Forget the weather in August—apparently it’s Washington’s dating scene that’s really steamy. According to a recent survey, this is one of the best areas in the country to be single. But is that really true? Certainly, dating in Washington has its perks—a high percentage of singles, a thriving nightlife scene, and a plethora of cultural attractions and events. It also has its challenges—balancing careers and romance in an area where for many people careers come first, dealing with the transient nature of the city, and distinguishing the line between networking and socializing. So what’s the real story?
We convinced several area singles to let us follow them through the joys and travails of dating. They include a fashionable Southern belle just out of a long-term relationship and ready to date; a Latter-day Saint in search of a serious, committed relationship; a twentysomething who loves dive bars and just wants to have fun; a thirtysomething gay man looking for love; and a recent transplant figuring out how to meet other singles. Whether gay or straight, twentysomething and never married or fortysomething and divorced, they’ll help us paint a portrait of what dating in Washington really looks like.
Each week, we’ll check in with our daters about their love lives. Occasionally, we’ll send them on challenges—from trying speed dating to going on a blind date to meeting a matchmaker. And we’ll get their opinions on everything from dating deal-breakers to geographical challenges to etiquette. Of course, we’ll want your opinion, too. So stay tuned for their tales and opinions, but weigh in with your own thoughts.
For today, meet our first dater below. And check back often; we'll be debuting the rest of our daters throughout this week.
Kate Searby, 27
Lives in: DC.
Makes a living: Working for an Internet startup.
Background: I grew up in San Francisco. Ever since I was a little girl, I was into social-justice issues. I could see I had a lot more than other kids. There wasn’t a level playing field.
I thought I’d be a special-education teacher. I went to Duke and worked with handicapped kids. Then I went to grad school at Georgetown and studied new media and international rights.
I spent a summer volunteering in Nepal at a leprosy clinic and studied meditation at a Buddhist monastery, which was amazing and life-changing. It made me more appreciative of how blessed I’ve been, and it got me thinking about a career in international development.
When I came back to the U.S. I thought I’d get a job with something like USAID, but I just sort of fell into the job I’m in now, running health Web sites. We’re empowering people with information that they wouldn’t otherwise have. I love it.
Dating history: I started dating when I was about 15. In high school, I always had a boyfriend. In college, I had one serious boyfriend whom I dated for a year and a half. About three years ago, I was part of a dating issue that The Washingtonian did on eligible singles. After that, a friend set me up on a blind date. We ended up going out for a year and a half. I’m really enjoying life and experiences as they come. I’m not in a hurry to settle down and get married. I date a lot, but that’s because I like meeting people. Dating someone seriously hasn’t been a focus for me over the last few years. I’ve been pursuing other interests. Finding a partner will fall into place when it’s right.
Your type: I don’t want to say I’m picky, but I know what I like. If we’re not connecting, then I don’t want to waste his time or mine. The guy I tend to go for is very interested in the world around us. He’s into politics and well-traveled and shares my passion for human rights. He wants to see every corner of the world, even if that means roughing it and not showering for a week. He’s compassionate, and he treats the CEO and the janitor the same way. He’s got an edge and is up for spur-of-the-moment trips. I would prefer someone who is politically progressive. I’m kind of a sucker for the tall, dark, and handsome type, but that’s secondary. The attraction for me really comes from the other things.
Celebrity crush: Barack Obama.
Things that sweep you off your feet: Passion and adventure.
Deal breakers: Being rude to a waiter or a valet. Guys that don’t like animals. (I have two dogs and volunteer for a rescue organization. I want a guy who will go to the dog park with me.) Anybody who’s intolerant or prejudiced or sexist.
Finish these sentences:
My high school prom was . . . a total blast!
“Happily ever after” is . . . being surrounded by my loved ones and knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on the world.
John McCain is . . . an American hero.
Barack Obama is . . . the most inspiring, compelling presidential candidate of my lifetime.
Tunes: I always love the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. I love Radiohead.
TV: Arrested Development, Family Guy, Simpsons
Movies: Caddyshack, Coming to America
Books: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Restaurant: Nora, which is all organic, and Hook, which is all sustainable.
Bar: Marvin, 18th Street Lounge, The Rock and Roll Hotel, and Local 16
Drink: Martini, extra-dirty with extra olives
Sport: To watch, college basketball. To play, tennis.
Check back tomorrow at washingtonian.com/datingdiaries to meet more of our daters.