Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, June 24

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew / May 25, 2006 10:33 AM

Question suggested by Bill.

mike / May 25, 2006 11:02 AM

Dry hump chicks on the el. If they protest, pretend it's a misunderstanding.

Andrew / May 25, 2006 11:12 AM

A friend of mine has been going to a couple of those "Eight at 8" dating things. She's met some pretty cool folks, though none of them have panned out into a relationship yet. But it's a good start.

Otherwise, find a group that's organized around a particular interest, like biking or knitting or anime, and join up.

sky / May 25, 2006 11:20 AM

I had been in a rut and felt that I hadn't been meeting any people-romantically or not-in forever. I joined this kickball league with a few other friends and I have met some of the coolest people. Going out and doing something different on a regular basis helps! Kickball is for lovers!

Tobermory / May 25, 2006 11:38 AM

This is mostly a suggestion for guys - try volunteering somewhere - particularly an animal shelter. Yes, there will be some 'crazy cat ladies' but there will also be a fair amount of normal single women (I will mention it is a plus if you like dogs and/or cats). I suggest this because in my single-girl days I managed to find two or three guys to date at the animal shelter where I volunteered. It seemes that there are always more women than men, so the odds are in your favor.

As for me? I met my husband the old fashioned way - at a bar.

spence / May 25, 2006 11:41 AM

I agree that kickball rules the school.

Volunteering at a local nonprofit is always a good way to meet new people I've found. But I think Mike's suggestion is kind of the standard way these days.

leah / May 25, 2006 12:00 PM

Yes! Animal shelter! It's a flipping landmine for single dudes. And a good way for gals to meet new cool gal friends.

Appleby / May 25, 2006 12:00 PM

Whenever I've seen a guy in one of those "paint your own pottery" stores, I've assumed that there could only be one reason he was there. What the women are doing there I can't imagine. Anyway, these places are ideal for guys who'd like to meet a gal whose house is full of tchotchkes.
And when you break up, you can smash the little ceramic turtle you painted together (sniff).

Brenda / May 25, 2006 12:02 PM

1. Be content with yourself.
2. Pursue activities that make you happy.
3. Stop looking, it'll come to you.

3rd / May 25, 2006 12:03 PM

Tobermory is dead on. The animal shelters are usually *crawling* with singles... and they aren't all crazy cat ladies. Some are pretty hot.

MikeH / May 25, 2006 12:09 PM

Tobermory brings up a very valid point...

On a lark, I recently fostered a pit bull for New Leash On Life because I'm a dog-lover and my schedule doesn't currently afford me the luxury of having my own dog...

I enjoyed the experience so much (although giving up "Rosie" was difficult when she was adopted--I'm man enough to admit that the night after I found out, I cried myself to sleep in a drunken stupor) that I decided to attend a NLOL-sponsored dog-handling seminar so I could assist at their weekly adoption events...

The majority of the other participants in attendance were female, and many of them were quite attractive. AND obviously, they love dogs too...

Avril / May 25, 2006 12:14 PM

I've never had any luck meeting single men in social groups or volunteering. I always meet married or attached guys. . .and their wives or girlfriends.

I usually meet guys at the grocery store, gym or on El platforms. Most of them are over 50 y.o. Lately I've had a frisky 82 y.o. hitting on me at the Howard El station. Too bad I'm in my early 30s. : (

tina / May 25, 2006 12:26 PM

It's funny that the animal shelter is mentioned because my friend and I, who I must say are decently attractive single college females, were talking about volunteering this summer at an animal shelter. It must really be a good place...

