For This D.C. Woman, Nine-Tenths of a Man Is Not Good Enough

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The U.S. government has confirmed what we single women in Washington have known for some time -- there are no single men in the District. Or, more precisely, not enough single men in the District.

According to the Census Bureau's recently released 2005 American Community Survey, the District has the lowest -- read, worst -- ratio of single men to single women in the nation. For every 100 single women in Washington, there are only 93.4 men. That's just over nine-tenths of a man for every woman. Now, if you've been single for as long as I have in this town, nine-tenths of a man is starting to sound pretty good. But not as good as Nevada (120.2 men per 100 women), North Dakota (120.1) and Alaska (118.9).

Now, I realize it's not statistically fair to compare the District, a mere city, to those big states. But imagine -- 1.2 men for every woman. I wonder if that .2 of a man does laundry.

One might think that this news would depress me. On the contrary, I feel vindicated. The next time one of my married friends (and all of my friends are married) asks me why I have not met someone yet, I have an answer based on cold, hard numbers: I am fabulous, but I am a victim of demographics.

I can now rebut the theories that I must be too picky, too wrapped up in work, too busy watching HGTV to meet my future husband. Until they start busing men in from North Dakota, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. (For the record, I lived in Fargo for a year, and, without revealing too much information, I can vouch for the Census Bureau's numbers).

Actually, based on my hands-on scientific research in the Washington area (going on blind dates since the halcyon days of the Clinton administration's first term), the numbers may be worse.

The Census Bureau did not account for gay men. Doing so -- considering the number of times my single girlfriends and I have been set up on a date only to find out later the guy is gay -- probably would bring the figure down to, say, .73 men for every woman (my single sister believes it's more like .5), making our situation even tougher.

I know how hard it is because I've tried it all: blind dates, group dates, speed dates. Young/old; short/tall; liberal/conservative; Yankees fans/Red Sox fans. I've been to Spices so many times for the casual sushi dinner date that I'm beginning to think it's my own "Groundhog Day." I tried an online date but ended that when it became apparent that the guy searched my property records to find out where I lived. I even went out on a blind date with a guy from the suburbs, but he showed up for our date hung over after drinking all day at an amusement park. But then again, I am picky.

Finally, a word of advice to straight, single men. Please, stop with the "errand" dates. This is a date where the woman shows up in a pretty dress and fresh lip gloss, and the man has essentially penciled her in while he's running errands.

I have seen two men go grocery shopping while on the way home from a date with me. One date apparently just could not wait to buy his milk, cream and cookies. Nothing says romance like a trip to Whole Foods.

Yes, the census figures have given me new hope. Whereas I used to think I was not trying hard enough or had become bitter, cynical and exacting, I now know the truth: It's not me, it's demography. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go work on my blackjack skills. Nevada, here I come!

-- Kelli McTaggart


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