“Are you seeing anyone right now?” If I had to hear that question one more time…
Inevitably, I’d reply, “No…I’m dating, but not seeing anyone specific.” And, of course, that’s when the advice would come.
“Have you tried online dating? Speed dating? Are you on all of the apps?” my well-intentioned friends and family members would ask.
I’d want to reply with, “Of course I’ve tried all of those things. I’ve tried every dating website, dating event and dating app known to man! Thank you for your assistance but can we please change the subject?!” Instead, I’d say politely, “Oooh no. That’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll give one of those a try.”
Now that I’ve been in a serious relationship for three years (don’t get mad at me, I’m not being braggy), I luckily don’t have to hear the “Are you seeing anyone right now?” question any longer. People know that I’m seeing someone. And they have way fewer questions when they know I’m in a relationship.
That is, until I tell them how we met. That’s when they have all the questions. My partner and I met at…wait for it…bowling. Yup. Nothing says Cupid like bowling shoes and the smell of stale beer.
I actually love telling people that we met at bowling. I love seeing the reaction on people’s faces. “Bowling? Is that even possible?” their faces say. But “I need to know everything” is what their mouths say.
Again, I’m not telling you about my great American bowling love story to brag. I’m telling you because bowling is, in fact, an incredible place to meet people. I can’t recommend it enough.
“But what if I can’t bowl?” you might ask. It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you should run out and join a professional league where every player has their own monogrammed bowling ball, bowling bag and closet full of bowling shirts. But many cities and towns have recreational bowling leagues. These are a gold mine for making friends—and potentially more.
So, why this less-than-glamorous “sport”? Here, seven reasons why a recreational bowling league is the ideal place to find a mate.
1. It forces you to meet people.
Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, bowling is a social activity that will force you to talk to others. So if your problem is that you never know how to meet people, fear not. You’ll be on a team with a number of people you don’t already know. And each week you’ll likely be on a lane next to two other teams, also full of people you don’t already know. That means each week you could potentially strike up a conversation with over a dozen people you haven’t met!
2. You inherently have something to talk about.
If, like me, you often struggle when making small talk, bowling solves that problem. That’s because you can always talk about bowling. How did that handsome stranger get involved with the league? Has he ever bowled before? Does he come from a long line of bowlers? And even easier, you can talk about what is happening in real time. Talk about the scores. Talk about your teammate who is clearly three sheets to the wind. Talk about that gutter ball (or strike!) you just threw. And then…
3. You always have a way out of the conversation.
Yup. Every five minutes, guess what? It’s your turn to bowl! That means you’ll never be stuck in an awkward conversation for more than a few minutes at a time. And if the conversation is going well, you get to leave your potential new honey wanting more as you go up to bowl with a “Be right back.”
4. You know you’ll see them again.
One of the worst parts of dating is securing a second date. After the first one, do you call? Text? Do you wait for them to reach out? With a bowling league, you know you’ll have the opportunity to see them again next week, so you don’t have to stress. If things are going well at bowling, you can look forward to chatting that person up again in a week. And if you’ve both decided to go on a date after meeting at bowling, you know you’ll run into each other in just a few short days, so you can pick up where you left off.
5. They know they’ll see you again.
And since this concept works both ways, anyone you meet knows they can’t act like a giant flake. A person can’t ghost you if they know they’re going to see you at bowling. But what happens if you’re not a match? If one or both of you isn’t interested, the fact that you’ll run into each other very soon provides the excuse you need to say, “This was fun, but I very much look forward to just being bowling buddies. See you at the lanes!”
6. Everything is extremely casual.
Bowling is chill, people. That doesn’t mean you want to show up looking like a mess. But bowling doesn’t require the same attention to hair, makeup or clothing as your average dinner date. Farewell to the days of spending two hours getting ready for drinks with a person you barely know! And on top of that, the activity itself is very casual, with people nursing beers and hanging around their lanes. This low-pressure situation and the courage from a few Bud Lights might be just what you need to strike (no pun intended) up a conversation with someone new.
7. It’s an untapped market.
OK, here I am blabbing about this brilliant way to meet people, but unlike me, you should definitely keep it a secret—until you’ve secured someone for yourself. Nobody thinks of bowling as a dating opportunity, so you’ll inevitably have less competition than you would at something like speed dating. You’ll have your pick of the litter. And hey, maybe soon enough you’ll have your own great “How did you two meet?” story!