You’re Never Going to Meet Your Future Spouse in a Bar

It can seem like there is only one socially acceptable place to meet people: bars. The thing is alcohol, loud music, and crowds don't encourage serious relationships. Stop putting all your luck in the local watering hole and you might finally meet that certain someone.

It’s strange when friends in relationships ask me (Single McSingleton) whether I’ve been out trying to meet people, citing bars and night clubs as example venues to meet the opposite sex. They always say, “You have to get out there.” Just what exactly is out there? And if it involves hanging around dank pissholes on Saturday nights, cradling a warm beer into the wee hours of the morning while talking to a guy who more than likely will not remember my name in 24 hours, I’ll happily re-claim my single status next year on my taxes, thanks.

Whether you’re a single man or single woman, you’ve probably experienced this conversation at some point, and if you’re like me, it makes you want to scream a little. Since when did bars become the end-all of relationship-starters?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to go to a bar to dance and have a few drinks, and yes, by chance, you might meet a nice chap or gal in a bar or nightclub, but no one ever looks around a bar and thinks to themself, “Yep. The man/woman of my dreams is somewhere around here.” [Puking in the toilet].

Here’s why you’re never going to meet your future spouse in a bar:

1. The bar/nightclub scene just doesn’t seem to nurture relationships.

Ever try having a conversation in a loud bar on a Friday night? It just doesn’t happen. Words get misconstrued, and instead of figuring out whether someone is worth talking to, you’re simply trying to decipher what they’re saying. If only bars had subtitles.

»Better option: Going to friends’ houses/parties. The atmosphere is still fun, but you get a chance to actually talk to someone in a quieter setting.

2. Alcohol makes everything look better.

“Coyote Ugly” is such an excellent phrase. The animalistic thought that someone experiencing a one-night stand would rather chew off his own arm than wake the undesirable gal sleeping on said arm is pure poetry. Alcohol does make everything seem better–life situations, outlooks, and yes, people. You can’t start a relationship when you’re both intoxicated. It’s like trying to get a laugh out of someone who’s high.

»Better option: Try coffeehouses. If anything, coffee makes people more perky and alert. You won’t be slurring your words (unless it’s Irish).

3. People who frequent bars often seem to be after one thing.

With alcohol and music flowing, bars can heighten a hookup culture, which is probably why your friends suggested “getting out” there to begin with (they just want to get you laid–thanks, friends!). If you really are looking for a serious relationship, getting involved with someone who’s just in it for the night might not be the best start. However, if you’re only in it for that duration, too–by all means!

»Better option: Meet people through friends. They’ll know you better than anyone else, exactly what you are looking for and what you aren’t (at least if they are good friends, they will).

4. Sometimes bars just aren’t conducive to creating romance.

There is a distinct smell I like to call “bar”; it’s a combination of fried food, basement, alcohol, with just a dash of cigarette smoke (and even if you live in an area where smoking isn’t allowed in bars anymore, that smoke smell from years of wear-and-tear will ALWAYS be there). Sure, guys can get aroused in a snowstorm with Ellen DeGeneres, but for women, sometimes bars in general are a turn-off.

»Better option: Try a wedding. Everyone’s in the mood for romance at a wedding. If you’ve been invited to one and you don’t have a date, abide by Kosmo Kramer’s rule: “I must be unfettered.” Bonus points if you can dance.

5. Bars don’t guarantee you’ll have the same interests.

Striking up a conversation in a bar can sometimes be painful. What do you talk about? “I like your beer?” It’s not like bars give you a lot to start with, as opposed to say a yoga class where at least the two of you enjoy doing the same thing. One of the great things about bars is that they attract a wide variety of people, but the double-edged sword is that either you’ll have something in common with these people or you won’t. At least when you do something you enjoy you’ve got a jumping off point, and you can narrow the playing field a bit more. Unless of course all you enjoy is drinking–then you’re good to go.

»Better option: Join a sports league or take a class in something that you’re interested in.

This isn’t to say that meeting the love of your life in a bar isn’t at all possible because surely many long-lasting relationships and marriages have started from a chance meeting at such an establishment. However, restricting yourself to only looking for someone special at a bar severely limits your options. If meeting your significant other in a bar were that easy, every “Guy walks into a bar” joke would end with “and meets his wife!”

Megan McLachlan currently resides in the Pittsburgh area where she freelance writes, drinks coffee, and obsesses over popular culture. She was an English major, but doesn't think she wasted her life. Yet. Her blog is megoblog.com.