24. Bicycle Film Festival

Any girl reading this in 2010 has only until Sunday, December 5th, to experience this Austin Hot Spot.  If you miss out, you’ll have to either catch up with it in another city or wait until next year.  The Bicycle Film Festival is a fantastic Hot Spot.  I happened to go with a couple of my girlfriends who are avid cyclists that also race.  Once we settled into our seats, I couldn’t help but notice that there were less than 10 girls in the room.  While the films were well-done and entertaining, for sure, the men there were thrilled to meet some women who were even a little interested in a hobby they love.  It is a prominently indie crowd with a sprinkling of yuppies.  So, if slender, satchel-bearing guys with disheveled hair and skinny jeans (the quintessential Austin-boy look) is your thing, get your tickets today and go.  Films are showing at 301 Chicon Ave.  Check the Bicycle Film Festival website for additional, festival-related events.

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23. Dirt Derby – Cyclocross Races Tuesdays At Del Valle

It was an accident that I found this litte-known Hot Spot.  Hungry and bored, I was requesting the company of one of my good girlfriends over dinner.  Instead, I found myself heading out to a familiar supercross track in Del Valle to watch her and our friend, Jordan (who we affectionately named “Pup” as he is young and totally cute), race cyclocross.  This racing is different than anything I’ve ever seen.   It’s crazy.  They ride what appear to be road bicycles with tires having quite a bit more tread to ride on the dirt (who cares, right?).  There are places on the course where riders have to dismount their bicycles and carry them to hop over barriers.  Because this is a supercross track, there are some pretty steep “jumps,” but the cyclists don’t have the speed of a dirtbike, so the jumps end up being short, steep, pointed hills.

As outdoor motocross is to superbike, so is cyclocross to crit racing.  If you’re not into racing, I realize I may have lost you with that statement.  Just hang in there with me; I have a good point to make.  Different than crits, the atmosphere in cyclocross is really, really laid back.  Nobody’s in any hurry, the competition is light-hearted and the atmosphere is very social.  Plenty of folks grill and have a beer after racing.  People standing trackside hoot and holler for their friends as they ride by.  There’s also a particular hilltop along the outside of sharp right-hander (in motocross it’s called a “berm”) where people stand with dollar bills that the competitors try to grab as they sweep by on their bicycles.  See what I mean?  Crazy!

Dress casually and plan on getting a little dirty.  This is a dirtbike track after all. Being such a social gathering place, it would be easy for you and a group of friends to plan to tailgate here and get to know some of the guys getting in their weekly racing fix.  There is no entry fee to watch.  Spectator friendly, you can walk around to get a different vantage point and can see several sections of the track all at once from just about anywhere.  The biggest field of racers start at 7pm, for the intermediate class.  Pros race just after 8pm.  Work this into your schedule as soon as you can because the season officially wraps in mid-December.  I’ve been informed by the promoter that it’s very possible that the series could be extended into early February.  Regardless, be sure to check the Dirt Derby website to confirm the schedule, especially if it’s raining.  The track is often closed on rainy days.  You will definitely meet some super-nice guys, should you choose to go and socialize.  Entertaining bicycle racing is a bonus.

22. Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) of Austin

When living the college lifestyle, one naturally meets people through the multitude of social channels that play host to a variety of events.  What does one do after college to stay in the social stream?  One way to do it is to attend Young Men’s Business League of Austin – better known as YMBL – events.

There’s no telling what to expect whenever I’m invited to a new social event for a group with which I have never been involved.  When my girlfriend, Michelle, suggested that I accompany her with some others to the YMBL Fall Fling in October at the Allan House, I kept an open mind and was pleasantly surprised.  What I found were a bunch of super-friendly, down-to-earth, professional guys along with some equally cool girls.  In this group, I found socializing with everyone, especially the men, exceptionally easy.

YMBL has been likened to an after-college fraternity.  It’s a group of guys who get together for regular happy hours (that anyone can attend, by the way), tailgating, golf and some annual events.  Their pet charity is Austin Sunshine Camps, to which the group members contribute hours in tutoring, mentoring and volunteering.  What girl wouldn’t want to date a guy who does those things?  Sounds like a catch to me!

Just like a fraternity, YMBL has a “sister” organization, Young Women’s Alliance, with whom they will sometimes combine efforts.  Having attended some Young Women’s Alliance events, I can attest to the fact that this is a bunch of fun, professional, go-getters that are up to big things in the world.  Both of these organizations eliminate any excuse for not meeting people, specifically men.  Whether you go to YMBL events or Young Women’s Alliance events that partner with YMBL, you’ll meet some great guys and, at the very least, make some strong business contacts.  It’s an ideal way to get dialed into Austin and a noteworthy Hot Spot.

21. Pei Wei – Brodie Oaks (At South Lamar and 360)

Helping Will Ross with his Dirt Remedy races has its perks.  First and foremost for me, I get to hang out with the guys.  The other benefit is that Will keeps me well-fed in the form of Pei Wei gift cards.  Other than the fact that the fortune cookie messages are quirky, completely lacking any insight into my future, I like the food so I would eat there anyway, with or without the gift cards.

After a horrible day at work, there are few things better than going to have my hair colored, cut and styled by my friend, Laura Wyrtzen.  Like most days, this particular Tuesday I forgot to eat.  While I wasn’t feeling particularly social, I wasn’t ready to go straight home to bed because my hair looked fabulous – plus, I was a little hungry.  That’s when, close to 9pm, I opted to make my way over to Brodie Oaks Pei Wei because it was close to the salon and on my way home.  With gift cards in-hand, this choice a no-brainer.  Having much of the day’s affairs to sort out in my mind, I had little desire for company over dinner.  So, I went alone.

