Dear Glutton: Meeting Gays Outside of Gay Bars
Trading dating apps for edible apps
Where does a gay guy who hates gay bars and dating apps but loves other kinds of bars and the edible apps go to meet guys? Please solve my dating life!
– Definitely Not the AC Food Editor
You know how they say those who can't do, teach? It's probably equally true that those who can't take their own advice write advice columns, because while, as a single lady in Austin, I have so many thoughts about this issue, they're all pretty firmly grounded in the realm of the theoretical. I was so psyched to try dating as a real adult person when I first moved here; it seemed so glamorous, staying out to all hours, going to fancy restaurants with suave strangers, dancing 'til dawn. And apps! The food kind! But it turns out that in reality, grownup dating mostly consists of hanging around the same few Eastside bars listening to alt-hipster boys complain about their jobs. Which, I mean, fair enough, who doesn't like to complain about their job, but let's switch it up a little, right folks?
Lots of people will tell you to take cooking classes. This seems to be standard single-person advice, for some reason, "just leave the house more, take a cooking class," but while you may learn to make something delicious, I guarantee you that you'll also be the only single person in a room full of mid-30s couples who have been together since college and are there on the advice of their couple's counselor, "testing their boundaries" and "learning new things together to strengthen their bond." In practice, this seems to translate to a lot of sniping at one another about knife skills. The whole thing's pretty dismal, and if anything, will probably drive you further into singledom.
If the going out and being productive with other people thing appeals to you (Who are you? Teach me your ways!) you could try volunteering at Johnson's Backyard Garden, where half a day's labor entitles you to a box full of delicious, sustainably grown veggies. It's hard work, but it can actually be pretty fun getting your hands dirty and finding out where all that kale comes from. Plus, they have the smallest, most beautiful little Fairy Tale eggplants right now, and at the very least you'll get to oogle a couple of cute, slightly sweaty farm boys. You could also volunteer at one of our city's many food pantries, doing good while getting out of the house and meeting other do-gooders, the kind of nice boys you'd be proud to take home to Mama.
But all this is sort of beside the point, isn't it? If you've been single for more than a week, you've already heard all this standard advice, the volunteering, the cooking classes, the nice boys Mama would approve of. After a while it just all gets so tedious. Because it ignores the best part of being single: You get to do exactly what you want to do, exactly when you want to do it. This is a rare and precious thing in adult life, and I think that the real answer to your question is to do just that, whatever makes you feel the most happy, the most at home in yourself, a little indulgence to remind you that you're a pretty rad person, worthy of the love of even the hunkiest sweaty farm boys. For me, this means taking myself out to Foreign & Domestic for oyster happy hour, a dozen of their finest oysters on ice and a glass of the grassiest, most peppery white wine on the menu. If you're overwhelmed with where to start your own self-indulgence, I highly recommend it as a jumping-off point. And who knows, maybe I'll actually listen to my own advice for once and see you there!