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Love: easy as A, B…

28 Mar

AB Hotel
225 Glebe Point Rd

Percentage of surveyed men who were single: 56%

Percentage of surveyed men in a relationship who have single friends: 100%

Meat-o-metre: Connect with men over great conversations which will hopefully lead to dinner dates.  (daytime); A good venue for some light-hearted flirting over a glass of champagne.  (evenings)

Prime time: Friday night and Monday trivia nights

Crowd: Locals of mixed ages and persuasions. Younger, funkier crowd enjoys the courtyard on Sunday afternoons and cocktails at night. Older crowd enjoys good food and watching the game downstairs.

Wing-girls: No more than three so you can sit on a communal table or couch.

Wears: Funky casual downstairs, glam casual upstairs at night

Top tip: Visit more than once as different times in the week attract different crowds.  

Like a sample bag from a fashion show, the AB offers a cross section of inner west male society. Cruisy and laid-back during the day, you’ll find the locals unwinding after a round of their favourite sport or tucking into a meal. In the evening, men from the broader community indulge in cocktails while listening to live music. Trivia night is popular, so grab your girls, form a team and brush up on your general knowledge. Attending regularly will help you get to know your competition. The staff are worth meeting too. Friendly, fun and cute, your champagne will taste even bubblier.


Ages of single men:
<20: 11%
20-30: 44%
31-40: 34%
41+: 11%

Professions: Trade; accounting; hospitality

Interests and hobbies: Socialising; sport; drinking

Clubs: Martial arts, soccer, ski

Values: Family and friends (78%); Drinking (33%); Skateboarding/creativity/money (22%)

Cross Pollinate: Town Hall Hotel (Newtown); Edinburgh Castle Hotel

Best ‘burbs: Glebe; Newtown; Balmain


Courting for singletons

29 Feb

The Courthouse
202 Australia Street

Percentage of surveyed men who were single: 60%

Percentage of surveyed men in a relationship who have single friends: 100%

Meat-o-metre: Connect with men over great conversations which will hopefully lead to dinner dates.

Prime time: Friday nights and Sundays. Very popular on public holidays when lots of non-locals drop by.

Crowd: Mixed crowd of locals or people who work nearby. Good blend of artistic and sporty guys who are friendly and ready to chat.

Wing-girls: Three at most.

Wears: Artistic casual

Top tip: The courtyard is a great place for dinner but be sure to move back to the bar when you’re finished, where it’s easier to approach men and be approached.

The Courthouse is the Newtown equivalent of The London Hotel. After work, local residents and employees gather around the bar to wind down. Although the crowd’s mixed, there are plenty of straight men whose relaxed and friendly natures make them approachable. The pub attracts a broad range of ages too, helpful for the more mature lady. Sport is usually on the TV screen near the bar. Why not cheer on your team with the men? The pub has a strong Newtown personality: diverse, artistic, socially conscious and open-minded. If you like the neighbourhood, you’ll love the men at The Courthouse.


Ages of single men:
<20: 0%
20-30: 44%
31-40: 23%
41+: 33%

Professions: Media, community services, mining, corporate strategy

Interests and hobbies: Sport; socialising; beer/creative pursuits

Clubs men belong to: Writing group; live music group; cycling club, scuba club, sailing club, trivia

Values: Family and friends (56%); career/alcohol (33%); books and reading (22%)

Cross Pollinate: Kelly’s on King; Gaslight Inn; Toxteth Hotel

Best ‘burbs: Newtown; Erskineville; Glebe; Surry Hills

Marlie, manMap and me

25 Jan

The Marlborough Hotel
145 King Street

Percentage of surveyed men who were single: 77%

Percentage of surveyed men in a relationship who have single friends: 100%

Meat-o-metre: A true meat-market. Slip on your sexiest outfit and have fun.  (weekend nights), A good venue for some light-hearted flirting over a glass of champagne.  (weekdays, afternoons)

Prime time: Friday and Saturday nights

Crowd: Blokey, live music lovers. Younger crowd upstairs. Student nights during the week.

