Monday, Nov. 13, Noon ET

Dating in D.C.

Kelly Ann Collins
Journalist, Philanthropist, Blogger and Social Maven
Monday, November 13, 2006; 12:00 PM

According to recent Census Bureau data, the District has the lowest ratio of single men to single women in the nation. Kelly Ann Collins, chronicler of the D.C. singles scene, was online Monday, Nov. 13 at noon ET to offer advice to women fighting the odds.

A transcript follows.

Collins founded the Washington Socialite blog, and now writes a weekly online column for DC Style magazine, and blogs about the D.C. social scene on her site


WDC: I'm a 39-year-old DWM who would like more success in meeting young attractive women (27-35) for dating. In your opinion, what is the best venue...classifieds, computer dating or just good old supermarket singles scene?

Kelly Ann Collins: Hello WDC!

Go ahead and try a site, such as, to get yourself back into the practice of talking to single women. (And, who knows, you might meet someone.)

I also think it would be a good idea to get out and mingle in person. Check out Cafe Milano (Georgetown), Science Club (Dupont) or Dragonfly (Dupont) on a Thursday (or Friday) evening. Lots of nice 27-35 gals go to those places after work.

Good luck!


Bowie, Md.: I am a busy professional woman in her 30s. It has been more than eight years since I have been on a date.

I try to get out as much as possible -- gym, dance classes, adult education classes, etc. But I am very shy to approach men or even make direct eye contact with them.

What do you think is the best way to meet men for a shy and old-fashioned person like me who believes that men should approach first? Thanks.

Kelly Ann Collins: I agree. Men should approach you first. Who wants a guy that is afraid to approach a gal? Not me!

But, you have to let them know they're not going to totally strike out (men have feelings, too).

So, get out as much as possible ... but work on the eye contact thing ... and smile ... just so they know you are somewhat interested.


Arlington, Va.: I'm a single heterosexual guy, and my friends and I keep hearing about the imbalance in the female:male ratio in the D.C. area. However, whenever we go out to bars or nightclubs in the area on a Friday or Saturday night, the guys clearly outnumber the women, often by by about 2:1. So my question is: Where do all the single women go on Friday/Saturday night?

Kelly Ann Collins: Where are you looking for these women? You will find lots on Friday night at 1223/Spank, 18th Street Lounge, Mate (Georgetown). If you are not into the club scene, try coffee shops, like Tryst in Adams Morgan ... or just about any midtown Starbucks or Cosi.


NYC to WDC: I moved here from New York and find dating to be so much easier/better/nicer here. Guys are more genuine, down-to-earth and relationship-minded. Girls look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm enjoying dating here, but I guess it's all relative!

Kelly Ann Collins: I have dated in NYC, too, and I agree that the guys here in D.C. are more down-to-earth. Just depends on what you're looking for. Cheers!


Washington, D.C. : This may not be your area of expertise, but where's the best place for a mid-30s gay man to meet new men to date? I'm fairly conservative and not at all into the bar/club scene. Any new ideas would be appreciated!

Kelly Ann Collins: Hmm. You're right ... not my area of expertise. But check out tanning salons. I dunno, but I see all sorts of *hot* mid-30s gay guys when I go there.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Kelly. Why is it that so many people look to dating sites instead of actually going out to meet people? Have people lost the ability to socialize, or does D.C. just have a high ratio of socially awkward folks?

Kelly Ann Collins: Hello! Well, you can definitely cast a wider net on the Net. And some people say that it's easier to get to know people via chat / e-mail because people let down their guard.

A pal of mine runs, which has this "Meet Me at Hot or Not" dating service. I tried and liked.

Dating sites seem like a good way to weed people out (especially if one of your pet peeves is bad grammar / spelling - ergh!).


Washington, D.C.: Is there any hope for us single gals? I've been doing online dating but I miss the "context" of meeting guys. For me "context" means friends in common, seeing how they treat people, etc. To me online dating is tricky because it gives me a sense of false intimacy (by intimacy I mean getting to know someone, not physical intimacy). Talking on the phone and emailing are not the same as seeing your date dig his sandwich out of his teeth.

I think I need to become more aggressive when I meat guys at parties and other areas by letting my interest known. By asking them if they want to go out sometime. I am tired with waiting for them to make a move and need to readjust my signals of availability. Competition is fierce and I'm not getting younger!

