I’m fascinated by the criticism of the D.C. dating scene. When I moved here a few months ago I tried to ignore the chatter that D.C. was an awful place to date. I’ve tried to be understanding to the women and men (all orientations) who voice their concerns:

  • DC is just a bunch of adult high school cliques
  • All people do is talk about their resume
  • Everyone tries to one up everyone
  • Everyone’s snobby
  • Nobody wants a relationship, everyone’s just here for a couple years
  • It’s too transient to date

I wondered if there was some truth to this. I consulted with a friend/researcher at Harvard and he sent me his own take on the chances of a single woman (around my age) meeting a guy. His response:

“Based on Census data for the 20002 zip code, I've estimated that your probability of meeting a college-educated guy between the ages of 26.5 and 42.9 is 8.2% (algorithm available upon request).  But we know these things don't follow the laws of math.  There are numerous guys out there right now, in DC, with values and goals that align with yours and they're searching for someone."

I appreciated his optimistic last thought. Especially given that I think that his statistic was complete B.S. However, I do agree, these things do not follow the laws of math. I’d like to share some insight into why your probability is MUCH MUCH higher than 8.2%. I’d like to actually take a leap and move the freaking decimal point over one to the right.


I hope I don’t seem unsympathetic, but I think it would be good for the locals here to get some perspective. Now, sure, dating wasteland is variable in terms of your personal dating preferences, ages, demographics, etc. A general definition should still apply.


OFFENSIVE LEVEL OF STAGNATION: There is a degree of limited movement in the wasteland area. The same people will frequent your local bar, grocery, and coffee shop. You unavoidably run into your ex weekly. Also, your ex, ex.

THE TRIAD DILEMMA: You get no more than three different types of guys to choose from for example. Peter-pan types (can’t grow up and live in the college town they graduated from 10 years ago), Gym rats (limited conversation. Speak only gym), finance types. Whatever, it doesn’t matter the type. The point is, a real authentic dating wasteland would have no more than 3 types of guys to choose from. If that’s not your type. Well, it sucks to be you.

MY EX ISN'T SO BAD: You find yourself with (hooking up, hanging out, whatever) someone that already determined with complete confidence that was less than pretty much unacceptable to be around except in cases of extreme boredom (or limited human resources). As a result, you find yourself spending time with said person in cases when only mild boredom has struck.

If you’re in DC…if these are your issues, you’re doing something wrong. Although based on my limited amount of research I can’t say that this place in is a gold mine, but there is a lot of reason to be pretty damn optimistic with dating. Ignore your friends and some lame weekend news article. Assess the dating scene on factors that matter. That’s where the real statistics will shine.

TRANSIENT FACTOR: People complain about this because many people apparently don’t stay in DC. Here’s the thing though - when new people constantly move into the city it’s like all your dating non-potentials are being magically power-washed away with new people. This is fantastic!!

NOVELTY: Do you have access to new places constantly (new business, new events, (ummm…have you seen how many thousand meetup groups there are?), new locations, new festivals, etc.)? Shoot, you can’t find anyone in the NW quadrant (something like 64% single people live in Columbia Heights alone), go ahead and get crazy…walk over to a different quadrant.

RECREATION PLAYGROUND: This place is like the land of joining stuff. Adults work hard here, but they also like to play. I mean, sure it’s also very network based and that can be obnoxious. But you can still join 6,831 groups and clubs or events (I’m still not totally sure what that means here….but people use it a lot) on any given week and meet new people.

Honestly, I could go on and on but bottom line, there are OPTIONS…there will always be options in a city like D.C. because it is alive, and moving…so go be alive and move!