Wing-girls: As many as you like. The space is big enough for all your friends.

Wears: Casual downstairs, sexy casual upstairs

Top tip: Chat to guys before the music starts so you’ve got a reason to dance with them during the set.

The Marly is layered with possibilities. At street level, the boys are ready to appreciate live music over a beer. It might be too loud for conversation but bonding over a favourite song is a great way to make new friends. Venture upstairs to the Level One cocktail bar for more sophistication. If someone takes your fancy, lead the way downstairs to The Cellar where the lighting’s low and the leather couches are perfect for getting better acquainted. Check the website for events like State of Origin screenings. They’re sure to bring in the boys!


Ages of single men:
<20: 10%
20-30: 50%
31-40: 40%
41+: 0%

Professions: Sports industry, media defence, engineering, finance, IT, community services

Interests and hobbies: Socialising; sport; drinking/sex/watching Foxtel

Clubs men belong to: various sports clubs

Values: Sport (47%); work (40%); family and friends (33%)

Cross Pollinate: The Rose of Australia (Erskineville); Clock Hotel; AB Hotel

Best ‘burbs: Kings Cross; Newtown

The romantic history of a nerdette

7 Jun

There’s no point denying it. I am a nerd of the bookish persuasion. I was one of those conscientious kids, developing scoliosis from carrying around too many books. My taste in literature and music wasn’t quite in step with my peers. My eternal battle with acne and the inability to put together a decent outfit disqualified me from being cool. Luckily I had enough self awareness to realise this and in many ways relinquished myself to it. But in short, I felt I had nothing to say that would interest guys my age.

manMap seeks book nerdsIt was a blessing I went to a single sex school. There was no pressure to impress anyone. I dreamed that one day I’d meet a nerd like myself. I’d glimpse him in a corner somewhere, nose to page hoping to avoid the scorn of the cool girls. I’d psyche myself up, walk over and ask him what he was reading, only to discover it was my favourite book (I knew this was a long shot. I’m yet to meet a man who loves Room with a view the way I do).

It never happened, but I entered my uni years filled with optimism. I was studying writing after all. Surely my classes would be filled with row upon row of nerds like myself. And in one of those rows I might find him. But then I discovered an awful truth. Most of the people in my course were mature-age. The uni had only accepted a handful of school-leavers. And of the few guys, most were either taken, gay or way too cool for me.

After graduating, I hoped work might provide the elusive doorway to the opposite sex. I’ve met some wonderful people working in publishing, people who don’t think I’m slightly odd. But sadly, most of these people are women. And many of them single like me. And so, it was with mixed feeling that I made an important discovery on Friday night. 

The week had been pleasantly smooth: one big job finished at work, a cosy beverage at Grandma’s, delightful dinner with wing-girls at a new noodle bar, productive round of workshopping at my writing group and the purchase of a new book. By Friday evening, I felt like nothing lay between me and a successful round of mapping. But of course, there’s always the danger of A Bad Venue.

First stop: The London, Paddington. Empty and scarily well lit. Second stop: The Royal Hotel. Also empty. Third stop: Durty Nelly’s. Busier but not optimal, an uncomfortable number of women.

Nearing 7pm, I was starting to think the clear winter’s night was going to waste when I found myself at the well-packed Beresford. Always mindful that I run the risk of getting thrown out, I headed to the courtyard and away from the diligent eyes of the bouncers. After surveying every guy who wasn’t obviously gay or on a date, I decided a quick round inside wouldn’t hurt. If I got thrown out, it wouldn’t matter. I already had a healthy bundle of completed surveys in my handbag. Two guys were just settling into a table with their pints as I approached. What happened next will renew your faith in chivalry. I smiled and said hello and one of the guys said, “Oh I’m sorry, did you want this table?” Hurrah, I thought, here sit kind, decent men. Modern Mr Darcys. I asked them if they were single, thinking such nice guys must be firmly attached. But they were both available. Double hurrah! I asked them if they belonged to any social groups which meet regularly. One played tennis. The other spoke words that would make any single nerdette swoon. He was part of a men’s only book group.  

