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D.C.’s Great Love Debate

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Could it be that D.C. really is a great place for singles to find love, especially for single women? It is according to Brian Howie, an LA based director, producer and author of “How to Find Love in 60 Seconds;” who has said that if he were a single woman he would move to the Nation’s Capital because people here know what they want and go after it- and this includes love and marriage.

Since D.C. is flush with singles, 71 percent is the most recent census figure- the opportunity must be there, right? So why is it that so many singles struggle in their attempts to find happy love? Howie has had this same question about D.C. and a number of other major cities and he decided to set out in search of an answer by creating something called the Great Love Debate; which is an event that brings together singles and dating/relationship experts to talk about the problem issues related to dating and finding long-term relationships. He is holding it in cities around the U.S. - and this past Tuesday night it came to D.C.’s Arena Stage.

100 single women and men ranging mostly in age from the 20’s to the 40’s, along with six dating expert panelists attended. There were more women than men in the group, but the imbalance was not too extreme, so different viewpoints were aired and debated. Apparently it got heated at times as some speakers were interrupted and countered along with name calling and using negative stereotypes to describe the other sex. The goal after all was to get folks to candidly discuss their real feelings about the D.C dating culture that leaves many singles frustrated and, well, single.

So what is fueling this divide between the sexes- this distrust and antagonism that leaves each side clearly on the defensive? If we look closely at the behavior and the dance between the two, there are some clues that could lead to a better understanding and maybe more success with dating.

“Available” is apparently a four letter word with singles of both sexes here in D.C. Its use is avoided as it connotes being desperate and needy. Because of this, women often act aloof and are difficult to approach according to the guys- and guys are leery of women who show interest as they don’t trust their motives. What ends up happening is an avoidance of the traditional getting to know you ritual of courtship. Instead there is a culture of hooking up- one-night stands aided by apps like Tinder and Hornet that enable the sexes to have no-strings attached physical intimacy, often with virtual strangers. For others, there is the Friends with Benefits relationship where they are friends who sleep together- but the rules are often clear that this is not a romantic relationship with potential for something long-term.

No wonder singles are both frustrated and angry at the opposite sex. They want something more but are too afraid to ask for it for fear of how they will be perceived or how it will set them up to be taken advantage of. Each blames the other and with the aid of technology, the distance continues to grow along with the resentment. Any solution does begin with an open discourse, but this needs to be followed by conscious choices that come from a place of honesty, self-respect and respect for others. Changing this culture could begin with a few brave and self-aware singles who know what they want and have the courage to put it out there.

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