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Finding love in a drunken place

OPINION

  • Flirting at the Club
Flirting at the Club (Cat London / Getty Images )
October 09, 2013|By Zach Stafford, @zachstafford | For RedEye

Every time I’m out at a bar with friends, it seems like we’re on some sort of Love Safari. We all form a circle to create a plan of attack while searching the bar for people to talk to, all in the hopes of meeting someone.

But alas, most nights we all go home alone. Tails between our legs. Tacos and water in hand. No potential romantic interest in sight.

As a young single person living in a major city, it seems like every weekend I’m expected to dedicate myself to long nights, too many drinks and fuzzy memories. Now, as the nights are getting longer and the parties become fewer, I am beginning to think that maybe a bar-hopping night out isn’t the best thing to do on the weekend. Maybe we should all stop taking cues from Rihanna and give up looking for love in a hopeless (and often drunken) place.

On a typical night out, I will spend $8-$12 on a drink for me, maybe buy a round of shots for myself and some friends, and then repeat all night, adding up to at least $50 for a night out. Toss in romantic potentials—where I’d probably buy one drink for them every time I got one—and all this booze-fueled partner hunting easily adds up to a few grand a year.

Those looking to meet the love of their lives in a bar could consider all that cash an investment in their futures ... but what’s the return?

Earlier this year, match.com released its third annual “Singles in America” study, which once again told us that the place where most people meet their significant other is at school or work, which has been the case for quite some time.

But what about bars? I can’t count the number of times I have left work to go to a happy hour or some other form of after-work drinking with other singles in the city. The magic number is 7 percent: That’s your chance of meeting your future mate at a bar or club, just barely beating out church and other religious venues.

And to make this sting even more, a study released earlier this summer by University of Chicago’s John Cacioppo found that not only are more people meeting online than in bars, but more than 30 percent of people are meeting the people they will marry online—and those marriages are lasting longer and are happier.

Meaning, if you are out Love Safari-ing like me on any given weekend—and dropping plenty of cash doing so—you have a smaller chance of meeting someone than if you had stayed at home on your computer searching the Web.

[Insert longest sigh ever.]

Carrie Bradshaw once said—and by “once” I mean the first episode of Season 4 of “Sex and the City”—that what everyone needs with them when they go out on a Saturday night is their friends, and I am starting to think she may have a point. Because, on a Saturday night, I know that if I buy my friends drinks, they will always be a better investment than the random cutie by the bar wanting a vodka tonic with a twist.

Sure, 7 percent may not be the best odds to invest in, but this doesn’t mean I’m entirely ready to give up looking for love in boozy places. Instead, I think it might be time to diversify my portfolio and sign up for some dating websites. That I can use on my phone. While out at the bar, of course.

Zach Stafford is a RedEye special contributor.

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