Dating 101

By Ellen McCarthy
Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring is almost upon us. The birds are back, the daffodils are peeking up, the sun is reclaiming its evening hours.

You know what that means: It's time to hop to it and really start reveling in the delights of your ergonomically incorrect office chair.

No. Come on -- it's dating season.

So get out there and nab yourself a live one!

Um . . . right.

Easy enough, perhaps, for the spectacularly attractive and extremely outgoing.

For the other 98 percent of humanity, what's easy is whatever you've always done: staying late at the office, going home in time for "Law & Order," meeting the same three friends at the same neighborhood dive. Again and again and again. Until you wake up one morning and realize that it has been 267 days and 10 hours since your last decent date. (Give or take 20 minutes . . . )

The thing is, this stuff is hard.

Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is.

It's hard to meet new people, people you might like who might like you back. And then to make those fleeting ties translate into an actual date.

And dating in Washington is different, as any veteran of the scene will tell you -- probably in a lengthy, sigh-filled rant. For one reason or another (ahem, work), people in Washington stay single. Behind Boston, in fact, it has the second-largest percentage of singles of all major metropolitan areas in the country, according to 2006 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Which means there are plenty of people out there to date. You just gotta find a way to do it.

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