Single in the Suburbs is Back!

Welcome back to my Single in the Suburbs blog! I’m reviving this series after more than three years of living and dating in the suburbs of Chicago. Over these last few years, I’ve had too many conversations with friends about how hard it is to meet anyone when you’re in your 20s or 30s and living in the suburbs. Everywhere we go, there are couples and families — and I think it is fair to say that families make up most of the suburban population. For those few singles that are living out here because of work or other circumstances, you’re left wondering, “Where are all the young singles like me hanging out?” Or, like some of us ladies, you’re wondering “Where do the good boys go to hide away?”

I’ve tried speed dating, singles events, networking events, meetup.com, and dating apps over the last few years. I dated some people I met online and some people I met organically. But even if it seems like the odds out here aren’t as good as they are in the city, I believe that there are many of us in the suburbs…it is just a matter of knowing where to go and what to do if we don’t want to travel to the city every weekend.

I will sometimes post about general dating issues and other times I will review events or locations in the suburbs (and I may even start a podcast). As I revive the blog, I’d like to kick it off with my first location review: BaseCamp Pub & Eatery in Lisle, located at Four Lakes. For many western suburbanites, this may already be a go-to spot, but I made my first trip there this past weekend. I happened to be with some girls who also had never been there before, and one of them turned to me and commented that this is the most guys — and cute guys, at that — that she’d seen at a local bar in a long time. I had to agree. Most suburban bars might have one or two groups of young single guys hanging out, but this time there were several. Not quite up to the level of the former Toby Keith’s in Rosemont, but the most I have seen at a bar in the western suburbs.

90sNightIt certainly helps that you can see live music and there is a large bar. Us ladies had come out that night to listen to boyband hits from Hot Sauce Committee, and it had to be one of the most fun, true nights out I’ve had out in awhile. And by “true nights out” I mean one that involves drinks, dancing, and live music, which is something I only tend to do at bars in Chicago. Sad, but true.

Whether or not I’m going to actually meet a guy I want to date there, it is definitely worth returning to for the music and dancing. And hey, at least the proportion of men to women there is better, and that’s enough to push it to the top of my list!

 

The Transformation Challenge

As a studious bookworm for much of my young adult life, I dreaded gym class and fitness tests more than any academic exams. I always felt I could master most subjects if I worked hard enough, but I viewed athletics as something that simply wasn’t for me. In elementary school, I pushed my awkward self to try dance and figure skating, and while I managed to make this last for longer than one might expect, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I didn’t have what it took to sustain these activities in the long term (to this day, my hand/eye coordination skills are remedial at best). Combine that with a series of mean-spirited gym teachers who publicly teased me for my lack of physical prowess, and you can understand why I began to believe my name and the words “physically fit” could never be uttered in the same sentence.

But as I posted on this blog back in 2014, I decided I was tired of my clothes not fitting and my weight going up and down, so I took a chance on Pure Barre. With my background in figure skating and ballet, barre workouts turned out to be a great fit for me. I dropped two clothing sizes, and I was able to stick with it.

Now that I am beginning a new year with new challenges, I feel like it is time to master something new. I recently joined the gym near my office, Midtown Spa and Fitness, so I could sneak in quick workouts during my lunch break. When I first heard they were offering an eight week Transformation Challenge, I doubted whether I should do it or if I’d even be able to survive it. Sure, I can take Zumba and kickboxing classes, but lifting weights or doing pull-ups has never been my thing – I pretty much always max out at 5 lb. weights and the last time I tried a legit pull-up in high school, I dropped directly to the ground. (To this day, I can still play back in my mind the eye roll and heavy sigh from my gym teacher that always followed my feeble attempts.) I was consistently among the worst performers on the fitness test, which was hard to accept for an overachiever. So, knowing this, I’m committed to pushing myself out of my comfort zone – and perhaps overachieving in whole new ways!

When I finally listened to my coworkers and joined in on the Transformation Challenge, I was actually surprised at how well I handled the initial fitness test, which consisted of most of the things I struggled to do in high school (sit-ups, push-ups, planks). I’ve come pretty far since then, and I can only imagine how far I can go in eight weeks.

My initial goal with fitness was weight loss, but I’m finding it has become a lot more for me than that: It’s about reaching goals, feeling good, feeling confident, and above all, it’s about strength. I’ve realized that upping my fitness game has all along been about proving to myself that I’m stronger than I think I am. And I’ve learned that statement applies to all areas of my life, whether it is my work or my somewhat disastrous love life. (Note to self: Yes, you ARE strong enough to keep searching for a nice guy, even if it means you have to first make it through some terrible Tinder matches.)

I’m only about halfway into the eight-week challenge, but I look forward to sharing my progress. I will say, I’m already adjusting to the feel of 10 lb. weights – those five pounders are starting to feel pretty light these days!

A final note to the reader (which is mostly my friends and family, let’s be honest): I know this blog has not been updated in quite some time, but I’ll be back to share more soon about a wide range of topics, including the much needed revival and revamping of my Single in the Suburbs blog. Stay tuned!