Sarah / May 25, 2006 12:39 PM

In theory I think that volunteering and participating in new activities are good ways of meeting new people. However, since I tend to meet people at performance workshops and going to shows, I don't actually end up meeting that many single straight guys. In fact I dated every single straight guy I knew (obviously not that many) this past February. I would welcome suggestions of guy-friendly hobbies. Or maybe I should just wear something slutty to the GB party this Friday--haha!

jm / May 25, 2006 12:41 PM

Back in the days when I was single, rock climbing (in Chicago, the indoor kind), kayaking and sailing were great ways to meet single guys. Plus, great workout, so that was a bonus. Also, Habitat for Humanity projects were awesome. I miss Chicago Street Project, which was a great way for singles to volunteer AND meet people. Maybe Chicago Cares is trying to do the same, but CSP was the best. Grad school is also great for meeting people.

One of my grad student pals from NU told me about the "sticky bean theory". In her home country (Japan), there is a dish of beans that is difficult to eat with chopsticks. The beans are way too slippery. However! Once you can get the first one, the stickiness coats the chopsticks and it is much easier to pick up the others. She applied this to dating. Instead of looking for a boyfriend, she just focused on a "sticky bean"...someone who would keep her in dating practice. Of course, this led to many naughty comments like, "Hmm. That guy by the door. Does HE coat your chopsticks?"

eep / May 25, 2006 12:42 PM

So I'm going to be the first one to suggest the Internet? Not dating sites or networking stuff like MySpace or whatever, but special-interest sites. I've met many of my current friends online in various chatrooms, and through them I've met a lot of their friends. So my ever-expanding circle of friends all pretty much spirals out from a few of my online friends.

This tactic might work for romantic prospects as well, but I can't speak from experience on that. I can say that online dating hasn't really worked for me or anyone I know, though.

Load Zone / May 25, 2006 12:45 PM

At first I thought joining a band would do the trick.


But I've learned that friends of friends, or acquaintances of friends prove to be a productive way to meet that future ex-. I think it's called social networking (without help from the internet).

In conclusion, it pretty much boils down to this:

If somebody catches your eye and you catch theirs, find that convenient excuse to talk to them and be friendly about it.

Most importantly: Stay Smooth.

Blagg the Axman / May 25, 2006 12:47 PM

Market-day and the harvest festival are the places where villagers are most frequently found coupling in my realm. Personally, I tend to eschew such spectacles, as my scarred personage and mistrustful eye tend to frighten off all but the most misguided damsels. The sole place I met a woman who could match my mettle and spirit was on the battlefield—there I was, felling minions of the dark lord Kayne left and right, when through the throng came a woman clad in bronze armor and cutting down the enemy’s ranks with such vigor that her blade was more a red and silver blur. She is gone from me now but that is a tale for another topic.

Drew / May 25, 2006 12:55 PM

Yay, Blagg! You enliven every Fuel discussion.

Long live Blagg.

anne / May 25, 2006 12:59 PM

There are lots of basic rules that help it to get your dating mojo working, like 1. Do things you like and 2. Be honest. While internet dating has its success stories, you do have to actually meet face to face with someone to actually date them, and sometimes we need a push out the door.

One rule that I made for myself at the start of a seemingly lonely summer was to "Accept every invitation." That guy at work's bbq in Lisle? Go. That friend of a friend's kooky frisbee tournament? Go. That dog parade? Go. (Even if you don't have a dog. If you like dogs, super. You'll be surrounded by people you have at least 1 thing in common with.) And, well, that 3rd Anniversary Party at the Hideout? Go!

Fran / May 25, 2006 1:07 PM

Certain online dating sites are good. I think of the Reader or the Onion. A few of my very good friends have met people online who they currently live with, who they'll probably end up marrying. I don't think it's a desperate or icky thing to do. They're all cool people who you might see at your local pub or music venue.

But I also agree with Brenda. Just be yourself and get out there!

Or if you're a dude, buy a really cute dog.

Dutch101 / May 25, 2006 2:16 PM

I have this catalogue, from the Ukraine, works for me!!

Friends of friends. That's the key. just try to make a lot of wierd diverse friends and sooner or later one of their friends will catch your fancy. That's my theory.

I think kickball sounds like a good mixer too.

