One of those corny jokes is was about a man looking for a coin he had dropped. He was on the ground looking for it in the kitchen and his wife asked where he had dropped it.
‘In the bedroom,’ was his reply.
‘Then why are you looking in the kitchen?’
‘Because the light is better in here!’
Cue polite laughter.
There is some degree of logic to his line of thought, but you have to realize that while ‘light’ is an important thing to consider when looking for something, ‘where you lost it’ should rank higher.
The same idea is true for dating.
For years, if you wanted to meet someone to ‘hook up,’ the locale of choice would be the bar. And why the bar? Because that's where people go to have fun. They drink, they socialize, and most importantly it is where people go to ‘hook up.’ (This is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but as long as it works, nobody complains!) The ‘light,’ as it were (figuratively, not literally) is better at the bar.
But there are various problems with trying to meet someone at a bar if you're looking for a more serious relationship. Not that bars are all bad, of course; It's just that there are other things to consider as well.
Let's talk about alcohol for a minute. It's a great way to relax and feel confident. Some people need it more than others, but in general we can probably agree that it helps the mingling process. The problem, though, is that every drink takes you further from your ‘real’ self.
Think of it like this: After one glass of wine, Carol is the life of the party. She is witty, easygoing, and fun to be around. If someone were to fall for her, would it be the one-glass-of-wine Carol, or ‘real’ Carol? What happens when the drink wears off?
The example may be a bit extreme in order to drive the point home, sure, but this kind of thing happens all the time. If you're going to be looking for a relationship that will last, you need to be someone who will last. And keep that in mind that even if you're not drinking, the person you're hooking up with might be. This is one of the greatest dangers of hooking up at a bar.
Reserve judgment until fully sober!
Another really attractive part about going to the bar is the relative lack of risk. You may never see these people again, and you can pretend to be someone else, anyone else (sitcoms are rife with examples of this) and put on whatever show you think lands you the best chance of success. You can try various pick-up lines, flirty looks, and all that jazz. And if you fail, you can quickly shrug it off because there are many other fish in this particular watering hole, and liquid forgetfulness is available in plenty nearby.
A real, lasting relationship requires you to put your actual self out there. If you don't, then whoever falls for ‘you’ will not be actually interested in ‘you.’ Then you're playing the pretend game for as long as the relationship lasts, which is harder than it sounds, and rarely worthwhile. And it is never, ever ‘real.’
There's time to discuss about bar-alternatives (barternatives?) another day. For now, though, just keep thinking about what really matters to find the coin you're looking for. Don't just go where there is more light.