1. The club.
The club is meant for throwing up vodka Red Bulls in a bathroom stall while crying. The club is meant for giving the side-eye to hair-gelled assholes in the corner getting bottle service at their table. It’s for dancing to David Guetta and/or Pitbull songs and grinding your genitals against a stranger until your friends pull you away because they’re afraid you’re going to get herpes through your jeans. The club is meant for everything but finding lasting love, and we shouldn’t ask of it things it cannot provide.
2. At your ex’s place.
Don’t go back there. There is nothing for you. There is no magic end to this story wherein, after seventeen break-up-to-make-ups, you go over to your ex’s apartment (in the rain, of course) and suddenly have a Nicholas Sparks-esque Reuniting Moment in their foyer while you tell each other all of the things you did wrong and lick tears off each other’s faces. No. You’re just going to break up again. We like going back to the ex because it’s familiar, and easy, and it’s possible that the sex is bangin. But we cannot get swayed by these cheap ideals because they are ultimately unfulfilling, and if it didn’t work the first ten times, it’s not working now.
I’m sure we’ve all had a moment where we found a friend of a friend — perhaps from popping up on our “recommended” sidebar, perhaps just from thorough creeping — and we briefly fell in love. We may have met them once or twice (not sure, though), and can see enough of their profile to ascertain that they are beautiful and don’t seem like a serial killer. But there is no way to open this conversation. There is no way to go from “basically strangers” to “date night” via Facebook. At some point, you’re going to have to look like an insane person and initiate conversation at random. It’s just not worth it.
4. The gym.
Look, I know that there are people that get all dolled up at the gym and go there to attract potential suitors like some roided-out pheromone factory off The Discovery Channel, but they are weird. You should not be wearing a face full of makeup and worrying about what you look like when you’re there. You should not be consulting a doctor about getting your sweat glands snipped so as not to look like a human lawn sprinkler during the spin class with the cute guy two rows down. It’s just not a time to be on the prowl.
5. In your apartment building.
The problem with falling for neighbors is that they’ve already gotten to know you through living in such close proximity and having to deal with your shit. When you’re taking a shower at two in the morning and singing the entire soundtrack to The Lion King, they’ve heard it. When you’re having your fuck buddy over at all hours of the night, including on Thanksgiving day, they were just a door away. When you didn’t come out for two weeks at a time because you had recently discovered Game of Thrones and found out your local grocery store delivered, they knew. It’s better to be with someone from whom you can hide all of your more salty behavior, at least at first.
6. In your apartment.
Dating your roommate is like peeing in the drinking water. You just don’t mess with the essentials like that. No one wants to have to deal with that break up — spare both of you the agony and the ecstasy and remain platonic.
7. At the office.
While I’m sure that this, more than any of the others, is going to elicit those hallowed comment-section cries of “But IIIIIIIIIIII met my spouse at work and he/she is the light of my perfect life, you are wrong and misinformed and awful,” I’m willing to take the risk. You see, there is an obvious hotness to dating someone with whom you work — the illicit aspect, the sneaking around, the seeing each other every day when in that heady infatuation phase — but the thing is, you then actually have to work with them. If you stay together, you’re going to be seeing each other non-stop and eventually blurring the lines between your professional and personal lives to the point that one of you will have to quit, lest you start having quasi-emotionally abusive fights over power point presentations while having sex. If you split up, you have to see your ex literally every day, and deal with them in a professional context that doesn’t allow you to treat them like the human excrement you truly believe them to be. Either way, it’s just better to leave these fantasies unfulfilled. (Unless you want a good reason to quit in a few months, in which case, go for it.)