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The Well-Grounded Yuppie


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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Best City For Singles - Washington DC?

I recently read an article from AOL voting Washington DC to be the best city for singles in the US, and I only half-agree, depending on what you want as a single person. The decision from AOL was made by different stats, such as high amount of young singles in the city, growing of "creative class", high amount of night life (such as number of bars and clubs per capita), etc. But I’m guessing the person who came up with the conclusion of Washington DC being the best city for singles, either never lived in DC for more than 2 weeks, or wasn’t single when s/he lived in DC.

Although I mostly stay in the suburbs (Northern Virginia), but I go to DC to party/hang out/drinking after work or on weekends here and there, and below are my experiences.

Work culture of DC: DC is full of hard-working young single professionals, who put in 50-60 hour work weeks to get ahead in his/her career. I’d like to think that as a group, young professionals in DC are probably the most ambitious people there are in the country. But the majority of those people sees DC as a "stepping stone" in their career, nobody I know was "raised in DC", most people moved to DC for work, and probably will move onto other parts of the country after DC "launches their careers". Knowing that, singles remain single for that specific reason. It’s nice to find a "nice girl who will move anywhere with you", but that just doesn’t happen, especially when the "nice girl" also has her own career to think about, probably just as seriously as guys do or more.

Social aspect of DC: Due to how much young professionals care about their own career, they care about each other’s just as much. When meeting a new person, and playing the 20 questions game that everyone likes to play so much (sarcasm), I often hear the question "so what do you do" before hearing "what do you enjoy doing", that just sums it all up for the social culture of DC. I’m sure it happens in all major cities in the US, but none as blatant as DC. I’ve always found southern girls are nicer, easier to talk to, and don’t automatically think you’re a threat when you ask them for directions. In downtown Charlotte, if I need directions, almost everyone stops when I say "excuse me", vs about one out of three people stopping in the city of Washington DC.

So statistically, AOL might be right in their stats, but they didn’t evaluate why. There’s a reason why DC has an extremely high amount of single professionals (population percentage wise), because a lot of singles want to remain single, and the "DC Culture" isn’t to the advantage of the ones that don’t. Lots of bars mean young people can have a great time in the city on weekends or after work, but it also means people have less motivation to "find a boyfriend/girlfriend" because they always have something to do. Dating definite is a lot more common than relationships, that might be a factor why DC was picked "best place to live for singles", but personally, as a single guy, I’d much rather live in a society where people are friendly, both singles and people that’re in relationships, instead of a society where people are defined by their jobs or status. But if you're single, want to stay single, and mostly stay/hang out with your clique of friends (like I currently do), then I guess Washington DC just might be the right place for you.

15 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

Man, DC sounds like it really sucks. There's nothing I hate more than the culture that thinks there is nothing wrong with working more than 40 hours a week.

There are only two reasons to have a job: personal satisfaction and to get enough money to do the stuff you and your family enjoy. If you're working 60 hours a week, chances are that neither are being satisfied. I pity people like that....

5/31/2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

Well, Andrew, I think people work 60 hours a week for "personal satisfaction" and for the money. A job that demands you to work 60 hrs a week has to make pretty good money, and in a city where you're defined by your job, and holding a prestigious one, that's "personal satisfaction".

6/03/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I don't agree with you at all. DC may have its fair share of ambitious people, but to say that its the most workaholic city in the country is absurd. How about New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, and their banking contingents? I guarantee that you'd be hard-pressed to find many people working those types of hours in DC. I am 25, and only know a handful of people that work more than 40 hours a week. Keep in mind the sheer quantity of people in the DC area that work for the federal government: they are generally prohibited from requiring overtime. The vast majority of my friends work absolutely no more than 40 hours a week, and probably spend nearly as much time in bars as they do behind a desk.


Moral of the story: dont listen to this guy. He clearly doesn't get out enough.

1/23/2008 12:46 AM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

Nah, DC isn't the most "workaholic city" in the country. I don't know about the other cities mentioned, but Charlotte has a more slack work culture due to the southern culture. By what I understand, NYC and LA are the most workaholic cities in the US. But with most professionals, DC is the city that a person is defined most by his/her job. I don't know any people that work for the government, but I DO know many people that work for agencies that are associated with the government (government contracting), and most of them DO work 50+ hours a week.

The post was just my own perspective, I guess you and I hang at different places and meet different types of people.

1/23/2008 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC really sucks. I read all these great stats about DC and moved here from Boston to find out that DC really has nothing to offer except a decent job, lots of traffic, high cost of living (high % of singles can't afford an apt and have to rent rooms), snobbish and obnoxious singles. The women in DC are very beautiful but I found them boring.

2/23/2008 9:30 PM  
Blogger Paul Zhao said...

I think most people in DC can "afford" 1BR apartments, but most don't because it's better off sharing. Isn't housing supposed to be 1/3-1/2 of your monthly post-tax income? At the average 1BR apartment rate of about $1200/month, well, you can do the math.

2/24/2008 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize this post is pretty old by now, but I have to say that I completely agree. Both my friends and I work long hours during the week (and weekend) - but, I can't complain too much because we have our dream jobs. During my free time I sometimes grab drinks with friends and I must say that I'm not impressed with the men here at all (sorry). Everyone's job comes first...I guess I'm guilty too. As a 24 year old single gal, this is truly the "best city for singles" who want to stay that way. I guess we can't have it all.

