Hey, Athens! Happy 2018! I didn’t go out on New Year’s Eve for the first time in over a decade. I stayed home, drank wine, watched terrible documentaries and popped my sleep medication exactly at midnight.
I had to come clean to myself about why I party so hard on the last day of every year. Social pressure, sure, but honestly? I’ve always been obsessed with the “midnight kiss” tradition. I was interpreting the events of NYE as setting the tone for my entire year. If I don’t rage and party and make out on the last day of the year, then I’m setting myself up for 365 more days of bummer. It was when I said that out loud to a friend that I realized what a bullshit superstition this was, and also that I really hate walking around drunk and being hungover nowadays.
I started my year better than ever, and so did our local university, with the UGA Bulldogs (Is that how you say it? Is it Georgia Dawgs? I don’t know.) winning the Rose Bowl just yesterday, as of this writing. I don’t follow football, but I’m very aware that this is a huge deal, and I’m all about positivity in 2018, so here’s hoping whoever our opponent was got their throats ripped out at the national championship.
On to the questions!
I am a young professional who recently moved to Athens. I have read articles saying Athens is a great town for singles to meet new people, but as a woman, I have been disappointed. Yes, Athens has a great night scene, but for a single woman who doesn't know many people, that is intimidating. Not to mention, the last couple of times I went out on the town I was harassed by strangers who grabbed my butt, and another who grabbed my arm, pulling me into a bar patio.
Is it the South's intolerance of independent women, or a college town not understanding how to treat a woman? I'm asking for advice on what to do to get some good, clean fun and meet new friends.
Young Professional in Athens
I’m gonna blame it on football season and a proximity to college crowds. It sounds to me like you are trying to socialize above the Khaki Line (that’s Lumpkin Street, for the uninitiated), which is the invisible border between UGA undergrad nightlife and… well, everything else. This is very much a Southern town and a college town, and the best thing you could do in your situation is to avoid university-oriented bars and clubs. The university is great, but you describe yourself as a young professional, not a student, so I totally understand why that scene doesn’t appeal to you.
My first bit of advice would be to avoid the college bars after dark. There are lots of great shops and restaurants in that part of downtown, but the nightlife can get downright sketchy during football season (especially a good season, like UGA had this year). Add to that the controversy over racist dress codes and menu items, and I’d say you’re not missing out on much after 7 p.m. Try out spots in Normaltown, Boulevard or the Eastside for a more mature and courteous crowd.
But what you really need is a townie plug. Find some good people whose social lives thrive independently of the university, and see how that goes. What are you into? Try some social environments that are less boozy or even booze-free, like a donation-based yoga class at Rubber Soul. Go to Monday ramen at Seabear, grab a seat at the bar, and just talk to whomever you’re sitting beside. Go to Little Kings on any of its trivia nights, sit at the bar and play along with the other know-it-alls who aren’t on a team.
Athens is a great city for single women, but I think you might be approaching this wrong. Be more measured in your approach to socializing, and avoid the undergraduate party scene.