Surveys filled, I hurried off into the night, head filled with images of men sitting on comfy lounges discussing themes and character development. Mecca, I thought, If only I knew where they met.

But then I got cranky (partly because I was hungry). How could the man-nerds of Sydney be so cruel? Since adolescence I’d been searching for men who read. Now they were sectioning themselves off from their female equivalents. Were they afraid we’d force them to read chick lit or emasculate them with tea and iced vovos? I wished I’d ignored my hunger pains and thought to ask the surveyee before I’d left. On behalf of all the nerdettes out there, I’ll try my best to track down the exclusive book groups. They may not let us in, but we can always loiter by the door.

PS. Over 80% of the surveyed guys at the Beresford were single. Worth a visit ladies!

Where can a girl go when she’s feeling low?

17 May

manMap's feelin lowLast week, Saturday night was survey night. I find it harder to survey on Saturdays because people tend to start their nights later, rather than straight after work. This means I can fall victim to meeting friends for dinner first, losing track of time over a bottle of wine and then deciding that the only possible course of action is staying for a second bottle. So this Saturday, I thought it best to avoid temptation. I ate leftover schnitzel from my Friday visit to Una’s and forced myself out the door by 9pm.

The night didn’t start well. Hoping to investigate the theory that men like small bars as much as women, I headed to Love, Tilly Devine. This meant walking past the Lord Roberts, an inoffensive local. Outside the Lord Bob was a sign stating the football odds for the game being screened upstairs. I had a minor melt-down. I thought football was just on Friday nights. Why was it suddenly invading Saturday nights too? Although barracking for a team is an easy way to meet guys, they’re hardly in the mood to answer questions about their social habits while the game’s on. I took a few deep breaths, told myself that small bar guys might not be into football and pushed on into the laneway.

I had high hopes for Tilly. My boss had been there the week before and had told me it was packed. When I arrived, it was comfortably occupied with its patrons neatly arranged into pairs. ‘Man and woman’ pairs. A mapper’s worst nightmare. Abandoning hope of a blog-post about love in laneways, I headed back to Crown Street to see what was happening at The Owl House. Although busier than Tilly, it was dominated by multiple-couple groups. All I could hope was that there wasn’t some poor Last Woman Standing hiding in the bathroom, wishing she’d never agreed to venture out with her happily paired-up friends. Strike two for me.

Ignoring the voice in my head telling me to join my friends at the pub, I headed along Crown Street toward Oxford Street, with no firm plan of where I’d go next. As I walked past Crown Bar and Grill, I saw a table of seven nice-looking men dining with one woman. I considered barging in to remind them that while they were selfishly in a restaurant, women in bars all over Sydney were wishing men like them would ask them out. Or just speak to them. Or even just throw them a smile. Feeling lower and lower as the hill grew steeper and steeper, I decided I should head toward to light, Gaslight Inn that is.

I’ve always been fond of Gaslight and felt sure it wouldn’t let me down. But when I got there, it was empty. Strike three. I couldn’t understand what was wrong. Yes it was cold, but it was a beautifully clear night. Was I too early, too late, too ignorant about the habits of football fanatics? I decided I’d keep walking until I reached The Dolphin, before succumbing to the cosiness of my flannelette pjs. Then I heard the happy buzzing of male voices coming from a darkened bar. Begging the mapping gods to help me, I smiled at the bouncer and found myself inside the wonderfully busy Low 302.