Cinnamon / May 25, 2006 3:03 PM

Go through the rounds of blogs at and comment on the website of people who seem cool. This is how I met many of my current friends, and it's how Gapers Block kinda came to be.

And come to the party on Friday, cause there are at least a few hot, single, and obviously awesome-cool people on staff. (I'm not one of 'em, but I'll point them out if you seem nice.)

dan / May 25, 2006 3:25 PM

While this is very cliched, it's true: Don't look too hard. Like folks have said here, put yourself in a situation where you're meeting a lot of people in a laidback social setting (like kickball, which I'm playing too, or a volunteer group). And try to focus more on having fun in that setting, than finding someone to hook up with. One of my friends was really kinda desperate to find someone. The moment she honestly stopped looking and joined a pool league, she met her fiancee.

Do the bar/singles parties thing only if you want something casual. Personally, I think you're more likely to find something more substantial with friends of friends. If you join a couple leagues or volunteer, you're more likely to go to house parties, where you can meet friends of friends.

i have one friend who met his very long-term girlfriend on's personals, but I know of at least 20-some people who have awful "horror" stories and no luck with online personals.

w / May 25, 2006 3:29 PM


Flynn / May 25, 2006 3:33 PM

Wow, Avril, I don't take the L much anymore, but if I do, Ill watch out for creepy old guys talking to younger women and punk them out.

Gotta help out the neighbors!

jennifer / May 25, 2006 3:38 PM

not that I've done this to meet any romantic prospects, but marathon training brought me into a rad group of friends. think of it: you spend anywhere between a hour and four with a group of people, chatting, sweating, pushing yourself, feeling out all of your insecurities each week. there's no way you can't be friends after that.

I trained for chicago with the AIDS marathon program in 2003 and am still training with some of those people from my pace group this year. really, I heart these people.

april / May 25, 2006 3:41 PM

I have found Chicago to be such an easy place to meet people. If you look happy and approachable, random people often strike up conversations....on the bus, at a party, in line for coffee, etc.

I never really understood using, myspace, etc for's such a self-fulfilling prophecy. You go into it being all tentative, thinking there's GOT to be something wrong with 'em if they're looking for love online [even though you're doing the same]...which means you'll FIND something wrong with them.

Flynn / May 25, 2006 3:48 PM

For all you women out there, try something technical. Do something overly computery. Check out Version when it comes. Look for guys the opening night of A Scanner Darkly. Head to GenCon.

You're going to be in a situation where the guy to girl ratio is like 10-to-1, and you'll end up having your pick. Especially if you show some interest in those fields, you'll have the geeks all over ya. We're really nice guys, and sometimes we just take a little training to get out of our Aspberger tendencies!

Avril / May 25, 2006 3:50 PM


I guess I look like I dig older guys who ride the El. You've got to give them credit for being so bold.

Bittersweet / May 25, 2006 4:07 PM

Cinnamon, I'd have to agree, though I would have never suggested it except that it worked for me.

My current boyfriend found my blog through Gaper's Block and commented on my site. A few months after that we met and have been together ever since.

Overall, a friend or an acquaintence of a friend usually works the best. Encourage people you know to host movie nights or have potlucks and barbeques.

Also, I met a lot of cool people when I took a class at Old Town School of Music.

dan / May 25, 2006 4:46 PM

I should qualify my remarks by saying this too: If you do join a group or a league, use some common sense.

I don't want to sound mean, but I have a friend who joined a bowling league in the burbs to meet people, and everyone in the league was married and afraid of going into the city. Not a good environment for romantic prospects. Sportsmonster or the Chicago Sports and Social Club or P.L.A.Y. and 826CHI have a nice, friendly cross-section of the population.

Leelah / May 25, 2006 4:48 PM

I am content with myself. I do things that make me happy. I love my job. I travel overseas (and around the country) a few times a year. I run 5ks. I go out with friends. I have dogs. I have a masters degree. I don't work in the summer. I've played in a soccer league.

