American Culture

Dame Magazine story on dating in Seattle tells us about the guys, but something is missing

I feel like I’m only hearing half the story about online dating in the Emerald City.

I just tripped across a really interesting article on dating in Seattle from Dame Magazine. It’s from May 2014 – interestingly enough, I lived there then. Which turns out to be relevant.

The main thrust is there are a lot of guys in the city – more than there are women – and they have good jobs and plenty of money. But you’d never want to date any of them.

As technologist and writer Jeff Reifman pointed out in a post titled “You’ve Got Male: Amazon’s Growth Impacting Seattle Dating Scene,” Amazon … has had a huge, awful impact on Seattle’s dating scene. He estimated that in the 25–44 age group, Seattle “has 119 single men for every 100 single women, slightly better than San Francisco at 121—but equal if you add in the impact from nearby Bellevue, which is an awful 144.”

Many of those men are coming here for Amazon: Reifman estimated that Amazon had hired 15,026 new employees since April 2010. These guys—and as Reifman pointed it out, it’s very nearly always guys (75 percent of Amazon’s workforce is made up of dudes!)—are making $80K or more a year for their second or third job out of college, and their presence was driving the rents up in Seattle to near New York City numbers.

But Reifman’s post confirmed that as Amazon grows, the number of (boring) men grows too.

You might think an abundance of men is a great thing, but as a wise woman once said, “The odds may be good, but the goods are odd.”

“I’ve lived in Seattle for seven years, single most of them,” Annie Pardo, a 31-year-old freelance event and communications consultant in Seattle, wrote in an email. “The only thing that has changed is the increase in men I’d never want to go out on a date with.”

I have no doubt that every word of this story is accurate. I’ve talked on occasion about the “Seattle Freeze,” which I suspect is a tangentially related phenomenon, and the truth is the problem may be even worse than the writer indicates.

However, I will say this. I lived in Seattle for a year or so. I was single at the time and was trying to find someone through online dating. Now, I’m not a perfect candidate for a single woman looking for a man, I know. I’m not beautiful, I’m not rich, I have some baggage. I get it.

But I’m not at all like the guys described in this article. If anything, I’m damned near the opposite, and if what the women interviewed for the story have to say about themselves is true, I should, at least in theory, have had some luck landing at least the occasional first date. During that entire period, though, I only heard back from one woman.

So I guess I’d say this to the fine single women of Jet City: I believe what I’m being told about the men of Seattle. Seriously, I buy every word you’re saying. I believe that there are hordes of self-involved, low-empathy, zero-self-awareness barely-social-functioning douchenozzles with a lot of cash and no personality in town.

But I was there and it’s not all adding up the way it should, which makes me curious about the rest of the story.

Read the rest of S&R’s ongoing online dating series.

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