Here’s my advice ladies: eat here and go late.  There is something about this zip code; a lot of guys must live around here.  I was the only girl in line.  Somehow my request for a “to go” order, even though I was going to eat it in the restaurant, really flustered the cashier.  In this case it was okay because, when I was in the back getting my ice water, it gave the cute, single guy behind me a reason to strike up a conversation with me.  At a table all by myself, I ate my beef with noodles and noticed there were tons of guys at this location.  There were a handful sitting at tables by themselves having dinner.  Waiting for their take-out orders, solo guys lined the wall.  On any other night, my new hair-do would have energized me to socialize at a place like this.  This is a terrific Hot Spot and it’s Pei Wei after all, where few people can resist the lettuce wraps.  Ladies, definitely put this on your list of eateries.

20. Golfsmith Driving Range

Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t like golf.  I don’t like playing it or watching it or wandering a course for 18 holes.  Lord help me if I marry a man who does.  Having lived in Phoenix and West Palm Beach, I’ve spent my share of time on the golf course.  My clubs were custom made by Jack Wulkotte, who used to make clubs for Jack Nicklaus back in the day.  What that means is that in spite of my furrowed brow, a perpetual expression of my frustration with the things of golf, I look great from the neck down whenever I have a club in my hand.

My friend, Phil, gave me the tip that this would make a good Hot Spot.  You need to know it’s taken me about 2 months to go and I really had to force myself.  To make this happen, I had to get my golf clubs out of storage and they sat in the back of my car for at least a month.  All this to say, going to the driving range is waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.  When I arrived at Golfsmith Driving Range, I was pleasantly surprised.

This particular Golfsmith location is the company’s headquarters and is totally decked-out.  I’ve been to my share of driving ranges and this is the nicest one by a long shot – pun intended.  Being crunched for time, I bought a small bucket of balls for $5 and proceeded to the green where I could hack away.  Right smack in the middle of lunch hour, I was the only woman amongst a good handful of guys, making this an ideal Hot Spot.  After exhausting all 40 of my little white balls, I headed into the pro shop to return my basket and have a conversation with the pro.

Ladies, if you ever had the inclination to take up golf at any point in your life, go see Doug Nelle at the Golfsmith Driving Range.  His passion for the game is contagious and he’s got a tremendous commitment to introducing others to the sport.  For women, he suggests getting a group together and taking one of the clinics he offers (they’re either free or a nominal fee) to give it a try.  He has all kinds of clubs on-hand for you to use if you don’t have your own.  This is by far the best way to try golf.

Since we’re most concerned with when the men are there, Doug suggests coming on a Saturday.  “That’s when the serious golfers come practice,” he explained.  The women are definitely outnumbered by the men so be prepared to stand out and get some attention.  It also doesn’t matter if you’re good or not.  Women are so rarely seen golfing around here that men just appreciate your effort; Doug said that too.   Due to its location, a lot of Dell-ies come there during their lunch hour.  In the evening, the clientele is primarily students and people in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Sunday is family day.  Saturday is your day.

Golfsmith Driving Range – I-35 southbound feeder road, just south of Breaker.

An Apology To My Readers. . .

As you know, the name of this blog is Hot Men Hot Spots.  You may also have noticed that it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any new Hot Spots.  For that, I owe you an apology.  While I really hate hearing reasons of any kind from others and hate giving them out as excuses for my failure to follow through for others, I thought you might appreciate knowing what’s been going on since the beginning of August.

First of all, I’m taking my own advice.  Just like any other girl – or person for that matter – I got stuck in my comfort zone.  Creating this initial list of Hot Spots has been somewhat easy since they are places I already go.  Fortunately, for the sake of this blog, many of these places about which I have written are places that many girls never thought of or didn’t know existed.  All that to say I have exhausted my personal list and am now in the process of going outside of my comfort zone to try new things and find new Hot Spots to share with you.  I can already tell you that this works.

Next, I have just completed my first eBook that is a spin-off of the relationship material in this blog; all that I have left to create is a good title.  Essentially, it’s a collection of dating and relationship tips for women over thirty.  It took me all of a month to write and about three weeks to proofread and edit.  By mid-October I’d like to launch it, complete with its own website, in an effort to make a difference for women all over to be in wonderful relationships with awesome men who love them to pieces.  When everything goes live, I will be sure to announce it.

What you can expect from me moving forward are my posts reflecting my ongoing commitment to share with you some great, “new” Hot Spots along with relationship tips mixed with stories of my challenges, successes and failures all along the way.  I’m really loving this journey.

Thank you for reading.  I’ll see you at the races.

19. Your Alma Mater Game Watches – Various Places

We all have a natural tendency to gravitate toward what is familiar.  With football season just around the corner, pretty soon every sports bar in town will be packed on Saturdays with people cheering on their college teams.  Here in Austin, if you’re not a University of Texas or Texas A&M alum, you’re grossly outnumbered – myself included as I went to University of Miami, Florida.  Chances are, if you went to a major university your school has an alumni group here in Austin.  That means that you could check with your alma mater to find out where the group meets for game watches.  Even if you went to UT or A&M you can get involved with your alumni group to tailgate before games.  What’s great about this is that there’s level of comfort you’ll have around people who share your alma mater.  You’ll end up having a lot in common and plenty to talk about right out the gate.  Games last about three hours, the perfect catalyst for light-hearted conversation over food and football plays (remember to keep the conversation light and drama-free).  Another thing is, although I know some girls like football, most guys love it.  Guys that love football really appreciate a girl who does too, or one who at least can get excited about a game or two.  One of the Bunnies, Carrie, was at an Ohio State Alumni gathering just like this where she saw her husband for the first time.  Maybe the man of your dreams went to school with you and you never knew it.  It’s entirely possible.