I haven't had a boyfriend since 2003. I haven't even kissed someone since July 2005. I've tried online dating (no good for the likes of me) and I've given up. Took down the internet profiles, and just decided that maybe that's just how it's gonna be for me now. I don't like it, but I'm not going to sit around mourning my single status.

fluffy / May 25, 2006 5:50 PM

if you're shy like me, you're basically screwed, and the whole sports thing isn't good because i seem to have a ball magnet in my head- i'm the dork that always gets hit/hurt - i will never play volleyball AGAIN. Those things hurt.

I tried online, not really taking it seriously, and did find some boyfriends. That was 2 yrs ago. I don't do online anymore. I'm too lazy and it's too much stress/work.
Since, I've met guys at music shows, bars, parties, anywhere I can get a little liquid courage. And no, no one night stands for me.

When shy, people assume you're stuck up, I think. I'm lucky that I have outgoing friends, otherwise I'd never go out.

plus, i'm a crazy cat lady, so the guys don't dig it. Really, I'm like Leelah, happy to be me and just doing my thing, in no hurry, having a good time.

Rebecca / May 25, 2006 6:05 PM

At my Flirting for Nerds workshop at Early to Bed :)

I agree about the volunteering suggestion-- but I will say that while I was single I tried volunteering with Chicago Public Radio to meet fellow NPR nerds (or Ira Glass) and the pickin's are slim.

But I met the person of my dreams on Craigslist by writing a serious, honest listing. Sometimes it works... after you sift through all the creepy responses.

d. / May 25, 2006 6:37 PM

well i guess some hobbies are better for meeting people than others -- one of my bigger hobbies is cooking. you'd think that knowing how to cook some good food (desserts) would have the ladies flocking...but alas, no. the problem with some hobbies like that is that you spend a lot of time alone -- cooking in your own kitchen doesn't necessarily amount to much social activity.

and when you live a relatively quiet life, i think people think that if you're a dude, there's gotta be something wrong with you.

but yeah, i guess it's best if you're going out in an atmosphere where you're comfortable and there's no pressure (hopefully surrounded by friends) -- sometimes i think i just have to remind myself that meeting somebody is like a job interview -- you might have to do it 5 or 6 times, but you're it's all worth the effort in the long run.

Beth / May 26, 2006 7:44 AM

I met my boyfriend on Craigslist (*gasp*), but not in the Casual Encounters section. We've been together for more than a year now, and I suspect that we may end up spending our lives together.

I swore off meeting people on the internet after meeting some real losers, but my first (and only) guy from Craigslist has turned out to be a gem.

Hulk / May 26, 2006 8:18 AM

Hulk have bad luck meeting women. Women Hulk find pretty run away from Hulk, make Hulk sad. Then puny humans shoot Hulk, make Hulk mad, Hulk Smash! Women Hulk like run away. Make Hulk sad and mad.

Hulk need anger management classes.

matty / May 26, 2006 9:07 AM

If you're hot I'll consider going out with you...maybe.

Docc / May 26, 2006 9:28 AM

The goal shouldn't be just to meet people - it should be to connect. Rather than help at an animal shelter, volunteer or do things that express your higher values. Then, when you find people doing the same, then there's the chance to connect.

For example, get involved with a non-profit that is tied to something you truly care about and then volunteer at a level where you accept some responsibility, possibly to chair a fund-raiser that allows you and other volunteers a challenge and the opportunity of expression. If the project is challenging, rewarding and beneficial to the cause but more importantly offers everyone a little growth as a result, then you have a higher level connection with these folks, an experience beyond "meeting someone" that tells you and tells them that you care about the same things. During the process you get to know them as well and vice versa.

Then just buck it up and offer to make dinner.

If you have no interests or no higher values, then you're screwed and just continue to play your PS2.

MikeH / May 26, 2006 9:35 AM

Rather than help at an animal shelter, volunteer or do things that express your higher values.

Isn't volunteering for an animal shelter or rescue center a reflection of one's higher values? I doubt anyone intimidated by or unconcerned with the welfare of homless dogs and cats is going to volunteer just on the premise of potentially hooking up...