Although there are no stools at the fairly short bar, Low 302’s set up is great for single women. With the exception of one room next to the bar and the smoking area out the front, the space is open and easy to move around. I intercepted a group of men who then introduced me to their mates, who then sent me on to another group of guys. They were so helpful, friendly and sincere that I met my quota in less than an hour. It was a new record for a Saturday night, where I’m often competing with loud music, special occasions which I accidentally intrude and alcohol-fuelled frivolity. A huge thank you to the guys at Low 302 who reminded me that not everyone is in a relationship or watching football. If you’re looking for a smart, kind professional guy in his 20s or 30s, slip on some heels and head to Low 302. More than half the guys I surveyed were single, so you’re bound to have a great night.

Size matters

10 May

manMap ponders if size mattersThe advent of the small bar has been tremendous gift to Sydney women. We now have a myriad of civilised, social options. There are cosy places we can share wine and conversation with a few friends. Comfortable places with great music and tapas give us a burst of joy after a day at the office. Places with refreshingly quirky décor and delicious cocktails reinspire us if we’ve been exposed to too many hard-lined, modern bars. And best of all, the smoking laws mean none of the new places have that whiff of yester-year’s nicotine, which older venues are still trying to purge.

But, as with many aspects of contemporary life, Sydney women are now even more saturated with choice. With new small bars opening every other day, how do you know where to go? Which venue is going to suit your mood? And more importantly, which venue will help you meet single men?

Bar Zine’s Dan Kaufman is Sydney’s expert on bars. Kaufman spends his evenings exploring Sydney’s bars, new and old, and reviewing them on his website with an honestly that comes from working independently. Although Kaufman doesn’t question people about their relationship status à la moi, his knowledge of the Sydney bar scene means he knows what makes bars popular. And as I’ve said before ladies, it’s all about the bait.

When I met Kaufman last week, I was delighted to hear him echo some of my own theories about the features a bar needs to help strangers mingle and flirt (oddly enough, room for palm-flashing didn’t come up). If you’re socialising with just one or two wing-girls, or if you’re enjoying a wine alone, Kaufman believes the essential ingredient is the humble bar stool. By sitting along the bar, you’re in the space that nearly everyone will enter at some point. It makes you easy to approach if someone likes the look of you and you might end up speaking to a nice guy sitting next to you. Plus there’s the benefit of flirting with the bar staff. Kaufman uses The Grasshopper as the perfect example of this set up. It was only later that I remembered I’d sat along the bar with a wing-girl when I was there. I was early and chatted with the lovely barman until my wing-girl arrived, and two guys ended up sitting next to us. We should’ve embraced the opportunity to speak to them.

For some time I’d been thinking the target for small bars was women like me: thirty-somethings wanting somewhere where the music isn’t blaring so they can chat, where the menu and wine list are good and the furniture comfortable and interesting. Speaking to Kaufman, I realised I was wrong about this. Lots of guys are looking for the same thing (although they probably wouldn’t use the word ‘chat’). After a few walk-throughs of small bars in my area, I realised he was right. Lots of small groups of guys were there. And a small group is always easier to infiltrate.

Kaufman explained that Sydney’s experiencing an ‘anti big bar movement’. It seems that despite our harbour and sunshine, we’ve been craving what Melbourne has known for so long: a smaller bar unafraid to have personality. Sydney-siders have been so deprived that any new little bar is going to create interest, meaning people will go to them. Meaning men will be there. Meaning you might want to go there too. And in Kaufman’s opinion, one crucial element for meeting new people is the ability to make eye contact. In a small venue, where everyone is contained in one main area, this is so much easier.     

So where does Kaufman think single women should go to meet men? If you’re after a suit, he recommends The Argyle, Ivy or Establishment. “Show enough flesh and at some point someone will hit on you, how quickly depends on your body language.” Not into the meat market? Head to the small bars in the CBD, Monday to Friday. Kaufman’s picks are Grandma’s, Stitch Bar and The Grasshopper. If you’re looking for a more suburban vibe on Saturdays, try the Green Room in Enmore or Vice Bar in Balmain. And of course, if you’re not in the head space to meet men and you just want to enjoy the company of your wing-girls, visit Kaufman’s website and take your pick.

