Dating in Pittsburgh (or the lack thereof)

Hi Steph,

WHERE are all the women in Pittsburgh? They're obviously hiding somewhere . . . and I'm not talking about the kind of girls that go to the dance clubs and listen to that jungle rap music and grind themselves all over some sweaty black guy, nor am I talking about the girl that you take out on ONE date and then the next day she calls you 46 times and asks why you haven't called her already and says she's been sitting at home all night crying because you haven't called yet . . . I'm talking about a real, nice, sweet, NORMAL white girl . . .

Also, and since I noticed that you're 32, this kind helps since you have the proper perspective . . . How do I approach a woman in her 30s or early 40s? Thanks. - Sick of dating in Pittsburgh.

You know, I had to do some serious research into this one. Sadly, I work full-time & go to school in the evenings so I have a very limited social life. Luckily, I have a lot of friends (even if they do rag on me for always having to study on Friday nights or having an 8 am class every Saturday - and you know who you are), so I was able to canvas people with real social lives for some input.

The overwhelming response was to stay away from the clubs. I know it goes against every dating rule we've ever known but that's what they're telling me. It actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Clubs & bars are very noisy places so it's not as though you can have any kind of meaningful conversation. And by meaningful, I'm not talking about the meaning of life, either. Meaningful in the sense that you can make out every word the person says.

Most of the people I spoke with have met their their significant others in one of three ways: Through their job/work, friends or a hobby. If your social circle is small, stagnant or just plain boring you're not going to meet anyone there. And your work isn't going to offer a lot of opportunities unless you deal with many people in your job. So hobbies seem to be the real key here. Making friends as an adult may be the one thing more difficult than dating. How do you make new friends without seeming like a loser, gay, etc. short of pretending you just moved here?

There are countless opportunities out there for people who want to meet people & make friends. Take a class at one of the zillion schools in Pittsburgh (all of them offer non-credit opportunities as well as college courses). There are classes in art, wine, writing, computer stuff & just about anything you can name through various organizations & community groups. Join a dart, softball, flag football, ultimate or pinball league. Right now, I'm helping my sister plan her wedding & she met her future husband bowling. I met Mr. Steph through some friends that were just sure we'd hit it off. We both fought like champs & managed to avoid "the fix-up" for months but we've been inseperable since our first date.

I don't recommend letting people fix you up willy-nilly with anyone who's single. It's guaranteed to disapoint all around. If your friend just has to fix up everyone because she thinks it's her life's calling or the coworker old enough to be your mom tries to get every guy under 40 to give her niece "a chance", just say no. But if you have a wide social circle, fix-ups are unavaoidable & worth it. At the very least you'll meet a nice woman that may not be right for but could have a friend that is.

In the meantime, you'll make new friends & have a good time. You'll go places you may not have gone otherwise & your mere presence in the right place at the right time is all that it takes. A guy shooting pool or playing ball with a group of friends is attractive & approachable. Just ask my sister. She has a beautiful smile, a contagious laugh & it caught the eye of a cute guy across the bowling alley. The rest is history.

Dear Steph,

Do you have any suggestions as to why I might be afraid to get close to someone? It's been over a year since my last real relationship and I know I'm over her. I've met some very nice people since but just not sure why I haven't been able to get attached to anyone. - pghguy

There are many possible reasons & it could even be a combination of reasons. The most likely reason is that you haven't met the right woman yet. Just because someone is nice or fun or pretty doesn't mean you'll want to be with her. Just because there isn't anything wrong with her doesn't mean she's right for you. The world is full of nice people, fun people, intelligent people whose company is enjoyable. But it takes more than that to form an attachment to someone.

Speaking from experience, I myself have never found a datable man when I was looking for one. Often you find someone when the timing is horrible because you've got so much to juggle right now that getting to know someone & building a relationship is the last thing you have time & energy for. Many people I've talked to feel that this is sort of the Murphy's Law of the dating world & I have to agree that it's always held true for me.

I've read that just wanting a relationship can give off vibes of desperation -- even if a person isn't desperate, it can be noticeable on some level to the opposite sex, even very subtly. That can turn people off to you. So the dating law may have some truth to it. When you aren't looking for an attachment, one finds you.

The best thing to do is to not question yourself or doubt your feelings. You can't make yourself interested in someone if the spark isn't there. Trying to force it will only disapoint you & possibly hurt her if she's getting attached to you. Just be sure that you've given these women a chance & gotten to know them well enough that you'd feel it if it's there. If you're sure you've given these opportunities a chance & still feel nothing, don't sweat it.

In the meantime, be social & active. The more fun you have, the more attractive you'll be to those around you & the more people you'll get to know. Eventually, one of those pals will be the woman you can't help but get attached to.

Have dating suggestions for Pittsburgh's singles? Send 'em in! And check out pghguy's cool blog, A Pittsburgh Guy's Blog, for more insight.


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