When I first became single after a long relationship I felt empowered, liberated and confident. I was certain the world was my oyster and better things lay ahead. I looked forward to weekend getaways, late nights out on the town and daytime retail therapy with the girls, sure my remaining time would consist of being wined and dined by single, attractive men. I was certain my life would be full of cosmopolitans and Prada, investment bankers and champagne. I basically thought life would be all “Carrie Bradshaw” when, in reality, it’s very much “Bridget Jones.” Minus the chain smoking, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, of course.
I’ve come to the conclusion that being single in a smaller center is a different experience than being single in a large metropolis such as New York. It’s hard to have regular evenings out, trolling for men, when the bulk of your friends are at home, tending to their husbands and children. Prada is somewhat hard to find, and afford, when Carrie’s monthly rent is higher than your annual salary and the only big names in retailers are Walmart and Costco. It’s hard to look like a fashionista when your only clothing options consist of a cotton-poly blend.
Things are no better, I’m afraid, when it comes to the dating scene. While a ‘Carrie’ would ask herself “what’s his annual mean salary?” and “does he have a house in the Hamptons?” us small town girls are left to ponder “what’s wrong with him?” and “are we somehow related?” After all, there are only so many men to go around and it’s a pretty safe bet that when the dating pool is actually a puddle the really good catches have either already been caught or just may be your cousin. And, like most surfaces of water, self-reflection is unavoidable … if the theory is that all the good men are gone than what must all the remaining single men think about all the single women? Surely not everyone can be the exception to the rule.
And when a date is finally to be had the location of such an event is limited. It’s hard to be creative, let alone romantic, when dinner options consist primarily of restaurant chains and evening activities include bowling or the local bookstore. Movies are always a good choice but those quirky independent films that got rave reviews at the Sundance Film Fesitival never seem to make it to the smaller corners of the world. If there’s any silver lining in the dark cloud of small town dating it’s the fact there’s almost always a Starbucks nearby. And while it may close well before midnight at least that means I can be home in time for the only reoccurring date I seem to be able to get these days … watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
So while the dating scene where I live may not be what I had expected (or hoped) there are other aspects that more than make up for it: like the fact I can walk to work (if I don’t sleep in), that I can drive from one end of town to the other in less then fifteen minutes (if there’s no construction) and no matter where I go I almost always run into someone I know. Too bad it almost always ends up being my ex …