Luv Doc,
My roommate swears that the best place to meet women is in coffee shops. Another friend says grocery stores. If they are right, then I have been spending too much money in bars. What do you think is the best place to meet women? Don’t say church.
— Tabbed Out

Church. I hate it when people tell me not to say stuff. Besides, you can do a lot worse than a church. Speaking from personal experience, one of the craziest nights I ever had started out at a church dance—and I mean crazy in a good way and not some head-spinning, projectile-vomiting, Linda Blair/Exorcist way. That church dance girl was certainly possessed though. Dear, sweet Jesus. Let me just say this: anyone who is a minister and has daughters should probably tighten up the bolts on their bed frames. Sleep is a precious commodity when you have daughters, and it’s best not to compound your problems by mechanical neglect.

So yeah, I have nothing against churches. They’re veritable breeding grounds for breeding—just maybe not birth control. It’s unlikely you’re going to find a condom dispenser in the men's room at a church dance. If you’re looking to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs, coffee shops are probably a safer bet. My guess is that coffee achievers are less likely to want to be bogged down with a rug rat or a vicious case of chlamydia. They’re more likely to cross their t’s and dot their i’s when it comes to birth control and safe sex. However, I would tread lightly with the pick-up lines because people who hang out in coffee houses are much more likely to have an edge. Keep in mind this is all wild conjecture. I can’t stand the taste of coffee and never drink the stuff myself. I can stain my teeth well enough with a nice bottle of merlot.

As for grocery stores, I have some reservations about them as well. I seriously doubt whether people are in rut mode when they’re shopping for groceries. Then again, maybe I’m not picking up on that vibe because I am usually road raging (aisle raging?) behind doddering geriatrics whose shopping carts are Kojacked at odd angles in front of the sample table. Guess what? All grocery store sushi tastes like week-old salmon skin. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t so we can get out of here before we have an aneurism from listening to this abominable smooth jazz.

Are there available single people in grocery stores? Yes, probably. Do they have heavy-flow tampons and foot fungus cream in their carts? Probably. Your once-a-month Toastmaster diplomacy skills aren’t going to be able to dig you out of the Mariana Trench you will surely dig by including said items in your pithy pick-up line. Then again, you may have Ryan Gosling–type game, so don’t be completely discouraged. I just think you should know the pitfalls.

Ultimately, the thought of going anywhere with the express purpose of fluffing my peacock feathers is exhausting. Therefore, I recommend abandoning the idea altogether. Look at it this way: relationships are basically friendships with the added advantage of having sex. Would you go to a grocery store to meet new friends? I sincerely hope not. No, to make friends you just go about being you, and if friends happen, well, how nice.

Ideally relationships shouldn’t be any different. I would, however, offer one caveat: if you are consistently engaged in hobbies/activities/employment where you never come into contact with members of the opposite sex—or members of the same sex with whom you might form a romantic attachment—it’s time to start looking into pursuits that do—not so you can better your chances of finding a mate, but so you can expand and improve yourself as a human being. Regardless of what you might think, you weren’t put on Earth to fulfill someone’s outdated vision of a gender role, so mix it up and try some things that are outside your comfort zone. At the very least, you’re going to meet interesting, adventurous people like yourself, and even if you don’t end up dating them, they almost always have sexy friends . . .

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