Dating: Bars, Clubs, and Personal Advertisements

Single adults partake of many activities to seek dates and find mates.
Many use advertisements in local newspapers to attract possible candidates for a
relationship. Others go to single's clubs and bars to find their potential soul
mate. The type of activities people choose are dependent on the person's self-
esteem and self-confidence. The information for this research was obtained from
the article “Self Esteem of Persons Seeking Dates Via Bars, Singles Clubs, and
Personal Advertisements.” The article was written by Paul Yelsma and Paul L.
Wienir. It appears in “Sociological Spectrum” for January - March 1996.
The research method used in this article was a questionnaire. These
questionnaires were sent to people who advertised in the local paper. Single's
club participants were presented questionnaires and asked to complete them at
one of the two clubs in the same geographic region. Those who attended bars were
either contacted directly or given questionnaires. The questionnaires were
completed by 152 subjects: 40 from ads; 62 attended singles clubs, and 50
frequented bars. (Yelsma and Weinir, p. 35)
What effect does self esteem have in a person's decision on what type of
method to use to find their possible companion? It is shown that people with
lower self-esteems tend to choose personal advertisements, while people with
higher self esteems tend to lean towards the bar scene. Others with a mediocre
self-esteem seem to go towards the clubs scene. According to Josephs, Larrick,
Steele, and Nisbett, (1992, p. 27) “The higher one's self esteem, the less one
has to fear from threats to the self, and individuals with higher levels of
self-esteem should be less affected by the threats to the self.” This means
that the higher ones self esteem is, the more they will not be afraid to show
themselves in public. Those with the low self-esteems, will hide behind the
words of a personal advertisement, while those with higher self-esteems will be
open enough to attempt to meet people on a personal basis.
One of the reasons people are reluctant to use personal ads are because
of their odd beginnings. In the early days of personal ads, they were used by
those seeking homosexual relationships, and for “immoral actions.” However,
since then, the have become much popular. People from all walks of life use
personal ads to attract others with similar likes and dislikes. In a personal
advertisement, the person making the ad gets the advantage of never actually
meeting the person before first contact. This allows them to have a veil of
secrecy around them. For those with low self-esteem, this allows them to hide
in the words, only allowing the information they want to be released to possible
dates. The person who reads the ad must then decide if they want to contact the
other person solely based on a few words describing a stranger. In my opionion,
the person replying to the ad must have immense willpower to go on a “blind
Personal ads are not the only method being studied. People with a
mediocre self-esteem tend to go to single's clubs. Single's clubs have one
purpose: to give a location that single men and women can meet one another
without the risk of hitting on someone who's already attached. Also, because it
is a place for singles, and singles alone, a person doesn't risk as much
rejection because the person they are attempting to attract is there for the
same reason.
Bar crowds are different. A bar is filled with several types of people.
Some are there to find a date, some are there just to relax and get a few drinks,
and some there are actually on dates. A person has to have a relatively good
self-esteem to approach someone in a bar. When they approach someone, they are
risking embarassment, and rejection on a higher level than either of the two
previous methods used. If a person is not rejected however, it can be a major
self-esteem booster, making the person feel much better about themselves. It
also gives them a sence of accomplishment, that they actually did something for
themselves. This boosts both self-esteem and self-confidence to an all time
Self-esteem also used in the descision on how many methods a person uses.
The article states that people with lower self esteems tend to use more than
one method. This means that a person with low self-esteem will tend to use all
three methods to find a date, while those with higher self-esteems will use only
The choice in what method a person uses to