believe that ‘crystal clear’ thought, but I eventually got out of it.

    To deal with her at times I had to be hard and, well an “Asshole”. I feel better about myself, and got what I wanted.

    In the years following the divorce, I started to be more of an “Asshole”… I was getting more pussy than ever before. I had to, at times, take days off from ‘the pussy’ to get me rest!!! But the chicks would call and ‘bitch’ and want to see me, and then would give me more!

    A decade later, I’m getting married again. I’m a different person, a ‘Man’. I’m getting married to a hot little Asian girl I met and started dating once, but she was playing mind games. I blew her off and forgot about her. I YEAR later I looked her up again, and she ‘bitched’ about how I just was an “Asshole” to her and how NO guy had EVER done that to her, and how she could not forget it!

    4+ years into the relationship, and I’ve softened a bit, but I am NOT conpromising, NOR “settling”. Not again. I’m not who I was before. Now I’m a confident “Asshole” at times, and I get to tag my hot little Asian pussy WHENEVER and WHEREVER I want… and the longer, and harder I do, the more she likes it and the more she wants it!

    My kind of girl!

  • ali

    the story above this comment, is a story of a nice guy becoming a jerk so girls will give him the time/day. Every woman has been with a jerk, but only few have been with nice guys. Look at what a woman does, not what she says. She might want a nice guy, but her dating history only consists of men that were jerks/badboys…

  • Dman

    Starbucks??? Seriously???
    Come on…