Last week, my story teaser implied that this week I might reveal the secrets to finding love in Denver. The truth is, two-plus years after arriving here from California, I’m still seeking that first enduring connection. Seriously ladies, what gives? In this allegedly stellar dating city–where cougars and snow bunnies supposedly run wild–so far my schtick just ain’t flying. Part of it might be the unusual circumstances of my arrival. Unlike so many transplants, I came to Colorado for a job, not because I yearned to sprint up or ski down the sides of fourteeners. Yes, the mountains are gorgeous and inspiring, but I’m a city guy at heart, with hair products, leather jackets, and too many shoes to count. When I lived on the West Coast, I met a lot of women. A. Lot. Of. Women. Here, I’m just some urban nancyboy who doesn’t speak mogul. A theory: Despite all the demographic research that suggests Denver is singles heaven, our lovely landscape so dominates the culture that it actually makes dating more difficult.
Think about it. Most folks head for the hills with groups of friends, but skiing and boarding are solo endeavors. If half-pipes and powder days (and subsequent nocturnal hookups) are more interesting to you than really connecting with someone, you’re probably not a great date, let alone the true-love type. Such youthful proclivities are common everywhere (I’m 42). Unfortunately, along the Front Range this Patricia and Peter Pan-ism seems to last indefinitely. I’ve shared war stories with numerous women who bemoan Denver guys’ refusal to pick up a check or hold a door, and I’ve run across plenty of babes who are just as cocky, elusive, and snow-focused as the dudes. For too many Denverites, the ubiquitous local hipster uniform–shaggy hair, meticulously rumpled layers of mountain logowear, and beat-up Merrells–isn’t just for twentysomethings anymore. Hey, I’d love to dress like that, but I’m a grown-up with a job. The oft-suggested “get involved” track seems too contrived, as does buying a dog in this canine-crazy town. I’ve always feared that joining some club, or volunteering, or getting a pooch, with a focus on getting laid rather than actually helping someone, might set me up for some hideous karmic retribution, like an inoperable tumor or a house in the suburbs. Merrily (sic) I press on. I have little choice but to keep my eyes peeled everywhere–at online dating sites or local haunts, and along city streets–trying to find someone less obsessed with mountain living and maybe just a little more down to earth. And unintimidated by all my cool shoes. 5280 senior editor Luc Hatlestad will blog again about his Denver dating experiences next Tuesday. Up next: An e-dating revelation.