9/24/2008 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dc is a horrible place to try and go out and meet single women. Everything is about job, status, up, up, up uptight, snobbish. You can't be a regular, funny, nice, average-looking guy and stand a chance meeting someone cold. You are not given the time of day. I love what I do, so I stayed here, but I'm single, getting on in years, and have no prospects. I've had girlfriends, and a couple have been great but did not work out forever after, but the rebound takes forever. You don't just get back in the mix in D.C. you die on the vine in D.C.

11/13/2008 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! I must be in the wrong place. I have spent the last 3 years of my adult life here and have not found a good prospect since then. And it's true about what they say with the singles here and their work. It's all about the next buck.

I can't beging to tell you the many conversations I've heard including my own (I'm guilty) of what they need to do to get that next 10 or 20 grand or for the ITers who thrive off of "how and when they'll hitt six grand" (for those who don't have it already.

But, though I fall into that category and work at least 40hrs + homework (got keep those skills in order to get the buck), I still want a caring, long-term relationship that will lead to a fruitful family in the future. In fact, once I get off work today, I'm going out to meetup with some people at a bar.

So, I guess I don't fall into the stereotype of those who are single and want to stay that way. :-)

But hey, until I'm married, I'll be going to Happy Hour until it's over. And that does include weekdays. Unless someone can suggest a gardening club where young single men and women hang out. Count me in.

2/25/2009 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say hitt "six figures" from the previous post.

2/25/2009 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep, you hit it on the nail. ive been in DC for a while (4-5 years) and it is the best place to be if you are single and intend to stay that way without a LOT of work sweat and tears. I agree with some of the opinions of the author, but there's gotta be other reasons why the single population is the way it is. It's absurd, but every city has it's own absurdities.

8/23/2009 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best post about DC.
This city is full of singels(more single women than men) and worst part is not the city easy to meet those "singles".

What do you do for living - is the first question (it means how much money do you make or do you have any connection to the hill). As soon as they know you don't work on the hill, they do not hesitate to tell to your face that what you do is not impressing. (Shallow is the right word I guess)
I live in DC and I didn't give up a hope to find love but I did give up meeting those kind of shallow people.

This city even makes you think maybe there is something wrong with yourself.

1/25/2011 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too funny! I fit in the workaholic camp but I do not work on the hill. Often, I have a higher salary than the hill folks but they often will not give me the time of day. The Hill in DC is like Wall Street in NYC. What I have learned over time, is that you may be going to party ..to well party..they are actually working at most of the events.

It's hard to date in the hill scene..because if your relationship does not work out..you still will have to see them all the time and a) you may screw up your work relationships or b)may get black balled if it is a really bad break-up...everyone will know your business and sexual ratings.

2/17/2012 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This thread touches on an important issue that I've come to realize about DC, and generally the DMV. DC by the numbers may appear like a good singles town, but you would be mistaken relying solely on the numbers. I haven't heard many theories about the scene here so I will proffer my own. DC is a political town (not city, perhaps even a large village). As such, it attracts certain types of people. That is the key to understanding this town I suggest. The part of the issue I focus on is the women, as this is usually what drives the singles scene. Women are the commodity, if you will. The types of women that relocate, (judicious use of the word relocate) are the geekie, unpopular girls from high school that nobody really paid attention to. They're home bodies and prefer a novel over a warm body (not really, but they have no social skills to really enjoy the social singles scene, so they opt to stay in [on the weekends]. Anecdotally, I observe many women walking past my flat from the Metro on Fridays never to be seen again until Monday morning (Well, if your wondering I work from home / remotely). This also can be supported by the numbers. If you were to take the bars, lounges and clubs, cited in the AOL article and perform a head count at each and every one, you will quickly see that men far outnumber women in each venue. I have that type of scientific(y) mind. Next time you're at your favorite hotspot do a quick head count. You will quickly discover how bad the single scene is in DC. Many of the women represented in the 2010 US census (outnumber men) are at home reading or some other nonparticipatory activity. That's what the $20 one-way DC to NYC Chinatown bus is for. So you can easily escape this village for a real city.

9/08/2012 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This thread touches on an important issue that I've come to realize about DC, and generally the DMV. DC by the numbers may appear like a good singles town, but you would be mistaken relying solely on the numbers. I haven't heard many theories about the scene here so I will proffer my own. DC is a political town (not city, perhaps even a large village). As such, it attracts certain types of people. That is the key to understanding this town I suggest. The part of the issue I focus on is the women, as this is usually what drives the singles scene. Women are the commodity, if you will. The types of women that relocate, (judicious use of the word relocate) are the geekie, unpopular girls from high school that nobody really paid attention to. They're home bodies and prefer a novel over a warm body (not really, but they have no social skills to really enjoy the social singles scene, so they opt to stay in [on the weekends]. Anecdotally, I observe many women walking past my flat from the Metro on Fridays never to be seen again until Monday morning (Well, if your wondering I work from home / remotely). This also can be supported by the numbers. If you were to take the bars, lounges and clubs, cited in the AOL article and perform a head count at each and every one, you will quickly see that men far outnumber women in each venue. I have that type of scientific(y) mind. Next time you're at your favorite hotspot do a quick head count. You will quickly discover how bad the single scene is in DC. Many of the women represented in the 2010 US census (outnumber men) are at home reading or some other nonparticipatory activity. That's what the $20 one-way DC to NYC Chinatown bus is for. So you can easily escape this village for a real city.

9/08/2012 7:46 PM  

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