Ladies, with talk of there being a man drought in most states in Australia, (TAS being the worst), do we need to get a job in the mines to meet men?
Fortunately not (although, statistically it would make it easier). According to Jane Donovan, Love Coach and author of How to Get the Date, talk of the male drought is nonsense. "Men are everywhere," she says.
The statistics tell a different tale. But not that different. Because if you're going to literally make this a numbers game the odds are actually pretty evenly stacked.
In 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported there are 12.2million males and 12.4million females in our lucky land.
Those numbers aren't broken down into heterosexual and homosexual (or anything in between), so even if there are more men in some of the inner cities (all of them in fact, bar Darwin) then it makes sense that some of those men won't be into you. But not because of any other reason than they're not into any women.
So where can you go to meet men without using Tinder, Bumble or other apps, and why aren't women getting lucky when it comes to meeting The One?
Donovan says meeting men is less about where you go and more to do with how you engage with the world. Which when you think about it, takes some of the pressure off being single and makes it a lot easier to manage - because you're in control of the outcome.
So, here are the 10 Best Ways to Meet Men for a Relationship
# 10 Be a Friend First
According to Donovan, "men want somebody who presents well, is active, healthy in life, easy going and fun." It's simple, they're essentially looking for a companion who they can share their life with.
They won't tear you down for having your hair inn a ponytail vs a bun, whereas women, says Donovan, especially when they're with their girlfriends, tend to pull men apart. "He's nice but what about that green shirt he was wearing …" kinda vibe.
Ringing any bells?
Donovan's Love-Life podcast is the #1 emotional health show on iTunes, and as well as running regular singles events in Adelaide, she has coached hundreds of men and women on the art of dating – without using apps or going online.
"Four out of 5 couples don’t meet on line," says Donovan. "They meet through friends, social clubs, supermarkets, and social groups for single people. Meet Up has a plethora of groups in every city."
#9 Get Active
OK, there are exceptions to all of these rules, but guys like women they can be active with. "You don't need to be a gym junkie," says Donovan, but living an active life so you can go on a hike, a swim or a kayaking trip is appealing for a guy who's looking for someone to spend his life with.
Sure, you'll have times when you'll be sitting on the couch watching Netflix, but if you're looking to meet a guy you will marry, there's a good chance he'll be impressed if you have a bit of get up and go. Joining a social bush-walking group or going canyoning could put you in front of a whole new range of guys that you might not meet online.
# 8 Learn to Laugh at Yourself
If you've been swiping right for a while and are yet to meet anyone other than dweebs or players, maybe it's time to lighten things up a bit. Imagine you're ordering your morning latte and someone bumps into you. What's your reaction? Do you tut and make a bitchy comment or are you able to laugh it off?
It's the simple things like this that make you more attractive to men. "Men find a lot of women attractive," says Donovan, "but they won't approach a woman unless they have close to 100% confidence they won’t be rejected."
If you're the chick laughing off an incident in the coffee shop versus the one giving someone grief, who would you be more likely to say 'Hi' to?
#7 Wait Before Having Sex
Disclaimer: meeting a man who might become your husband doesn't mean you have to go all Mary Poppins and stay fully clothed and 'proper' for at least 3 dates. It's more about looking out for the guy who is overtly sexualising you.
"When you meet a guy for the first time, a player will always lead with sexual chemistry," warns Donovan. "It will always be full of innuendos and he’ll be undressing you with his eyes."
Sounds great, right? Women want to feel desired explains Donovan but the trouble is, he's probably not the guy you're going to introduce to your family in 3 months' time. Because chances are he's interested in having sex with you, and potentially not much else.
"You’ll be mesmerised because he’s a seducer and women want that as part of their relationship," says Donovan. "But [a player] leads with it and that’s very different from the relationship guy."
So ladies, keep your knickers on (literally and metaphorically) and if you really do want to meet a man and begin a long term relationship, choose a guy who wants to get to know you first.