It’s raining, men!

19 Apr

manMap enjoys a man-ly downpourOne thing I really enjoy about being in my 30s is not feeling pressured to go out and have big weekends. Spending my non-work time surveying random men has seen my alcohol intake plummet dramatically. I was always a light-weight. Now I’m a feather-weight. And I don’t bounce back like I used to. But I don’t feel the need to go out and have vodka-fuelled party nights anymore, so it doesn’t worry me. Plus, a whole day on the couch recovering feels like a waste of a precious day.

Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. Every now and then, particularly when it’s pouring (with rain, not booze), I feel like I deserve a night in. My internal dialogue goes something like this:

“You never just relax and do nothing. You’ve worked hard all week. If you have an quiet night in, you can get up early and hit that huge pile of surveys you’re hoping will magically insert themselves into your enormous spreadsheet. The couch and the DVD player miss you.”

And while we all need some downtime, staying in means we’re not meeting anyone new or (for those of us who live alone) socialising at all.

When I was in NYC, nothing stopped me going out to explore: not the freezing temperature, jet lag, lack of sleep, snow, the fact that my boots were being held together with superglue. In Sydney, the sky can cloud over and suddenly going out seems like a major effort. Excuses come thick and fast and fantasies of hibernating seem both wonderful and achievable. But I know that if I give myself a little shove and go out, I can have a great night either with friends or mapping. By picking a venue that’s comfortable and cosy, the colder weather is no longer an issue. So in the hope that I can help you get motivated, despite our long summer days being over, here’s a list of five winter venues filled with single men who are waiting for you to warm up their night:

The Oaks Hotel
Although The Oaks has a huge courtyard, there’s still a maze of rooms inside, particularly upstairs. Make sure you don’t block yourself off in one of the smaller rooms, or guys won’t feel comfortable coming in. Rooms with pool tables are great, because you can always challenge the guys to a game.

Town Hall Hotel, Balmain
Almost entirely inside, other than the verandah, this is a popular venue for buck’s nights on Saturdays. If you’re up for some friendly flirting, this is the perfect spot. Friday nights are also fun with the local crowd.

PJ Gallaghers, Drummoyne
This pub attracts lots of the sporty guys who live in the Drummoyne area (and there a tons!). If a big footy game’s on head elsewhere, unless you’re happy to join in and bond over barracking.

The Hero of Waterloo
This small, friendly place can get pretty crowded on Saturdays, making it easy to bump into guys. The live classic rock near the bar gets people on their feet. It’s easier to mingle in this area than the room around the corner with tables and chairs, but do a recon lap because anyone sitting down will need to come to the bar at some point.

The Fringe Bar
Drawing a crowd that reflects its name, The Fringe is the perfect winter venue for the creative and the cool. While you might be a little intimidated if you feel you don’t belong, after a few drinks (or just one in my case) everyone’s more relaxed and happy to enjoy the night.

If you’d like to help spread the word about My manMap, please vote for me in the Best Australian Blogs Competition by clicking the big blue badge (or brooch as I like to think of it) on the righthand side of the page. It’s quick and easy and muchly appreciated!

March Mapping Report

30 Mar

Beloved reader-peeps,

My apologies for being tardy. Among the usual juggling of coordinating the production of a publishing house, fighting the man drought by rounding up single men, co-running a writing group, obliging my OCDesque habits and maintaining some resemblance of a social life, I’ve had a few other chores thrown into the mix. So there’ll just be one post this week and I figured the timing’s perfect for a March Mapping Report.

This post comes with a language warning…enjoy!

March Mapping Highlight: hitting 600 surveys at the Lord Dudley in Woollahra. Thank you to all the helpful guys there! 

