Q: I am a 23-year-old graduate who hasn't dated around much (yet!). I had one boyfriend in college for about 2 1/2 years, then we remained friends with bennies for a couple more years. Now I've been dating someone for a few months and not really feeling it. He's pretty serious about it, and I think that's one of the turnoffs for me. I just graduated and what I really want is to date around, have fun and see what's out there, but I don't know how to do that. I know there are plenty of fish in this Minneapolis sea but a) How do I meet them? and b) How do I walk the line between dating around and being a ho-bag?
A: If you're already not feeling it, then you've got to end it. What's the point in riding it out if you know it's gonna be over soon, anyway? Some people love being in a relationship more than they love the other person in the relationship, and it sounds like this is what you have on your hands. Don't worry about the boy -- he'll get over it in no time, probably the minute he meets the next girl of his dreams.
As far as worrying about being a ho-bag, whose opinion are you concerned about? I assume it's your female peers, because unfortunately, women often furtively refer to each other as sluts and whores because they're jealous of attention from the opposite sex. If I could impose a nationwide ban on this practice, I would. When we use these words to describe other women, we're teaching men that it's OK to do the same. Plus, that kind of name-calling perpetuates sex negativity, which can make females feel ashamed of their sexuality.
So what if you want to date two, three or five guys at a time? As long as you're upfront with these men about the casual nature of the relationships (full disclosure is always best) and you're using condoms if you're having sex, then it's no one else's business how you choose to live your love life. A person who calls you names because they're envious of your lifestyle is a person whose opinion doesn't matter.
There are hundreds of thousands of fish in the Minneapolis sea, but only a tiny percentage will pique your intellectual interest or rouse your libido. Don't go too far out of your way to find those lucky few. You'll find people who share your interests in the same places you like to be, doing the same things you like to do. Even when the same-old gets old, you only need mix it up a little in order to meet new people. You might hit the same after-work spot for happy hour every Friday, so why not move it to Thursday? If you dance at the same club every Saturday, then walk across the street to a different club for a change. When I was 23, I made 1st Avenue N. my bitch, zigzagging down the street to visit all the bartenders I liked to make out with (or wanted to make out with). While I've outgrown shivering in sleeveless tops outside club entrances in January -- coat check, ladies! -- I still like going downtown a couple of times a week because there's a diverse group that shares my interest in being around other people.
Even if you're not much of a drinking and dancing type girl, the rules remain the same. The publication you're reading has dozens of suggestions for ways to not get bored in the next seven days, and our website has hundreds. Every gallery opening, midnight movie screening, author reading, coffeehouse poetry slam and live concert is a chance to meet more people who enjoy at least one of the same things you do. Meeting people is easy. Starting a conversation with a cute guy about the band you're both watching is easy. Deciding whether or not he does it for you is the easiest part of all, so don't be afraid to get particular. You can throw as many fish back as you want until you've got a good catch. Or five.