What do you think? Thank you!

Kelly Ann Collins: Try networking through Facebook or Friendster ... then you can check out mutual friends, interests, pics. If you really think you like someone, have a mutual friendster introduce you.


Clarendon: The key to dating as a man in D.C. is to dress well, lie creatively and cover her tab. You'll do well at least half of the time.

Kelly Ann Collins: I disagree.


Fish In Barrel: This is great...even us fat, hairy and bald guys can have attitude and pick and choose. Why would anyone want to change the balance? It's like fishing with grenades around here, a target rich environment. need to sit down and stop making waves.

All you ex-homecoming queens and cheerleaders better be nice to us non-Brad Pitt guys or else you'll be sitting home alone waiting to be eaten by the cat.

Kelly Ann Collins: Ha! I see it as my duty to warn women about this unbalanced ratio ... I'll never sit down and stop making waves, Mr. Fish.


Washington, D.C.: I kept getting asked out by women who are 5- to 15-years older than me. I prefer to date younger women who are jealous of those older women. Advice please?

Kelly Ann Collins: Simple: Stop waiting around. Ask a younger woman out.


D.C.: At my big law firm, the female lawyers will date the non-legal staff, but the male lawyers will only date female lawyers. Is this a cultural trend?

Kelly Ann Collins: I'm gonna have to plead the Fifth on this one ...


Washington, D.C.: Say if you walk into a bar with your boyfriend, but realize you've met a rich venture capitalist and want to go home with him. How do you suggest going about this?

Kelly Ann Collins: Oh geesh.

First of all, Mr. WDC, you were not my boyfriend ... I just let you go to a party with me. Secondly, it's been three years since that party ... while your crush was kinda flattering back in 2003, it is now, well, creepy-stalkerish.

I think you should think about some females that don't have the initials K.A.C.

My advice to the men of D.C.: Don't stalk chicks. "Leave me alone" means leave the girl alone.



Washington, D.C.: Don't you think this entire chat is a bit misleading? I am a married man, who is more than happy to go out with cute and fun D.C. ladies. Please do not impose your Judeo-Christian ideals of marriage on me. My wife does not have a problem with me seeing other women, so I don't think you should care either.

In other words, there are plenty of married men like me, who are willing to show single women a good time in D.C.

Kelly Ann Collins: Well, to each his own. Just make sure you, your wife ... and these single gals ... are all on the same page.


Law firm: That's weird. My experience has been the exact opposite.

Kelly Ann Collins: Yes ... this sounds more like what I've seen (but I am not an attorney, so I can't really say).


True or False?: If a woman feels borderline adored and borderline ignored, she'll follow that guy anywhere?

Kelly Ann Collins: Ergh. False. Sounds like a headache.

One thing guys have told me is that they always know where they stand with me because I am brutally honest.

Sure, a little flirting is fun in the beginning, but don't play head games or you will be stuck in a dysfunctional (and annoying) relationship.


re: Fish in Barrel: Fish in Barrel represents precisely what I hate about dating in D.C. Complete arrogance. I have found so many men to think they are some huge prize. I also think that maybe because there are so many smart and successful women in this town, men don't know what to do and revert to a "he-man" role. Just a thought.

Kelly Ann Collins: There are some men that will never learn just how run-of-the-mill and replaceable they are.


This chat: is the creepiest thing I've ever seen on the Post. It's making for an entertaining lunch hour, though.

Kelly Ann Collins: Creepy? Hmm.

What's for lunch?


Online dating: I need to throw my hat into the ring with the whole online dating motif.

As a very shy man, the online approach was my best-case scenario for getting out into the dating world once I entered the working world. I can't ENTIRELY complain about it, since I did have two very nice, serious relationships from it, but overall, the approach is a flawed approach -- i.e., you're being set up with someone purely under the pretense of their being your next boyfriend/girlfriend, and it puts too much of a stressor on things. Yes, you do get to meet a large array of new people that you otherwise wouldn't have met in person, but there isn't the relaxed, natural atmosphere there would be if you'd met under non-online circumstances (chemistry notwithstanding).

Despite my shyness, I do prefer meeting people the non-online way, because it feels more honest, more authentic, and doesn't give me the pressure of trying to evaluate someone (or BE evaluated) in terms of a potential mate.

