Hitting the scene alone can be a testing experience. Some guys just don’t like singles, the assumption presumably being that the single is out there looking for one thing and one thing only, which he possibly is! Cast those doubts aside. Put your faith in the way the sap’s rising. And if you’re out on your own, here are a few ways not to find yourself singing the wallflower blues.
1. Sit or stand by the bar. That doesn’t mean block it, which is potentially annoying, but hover nearby and you’ll be far more likely to fall in with other people. The main rule is not to retreat with your back to the wall. Occupy space.
2. In the evening, aim to go out later rather than earlier. People will be loosened up and more ready to talk. Meanwhile, you’ll still be fresh and sober. If you arrive at a bar too early there might be nothing else to do but drink. And drink. And drink. To the point where you wake up next morning registering bad news.
3. Assuming light, take a magazine or a book to read, something that’s interesting and individual to you. (The free mags might be okay to read, but can seem a little desperate bar-wise, as if you’re clutching at straws.) Alternatively, take a note-pad and jot down your thoughts. People will inevitably ask what it is you’re writing. (Laptops are not recommended. On the one hand, they look like work. On the other, they might get lost or broken.)
4. Have something to say. It doesn’t have to be very much. Other people are eager for conversational starters. It might be something you’ve done that day, a question, a compliment, even just a comment on the weather. It doesn’t matter. The fact you’re saying something is everything.
5. Have faith in other people. Also, be aware of what you want. If it’s a very short term relationship, a one hour stand or a whole night, you’ll probably get it, though not necessarily until kicking out time. If it’s friendship or friendship-which-might-lead-to-more, allow time to establish that friendship. It won’t all happen tonight. Take the other guys’ numbers, don’t do anything you might regret later, and you can meet up again next week. (You might also notice that if you’re alone but you’re waiting for others, it’s far easier to talk to random people than if you’re simply alone. There are conclusions to be drawn from that.)
6. Frequent the same bar and make it your regular. You’ll get to know the staff and the locals. You’ll become more familiar and confident and able to act as if you are a host. Also, it won’t then matter so much if on any particular evening no-one seems to be there to talk to. There’ll always be other nights.
7. One option, if you’re looking for other men, is simply not to go out alone. Get a fag hag. It’s an old and reliable concept. Social lubrication guaranteed. Plus, you’ll have a friend while you’re eyeing up totty.
8. Prepare your emotions beforehand. If you’re irritable or lonely, go for a long walk or go to the gym or to see a film. Relax, then get to the bar in the right mood.
9. Choose your venue and so choose your crowd. Some bars allow you to feel good on your own more than others. Wherever you may be, look around for a while and find a place where you’ll feel comfortable.