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Where are the Men?

If my friends and acquaintances are any measure, women commonly seek out dates only in a safe venue. They don’t feel safe on the Internet, so they follow the advice of  best practices articles and listicles, “Get out of the house. Go to a place where other people are doing what you enjoy doing.” So they troop to the local library, the adult school, volleyball night at the YMCA, a conference on a promising subject, or the local church of choice.  They complain that the people they meet there are other women who have read the same articles.
So where are the men? They are in bars, but if you go to bars you meet men who like to go to bars and if you don’t share that pleasure, the odds are high for a mismatch.
At a reading at my local library one man gave an answer. “They are everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, on the bus. You just have to smile and talk to people.” He said that he objected to making dating a project; he just wanted it to happen naturally and claimed that making natural connections in his daily life was commonplace. The “men are everywhere” answer was reassuring. The “just smile!” elicited grimaces of discomfort from the women; but maybe we should consider being more generous with our smiles and comments about the weather.
It depends what streets you are walking, at what time of day, and for what purpose, but what he says makes sense to me.
One of the women in this discussion had just met a man after her nose started bleeding while she was in front of his house. He came out to help her and they struck up a conversation – he gave her a kiss on the cheek after the bleeding stopped. That would be a story to tell their grandchildren!