Kelly Ann Collins: Offline meetings are always ideal ... in a Cinderella-meets-Prince Charming fairy-tale sense.

I mean, what woman doesn't want Richard Gere atop a white limo a la Pretty Woman?

And, there are not many men who would not want Miss Julia Roberts. _______________________

SWM in Md.: Please advise the location of these alleged single women; other than the ones who expect to marry congressman, lobbyists, top-end lawyers and the like.

Kelly Ann Collins: Try Clarendon, Alexandria, Bethesda and Ballston lounges, bookstores, cafes and nightclubs.

Avoid Capitol Hill and Cafe Milano like the plague!


WDC: You're a "philanthropist" as well as a blogger, journalist, and social maven?

Does this mean you're living off your trust fun?

Kelly Ann Collins: None of your business. Next!


Alexandria, Va.: On infidelity -- do you believe "once a cheater, always a cheater?" Or do you think people can reform?

Kelly Ann Collins:"Once a cheater, always a cheater?" No.

I think most people cheat because they are not happy with the relationship that they are in. What other reason would there be?

If someone is happy, they are not going to cheat ... unless they have some peculiar addiction (or deeply rooted issue). And there are support groups for that.


Haters Please: This is a dating advice or comment column. Save your hating for someplace else. Keep up the good work Kelly Ann.

Kelly Ann Collins: Thank you. I think the haters hate because they can't get dates. It's a sad thing, really.


Don't Try Clarendon: I've managed to gather up most of the single women left in Clarendon. We all go to Harry's Taproom on Thursday nights and poke loads of mirth at Kelly's advice.

Kelly Ann Collins: Ha ... not many left, huh? They must be running across the Key Bridge to D.C. to escape the inflated egos and massive loads of testosterone in Clarendon ...


Washington, D.C.: Charity events! I think this is one of the best places to meet people in DC. There are plenty of them to attend and usually you meet people who are civic and philanthropically inclined (read: not jerks). There are a wide variety of events which attract different crowds, so you can be sure to find one which will have the type of people you're looking for. I speak from experience!

Kelly Ann Collins: You're right! The nicest, coolest people are at charity events.

Speaking of fundraisers ... I heard the 1869 Society's Moulin Rouge event was wildly successful this weekend -- for the Corcoran Gallery of Art and local singles!


You don't have to print this one: Thanks for your response to my posting about Clarendon and Harry's Taproom. You made me chortle in the public domain.

Kelly Ann Collins::-p


Anonymous: Any advice to a girl who isn't in the club/bar scene and more of an introvert? I am not looking for a relationship, marriage, etc., but companionship and I just don't know how to get back into it after a five-year hiatus.


Kelly Ann Collins: Expand your social circle. Concentrate more on making male friends than making boyfriends. (Who knows, maybe one of your new male friends will turn into your Mr. Right.) Seriously, you can never have too many friends. Boyfriends come and go, but friends are forever.

{Wait, I just sounded like some sappy diamond commercial.}


McLean, Va.: Where do people meet in DC? After college, there seems to be no real place to meet someone with similar interests (aside from the office).

Kelly Ann Collins: You've got to get out there, McLean.

Go to art shows, poetry readings, concerts, whatever tickles your fancy. Be social.

Oh, and try not to date people from work. Mix it up.


Alexandria, Va.: KAC,

How can I get past a woman's ideology? I have had too many women say "not interested" after learning I am politically conservative.


Kelly Ann Collins: You might want to check out a social club with GOP roots ... like the Capital Club, which hosts events that lots of Republican gals (including the Bush Twins) attend. Just a thought.


Guy in Bethesda, Md.: The ratio seems to have a reverse-psychology associated with it.

I notice that I attract more flirtatious activity from women when I am out with another women (friend or date) than when I am out alone or in a group of friends...

Kelly Ann Collins: Maybe it is because you act differently when you are out with other people. (Maybe you are more relaxed?)


Washington, D.C.: What is the ratio of single men to single women?"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."

For This D.C. Woman, Nine-Tenths of a Man Is Not Good Enough (Post, Sept. 24)

Kelly Ann Collins: I didn't realize until I saw the report, but according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, D.C. has the lowest -- read, worst -- ratio of single men to single women in the nation.


The Other Woman: Hi Kelly.

