I’ve done enough self-reflection (read: therapy) to realize that I’m often the problem, the one who’s foregone intimacy for shinier and shinier objects. But now that I feel like I’m ready for something real, it seems like the only guys left in this town are perma-noncommittal, seriously disturbed, or so young they treat a visit to my apartment like an anthropological field trip into the lair of an older woman. So I accepted the assignment and decided I would try Tinder, Bumble, real-life pickups — anything in search of a good date.. No offense, men of Eastern North Carolina, but dating is scary enough without the possibility of being alone with a guy who shoots two rifles off his hips at the same time.

To be in constant chase is exhausting, and to repeat it, at ’s behest, every 48 to 72 hours in six very different U. I’d estimate that 85 percent of the profiles I saw, with my radius set at 30 miles around New Bern, featured guns, military uniforms (there are two bases nearby), Confederate flags, mentions of God, or all of the above.

And the winner who showed up in sweatpants and couldn’t buy me a drink because he’d spent his last on a beer and wings special for himself. And there’ve been wonderful guys in the mix too, most of whom fizzled out because in this city, it’s just really hard to fit two people, and their ambitions, into one relationship. ”) Maybe a change of location — to New Bern, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Austin, Texas; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles, California — was the answer.

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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.

That’s the feeling that rises up in my throat whenever anyone asks me the totally non-condescending question of why I’m still single, which I’ve answered so many times in so many tones (“Just haven't met the right guy, I guess! There was the guy who kept taking calls from a number he’d labeled “Happy Happy Fun Time,” which turned out to be his drug dealer.

I've met guys in bars, at parties, while snowboarding, through friends, and online via Ok Cupid, Match, Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble, The League, How About We, Coffee Meets Bagel, and even Nerve.com, a site for “literary smut” that hosted online personals in that early-aughts dark age before smartphones.

But he also lived in the beach town of Morehead City, nearly an hour away from New Bern, and his roommate had the car for the night, so could I drive to him?

We had a great night hopping from a seafood restaurant, to a cocktail lounge, to making out at a bar on a dock so close to the water you could dip your feet in.

“I definitely assume everyone is a Republican,” Becky, a 26-year-old elementary school teacher and Democrat who dates all political persuasions, told me.

“I can’t limit my options here; I don’t have so many.” She’s not kidding.

I went out by myself and by the end of Saturday night was rolling with a new friend group 10 people deep.

I also couldn’t believe the plethora of good-looking, gentlemanly guys who bought me drinks.

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.