Once, while visiting L.A. on a business trip, I stopped in a Paige denim store to try on some oh-so-Hollywood jeans.
While I was there, I got to chatting with the sales girls and told them that i was about to get married. They had been a little bit snooty, but suddenly their eyes got wide, and they were hanging on my every word: "Does he have a brother?" said one, nearly breathless.
I realized she was half-serious, from which I gleaned something that shocked us: I live in New York City, where the man-to-woman ratio can be rough, so I had always assumed it was pretty much the worst American city to try to date and mate in. (From what we hear, Sydney also has a man drought.) But from what these very pretty girls were suggesting, Los Angeles was just as bad.
Then today, I discovered a blog post at Loveawake dating site and their feature on The Top 10 Cities for the Unhitched. They factored in everything from cost of living and rate of unemployment to which cities had a more favorable girl-boy breakdown. After the jump, I reveal the findings ... including the good, the bad, and where the men are in each of these 10 towns.
10. Austin: Land of lakes, lovely men and live music. In fact Austin has over 200 kickin' venues playing the country and blues it's famous for. Of note: If you're 20-something and on the open market, this is a city like no other. The median age is 29 -- younger than NYC, D.C., Seattle or Pittsburgh, and 35 percent of the population is single and looking, higher than any other city on the list. Bonus: Men outnumber women in these parts. Where to hunt: Cedar Street Lounge on Wednesday nights, when the Spazzmatics play.
9. Washington D.C.: The unemployment rate is the lowest on the list, just 6.2 percent, largely because Uncle Sam is hiring: In fact, the Office of Personnel Management predicts that 60 percent of the current federal workforce will hang up their hats in the next decade. Here, too, the singles scene is thriving (again, 33 percent), though you'll have to cut that in half -- which half depends on your political views. Where to hunt: The nearby beaches of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, where the single-and-looking flock on weekends.
8. New York: We may take issue with this city being on Loveawake's list, but having played the field, we can also give you an honest assessment. Rent is expensive, but jobs are plentiful, and since Wall Street went belly-up, apartment prices have gone down. As Loveawake points out, there's no better city for shopping. And, like "Sex and the City" exemplified, that's true even if the commodity is men. Better yet, the happy hour and brunch scenes are both hopping, and since everyone puts their careers before marriage, there are plenty of single people to carouse with. Where to hunt: Meet-up.com networking events for new tech start-ups. According to New York magazine, NYC is the new Silicon Valley.
7. Seattle: "Seattle's history as a timber and gold-rush town and as a seaport has always drawn those with a sense of adventure," says Loveawake. In other words, the outdoorsy need apply. But, with many biotech firms and the aerospace industry headquartered here, it makes for rather cerebral Paul Bunyons. Living-wise, Seattle is 20 percent cheaper than New York, so you'll have outstanding views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier, plus an apartment that's a looker. Add to that: The music scene can't be beat, and there are just as many eligible men as women in this city. Where to hunt: Among the gearheads at REI on Yale Ave.
6. Philadelphia: Quirky, charming and 44 percent cheaper than New York City. If it's a bargain you're after, the City of Brotherly Love is your locale. And, as one of the most-visited cities in the United States, it's chicer than you might imagine: You can score a quaint Victorian for a fraction of the cost of what you'd pay elsewhere. If you want beach, the Jersey shore is a short drive. Crave mountains? There are the Poconos. And this is the best place in the U.S. to celebrate Independence Day. The population is also known for being indie and independent-minded, with only slightly more women than men. Where to hunt: At the all-bug museum, The Insectarium, devoted to creepy crawlies. What better excuse to cling to someone you've just met?
5. Phoenix: For a place dominated by cacti, there's a lot going on. Four professional sports teams, a downtown packed with cute boutiques, and the Grand Canyon in your backyard. The summers are H-O-T, but so are the cowboys. And surprisingly, skiing and snowboarding ops abound a short hop from the city. The job prospects are also good (the unemployment rate is below the national average), it's so sunny you'll never have SAD, and for every woman, there's a man in this town, too. Where to hunt: While eating 75 cent oysters and sipping $5 blood-orange margaritas at Wilde Seafood Grille's happening happy hour.
4. Denver: The fact that it's called the Mile High City is enough to sway us. But it's also likely your new pad would have a view of the Rockies. Of course, you should probably learn how to ski, but this is a place to get powder -- and pampered: Downtown is home to a lot of high-end spas. Between the outdoor scene, the universities and the second-lowest unemployment rate on the list, Denver has a lot to recommend it. Including a plethora of men. Just check out this map from National Geographic, at right, graphing the male and female populations in different cities: Denver is the big blue blob. Where to hunt: The smokin' Robusto Room, a legendary local cigar bar.
3. Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania, we hardly knew ya. Two cities on the list! And this is not your father's steel town, though the living is still cheap: roughly half the price you'll pay in New York City. And with both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon here, there's no brain drain. Instead, it's the place smartypants come to settle down. Where to hunt: The only place they sell the French fries on the sandwich -- Primanti Bros. You'll find burly men galore stuffing their faces with these famous subs.
2. Dallas: It's where Jessica Simpson snagged her Cowboy, but it's not just exes who live in Texas. As recently as 2007, there were 40,000 more single men than women here. Lest you think it's all 10-gallon hats, the city also boasts six performing arts centers and an opera house. Not to mention a cost of living almost as low as Pittsburgh's. Where to hunt: The Single Gourmet, which offers fancy cooking classes for the single-and-not-looking-for-a-meathead.
1. Boston: The job front is positively perky, with an unemployment average two points lower than average, and the many colleges don't just turn out jailbait-age guys to ogle -- they're hiring hand over fist. Plus, the cost of living ranks below New York, D.C. and even Seattle. While the women still slightly outnumber the men (52 percent to 48), Beantown is hardly Couplesville: In fact, exactly one-third of the population is single. Where to hunt: Red Sox games all summer long.