The guy I used to date for three years (and who I have tried to remain friends with) has just started seeing someone new. This special someone is a person he used to make disparaging remarks about, from everything to her unattractive appearance to her not being his "type."

Obviously, I still have a soft spot for this guy. He is not very experienced with dating, either.

Do you think it is possible to remain friends with someone who is such a "flipflopper", when it comes to relationships? And do you think men go through a "phase" with some of their relationships and then come out of it? Thanks for your advice!!

Kelly Ann Collins: I have remained friends with lots of flipfloppers ... because a guy that is not a good boyfriend can still be a good friend.

Stick with him if he *really is* special to you ... who knows, maybe with your coaching, you can help him find dating happiness.


Washington, D.C.: I always hear great stories of people meeting at bookstores or coffee shops in other cities. Why doesn't that happen here in D.C.? Is it because we are less adventuresome?

Kelly Ann Collins: I don't think we are less adventuresome.

Guys in D.C. have run up to me on the street, tossed their biz cards from cars, fallen into me on the ice rink and whispered to me at museums. I've also met people at bookstores and coffee shops.

But I don't think I am hot like Elle McPherson or anything ... and, I've never gone anywhere *looking* for a date. I just go out looking to have fun and I think that is the vibe they get from me. I dunno, I just think I am friendly and they see me as approachable.

My advice here would be ...

Make conversation with the guy or gal next to you (who is holding the "How To Flirt" book in the self-help aisle). S/he won't bite.

Maybe there will be chemistry, maybe not. But practice makes perfect ... so perfect your skill. Then, you'll feel more confident when you finally do bump into a hottie at the produce stand.


Reality: Is it inappropriate for me to ask what your credentials are for speaking about the DC dating scene? Are we to assume you've actually had some dates recently?

Kelly Ann Collins: Yes. You could say that I have had some dates recently. You also could say that I've dated a lot in D.C.


but which nine tenths?: Hey, the shy fella that likes to meet people in the real world. You sound pretty nice.

Kelly Ann Collins: A WaPo love connection, perhaps?


Dateless in D.C.: Hey KAC! Thanks for taking my question. I seem to be in a bit of a dating slump right now. I don't know what it is - the return of cold and dreary weather, or work, but I'm finding that I'm getting tired of all the normal spots I used to frequent over the summer. Can you recommend some new, hip happening places where a mid-20s fabulous professional gal can meet her similar match in a man? As I'm not a "bridge and tunnel" sort of girl, D.C. places are preferred. Thanks, KAC! Keep up the great work with your blog!

Kelly Ann Collins: Ha! I agree. When someone says "Virginia" to me, my stomach tightens and I start feeling a little nauseated. Virginia is supposedly "for lovers," but it seems so far away!

For mingling in D.C., try:

In Dupont, try Urbana at Hotel Palomar (also Gazuza, Science Club and Dragonfly).

And, you should try some of the fun places in the Chinatown / Gallery Place area if you haven't ... like Zola and Zaytinya.

Another interesting place (with a different scene) is the bar at The Mayflower hotel.

On the Georgetown waterfront, try Mate, Degrees (at the Ritz) and Agraria. I hear that Thursdays at Blue Gin are coming back as well.

Best of luck!


20010: I think D.C. actually does attract a high number of people who are socially awkward - policy wonks, over-achievers and the like.

And lots of folks who move to D.C. for those kinds of jobs but aren't socially awkward (i.e. professionals who have constant access to the Internet) are always busy, and dating just isn't a top priority.

Kelly Ann Collins: D.C. is a city full of overachievers, which isn't a bad thing ... it just comes with a few dating hurdles!


D.C. married guy: After reading this I am going to buy my wife flowers and wash her car twice. THANK GOD I am married!!!!!!

Kelly Ann Collins: Ha!


Silver Spring, Md.: In response to your earlier answer, you said women should at least make eye contact and smile.

But I have never noticed women do that. Is that something a man should look for before approaching?

Kelly Ann Collins: Well, if they're not smiling ... maybe you should keep your distance. Unless, of course, you get a thrill out of rejection.


To Married and dating others: Stop wasting single women's time -- stay at home with your wife...that's just sorry.

Kelly Ann Collins: Unless the wife is *trying* to get rid of him ...

When I was 23, I dated this guy that I used to try to push off on other girls, hoping he'd leave me. I didn't want to hurt his feelings by telling him I just wasn't that into him. I was too nice back then. (But I eventually just had to break up with him because he would not leave. Pfft.)

