“Downtown, there’s lots of friends with benefits,” says Paul, a 24-year-old sous chef.“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.“I definitely assume everyone is a Republican,” Becky, a 26-year-old elementary school teacher and Democrat who dates all political persuasions, told me.
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I asked to talk to him for this article and he responded, “So does that mean I can’t hit on you? Then as we kept talking, I learned that he is providing for his four kids, plus their mother (they’re not together), and is a fervent Trump supporter.
This was pre-election, and if you’d asked me before meeting Peter if I’d consider dating a Trump supporter, that would’ve been a strong “hell, no.” (Even more so now.) And he had the same response when I asked him if he’d date a Democrat.
Had I not set a gigantic Tinder radius, I never would’ve met Jason, a smoking-hot 32-year-old who’d just moved to the area from England for work and had played semi-pro soccer back home.
He immediately struck me as sweet and affectionate — one of the only guys I’ve ever met online who wanted to talk on the phone first to make sure I wasn’t a bot and that we’d enjoy spending an evening together.
Now imagine that feeling multiplied times a tsunami and you’ll know what washed over me when called up to see if I would travel around the country going on dates to find out if location really matters when you’re looking for love.
And the bassist who insisted I listen to 10 minutes of his music while he watched me react to it.
Then I practically fell asleep at the wheel coming home.
The next night, we had another terrific date wandering around New Bern and going on a ghost tour (half the town is haunted, apparently).
And if that drive is the price for dating a decent guy, I feel for you, small-town ladies.(Jason was also the first real test of my approach to this trip.