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And the winner who showed up in sweatpants and couldn’t buy me a drink because he’d spent his last $20 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.
He immediately struck me as sweet and affectionate — one of the only guys I’ve ever met online who wanted to talk on the phone first to make sure I wasn’t a bot and that we’d enjoy spending an evening together.
I settled on saying I was “considering moving” to each city; a white lie, but one that seemed to elicit much more respectful and normal interactions.
I’ve changed all the guys' names.)The bar scene, on the other hand, was a blast, at least as the new girl in town.
Becky told me about a Marine she stopped dating after he told her he was “using a penis pump to get bigger for girls.” Now she sees him out and about all the time. “Unfortunately, New Bern does have that reputation,” says Natasha, a bartender, 29, “that most chicks in this town are trying to get pregnant to trap a guy.” Almost no one I met dates online, which makes sense: If you live in a small town, chances are you like a tight community where everyone knows your name, rather than internet strangers.
From what I could glean, the local servers, bartenders, and chefs in town just sleep with one another.
Brittany, a 26-year-old waitress, tells me that when she joined Tinder, all her friends called her “Tinderella” because it was so weird to be on it. People love to blame Tinder for hookup culture, but Becky joined because she was looking for the opposite.
Her dad even paid for her to try with her location set to Raleigh because he doesn’t like the guys where she lives — but no one wants to drive two hours for a date.So for now she’s in a friends-with-benefits thing with a New Bern bouncer.She’s pretty sure if she wants a relationship, she’ll have to move.New Bern was named by Market Watch as one of the top coastal towns in the country to retire to, so that leaves young, single people dating in the equivalent of a recycling bin.You will inevitably run into an ex, or many, at one of the town’s three main bars. ’ He ignores me.”New women on the scene tend to be in town for weddings; new guys tend to be Marines, though they’re strictly nonmonogamous, due to a pervasive fear that — I shit you not — any woman who wants a relationship is angling for what’s known among locals as a “contract marriage,” an emotionless ploy to snare access to his good military salary and benefits. That’s the feeling that rises up in my throat whenever anyone asks me the totally non-condescending question of why I’m still single, which I’ve answered so many times in so many tones (“Just haven't met the right guy, I guess! There was the guy who kept taking calls from a number he’d labeled “Happy Happy Fun Time,” which turned out to be his drug dealer.