The Hater app defies a common convention of online matchmaking tools by asking not what users like, but rather what they loathe the most. Here in Baltimore, the company finds the most common things users can’t stand are misplaced keys, bad parking jobs and that gut-wrenching “Two Girls, One Cup” video from 10 years ago.
Whenever Baltimore made it onto one of those “best cities for singles” lists, I felt confused. Those rankings did not jibe with my personal experience–but hey, maybe I was just unlucky. But a new Forbes article has cleared up some of my confusion: It turns out that Baltimore is great if you’re single… and a heterosexual man.
Baltimore writer Holly Morse-Ellington believes her newly divorced father has a super serious girlfriend–unfortunately, thanks to her dad’s close-lipped nature, her best information source is a tiny barking dog.
My parents’ divorce has been a long road for me. Maybe it’s not my road to travel. But that’s the thing about family. No matter how carsick their problems make you, you’re stuck in the backseat. Hands tugging at the child safety locks activated on the doors. Head hanging out the window and panting, “Are we there yet?”
Writer/television producer Jeff Dugan’s been on some great dates, but he learned more from the bad ones.
Everyone has few good horror stories of dates that went awry. As I look back on mine, I have to admit the problems seemed to stem from some oafish action or oversight on my part. Here are my top 10 worst dates, in chronological order. Please, learn from them.
I hope you can help me on this one. Last week I was hanging out with friends, and I started talking to a girl, Haley, who used to date a friend of mine (he wasn’t there at the time), a good friend named Tyler. Haley is friends with guys who I know and she sometimes socializes with them, so talking to her was pretty normal, at least not unusual.
I didn’t know her very well when she was going out with my friend, but I thought that she was good-looking, and she seemed like a fun girl. Anyway, after talking to her for a little while, I felt that we had sort of a connection, and I wanted to go out with her on a date.
Just to make sure, I talked to my friend who used to date her, and he was pretty weird about it. I was really kind of shocked that he couldn’t figure out why I would want to date her since she was “somebody who was the ex-girlfriend of a friend of yours—a good friend.” Why would he even care? Am I missing something here?
“Why would he even care?” My reaction exactly. So let’s consider what you might be missing here and why he would care.
Maybe Tyler treated her in a way that would embarrass him if you knew about it. Maybe Haley treated him in a way that would embarrass him if you knew about it. Maybe something happened between them that Tyler doesn’t want you to find out. You can use your imagination, but let me give it a jump-start.
Depending how long they were together, Tyler could have become bored with her; perhaps he reached the point at which Haley felt under-loved or under-appreciated. If they had dated for a long enough time that he started taking her for granted, Tyler could have become cold and unfeeling and checked out. If he thinks that such behavior might be unflattering to him, Tyler might not want you to know about it.
Just one more day to submit your love story for the chance to win dinner for two at Pazo and a bottle of Roederer Estate “Special Cuvée” Brut NV from Bin 604 in our “How I Met My Honey” contest! Read the moving story, below, about a courageous cancer survivor finding true love when she least expected it.
Love at the Cat’s Eye Pub
I had a better chance of being struck by lightning or being attacked by terrorists than I did of meeting a guy in 2010. I was a divorced, middle-aged woman who was bald and missing a body part that made my sweaters look decidedly uneven. Thank you, mastectomy and chemo.
I was also puffy. My oncologist even admonished me about the weight gain. But it was a side effect of my job, not the drugs. I have to eat a lot as the food editor for Baltimore magazine.
But, amazingly, I did connect with someone that year in a most unlikely place—a Fells Point dive bar. My friends convinced me that listening to the afternoon blues bands on Saturdays at the Cat’s Eye Pub would lift my spirits. It was worth a try.
It did help distract me until that summer when I went through another surgery for reconstruction. Trust me. We’re not talking body beautiful. We’re talking just feeling whole again.
Soon, I was back at the Cat’s Eye. This time, looking like a deranged poodle as my hair grew out in a weird corkscrew style. People were polite about it. I tried to ignore my new look.
That was when I met the bass player for the band Nothin’ But Trouble. He was from Delaware. I used to live in Delaware.
We soon became Greg from Magnolia and Suzanne, formerly from Old New Castle. It was a greeting we shared with a smile during the band’s once-a-month gigs. But we were ships passing in the night. He had someone in his life. I was still trying to recover.
One evening, much later, fate intervened. We ended up sitting next to each other at the bar before the band played. The reporter in me kicked in: “So what’s your story?” I asked.
And he told me. He wasn’t just a musician. He was a special-ed teacher, a dad, a son, a brother, and a really fascinating guy. And he was unattached.
Now that over fifty percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce, there are more single people in their thirties, forties and fifties than ever before. What does this mean? Where will it lead? Is this a problem to be solved, or a phase in the development of a new social order? I have no answer to these questions but I do know this — there are only two single men in Baltimore and they both have girlfriends.
Let me explain. In 2009, when I arrived in town newly separated, helpful friends pointed out two fellows I’ll call Monty and Elliot. Monty was a dashing silver-haired photographer known for his elegant cocktail parties, Elliot a clever bartender in horn-rimmed glasses who was also a sportswriter. I cast my gaze in both directions but didn’t end up dating either one of them.
