December can have some of the loneliest and longest days of the year for those without partners. Making things worse, people who are actively trying to find mates tend to hibernate, opting to sit out the holidays alone rather than fly solo into the headwinds of social obligations. Even AARP has jumped into the dating game with the launch of its new dating site. The AARP partnered with the HowAboutWe.com, allowing users start with the question: "How about we . . . " and post an idea for a date they want to go on.
Hibernating is precisely what midlifers shouldn't do, said dating coach Lisa Copeland, who specializes in advising post 50 women about where to find "quality post 50 men." The December holidays just require a little more creativity to find where the good men are hiding, said Copeland, who runs the Find A Quality Man website.
Here are the 10 best places where to find them:
Whole Foods (Or Local Grocery Store) Around Dinnertime
Single men have to eat and many over 50 don’t cook for themselves so you’ll often find them around the prepared foods section picking out that night’s dinner. Make a recommendation to start the conversation.
Sporting Goods Stores
Men are in there buying themselves running shoes, weights or gym equipment all the time and men love nothing more than giving advice, says dating coach Lisa Copeland. So to get things started, go up and ask them their opinion on something you are thinking of buying.
Friends' Holiday Parties
If it's hard to go to these alone, invite one of your single friends. The point is, you never know who might show up. And it's important to circulate -- work the room!
Copeland and her family played the poker slots at a local casino over Thanksgiving. She no sooner sat down than two men sat down on either side of her. She reports: "They couldn’t have been nicer or happier to help me when I couldn’t figure out how to change the poker game from Jacks or Better to Deuces Wild. And I was happy to let them!"
Your Computer And Smart Phone
Online dating is the biggest hangout for post-50 men at any time of year. Free sites like PlentyOfFish.com offer the ability to chat with men who are online. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/online-dating-scams_n_1263837.html">Be cautious of course</a> and know that a profile <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/debbie-best-online-dating-scam_n_1959219.html">may not reflect the real thing</a>. Or, consider a mobile phone app that helps you connect with people nearby. SinglesAroundMe (SAM) offers a geographical-mapping app that allows users to meet other matching singles in the vicinity. SAM just launched an "Approximate Location" feature, allowing singles to disguise their exact location. Some 80,000 new users are downloading the app each month, according to the company.
Malls aren't only patronized by women. Men also need to buy gifts for their family over the holidays. Malls present several opportunities for women looking for available men. You can always offer to help the guy who looks lost in the sweater aisle, but don't overlook the food court. Shopping is exhausting and more than a few men have been known to take a break there, especially if there is a TV screen with a sporting event on it.
Home Improvement Stores
In addition to fixing things in their homes, many men put up lights and a tree even when they are single, and often help their families do the same. See a cute guy minus the ring? Ask him if you should upgrade to those new LED lights.
Panera Or A Local Lunch Spot
Working out of your home can be isolating, so Copeland often goes to Panera to grab some lunch. "Lots of men do too. It’s worth checking out," Copeland said.
More and more over 50 groups can be found on Meet-up. Try Meet-ups that cater to special interests you have like Scrabble, wine tasting or dining. Even better, do some volunteer work for a cause you believe in. Answer phones during a local public radio fund-raiser, help serve meals at the soup kitchen, join the Sierra Club's trail repair effort. You'll meet people with whom you have a lot in common.
Local Upscale Restaurant
Aim for one that people your age frequent. Said Copeland: "I can’t tell you the number of single men I’ve seen dining at the bar on a weeknight. Go for a glass of wine either by yourself or with a friend." Also, check out the happy hour.