where they aren’t hiding, part two.

Subtitle: The Olympia Version

Sub-subtitle: Or, Why My Younger Sister Has a Boyfriend and I Don’t.

{A few months ago, while firmly but not permanently ensconced in Nashville, TN, I wrote the first installment of this ‘series.’ I didn’t know then I would make it into a series, but who really knows what anything will turn into when you begin writing it. But I loved writing the first part so I decided to write a second. There will perhaps be a third. Hopefully I will no longer worry about where ‘they’ aren’t hiding before a fourth, because I will have discovered where he was hiding.}

I may have mentioned my status as a single woman. I don’t usually go on and on about it, but it is a part of who I am at the moment, and I’m not ashamed of it. I am single. I’m the one who watches my youngest sister on the weekends when my parents go out. I’m the one who’s never actually had a relationship, but finds myself giving advice to my friends. And I’m okay with it. I’m not actively looking for a guy to change that. But I’m a woman. I notice things, like when a guy is not wearing a ring on his left hand or if he has an accent or if he has lovely green eyes. (Gets me every time.)

But sighting such gorgeousness is a rare thing indeed outside magazines and Hollywood. And one thing I can say for certain is that there are places where this tall, dark handsomeness will not venture. He will avoid these places most likely because it would be far too easy if he happened to be where us single girls find ourselves. Heaven forbid anything about relationships be simple. So if you find yourself in the mood to put yourself out there in the hopes of finding the potential guy of your dreams, here are a few places I would recommend avoiding to save time:

1. The Mall. Special places, malls. So full of stores and vending machines and loud kids and angry shoppers… and middle school age children. They are everywhere. I can’t walk through the mall without hearing at least ten conversations about Justin Bieber and One Direction and Josh Hutcherson, while cell phones ring with “Call Me Maybe.” As fun as it is to put on nice clothes and walk around the mall, using shopping as an excuse to keep an eye out for Mr. Perhaps, I’m much more likely to run into his rather immature and highly illegal younger brother who hasn’t heard of the Israel/Palestine conflict and thinks photography is taking pictures of himself in the mirror. As cute as he may be, he’s probably six inches shorter than me and far too popular to look at me twice.

2. The Downtown Public Library. Libraries are my best friend. They have books, and said books are free. Going to a library is like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one. Plus, you have to be quiet so I’m not expected to attempt my brand of awkward small talk. I used to think if I kept going to the library in town, eventually I would run into the guy as we passed each other in the fiction section, our eyes meeting in expectation while we smiled shyly. We would discuss literature and history. We would be asked to leave because our talking was disturbing the other library patrons. He would ask me to coffee, and I would accept. It would be the perfect story to tell our grandchildren. But do you know who I often find at the library downtown? The creepy old men who may or may not be homeless (and using the computers to view… explicit material) and stare at you for a bit too long for comfort; or hippie college students who smell like weed patchouli, think drinking Starbucks is selling out, and don’t realize that eventually they’ll have to find a way to support themselves after their self-discovery. (I have heard promising things about college libraries, but I used them for studying so their social/dating aspect is foreign to me.)

3. Target. I could live in Target. It’s my weakness. My roommate in Vegas and I once spent four hours walking around, checking out the sales, buying clearance picture frames for $1.24, and smelling the candles. The security guys probably thought we were planning to rob the place. My sisters and I go there for no reason at all, just to look around. Do you know who doesn’t go to Target just to see if new home décor or underwear is on clearance? Available single guys. Oh, I see guys at Target, but usually they are about ten years old and were bribed by their mother with the hope of a new videogame, or they are walking around with their girlfriend/wife/significant other as they are herded through aisle after aisle of color-coded storage containers. If by chance they can escape to the electronic section, it is only for a moment before being chastened and led back to examine kitchen appliances. (I’d vouch that the same could be said of Ikea… minus the electronic haven.)

4. Anyplace I go with my married friends. I have the unique pleasure of having basically no single friends. Of all the ladies and gentlemen I befriended throughout high school and college, only two of them are still single. (And they both live in Hawaii and Alaska, which makes girl’s night out a bit difficult.) So I hang out with couples. I don’t usually mind, except that couples are friends with other couples. The single friends usually bow out gracefully or become a couple and are welcomed into the fold (and I think you get extra points for having kids). So I’m the perpetual third, fifth, eleventh wheel. Best case, I’m in a place that’s full of couples, no other single, available guy in sight. Worst case, I’m the only single person in a group of couples and everyone is wondering “what’s wrong with you?”

So ladies, take from this what you will. Hopefully you have better luck or better geography. I have a feeling church would be a good place to start, but maybe don’t use it like the free version of eHarmony. The secret to searching out the man of your dreams probably isn’t really much of a secret, but a matter of timing. So gentlemen (because I know there have to be a few of you out there), if you want to give us your daily schedules so we can plan casual run-ins, it would be greatly appreciated. (Kidding… mostly).

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