A few weeks ago, Answer Man drove a stake through the heart of an old Washington myth: that in the District, there are three eligible women for every eligible man.
The myth may not be true, but like a lot of myths, it represents something that people want to believe. For many people -- especially single women fed up with the needle-in-a-haystack quality of the poor pickin's around here -- it just seems that things must be out of whack somehow.
Of course, if you're a single woman -- or a single man, for that matter -- all you need to find is one person. I asked readers for advice.
There were some common themes. Volunteering was one. (Several readers mentioned www.singlevolunteers.org.) Another was dancing, in all its various forms: folk dancing, swing dancing, salsa dancing, hand dancing . . .
Keisha Kersey of Upper Marlboro has been taking salsa and hand-dancing classes at various places around town. "These dances require close interaction, hand-holding and laughing at each other's mistakes," she wrote, "which is wonderful for breaking the ice and having good conversations. There's always loads of men there, so you don't have to go with your own partner."
Guys might want to check out cooking classes, says Joanna Wilbur of Reston. "When I was single, I was amazed at all the women in the class and the fact that there were few if any single men. The single guys that did show up, well, to say the least they had an embarrassment of riches."
Cooking not to your taste? How about studio silversmithing classes, says Patricia G. Rees. Full of women, and "you'll get to use blowtorches."
Blowtorches are seldom employed in yoga class, which may be why readers said that 90 percent of yoga students are women. In leotards!
Of course this is all fine and good for men looking for women. But folks seem to agree that this is not the problem. What about women looking for men?
Christian Wright -- a man -- says that when he's teeing off -- around 7 a.m. -- very few of his fellow golfers are female. His suggestion? "Hit the golf course."
Along the same lines was Josh Sachs's advice: bicycle races. He promises "attractive, athletic, kind" men but warns it can take a while for the hard-core biking subculture to accept newcomers. "It's sort of like Jane Goodall letting the chimps slowly become accustomed to her presence," he writes.
Golf and biking too athletic? Stand-up bassist Mike Marceau of Adelphi says open mike nights seem to draw mainly men. "In most of these places, the crowd comes for the music, not the party atmosphere."
Carolyn Palmer Miller of Mitchellville says there's a high male-to-female ratio at aviation-related events: fly-ins, air shows and the like.
Jane Frank of McLean said she stumbled upon a great way to meet men when she spent six weeks at a hotel away from home on a business trip. She found a diner in the small town where she was staying and had an epiphany: It was full of single men.
Seeing them at the beginning of the day rather than the end had some advantages, she said.
"You're meeting them in full light," she said, when they're looking their best for the day: "freshly shaved and 'up.' They're not tired, sweaty, bedraggled, listless -- worn out from a hard day's work."
Plus, "they may be sleepy, but almost guaranteed they're not drunk." And there isn't that anxiety that comes with last call. "Everyone must go to work, so you don't have to worry about either being the 'last girl at the bar' or having to say 'No, thank you.' "
The prize for the most elaborate instructions on where to find men has to go to Rachel Barth of Silver Spring. Rachel, who goes by the nickname Ray, divided her suggestions into different sorts of guys, from white-collar to blue-collar, hard body to geek. Among her recommendations:
"For white-collar guys who are all closet romantics, try gaming stores." These are places that sell science-fiction and fantasy role-playing games. "The only drawback: Many of them are out of shape," she said.
Don't want a flabby guy in a "Magic The Gathering" T-shirt? Ray recommends taking up rock climbing, mountain biking, racquetball or handball. These are "chock-full of guys in really good shape."
"Passionate" men who care about history but aren't afraid to be a little silly can be found at Civil War reenactments.
Less passionate men, presumably -- but more men than women -- are at computer programming classes.
"Don't scoff at geek love, ladies," said Ray. "Mrs. Bill Gates seems pretty happy to me." (Of course, a geek earning $16,000 a year may not be as attractive as one earning $16,000 a minute.)
If any of this advice should work for you, and some years down the line a baby comes into your life, why not name him John?
The drumbeat continues: So far our Send a Kid to Camp campaign has netted $68,954.41. We need to raise an additional $681,045.59 by July 23.
Here's how you can contribute: Make a check or money order payable to "Send a Kid to Camp" and mail it to: Attention, Lockbox, Department 0500, Washington, D.C. 20073-0500.
To contribute online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/camp. Click on the icon that says, "Make Your Tax-Deductible Donation."
To contribute by phone with Visa or MasterCard, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 on a touch-tone phone. Then punch in KIDS, or 5437, and follow the instructions.
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