Up Close: CO Dating Scene
The Good, the Bad, and the Emotionally Unavailable
An afternoon stroll through downtown Bend reveals the sort of Norman Rockwell scene one might expect from a small mountain town. Moms pushing empty strollers, dads carrying red-faced youngsters on their shoulders, and a Bernese Mountain Dog walking alongside because the family just couldn’t bear to keep him at home.
That night, the husband questions his wife, “What’s so hard about finding someone to love in Central Oregon? Didn’t everyone move here for the same reason?”
That same walk, after dark, highlights the mass of single adults looking to share stories of the day’s conquests, at work or on the mountain, with friends and potential mates. While finding a soulmate may seem like an easy proposition to those in a relationship, traditionally, Bendites’ search for everlasting love becomes a frustratingly arduous task. While the definition of a perfect mate and the journey towards finding one may have changed, the goal has not; find somebody to love.
“Men are all loser ski-bums!”…disgruntled single female.
As you may have guessed, and probably encountered, gripes about Central Oregon men run the gamut from mental maturity to fiscal responsibility. In a nutshell, ladies are looking for a guy who can set down the PBR tallboy and string together a complete sentence that doesn’t include a snow or trail report.
“Professional women are finding men who are appropriate in age, but not maturity,” explains Jennifer, a forty-something divorcee.
Alongside the traditional lying about your age and narcissism, this sentiment seems to echo amongst most single women in Central Oregon.
“When you are a successful, independent woman, it can be intimidating to men,” says fifty-something-year-old Susan. “They don’t know how to handle it. The ones who can, are married.”
“Single women here are too consumed with climbing the corporate ladder or starting a family.”…perplexed single male
The guy’s search for the perfect girl usually centers around the delicate balance of life. They want someone who enjoys all that Central Oregon has to offer, both day and night, but still has time to cater to his needs. She should like beer, but not so much that it shows. She needs to be willing to head to the hills, but not be better at it than him. And, most importantly, she should be ready to take care of a family, but not let it interfere with a nightlife.
“Of course a family is important, but shouldn’t we show them how to live life?” declares Mark, a fifty-something divorcee with two kids.
“I’ve never met anyone worthwhile at a bar.”…disappointed divorced female
Horrific dating stories have been around since Adam and Eve’s garden picnic. In Central Oregon, the worst ones seem to center around kids, lying about your age, and general craziness.
“Once I was on a date and after a short while, we both realized our sons knew each other,” illustrates Lola, a forty-something divorcee. “They had even played at each other’s houses. It kinda killed the mood.”
Luckily, it’s the bad dates that illuminate the good ones. After an initial meeting, usually at one of Bend’s many coffee shops, the typical first date usually centers around music or hiking. However, the most noteworthy dates require some planning and effort.
A Phil’s Trail mountain bike ride is good, but bringing picnic supplies is better. Snowshoeing on Tumalo Mountain is fine, but remembering the hot cocoa and cookies raises the bar. And, a trip to Mount Bachelor is a fun day, but skiing, drinking wine and making out on the chairlift is a step up.
“There is no substitute for chemistry.”…determined online dater
Recently, lonely Central Oregonians have joined the flocks of Americans who have turned to the internet to find love. Sites such as Match.com, Eharmony, and Meetup all attempt to bring people together, with varying degrees of effectiveness.
As a courtesy to those belonging to Generation X, there are some internet rules of which to be aware. First, “scientific” solutions to finding a mate may not be scientific nor a solution. Second, a thousand Facebook friends doesn’t mean a thousand friends. And third, there’s a lot of information out there, so lying about something can be a recipe for disaster.
“I bet your kids’ friends really like you since you’re such a hot mom”… a married co-worker.
One benefit to Central Oregon’s lack of, “meat market” bars is the limited number of cringe-worthy pick-up lines. But, like an apocalyptic cockroach, they rear their ugly heads when you least expect them. Here are a few to send you on your way optimistically thinking, at least I’m not as lonely as that guy/girl.
“Wow, you’re hot for a grandma.”
“Do you have a map, because I’m lost in your eyes.”
“Are you religious? ‘Cause you’re the answer to all my prayers.”
“Do you have a sunburn, or are you always this hot?”
“Your legs must be tired because you’ve been running through my mind all night.”
“Are you a beaver? Cause dam!”
“This isn’t a beer belly, It’a fuel tank for a love machine.”