Five years went by. Many more marriages ended. Numbered among the most recent crop of emerging singles is my fetching friend Strawberry Shortcake, a wide-eyed Girl Scout type fifteen years younger than I, hence not as scarred by the dissolution and depravity of the 1970s and 80s. This past Saturday I had the honor of taking Strawberry on her first night on the town as a single woman.
I am sad to report that it started with Monty and ended with Elliot and both Strawberry and I were home in bed by 11.
Plans for the evening were conceived when I received an invitation to one of Monty’s famous soirees, an event I assumed would be teeming with romantic possibility. When I asked Strawberry to come along, she readily accepted. In fact, another friend had already suggested she go. Five and half years later, Monty remains one of Baltimore’s leading men-about-town.
I suited myself up in black leather pants and boots; Strawberry appeared in one of her usual Little House on the Prairie ensembles, many of which feature gingham and shawls, yet have a weirdly sexy effect. The party was congenial enough, but Monty had a girlfriend in the kitchen. There was at least one other eligible man there, though even from a distance he appeared gloomy and tormented; it turned out he was the “Hot Neighbor” of Lauraville whose very recent marital breakup had already gone out over the wires. I realized this early in our conversation and exclaimed, “Oh, I know who you are! You’re the Hot Neighbor!”
He looked confused. When I explained, he brightened for a moment before sinking back into his bitter malaise. “Well, maybe I will be soon,” he said.
With the possibilities chez Monty so quickly disposed of, I suggested to Strawberry that we hit the bars and see what might be available. Having recently attempted a similar reconnaissance mission with another cute young divorcee, Rainbow Bright, I decided to skip Hampden and Station North.
Just a few weeks prior, Rainbow Bright and I had hoofed it through 13.5 Wine Bar, the Hon, Fraser’s, Holy Frijoles, Joe Squared, Metro Gallery, The Depot, Club Charles, and several no-name spots on Howard Street. We turned up dozens of hipsters barely over their acne, two drag queens named Ellen Degenerate and Miss Construed, a bunch of my students from the University of Baltimore, and, briefly, John Waters, but even the open-minded and dauntless Rainbow Bright could find nothing of concupiscent consequence. At 1:20 a.m. we finished the last of our vodka-sodas and called it a night.
Readers, I’m confused. Last year, Kiplinger’s rated Baltimore one of the best cities in the nation for singles. Hooray! And then today we learned that Cosmo has deemed Baltimore the nation’s fourth-worst city for single women. Boooo. So what gives?
I have a couple of theories to explain the disparity:
Got questions about life? Love? Parenting? Work? Write to Whit’s End, a new advice column by local husband, father, teacher, coach, former executive and former Marine Corps officer Al Whitaker. Each week Al will address readers’ questions about anything ranging from school issues, coaching problems, relationship quandaries and more! His experience is vast, and he holds a degree in psychology, too. To submit a question, email [email protected].
As a 27 year-old female with a successful, professional career, I generally feel confident in both social and business environments. However, as I now finding myself somewhere between the two, and I’m not sure how to handle the situation.
Recently, I detected a more-than-just-work interest from one of my male colleagues. He is my age and has been at the firm for less than a year versus my three, so I guess he is still relatively new. The reason I mention his time on the job is that so few of my peers, who could give me their read, know much about him outside of work. Whenever we collaborate on a project, he smiles and just sends out positive vibes, all of which gives me that feel-good, tingling sensation. (Maybe I’m blushing, but I’m not sure.)
Since I have no way of knowing what his feelings are toward me, my dilemma is asking him to get together and risking poisoning the well at work or doing nothing and wondering what might have been, perhaps to the point of damaging my focus at work.
Sometimes (but not regularly), a group of younger employees (around our age) will go out after work to happy hour, which could present an opportunity to get to know him better. On one hand, I think that if he were interested, he would have already have gone, but on the other hand, maybe he doesn’t want to seem pushy. So, I guess what I’m wondering is whether I should just let it happen, or as a confident, successful person, take control of my destiny.
First, before we go any further, let me address the issue of controlling one’s destiny. Sportscasters use the phrase ad nauseam without really understanding what it means. For the record, one’s destiny is what will happen no matter what; so, by definition, you cannot control it. We know from Greek mythology, especially, that individuals who try (think of Odysseus, of The Odyssey fame and Oedipus, of Oedipal complex fame) just make the gods mad and make the situation worse.
However, because you are a confident, successful professional, you want to take control and make the situation better. Realize that you can’t take control when other people are involved, but you can improve your odds.
When I say your odds, what I mean is the chance that you will get to know someone whose company you enjoy—wherever that takes you. “Only connect!” as E.M. Forster’s character Margaret Schlegel passionately exclaims in Howards End, an exhortation by the author to make personal relationships paramount. So, try to genuinely get to know him as a friend, first, by asking him to join the group after work; second, by not agonizing over all the pros and cons of a romantic involvement with him; and, finally, by leaving that destiny business to the professionals who can actually do something about it.