#6 Chat to Everyone
This is the one that separates the single ladies from the keepers says Donovan. Learning to be more open and chatty will make it so much easier when you do come across a man you like.
But there's no need to make it a mission. Meeting Mr Right has "nothing to do with where do you go," says Donovan, who coaches hundreds of people every year on how to meet a long term partner. "It’s about how you start engaging with people. And not just men. People."
Her advice? Smile and talk to people wherever you go. And not with the intention of meeting your husband but just to be friendly and warm (what men want in a woman). "When you go to the supermarket and are standing next to someone at the aisle, start a conversation."
#5 Put Down Your Phone
People, this one is BIG. According to a 2017 Deloitte study, we pick up our mobile phones within 5 minutes of waking and 70 per cent of people look at it during mealtimes with friends and family.
No wonder we're not meeting people organically any more, huh! Donovans advice is to Put. Down. The. Device. Like, actually put it away in your bag and start connecting with the real world.
Go all 1980s and take your lunch to a park and just watch the world go by. It's likely any messages or emails will still be there when you're done.
If you've followed step #6 you'll already be well versed at striking up a conversation with anyone who comes and sits next to you. Which at some point could be the hot guy you want to date.
#4 See Men as People, Not Just Potential Husbands
I know, I know, you've been single a long time and you're starting to feel like all the good men have already been taken. And maybe a lot of them have, but let's face it, you're not in control of that. And if you're only viewing men as potential husbands, not only are they going to smell it a mile away, more importantly, you're not in your power as a woman.
And that's something you are in control of.
Being in a great relationship can make the world feel right, but if you find yourself sizing up every man you meet as a potential partner, you could probably do with some hobbies. Or a richer social life.
#3 Work on Your Inner Game
Telling you to find a hobby isn't intended to mock or jeer at women who are struggling to meet a man, it's more about getting real on what Donovan calls your "Inner Game" – the part of you that knows your worth. And it's worth looking taking a look at this quite seriously if you really are sick of being single.
As yourself: Do you have enough friends? Are you happy? What makes you happy? If a man is the only answer you can come up with to any of the questions about what's missing in your life then maybe it's time to make some changes.
Take up boxing, join a dragon boat team, try a pottery class. There are many ways to make your life more meaningful and hey, there's a chance you'll meet some men there too.
It might seem harsh, but ladies, if you want to be considered as marriage material, you need to be someone you'd marry first.
#2 Work on Your Outer Game
The outer game is where the inner game can be seen. An example, says Donovan "is a woman who comes across as an ice maiden." This is the chick who "has her walls up, and a guy would have to try really hard to break those walls down. She’s not going to attract the guy who wants a warm loving partner, she’s going to attract the narcissists and sociopaths." Um, not what you're looking for, I assume.
If you're constantly being told you're an ice maiden or are only attracting players who are looking for a hook-up, then it's time to consider the truth.
What needs to change in order for you to be able to warmly approach men and be perceived as a woman who's worth investing in for the long-term?
If you're not sure where to start, check out #10 to #3 for ideas…
#1 Just Be Yourself
It might sound contradictory after giving specifics on how to change your inner and outer game, and that learning to talk to everyone will make you a wife-in-the-making. But the truth is, there are just as many different types of men as there are different types of women.
So, yes, work on your self-worth and be willing to loosen your grip on what Mr Right looks like. "The preference most women have for a man is tall, well built, university educated, professionally employed and with great social manners," says Donovan. But what about compatibility, kindness and compassion? And where are you on the height, build, education and professional ladder? Is there room for any self-improvement there?
This isn't about lowering your standards, it's about looking at who you are and being willing to meet your match, rather than a idealistic version of the perfect male partner.
There are so many good and kind men out there who would potentially love to share their lives with you. So stay positive, be patient and make learning to love yourself and your life your priority.
And hey, if all else fails and you get really desperate, there's always Bunnings on a Sunday.