5 Tips For Meeting Guys Offline

My track record is as follows: three dates scored with men I’ve met at airports; one date obtained at the ATM; four phone numbers exchanged on the NYC subway; one boyfriend landed at the Apple Store. Also, there was the Trader Joe’s check out boy who showed up on my doorstep with a rose (I invited him over after he bagged my groceries), the spinning instructor whose class I sweated through every Saturday for a year before he asked me out. That was before I dated the dentist from my bootcamp class. And yeah, that guy I met at hot yoga.

The rest of my boyfriends or dates were discovered in more conventional social situations — at parties, events, or through friends. I’ve gone on four online dates in my life. All of which were COMPLETE flops. There was a guy who was obsessed with his cat, one who was in sex therapy, one wanted by the federal government, and one who stalked me. As an online dater, I am failure. I must not “present” well in a virtual setting and I certainly don’t know how to pick ‘em. But offline, I can’t deny I have a certain knack for meeting guys wherever I go. Why is this? I know women more attractive than me who don’t meet men. It’s not really about conventional attractiveness though. Some of my friends have suggested that it’s because of my hair. The wild, curly mane makes me approachable, they say. Maybe so. But I think there’s more to it. After the jump, a few simple tips to meet more men … offline.

1. The Single Gaze. When I move through the world I like to envision that there are potential dates lurking around every corner. I keep my eyes peeled. I do a scan of my environment wherever I am. Bank, grocery store, subway. It’s not that I’m looking for guys, per se. I’m just looking for life, taking in what’s going on around me, being present, and if there happens to be an interesting guy around me, great. When you’re at a party, or scrolling through online profiles, you are consciously looking for dates. I merely suggest that you adopt this mindset more often, like when you’re in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Looking for the other weirdo who loves getting his teeth cleaned. I haven’t met anyone this way YET, but I intend to.

2. Eye Contact. Are you one of those women who always has her eyeballs glued to her phone? STOP! Put your phone away for a few minutes when you’re in public. The art of eye contact is essential for this “meeting in person” thing. I start with eye contact. If I see someone I find interesting, I look at them. Like really look at them. Lock eyes. Boldly. Hold the gaze. Not in a “it’s rude to stare” kind of way but in a “yes, I’m looking at you” kind of way. I’m not suggesting that you do that cliche, fake, giggly, flirty thing. Just sincere “I think you’re interesting” eye contact. This is not a come hither look either. It’s not about being sexy. It’s about making a connection with your eyes. If you get unflinching eye contact in return, you’re in business.

3. Smiling Is Painless. Once you’re connecting with your eyes, duh, smile. Again, nothing forced or flirty or insincere. Just smile and let him know you are appreciating his eye contact and hopefully, soon, his company. At this point, if you are smiling and locking eyes, an available, single man who is interested will mosey on over. If not (he may be the more reserved type), find an excuse to start casual conversation.

4. Excuse Dialogue. If you’re at the airport, it’s “I hate taking my shoes off for security, I only show my socks to people I know.” At the gym, it’s “Is the teacher serious about us doing 100 push-ups? If you notice that I stop breathing, please call 911.” If you’re at the grocery store, it’s “Have you ever tried this kind of hummus? I need to know because I take my snacks very seriously.” There’s always a reason to start conversation with a stranger. Talk about the weather, make a joke, make fun of another stranger … together. If he doesn’t respond, or he’s boring, oh well. No harm done. There’s probably another guy waiting around the corner, at the post office, ready and eager to talk to you.

5. Warm And Friendly Vibes. I did an informal poll and asked a few of my guy friends what it was that made them feel comfortable asking out a girl they just met. They all gave variations on the same answer: she was warm or friendly. Perfect! You are warm and friendly too! Even if you are on the shy side of warm and friendly, you can spare a smile. Think about walking into a room or down the street with a warm and friendly demeanor and watch the men of the world respond accordingly. Focus on exuding the confidence and kindness you already possess. And let it flow, girl. Happy offline hunting.