Oh, we’ve been there: spending Saturday nights scarfing Pringles while our Netflix queue dwindles — because despite the rumored large population of eligible D.C. singles, there’s never anyone to date. Local writer Rachel Machacek tackles this common courtship complaint in “The Science of Single” ($15, Riverhead), in which she tests techniques — speed dating, online matchmaking, good old-fashioned blind dates — and concludes there’s no one formula for love.
Your District dating tales are horrifying. Why have we become so bad at interacting with each other?
I have to take responsibility for my own experiences. I’m pretty shy and introverted, and it’s a lot of work for me to interact with strangers on the street or at singles events. But in general, it seems as though we’re not as open to meeting new people. People come to D.C. to work on their careers, so we’re not as open to relationships.
Did writing this book make you less picky?
I’ve revised my checklist. I realized that before I started working on it, my ideal was very superficial. I was partially being too picky, and I didn’t always have my expectations in the right place.
What’s the best method for dating in D.C.?
You really have to be open to all of the different possibilities. If you’re just relying on friends to set you up or online dating, it makes the pool smaller.
Is chivalry dead?
I feel that way often, but sometimes a guy comes along and I’m blown away by how chivalrous he is. In some ways, the feminist movement kind of killed it for women and made dating harder for women. But I hate to blame it all on men. I do meet people whose mothers taught them right.
Has online dating and the one-click culture made us shallower?
I don’t know if it makes us shallower or if it just highlights that we’re that way. If I want someone who’s tall, athletic, an Aries and either white, black, Indian or Chinese, I can search that. You can drill down to very serious specifics. You may even set criteria you didn’t know you wanted just because you can.
Best restaurant for first dates?
I like ones that are kind of quiet, not too formal and not too swank. I like L’Enfant in Adams Morgan and Room 11 in Columbia Heights.
Best neighborhood for singles?
Probably Adams Morgan or Logan Circle.
You dated all sorts of D.C. archetypes. Which ones were the most fun?
They were all fun in their own way. But I’d have to say I connected better with the ones that are less politically entrenched and more creative.
Any advice for D.C. singles?
Slow down and take a look around you and be open to possibility. Also, you’re the common denominator when you’re dating, so if it’s not working for you, re-evaluate why it isn’t.
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