Aside from “Do you want it on your card?” and “Can I see your license and registration?”, I can’t think of another question I’m asked more often than some variant of “Where can I meet people?” It’s been a subtopic at a few of the panels I’ve been on. It’s written in the comments whenever I write anything about dating and relationships. It’s emailed to me at each of my email accounts. And, since I happen to know quite a few transplants in the Greater Pittsburgh-area, I hear this question in person at least once a week. Also, although the “finding dateable people” problem is usually thought to be a “woman’s problem,” I frequently hear this question from men too. It’s like the eligible Black men and women are playing a prolonged game of hide-and-go-seek with each other, except neither party is aware they’re actually playing.

Usually, the answers to these questions range from perfunctory choices such as “the supermarket” and “church” to weirdly specific (and highly impractical) places such as “the strip club on Thursday nights” and “my basement this weekend.” While these aren’t necessarily bad options, they’re options the people asking these questions are probably already aware of. With this in mind, here are a few “underrated” places where a person looking for a bevy of like-minded people will have a good chance of finding them.

Debate/Election Parties

Regardless of what city you happen to currently reside in, in the coming weeks there will definitely be some Black organization — professional, Greek, political, or church — who will organize an event for people to come together and watch the President (hopefully) mollywhop his challenger. And, while you can’t predict exactly who will show up, there’s a good likelihood that the people who attend will be young(er), (somewhat) educated, employed (well, for the most part), and will at least possess a peripheral understanding of and interest in the political process and its importance to the community.

I actually attended one of these parties earlier in the week. And, along with bringing us all together to watch the debate, it also served as one of the best “singles” events I’ve been to in a long time, as people were able to meet and mingle with each other organically instead of having the pressure of being at a “singles event” placed on them.

Gallery Crawls

I know everyone isn’t into art (well, the type of art usually found at the type of venue that would participate in a gallery crawl). But, even if this is true, it’s an opportunity to interact with hundreds of people (maybe even thousands) as you explore certain parts of your city you might not have been familiar with. Also, the free food, beer, and wine usually found at these venues can’t hurt,

***Btw, I don’t want to hear any “Well, my city doesn’t have stuff like this going on” excuses. Why? Well, I live in Pittsburgh, PA. If Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh!!! — has multiple gallery crawls every year, I’m sure you could find one near you as well.***

Professional Conferences

It doesn’t matter if the actual conference is taking place in Alaska or Afghanistan — and it doesn’t matter if you hate your actual job — if your business ever offers you the opportunity to travel anywhere on their dime, you need to take it. Who knows? You might make a connection with someone there who also hates their job, and you can spend the entire weekend texting jokes to each other during presentations and researching your company’s human resources policy on your phone to see if it would be appropriate to invite them back to your room.

The Internet

From social networking sites to dating venues, there are places online specifically created for people to meet each other. But, while those places (occasionally) work, I’ve found that people are just as likely to find commonalities and meet organically through the comments section of their favorite websites or even in an email chain where 100 people are carbon copied — places where there might only be one degree of separation between you and a potential mate.

And, if none of these work, you can always start your own blog, grow a following, write a book, and hold parties just for people to meet you. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything, but a person very, very, very close to me told me that strategy tends to work.

Damon Young is the co-founder of the award-winning site Very Smart Brothas and co-author of Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime.” Both have helped him meet single women.