Atul / May 26, 2006 9:52 AM

I'd just like to mention that Blagg the Axman's comment brightened my day.

Marilyn / May 26, 2006 9:53 AM

My friends were of absolutely no help to me whatsoever. Maybe they thought I was too much of a loser to introduce to anyone? I found the love of my life on the Internet, on a film discussion board. I wasn't looking for a partner either. Timing is everything, and ours was right. Be sure you want the same things before you hook up for life, or you're headed for divorce court guaranteed.

Sir Howard Stringer / May 26, 2006 10:15 AM

If you have no interests or no higher values, then you're screwed and just continue to play your PS2.

Only until November 17, when the Playstation 3 will be released.

j / May 26, 2006 10:40 AM

Wait for your friend to dump her boyfriend because he doesn't approve of her desire to star in adult films, befriend him, then slowly win his affection with a steady dose of alcohol and free concerts.

Brandy / May 26, 2006 10:42 AM

Nice timing for this question. I just took down my online profiles. I earnestly tried online dating. In four short months I went from "Woohoo!" to "Meh."

At this point I'm totally open to dating, but too happily single to do much about it. No love-lorn-ness here. I've got great circles of friends, but admittedly I don't venture outside of them often.

Why aren't I going to the party? Uh, I'm meeting a craft friend to swap supplies.

Gee, why don't I get dates?

My advice is simple - let friends know that you're looking and who you're looking for. But like Brenda, jm and Dan said - stop looking and just keep your eyes open and yourself receptive.

jm - love your friends "sticky bean" idea.

Mikey / May 26, 2006 10:49 AM

Met the current women I am seeing on!

We met over the politics test!

Ralphie / May 26, 2006 10:59 AM

I met my wife on, so I can't knock online. It's essentially a crap shoot like any other concerted attempts to meet someone.

The rest of my harem was purchased the old fashioned way. In the slave markets of Timbuktu.

Mr. Snuffleupagus / May 26, 2006 11:21 AM

Hello my name is Aloysius Snuffleupagus, aka Snuffy, but you can call me Mr. Snuffleupagus. My problem is that my one true love, Big Bird just wants to be friends, Oh Dear. This makes Mr. Snuffleupagus very very sad. But on the advice of you fine Gapers Blockers. Mr. Snuffleupagus, went joined a Internet dating site. Sorry to plug myself, but I’m the Single Shaggy All American Mammoth "Mac Daddy", Next door, with out those pesky floppy ears, but with a graceful long snot, long and thick like an elephants! I love to laugh, shop, da Cubs, or block Buster nights.
Mr. Snuffleupagus also went down to the animal shelter to “volunteer”, but no one could see Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oh Dear, because Big Bird is the only creature that can see me, besides for The Hulk and That Blagg the Axman. They scare Mr. Suffleupagus, very very bad, Oh Dear. One time they got very drunk off grain alcohol and mead
and tried to ride Mr. Suffleupagus, Oh Dear.

sky / May 26, 2006 11:51 AM

Maybe Gaper's Block should throw a single's event!!!

jeff / May 26, 2006 11:56 AM

I tend to meet a lot of people because I am outgoing. Every time I approach someone new, I am terrified but still usually go through with it. If i dont talk to one new person when I go out, I feel its a failure. Most people have these barriers around them and its simply a matter of leaving all of the horrible past experience and baggage at home or simply lose it.

Some of the last few places I have met new people...CTA, Gunther Murphy's on Tuesdays is great for comedy and when people laugh they are in a good mood and open to talking to others. I am there EVERY tuesday. Hint hint.

Main thing is...have confidence and look happy...most importantly...ask questions and simply LISTEN. most people just talk talk talk. Listen and they'll love you.

christiana / May 26, 2006 11:59 AM

Being immensely attractive helps.

Ha! Just kidding. (Kind of.)

