There Are No Straight Men in Zumba
A dear friend called me on my bullshit recently. I was whining about never meeting men when I’m out. My girlfriend pointed out that I’m not exactly putting myself in the best position to meet men. How could that be? It feels like no matter how good I’m looking (seriously…pretty-ish on fleek) or how open I am to the prospect of meeting someone new, I’m just not inviting enough to get a guy to walk across the bar, offer to buy me a drink, and strike up a conversation. Okay, part of the problem may be that I rarely spend time in actual bars. I frequent “da club” even less. Bars and clubs are notorious spots for singles to find each other. What’s a girl to do if she’s pretty much off of the bar and club scene?
I’ve heard stories (possibly urban myths) about people finding love in the grocery store. Whole Foods, in particular, seems to be a hotbed for love connections. I often do my grocery shopping on Sunday mornings after leaving Zumba class. I get to the store in my workout gear, all sweaty, without make-up, carrying something akin to a fanny pack, and I buy unsexy things like deodorant and Raisin Nut Bran. Should I instead arrive at the store, freshly showered, in full glam mode and fill my cart with sensual items like fresh pineapple, red wine and chocolate syrup?
Maybe my Sunday mornings would be better spent inside of a church. I’d have the chance to save my soul and meet a good, God-fearing man at the same time! I could ask the whole congregation to pray for me. I picture my testimonial going something like this: “Yes, Mrs. Watkins, who has done so much for the members of this church, is going through chemo and needs our prayers, but please also pray for me because I need a man. A man! Amen.”
I realize the title of this post may be a bit of a generalization. However, in my experience, Zumba class isn’t the best place to meet eligible men. I bypass dozens of sweaty men sculpting their fine physiques on strength-training and cardio equipment before I reach my class. I don’t even take the time to appreciate the view, let alone linger long enough to catch a man’s attention. This may be the biggest waste of all, given that I spend several hours a week at my gym, a place teeming with men from all walks of life, with their varied interests and backgrounds and personalities. Surely there’s someone in the mix who’d like to mix it up with me. So I’ve resolved to venture out of my safe workout bubble to ask one of these super-fit dudes to “spot” me while I try to lift weights and look sexy at the same time. This will not be easy!
Some of my recent nights out have included activities like candle-making and wine tasting. Hmmm…I’m starting to see the problem here. Even when I do more gender-neutral things like attend a comedy show, I go about it the wrong way. I pick the early show, which consists more of couples looking to get home in time to tuck the kiddies in or men too old to stay up past ten. Since I’m not looking for a threesome, I should probably go where the carefree singles are instead of the couples. And I still have a few years before I start looking for a cat-daddy, so I’m going to try to catch the late show next time in order to meet more age-appropriate men.
I’ve taken up line dancing. It’s a hobby that’s allowed me to meet some really cool people. While there are definitely straight men who line dance (they have the T-shirts to prove it!), my class is made up of all women and one token, married man. No potential suitors there. I’ve come to understand why people are willing to say to hell with the corporate handbook and risk both the wrath of Human Resources and post-break-up awkwardness to hook up. The workplace is where we spend most of our waking hours. I work for a very small company, so meeting men at work isn’t really an option for me. And it’s really too bad that I don’t have the skills of the legendary Ms. Claudia, a woman from my old neighborhood who managed to always have a man despite never leaving the house. Door-to-door salesmen, the cable guy, the insurance man, a paper boy…I think she busted a pipe on purpose to get herself a plumber!
Cyber Space is still a top place to meet available men. I heard a statistic that a third of all couples now meet online. I definitely don’t feel a stigma when I go online and I’m sure I’ll put my dating profile back up sometime soon. But there’s a part of me that yearns to meet someone the old fashioned way. Maybe it’s the lifetime I’ve spent watching rom-com movies and reading chick-lit. I long for my own, real-life, meet-cute. Meet-cutes require that you encounter your man for the first time through some kind of physical contact (usually when you’re not even looking for him), not while scrolling through dozens of profiles on a computer screen. Even in Jemima J, the lovable protagonist meets the man of her dreams online, but goes on to live happily ever after with her co-worker crush.
Now that I’ve begun to see that I may not be putting myself if the best position to meet men, I’m starting to be more thoughtful and strategic about it. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the point where I can walk into a bar alone, sit at the end of it and wait for the men to flock to me. But I can employ the services of a wingman/woman, diversify my interests and seize opportunity. I won’t commit another boneheaded move, like agreeing to babysit my niece and nephew instead of attending any one of a thousand Mayweather/Pacquiao fight parties filled with men. While I may be getting a little long in the tooth for “da club”, there are several grown-and-sexy spots that have the kind of vibe that I’m looking for. I vow to spend more time at those places. I know that the first rule of real estate is Location, Location, Location. Now I understand that rule also applies to looking for love.