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“Downtown, there’s lots of friends with benefits,” says Paul, a 24-year-old sous chef.“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.Then I practically fell asleep at the wheel coming home.The next night, we had another terrific date wandering around New Bern and going on a ghost tour (half the town is haunted, apparently).I went out by myself and by the end of Saturday night was rolling with a new friend group 10 people deep.I also couldn’t believe the plethora of good-looking, gentlemanly guys who bought me drinks.And the winner who showed up in sweatpants and couldn’t buy me a drink because he’d spent his last on a beer and wings special for himself. And there’ve been wonderful guys in the mix too, most of whom fizzled out because in this city, it’s just really hard to fit two people, and their ambitions, into one relationship. ”) Maybe a change of location — to New Bern, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Austin, Texas; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles, California — was the answer.Things move so fast in New York that I only recently stopped to ask myself how I’d wound up here, over 35 and still single, but not always wanting to be. I’d already crossed the fuck-it-something's-got-to-give threshold of my New York dating life. If this trip had been a blind date, I would’ve walked out of the bar the second I saw New Bern’s offerings, via a terrifying night of Tindering.
I've met guys in bars, at parties, while snowboarding, through friends, and online via Ok Cupid, Match, Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble, The League, How About We, Coffee Meets Bagel, and even Nerve.com, a site for “literary smut” that hosted online personals in that early-aughts dark age before smartphones.
And then there was Peter, who I met that night in a bar set in the basement of a haunted mansion.
He was 34, worked in home restoration, and looked like a guy I’d go for in Brooklyn, with an ample beard and amazing cheekbones.
There was the young Marine who did an exaggerated double take before telling me I was the most beautiful woman in the bar.
And the also-very-young hero who swooped in to rescue me when a woman was rude to me and held my hand as we ran through the streets to the next stop.