March WWWtK results

Our WWWtK question was:

If a woman’s interested in you, what’s something/one thing she can do to increase her chances of you asking her out?

A lot of guys said the same things, so I’ve put them in order of most common response to least common response and clumped together similar responses:

  • Make eye contact (or as one guy put it, engage in some eye-fucking) or do something physical that makes it clear you’re interested – maybe it need to get back into palm-flashing!!
  • Make the first move.
  • Smile.
  • Be relaxed. Act normal.
  • Be approachable and make sure you communicate that you’re approachable. Don’t be stuck-up or as one guy put it, ‘be on the level’. One guy said, ‘Ditch the princess act.’
  • Start the conversation.
  • Know how to have a decent/interesting conversation. Be intelligent.
  • Don’t be too full on, keep it light and casual.
  • Be lady-like.
  • Don’t be shy.
  • Be interested in the actual guy you’re checking out, don’t just focus on what he can offer you as far as security, money etc.
  • Stand next to the guy. You won’t need to say anything to him. Just by standing near him you’ll get his attention.
  • Offer the guy a drink.
  • Whisper something filthy in his ear.

A very cute Irish guy at Bronte contributed that last point.

From Mars to Venus

Earlier in the month I posted a poll to find out why some women don’t feel comfortable approaching men. This poll is open for another two week, so if you haven’t voted, please vote!

There’s some interesting information surfacing. So far the most common reason is: I figure if men like the look of me, they’ll come to me. So far no one has said they’d rather meet men online…interesting considering how popular dating sites are…I’ll do a full report when this poll has closed.

Over to April

It’s time to decide on our next WWWtK question. Here are the contenders:


A sweet note to end on

I had a drink with a publishing wing-girl at The Grasshopper during the week. It’s a great spot for a catch up if you’re in a small group. There’s a very cute barman working there who gave me a friendly wink and set my heart aflutter (yes, I’m sure he does it to everyone but I don’t care!).  It gets rather packed on Fridays, which is an advantage. You’ll be forced to rub shoulders with  guys whether you want to or not.

Have great weeks and even greater weekends!

Package deal love

22 Mar

The older we get the more inevitable one thing becomes: baggage. We accumulate it, so do the men wemanMap's musings on luggage meet. And if a serious relationship develops we end up with the challenge of fitting two sets of furniture and two sets of baggage into one relationship.

A few weeks ago a single wing-girl said to me, “I’ve realised I’ll either end up with a younger guy or a divorcee.” While this might not be true (time will tell!), there’s definitely honesty in her statement. Women moving into their mid-30s need to accept that odds of them becoming the second wife/partner are pretty high. And if it’s a first marriage/partnership for them, this thought can be confronting.

Ending up with the younger guy has its cons too. With the pressure of procreation growing with every additional birthday candle, women wanting kids have to consider if their man will be happy to be a father earlier than his mates. Will he be content to swap parties for pre-natal classes? Will he grow resentful in a few years because he feels he’s missed out on something?

It’s always said that when the right person comes along, baggage-related issues are dealt with or even embraced because love is stronger. But what happens when baggage can’t be easily stored in the cupboard or cleaned up and donated to Vinnies? What if it’s lifetime luggage, rather than baggage?

On our very raining Sunday, I had a day off surveying and went instead to the Australian Museum with my beautiful cousin and her delightful four-year-old son. Being a wet Sunday, the museum was packed with parents and kids. Some of the daddies were there without mummies. Perhaps Mummy was finally having a day to drink champagne and get a pedicure. Or perhaps Mummy didn’t live with Daddy anymore, and Daddy was fair game. And perhaps playing dinosaurs with Daddy’s little darling was a good way to meet Daddy.

Women often gush at men with babies. There’s something alluring about a set of masculine arms, reeking of strength and security, cradling a baby or cuddling a child. But being faced with the prospect of dating a man with kids is a Big Deal. It’s not even the kids that might make women fearful. The permanent link to the ex and therefore the baggage could end up being the bigger challenge.