Now, I just say, "Hey, this is not working for me. Why don't you date Jenny? She thinks you're cute."


Washington, D.C.: I have a friend who can't seem to find a decent date in the whole city. The rest of our friends have paired off. She feels left out of the fun and has given up completely. How can I get her back in the dating spirit? I've tried tequila... it didn't help.

Kelly Ann Collins: Try Stoli Raspberry and soda ... with a splash of Sprite and a splash of cranberry ... topped off with a lime. Then, send her off to meet some single girlfriends to hang out with. Of course she is feeling left out, she's hanging out with a bunch of married couples!


Arlington, Va.: Wanna have dinner with me on Thanksgiving in a hot air balloon tethered to a tree on the banks of Roosevelt Island? We could drop leaflets about the dating scene in D.C. to the struggling women below.

Kelly Ann Collins: Thanks, but I have a schedule conflict. Not a fan of turkey, I'll be basking on the beach. Besides, it sounds like you're full of hot air?!


Say it Ain't So!: I'm planning on moving to NYC soon, please don't say the dating scene is worse there. I haven't been on a date in years, in DC.

Kelly Ann Collins: You'd better fill out one of those personality profiles and hope for the best! Just kidding.

Focus on going out and making friends in your new city. Have some fun, the dates should follow.


Washington, D.C.: I believe there is so much interest between people on trains -- why does no one ever talk to anyone? Is that considered "creepy"?

Kelly Ann Collins: Talking to people on trains can be a nice way to pass the time. But lots of people like to read / work on the train, so make sure the person you wanna talk to isn't busy *first* ... otherwise, you are going to annoy them and strike out big time.


Arlington, Va.: What would you say is the best way to meet men? I am getting tired of waiting to be approached and it has not happened yet.

Do you think it is okay for a woman to approach a man and ask him for a date?

Kelly Ann Collins: Sure. Say hello, flirt a little, and then give the object of your affection your biz card. If he gives you his card in return, it's probably a green flag.

E-mail him a few days later and ask him out for a drink.

If he says no, delete him from your Outlook, say "next!" ... and then move on to Hottie No. 2.


Bowie, Md.: I think the male-to-female ratio in D.C. is hype. I am a 36-year-old man and have yet to see a predominance of women. I am a black man and I moved here thinking there was a surplus of women. Most of these women are younger and not marriage-minded. Where are the 30-ish women who are looking to settle down?

Kelly Ann Collins: They are the ones shopping at "Babies R Us" after Sunday brunch with their pregnant, married friends.


Arlington, VA: Maybe its just me, but I've noticed a severe lack of initiative in dating from both sexes. I'm avoiding the inclination to say that D.C. guys only want model-y types, but that seems to me to be the case when I work and live with some of the nicest, smartest, wittiest, most fun women in the area. And they are cute to boot! Maybe we need to just go after what we want. But even if that is the case, it seems like everyone wants "friends with benefits" and that's it.

Where can a girl go to meet a nerdy, cute, nice guy?

Kelly Ann Collins: Nerdy, cute guys?

Online: Hmm, learn to play "World of Warcraft" and frequent the Dev Shed forums.

Offline: Comic book stores, the Apple Store ... actually, the guys working the "Genius Bar" at the Pentagon City and Clarendon Apple Stores are pretty hot. Get an iPod, pretend you can't put your songs on it, then make an appointment for some one-on-one support.


Capitol Hill: The problem here is no one knows how to flirt. Not the lap-dance variety, but good old-fashioned "I'm-making-conversation-with-you-maintaining-eye-contact-and-asking-you -about-your-interests" kind. I get as many dates as I want!

Kelly Ann Collins: Ahh, well, I guess it can be intimidating ... but really, conducting business in the flirting department is easy:

- Be playful

- Ask open-ended questions

- Make eye contact

- Lightly touch the person's hand or arm

- Toss your head back when you laugh

- Don't forget the mascara and gloss

- Smile, smile, smile!

People need to remember that this is the fun stuff. It's not like a job interview or brain surgery or something. It's just about making friends (of the opposite sex). And hey, if you mess up, so what?! Just put on the lipstick and try again.


Kelly Ann Collins: Thanks everyone! I hope this helped!


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