I echo the sentiment of being outgoing and confident. Also, love is always found when you least expect it, as corny and cliched as that may sound.

matty / May 26, 2006 12:46 PM

apparently there aren't any hot girls here...I have yet to recieve one myspace comment.

matty / May 26, 2006 12:49 PM

Also, not to be too rude, but this thread is sad if not pathetic.

Volunteering at animal shelters to get unwanted pussy? Oh the irony.

Seriously people, go out, get drunk, work up the balls to talk to the opposite sex (or the same sex, whatever). It's not that hard.

anon / May 26, 2006 1:10 PM

maybe the lack of hottness is on your end matty.

flips / May 26, 2006 1:13 PM

Matty, you're cute, but I think the 10 yr age difference precludes me leaving you a message. And no I am not 13, other direction.

avant/chicago / May 26, 2006 1:15 PM

MySpace - no, 10 dates in 10 mins - ha. Read the post on Trader's Joes. That's the spot. Follow the link!

flips / May 26, 2006 1:17 PM

make that 9, not 10. still too much.

Eamon / May 26, 2006 2:03 PM

Chicago Sport and Social Club.

Or just sit around work and wait for your future wife to walk through the front door, which worked like gangbusters for me.

lacey / May 26, 2006 4:09 PM

I'm not single, but I just got back from a bike ride on the Lake Shore path and there was a lot of scoping happening there. I can't say if it would be good for a real connection, but there was definitely a lot of looking.

I think volunteering is a great idea, that is a great suggestion. I met my husband while we were doing service together.

indiankudi / May 27, 2006 12:25 AM

wow - thanks for all the suggestions. they all sound helpful. I'm all for being yourself and doing what you love - the rest will just follow. I'm relatively new to this website and so far, think it's great. Was just wondering if there are any single indians here? Maybe we could ask for a GB indian singles night.. hehe

steven / May 27, 2006 12:39 AM

My wife and I met on, she moved here from ny and we've been married 4 years. If not for that, who knows. I was coming off of something big and heavy, but I was coming around to the realization that I simply had to be myself, no matter what. And poof.

Clarke / May 27, 2006 7:45 AM

I second the motion from Brenda way up near the top -- stop looking, it will come to you.

If you're trying too hard, it won't happen. Just do something that you enjoy, and you will find someone. They may even enjoy the same thing.

Good luck.

Kyle / May 28, 2006 3:44 PM

Matty, don't you have a girlfriend?

Emerson Dameron / May 29, 2006 8:04 PM

Bar pickups work best for the vain, the shallow and the obnoxious - in obvious meat markets, demanding sincere respect is a liability. That said, I've met great people in bars, and met my girlfriend at a seriously drunken house party. Be busy, friendly and passionate, I guess, would be my advice, if giving unsolicited advice weren't such an unattractive quality.

VinceJose / May 31, 2006 4:25 PM

I think its definitely better to meet people doing specific things you enjoy. Getting hammered and hitting on someone at a bar has a very low probability of resulting in a good match. And if your looking for someone special and don't want to settle just because you're lonely your gonna have to make an effort to meet as many people as you can.

It really isn't that hard. I recently travelled around Spain for 2 weeks and ended up with about 30 emails from complete strangers. I'm friendly but not neccessarily outgoing. Goes to show you that it's all about your mindset. Pretend your on vacation next time your riding the train. Ask for for directions or something. You'll find it much easier to approach someone and then you can live that awesome romantic comedy betrayal-redemption-happily ever after wedding sequence when you admit you were born in St Bens.

And for ladies looking to meet guys that are into art/music etc, you'll be crawling in them at Resfest, Vision, Rotofugi openings and other such events. But you may have to make the first move or be very obvious. We are nerds after all.

Mirror / October 29, 2006 9:10 PM

My wife and I met on, she moved here from ny and we've been married 4 years. If not for that, who knows. I was coming off of something big and heavy, but I was coming around to the realization that I simply had to be myself, no matter what. And poof.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15