When I’m out surveying, the first question I ask single men is, “What are the three most important things in your life?” Men with kids generally list their children – if they didn’t I’d be worried. This means I know they’ve got a family before I know anything else about them. In the dating world, this information isn’t always offered so quickly.

So I wanted to put it out there: ladies, how would you feel about dating a man with kids and how soon would you expect him to tell you?

And just so we’re Even Stevens, the question I’m going to add to this month’s WWWtK options is: would you date a woman with kids? That way, everyone gets a chance to have their say.

A bit of bait

22 Feb

I’m going to start by risking a generalisation: every now and then, singletons wish there was someone at home to givemanMap's dream: man_cooking them a hug after a tiring day. [I’d love to know if single guys feel this way.] They long to open the front door to be embraced by someone who loves them, so they can feel strong again.

That was how I felt last Friday. I wished I’d be greeted by a man holding glass of wine for me, while dinner simmered on the stove. Or one who had at least ordered takeaway. Actually, I would’ve just settled for just the man.

But I knew my wish wouldn’t come true that night. I’d open my front door and find my apartment just as I left it: covered in envelopes of surveys I need to enter in my enormous spreadsheet. I knew could either suck it up and head out to manMap in the hope of finding said man, or do what I really wanted to do and park myself on the couch. Cursing my self-imposed mission, I practiced my ‘cheer-leader’ face, stuffed my bag with surveys and tripped into the night. As I headed toward World Square, thinking I’d investigate the bars nearby, I reasoned that the odds of meeting the man of my dreams were high. Doesn’t the heroine always meet her future lover when she’s at her worst?

As I waited to cross Castlereagh Street, I was roused from my ridiculous musings by the buzz of a nearby pub called Strattons. I’d never been there before. I’d never actually noticed it before. But there was a significant gathering of guys hanging out the front, most of them in their mid-20s to early 40s. I happily changed tack, dreaming of a quick survey round so I could slump on my couch asap.

The pub wasn’t particularly thrilling, just an uncharacteristic local filled with the post-work crowd. The ratio of men to women was good though. Thinking back on last week’s experience when I met heaps of single guys at the Cricketers Arms, I felt a renewed faith in manMap. I summoned my flagging energy and got to work.

The night was a mixed success. Yes, I hit my survey quota and yes I met some nice guys. But alas, most of them were taken. There was no meeting of the future lover for me. As I walked home, I wondered what the difference was, other than obvious charm, between Strattons and a place like Cricketers. On paper, the pubs had similarities. Yet one attracted throngs of single men and the other didn’t. And then I realised.

It was all about bait.

Bait was the missing ingredient at Strattons. Most of the women there were in relationships, so there was no bait to lure the single men to the hook. There’d been single women at Cricketers. It was the sort of pub lots of women would enjoy. From what I could determine, Strattons’ patrons were only there because it was casual and close to work.   

Which brings me to the wriggling twist of wormy irony: there needs to be a bit of female competition to attract the men. A bar without women is of little interest to a straight, single man. Throw a few eligible ladies into the sea and the men will swim over.

I’ve heard that a number of ‘killer-heels venues’ (ie places where you have to wear heels and generally pay a cover charge) in Sydney that actually hire women to flirt with patrons. They dress like they’re there for fun and then chat to all the guys, hoping they’ll stay longer, drink more and return another night for more flirting. First of all, I say boo hiss to that, because it’s deceptive and potentially leads nice guys on. But secondly I say, well, there’s the evidence that you need a bit of bait, even if it ends up being competition.

So next time you’re in a pub ladies, do a quick recon lap (I always pretend I’m looking for someone/the bathroom so I don’t look too ridiculous). If there aren’t any other girls, you may need to relocate. But you should always stay for at least one drink, in case your pub is the exception to the rule.