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Date Like a Rock Star—Without Using Apps

Single and ready to mingle? Here’s how to do it without a Wi-Fi connection

Woman on green sofa with brick wall in background, heart symbol covering face
The Arrow

I’m in my 50s and single — I know, shocker! — and because dating apps seem to be the only way single people meet anymore, I decided to swallow my pride and give it a shot. It was … I forget which app. HingeCupid or OkBumble, something. One of the big ones. Not Grindr — that one always reminds me of the sandwich. (They might as well have called it Hoagie.)

I met someone who looked interesting, and because I think dating is something that works best if you’re both in the same room, I suggested we get together over the weekend. He immediately blocked me. My first thought was What a loser he is! Then when the same thing happened again, and again, and again, I finally realized, What a loser I am!

But then I realized I was not the problem. The app was the problem. Or rather, the kind of people the app attracts.

If you want farm-fresh produce, you don’t go to a big-box store. And if you want to find the people you’re most likely to find a romantic spark with — men or women in your age range who remember when MTV used to play videos and would be fine if a date wrapped up around 10ish — you don’t use dating apps.

According to recent Pew Research, just 20 percent of singles between 50 and 64 use dating sites or apps, and only 36 percent of divorced or widowed people (of any age) use them. That’s a small sliver of the dating pool. They’re the same people who use profile pictures from 20 years ago, and likely sleep on futons and get most of their life advice from horoscopes.

So if apps are out, how are you supposed to meet someone? Here’s the exciting news: You don’t have to learn a new skill. You just have to close your eyes and pretend it’s 1993 again.

We Gen Xers were early adopters when it came to the internet and social media. But we also know how to unplug the computer and go outside, because that’s where all the people are! It could be a party, a bar, a park. It doesn’t matter. You find where the people are congregating, and then you start talking to someone you think is attractive. That’s it! You hit it off or you don’t, and then things get sexy or they don’t, and bing-bang-boom, you’re dating.

When you’re ready to put on some pants and leave the house, here’s where you might find the next love of your life.


Weddings always rank as a great place to meet people, because you can flirt, you can dance, and you can drink without worrying that someone is going to steal your wallet. They also come with built-in filters for strangers. Not sure about that mysterious cutie across the reception? Somebody there knows their backstory. Maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will say, “Oh, that’s Linda. She just divorced her husband and got a big settlement!”

Alumni events

Forget scrolling social media to find out which of your high school and/or college friends are divorced. What’s your move even if you find out your sixth-grade crush is back on the market — DM them like a sleazy freak? An alumni event, however, gives you the chance to make these discoveries in real time, and find out if there’s still any chemistry between you while there’s still time to say, “Gotta run if I want to beat the traffic.”

Yoga class

If you’re a hetero male looking for love, there’s no good reason not to sign up for every yoga class within a 20-mile radius of your home. The law of averages is on your side — most yoga classes have a 20-women-for-every-man ratio. Even if you never work up the nerve to talk to anyone, the view of all those stretching limbs in skintight clothing can be quite … relaxing.

Homeowners associations meetings

If you’re lucky enough to own a house, your local HOA is a great place to meet people. You can find out who’s divorced or available in the neighborhood without seeming creepy. It’s like the Nextdoor app come to life. You’re just doing a little “neighborhood watch.”

Go literally anywhere

The grocery store. The library. The laundromat. The farmers market. The weird Friendsgiving you really want to skip. The person you’re going to fall in love with, or just spend a few sweaty nights with, isn’t waiting for you at the obvious places. They might not even realize they’re waiting for you. That’s where you have the advantage. You’ve got the element of surprise, and one of the oldest weapons in the dating arsenal: face-to-face conversation.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Follow Article Topics: Sex-&-Relationships